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Rainier Beach “Hungry” for Redwing Cafe
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By Kate Clark UW Newslab

The story behind Redwing Cafe’s name brings to mind the “Cheers” theme song, “Where everybody knows your name.” Anthony Campbell, co-owner of Rainier Beach’s new coffee spot, said the name comes from the town, Redwing, Minnesota, where his grandparents lived. “It was always a warm and welcoming place to go, where someone was always happy to see you. That is kind of the feeling I wanted for this place,” Anthony said.

At Redwing Cafe a 12-ounce drip coffee is $2 and a scone to accompany it is $2.50. The cafe also makes several vegan and gluten free pastries and has the best hot chocolate in the world, according to co-owner Su Harambe.

Since opening in mid-November to a very warm welcome from the Su and Anthony’s friends and neighbors, word of the cafe has spread. “For that first week we knew everyone that came through the door, and now I will come in and I don’t know anyone in the restaurant,” Su said.

“Like those guys,” she points to a pair of women sitting near the entrance, “I’ve never seen them before.” Then she points to another pair toward the back of the medium-sized café, “But those guys, those guys are...

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Controversial Bike Trail Slated for Cheasty
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By Sam Hylas UW NewsLab
A mountain bike trail will soon be running through Beacon Hill’s Cheasty Greenspace, though neighborhood residents have voiced concerns about preserving local wildlife and ensuring the space remains accessible to all. The proposal was first conceived about four years ago by Joel DeJong, a Beacon Hill resident of 10 years and mountain-biking advocate who has been involved in organizing work parties to clean up overgrown invasive species in the woodland.

In 2012, DeJong brought his trail proposal to Glenn Glover, executive director of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable mountain biking throughout Washington. A grant application they submitted was denied because of a Seattle Parks rule that prohibited mountain biking, established in 1995 after mountain bikers damaged a different park.

This rule was amended in September 2013 and now allows bikes on trails “designed and constructed to Parks’ Mountain Bike Trail Design Standards.” DeJong’s community volunteer group, Friends of Cheasty Greenspace, submitted an

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Community Capital Boosts New RB Biz
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By Kiyomi Taguchi

It’s three-thirty on a blustery Friday afternoon, and the tables at Lottie’s Lounge are filling. Early birds are enjoying a happy hour beer or tucking in to hearty mac n’ cheese. Owner Beau Hebert pops out of the kitchen where he’s been discussing the days’ specials. “New customers!” he calls out happily, and proceeds to greet and take drink orders.

Hebert’s especially busy nowadays because of a second project – the opening of a Rainier Beach restaurant called Jude’s. It will be a neighborhood bar with a full menu and craft cocktails. Hebert walked us through the space on 57th, a block off Rainier, pointing out where the kitchen, booths and stage would be amid the construction. “It’d be a great place for a small jazz combo,” he says, pointing to a riser under a large window. “Hope to have a piano in here, so a little piano bar.”

But paying for all this requires money. “It’s difficult to get a traditional bank loan,” Hebert says, “even if you’ve got a successful place.”

An unusual funding source took Beau...

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Earthship “Trash Studio” Rises in Columbia City
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By Sam Hylas UW Newslab

Earthship Seattle is raising awareness for eco-friendly construction by building a radically sustainable structure in Columbia City using only repurposed materials such as tires, clay, bottles, and wooden pallets.

Earthship is an organization that promotes a building method called Biotecture, a system based on the work of architect Michael Reynolds that focuses on maximizing energy efficiency by reducing waste wherever possible.

The shed-like structure, dubbed the Seattle Trash Studio, is being erected on the property of Roxanne Reeves, a Columbia City resident who envisions it as a community resource for showing what can be created with the materials that sit in our landfills. The construction began in early September and after a few minor delays is scheduled for completion by the end of the month, depending on the amount of volunteers.

“Tires are very easy to come by. Tire stores are really happy to give you the things that they would have to throw away anyway” said Reeves regarding the main materials used to create the walls of the structure.
To create the...

