Daily news blog for Seattle's University District neighborhood

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Here we Goat Again: Ruminants Feast on Ravenna

April 16th, 2014 by Nico Lund

If you have exited north I-5 at 65th recently, chances are you may have noticed the goats!

Goats chomping away at the blackberry bramble next to I-5

Rent-a-Ruminant, owned by Tammy Dunakin, brings goats into the city to help clear away vegetation by eating it! These goats will eat balckberries, ivy, and other invasive species.

Ruminants are mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through bacterial actions…The word “ruminant” comes from the Latin ruminare, which means “to chew over again”.

Dunakin and her herd come from Vashon Island and with the help of Pearl the herding dog, they can clear an otherwise hard to clear area pretty efficiently.

It’s a pretty sweet life. Dunakin camps nearby in her trailer with Pearl and jokes that she is an “urban nomad.” At the end of the day, these goats are doing some great work and loving it. On the Rent-a-Ruminant website it’s stated that the goats are not slaughtered when they are unable to work they are re-homed and retired to chomp to their hearts content with a loving family.

For quite a few years, the Seattle Department of Transportation has been renting the goats from Dunakin to clear the toughest areas deemed too dangerous or inaccessible for humans to work in. It’s a win win all around!

It is quite the treat to stop by and watch these 'kids' working. They are quite friendly too, and will come over to the fence to say hi.

Dunakin's herd has got some real personality. This guy was showing off his stuff. "Hey kid, get back to work!"

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Don’t Let the Cuteness Fool You: Buy Chocolate Not a Bunny for Your Kids This Easter

April 15th, 2014 by Nico Lund

Last May, during a elementary school ultimate frisbee practice at Cowen Park, the game was halted due to a mysterious furry white creature hopping through the bushes.

When I picked up my daughter from practice she told me what happened and then asked if I thought it was a wild bunny. I said, “no, it was probably abandoned.” Then she said, “mama, we have to go save it!’ We turned around, went back to the park and found the derelict bunny and brought him home.

Just so you know, bunnies are very cute, but unless they are raised correctly, they can be very hard to handle and not very cuddly. The bunny we brought home fit into the latter category and try as we might, and many scratches and bites later, we realized he would do better in a home with someone who had a lot of bunny experience and could rehabilitate him.

Nilly, as we called him, was a beautiful white rabbit, the quintessential white rabbit from Alice and Wonderland. When you see bunnies, they really are irresistibly sweet and furry, but they are a pet that requires very specific care to ensure a healthy and happy rabbit. Unfortunately, many parents, boyfriends, partners and such think that a bunny would be a super cute gift, but it often ends with either a very sick rabbit, or in the case of Nilly, one that is abandoned to become raccoon food at the park.

According to Rabbit Haven, a non-profit that cares for unwanted bunnies and educates the public about rabbit care, every year “thousands of tiny baby rabbits are purchased for Easter gifts.” From their website, they have a list of reasons why this should be avoided.

  • Rabbits are not toys to be set up in a kid’s room only to come out when the child FEELS like playing. The rabbit needs a family to live with who loves them. They need room to play and be themselves.
  • Rabbits are not always cuddly and do not always like to be hauled around. They are affectionate, enjoy running and playing on the ground and use litter boxes.
  • Rabbits can become frightened when held or confronted by prey animals, like the family dog or cat. THEY NEED LOVING, GENTLE CARE.
  • Rabbits need to live indoors to be safe from diseases and predators.
  • Rabbits are not low maintenance pets. They require as much work as a cat or dog. Rabbits have high social needs and often want another rabbit as a companion.
  • Rabbits are not good first pets for a very young child. Kids lose interest quickly, and rabbits need continual love and support for a lifetime.
  • Rabbits can live 10 years, sometimes longer.
  • Rabbits need medical care from an Exotics vet. Spay or neuter can cost $150 or more, and rabbits require routine veterinary care. Rabbits have special diets and housing needs.
  • Rabbits cannot be set “free” out of doors- it’s a death sentence. They are usually killed by predators within 72 hours, suffering terribly.

If you or someone you know is considering getting a bunny, please pass this information on. As with any pet, one should always inform themselves on the pro’s and con’s of what they are getting. All species and breeds of pets have unique needs and dispositions.

Make sure you are informed before you bring any pet into your home.

