Washington: It's The Best State

Washington has been ranked as the No. 1 state in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.

By Neal McNamara , Patch Staff | May 14, 2019 10:51 am ET | Updated May 14, 2019 11:07 am ET | Courtesy of Patch.com

One of the state's iconic ferries heads west from Seattle in January, 2019. (Patch file photo/Neal McNamara)

One of the state's iconic ferries heads west from Seattle in January, 2019. (Patch file photo/Neal McNamara)

SEATTLE, WA — Congrats, Washingtonians, our state has been ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report's third annual best states rankings.

Why? It's partially because of the big businesses located here, but according to (former Seattle P-I reporter) Levi Pulkkinen writing in U.S. News, it's because of our clean energy present, and future.

"Cheap, climate-friendly electricity drives Washington's economy, the nation's fastest growing, according to the U.S. News' Best States ranking of economic growth. The tech-heavy state's expectedly strong broadband network sits atop one of the nation's best electrical systems, one well-positioned as the country shifts away from coal- and natural gas-generated electricity. The state expects to be coal-free by 2025, while still charging rates among the nation's lowest," Pulkkinen wrote.

Gov. Jay Inslee, hoping to bring Washington's success to the rest of the nation as president, was "thrilled" by the news.

"We are thrilled that U.S. News & World Report has named Washington the No. 1 state in the country," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement shared by U.S. News. "This confirms what we, in Washington have always known, that our state is great for businesses, workers, and investments, coupled with natural beauty and innovative, creative people."

There were, of course, some areas where Washington didn't get high marks. The ranking points out that high school grads enter college at an underwhelming rate. There's also our "middling" transportation system, which has created some of the worst commute times in the nation. And relief is far off, with light rail linking Federal Way and Lynnwood to Seattle are still about six years away.

There's also the astronomical cost of house and its link to increased homelessness. A Zillow study found that every 5 percent increase in housing costs in Seattle, 258 people become homeless.

The 2019 King County homelessness survey, Count Us In, found that most people became homeless due to a housing crisis, like eviction or foreclosure.

"Prior to losing their housing, 70 percent of Count Us In Survey respondents reported living either in a home owned or rented by themselves or their partner, or with friends or relatives. Approximately 21 percent of survey respondents indicated that issues related to housing affordability were the primary conditions leading to their homelessness, including eviction (11 percent), inability to afford a rent increase (6 percent), family or friend could no longer afford to let them stay (2 percent), and foreclosure (2 percent)," the report said. 

Falling behind Washington in the top five states ranking: New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah, and Vermont.

Read the whole article in U.S. News on why Washington is best.

To compile the rankings, U.S. News looked at 71 metrics under eight categories. The eight rankings were weighted based on the average of three years data from a national survey that asked respondents to prioritize each category in their state. Health care, education and economy received the top three weights in the methodology. After U.S. News calculated category scores and rankings, it compiled overall rankings by creating weighted averages of the individual category rankings.

Read the whole article in U.S. News on why Washington is best.

Retailers Committed to Kirkland Urban

By 425 staff | May 7, 2019 | Courtesy of 435magazine.com

Rendering courtesy Kirkland Urban/Talon Private Capital

Rendering courtesy Kirkland Urban/Talon Private Capital

Kirkland Urban, a mixed-use project where people can live, work, and play, recently announced a handful of the tenants that will be opening for business in the coming months. QFC’s new flagship store — which plans to open this month — will be joined by Top Golf, AT&T, Bright Horizons Childcare and Early Learning, Shake Shack, and more. Most of these tenants plan on opening their doors by August. 

When completed, Kirkland Urban — the dual vision of Ryan Companies and Talon Private Capital — will be more than 1 million square feet of office, retail, and living space along Kirkland’s waterfront. 

“This project is becoming exactly what our team envisioned, said Jim Neal, managing principal of Talon Private Capital. “(It will be) a place for people to gather, work, play — (and find) a sense of community.”

Homeless May Be Trending Down After Seven Years

A press release from the annual count showed a reduction in people living without a home.

By Aaron Kunkler | Thursday, May 2, 2019 11:31am | Courtesy of KirklandReporter.com

16664529_web1_Homeless-report.jpg

A preliminary release from the 2019 point in time homelessness count shows the number of people experiencing homelessness in King County has dropped for the first time since 2012.

The press release was issued by All Home, Seattle and the county following a point in time count this January. The count found there were 11,199 people who were homeless across the county, with 5,971 living in shelters and 5,228 people unsheltered. That’s an 8-percent overall decrease from 2018 and a 17-percent decrease among unsheltered people. The full report will be complete by the end of the month and will include geographic data and analysis.

Although the counts generally don’t find every person experiencing homelessness it does provide useful data for lawmakers, researchers and governments. The count found there was a decrease across all groups of homelessness, including families which saw a 7-percent reduction, veterans with a 10-percent drop and unaccompanied youth and young adults for a 28-percent decrease.

The press release did not mention homelessness rates for other demographics including Native Americans or African Americans, groups which have become homeless at disproportionate rates. Native Americans were found to make up less than 1 percent of King County’s population but accounted for nearly 6 percent of its homeless population, a report from the Seattle Times found in 2018. Further data will be included in the full report due by the end of May.

At the same time as those living unsheltered decreased, the number of people in shelters went up, which the press release credited to people getting connected to services and more than 530 shelter beds being created in 2018.

Over the past three years there were nearly 18,000 people who found housing, but the rate at which people are becoming homeless outpaces existing housing resources, the report said.

The 2018 report found there were 12,112 people experiencing homelessness in the county and 11,643 in 2017. While there were fewer people experiencing homelessness in the 2019 count, it was still higher than the 10,688 counted in 2016.

Pierce County also saw a reduction in homelessness in 2019, with a decrease of 14 percent from 1,628 in 2018 to 1,486 this January. Snohomish County has not released information from its 2019 count.

2 LWSD High Schools Ranked Among Top 20 In Washington: U.S. News

The annual U.S. News & World Report high school rankings are out. See where Lake Washington School District schools ranked.

By Neal McNamara , Patch Staff | Apr 30, 2019 1:53 pm ET | Courtesy of Patch.com

LWSD had six schools on the 2019 best high schools list. (Shutterstock)

LWSD had six schools on the 2019 best high schools list. (Shutterstock)

KIRKLAND, WA — For the second year in a row, Kirkland's International Community School was ranked the No. 2 best high school in the state in U.S. News and World Report's annual high school rankings.

ICS was one of six Lake Washington School District high schools to make the list, which included 17,000 schools from across the U.S. Although Bellevue's International School beat ICS for the No. 1 spot, the high school was ranked the best in the state for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum.

The five other LWSD schools that made the list include: Redmond High (No. 14 in Washington); Lake Washington High (No. 22); Juanita High (No. 29); Eastlake High School (No. 73); and Futures School (No. 125).

Redmond High School made a notable improvement over the 2018 rankings, when it was ranked No. 21 in the state overall.

U.S. News & World Report is the gold standard for education rankings and is widely considered the global authority. Anita Narayan, managing editor of education at U.S. News, said the aim of the rankings is to give families more information about the schools in their district.

"By evaluating more schools than ever before, the new edition expands that focus so all communities can see which schools in their area are successfully serving their students — including historically underserved populations," Narayan said in a news release.

Here are the top 10 high schools in Washington, according to U.S. News:

  1. International School, Bellevue

  2. International Community School (Lake Washington School District), Kirkland

  3. Aviation High School (Highline School District), Tukwila

  4. Newport Senior High School, Bellevue

  5. Bellevue High School

  6. Mercer Island High School

  7. Garfield High School (Seattle Public Schools), Seattle

  8. Bainbridge High School, Bainbridge Island

  9. Bridgeport High School, Bridgeport

  10. Interlake Senior High School, Bellevue

The factors considered in compiling the list include college readiness; reading and math proficiency; reading and math performance; underserved student performance; college curriculum breadth; and graduation rates. College readiness measures participation and performance on advanced placement and international baccalaureate exams.

The data also take into account school enrollment, student diversity, participation in free and reduced-price meal programs, graduation rates and the results of state assessment tests. U.S. News worked with the global research firm RTI International to rank the schools.

"We enhanced the methodology to provide an even more comprehensive ranking that is easier to understand and, therefore, more useful to parents and educators," Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News, said in a news release. "Now, each school's score correlates to its national percentile — a school with a score of 70 is in the 70th percentile and ranks higher than 70 percent of schools. Going forward, this methodology will allow for intuitive comparisons of a school's performance year after year."