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No “Hungry” or “Homeless” – Just Us
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I recently had a wonderful conversation with one of our guests waiting in line at the Rainier Valley Food Bank on a Saturday morning. The one thing this ebullient senior (“I’m sixteen,” she said, smiling. “We just won’t talk about the other 60 years!”) was really hoping to find that day was cat food, and we just happened to have plenty on hand thanks to our partnership with the Seattle Humane Society. Having established that we both loved animals, we exchanged cat and dog stories for a half hour as she waited to hear her number being called. I even showed her some pictures of my enormous, goofy tuxedo cats on my phone. She regaled me with several tales of times when friends and family had visited her home and inadvertently said something negative about her animal companions. Suffice it to say, those hapless folks never made the same mistake again!

Fall frequently causes me to reflect on the stories we tell ourselves and each other about ourselves and the world around us. Maybe it’s the shorter days, the morning fog, and the cooler breezes. We are immersed in stories both good and bad, joyful and terrible, scary and uplifting....

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It’s All About Family at Nate’s
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By Diane Han UW Newslab

Chicken runs deep in NBA Star Nate Robinson’s family. Nate is so passionate about poultry that he opened up a restaurant in his native Rainier Beach neighborhood called Nate’s Wings and Waffles with co-owners Darren McGill and Kryse Martin-McGill (of Happy Grillmore food truck fame), and Andre Israel.

But the birds are perhaps even more beloved by Nate’s younger brother Anthony Stewart, who works the restaurant floor while Nate is away on NBA business. Despite growing up immersed in the family’s athletic fame, Stewart is most commonly known by his nickname, “Chicken.”

“One time, when I was little, I fell asleep with a chicken bone in my mouth like a binky,” Stewart said. “My mom started calling me chicken and then everybody started calling me that. It’s stuck to this day.” Because of this, Stewart jokes around that he is discreetly a part of the name of the restaurant.Maybe the nickname sealed his fate.

With a menu combining...

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Mt. Baker Lofts: Worth the Wait
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By Taylor Winkel UW Newslab

Craig Cundiff considers himself lucky.

“I actually quit my job just to become an artist, full time,” he said grinning. Cundiff was holding his wiggly, toddler-aged son in his right hand and gesturing with his left.

And although his work with oil pastels clearly demonstrates his talent, most people would call him crazy. But because of an extraordinary, new community flourishing in the Seattle Metro area, Cundiff feels supported enough to chase after his dreams.

In July, he moved into the Mt. Baker Lofts, the newest establishment by the national, non-profit real estate developer, Artspace. Now for the first time in life, Cundiff has a studio space of his own. “I got a chop saw in there. I’ve got my easel. I can be messy and close the doors. I’ve never had a spot where I could actually be free,” he said. “I never thought I could make a living off of [art], but this place gave me the opportunity to actually do it.”

Artspace designed these lofts to provide affordable housing for Seattle-area artists and...

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Big Chickie Brings Peruvian Chicken to Hillman City
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By Zack Semke

The last few years have brought exciting new development to Hillman City, which has struggled to attract investment in the shadow of its well-known neighbor Columbia City.

The tastiest new development is located at the corner of Rainier Avenue and Findlay Street: quick-service eatery Big Chickie. The new restaurant specializes in pollo a la brasa, Peruvian-style charcoal rotisserie chicken. Owners Matt and Sara Stubbs named the restaurant in honor of Matt’s busy mom and the pollo a la brasa takeout his family loved growing up.

The new restaurant is in the former home of Rudy Hansen’s service station, which served the Hillman City community for over 40 years. To honor their dad’s work, Rudy’s kids decided to continue his legacy of service by revitalizing the parcel. They invested over the past decade in environmental clean up of the land, with City guidance, and then offered the site for lease – with the stipulation that their father’s original building be retained.

The effort to transform the vacant service station into a neighborhood restaurant was a collective one. Restaurateur, property owner, development...

