November 19th, 2013 by sarawilly
By Josh Hallmark
Rock stars are just like us! They go to Starbucks, they grocery shop, and they even grapple over which health care plans to purchase while they’re perusing WAhealthplanfinder.org (I’ll give you a hint: Community Health Plan of Washington’s Community HealthEssentials). Chris Walla of local band and perennial emo heartthrobs Death Cab for Cutie has been participating in a new kind of tour- The Washington Health Plan Finder Open Enrollment Road Show. Chris has recently been quite vocal over his support for the Affordable Care Act and, specifically, Washington Health Plan Finder. I had the opportunity to sit down with him at a recent event at University of Washington to discuss his involvement and his selection of Community Health Plan of Washington as his plan of choice in the Exchange.
What prompted Chris to endorse the ACA and participate in the road show is the fact that as a rock star he is, essentially, self-employed. After getting married in February, he and his wife who is also self-employed, sat down to figure out their health care plans. They went straight to WAhealthplanfinder.org and were surprised by how seamless and easy the experience was. Even when they had questions, those questions were answered thoughtfully and quickly. “It was just easy to figure out what it was that we wanted to do and how to do it.”
As a self-employed musician, Chris has been buying health insurance on the open market for years. He found himself consistently frustrated about how complicated and byzantine the process of trying to comparison shop for health insurance was, “As somebody who is educated and has a lot of free time on his hands, and is actually interested in health care policy, it has been really difficult for me to get my head wrapped around what my insurance covered, and what it didn’t cover.”
His own experiences trying to navigate the complex world of health insurance and the trying experiences of friends are the basis of his passion for health care reform. “I got more and more passionate about health care and health care policy as I started to discover that I was not alone and that I have friends in rock bands who have pre-existing conditions and chronic conditions who couldn’t find health insurance. I have a couple of friends who ended up with cancer and ended up going bankrupt because they got dropped [by their insurance carriers].” As part of the Affordable Care Act, pre-existing conditions can no longer be used to exclude people from care coverage. It also bans insurers from placing lifetime or yearly limits on what they will cover for a member’s medical care.
Chris’ passion for health care awareness became abundantly clear when, halfway through our interview, he stopped to help a woman who had approached a nearby enrollment table, looking for assistance. The older woman was having trouble accessing information regarding coverage for herself and her disabled mother. Chris answered a few of her questions, then escorted her to an enrollment specialist for further assistance. The woman, happy to have been helped, clearly had no idea a rockstar had been the one to help her.
Chris went on to tell me how he and his wife opted for Community Health Plan of Washington’s Community HealthEssentials plan. He said the decision was simple and based solely on one thing: Community Health Plan of Washington is not-for-profit. “The fact that any profit is ever involved in the well-being of human beings just seems crazy to me. I’ve long believed that the community of Community Health just makes sense to me.” He went on to explain, quite earnestly, “I just feel that if there’s one agreement that I wish that we could make with one another as a society, it’s that we can take care of one another on that level. I feel like Community Health Plan of Washington is a step further along in that mission than a lot of the other options.”
Throughout the event, Chris posed for photos and chatted with students, urging them to take the initiative to learn about their enrollment options. “Most of the people I’ve talked to are close to the cut-off,” ACA allows for people up to age twenty-six to participate on their parents’ insurance plans, “they’ve just never even thought about health insurance. This is such an easy thing to hand someone a postcard and say, ‘Go here. 90% of your questions are going to be answered just by visiting the website. It’s not that hard, and it’s so much easier than it was.’”
“It’s important to be able to connect with anyone who has questions just from the perspective of, ‘I’m buying insurance through The Exchange and it was complicated and now it’s less complicated.’ And that’s pretty easy to talk about.”
November 19th, 2013 by sarawilly
More than 20 laptops have been stolen from UW sororities and fraternities since the beginning of November, and the numbers threaten to climb.
