News blog for Seattle's Wedgwood and View Ridge neighborhoods

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Neighborhood Safety Resources – Traffic Safety Store

November 21st, 2015 by hillaryu

By: Tyler Maroney, Traffic Safety Store

If you are like most homeowners in Wedgwood or View Ridge, you probably use your garage as a prime storage area. Your bicycle, your children’s sporting equipment, and that television you “plan on fixing,” all seem to wind up there. As winter approaches, however, you may find yourself storing more items for longer lengths of time. This can really add up, creating hazards for you and your family that are easily overlooked.

These simple tips can minimize dangerous clutter, keeping you and your family safe. For a full checklist, see this guide to Accident Proof your Garage.

  1. Avoid potential for tripping and slipping. Does your canoe keep rolling onto the floor? Use industrial hooks or a rope-and-pulley system to hang it from your walls or ceiling, along with the bicycle and other large items. Store sporting equipment and smaller garden tools in separate, labeled containers to condense their volume and maximize floor space. Now that the garage floor is cleared, clean up any oil or stains then stock upon kitty litter to absorb future leaks
  2. Prevent potential fires, chemical spills, or electricity issues. Label all combustible materials. Make sure they stay in tightly sealed containers to prevent a spark from igniting the vapors. Always unplug power tools after use and use outlet covers to prevent electrical accidents. Keep an unexpired fire extinguisher within arm’s reach. Take extra precaution by keeping poisonous materials inside locked drawers. Even if you don’t have children, you never know what a neighbor’s child might get into.
  3. Have a safe garage door. If you have a manual door, be sure it uses a counter weight not a coil. An automatic garage door should stop or reverse upon contact with an object. Install an automatic light that switches on as the door opens.

For more tips on making your home safe, visit the Traffic Safety Store website.

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Handel’s Messiah by Northwest Chorale – a benefit for NW Harvest

November 19th, 2015 by hillaryu

Saturday, December 5 @ 6:30 pm
University Christian Church
4731 15th Ave NE, Seattle

Northwest Chorale is a group of civic minded individuals who enjoy gathering to rehearse and perform great works of music. Come see them perform December 5th at University Christian Church, 4731 15th Ave NE, Seattle.

There is no admission charge but 100% of your donation dollars goes to Northwest Harvest. Visit their website for more information.

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Sponsor (advertise with us)


Test Your Healthy Holiday Meal IQ

November 18th, 2015 by hillaryu

By: Katherine Figel, RDN, CD

The holidays are quickly approaching and with this season comes some delicious food traditions including holiday parties, cookie exchanges, family meals and homemade treats. Eating healthily during these holidays can prove challenging for even the most disciplined.

Test your holiday food knowledge and learn how to make smarter nutrition choices while celebrating this season!

1. What’s your best bet when craving pie?

  • Pumpkin
  • Pecan
  • Apple

Answer: Choose pumpkin! Many of us forget, but pumpkin is technically a vegetable, that contains beta carotene – a helpful antioxidant. As far as pies go, one slice of pumpkin pie can count as a half a serving of vegetable – not a terrific amount but most of us fall drastically short on our vegetable servings so I say sneak them in wherever we can! Pumpkin also can aid in weight loss as it’s often an overlooked source of fiber that can keep you feeling full longer on fewer calories. Pumpkin pie usually has about 200 fewer calories per slice compared to other pies – so pick pumpkin!

2. What’s the healthiest way to make stuffing?

  • Cook inside the turkey
  • Bake in a separate pan

Answer: When baked inside the turkey, stuffing absorbs the turkey’s fat drippings. Seeing as stuffing often contains high-fat ingredients such as butter, bread, broth etc. – opt for the pan method instead to save on calories and fat. To decrease calories try using low-fat, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth instead of butter. You can also include healthy additions such as chicken sausage, nuts, celery, diced carrots, apples, or dried cranberries. A new trend to try is “stuffins” or portion controlled stuffing muffins that help you focus on how much food you’re actually eating.

3. Which party snack can you eat the most of for the fewest amount of calories?

  • Cheese straws
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn

Answer: It’s hard to believe, but popcorn can be part of a healthy diet! Roughly three cups of air-popped popcorn equals 100 calories. For a comparison, about one and a half cheese straws or about one-half of a sugar cookie have the same calorie count. Popcorn provides whole grains, antioxidants and is a good source of fiber. But beware of toppings. Popcorn balls, kettle corn and caramel corn tend to be very high in fat and sugar and turn popcorn into a high-calorie dessert versus a nutritious snack! For a healthier choice, try toppings such as olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic or herbs.