Here is a great list of things to consider before getting any pet:

  1. Don’t buy a pet on an impulse
  2. Shop around for the right kind of pet for you or your household
  3. Consider Adoption
  4. Make sure your chosen pet (breed, species) fits your lifestyle
  5. Make sure your chosen pet (breed, species) fits your home environment
  6. Be clear about Why you want a pet
  7. Make sure this is a good time in your life to own a pet
  8. Consider lifespan of pet that you feel will match your needs
  9. Make sure you can meet a specific pets needs
  10. Make sure you know what breed, species is the right type for you or your household
  11. Nilly Vanilly liked his pal Spiral better than us from the get-go. He has since been happily re-homed where he was bonded with a female (spayed) companion

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Why Are Students Falling Out of Windows?

April 9th, 2014 by Nico Lund

There seems to be an epidemic of young people, especially university students, falling out of windows as of late.
Unfortunately, drugs and/or alcohol seem to be involved in many of the cases.

Some Recent Cases:

  • April 8, 2014, a University of Washington student is found critically injured outside a Fraternity house after apparently falling three stories out a window.
  • March 23, 2014 a student at a UNC in Charlotte fell out of  a dorm window to his death.
  • January 21, 2014, a 19-year-old Penn State student suffered  injuries after falling from a second-floor balcony.
  • September 2013, a 19-year-old University of Minnesota student dies after falling from a 6th floor window.

…and the list goes on.

In this most recent case of the the critically injured UW student, there was alcohol reported on the scene, but the Seattle Times reported that  UW Police Chief John N. Vinson said “we don’t know what happened yet, and I hesitate to speculate.” The student was taken to Harborview Medical Center and has been reported to be in serious condition.

The question that needs to be addressed is how to get the word out to this vulnerable population of young people to pay attention to safety hazards when they are out partying, or hanging out with friends.

It’s entirely possible that some of these kids are living on their own for the first time and are just not making informed choices as to placement of furniture and beds in proximity to windows. Another problem is the overcrowding on balconies during parties or gatherings. That’s how the Penn State student fell; after navigating his way through a crowd, he was apparently stepping on chairs and other furniture and he stumbled over the balcony.

Mistakes are made, especially for an age group that is notorious for risk taking, but these unfortunate mistakes could be prevented with some good old common sense. Here are a few tips I modified to speak to college aged kids from The National Safety Council on Window Safety:

Windows play a vital role in home safety, serving as a secondary escape route in the event of a fire or other emergency, but they can also pose a risk for a fall if safety measures are not followed. Follow these guidelines to prevent window-related injuries in the home:
  • Keep windows closed and locked when not in use
  • Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent a fall, they are designed to provide ventilation, not to prevent a fall from a window
  • Keep furniture, or anything guests can climb, away from windows
  • If you notice someone is intoxicated and in dangerous proximity to a window, take measures to protect them by guiding them away, or close the window.
  • Make sure nothing is blocking or preventing a window from being opened in the case of an emergency

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How American Glory, Cheese, Elvis, Spatulas & Cows all Have Something in Common?

April 5th, 2014 by Nico Lund

Jet City Improv takes on screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s style of drama with their newest offering of American Glory: The Lives of the Staffers at an American Institution Sorkin hasn’t Covered Yet.

If you don’t know already, Sorkin is the creator of TV shows including West Wing and Studio 60, and movies such as A Few Good Men, Moneyball and more. He writes intelligent scripts and is known for creating snappy dialogue and engaging characters. Using this style, Jet City is able to bring a little humor and a lot of truth to the world of American landmark institutions.

But, what is an improvised play? If you ask most people they wouldn’t really know. A lot of people associate improv with popular shows such as Who’s Line is it Anyway, hosted by Drew Carey, or mistake it altogether for pre-written comedy skits such as seen on Saturday Night Live. I thought I would sit down with Jon Axell, cast member and marketing director for Jet City Improv to get a little more detail about what improv is, and why you should go see it.

According to The Encyclopedia Britannica:

Improvisation, in theatre: the playing of dramatic scenes without written dialogue and with minimal or no predetermined dramatic activity.

There are different styles of improv theater that include short-form (who’s line is it anyways, and improv games) and long-form, where a core theme is played out in multiple improvised scenes. Axell is quick to point out that in all improv, it begins with a collaboration with the audience. It is from them that the subject matter is determined. Improv is not supposed to try to be funny, but life and truth are really funny when combined with seasoned improv performers.