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Bikeworks is Back at SV Fastpitch
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Bike Works has made it back to the annual SVP Fast Pitch, this year stronger than ever and with a new innovative program centered on job training. They have made it past the quarterfinals and will compete in the semifinals on Oct. 7th to determine if they will pitch onstage at McCaw Hall as one of 14 finalists. Over 100 innovative social impact organizations applied to Fast Pitch this year, making it the most competitive applicant pool in the program’s history.

Bike Works is an innovative Rainier Valley based non-profit centered around bicycles that combines youth development, community engagement, bicycle recycling and a social enterprise bike shop to help build a sustainable and healthy community. Last year, Bike Works’ Bike Mobile program made it as a quarterfinalist. SVP Fast Pitch is a four-month long program and pitch competition that provides free coaching and over $250,000 in awards to ignite social innovation in the Puget Sound. It is powered by over 100 volunteers and organized by Social Venture Partners.


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The Designer’s Sidewalk Garden
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My routine jog winds along a predictable path through the neighborhood. Over the last few years, I’ve enjoyed witnessing the transformation of Anne’s front yard into an integrated garden of coordinated planting zones extending from the street curb all the way up to the house. Anne is a graphic designer and artist, and it shows in her plant selection, use of color, and overall vision.

It started at the base of the rockery along the sidewalk.

A few years ago Anne replaced the grass there with beautiful and drought-tolerant lavenders and sedges. She then tackled the front yard that slopes down from the house to the rockery. Out came junipers, a eucalyptus tree, and other plants that didn’t belong. And in their place a Japanese maple, heavenly bamboos, sages, hebes, Japanese spiraeas, euphorbias, sun roses, sedums, azaleas, and ornamental grasses including golden Japanese forest grass.

The final phase concerned the parking strip of lawn, which Anne dug up, turned over, and smothered with a mound of compost in preparation for planting. Next came the plants – all divisions or volunteer seedlings from friends’ gardens or her own. She placed newspaper or cardboard along with more dirt and...

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RBMA Mentorship Program Asks Corp Business to Step Up
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Cindy Jones thinks it’s time for corporate business in Rainier Beach to give back to the community, and help build a vital business environment here. “I have access to the data, and there is a reason why these companies do business here,” says Jones, Branch Manager at Washington Federal in Rainier Beach since 2006, and Secretary of the Rainier Beach Merchants Association (RBMA). “That is because it is profitable to do business in Rainier Beach.” The best way for these businesses to give back, she says, is by mentoring a local small business through a new Rainier Beach Merchants Association pilot program created by Jones last year.

Business to business mentoring has been proven to have a profound impact on the success of small businesses. Seventy percent of small business owners that receive mentoring have a business that survives for five years or more – double the success rate of businesses that do not receive mentoring, according to a recent UPS...

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Native That Announces Spring – and Lights Up the Forest Floor
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I love this time of year. The slow shift to spring brings botanical wonders that can be slowly savored – the native Indian plum, early-blooming ornamental cherries, true-blue Hepaticas, and fleetingly beautiful ephemerals, to name a few.

And then there’s the robust, upright, yellow skunk cabbage – a fine foil to such delicate emblems of early spring.

Around this time of the season, you can see our native Lysichiton americanum (the proper name for skunk cabbage) poking up along streams, in wet woods and meadows, and in bogs. Its flower – a bright yellow spathe cloaking a stalk of tiny white blossoms – inspired another name for the plant: swamp lantern. Indeed it lights up the wet forest floor. But it is its musky odor that prompted the more common nickname. The skunky stink, triggered when the leaves are crushed, attracts carrion-loving pollinators like flies and beetles, who are out and about before the bees and butterflies have awakened.

After the flowers appear, enormous...

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Modernizing a Seward Park Mid-Century Classic
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Submitted by Zachary Semke

Mid-century modern homes comprise a vital piece of Seward Park’s architectural character. Known for their clean lines, open living spaces, and strong connections between interior spaces and the outdoors, these homes have rightly enjoyed a resurgence in popularity recently.