4. Which is the leanest potato dish?

  • Scalloped
  • Baked
  • Mashed

Answer: Baked potatoes beat out all the competition as it has the fewest calories and fat. All potatoes are a good source of antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C and a baked potato only has roughly 164 calories.  For a healthier mashed potato dish try substituting skim milk for cream or butter. Limit the gravy as a topping and add extra pepper and green onions to boost flavor. Or if you’re feeling a little adventurous, try opting for sweet potatoes which have all of the same benefits of a potato plus beta carotene and vitamin A.

5. What is the average weight gain by most Americans over the holidays?

  • 1 to 2 pounds
  • 4 to 5 pounds
  • 7 to 10 pounds

Answer: On average, people gain around one to two pounds from fall to early spring, mostly as a result of holiday eating. Remember that a big holiday dinner isn’t going to cause long-term weight gain (just like one day of healthy eating won’t do much to help you lose weight.) When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, focus on what your meals look like on most days and don’t beat yourself up on the occasional splurge at a holiday meal. Instead of trying to lose weight during the holidays, aim to maintain and avoid seasonal weight gain by getting in small exercises here and there – perhaps a walk with the family!

Eating healthily during the holidays doesn’t have to be a self-defeating effort. Making small changes to your holiday food choices and recipes can help you celebrate and have fun, while still enjoying a healthy holiday season with family and friends.

Katherine Figel, RDN, CD, is a dietitian with the Nutrition team at Pacific Medical Centers. She sees patients at the PacMed Canyon Park, Northgate and First Hill clinics. Learn more at

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Roosevelt High School Band wreath & garland fundraiser

November 8th, 2015 by hillaryu

It’s that time of year!

Help yourself to some holiday cheer and the scent of fresh cut greens for your home, business or man cave, and help support the Roosevelt Rider Band at the same time!

Please visit their website and click “forms” to find wreaths and garlands in multiple sizes.

Order as often and as many as you like by Nov. 18th.

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Hay Fever: Education, Proactive Steps Can Help with the Uncomfortable Symptoms

November 7th, 2015 by hillaryu

By David Jeong, MD

Although many think of spring as the time of year when most people are bothered by allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, the condition can affect folks year round depending on what an individual is allergic to at any given time.

As an allergist, I see and treat children and adults with allergic rhinitis 12 months out of the year.

What is allergic rhinitis?

Hay fever is the group of uncomfortable symptoms that occur when your body is exposed to a specific allergen. An allergen is a typically harmless substance that causes an allergic reaction.

When your body comes into contact with an allergen, the immune system recognizes it and signals the release of histamine, among other natural chemicals, from the body. Unfortunately, an excess of histamine can cause uncomfortable symptoms.

As a result, it is important to seek treatment since this condition can interfere with your everyday quality of life.

Types of allergens

Common allergens that can cause this condition include:

  • Grasses and weeds
  • Dust mites
  • Animal dander (old skin) and saliva
  • Mold
  • Pollens (Pollens are the biggest allergen culprit during certain seasons – trees during early and mid-spring, grasses during summer and weeds in fall)

Risk factors for allergic rhinitis

Although allergies can affect anyone, they are often genetic. You are more likely to develop allergic rhinitis if your family has a history of allergies.

Other risk factors for developing hay fever include:

  • Being male
  • Born during pollen season
  • Being the firstborn in your family
  • Early use of antibiotics
  • Maternal smoking exposure in the first year of life
  • Exposure to indoor allergens, such as dust mites

Hay fever symptoms

The most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose (also eyes, ears and throat)
  • Stuffy nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Coughing
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Eczema-type symptoms (e.g., extremely dry, itchy skin)
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Frequent headaches

Allergic rhinitis is often associated with asthma, eczema (atopic dermatitis), allergic conjunctivitis, repeated sinus infections and chronic ear congestion (Eustachian tube dysfunction).

Diagnosing allergic rhinitis

Minor allergies usually only require a health history and physical exam. However, your primary care provider may refer you to an allergist for allergy testing to identify your triggers and develop an individualized treatment plan.

Skin prick testing is the most reliable and fastest testing method available. During this test, your doctor uses a prick method to introduce individual allergens onto the surface of your skin (usually the arms and/or back) and watches for a skin reaction at the test site. A small red bump develops if you are allergic to something.

Another often used allergy test is a blood test, which measures the amount of immunoglobin E antibodies (the allergic antibody) to particular allergens in your blood. This blood test is slightly less accurate than the skin test, but is often used when a skin test cannot be done for certain reasons.

