Posts Tagged ‘community’

YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award

May 24, 2010

On April 6, 2010, Oom Yung Doe Instructor Greg Martin was one of fourteen people to receive the Volunteer of the Year Award for the YMCA of Greater Seattle.  The School of Oom Yung Doe has partnered with the local YMCA since 2009, helping them to provide quality after school activities to local middle school students by giving Traditional Martial Arts lessons free of charge.

The YMCA presented this award saying that, “Training in traditional martial arts equips young people for a lot of today’s challenges, and Instructor Greg Martin is passing these lessons on to students from Hamilton International Middle School.  Through the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA Community Learning center there, Greg offers free lessons in the Oom Yung Doe Style of martial arts…  He focuses his work with youth on building physical strength, enhancing mental health and developing quality of character.  Greg constantly reminds his students that they can succeed at anything they do.”

Greg felt honored and thankful for receiving the award, saying that, “The School of Oom Yung Doe works with many members of the community and we didn’t hesitate to partner with the YMCA.  It is a great feeling to see people of all ages, especially children, benefit from martial arts training by challenging themselves physically, maturing mentally and growing as people.  I feel deeply happy that I am helping to provide a positive influence on the youth of our community.  I hope that I can help to continue cultivating the relationship between the YMCA and the School of Oom Yung Doe.  I think it would be great to expand our community services to offer women’s self defense training, and seniors fall prevention workshops.”

For further information on programs at the YMCA or community activities at the School of Oom Yung Doe visit or


RT @fremontuniverse: Solid Ground Commun

May 21, 2010

RT @fremontuniverse: Solid Ground Community Luncheon today. Theme: ““Growing Community to End Poverty.”

The City listens at May 19 Parking Meeting

May 21, 2010

The Fremont Chamber hosted a panel from The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the City of Seattle Police Department in Parking Enforcement for the May 19, 2010 monthly meeting. Headlining the speaker was Director of SDOT, Peter Hahn. Accompanying Mr. Hahn from SDOT were Mike Estey and Mary Catherine Snyder. Director of Parking Enforcement William Edwards was joined by George Murray, Supervisor for parking in the Fremont area at the meeting.

The meeting focused on parking issues in Fremont; the main thrust of the discussion was on the parking pay station kiosks that have been in Fremont for almost a year now. The Chamber has taken a hard stand that the pay stations are not working for Fremont businesses and should be removed.

The Meeting started with networking and some pointed discussions between the City and individual Fremont business owners. The formal presentation began at 8:15 am with introduction by Marko Tubic, president of the Fremont Chamber. Peter Hahn led the discussion with  his refreshing frankness about transit and how he “does not have a philosophy” as much as he serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and is trying to make transportation of all sorts in Seattle better. The biggest issue he sees is the lack of maintenance that has been hurting the City for years. He feels the City’s resources should be spent on bringing what we have back to good as a top priority. He noted that he got the message from talking with people earlier that pay stations are not liked and that Fremont does not support a road diet on Nickerson. Overall Mr. Hahn kept his comments short to allow more time for questions.

Mary Catherine Snyder followed with a short presentation of statistics, where it was noted that Fremont has the lowest hour pay rate in the City of $1.50 per hour and that Fremont’s paid spaces have the highest occupancy rate in neighborhoods of 47% (Ballard is 34%, Greenlake 41%, University District 35%)… to the City this is apparently good. They do not see a less that 50% utilization as a problem and something that needs to be changed. There was discussion about statistics and their accuracy, especially given the wide range of many of the City’s study areas.

Director William Edwards then spoke about the focus of parking enforcement and the need for balance between too much “hard” enforcement and not enough. The policy of the department is to create turn over and move people when they have been parked too long, without being overly rigid and ticketing people when they are a few minutes over time. He was concerned to hear of aggressive behavior on the part of his officers, and he would like to hear details of instances where officers are rude to drivers.

The floor was then open to questions.

Many excellent questions and discussions ensued.