The top 10 schools are in 10 different states, demonstrating that a high-quality education can be found across the country, the report said. Those schools are:

  1. Academic Magnet High School, South Carolina

  2. Maine School of Science and Mathematics

  3. BASIS Scottsdale, Arizona

  4. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Virginia

  5. Central Magnet School, Tennessee

  6. Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, Georgia

  7. Haas Hall Academy, Arkansas

  8. International Academy of Macomb, Michigan

  9. Payton College Preparatory High School, Illinois

  10. Signature School, Indiana

Several of those schools also were included among rankings for specialized schools.

The top five schools nationally for an education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM schools, are:

  1. High Technology High School, New Jersey

  2. BASIS Scottsdale, Arizona

  3. BASIS Peoria, Arizona

  4. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Georgia

  5. The Early College at Guilford, North Carolina

Charter and magnet schools performed well in the rankings, U.S. News said. Within the top 5 percent of ranked schools, a third are either charter or magnet. In the national rankings, more than 18 percent are charter schools, and 15 percent are magnet schools.

Arizona had three of the top five charter high schools in the country. They are:

  1. BASIS Scottsdale, Arizona

  2. Haas Hall Academy, Arkansas

  3. Signature Academy, Indiana

  4. BASIS Chandler, Arizona

  5. BASIS Peoria, Arizona

The top five magnet high schools are:

  1. Academic Magnet High School, South Carolina

  2. Maine School of Science and Mathematics

  3. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Virginia

  4. Central Magnet School, Tennessee

  5. International Academy of Macomb, Michigan

In the state-by-state performance, based on the number of high schools in the top 25 percent of national rankings, Massachusetts was the leader. This year, nearly half — 48.8 percent — of the commonwealth's high schools were ranked in the top 25 percent of high schools. Maryland was second with 43.7 percent, followed by California, with 40 percent, and Connecticut, with 39.8 percent in the top 25 percent of schools ranked nationally.

Overall, only seven states had more than a third of their schools in the top 25 percent, and 20 states had 25 percent or more of their schools in the top 25 percent.

On the other end of the spectrum, 22 states had fewer than 20 percent of their high schools in the top 25 percent, and seven had fewer than 10 percent of schools in the top tier. South Dakota's schools finished at the bottom of the list since it was the only state that didn't give U.S. News permission to use advanced placement data in the rankings. Even so, 1.9 percent of South Dakota's schools finished in the top 25 percent of rankings.

The full list is available exclusively on usnews.com.

Looking to Adopt a Flower Pot?

Kirkland Downtown Association continues to keep downtown beautiful and vibrant.

From left: Flower Pot program chair Anne Hess, KDA executive director Michael Friedline, and Flower Pot program chair Kathy Feek pose near flower pots in downtown Kirkland with a sample of the new plaques. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo.

From left: Flower Pot program chair Anne Hess, KDA executive director Michael Friedline, and Flower Pot program chair Kathy Feek pose near flower pots in downtown Kirkland with a sample of the new plaques. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo.

By Stephanie Quiroz | Monday, April 22, 2019 8:30am | Courtesy of KirklandReporter.com

Kirkland is a unique city. The atmosphere is vibrant and special, and people visit Kirkland for that reason. That is what Kirkland Downtown Association (KDA) executive director Michael Friedline believes.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is draw people,” Friedline said. “Not only [for] our residents but also [for the] people from out of town who come down here because it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.”

As a way to keep Kirkland looking vibrant, the KDA is once again looking for 40 individuals, families, or businesses to adopt a flowerpot each in downtown Kirkland through its flowerpot sponsorship program. The downtown flowerpots have been in Kirkland for more than 25 years.

“We think it’s important because it contributes to the ambiance, the quality of life, the feeling of Kirkland,” Friedline said about the flowerpots that are scattered around Kirkland.

KDA overtook the flowerpot program around 20 years ago when the city lacked funding for the program. The association continues to maintain the pots through the sponsorship program but is still seeking more funding. KDA is seeking locals to sponsor and dedicate a flowerpot for $250. This year, KDA is creating a plaque for each pot. Flower Pot adopters have the option to print their name, dedicate or memorialize someone, list their business, or leave an inspiring message. The goal is to adopt out all the pots by mid-May.

The flowerpots are replanted and maintained through all seasons, “bringing cheer and beauty” to the community. All the pots are self-watering and pots are maintained year round with different looks each season. The fowerpot program is chaired by long-time Kirkland residents and KDA board members, Kathy Feek and Anne Hess.

“It really makes a difference,” Hess said about the flowerpots. “It’s a great way to take part in the community and it makes a difference. It’s fun to be able to walk [downtown] and see the pots [with] the plaques.”

Feek explained that KDA would like to expand in the future by hanging flowerpots on Park Lane and down by the marina.

“Everything is ready to go but we don’t have additional [funds],” Feek said.

KDA’s tag line this year is, Celebrate Kirkland. And that is what it is trying to do with these flowerpots.

Aside from their flowerpot program, KDA presents community-wide events including the family 4th of July parade and fireworks, concerts in the park, the summer farmer’s market and more. The organization also beautifies downtown with periodic clean-ups and maintaining the flower pots. KDA serves as a communication link and liaison to the city and others on behalf of the downtown merchants.

To learn more about KDA visit www.kirklanddowntown.org.

To adopt a flowerpot, email Friedline at michael@kirklanddowntown.org.

The Kirkland Downtown Association is once again looking for 40 individuals, families, or businesses that will adopt a flowerpot in downtown Kirkland through their Flower Pot sponsorship program. Each pot os $250 and includes a personalized plaque.

The Kirkland Downtown Association is once again looking for 40 individuals, families, or businesses that will adopt a flowerpot in downtown Kirkland through their Flower Pot sponsorship program. Each pot os $250 and includes a personalized plaque.

KDA is working towards completing all the adoptions by mid-May. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo.

KDA is working towards completing all the adoptions by mid-May. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo.

Eastside’s First Permanent Shelter Breaks Ground in Kirkland

The shelter will serve single women and families with children who are experiencing homelessness.

By Kailan Manandic | Monday, April 15, 2019 8:30am | Courtesy of KirklandReporter.com

Officials break ground outside Salt House Church for the Eastside’s first permanent women and family shelter. Workers hope to complete construction in 2020. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

Officials break ground outside Salt House Church for the Eastside’s first permanent women and family shelter. Workers hope to complete construction in 2020. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

Shovels struck the earth in celebration of an Eastside-wide partnership that brought residents, nonprofits, cities and King County together in an effort to assist families and women in need.

The Eastside’s first and only permanent shelter for women and families broke ground in Kirkland on the evening of April 10 and will eventually serve locals experiencing homelessness. The two-story, 19,000 square feet facility will provide 100 beds, housing and supportive case management, shower and laundry facilities, medical services and a general safe space 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year.

“I am so thrilled to be here with all of you for this incredible occasion,” Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet said. “This project is the result of unprecedented collaboration by nonprofits, faith communities, city, county and state governments, and the community.”

Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet gives her remarks at the groundbreaking celebration for the Eastside’s first permanent women and family shelter. The shelter is funded by community support, King County, Kirkland and Washington state. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet gives her remarks at the groundbreaking celebration for the Eastside’s first permanent women and family shelter. The shelter is funded by community support, King County, Kirkland and Washington state. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

The shelter was first conceived in 2016 when the city of Kirkland began discussing a permanent facility to serve adult women and children experiencing homelessness. The project has seen wide-spread support, securing more than $9 million in funding from various communities, nonprofits and government entities.

The city of Kirkland will contribute $1.15 million; King County will contribute a total of $5.2 million, $2.5 million of which will come through its veterans, seniors and human services levy and through a community development block grant; the state will contribute $2.35 million; A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH) will contribute $504,406; and private donations from the Eastside community, particularly Holy Family Church, St. Louise Church and donors from The Sophia Way will contribute $2.1 million and continue to fund shelter operations.

“The 24-hour services are really critical to helping people get back momentum in their lives…Today, we are breaking ground for a new permanent location, which is cause for a real celebration,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine at the event. “King County is proud to be a partner in the regional shelter effort…We are able to invest $2.7 million to help build the shelter and the levy will also provide an additional $2.5 million in operating and services funding because we know a warm safe bed is an extremely important thing for people but so too is access to onsite supportive services.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine gives his remarks at the groundbreaking celebration for the Eastside’s first permanent women and family shelter. The shelter is funded by community support, King County, Kirkland and Washington state. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

King County Executive Dow Constantine gives his remarks at the groundbreaking celebration for the Eastside’s first permanent women and family shelter. The shelter is funded by community support, King County, Kirkland and Washington state. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

Salt House Church has offered up space to host the facility and in a groundbreaking celebration, various church officials, community members and local government leaders and workers gathered at the church. Everyone involved had an opportunity to help dig up the first patch of dirt as onlookers cheered.