When it is diagnosed, allergic rhinitis may be classified as seasonal and/or perennial (year-round).

Treating hay fever

Allergic rhinitis is treated with one or more of the following items:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Eye drops
  • Nasal sprays (various types)
  • Antileukotrienes
  • Immunotherapy (allergy shots)

Antihistamines can effectively treat allergies. They can also help prevent allergic symptoms.  Most antihistamines are available over the counter.

Oral decongestants are used over a short period to help with sinus pressure and stuffy nose. If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, be sure to ask your physician before taking a decongestant.

Nasal corticosteroid sprays are the single most effective therapy in treating allergic rhinitis. Some have moved to over the counter in the last couple of years, but the rest are still only available through a prescription. Nasal antihistamine sprays can also be very helpful. Over-the-counter nasal decongestants (e.g., oxymetazoline, Afrin, Zicam, etc.) can be immediately effective but cause physiologic dependence when used over extended periods. These should not be used long term.

If you have severe allergies, your physician may recommend immunotherapy. This treatment plan, which is usually referred to as allergy shots, is used to desensitize you or decrease your immune response to specific allergens over time.

Deciding which allergy medications and treatments are the most effective and safest can be overwhelming. Make sure to speak with your health care provider and/or allergist to find the most appropriate treatment for you.

Preventing allergies

As the saying goes, “Prevention is the best medicine.” This is especially true when it comes to allergies. The best way to avoid allergy symptoms is to manage allergies before your body has a chance to negatively react to substances.

In fact, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends beginning medications ahead of seasonal allergy attacks. For example, if you are affected by tree pollen in the spring, you might want to start taking your allergy medications just before the season hits and the allergic reaction has a chance of happening.

Another way to prevent hay fever is to avoid allergens that prompt your symptoms. For example, change the clothes you have been wearing outdoors when you come back inside and shower to remove pollen from your skin. In addition, consider implementing proper avoidance precautions for dust mites, pets and molds if you are allergic to any one of these triggers.

Prognosis for people with allergic rhinitis

As with much of medicine, the treatment outcome for hay fever is dependent on a person’s unique condition. Allergic rhinitis has a tendency to be a chronic condition and can significantly disrupt quality of life. The good news is that it can be managed and well-controlled with the right treatment plan.

David Jeong, MD, is board certified in allergy, immunology and pediatrics. He specializes in allergy and asthma and practices at Virginia Mason University Village Medical Center, Virginia Mason Hospital & Seattle Medical Center, Virginia Mason Issaquah Medical Center and Virginia Mason Lynnwood Medical Center.


For more information about allergic rhinitis or hay fever, visit:

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NEST is looking for volunteers

November 6th, 2015 by hillaryu

NEST is searching for friendly and enthusiastic new volunteers to engage in a variety of activities.

North East Seattle Together (NEST), is a local non-profit building a sustainable, inter-generational community in NE Seattle. They exist to support neighbors helping neighbors grow older in their homes with confidence, joy, and peace of mind.

By acting as a resource to connect volunteers with members, they encourage the use of your personal skills & interests to make a difference in your community. The possibilities are endless.

Volunteering happens based around your own schedule and availability.

Give them a call or send them an email and they would love to answer all of your questions.

You can contact them at 206-525-6378 or

Visit their website for more information or to apply under “Volunteer Opportunities.”

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Stay Healthy During Cough and Cold Season: Prevent the Flu with These 5 Easy Tips

November 3rd, 2015 by hillaryu

By: Dr. Wellesley Chapman, Group Health

Autumn brings football, harvest vegetables, colorful leaves, and Thanksgiving—as well as cough and cold season, and the dreaded flu. Although the majority of flu cases occur between December and February, peaking after the first of the year, several cases have already been reported throughout Washington.

It’s never too early to start protecting yourself and your family members from the flu, and some preventive measures may be easier than you think.

The flu, or influenza, is caused by a virus that infects the bronchial tubes and lungs. Symptoms include headaches, chills, fever, body aches and in some cases abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea, all of which can last up to 10 days. That can keep you and your family members home from work, school and other fun weekend and holiday activities – in some cases, flu can be fatal.

During flu season, several flu viruses can circulate at different times and in different places. As long as flu viruses are spreading in the community, you need to take action to protect yourself and others.