Here is a summary, made by Peter Hahn of the points made:

1. Remove vegetation obscuring parking signs – immediate action.

2.  Address the lack of clarity in parking signs – we’ll start looking at this.

3.  Reduce the times in which parking is taken away by contractors who are “planning” to do work, but have not yet started – we’ll be looking at this.

4.  Potentially re-examine the RPZ and the inhibiting impact on important events and festivals – we’ll look for ways this can be re-opened.

5.  Remove the kiosks.

6.  NO to Nickerson road diet.

The Fremont Chamber is putting together a Transportation Committee to discuss parking, road diets, bus routes and more. If you are interested in joining the group please contact Jessica at 206-632-1500 or

You are welcome to join the Fremont Chamber for our monthly meetings, on the third Wednesday of each month. Our themes for the meetings change each month. Upcoming meetings include:

Picnic in the Park on June 16, noon, Speed Networking in Gasworks with a Turkish Picnic lunch by Sureyya.

Marketing for small business, July 21, 5p – 7p at Om Culture, a panel discussion of how to best use online tools and networking to grow your business

FCC Board Sez: Support Your Local News Sites

March 31, 2010

In March 2010, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce leadership decided to back off growing their own blog – this one – and urge membership, visitors and YOU – to visit the two neighborhood news blogs for Fremont.

Fremont has been fortunate to be chosen by two outstanding news sources for coverage. provides great breaking news coverage, as well as a neighborhood forum, info on the restaurants and tech companies of the neighborhoods, a photo gallery and a calendar.  Produced by Next Door Media, this neighborhood news blog welcomes news items from all Fremonsters at offers a wealth of information on the history, people, events, art and organizations that make Fremont what it is.  Written by long-time Fremonster, Kirby Lindsay (that’d be me), this site also has a comprehensive community calendar.  Additions to the calendar, or heads up about area activities, can be sent to

The Fremont Soapbox will continue to provide a forum for  Fremont Chamber of Commerce members, but for  news and notices about the area – support your local news sites!

B.F. Day Tile Mural: Volunteer Opportunity?

March 29, 2010
Portion of Tile Wall at B.F. Day

First Installment of B.F. Day Tile Wall, dedicated April 1995 - photo by Larry Wales

The corner of North 39th Street and Fremont Avenue can be landmarked by a tile mural that stands beside it, declaring the name of the school hidden by greenery behind it – B.F. Day Elementary.  The mural not only marks the location of the school, but also the artistic talents, interests and passions of a generation of students.

That opportunity, for graduating students to literally put their mark on the wall, may end.  According to Julie Trout, B.F. Day visual arts teacher, “I am not sure if I will continue it this year due to a reduced schedule.”  The wall began with a volunteer effort, and when asked if a volunteer effort could help, Trout enthusiastically stated, “that would be great!  I’m not sure I can do it alone again.”

From Plain Concrete

The official program from the tile mural opening ceremony, dated April 18, 1995, listed Veronica (MacKinnon) Truffat and Dave McKay as the representatives of the Fremont Arts Council, and principal artists.  Truffat also gave credit to Steve Roach, who created many of the tiles in the classroom and in his Fremont shop, Aruba Tile.

“It was community art at its finest,” Truffat explained, “everybody was so enthusiastic!”  One long, rainy day, Denise (Fogleman) Henrikson helped McKay, who passed away soon thereafter, work under a blue tarp to install the white tiles that “so the name would pop.”  Truffat and McKay created the original design, and the vine tile frame – imprinted with the names of people and businesses that paid to support the project.  For inspiration, Truffat explained, “a plain, unattractive and really prominent concrete wall had to have the name of the school – and had to involve the school and the Fremont artists.”

To Instructional Tool

Robin Kinney Robbins has been at B.F. Day for 25 years.  She recalled the whole school getting into that first installation – the kids made tiles or pieces to be incorporated.  For four years Robbins worked at the school as the art teacher, and she got to carry on the project, with each year another panel installed and “each year a tile goes up for each 5th Grader that graduates,” Robbins explained.