But in 2014, mid-century modern homes are now of a certain age, easily 60 years old or older. Kitchen and bathroom finishes have aged. Cramped bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen/dining spaces no longer serve modern needs. Nonexistent insulation and single-paned windows don’t provide the efficiency or comfort many expect.

While there’s a lot to love about mid-century modern homes, there’s also a lot to update in order to fit the needs of a 2014 family. But how do we rejuvenate our mid-century homes in a way that respects architectural tradition?

A recent remodel of Jane and Bill’s 1952 home in Seward Park grappled with this question, providing a case study for how client, architect and builder can collaborate to renovate for today while preserving mid-century modern architectural heritage.

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Non-Profit Gym Membership Bounds in New Space
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Submitted By Emily Williamson

About a decade ago, Sili Kalepo noticed that fitness centers were sparse in South Seattle and completely absent in the Rainier Beach neighborhood where he had grown up. Teaming with Ryan Schmid, he decided to start Rainier Health & Fitness as a program of Urban Impact, a local non-profit dedicated to ending cycles of poverty. The gym fit in well with the mission of UI because it addressed the health needs in a community where a disproportionate number of people experienced heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

“Most people told us we were crazy to launch a nonprofit health and fitness center in the Rainier Valley with no capital,” says Schmid.

That was back in March 2005. Nine years later, the fitness center has over 1300 members, offers daily group classes and runs programs like CrossFit and SilverSneakers®. In October 2013, RHF opened its doors to a brand new fitness center on the ground floor of Emerald City Commons, a multi-income affordable housing unit on Rainier Avenue. Not only does the...

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Youth in Focus Classes Empower Teens – Sign Up by 2/28
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Submitted by Jacob Smithers

Like the majority of the youth that attend Youth in Focus classes, Hannah, a 15-year-old at Renton High School, has found empowerment, confidence and a voice through her photography. Hannah’s personal growth can be seen in her images and understood in her words, but most of all, she has found a positive community in which she can share her world.

Youth in Focus has been serving the community for 20 years, by providing cameras and classes to over 3,000 at-risk youth and allowing them an opportunity to express themselves through a camera lens. “Being a teenager is like riding a roller-coaster; thousands of feelings and emotions,” Hannah said. “I came into Youth in Focus wanting to let them out by telling a story with my pictures. Not knowing what it was going to be like, I picked up my camera and shot my life. I started to learn more and more about photography, and each photo had more and more thought put into it. To me photography helps get out everything you want to say with the click of a button.”

Youth in Focus priority deadline is February 28th for the Spring Quarter taking place March 28th-May 30th. Youth 13-19 years old may apply...

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South Breaks Fundraising Record for Outstanding Programs
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Amid a still struggling economy, the recent Gifts from the Earth event, benefitting the South Seattle Community College Foundation raised over $210,000 for programs to support students, scholarships, internships, emergency funding, tutoring and equipment.

Fifteen celebrity chefs, including six graduates of South’s program, donated time, food, and staff for the event. Along with current students, alumni, and interns, the chefs executed 4-5 course menus serving a sold-out room of over 300 guests. Additionally, throughout the evening nineteen alumni winemakers participated from as near as Cloudlift Cellars in Georgetown, to Bougetz Cellars in Napa, California.Or, perhaps it is exactly due to the struggling economy that the event did so well.

This event highlights two of the school’s most outstanding, and effective, educational programs: the highly ranked Culinary...

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Soup’s On!
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I thought soup would be a good subject for a seasonal blog. When I have friends who live in warm areas visit, they request a fire and soup. Especially those who are originally from the Northwest. What is it about soup that brings comfort and warms the soul? For me it generates the same warmth as curling up and sipping tea on a cold day. According to food historians, soup is likely as old as cooking. I find that most folks have a favorite soup and a soup story. Soup is also cultural-centric, meaning every culture has one, thus it is a great conversation starter and it can be a cost-efficient (inexpensive) way to have folks over for a meal.