Axell says that, no suggestion is wrong or right because that is the improver’s job, to take the suggestion’s and turn them into a story. He says that the audience shouldn’t feel that they need to be funny or clever when calling out a suggestion, that some of the best suggestions are just ordinary ones and ones that come from the heart or have some sort of emotional value.

He recalled one of his favorite suggestions when a cast member asked the audience for a non geographical location. An audience member suggested ‘the zone.’ He said it was perfect! ” I mean, ‘the zone’ is totally a place” and he said the cast members were able to totally go there. Axell and other cast members have a running tally of the most common suggestions. The winners are Cheese, Elvis, cows and for some reason spatulas.

So what do they have in common, you may still be wondering…? Well, that’s you! The audience. It’s the collaboration between the cast and the audience that makes improv really worth the effort to go check it out.

Here is how it went down opening night for American Glory, and remember, there’s no spoiler alert needed, because each night you go will be a completely new experience!

The lights came on and cast member Mandy Price came out and requested from the audience things that were American Institutions. People shouted out things like Apple Pie, Baseball, Prom and other American standards.

The cast went with Prom, and so began a fantastic drama starring the staff of the Senior Prom Association Board.

Elicia Wickstead became the esteemed President of the association and we met characters on her staff such as the Director of Picture Posing, the Director of Student Relations, Assistant to the President and even an Oversight Lawyer from President Obama’s office to Oversee the recent flood of expulsions from national high schools. Why were they getting expelled…? Well, because of ‘freak’ dancing of course! We got to witness intense drama including the calling of meetings with the Limousine Drivers Guild and requests to withdrawing funding from Smirnoff because it might be inappropriate and so much more!

The Jet City Cast was able to weave a hilarious yet totally solid and mesmerizing story of drama, love and liberation and ended it with an authentic feeling of American Glory.

American Glory: the Improvised West Wing
Apr 3 – May 23 Thurs & Fri’s @ 8pm
Tickets: 15$/12$
5510 University Way NE

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The Arboretum Celebrates the ‘Rose Tree’

April 1st, 2014 by Nico Lund

Before women even had the right to vote…

…a special election was held where voting booths were set up for ladies throughout Washington. It was to decide the state flower that could be an entry for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Clover took a close second, but the ‘Rhodie’ won in the end.

This Sunday, April 6, from 1-2:30pm the Washington Park Arboretum is offering a FREE tour that will feature some of the over 1800 Rhododendron species and cultivars in the UW Botanic Garden collection.
For more information, contact the Arboretum

Free Weekend Walk
WHEN Sunday, April 6, 2014, 1 – 2:30pm
WHERE Graham Visitors Center, Washington Park Arboretum
2300 Arboretum Drive East
Seattle, WA 98112
PRESENTER Tour Program Docent

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Look Before you Leap! and Why it’s important to check facts even when you’re in a hurry!

March 31st, 2014 by Nico Lund

This editor apologizes for a post that reported on the wrong Standoff with Police. The Stand-Off with police that occured today took place after a man was striking a light pole with a baseball bat in the area of 8th Ave. NE and NE Northlake Way in the University District.

Here’s the story from nwcn.com:

Man in slow-speed ferry dock chase has another run-in with police

Man in slow-speed ferry dock chase has another run-in with police
Credit:A man barricaded himself inside a trailer near the UW.

by KING 5 News


Posted on March 31, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Updated today at 4:49 PM

A man who barricaded himself in a trailer near the University of Washington on Monday afternoon is the same man who led police on aslow-speed chase on the Seattle ferry dock earlier this month.

Officers were called out just before noon that a man was damaging a telephone pole outside a UW lecture hall near 8th Avenue NE and Northlake Place.

Seattle Police say when University of Washington police attempted to contact the man, he sprayed an officer with pepper spray, ran to a small trailer hitched to the back of a pickup truck down the street, and barricaded himself inside.

Police say the man demanded to speak with state legislators and refused to come out of his trailer.

Police closed off foot traffic on the University Bridge and several streets between 6th Ave and 8th Ave NE along Northlake Place.

The man, identified as Matthew Allen, later surrendered to police.

The previous incident happened on March 12, when ferry passengers said a man was yelling obscenities on the route from Bainbridge Island to Seattle. A ferry worker asked him to be quiet around the children but he wouldn’t.

Allen tried to allude police by driving his truck and trailer in a circle over and over again for almost an hour.