The land was secured in a 2017 Memorandum of Understanding between Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Salt House Church and the city of Kirkland. The city purchased the property and leased it out to Catholic Community Services (CCS). Salt House will also help support the neighboring shelter and the women and children it will serve.

Officials break ground outside Salt House Church for the Eastside’s first permanent women and family shelter. Workers hope to complete construction in 2020. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

Officials break ground outside Salt House Church for the Eastside’s first permanent women and family shelter. Workers hope to complete construction in 2020. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

Workers hope to finish construction in 2020.

“So this is how we will be successful in creating the emergency and the long-term housing and services we need to give every person in our communities the opportunity to reclaim their health, their security [and] their dignity,” Constantine said. “So I look forward to coming back with you, madam mayor, and cutting the ribbon this fantastic new opportunity for our community.”

The Sophia Way and CCS’s New Bethlehem Project will occupy the new facility, offering their various services to any woman or family who need the help. The Sophia Way will serve single adult women on the facility’s second floor while the New Bethlehem Project will serve families with children on the first floor.

Officials break ground outside Salt House Church for the Eastside’s first permanent women and family shelter. Workers hope to complete construction in 2020. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

Officials break ground outside Salt House Church for the Eastside’s first permanent women and family shelter. Workers hope to complete construction in 2020. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

Community members join local government leaders, church officials and workers at the Salt House Church in Kirkland to celebrate the shelter groundbreaking. Locals were able to see designs for the shelter and ask questions of staff. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

Community members join local government leaders, church officials and workers at the Salt House Church in Kirkland to celebrate the shelter groundbreaking. Locals were able to see designs for the shelter and ask questions of staff. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

Kirkland Plans for Major Infrastructure Investments at 132nd Square Park

Residents are being asked to give their input.

Friday, April 12, 2019 8:30am | Courtesy of KirklandReporter.com

A patch of mud in the middle of 132nd Square Park’s soccer field dries in the unseasonably warm weather of March 20. The city of Kirkland is planning to install a stormwater system beneath this field that will consolidate and treat stormwater run-off from the surrounding 48.5 acres. The project will require a 10-foot-deep hole that is nearly the size of the soccer field. Kirkland’s leaders are seizing on this money-saving opportunity — as well as the need to expand park access — to replace the grass surface with synthetic turf. Photo courtesy of the city of Kirkland

A patch of mud in the middle of 132nd Square Park’s soccer field dries in the unseasonably warm weather of March 20. The city of Kirkland is planning to install a stormwater system beneath this field that will consolidate and treat stormwater run-off from the surrounding 48.5 acres. The project will require a 10-foot-deep hole that is nearly the size of the soccer field. Kirkland’s leaders are seizing on this money-saving opportunity — as well as the need to expand park access — to replace the grass surface with synthetic turf. Photo courtesy of the city of Kirkland

The city of Kirkland is in the design phase for a project that will look to improve stormwater management and add amenities in 132nd Square Park.

Before construction is expected in summer 2020, the city is doing a community outreach effort that has so far involved a neighborhood meeting, an open house and an online survey.

The need to enhance stormwater infrastructure in the the Totem Lake and Juanita Basin drainage systems was the “catalyst” for the project, said Kellie Stickney, communications program manager for the city. Heavy rains and snowmelt can overwhelm the drainage systems, flooding streets, sidewalks and homes in the area.

The plan was to put a water filtration system underneath one of the ballfields at the nearby park, which involves “opening up the ground in a pretty major way,” said Lynn Zwaagstra, Kirkland’s parks and community services director.

The city saw an opportunity to consider other amenities that could be installed over the completed stormwater project, like synthetic turf and overhead lights. It also decided to initiate a master plan process to fully consider the usefulness of the park to both neighbors and the broader community.

“There’s a lot of people who use the park, and love the park,” Zwaagstra said, and the city wants to understand what people like about the amenities and how they can be improved.

132nd Square Park is one of Kirkland’s seven community parks. It is about 10 acres and has two ballfields, a playground, a parking lot, restrooms, a small picnic shelter, some pathways and, according to neighbors, a “fantastic sledding hill.”

“Any time we’re going to develop a park, we do a master plan and that helps for a lot of reasons,” Zwaagstra said. “It gives us design concepts that we can then seek funding for. You can’t apply for grants if you don’t know what you’re building and approximately at what cost.”

The stormwater part of the project is partly funded by a Department of Ecology grant and King County flood control fund, said Aparna Khanal, senior project engineer. The city may also pursue funding from the youth athletic field grant program, as the ballfield is expected to cost between $3 million and $5 million.

Zwaagstra said that Kirkland’s most recent Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) plan, last updated in 2015, identified the need for additional ballfields and a desire to convert some fields to synthetic turf.

“In this wet climate, [turf] increases playability of the field and it also gives you a greatly expanded season,” Zwaagstra said. “We already had a project identified to rehab this specific field…That project was put on hold knowing that field would be dug up in a year or two.”

The stormwater project presented the “perfect opportunity” to reinstate project and consider synthetic turf, she said.

The project is in an early phase of design right now and construction should take six to nine months. The city expects to go out for bids this spring or summer.

In mid-March, a consultant hired by the city tested soil in the park to understand how water moves through it. When construction starts in spring of 2020, crews will be doing extensive digging in the park to create a large underground vault for managing stormwater flows.

Interested parties can comment online, or at any Kirkland City Council or Park Board meeting, Stickney said.

See 132ndsquarepark.participate.online for more.

Where to Brace Yourself for Game of Thrones’ Final Winter

HBO’s rabidly followed show returns April 14. As the Night King marches from the North, we dragon-less common folk prepare for the final season with a few events set, not in Westeros, but in Seattle.

By Jonathan Olsen-Koziol  4/4/2019 at 9:00am | Courtesy of Seattlemet.com

Tyrion and Daenerys discuss her legacy at Dragonstone in the show’s seventh season.  IMAGE:  COURTESY HBO

Tyrion and Daenerys discuss her legacy at Dragonstone in the show’s seventh season.

IMAGE: COURTESY HBO

Set to return for one final ride on the back of an ice dragon, the eighth season of HBO’s acclaimed fantasy drama Game of Thrones will air Sunday, April 14. It will no doubt be bittersweet as some of our favorite (and most despised) characters meet spectacularly horrific ends—by fire, by blade? We can’t wait to find out. But until then, take your fandom to the next level at these Seattle spots celebrating the last season.

APRIL 7, 14, & 18

Blood-Soaked Brunch 

Chef Eric Rivera of Ballard’s addo:incubator is preparing a GoT-themed brunch in the weeks before and after the final season begins. “Each week we will feature different impactful moments from the series,” says Rivera. “People are expecting turkey legs and things like that, but I am working on a little more abstract ideas with simulated blood, smoke, fire, and dragons.” Yum. Addo Ballard$40–$50

APRIL 9

Drink and Know Things

Are you the Tyrion Lannister smart aleck of your crew? Or perhaps you’ve spent some time studying at the Citadel? Well maesters and jesters alike can head to the Runaway for GoT trivia night. Get beaten to the buzzer and enjoy drink specials while you reminisce about the past seasons and dive deep into the lore of Westeros. The Runaway, Free

APRIL 10

Hodor’s House

Bran’s erstwhile protector Hodor, heroic holder of doors and lovable big guy, can also rock a dance floor as himself: Kristian Nairn. The Irishman is one of his homeland’s most talented DJs and is currently embarking on his Evolution Tour—and Nairn’s making a Seattle stop to play his progressive tech house musicQ Nightclub, $15 

APRIL 14

Watch the Thrones

If misery loves company, does bone-shattering violence love to party? We think so. As does Big Time Brewery and Alehouse, where there will be a viewing party all season long, complete with drink specials aplenty. This event will fill up quicker than Tyrion’s wine glass in a brothel. Big Time, Free

MAY 16

Mariners Get Medieval

Leaving the house might be tough after witnessing the Stark family tree get whittled down to its last weirwood branch, but at least there’s a bobblehead in it for you if you do. The Mariners are hosting a GoT night #ForTheThrones during a home game in May. Grab your limited-edition Game of Thrones Mitch Haniger bobblehead in section 339 before the end of the third inning. T-Mobile Park, $30–$45

What’s Next for the I-405 Master Plan?

New express toll lanes from Renton to Bellevue are coming soon.

By Haley Ausbun Friday, April 5, 2019 7:30am | Courtesy of KirklandReporter.com

Photo by Kayse Angel

Photo by Kayse Angel

A new flyover ramp at one of King County’s most congested interchanges is expected to improve traffic flow and reduce collisions — and more work is ahead, including express toll lanes that run from Renton to Bellevue.