I have a girlfriend who host an annual holiday get-together. It is a potluck and she provides the main course. She serves three soups; a bisque, a soup for vegetarians and a soup for carnivores. Guests bring breads, salads, desserts and beverages. Inspired by her I hosted a soup tasting. It was quite a hit. It was also a satisfying alternative to a tea party or wine tasting. I recently co-facilitated a year-long leadership program. A core learning was “gracious space”. So participants take on...

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Morning Sickness Cures for Any Time of Day
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Submitted by Alan Lloyd

As a health care provider in South Seattle, I see women who are pregnant coming in for nausea and sometimes vomiting, commonly called Morning Sickness. Frequently, the vomiting occurs in the morning hours, but can occur at any time. As most of the women I see are very busy, I thought I’d provide some background information and self-care tips.


Nausea on its own or accompanied by vomiting is thought to occur in half of all pregnancies, between the 6th and 16th week. It can also reappear in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Intensity depends on fatigue and eating habits, though women are often eating minimally. The real concern is that persistent vomiting can lead to dehydration. Warning signs of dehydration include scanty urination and a positive ketone urinary test. If there is concern about dehydration, the woman should consult their physician or midwife.

Natural Self Care for Nausea and Vomiting:

I find that woman receive little support at this time. The reality is that there are varying experiences of morning sickness, and that there is no normal that they need to compare themselves with. Symptoms are varied,...

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South Park Green Space Vision Plan
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Please Share Your Thoughts on Needed Improvements to South Park’s Public Spaces!

The South Park Green Space Vision Plan outreach team is working to gather input from the community about the parks they use and what future improvements they would like to see for public lands in South Park. Your voice will help prioritize improvements for play areas, parks, stair climbs, street ends, access to the river, viewpoints, walking paths, bike trails, greenways, and more!  The plan will be complete by March 2014, and will be used by South Park community groups, civic leaders, public agencies and Seattle to guide investments in the coming years.

We need your opinion! There are several ways to share your feedback:

1.      Fill out this community survey and be entered to win some great raffle prizes at our first public forum on January 28th!  You can also fill out and submit...

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Kate Preferred Music
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It’s 1913, Beacon Hill. The story goes that prominent Seattle businessman Frank De Witt Black offered his wife, Kate Gilmore Black, a grand tour of Europe. But Kate said she preferred to have a Japanese garden. And so in 1914 the garden was installed on the southeast corner of their property. Today thanks to the foresight of a neighborhood resident, that pocket garden remains at the intersection of 12th Avenue South and South Atlantic, reincarnated in 1992 as a Seattle City Park named Katie Black’s Garden.

The Blacks arrived in Seattle from Detroit in 1892, bought three acres on Beacon Hill overlooking Elliott Bay and downtown Seattle, and built a grand house in the style of a Swiss chalet. Frank made his money in real estate and was one of the founders of the Seattle Hardware Company. He was reluctantly elected mayor of Seattle in 1896, only to resign a few weeks later, according to one source, “because of a distaste for politics.” The couple had three sons they named Frank, Leo, and Harold.

Today “Swiss Cottage,” the Blacks’ name for their estate, is gone. The city block where it was located is mostly occupied by two large condominium complexes, one of which incorporates unique...

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Christmas Ships Arrive in the Southend Today
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The “Christmas Ship”, “Holiday Boat Parade” or “Christmas Ship Festival” whatever you call it, “tis the season” and it is a nice event to enjoy with friends and family. My kids loved the boat parade, bonfire and refreshments and looked forward to this event every year since age two. They continue to look forward to it as young adults. We would park at Pritchard Beach, head over to Maya’s for dinner or fried ice cream-(yum!) and return to the Pritchard Beach in time for the arrival of the boats. Performances in the Southend are tonight: 7:50-8:10 Pritchard Beach Park, and 8:25-8:45 Seward Park.