A sorority house in the 4500 block of 17th Avenue Northeast was the latest mark, according to UW Police. Burglarized sometime between 1 a.m. and 9 a.m. Sunday, thieves looted 6 laptops. And there’s more. According to KOMO 4:
On Monday morning, a resident at a fraternity in the 4600 block of 22nd Avenue Northeast was coming down the stairs when he ran into an unknown man in the house, according to police.
The resident chased the startled intruder out of the house, and the man escaped on a bicycle.
According to police, the resident then saw a woman coming out of an alcove on the side of the house with a case of Red Bull in her arms. When she saw the resident, the woman dropped the energy drinks and rode off on a bicycle.
The University of Washington Police Department and Seattle Police Department were unable to find either of the suspected burglars.
The male suspect was described as a white man in his mid-20s, approximately 6 feet tall and 170 pounds. He had messy short black hair and scruffy facial hair. The female suspect was described as a white woman in her mid-20s, approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall and 103 pounds. She had dirty blond hair with colored streaks in it.
According to police, at least half a dozen fraternities and sororities have been broken into since Oct. 31. A number of those houses had doors or windows left unlocked, and police are reminding residents to keep their houses secure.
January 24th, 2013 by Kate Bergman
(This is a sponsored story written by John Madrid, Managing Broker with John L. Scott Real Estate).
What a difference a year makes … sale prices continue their climb and time on market continues to drop. It is definitely turning into a seller’s market.
For the 10 out of the last 12 months median sale price for single-family homes sold in Northeast Seattle, including Maple Leaf, University, Wedgwood, View Ridge, and Laurelhurst met or exceeded the sale price for the same period a year prior. Much of this trend can be attributed to a decrease in the supply of new listings in 2012 compared to 2011.
In addition to a shortage of inventory, record low interest rates, continued strong hiring by Amazon, Microsoft and a slew of smaller to midsize companies and a general belief that the market has hit bottom has resulted in strong appreciation for most Seattle home owners and sellers in 2012.
The median sale price for single-family homes sold in 2012 in NE Seattle was $442,000 compared to $410,000 for 2011, an almost 8% increase. The average time on market decreased to sold 29 days in 2012 from 55 days in 2011.
A less than a 3 month supply of homes is generally considered a Seller’s market. The overall supply of NE Seattle homes averaged around 1.6 months of inventory for 2012 relative to a little more than a 3 month supply for 2011.
Expected trends for 2013 include continued low interest rates and inventory as well as multiple offers situations for competitively priced homes in popular neighborhoods including most of NE Seattle with its great walkability, popular schools and proximity to downtown.
More stats on other Seattle neighborhoods can be found here.
Tip: Even in a strong home Seller’s market amazing photos and professional marketing materials (including a custom website and full color two sided flyers) can result in a quicker sale and the best sale price.
John Madrid is a Managing Broker with John L. Scott Real Estate – University Village and is a 2005-2012 Seattle Magazine “Five Star” Agent. His clients include both home buyers and sellers. He can be reached at 206-498-1880, email@example.com or www.live206.com.
(Statistics are deemed reliable but are not guaranteed. All information should be verified to the users own satisfaction.)
Tags: sponsored Share
June 7th, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
By ANA SOFIA KNAUF
UW News Lab
Seattle Farmer’s Market vendors make their weekly trip to the University District every Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. In the south parking lot of the University Heights Center for the Community, a group of over 50 Washington farmers sell fresh produce, meats, and cheese.
The U-District market was the first farmer’s market in Seattle and was established as a year-round market in 1993 by Chris Curtis, the Neighborhood Farmer’s Market Alliance director and a group of volunteers. According to the NFMA website, the U-District branch is the “oldest and largest ‘farmers-only’ neighborhood market.”
A good way to ease oneself into the farmer’s market atmosphere is to snack on a fresh Honeycrisp apple or grab a bite to eat from one of the weekly vendors in the Market Bites section of the lot. Pre-made plates can be bought there with selections ranging from Indian Naan or tamales to crepes or ice cream from Whidbey Island.