The Washington State Department of Transportation recently completed the direct connector project, which connects Interstate 405 express toll lanes to the State Route 167 carpool lanes. The direct connector is part of a larger plan for the area, which includes potential for future modifications to the interchange and traffic impacts on city streets.

According to WSDOT, the strategy for the I-405 corridor has been to first fund projects that directly address the worst congestion choke points. In 2015, WSDOT received $16 billion in funding from the Connecting Washington package.

Other parts of the corridor project that would improve the cloverleaf interchange (which slows down traffic) are not yet funded, but include an additional general purpose lane on either side, interchange adjustments, noise walls and nearby street adjustments.

The next step in the I-405 corridor plan is the addition of new express toll lanes from Renton to Bellevue. Construction is anticipated to begin this year and be completed by 2024. According to WSDOT’s website, the project will result in 40 miles of express toll lanes, via the direct connector.

The project includes an additional express toll lane north and southbound, and improvements at two Renton I-405 locations, including the Northeast 44th street interchange, which is being converted into a roundabout system and has resulted in the closure of a local Denny’s. In the works are also improvements to the Southport Drive North/Northeast Sunset Boulevard interchange.

There are also proposals for the Renton to Bellevue widening project that could affect Renton Hill neighborhood access, specifically lengthening the Cedar and Renton avenue bridges, that could begin in 2020. And now a new alternative is being considered.

Staff from WSDOT told Renton Hills Neighborhood residents April 2 that there is talk of using an older idea from the I-405 Master Plan that removes the Renton Avenue bridge and creates a roadway from Cedar River Trail Drive under I-405 instead. The Cedar bridge would be replaced as planned.

WSDOT is in talks with several design builders over this project, and will have a better idea later in the year what the finalized concept will be, the organization reports. This alternative could also potentially allow for improvements to the Cedar River Trail.

Pending legislation sets the timeline for the rest of the project. According to a presentation to the I-405/SR 167 Executive Advisory Group on April 3, the state still needs to authorize the use of express toll lanes. Lack of support could result in construction delays and budget increases for the Renton to Bellevue widening project.

Renton City Council also adopted a resolution April 1 to show full support for state legislation that would offer $16 billion in new transportation funding for more projects on the I-405 corridor, as well as support for toll authorization in time for a 2024 completion. This includes funding for a direct access ramp at North 8th Street to mediate traffic impacts in Renton while connecting commuters to express toll lanes. In ordinance documents, city officials stated this ramp will help communities of color, as well as Boeing and PACCAR employees, on their work commute.

More information on WSDOT corridor projects and other proposed projects is available here.

To-Dos: Your April Home Checklist

Kick spring cleaning into high gear, and troubleshoot cooling and irrigation systems for the warmer months ahead

By Laura Gaskill  | Courtesy of Houzz.com

With lengthening days and milder temperatures in many parts of the country, April is a wonderful time to freshen up the home inside and out. To get sparkling windows, a clutter-free garage and more, here are 16 tasks to make the most of the first full month of spring.

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Things to Check Off Your List in an Hour or Less

1. Keep mosquitoes at bay. Having warmer weather and longer days means we’re entering mosquito season. Take preventative measures by regularly checking your property for standing water and emptying it. Any open containers (empty flowerpots and saucers, a wheelbarrow) can become mosquito breeding grounds when filled with rainwater, so store items like these upside down or in a shed.

2. Inspect paths and driveway. Repeated freezing and thawing can take a toll on asphalt and concrete. Check your driveway and paths for cracks, scheduling repairs as needed.

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3. Clean out trash cans and recycling bins. Take empty cans outside and spray them with a hose to start. Spritz inside and out with the cleaning spray of your choice. Let the bins sit for a few minutes before scrubbing them with a stiff-bristle brush. Rinse with the hose and leave them upside down to dry.

4. Check safety devices. Test batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, replacing them as needed. It’s also a good idea to periodically check for recalls of your home safety products; you can find up-to-date listings at Recalls.gov.

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Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend

5. Clear clutter. 
Create more space in your home by clearing out unloved items. If you have a lot to get rid of, set a date to hold a yard sale. Or contact a local charity to schedule a pickup — some will send a truck free of charge if you’re donating large items like furniture. If you have a lot of one type of item (for example, books or baby clothes), look for a consignment shop in your town where you may be able to sell them.

6. Schedule cooling-system maintenance. If you have central air conditioning, be sure to schedule professional maintenance before the start of summer. A properly maintained system cools better, uses less energy and lasts longer.

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7. Spruce up the front porch. Clean the porch floor, exterior windows, windowsills and front door. Wipe cobwebs from the ceiling and high corners. Lay down a fresh doormat, and plant a pot of flowers. If you have porch furniture, clean it off and wash the cushions.

8. Test sprinklers and irrigation system. Don’t let the first sign of a malfunctioning irrigation system be a drooping garden! Take the time this month to test each part, adjusting or repairing as needed. And if you don’t already have drip irrigation for your garden, consider putting it in — a properly installed system can save time and water.

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9. Wash windows. Welcome the spring sunshine by clearing dirt and grime from windows inside and out. After cleaning the glass, take an extra moment to wipe the window frame and sill.

10. Clean and inspect screen doors and windows. Pollen and grime can also build up on window screens, so it’s a good idea to clean them once a year. For a quick cleaning, leave screens in place and vacuum with a dusting attachment. For a deeper cleaning, remove screens (mark which is which if cleaning multiple windows) and gently scrub with warm, soapy water. Rinse and let dry. 

Before putting up window screens and screen doors, inspect each one for holes and rips — even small tears can let in mosquitoes. If you find any holes, repair them with a screen patch kit (available at most hardware stores).

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11. Clean out the garage. Can you park your car in your garage? If not (or if it’s a tight fit), it may be time to make some more space. 

Clear out the junk, and schedule time to take unused paint, motor oil and other hazardous items to a recycling center that accepts them. (If you’re not sure where to go, search Earth911 to find a center near you.) Once your garage is cleaned out, consider adding wall-mounted storage to keep things neat and off the floor.

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12. Wash siding. Using a regular garden hose, attach a siding cleaning kit (available at most home improvement stores) to clear away winter grime from your home’s siding. If your siding could use a really deep cleaning, it can be tempting to use a pressure washer to get the job done quickly. But if you do, use it with care: Consumer Reports advises avoiding any pressure washer that comes with a 0-degree nozzle, because it can be too dangerous (to you and your house) and wider nozzles can get the job done just as well.

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Maintenance and Extras to Budget for This Month

13. Clean gutters and downspouts. 
Having your home’s gutters and downspouts cleaned (and repaired if necessary) is one of the first important tasks to schedule this season. Clogged gutters during a rainy spring can cause water to pool, potentially damaging the roof and siding.

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14. Boost curb appeal. Spring is a wonderful time to make upgrades to your home’s exterior, and even small changes — like putting up bold house numbers and a shiny new mailbox — can make a big impact. 

If you’re planning to put your house on the market this spring, increasing curb appeal can help lure in potential buyers, making it especially important.

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15. Maintain wood decks and fences. Keep outdoor woodwork in top shape by staining or resealing it each spring. Check gates, fencing, decks, railings, pergolas and other outdoor structures, and make repairs as needed.

16. Keep an eye out for termites. From now through May or June, be on the lookout for these winged insects. “Termites swarm in the spring,” says Victor Sedinger, certified home inspector and owner of House Exam Inspection and Consulting. “If there’s a bunch of winged insects flying out of a hole in the woodwork, that’s probably termites.” If you notice any, call a licensed professional pest-control company.

Seattle Restaurant Week Begins With Plenty To Eat In Kirkland

It might be called "Seattle" restaurant week — but plenty of Kirkland restaurants are participating, too.

By Neal McNamara , Patch Staff | Apr 8, 2019 3:39 pm ET

Seattle Restaurant Week runs April 7 - 18, 2019. (Shutterstock)

Seattle Restaurant Week runs April 7 - 18, 2019. (Shutterstock)

KIRKLAND, WA — Just because it's called Seattle Restaurant Week doesn't mean it's happening in only one city. Over 165 restaurants are participating in restaurant week this year in cities across Puget Sound, including Kirkland.

Restaurant week kicked off on Sunday and runs through April 18 with meal deals that will help you get acquainted with some of the region's best restaurants.

Here are all the restaurants participating that are outside of Seattle. Click the link to see the Seattle Restaurant Week deal for that restaurant.