Seattle has hosted a parade of boats for more than 60 years. The first boat parade, the “Seattle Civic Christmas Ship Festival’ was organized by the Seattle Parks Department in 1949. Parks coordinated the parade until 1994 when Argosy Cruises took over the event. The Argosy Ship is the large lighted white boat that floats on local waterways with a Choir on board, from early December until December 23. Upon arrival, the boats line...

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Pregnancy and Musculoskeletal Conditions
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Submitted By Alan LLoyd

As a health care provider in Rainier Valley, I see women who are pregnant in the 3rd trimester, coming in with that persistent low back, neck, and upper back pain. I noticed occasionally women who are pregnant, coming in for rib pain, carpal tunnel, sciatica, and leg cramps. As most of the woman I see are very busy, I thought I’d provide some background information and self-care tips.


Musculoskeletal problems are often due to the hormonal effects of progesterone on the ligaments. The weight of the growing fetus is compensated for by the woman’s muscles and joints. This weight is distributed in the abdomen, rather than evenly over the entire body. This throws the woman’s center of gravity off, leading to a variety of pelvic, back, shoulder, and neck problems.

Problems also arise due to pressure on the limited physical space. The ribs become an area of discomfort, as they compensate and expand as the uterus pushes upwards. A woman may also experience hip and pelvic pain from ligaments loosening within the pelvis.

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RB Biz & Community Revealed Through Blue Tour
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By Susan Davis, Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce Director

We all make assumptions about our communities, based on how we engage or shop, but by doing that we often miss the amazing things that are right under our noses.

A couple of weeks ago I had the good fortune to get reintroduced on a very deep level to some of the Rainier Beach business and community amenities on the Rainier Beach Square “Blue” Tour. This was the second of three tours created by the Rainier Beach Merchants Association this year to get people out walking in this community that is statistically lower in major crime than almost every neighborhood in the northend, and show off the incredible gems of the Rainier Beach Square area.

As a participant of the “Blue” tour, amazing things were revealed to me:

NW Tap Connection goes waaay beyond tap classes! We saw ballet, tap and hip hop for kids and teens. Melba has been building lives full of confidence and talent for two generations! Growing up in the south, she also adds her...

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NW Wine Academy a Southend Must-See
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This time of the year I usually write about high school football and encourage you to support a local team. “My bad”, I have not wrote about high school girls’ varsity soccer. But this is the season for that sport too and the games are inspirational for our girls. Schedules for both sports can be found in the Seattle Times under “High School Sports”. However, instead of sports I am going to talk about an economic way to treat yourself to some of the finer things in life like multi-course meals, high tea and wine tasting.

I recently returned to working at South Seattle Community College and was immediately reminded of all the deals one can find on community and technical college campuses. From full-course meals to car and cosmetology services. At South there is an Arboretum and Chinese Garden which are inspirational, filled with many gardening ideas and a great place to take visitors as there are awesome views of the City.

Adjacent to the Arboretum is a student run garden center and the culinary program has impressive lunches, baked goods and even high tea. Features and services at the colleges vary depending on what type of training is offered....

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Social Climbers
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Friends and neighbors, Claudia and Jackie, joined me today for stair climbing on this fine, and increasingly rare, sunny morning at the concrete stairs tucked in at intersection of S. Cooper St. and Waters Ave. S. in Upper Rainier Beach.

There’s nothing better, in between breaths, than talking about books, gardening and local beautification efforts to take my attention off this demanding, sweaty form of exercise. All of us carried backpacks with varying poundage (5lbs – 20lbs) of rice or other bulk foods to make it more of a load bearing exercise. As middle-aged women, we need to keep building lean muscle mass since women tend to lose 5 -7 pounds of muscle a year if not doing weight-bearing exercise. And besides building strong bones, weight-bearing exercise keeps your metabolism fired up because having more muscle generates more metabolic activity, which burns fat. At fifty-four years old, I’m all for it.

I would have never imagined that I would voluntarily walk up and down stairs carrying weight, but after my backpacking trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains this past summer, I can’t think of a better way to stay in shape and partake in my local landscape. While descending the stairs, one is...

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