day : 02/04/2009 11 results

West Seattle-based World Baby Foods: Buy local, feed global

By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

If you’re a parent, Drs. Susanna Block (left) and Jonathan Scheffer want to make your life easier — they want to get your children to eat all the foods you want them to eat: veggies, fruits, grains, and spices.

With World Baby Foods, this West Seattle couple has created a line of baby food for children 6 to 18 months that draws from international recipes to produce wholesome, organic and delicious foods aimed at training your little eater to appreciate a broad range of flavors. They’re now in their third year of business, and continuing to grow.

“Dr. Susanna” is a pediatrician who has practiced in Africa and Indonesia. She noticed that most countries, and even very rural areas without access to resources weren’t transitioning their babies to solid foods the way she was taught children “should” be — with a bland, high carbohydrate diet. She observed: “Many adults would pulverize their own dinners” and feed the babies from their plates.

This was eye-opening for the doctor and led her to begin researching spices and foods and their relationships to children’s diets. She notes: “Mothers who breast-feed their babies pass along the flavors of the foods they eat, and with access to multi-cultural foods and flavors, many babies are experiencing a wide range of tastes. So, WHY weren’t there multi-cultural baby foods?”

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Update: Conner project to get one more Design Review meeting

That’s one of the new images we’re seeing as the Conner Homes two-building project along Alaska from California to 42nd comes back for its fourth, and potentially final, session before the Southwest Design Review Board; more than 30 people are in a meeting room at West Seattle Christian Church, where Jim Westcott from Weber Thompson architects has shown some of the “architectural detail” that the board and members of the public asked about last time. That detail will include panels and trim on balconies, as well as different colors of brick; another major issue to be settled, will the developer be allowed to have the parking-garage entrance/exit on 42nd, instead of on the alley as per city policy? More details on all this later, and when there is a decision, we will post it here (with a detailed article to follow afterward). 9:25 PM NOTE: Meeting’s still going, after almost 3 hours, in case you were wondering. Betting at this point it won’t be over before 10. 9:47 UPDATE: The board’s decision: The project is going to have one more Design Review meeting, meant to be “focused.” When that was proposed, a lawyer for Conner Homes said, “This project has been through 15 hours of public meetings,” and the two veteran board members who are about to end their terms snapped back that this is such an important project, what’s another meeting? Plus, Foster noted, “You could have done a better job” adding later, “Give us your best work.” They’re proposing April 23rd, which would be a regular DR meeting if there were any projects to decide (and right now, for that night, there aren’t – we’ll confirm the date/time/place as soon as city planners finalize it). The main remaining concern, the issue on which that meeting will focus: The form of the west building — the one at California/Alaska — looking for a little more modulation, a little less of a “monolithic” feel, more interest to the facades along the street. “I know you’re frustrated,” said outgoing board chair David Foster to the project architect, “but you’ve come a long way.” FRIDAY MORNING NOTE: Working on the detailed article now; two other things we wanted to note from the hearing toplines – the board did agree to let the project keep a residential entrance on California SW, instead of having retail entrances there, and they also agreed to grant a “departure” to allow the entry/exit for the underground parking garage to be on 42nd SW, though city policy usually requires such entries to be on alleys.

Updates: Easter; Gathering of Neighbors; Garage Sale Day signups

EASTER: The brunch list is still very much a work in progress, but the Holy Week/Easter Sunday church-service list is ready for its closeup. Please take a look, and if you see something missing or wrong, please let us know so we can add/fix.

GATHERING OF NEIGHBORS: The countdown continues – 2 more days till 70+ local organizations and businesses take over Chief Sealth High School (at Boren) for the first Gathering of Neighbors in more than 2 years – which this year also incorporates the Biz Expo. 11 am-3 pm. Come say hi – we’ll have our own WSB table, to report “live” on what’s happening, plus one more thing …

… WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE DAY SIGNUPS START! The big day is Saturday, May 9. Last year, almost 150 sales registered to be part of WSCGSD (which is explained here); this year, we’re experimenting with a longer sign-up period, since last year, some people were just finding out about it after two weeks of (what felt to us like) incessant reminders. So sign-ups start Saturday 4/4, and we’re beginning with a special one-time, one-place deal: Discounts if you come register your sale with us in person at Gathering of Neighbors.