Spring 2019 Seattle Restaurant Week: Welcome the newbies! Here are 15 new places to try

April 2, 2019 at 6:00 am | Courtesy of SeattleTimes.com

Super Bueno’s tacos include, from left, vegetarian made with braised jackfruit, onions, garlic, chilies and guacamole; carne asada, with white onions, radish and cilantro; and fried cod, with cabbage, pico de gallo and cilantro. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times) 

Super Bueno’s tacos include, from left, vegetarian made with braised jackfruit, onions, garlic, chilies and guacamole; carne asada, with white onions, radish and cilantro; and fried cod, with cabbage, pico de gallo and cilantro. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times) 

By Seattle Times staff

Once again, Seattle Restaurant Week is nigh — this time around, it runs April 7-18, Sundays through Thursdays. And this time around, the price is a little higher: $35 three-course dinners — up from $33 last time — with lunches now $20 instead of $18. An overwhelming 165-plus restaurants are taking part. (The Seattle Times is a sponsor.) How do you choose? Our lists of recommendations can help.

15 new places to try (below): One strategy is to hit a new — or new to SRW — place that you’ve been meaning to try anyway. Brand-new upscale additions include Aerlume and Daniel’s Broiler in the Hyatt Regency downtown (and at both, you could spend plenty more on the regular menu).

13 best overall values: These picks strike the food/ambience/pricing balance in a way that some others don’t.

11 best places for ambience: Not the newest, haute-est restaurants on the SRW list, but the views, booths or overall swankiness — plus everyday high prices — make these worth considering.

Pro tips: Preview your options at srw.seattletimes.com — and do a price comparison between the SRW menu available there and the restaurant’s regular one. Be sure to make reservations — many of these restaurants get mobbed for SRW. And remember to tip well — it’s difficult for places to staff up enough, so have a heart if your server seems harried.

15 Seattle Restaurant Week newcomers

Seattle Times staff

Shake Shack Is Headed to Kirkland

The region’s second location will arrive in late summer or early fall.

By Philip Kiefer  3/19/2019 at 9:00am

Get excited: Shake Shack 2.0 is coming to the region.  IMAGE:  SHAKE SHACK

Get excited: Shake Shack 2.0 is coming to the region.

IMAGE: SHAKE SHACK

Just a few short months after Shake Shack’s much anticipated South Lake Union opening, the white-hot national burger chain is planning a new location in Kirkland. They’ll be one of 14 tenants in a giant new mixed-use development, per the Puget Sound Business Journal (password required), sharing the space with Evergreens Salad, Dough Zone, Caffe Ladro, Soi, and Heavy Restaurant Group. On the tech side of things, Tableau Software has a large office within the development, and there are rumors that Google is planning to rent a portion as well.

We followed up with Team Shake Shack, who said the 2,500-square-foot location will likely open in late summer or early fall, with booths of responsibly sourced wood and tabletops made of reclaimed bowling alley lanes. Like its sibling in Seattle (and pretty much every other Shake Shack) this location will augment its standard burgers, crinkle cut fries, and chicken sandwiches with “a selection of frozen concretes in collaboration with local food purveyors.” The Seattle location, for example, makes an array of local concretes with Theo chocolate, brittle made from Sea Wolf croissants, and even whole slices from A La Mode Pies.

Stay tuned for more details as we have them.

The Top 18 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day 2019 in Seattle

Live Music, Pub Parties, a Parade, and More

by Stranger Things To Do Staff

Catch the Seattle Firefighters Pipes & Drums at the    St. Patrick's Day Parade    (Sat March 16) and at    various Irish pubs    on St. Patrick's Day (Sun March 17). CHRIS PICARD

Catch the Seattle Firefighters Pipes & Drums at the St. Patrick's Day Parade (Sat March 16) and at various Irish pubs on St. Patrick's Day (Sun March 17). CHRIS PICARD

If you plan on celebrating St. Patrick's Day (Sun March 17) out on the town, you have a ton of options. To help ease your decision-making process, we've rounded up the biggest and best ways to experience the holiday, from the shamrock-themed EDM dance party Lucky to the boozy Ballard bus tour St. Pat's Parade O' Pints, and from the St. Patrick's Day Parade to Irish pub celebrations like Mulleady's. Find them all below, and check out our complete St. Patrick's Day calendar for even more options.

MARCH 12-17

FESTIVALS

St. Patrick's Day Festival 2019
Jig along to Irish music, play trivia, and knock back drink specials (like $5 pints of Harp Lager and Kilkenny Cream Ale) for a whole week in honor of St. Patrick's Day.
Shawn O'Donnell's American Grill & Irish Pub, Fremont

MARCH 13-17

FESTIVALS

Saint Patrick's Day Irish Festival
Due to their location in Post Alley, Kells Irish Restaurant can be a little touristy, but they throw one heck of a St. Patrick's Day party—this year will mark their 36th annual Irish festival. They'll set up a tent outside to make more room for their three live music stages, which will play host to local and Irish bands including STOCIOUS (from Country Antrim and Offaly, Ireland), Buck's Mhad Boys (Country Antrim), the Stout Pounders (Seattle), Servants of the Rich (Seattle), and Liam Gallagher (Belfast/Seattle). 
Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub, Downtown

MARCH 15

READINGS & TALKS

The History of Shamrocks
Four-leaf clovers, also known as shamrocks, are said to bring good luck to those who pluck them. But according to Orlando de Lange, a Plant Molecular Biologist at UW, Americans have long mistaken the Oxalis triangularis, an entirely unrelated plant, for shamrocks. In fact, only a small handful have ever been cultivated on a large scale. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, learn about this sham shamrock and "the role of chance in selecting the plants that we eat and grow for pleasure."
Ada's Technical Books, Capitol Hill

MARCH 15-17

MUSIC

Blarney Stone St. Patrick's Day
Kick off St. Patrick's Day with live music by the Popes Nose Irish Band on Friday, and return on Sunday for more live music and classic Irish brunch fare. 
Blarney Stone, Downtown

St. Patrick's Day at Murphy's Pub
Do your most festive jigs to live sets from Stark Raving Plaid, Dread Pirate, the Irish Experience, That Irish Guy, and other artists eager to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  
Murphy's Pub, Wallingford

MARCH 16

COMMUNITY

St. Patrick's Day Parade
Trumpeters will lead a procession of green-clad Seattleites in the Irish and US National Anthems to kick off the 48th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade up Fourth Avenue, ending in Westlake Park. From there, participants are encouraged to hop on the Monorail (for free!) and head to Seattle Center's Irish Festival for closing ceremonies. King County Councilmember Joe McDermott will serve as this year's Grand Marshal. 
Fourth Avenue at James Street, Downtown

FOOD & DRINK

Ballard Breweries Present St. Pat's Parade O' Pints
Try specialty beers and travel between Ballard's 11 breweries in the Hale's Ales double-decker bus. Your $5 bus fare supports the Seattle Firefighters Pipes and Drums. 
Populuxe Brewing, Ballard

MUSIC

Lucky 2019
USC Events' annual spring festival, and the biggest shamrock-themed EDM party in Washington, will come to Tacoma for the eighth year of green and gold everything. Break out your glow sticks and prepare for "a Celtic-inspired land where whimsical creatures, boundless providence, and good fortune abode"—or, at least, heavy-hitter headliners like Galantis, Adventure Club, 3LAU, Ganja White Knight, Eptic, and Zeke Beats. 
Tacoma Dome

MARCH 16-17

FESTIVALS

Irish Festival
This festival is chock-full of performances, live music ideal for practicing your Irish jigs, short film screenings, genealogy workshops, food, and more. It's part of the Irish Heritage Club's Irish Week, which also includes the Landing of St. Patrick, a genealogy seminar, and other events.
Fisher Pavilion, Seattle Center

PARTIES

St. Patrick's Day 2019
Get your Saint Paddy's Day whiskey at the Seattle location of coast-to-coast Irish-themed chain Fadó, where they say they'll be "going all out, all day with the best St. Patrick’s Day party in Seattle." There will be brunch until the late morning and a screening of the annual international rugby union competition Six Nations with games by England, Scotland, France, Ireland, Italy, and Wales, as well as live music all afternoon and night.
Fadó Irish Pub, Downtown

MARCH 17

FOOD & DRINK

Mulleady's Irish Pub St. Patrick's Day 2019
The Irish pub will serve a prix-fixe dinner menu with dishes like Beardsley fish cakes with red pepper aioli and traditional corned beef with rainbow chard and mashers, with a caramelized pear tart and a Cork float (Jameson, Guinness, nitro-brew coffee, and Jameson ice cream) for dessert.
Mulleady's Irish Pub, Magnolia

St. Patrick's Day Brunch
Dine on magically delicious Lucky Charm pancakes, soda bread muffins with Jameson orange honey butter, duck confit on rye with Guinness cheese and fermented cabbage, and more.
Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails, Downtown