Under her leadership, “the tiles were symbolic of what the child wanted to be or do,” Robbins described.  Students made their tile by hand, rolling it out for a bisque firing by Robbins.  The student would draw their design on paper, then pencil it on a fired tile before painting the design and covering the work in a glaze.  Robbins would then do a glaze firing, in the school’s kiln.

“We would spend a couple of months on it,” she admitted, and try to involve parents and members of the Fremont Chamber, “it’s quite a challenge to decorate a vertical wall.”  Yet, Robbins proudly stated, “most students that graduated from B.F. Day have a tile on that wall.”

When she inherited the project last year, Trout took a different tack.  She taught the students about mosaic work, world art, and mandalas – then each child made their own.  “I really want kids to find the joy in creating,” Trout explained, and this project “is part of the bigger picture of opportunities for the kids to create.”

Comes a Historic Landmark

Truffat identified the long-term joy behind the wall.  “I love to show friends,” she admitted, “I’ll make them guess which one is mine,” and they usually can.  “That’s the nice thing about tile, it holds up real well,” Truffat said.  It will hold up, if installed.

This year Trout had her hours cut back and won’t have time to create a panel with the graduating class, “we would need volunteers to come in and work with the kids, or help to install it, or donations of mosaic material.”  If you can help, contact Trout by e-mail or leave a message for her at 206/252-6010.  “This is one of our great public schools,” Robbins enthused.  Wouldn’t it be great to show it some great community support?

©2010 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.

Suprise Sale at Seattle Tilth – This Saturday! (March 26)

March 26, 2010

Did you know about the surprise sale this weekend? Now you do! Spread the word…

HALF OFF Bare Root Fruit Trees, Shrubs and Veggie Starts Come to Seattle Tilth’s Second Chance Edible Plant Sale this Saturday, March 26, 2010.  Bare root fruit trees, fruiting vines and cane fruit need good homes.  These plants are left over from our sale on March 20 and are available on a first come, first served basis on Saturday only.

Also available are an assortment of perennial herbs and cool season veggie crops that are ready to plant. Prices are discounted 40-60%! You can get bare root trees such as apples, plums, cherry, Asian and European pears for $10; caneberries, cranberries, quince, kiwis, and grapes are $10; organic veggie starts are $1.50 and herbs are $2.

If you missed our new spring sale last weekend or still need more plants, this is your chance.

Seattle Tilth’s Second Chance Edible Plant Sale

Sat., March 27, 2-4 p.m.

4649 Sunnyside Ave. N., Seattle 98103

Behind the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford

Visit our website for a full list of plants and prices.

All proceeds support Seattle Tilth’s educational mission.

About Seattle Tilth:  Begun in 1978, Seattle Tilth is a regional organization with learning gardens in north, central and south Seattle, and in the City of Issaquah, offering classes and programs that serve adults and children throughout King County. Seattle Tilth’s mission is to inspire and educate people to garden organically, conserve natural resources, and support local food systems in order to cultivate a healthy urban environment and community.

A Note on Communication with the Fremont Neighborhood Council

March 25, 2010
The Fremont Neighborhood Council now has four ways for you to contact us and provide input:

1. Attend monthly meetings at History House, 790 N 34th @ 7:00 pm on the fourth Monday of each month (except April when the Annual meeting will be at Fremont Baptist Church and December, when no meeting is scheduled.)

2. Visit our website  for information and send us email at

3. Provide comments at out blog at

4. Become a fan of Fremont Neighborhood Council at
Our goal is to have 2-way communication between the Neighborhood Council and the residents of Fremont.   We look forward to seeing you at upcoming meetings, especially the Annual meeting on April 26, 2010,  and hearing from you via email, blog, or FaceBook as noted above.