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The Most Anticipated Debuts & Discoveries Your Tastebuds will Love

March 31st, 2014 by Nico Lund

Check out the 8th Annual DEBUTS & DISCOVERIES

Sat. April 5th from 6-9 PM at the Mountaineers Center at Magnuson Park

You are someone who prides yourself in being in-the-know about new Distilleries, Cideries, Breweries & Foodtrucks**. For the 8th year, Debuts & Discoveries highlights this years newest crop of stars in the business of making your tastebuds joyfully happy.

And while you are tasting, enjoying and socializing, you will also feel great because this is also a fundraiser for the University Foodbank. All proceeds will go to the foodbanks Packs for Kids program, which provides a weekend backpack of food to school children in need.

**Wineries can be in their first 3 years of releasing wines, and Distilleries, Cideries, Breweries & Foodtrucks need to be within their first 2 years. Sponsored by Seattle Uncorked, The Barrel Thief, and University Sunrise Rotary!

CLICK HERE to get your tickets!!!

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To The Fools that Smashed the TV: a message from a neighbor

March 28th, 2014 by Nico Lund

It’s a bummer when people vandalize and disrespect their neighborhood.

From littering, breaking things, rudely tagging( and I’m not talking about cool graffiti) and destroying creative yard art, living in an urban neighborhood unfortunately comes at a price.

On a recent cool rainy afternoon walk I met Steve Cox outside his Workshop/Clubhouse in the Udistrict. I couldn’t help but notice the direct message written on the door, and had to inquire.

Of course, we all know the story, especially those of us that live in this urban environment, and especially those of us that live in close proximity to a large population of party loving college kids.

Cox said that a large screen TV had been abandoned on the parking strip, and shortly after, some kids decided to “smash it to pieces.” He lamented that he spent over an hour with a broom and a shop vac to clean it up and save little feet and pet paws from shards of glass.

This isn’t the first time Cox has had to deal with vandalism. He told me about the art piece on his garage that used to spin (see video) but after someone messed it up, now it’s just a sad reminder that sometimes people don’t appreciate creativity.

In an effort to encourage Good Neighbor Behavior, here are some ideas to share that may result in cleaner, more artistically decorated front yards and parking strips.

Three Ideas on How Not To Be a Bad Neighbor

  • First of All, Don’t Ditch your old TV on the Parking Strip
  • E-Cycle Washington is a FREE, convenient and environmentally responsible electronics recycling program has been operational since January 1, 2009. Products accepted at E-Cycle Washington drop-off sites are: computers, monitors, laptops, tablet computers, televisions, portable DVD players and e-readers.

  • If You Want to make Your Mark, Get Together with your Community Peeps and Plan a Mural
  • Seattle Mural Project Is An Ongoing Celebration Of Street Art Working To Match Street Artists With Funding, Location Coordination, And Logistic Support.

    2014 Call To Artists Is Currently Open!

  • Be a Yard Art Appreciator, not a Yard Art Destroyer or thief
  • It’s easy to make your own yard art. If you really like what you see in someone’s yard, take a picture, be inspired, try and make your own!
    Better yet, if you have a parking strip that is looking a little dumpy, clean it up, plant some lavender, decorate it with funky found objects from goodwill.

    If you have some fun ideas on how to create a more welcoming sidewalk or how to encourage those hooligans to not destroy property, we want to hear it!

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Hey U-dist! Let’s Clean Up Our Act!

March 17th, 2014 by Nico Lund

SPRING!!! It’s that time of year again,

thank goodness!!

Even though this winter has been very mild in comparison to other places around the country, some of us still giggle in glee for the coming springtime. It’s time to dust off the layer of darkness and open windows and doors and feel that loving sun on our faces.

Our community spaces are also ready for some attention. For the months of April and May, The Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will provide groups with assistance, plastic bags and free disposal. Just think about how nice it will be to walk through our neighborhoods and not have to avert our eyes to garbage and debris on the sidewalks, streets, planting strips etc.

SPU is ready to help you get involved. Their website lists some ways to get you and your neighbors all set up to clean up your hood:

  • Organize a team : Team up with other businesses, neighbors, a nearby school, community groups, family and friends.
  • Choose your project: Project ideas include: picking up litter, planting flowers, painting out graffiti, creating a mural or any other project which will beautify the public spaces in your neighborhood. The Rainier Chamber of Commerce, Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, Lake City Chamber of Commerce and the University District all run model Spring Clean programs.
  • Register: Send for a registration packet, which contains information on how to get free plastic bags and passes to a Recycling and Disposal Station. In addition, the City can work to get other individuals in your area matched to your team.