St. Patrick's Day at T.S. McHugh's
T.S. McHugh's will have a special St. Patrick's Day menu—including beef and Guinness pie, corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips, and Bailey's Irish cream pie for dessert—Harp Lager and Guinness on tap and a dozen Irish whiskeys at the bar. Plus, come for traditional and lively dance music from Claypipe (featuring harmonica, the Irish drum, accordion, and banjo), and stay for bluegrass from Creeping Time. There will be a cover for the bar, but not the dining rooms.
T.S. McHugh's, Queen Anne

MUSIC

An Evening with the Paperboys
The Paperboys will blend the Mexican folk style Son jarocho with Irish jigs and bluegrass for a truly genre-bending St. Patty's Day musical experience.  
Tractor Tavern, Ballard

Paddy's Day 2019 at the Owl N' Thistle
Spend all day and night listening to live Irish music by groups like the Haggis Brothers, Dublin Abbey, the Owl N' Thistle Band, Seattle Firefighters Pipe Band, and Max Hay while you knock back some pints. 
Owl N' Thistle Irish Pub, Downtown

Space Owl, Johnny and the Moles, WilloW, Goodtime Hustle
I’m impressed by this lineup. St. Paddy’s is traditionally a big booze-it-up night—and Substation has enough bands on lock to ensure NO ONE who makes it till close will make it to work the following Monday! Headliners Space Owl will be laying down an easy vibin’ Grateful Dead tribute set, but only after swingers Johnny and the Moles, who will hopefully BRING THE TUBA, swing their swangin' and Goodtime Hustle have played their mid-tempo, melodic “folkadelic con-fusion.” Oh, tonight is also “introducing”—like, I think it’s their first show—the band WilloW. Good luck, boozy groovers!!! MIKE NIPPER 
Substation, Ballard

St. Patrick's Day at Conor Byrne
Nosh on food from Wich Came First, Bread and Circuses, and Dante's Inferno Dogs while you groove to live music from the Evergreen Irish Dancers, the Jamisons, the Leger Family, and others at this all-night St. Patrick's Day event. 
Conor Byrne, Ballard

SPORTS & RECREATION

St. Patrick's Day Dash
For the 35th year, support community-run nonprofits by wearing green on green on green and running in the St. Patrick's Day Dash.
Seattle Center

11 Places to Celebrate Pi(e) Day 2019 in Seattle

Mighty-O Donuts, Serious Pie, and More Options

by Stranger Things To Do Staff | Courtesy of thestranger.com

Pie    in Fremont will adorn its petite pies with cutout pie symbols for the day. PIE VIA FACEBOOK

Pie in Fremont will adorn its petite pies with cutout pie symbols for the day. PIE VIA FACEBOOK

March 14, or 3/14, is Pi Day, and we've rounded up all of the Seattle events where you can celebrate. Whether you'd prefer to observe the holiday with savory pie, pizza pie, or mathematical π, you'll find something here to sate your appetite.

A La Mode Pies
"Seattle's premier pie bakery" will serve a dozen sweet pie varieties (each available by the slice), plus savory hand pies, chicken pot pies, ice cream, pie milkshakes, and more at both of its locations.
Phinney Ridge and West Seattle

Conor Byrne
At Conor Byrne's fundraiser, sample plenty of pies from professional and amateur pastry chefs alike and enter in a raffle to benefit the Vera Project.
Ballard

Dahlia Bakery
Tom Douglas's bakery will have several pies (including sour cherry, key lime, chocolate pudding, Kentucky bourbon pecan, and their world-famous coconut cream pie, of course) available for pick-up or delivery.
Downtown

Macrina Bakery
The beloved bakery will offer select mini pies in flavors like blueberry and lemon meringue.
Various locations

Mighty-O Donuts
Pi Day isn't just for pie: Mighty-O's chocolate-covered, creme-filled doughnut makes a triumphant return just in time for Pi Day, dusted with a powdered-sugar pi symbol.
Various locations

Occidental Square
Should you wish to prove just how fast you can inhale an entire pie while a gathering of onlookers watches, enter Occidental Square's Pi Day Pie Eating Contest for a shot at a gift card to London Plane.
Pioneer Square

Pie
Just for the occasion, the Fremont pie shop will crown their selection of sweet and savory pies with adorable pi symbol cutouts, while supplies last. 
Fremont

Serious Pie
At Tom Douglas's Serious Pie locations in Westlake and downtown, pizzas will be just $3.14 during happy hour.
Downtown & South Lake Union

Pagliacci
For Pi Day, the pizza purveyors at Pagliacci are offering two slices of pizza for $3.14. Hungrier? Buy one 11-inch pie and get a second one for $3.14.
Various locations

The Works
Want to flex your baking skills in a competition? Try entering your intricately latticed creations in contests at The Works (or just enter to be a judge so you can do your best Mary Berry impression while tasting all the entries). The winner will receive a free class at The Works and a basket of prizes.
First Hill

Westlake Park
Ten contestants will scarf pies as fast as humanly possible for a chance at a gift card to Serious Pie.
Downtown

29 Wicked Mardi Gras 2019 Events In Puget Sound

Find Mardi Gras or Shrove events happening around Puget Sound on Fat Tuesday.

By Neal McNamara , Patch Staff | Mar 4, 2019 4:32 pm ET | Courtesy of Patch.com

Float riders toss trinkets as the Krewe of Orpheus rolls in New Orleans in 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Float riders toss trinkets as the Krewe of Orpheus rolls in New Orleans in 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

SEATTLE, WA - Sure New Orleans is 2,500 miles away, but that doesn't mean Puget Sound can't celebrate Mardi Gras.

Whether you're looking for an excuse to drink a lot or if you want a church-sponsored pancake feast, check out these 29 events happening around Puget Sound. You're invited to indulge even if you're not partaking in a Lenten fast.

Seattle Area

South King County

Pierce County


Here Are Seattle’s James Beard Award Semifinalists for 2019

Who from our region is up for the most distinguished restaurant honors in the country?

By Rosin Saez  2/27/2019 at 7:56am

James Beard–blessed medallions.  IMAGE:  COURTESY JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION

James Beard–blessed medallions.

IMAGE: COURTESY JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION

Early this morning the James Beard Foundation released its list of chefs and other food and drink pros in the running for the most prestigious culinary award in all the land. And, no surprise, Seattle fared mighty well.

Up for national awards, there’s Mitch Mayers’s Sawyer for Best New Restaurant (you can read our review if you’re not up to speed on Mayers’s “elegant funhouse”), brothers Schumann—Kit and Jesse, that is, from Sea Wolf Bakers—are up for Outstanding Baker for the first time, and in the Outstanding Wine Program category we’ve got the low-intervention, ahem naturel, wine haven L’Oursin sheparded by the imitable Kathryn Olson. It’s nice to see Anu and Chris Elford’s No Anchor contending for Outstanding Bar Program. Renee Erickson, no stranger to the Outstanding Chef nod, is joined by sushi maestro Shiro Kashiba. And Jay Blackington of Hogstone and Ælder on Orcas Island and Shota Nakajima land on the Rising Star of the Year lineup again. Meanwhile Logan Cox, whose Beacon Hill restaurant Homer opened last fall, is a deserving newcomer to the Best Chef: Northwest category alongside many other praiseworthy chefs.

From here, come March 27, the foundation will whittle this list down to final nominees; the award ceremony happens on May 6 in Chicago.

Without further ado, here are the Seattle semifinalists, with some Portland brethren thrown in, too. See the full list here.

Best New Restaurant

Sawyer, Seattle
Canard, Portland, OR

Outstanding Baker

Kit Schumann and Jesse Schumann, Sea Wolf Bakers, Seattle
Kim Boyce, Bakeshop, Portland, OR

Outstanding Bar Program

No Anchor, Seattle
Expatriate, Portland, OR

Outstanding Chef

Renee Erickson, Bateau, Seattle
Shiro Kashiba, Sushi Kashiba, Seattle
Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon, Portland, OR

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Junko Mine, Cafe Juanita, Kirkland, WA

Outstanding Restaurant

Cafe Juanita, Kirkland, WA

Outstanding Restaurateur

Ethan Stowell, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Seattle (Ballard Pizza Co., Bramling Cross, Cortina, and others)
Akkapong (Earl) Ninsom, Portland, OR (Langbaan, Hat Yai, PaaDee, and others)

Outstanding Service

Canlis, Seattle

Outstanding Wine Program

L’Oursin, Seattle
Davenport, Portland, OR

Puget Sound Companies Join to Create Middle-Income Housing

Photo by Tiffany Von Arnim/Flickr

Photo by Tiffany Von Arnim/Flickr

Several are the same companies that opposed Seattle’s head tax last year.

By Aaron Kunkler

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 4:18pm | Courtesy of KirklandReporter.com


After years of rising housing costs, an explosion of homelessness, and communities being priced out of cities and urban counties, the region’s wealthiest companies and CEOs are at last acknowledging the housing crisis.