Juggling With Moisture

March 24, 2010
Fyodor Karamazov Manipulates Objects at 2007 Moisture Festival

Tim Furst a.k.a. Fyodor Karamazov and the cigar boxes at the 2007 Moisture Festival - photo by John Cornicello

The title ‘producer’ of the Moisture Festival requires the ability to juggle many hats, but not always literally.  This year, Tim Furst, one of the five founding producers, booked over 100 acts for 36 Comedy/Varietè shows.  He also does lighting design, and will oversee the lighting during the Festival.  He did take a break from one duty.  “I will not be performing this year,” Furst reported.

Furst spent “twenty odd years” with the Flying Karamazov Brothers, before he retired.  He still performs solo, in his persona as Fyodor Karamazov, and fill-in with the troupe, now based in New York, in an emergency.  It can take 6 months to train a new, replacement “brother.”  Yet, he said he doesn’t miss the travel or regular performances.  “I like spending more time at home,” in Fremont, he admitted, “and having dinner with friends.”

Behind The Stage

He also keeps busy with Moisture – or it keeps him busy.  Furst met the other Festival producers – Ron Bailey, Maque daVis, Simon Neale and Sandy Palmer – through Fremont, and Oregon Country Fair.  He described the 40-year-old summertime festival as a place vaudevillians gathered and exchanged ideas, talents and tricks each year, but “it has become less and less a gathering place.”  The event doesn’t cover transportation, so only performers already on the West Coast attend.  Performers aren’t paid so they won’t give up a lucrative gig to attend.  Today, performers that once depended upon this gathering to stay connected can use electronic means – whether on the West Coast, East Coast or in Europe.

“One of the goals of Moisture Festival, as far as I was concerned,” he explained, “was to get together, hang out, see what others were doing, collaborate…”  The social happens, but the producers also have experimented with the formula, according to Furst.  At Moisture, “all performers get a share,” he explained, like a performer’s cooperative, and this way, “you don’t have to negotiate with every single act.”  Also, the Festival funds travel expenses, and makes sure no one loses money by coming.

Furst also described some more subtle ways, they make the Festival attractive.  “If you feed the performers they are happy,” he explained, “even if you don’t pay them a lot.”  Festival volunteers put out food, and organize dinners – with food donated by friends of the Festival including Peter Glick of Roxy’s Diner and Tom Bennett – that provide opportunities to gather.  Also, friends of the Festival open their homes so performers can stay in spare bedrooms, apartments or a sailboat.

Not On the Stage

For their 5th Anniversary, Festival producers invited back all the acts that had appeared so far.  According to Furst, out of 125 invites, 123 returned.  In this, the 7th year, the warm response continues – from acts they know and acts they don’t.  As a result, they “ask those who performed for several years to take a year off,” Furst explained, and this is “self-imposed exile.”

Furst originally learned to juggle during coffee breaks, to pass the time.  As Fyodor Karamazov, he does what he called ‘object manipulation,’ a form of juggling.  “Juggling is a broad term,” he explained, and when used, “most people think of toss juggling.”

Furst manipulates cigar boxes or “meteors,” two objects connected by a rope (of Chinese origin).  In Moisture shows, his meteors have been light wands, although he can do fire or bowls of water.  He explained, when juggling with moisture, “if you do it smoothly the water stays in the bowls.  If you make the slightest error, you get very wet.”

©2010 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited. 

Wallingford Prepares, And Fremont Benefits

March 22, 2010
Disaster Backpack Sample from Wallingford 2010

Backpack Kits for Wallingford Community Volunteers from March 2010 - photo by K. Lindsay

Recent earthquakes in Haiti, Chili, Japan and Sumatra might turn some thoughts towards preparedness, considering that we live in an earthquake zone.  Mary Heim, and members of the Wallingford Community Preparedness Project, want to turn those thoughts into practical action.

Four Layers of Preparedness

Most of us know the need for personal and family preparedness.  Also, for our businesses.  Simple steps to prepare can be done daily: store water, assemble first aid kits for home, the car, work – and the kids’ schoolbag – and establish an out-of-area contact.  Talk about and practice your plan with family, co-workers and employees.