Spokane St. Viaduct $ in jeopardy again? Alert from City Hall


It’s been a long and winding road for the city to secure all the $ needed for the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project, which will widen (and change the ramp configuration of) the West Seattle Bridge section between 99 and I-5. And now, the mayor’s office is asking for support in fighting a legislative proposal — an amendment to the House transportation budget just unveiled this week, and coming up on the floor tomorrow — that they say would put some of the money at risk again. Here’s how mayoral spokesperson Alex Fryer explains it:

Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson introduced an amendment of HB 1314 (information, status here) with this section:

b) In order to ensure that the city of Seattle complies with its commitment as described in subsection (a) of this subsection, the state shall make $50,000,000 of the transportation partnership account-state appropriation as provided in the 2009-2011 transportation budget, or as much thereof as is appropriated from this account, whichever is smaller, available for contribution to the south Spokane Street Viaduct component of the Alaskan Way viaduct replacement project, contingent on the city of Seattle complying with this subsection.

Full text of the amendment can be seen here.

Basically, this links $50 million of state money for Spokane Street Viaduct project to improvements the city was already going to make in the central waterfront and north end with the deep-bore tunnel. The problem is the widening of the Spokane Street Viaduct is expected to go to construction later this year, and tunnel improvements aren’t expected for several years – when the tunnel is nearing completion in early 2016.

We’re worried that Dickerson’s amendment, which passed (earlier this week) in the transportation committee, is now part of the House transportation budget. We want the state House to strip this provision, which could derail completing the Spokane Street Viaduct project by 2012.

We need folks to take action.

Call the state legislative Hotline at 800-562-6000. Ask for Eileen Cody, Sharon Nelson, Frank Chopp or Judy Clibborn and tell them to stop dickering and start building.

Reps. Cody and Nelson represent our area specifically – their websites are linked from here. Fryer says the Governor and Senate are opposed to this proposal, but it comes up on the House floor tomorrow.

ADDED THURSDAY NIGHT: Rep. Nelson says in comments below that she and Rep. Cody are on the case.

Jobless in West Seattle: New support group gets off the ground

Two weeks ago, we brought you the story of Keri Robinson, a pink-slipped West Seattleite hoping to connect with others who are in the process of figuring out what’s next in their professional lives. Connect, she did, and this morning at C and P Coffee, Keri (center of the top photo) and more than 10 other “Lords and Ladies of Leisure” got together to talk about it in person. They had a special guest, too – KING 5 reporter Tonya Mosley – so watch for TV coverage to follow. Kevin McClintic of Arbor Heights shared the photos and recapped: “It was a diverse group consisting of several folks from the IT industry, a graphic designer, a construction project manager, a mortgage banker, an HR manager, and even an architect to name a few. … Also in attendance was Steve Paul, a former IT director who has started a similar job search networking group that meets in Greenwood each week [with Mosley in photo at right]. All told, it was a very informative hour, and the entire group agreed they would look forward to additional meetings.” We’ve also heard from Shari Fox, who says the group’s dubbing itself Pink Slips Unite, and adds that a smaller group met yesterday to talk about everything from job-searching to volunteering. If you want to meet the folks who got together today, next meeting is 11 am next Thursday, C and P; in the meantime, you can reach Keri through her website.

ADDED THURSDAY NIGHT: Here’s a link to the KING 5 story that included today’s meeting.