For more information, call 206-233-7187 or request an information packet by sending your name, group name, address, day and evening phone to:

Community Cleanup /Spring Clean
Seattle Public Utilities
700 5 th Ave Ste 4900
P.O. Box 34018
Seattle, WA 98124-4018

Spring Clean is a great way to beautify your business district. Spring Clean, Seattle ’s cleanup of public spaces, is held by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) throughout April and early May.

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How to Get Off-The-Beaten-Path to Get Yer Fix

March 10th, 2014 by Nico Lund

There is a time for that relaxing morning, a cup of coffee and a good book…

…but on the other side of that is the wide-eyed frantic time of students and freelancers with mid-terms and deadlines trying to make it to the finish line of ‘get-r-done’!

The University District and surrounding neighborhoods are not lacking in cafe culture, but sometimes it is hard to find the right vibe that you are craving. It is also sometimes challenging to find a place that has wifi, outlets and enough seating that you can work for hours.

To assist, this post highlights some cafes that are off-the-beaten-path and have your needs covered. Of course, there are some great places that are not mentioned here, so please chime in and let us know in the comments below your favorite independent cafe that treats you right in your times of need!

***As a side note, Udistrictdaily encourages you to make purchases that compensate (a.k.a. pays rent to) the cafe for use of their tables, wifi and electricity to charge your devices. Also, ALWAYS TIP YOUR BARISTA GOOD! and for goodness sakes, BUS your own table!

Herkimer Coffee

Finely poured espresso by barista’s who care, this Herkimer location has a calm vibe that is conducive to getting work done.  There is a large community table that has access to outlets, and a fair amount of small tables and widow bar seating for those that don’t need to charge up.

Herkimer has a great pastry selection if you need a little sugar boost, as well as some savories that you can enjoy if you need some food power for your brain. Situated at the north end of University Ave., you can take a stroll through Cowen park if you need a little mind break.

Revolutions Espresso & Bakery

Nestled in the middle of the Greenlake business district, Revolutions Espresso & Bakery is a spacious cafe that leaves plenty of room for you to spread out your books and notes. They serve Herkimer coffee, a menu of in-house baked items, smoothies and a delicious breakfast sandwich that is avail until 10am. This is a little gem that will welcome you with funky art, good music and a comfortable atmosphere.

Bus Stop Espresso

Bus Stop Espresso has Fresh Pastries, Awesome Sandwiches, Morninglory ChaiMukilteo Coffee, Rishi Tea and All-the-Internet-you-Need!

What else? They have parking, a patio and an entertaining and friendly staff that you will love! This small but accommodating cafe is a great spot to get away from the busier feel of a lot of Ave. establishments allowing you to focus in and get your work done. There is definitely an eclectic feel to the espresso menu here, just check out their international coffee menu items!

Cafe Racer

Great drinks of all kinds, be it caffeinated or not, alcoholic or not, hot or cold. They have awesome american style food, music at night, and interesting art shows. They have a massive amount of tables, wifi, and plenty of outlets to plug into. This is a great place to study, work, play a board game, meet a friend or a group or even have a meeting.

Weekend breakfast’s can be a bit busy, so it’s probably a better bet to stick to weekdays and afternoons for your working needs.

Chaco Canyon

You don’t have to be a organic vegetarian or vegan to appreciate the amazing intention of this cafe. Its warmth comes at you from not just the satisfyingly whole-foods menu, but also the southwestern inspired decor.

Among other healthful offerings, Chaco Canyon features Stumptown coffee, Mountain Rose Herbs Tea, and Organic Valley milk.

The staff is friendly and obviously care about your experience of food. This is a great place if you are not in a hurry, because Chaco Canyon doesn’t cater to the city hustle and bustle mentality. Enjoy a break from your daily grind and enjoy a full menu of amazing food as a slower pace and you might find a better quality in the work you are trying to do!

There are plenty of tables, outlets and free wifi for you to set up shop and feel energized; giving you the energy to succeed in whatever you are trying to do.

For more information about these cafe’s, check out their websites and/or social media pages. I have put plenty of links in here to follow! Enjoy!

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