After satisfying grumbling stomachs, begin exploring what the market has to offer. Brace yourself; there is going to be a lot between picking out produce and coming to terms with farmer’s market pricing.
For those new to the locally grown scene, shopping at farmer’s markets can be a bit intimidating because of prices of fresh, organic foods.
“People are usually thinking it is expensive, but what you can do is to walk around and compare prices,” said Thea Preuss, a market volunteer.
So as not to have the wits scared out of them, new visitors (and perhaps UW students looking for a break from dorm fare) should avoid looking at products like foraged chanterelle mushrooms and fiddlehead ferns, each of which can easily be over $20/lb. Instead, try visiting vendors that sell everyday products like apples and salad mixes. Often, bulk mixes of arugula, lettuces, and spinach sell or about the same price as (or slightly more expensive than) supermarket boxed greens. Apples (at about a dollar each) are more costly than their grocery store counterparts, but make up for the price with their fresh flavor. During the average weekend, over 2500 visits come through the market.
However, with peak season approaching for Washington farmer’s markets, shoppers can expect grounds to become more crowded. According to one NFMA staff member, during the summer, the U-District site has about 3500 visitors.
According to Curtis, as a result of the rising Seattle temperatures, summer fruits and vegetables like strawberries, blackberries, asparagus, and greens will be making their debut at the U-District farmer’s market in the next few weeks.
All seven of the farmer’s market venues accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT). For more information about using EBT or food stamps at the markets or to find a location nearest to you, please visit www.seattlefarmersmarkets.org.
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June 6th, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
As Sound Transit worked through planning and design for the University and North Link projects, it gave each of the stations temporary working names.
Unsurprisingly, Sound Transit will recommend that the temporary names be used as the permanent names… with one exception: Brooklyn Station.
Sound Transit says they’ve receive the most comments about the station at NE 45th Street and Brooklyn Avenue NE and are now going to recommend it be called U District Station.
They still want to hear from you. You can take an on-line survey or send them an email.
Sound Transit hopes it’s Board of Directors can formally adopt permanent station names as early as June.
Tags: light rail, Sound Transit, U-District Station Share
June 2nd, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
A gathering of friends, patrons and neighbors is planned for 12:30 p.m. today outside Cafe Racer.
Meanwhile, a memorial fund is now established for one of the victims:
A memorial trust has been established for Donald Largen, a 57-year-old saxophone player and urban planner who was killed Wednesday in the Café Racer shooting. Donations are needed to fund funeral expenses and support his surviving partner, Glenna Wilson.
Donations are welcome in any amount and can be made at any Bank of America location to the Donald B. Largen Memorial Trust Fund. All proceeds will be used to cover funeral expenses, with the remainder going to Wilson, Largen’s partner of 22 years. Separate funds are being created for the other shooting victims.
Paul Zemtseff, a close friend of the departed, said funds are strongly needed and appreciated. “Don was a brutally honest man who could argue with the best of them yet could be convinced to change his mind. I will miss all his superb, clever (and often bawdy) jokes that he never had a chance to share with us. Whenever they came to dinner, it was always like the first time. He was consistently the most gracious and thankful guest. He lived a very conscious life and will be missed – most by his sweetheart Glenna, who has lost her other half. We will all so miss your great big heart.”
Largen was a Seattle native who graduated from Shorecrest High School and the University of Washington. He worked as an urban planner while simultaneously pursuing his love of music, regularly playing at cafes and friend’s houses whenever possible. He loved Costa Rica and visited as often as possible with Glenna. He was a resident of the Roosevelt neighborhood and was a regular at local establishments such as the Café Racer, Latona Pub, Big Time Brewery and Café Allegro.