Weekend traffic alert: Lane closures on Spokane Street Viaduct

April 2, 2009 1:11 pm
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle traffic alerts

Brighter nights ahead – but in the short run, some slower going, according to this SDOT traffic alert (which we’ll link to our Events calendar for reminders when the weekend arrives):

This weekend, April 4 and 5, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews will assist Seattle City Light crews while they work on the overhead lighting of the Spokane Street Viaduct between I–5 and First Avenue South. The work will require lane closures. SDOT will close the right westbound lane from 12 midnight on Friday to 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 4. The next night, from 12 midnight on Saturday to 8 a.m. on Sunday, April 5, the right lane eastbound will be closed. Motorists should use extra caution through the work zones.

Citywide call: Hundreds of volunteers needed for one night

Just received this – according to the online signup form, they only have about a fifth of the 500-plus volunteers they need:

Seattle Homeless Needs Assessment
You still have time to sign up to participate in the first Homeless Needs Assessment in Seattle!

With the University of Washington providing technical expertise, the Homeless Needs Assessment is a joint effort coordinated by the City of Seattle, United Way of King County and the Committee to End Homelessness in King County. On Monday, April 13, from 9 p.m. to midnight, teams of volunteers will be deployed all over Seattle to survey the unsheltered homeless people. All volunteers must attend a short training session prior to participating in the assessment. Please see the list of training options below.

The Homeless Needs Assessment will empower people who are homeless to have a direct voice in articulating what they need to end their homelessness. The information we gather will help improve the services we provide to people who are homeless.

Please visit for more information and to sign up as a volunteer team member or team leader.

Questions? Contact Heather at or 386-1084.

There are numerous options for training sessions to attend, starting as soon as tonight. The online signup form is here. Click ahead to see the training-session dates/times:Read More

Water Taxi countdown: Yet more details of the Sunday kickoff

April 2, 2009 12:16 pm
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 |   Fun stuff to do | King County Water Taxi | West Seattle news

The King County Water Taxi is aboard the good ship WSB Sponsorship as of this week, and we’re now just three days away from the start of its 2009 season. A news release just came in with a few more details about this Sunday’s noon-2 pm kickoff celebration, including giveaway and music details – read on!Read More

Eagle-eyed in West Seattle: More amazing Alki photos

Back on Tuesday, we published video and photos from Gary … now, Cynthia sends two close-up looks at a high-flying Alki regular:

Cynthia took those photos near Cactus on Sunday. So — how many bald eagles are around here, you ask? Here’s one measure: The Seattle Audubon Christmas Bird Count tallied 54 within a 7.5-mile radius of Pioneer Square; see the results here.

ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Cynthia had one more photo to share:

More West Seattle food news: Skillet cooking up a plan

(Skillet promotional clip from 8/2008 – find other clips on this YouTube channel)
The portable cuisine of Skillet may soon turn up on this side of the bay. Thanks to Clint for the tip – he saw it in the Skillet newsletter, and we found it repeated online:

additionally we are probably going to be moving away from our sunday fremont experiment and looking for a west seattle location… probably shooting for the 19th of the month

Clint adds, “If you’ve experienced Skillet’s cuisine, you’ll agree that having the trailer in our neighborhood would make for a superb take-home Sunday brunch. I’d be curious to see how many other WSB devotees feel the same way. Maybe we can convince Skillet that WS would make a good home.” We’ll see what more we can find out (meantime, you can explore their main info site here).

Happening tonight: Conner project returns to Design Review

April 2, 2009 6:12 am
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 |   Development | West Seattle news

1 year, 2 buildings, 4 meetings, and it may all come down to tonight – or not. The most closely watched project in The Junction — Conner Homes‘ proposal for 2 buildings along the south side of Alaska from California to 42nd and one big garage beneath them both — returns to the Southwest Design Review Board tonight, almost a full year after its first turn before the board. Though Design Review is not the final stage of the process in which public comment is allowed, it IS the only stage in which you can stand up and offer your comments (relevant to design issues) in person. Here’s our coverage of the previous review March 12th; the one before that, May 2008; and the first one, April 2008. The city’s official project-status page is here. Tonight’s meeting is at West Seattle Christian Church, 6:30 pm.