Presidents and CEOs of some of the area’s largest corporations, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Kevin Johnson of Starbucks, and Kevin McAllister of Boeing, along with 14 other companies, announced the creation of Challenge Seattle, an organization designed to increase moderately priced housing. A report issued by the organization, which also partnered with cities and King County, said the housing crisis is making it harder for companies to attract and retain employees. “We are at risk of losing our economic edge. Our relatively low cost of doing business and our high quality of life have helped make us a global center of innovation and allowed us to attract and retain leading businesses and talent from around the world. If we do not act, we risk our economic future,” the report said.

Unlike many other housing strategies, Challenge Seattle’s proposal focuses on middle-income housing. Though housing stock has been created at twice the national rate from 2008 to 2017, the report said that in the same period, median home values increased by 58 percent compared to 19 percent nationally.

This has priced many people out and driven moderate-income employees in both public and private jobs to live further from their jobs in areas they can afford—driving many public employees, like first responders and teachers, out of the communities they serve. As middle-income people are forced from expensive cities, the report said, this also hurts low-income households, who must compete for affordable housing with middle-income earners.

In response, Challenge Seattle listed ways both municipalities and companies could help address middle-income housing: “The private sector must step up in new ways—particularly to provide low-cost capital and affordable land. The public sector must adopt smart policies and regulations that break down barriers.” Among other suggestions: discounting the cost of land or donating it outright for housing, which could lower the total development cost 15 to 30 percent. Washington state is the fifth most expensive state in the country in which to buy land. Alternatively, landowners could provide long-term leases at below market rates.

Cities could change zoning to increase density. In Seattle some 75 percent of residential land is zoned for single-family houses, compared to only 40 percent in other large cities like Chicago, Brooklyn, and Boston, the report said. Cities could further allow subdivisions to create cottage housing on existing plots of land, and dense transit-oriented development should be encouraged near transit corridors. Cities could additionally extend housing tax incentives to middle-income developments, like those currently offered in many places, including the low-income-housing tax credit or the multifamily tax exemption, which give property developers a break on taxes in exchange for creating a certain amount of affordable units.

While the organization’s recommendations are nonbinding, King County Executive Dow Constantine and several mayors (including those of Seattle, Federal Way, Bellevue) have signed onto it. Challenge Seattle is being headed by former Governor Christine Gregoire.

Challenge Seattle comes after Microsoft announced earlier this month that it would provide $500 million to subsidize middle-income housing across the county. Some $225 million was specifically earmarked for subsidizing middle-income housing in several cities and another $250 million would be used to promote low-income housing across King County. The remaining $25 million will go to philanthropic grants addressing homelessness.

It also comes in the wake of last year’s Seattle City Council passage and then repeal of an employee head tax on large employers. The tax would have levied a $275-per-employee tax on large corporations in the area to fund affordable housing, homelessness services, and emergency shelters. Predicted to raise $47 million annually, it was repealed before it went into effect. The opposition to the head tax was organized and funded by several of the organizations now involved in Challenge Seattle, including Amazon, Alaska Airlines, and Starbucks.

Severe Weather Shelter List

by Hannah Newton • February 8, 2019 • Courtesy of King County 211 Website

Photo courtesy of  New Bethlehem Day Center

Photo courtesy of New Bethlehem Day Center

  • All Areas: Mary’s Place
    Thru W, Feb. 13, 24 hours daily.
    Intake line for families. They have opened overflow space at several local shelters and will try to not turn any family away.


Where to Dine Out on Valentine’s Day in Seattle

Endless orders of oysters on the half shell, indulgent desserts, and wicked wine pairings.

By Gwen Hughes  1/31/2019 at 11:00am

Grab a drink for you and your boo at Mkt. this Valentine’s Day.  IMAGE:  GEOFFREY SMITH

Grab a drink for you and your boo at Mkt. this Valentine’s Day.

IMAGE: GEOFFREY SMITH

While you might be expected to put together a massive feast for every other holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to leave it to the professionals. Whether you and your other half are looking for housemade ravioli, liberal lobster courses, or even a dinner or weekend getaway, these destinations have got you covered. Your only job? Make the reservation.

Adana

Chef Shota Nakajima will host a seven-course dinner at his Capitol Hill eatery. Not only that, but his private cellar will be open for the guests to indulge in. Temari sushi will kick things off, followed by lotus root dumplings, egg katsu with caviar, and a whole lot more. Call 206-294-5230 or book online; $100 per person.

Alderbrook

The Alderbrook Resort and Spa is serving up more than picturesque views this Valentine’s Day. Its on-site restaurant, which overlooks the Hood Canal, will host a dinner of beef tenderloin with foie gras or king crab housemade ravioli. Another bonus: Your reservation is a guaranteed front row seat to guitarist Tarik Bentlemsani’s romantic set. Call 360-898-5500 to make reservations. 

Ascend Prime Steak and Sushi

Take in Lake Washington with a “Love Potion” amuse bouche in hand at Bellevue’s Ascend. Then indulge in a four-course meal with optional “enhancements” like North Pacific oysters or a two-pound lobster thermidor pot pie wrapped in nori parmesan puff pastry. Call 425-625-2080 or book online; $135 per person.

Bastille Cafe and Bar

At Bastille, a flight of sparkling wine can be added on to the specialty Valentine’s dinner all weekend long. Dungeness crab salad with cara cara oranges and gnocchi with mushroom ragout and whipped feta are also cause for celebration. Call 206-453-5014 or book online; $21 champagne flight. 

Bramling Cross

For seafood enthusiasts, this Ethan Stowell spot will provide a menu teeming with crustaceans. Options include lobster deviled eggs, lobster bisque, and lobster fritters, to name just a few. And if the lobster becomes too much, steak and caviar add-ons offer decadent variety. Call 206-420-8192 or book online; $85 per person, $40 wine pairing, $15 caviar addition. 

Cortina

Stowell’s “under the sea” penchant continues at Cortina. Try lobster ravioli with black trumpet mushrooms or opt for oysters with verjus granita. Finish the evening off with a traditional torta caprese (Italian chocolate almond cake) topped with chocolate ganache and rose creme fraiche. Call 206-736-7888 or book online; $85 per person, $45 wine pairing.

El Gaucho

From the first taste of the herb gougeres to the last of rosemary chocolate tart, El Gaucho has got your Valentine’s Day covered. And if you’re keen on an accompanying cabaret show, it may be the restaurant for you. Call 206-728-1337 or book online; $150 per person, or $115 at the bar. 

Eritage

If one evening is not enough for your love story, head east to the Eritage Resort in Walla Walla. Their holiday meal includes a shared entree of Meyer Ranch New York steak or grilled portobello steaks drizzled with chimichurri sauce. Call 833-374-8243 or book online; $150 per couple.

Gather Kitchen and Bar

Cozy up to your better half at chef Ryan Donaldson’s Ballard spot with a shared meal for two. Things start off seafood-focused—oysters on the half shell, grilled octopus—but soon turn to vegetables with asparagus soup, olive loaf, wild mushroom pot au feu, and fried brussels sprouts. Beef tenderloin and sea scallop au poivre too. Call 206-420-4670 or book online; $65 per person.

Goldfinch Tavern

Pacific Northwest fare is the name of the game at this Ethan Stowell dining room inside the Four Seasons. Try dungeness crab bisque, prawn pappardelle, and sockeye salmon—and top it off with a dark chocolate lava cake or rosemary lemon torte for the table. Call 206-749-7070 or book online; $99 per person.

Heartwood Provisions

Each of the five courses at Heartwood Provisions can be paired with a signature, chocolate-themed cocktail (and a Jcoco chocolate bar, too). Dungeness crab custard and muscovy duck breast with quinoa may not be obvious cocoa pairings, but the partnership between beverage director Amanda Reed and chef Varin Keokitvon is sure to yield unique results. Call 206-582-3505 or book online; $95 per person, $7 cocktail pairings. 

Hollywood Tavern

For a more casual date night option, head to Hollywood Tavern in Woodinville for a six-course lineup. The roadside restaurant will feature three different varieties of oysters, cooked even more ways. An added bonus: Before the mollusk-themed meal, enjoy a fireside cocktail featuring next-door neighbor Woodinville Whiskey’s signature bourbon. Call 425-481-7703 for reservations; $100 per person, 21-plus only.

How to Cook a Wolf

Queen Anne dwellers (and Ethan Stowell enthusiasts) will not go hungry with this four-course feast. With an anchor of pasta—tagliarini with uni butter, ricotta ravioli, or potato gnocchi—the meal will also include an add-on option of oysters with champagne mignonette for $3.25 each. Call 206-838-8090 or book online; $85 per person, $55 wine pairing.