Prevent the flu by following these five tips for staying healthy this cough and cold season:

  1. Get a flu shot. The flu vaccine continues to be the most effective way for children and adults to prevent getting the flu. Depending on the formulation, flu vaccines protect against three or four different flu viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu vaccination for anyone ages 6 months and older, and the vaccine is especially important for high-risk individuals, including children, pregnant women, adults 50 and older and people with chronic conditions. When more people get the flu shot, the risk of a flu epidemic is lowered through a phenomenon called “community immunity,” so it’s best to get the vaccine as soon as it’s available. It takes about two weeks following vaccination for the vaccine to begin protecting you. Flu shots are available at most doctors’ offices, medical centers, community clinics and pharmacies, and this year’s version of the vaccine, which is likely to be more effective than last year, is already readily available. To save your family time, call ahead to verify supply or stop into your local University Village CareClinic any day of the week and get vaccinated on the spot.
  2. Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth or other areas of your face, especially after contact with others who may be sick. If you smoke, quit. Tobacco users are more likely to catch a cold and have a cold develop into a more serious infection. It’s also important to avoid secondhand smoke because exposure makes you more likely to catch colds and flu.
  3. Cover coughs and sneezes. Whether they’re the result of seasonal allergies or recirculated air at work or during your commute, coughs and sneezes spread germs. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue, and throw the tissue into the trash after you use it, or direct your cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands.
  4. Eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest and physical activity. Practicing these healthy behaviors helps your immune system ward off colds and flu.
  5. Stay home if you’re sick. During flu season, you may get sick and need to stay home for a week or so. Plan ahead and have a two-week supply of items you may need on hand, including prescription medicines, medical supplies and over-the-counter pain medicines such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, decongestants, cough syrup and sore throat lozenges

Despite your best efforts, you or your family members may still get sick. If you get the flu, you should stay home and keep away from others for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.

Colds and flu are caused by viruses so antibiotics won’t help, but you can do a few things at home to feel better.

  • Drink plenty of clear liquids, including water and juice. Drink eight ounces every two hours.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin (not for people younger than 20), or ibuprofen if you are uncomfortable.
  • Wear light clothing if you experience a fever.
  • Use a vaporizer or breathe moist, warm air to combat congestion. Take decongestant pills or use a decongestant nasal spray.
  • Treat sore throats with cough syrup containing guaifenesin and dextromethorphan. Suck on ice cubes, hard candy or throat lozenges.

If you don’t feel better in two weeks, call your doctor’s office. The flu can lead to serious illness for those who have chronic health problems. If you have a chronic illness and are concerned about cold or flu symptoms, call your doctor’s office.

Dr. Wellesley Chapman is a family physician and the medical director for innovation at Group Health. He received his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine. Get your flu shot today at the University Village CareClinic, or learn more about flu prevention at Group Health’s website.

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The Roosevelt High School Jazz Band will perform the Jazz Nutcracker on December 5th and 6th

November 1st, 2015 by hillaryu

The 2015-2016 Jazz Band recently had the privilege of performing at Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival. The challenging and wonderful piece, entitled The Migration Series, written by composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel, was played by this class of high school students with the skill and finesse of a well practiced professional ensemble.

Their next public performance is The Nutcracker Suite by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, a 1960’s take on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. The Roosevelt Jazz Band is one of the few bands in the United States to have the score. Ellington reworked Tchaikovsky’s tunes into swinging versions; ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ becomes ‘Sugar Rum Cherry’ and ‘Arabian Dance’ is now ‘Arabesque Cookie.’ The Roosevelt Jazz Boosters’ presentation of Ellington’s Jazz Nutcracker is a treat for the whole family.

Performances are scheduled for Saturday, December 5th at 7:30pm and Sunday, December 6th at 2:00 pm. Tickets are required and seating is unassigned. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit their website.

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Group Health and Bartell Drugs Take the Ouch Out of Flu Shots

October 30th, 2015 by hillaryu

Group Health and Bartell Drugs are helping “take the owie out” of getting a flu shot by offering a sweet treat at CareClinic locations. Due to a manufacturing issue, FluMist isn’t currently available at most locations nationwide. That doesn’t mean people should wait to get vaccinated, doctors say. Now is the best time to get the vaccine, even if it means rolling up your sleeve for a shot. A flu shot may hurt for a brief moment, but significantly helps reduce the chance of getting the flu.

CDC officials have said the efficacy of this year’s flu shot strain is expected to be more effective than last year. We know most people, especially kids, don’t like shots – that’s why we’re sweetening the deal by providing a free healthy fruit bar with each flu shot at CareClinic locations around the Puget Sound. CareClinic is a walk-in clinic open to anyone regardless of insurance carrier. The clinics are based in five Bartell Drugs locations and are staffed by Group Health board certified clinicians. They are a convenient and fast way to be treated for many minor injuries and illnesses.