“Secure your house,” Heim sternly stated, or your business.  After a disaster, this will be the first focus.  Once loved ones are safe and secure, we can focus outward.  The triangle diagram Heim uses describes the next level as SNAP/Block Watch Preparedness.

The City SNAP, or Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare, program trains neighbors so communities can be better prepared.  “Get to know your neighbors,” Heim suggested, to find out their skills – nursing, construction, security, etc. – and identify the most vulnerable – elderly, youth, etc.

From tending to immediate neighbors, Heim hopes volunteers step up to her level – Neighborhood and Community Preparedness.  After that comes the last – City Preparedness.  The Office of Emergency Management works hard to organize a strong system of police, fire and aid response.  Yet, in our city, with a complex network of vulnerable bridges, dependence upon City services may be unwise.

Neighborhood & Community Preparedness

“The planning we’re doing is at this community level,” Heim explained.  The Preparedness Project seeks to connect neighborhood blocks together.  “If someone at B.F. Day Elementary School needs something, maybe someone at John Stanford International School has it,” she demonstrated.

Heim attended a SNAP training on Queen Anne, where she met others doing preparedness at the community level.  Since then three pilot projects – in Wallingford, Queen Anne/Magnolia and West Seattle – successfully petitioned the Seattle City Council for a one-time $7,000 grant to purchase equipment and do outreach.  City staff document the best practices among these pilot groups and help guide other communities, like groups organizing on Capitol Hill and View Ridge.

“Basically, I stole it all,” she said, “we benefitted from all they did.”  Heim has worked closely and learned from the Queen Anne/Magnolia mapping project and the West Seattle work with radio communication, and HAM radio operators.

Heim bought radios with the grant money, designed portable information kiosks and outfitted her volunteers with backpacks that include materials they might need like a binder of instructions, maps, notebooks, the radios, rechargeable batteries, a hand-crank flashlight, mechanical pencils, glow sticks, utility tape, a whistle, pocket knife, a neon security vest, etc.

“The priority is to take care of home, block and then the community level,” Heim pointed out.  Within the community will be a number of central locations and, “we’re going to use [these] hubs as rallying points.”  On April 3, a bicycle group, SpokesPeople, will host a ride among the designated hubs.

In interests of covering their whole area, the Preparedness Project identified hubs that overlap into Fremont and other neighboring communities – near B.F. Day (and Fire Station #9), Gasworks Park and West Woodland.  Fremonsters, and Greenlake neighbors, can get involved to work at these hubs – as we may well gather at these prepared sites during disasters.

Volunteers are desperately needed, for training, to make the Project work. “I need enough volunteers so the bench is five or six people deep for each of the hubs,” she explained, as not all trained volunteers may be available or accessible when disaster strikes.

“The more we can get it in front of people, that they need to prepare themselves,” Heim explained, “the better off we all are.”  As horrible as tragedies can be – the recent serial earthquakes, Hurricane Katrina, September 11th or the 2008 Seattle snowstorms – they can provide warning about the need to prepare.  Fremonsters, and all interested, are invited to attend a monthly meeting of the Wallingford Community Preparedness Project on 4th Tuesdays (next one March 23) from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the Wallingford Community Senior Center at the Good Shepherd Center (4649 Sunnyside Avenue North).

©2010 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.

Fremont Fair Transistion Report for March 2010

March 18, 2010
Jessica Power Points at The Ballroom, Feb 2010

Jessica Vets led a community discussion on the 2010 Fremont Fair in February - photo by K. Lindsay

Sign-ups for vendors, and non-profits, is going swimmingly.  If you want a booth at the 2010 Fremont Street Fair, contact Sean Hunter at 206/632-1555 x0, today!

Quality entertainment is also being sought.  If you think you know of some, or have some, contact the Bold Hat Productions office at 206/633-0422.

The Fremont Fair will be the most community orientated its been in years – but only if you get involved.  Contact JessicaVets, at 206/632-1500 or, if you want to be a part of this exciting event!