Lark

Award-winning chef John Sundstrom has created a menu of romantic fare, including Samish pearl oysters and prawn fondue. End the meal with Theo Chocolate panna cotta accompanied by white chocolate brittle and hazelnuts. Call 206-323-5275 for reservations or book online; $130 per person, $60 wine pairing.

Le Messe

Foie gras profiteroles, hamachi crudo, scallops, and Snake River Zabuton steak are on the menu at this sleek Eastside spot. But knowing Brian Clevenger, the pasta course—capelletti with ricotta, black garlic, and prosciutto—is probably the star of the night. Call 206-402-6106 for reservations or book online; $75 per person, $35 wine pairing.

Loulay

Chef Thierry Rautureau will host a four-course dinner at his downtown restaurant. Begin with foie gras terrine or lobster bisque, then choose sturgeon, venison medallions, or root vegetable en croute to round out the evening. Call 206-402-4588 for reservations or book online; $99 per person, $89 wine pairing.

Luc

If downtown isn’t your scene, head to Rautureau’s Madison Valley location for a more chill (but equally French) dining experience. The special to share is a 32-ounce cote de boeuf with pommes soufflés (rib-eye with fried potatoes). For something lighter, opt for chestnut soup with truffle oil or housemade semolina pappardelle. Call 206-328-6645 for reservations or book online; $59 per person, $30 wine pairing.

Marine Hardware

An embellished version of the year-round prix fixe menu is a surefire winner at this Ballard spot, whether it’s ribbon pasta with dungeness crab and meyer lemon or sea scallops with shaved fennel. Make sure to indulge in a refined, familiar course of cookies and chocolate truffles too. Call 206-257-4390 or book online; $85 per person, $45 wine pairing. 

Mbar

This rooftop is date night destination even without the Valentine’s Day menu of fried cauliflower, prawns over hummus, and “rocky road” parfait. Lucky for guests, they don’t have to choose when it comes to the family style meal. Call 206-457-8287 or book online; $120 per person, $45 wine flight.

Mkt.

Ethan Stowell’s smallest restaurant isn’t missing out on the big day. Its four-course meal will rival its sister restaurants with dishes like seared duck breast with celery root puree and wood grilled scallops. Call 206-812-1580 or book online; $85 per person, $40 wine pairing.

Mood lighting sets the tone for the evening at RN74.  IMAGE:  COURTESY RN74

Mood lighting sets the tone for the evening at RN74.

IMAGE: COURTESY RN74

No Anchor

Belltown bar No Anchor provides a less traditional pairing option: Beer may accompany a four-course meal of raw scallops with caviar, endive salad, smoked duck breast, and whipped dark chocolate. Dinner is available for parties of two only. Call 206-448-2610 or book online; $75 per person.

Outlier

Seasonal dishes (three options for each course, in fact) rule at Outlier. Highlights include a 21-day dry aged sirloin and wild mushroom lasagna. Wine-poached apples with shortbread and a scoop of apple jack ice cream finish things off. Call 206-624-7755 or book online; $65 per person.

Ray’s Boathouse

This Seattle stalwart will host three nights of Valentine’s Day dinners (February 14–16) with a three-course seafood-inspired menu, boasting dishes like oyster tempura and poke tacos. Call 206-789-3770 or book online; $65 per person.

Ray’s Cafe

Ray’s a la carte menu includes dungeness crab lumpia, grilled mahi mahi, and a surf n’ turf special along with the perfect garnish: the restaurant’s signature view. Call 206-782-0094 or book online.

Red Cow

Madrona’s own French brasserie will host a four-course date night dinner for the big day. Fish bisque, rabbit croquettes, and grilled half lobster may feel decadent enough or, for the ultimate indulgence, add an optional caviar service, which comes with vodka and savory madeleines. Call 206-454-7932 or book online; $85 per person, $40 wine pairing.

Rider

Hotel Theodore’s dining destination begins its six-course Valentine’s menu with—what else?—our favorite local aphrodisiac, oysters on the half shell. Roasted beets with fresh burrata, egg tagliatelle topped with white truffles, surf and turf, and a chocolate torte follow. Avoid crowds by celebrating after the big day—the Valentine’s menu will be available through the weekend. Call 206-859-4242 or book online; $95 per person.

Rione XIII

At yet another one of his restaurants, Ethan Stowell will serve a four-course dinner featuring classic dishes like rigatoni bolognese, seared scallops, braised beef short rib, and gnocchi topped with cured pork and cheese. Call 206-838-2878 or book online; $85 per person, $40 wine pairing.

RN74

This French restaurant in the heart of downtown will serve a filling meal featuring dishes like truffled cauliflower soup and Maine lobster ravioli with caviar creme fraiche. And if four courses aren’t enough, diners can add on chef Michael Mina’s ahi tuna tartare for two. Call 206-456-7474 or book online; $90 per person, $45–$65 wine pairing.

Salare

Talk of the town Edouardo Jordan is helping everybody feel the love at Ravenna’s Salare. The five-course, prix fixe meal includes a scallop dish with avocado mousse and charred pineapple sauce, black bass with pepper jus, and (be still our hearts) a lemon thyme olive oil cake. Call 206-556-2192 or book online; $75 per person, $50 wine pairing.

Spinasse

Pike/Pine’s rustic Italian farmstead starts the night with duck confit before moving onto herbed arancini, a choice between clam and braised short rib pastas, and another pasta course (this time taleggio cappelletti). Pick between steak with black truffle potato puree or pan-seared troll king salmon to finish things off—but save room for chocolate cake truffles or angel food cake. Call 206-251-7673 or book online; $120 per person.

Staple and Fancy

Oysters with citrus champagne mignonette and parsnip and pear soup will cover the table at this Ethan Stowell destination. Then a pasta to share, a main course, and—finally—a silky lemon ricotta cheesecake. Call 206-789-1200 or book online; $85 per person, $55 wine pairing.

Stoneburner

Jason Stoneburner will serve grass-fed beef crudo, artichoke tortellini, and grilled tuna alongside a “Bubbles for Lovers” wine flight for Valentine’s Day. The champagne (and prosecco) will be flowing all weekend, with reservations available Thursday through Sunday. Call 206-695-2051 or book online.

Super Six

There’s no special Valentine’s Day menu at this Columbia City spot, but does there need to be? With half-off bottles of wine and pastry specials from dessert doyen Kim Mahar, Super Six is a destination worthy of the year’s most anticipated date night. Call 206-420-1201 or book online

Tavolàta

Both locations of Ethan Stowell’s pasta haven will serve a four-course Valentine’s Day meal. Dishes including foie gras mousse bruschetta, tagliatelle with smoked shellfish, and roasted porchetta grace each menu; up the ante by adding five grams of Perigord black truffles to select dishes for $15. Call 206-838-8008 (Belltown), 206-420-8355 (Capitol Hill), or book online; $85 per person, $45 wine pairing.

Tilth

Chef Maria Hines’s cozy Wallingford restaurant is offering a four-course menu complete with choices of seared scallops, carnaroli risotto, and venison with huckleberries. Save room for the Theo Chocolate ganache cake, orange rose cashew cheesecake, or a peanut butter and jelly cannoli. Call 206-633-0801 or book online; $95 per person, $45 wine pairing.

The Tin Table

Snag a reservation at this cozy Cal Anderson–adjacent spot before it’s too late. The porcini mushroom-topped pappardelle is no doubt a winner. Otherwise crispy red snapper or beef tenderloin will more than suffice. The Tin Table’s regular a la carte menu will be available as well. Call 206-320-8458 or book online; $50 per person.

Tutta Bella

On Cupid’s big day, Tutta Bella’s everyday Neapolitan menu will be complimented by a special tiramisu for two. Even sweeter: They’re throwing in a complimentary Baci truffle, a chocolate covered hazelnut candy, along with the clandestine love story that inspired the Italian chocolate company. See website for details. 

Tulio

Italy meets Pacific Northwest at this classic downtown dining room. It’s really a no-brainer. The only question is: Oysters on the half shell or Tuscan kale salad? Crab risotto or lamb sirloin? The choice is yours. Call 206-624-5500 or book online

Urbane

Seared sea bass with cauliflower puree or ricotta gnocchi? This downtown restaurant serves both, and Valentine’s Day patrons will also receive a “special treat” for dining on the holiday. Call 206-676-4600 or book online; $65 per person, $35 wine pairing.

Vendemmia

At Brian Clevenger’s original pasta palace, agnolotti served with nettle, brown butter, pine nut, and pecorino perfectly marries flavors from Italy and the Pacific Northwest. And there’s another three courses too, with picks like black cod, pork belly, and—no surprises here—risotto. Call 206-466-2533 for reservations or book online; $75 per person, $35 wine pairing.