The closest CareClinic to us is at the University Village.

To get your sweet treat, visit between now and Sunday, Nov. 8 (or, while supply lasts)

(Promotion excludes Medicare; patients must be ages 3 and over to get a flu shot)

Learn more here.

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Work-Life Balance – 5 Tips to Restore Harmony

October 17th, 2015 by hillaryu

Dr. Carolyn Logsdon, Pacific Medical Center Northgate

It’s hard to believe we’re half way through the fall season and the holidays are just around the corner. This time of year is a busy one – from work and school schedules to limited vacation days and prep for the holidays. To prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed, it’s important to understand how to juggle the demands of the job and all of the additional activities we have on our calendars. Work-life balance is about creating and maintaining supportive and healthy work and home environments. However every job has unique demands that may take a toll on your personal life and health.  Studies have shown that lack of work-life balance is associated with serious health and safety risks such as increased smoking and alcohol consumption, weight gain and depression.

Now more than ever it can be difficult to maintain a work-life balance. There once was a time when the boundaries between work life and personal life were extremely clear. But with technology as an enabler for constant connection, “clocking out” is a thing of the past and the once fine lines have become blurred. While you may not be able to change your work hours, or the conditions of the job, there are a host of life changes you can make to alleviate stress and ensure better overall health.

Here are five tips to reclaim control and restore harmony in day-to-day life:

1. Carefully establish goals. Take some time to evaluate your work-life balance situation and what you would like to see change in the next six months. Over the course of a week, monitor your daily tasks including work-related and personal activities and take notes. This will help you decide what’s necessary, what satisfies you the most and what you don’t enjoy or can’t handle. Then, make a list of what you’d like to change. Define small goals that are achievable and actionable. For example, make it a goal to prepare lunch meals in advance, not “bring lunch to work every single day.”

2. Plan out your schedule. Using calendars and “to-do” lists can help relieve the stress to remember everything. Organize household to-do tasks and family and friend events on a weekly calendar. Keeping a daily to-do list at home and at work will help minimize the time you spend running in circles trying to accomplish a task.  Technology can actually be a help here: Use your smart phone to keep track of your to-do list.  Here are a few suggestions to factor into your schedule:

  • Prepare shopping lists before going to the store and avoid buying items that aren’t on it.
  • Prep for a week’s worth of lunches on the weekends by marinating and cooking meat and chopping fruits and vegetables.  We’re entering the time of year when soups and chili are especially inviting.
  • Avoid activities that affect your energy and efficiency at work such as gossiping with a colleague or checking social media profiles. That time could instead be used to get work done and allow you to leave the office earlier.
  • Try to outsource errands and time-consuming activities. Do your kids play sports with the neighborhood children? Carpool and alternate who is in charge of pick-up each day. If you’re someone who is constantly running from place to place doing errands, see if you can have items delivered such as dry-cleaning, groceries, stamps etc.

3. Prioritize time for rest and recharging. When you plan your week, make it a point to incorporate time with family and friends as well as activities that help you recharge. Sleep is crucial to function at your highest level. So make a point, a couple nights a week (at least) to go to bed early. Getting a good night’s sleep will lead to a more effective use of time in the long run.

4. Unplug. Deciding when, where and how to be accessible for work can be a constant challenge. It can also mean that you’re always bringing work home with you. Make it a point to manage your technology and consciously decide to separate work time from personal time.  Have dinner with your family away from electronics.  Research suggests that children who have dinner with their family each night are more successful in school.  Late night use of technology can inhibit sleep quality as the blue light emitted by the devices decreases your level of melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep. Turn off your phones and tablets at least an hour before going to bed.

5. Move your body. Exercise is one of the first things to go when our calendars fill up and life gets busy, and yet exercise is one of the most effective stress reducers. Exercise is also shown to boost your energy levels and enhance your ability to concentrate. Short on time? Keep it simple – opt for the stairs, stand at your desk or take a walk around the block on your lunch or coffee break.

At the end of the day, just know that you aren’t alone if you’re finding it challenging to juggle your job demands and your personal life. Many people are struggling to keep the balance, but a few small, simple tricks can help you restructure a few areas in your life and ultimately help you restore harmony.

Dr. Carolyn Logsdon, a psychotherapist at the Pacific Medical Center Northgate clinic, has been in practice for 30 years. She received her PhD from State University of New York in Albany. Dr. Logsdon provides counseling services to adults, children and families, and has special interest in attention deficit disorder, chronic, terminal illness and chronic pain. To learn more or to make an appointment with Dr. Logsdon, please visit or call 206.621.4045.

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