Tags: Cafe Racer, memorial fund, Shooting Share
May 31st, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
Tonight, another large crowd of mourners gathered outside Cafe Racer to mourn the victims of Wednesday’s shooting. As the sunlight began to fade a procession of mourners, led by Lucia Neare’s Theatrical Wonders, slowly made its way through the northwest section of the U District. The procession steadily grew as neighbors joined in until the large group of hundreds stopped on Roosevelt Avenue NE just outside the doors of the cafe.
A procession of mourners grows as neighbors join in along the route.
For the second night, a crowd gathers outside Cafe Racer to mourn the victims of Wednesday's shooting.
Tags: Cafe Racer, Lucia Neare's Theatrical Wonders, mourning, Shooting Share
May 31st, 2012 by Kate Bergman
Police say it took 63 seconds for Ian L. Stawicki to shoot five people in Cafe Racer and escape. Only one survived, Leonard Meuse, a chef at the cafe, who remains in serious condition. Two members of the band “God’s Favorite Beefcake” died in gunfire: Joe “Vito” Albanese and his best friend Drew Keriakedes, who had just played at last weekend’s Folklife Festival. The names of the other man and woman who succumbed to their injuries have not been released.
(Photo courtesy of Ellen Eades)
A large memorial pours out onto the sidewalk in front of Cafe Racer on Roosevelt. One note reads, “Please be kind to your neighborhood.” Friends stopped by to pay their respects and share memories.
“(They were) just the most creative, artistic people I’ve ever met, hands down,” said friend Jacob Landry in an interview with KIRO TV. “Life was kind of hard on both of them for a long time. They turned it around with music and shared good things with other people.”
(Mourners play New Orleans style jazz outside Cafe Racer.)
Police say gunman Ian L. Stawicki shot and killed himself in West Seattle. A fifth victim, a Bellevue mom, was shot and killed in First Hill when Stawicki carjacked her SUV, police say.
May 30th, 2012 by Kate Bergman
Updated: A gunman opened fire inside Cafe Racer Espresso along Roosevelt Ave. in the U District late this morning, killing three and wounding two others. As police responded, the suspect escaped, killing a woman in a carjacking on First Hill about a half hour later. Investigators tracked him to West Seattle, where he shot himself as police moved in, according to SPD.
“Based on evidence recovered during today’s investigations, SPD believes a lone suspect is responsible the murders in Roosevelt and First Hill,” explains Seattle PD in a blog post. “Still, neighbors should expect to see a heightened police presence as detectives work to confirm links between the two tragic incidents.”
The University District shootings sparked a massive police response, locking down Roosevelt High School among Seattle Police’s warnings for everyone to either stay away from the area or remain inside their homes and businesses, doors. Eckstein Middle and Green Lake Elementary also locked their doors. Neighbors told Maple Leaf Life that police were going door-to-door blocks away from the shooting scene, searching for the suspect.
(Cafe Racer surveillance images provided by Seattle Police)
Police identified the gunman as Ian Lee Stawicki, 40, of Seattle, seen above in the beard and light blue jacket in surveillance video provided by SPD. His brother told the Seattle Times that he was mentally ill. “It’s no surprise to me this happened. We could see this coming. Nothing good is going to come with that much anger inside of you,” Andrew Stawicki said.
Harborview Medical Center told KING 5 that the two injured in the shooting have life-threatening injuries. “It is not going to be an easy road for them, it’s minute by minute, hour by hour, and that’s where we are at right now,” said hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg.
During the search for the gunman, the UW said it alerted students to the suspect description, but did not issue a campus lockdown.
May 30th, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
An impromptu memorial is under way on NE 59th Street tonight as Cafe Racer neighbors, patrons and friends gather just a few houses away from the scene of today’s deadly shooting on Roosevelt Way NE. Details of the shootings and manhunt are below.
Neighbors and friends of Cafe Racer gather just a few houses away
Cafe Racer on Roosevelt Way NE at NE 59th Street
Mourners play New Orleans style jazz outside Cafe Racer.
Mourners leave flowers, candles and cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer to honor those killed at the Cafe Racer
Tags: Cafe Racer, murder, Shooting Share