News blog for Seattle's Wedgwood and View Ridge neighborhoods

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The 2015 US Dietary Guidelines: A Dietitian’s Take

March 25th, 2016 by hillaryu

Written by Katy Figel, RDN, CD

As you may have heard by now, the 2015 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) have been officially released. While the majority of Seattleites may not be able to recite specific recommendations or changes that were made, the Guidelines still play a large role in our day to day diets. The Seattle School District’s school lunches, our supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) and the My Plate education programs are all heavily influenced by these Guidelines. So what’s new this time around?

Eating Patterns vs. Nutrient Values

I applaud the DGAs for attempting to focus on foods and dietary patterns instead of on confusing nutrient values. For example, the Guidelines recommend that Americans, “shift to healthier food and beverage choices.” They also encourage Americans to eat more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Seattleites can easily reach this goal by visiting local farmers markets or joining a local Community Supported Agriculture program to get more fruits and vegetables on their dinner tables.

Sugar Recommendation

Another new recommendation (although consistent with the World Health Organization’s previous report) is to limit our intake of added sugars to no more than 10% of our total calorie intake. This means limiting sugar-sweetened foods such as candies and cookies and beverages such as energy drinks and soda in your diet. Instead work on finding snacks with low sugar such as granola and drinking more water. But water needs to be more easily accessible and available in our city. Try finding a drinking fountain in CenturyLink, it’s hard work!

Room for Improvement

Disappointing however is how the Guidelines resort back to their old ways when making recommendations around what they want us to limit.  Suddenly, instead of talking about specific foods, they instead switch back to referring to certain nutrients. For example, they tell us to “limit saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and sodium”. However when we eat out, we don’t order “saturated fat” off the menu. Nor do we go grocery shopping and put “sodium” into our shopping cart. The truth is that many Americans don’t know that meats tend to be high in saturated fats or that added sugars are most widely consumed in sodas and sweetened beverages. The recommendations, would better serve our population if they clearly stated specific foods that we should limit. If you’re curious about foods and beverages you should limit for a healthy, balanced diet, talk with your primary care provider or a local dietitian.

Katherine Figel, RDN, CD, is a dietitian with the Nutrition team at Pacific Medical Centers. She sees patients at the Pacific Medical Center Canyon Park, Northgate and First Hill clinics. Pacific Medical Centers is a private, not-for-profit, multi-specialty health care network of nine locations with 150 primary and specialty care providers.  Its nine locations are in the Puget Sound neighborhoods of Beacon Hill, Canyon Park, Federal Way, First Hill, Lynnwood, Northgate, Puyallup, Renton and Totem Lake. To better serve our patients, in 2016 we plan to open clinics in Lakewood and Lacey. Pacific Medical Centers serves patients with commercial insurance, retired military and their families, family members of active-duty personnel, as well as the underserved in our community.

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UW I-LABS Seeks Volunteers

March 19th, 2016 by hillaryu

The University of Washington Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) studies social and cognitive development. Their researchers explore why infants enjoy social interactions, how toddlers learn about the emotions and goals of other people, and when children develop empathy for others.

They are looking for infants and children in the age range of 0 to 8 years old to join their registry. They will keep your information in a confidential list and contact you when your child is near the age for a study. More information about individual studies will be provided once your child has been selected.

To learn about volunteering for child development studies at the University of Washington Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) click here.

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Help Wedgwood and John Rogers students have FUN!

March 13th, 2016 by hillaryu

Finding Urban Nature (FUN) is Seattle Audubon’s free environmental education program in Seattle Public Elementary Schools. FUN is an environmental education program that introduces students to the natural world in their own schoolyard habitats through observation, discovery, and scientific inquiry. Volunteers work with small groups of 4-5 students for 4, one-hour lessons, over the course of 4 weeks. The program needs volunteers at Wedgwood and John Rogers Elementary Schools. Please respond as soon as possible to be a part of FUN training in April. Contact Cassandra at 206-523-8243 ext. 12 if interested. A background check is required.

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Laurelhurst Tennis Court Drainage Improvement Project

March 12th, 2016 by hillaryu

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to the Laurelhurst Community Club meeting on Monday, March 14, 2016 at the Laurelhurst Community Center, 4554 NE 41st St.

Katie Bang, Seattle Parks and Recreation project manager, is on the agenda at 7:30 p.m.

This project replaces the Laurelhurst drainage system installed in the early 1900s. The existing lines are in poor condition. The goal of the project is to improve drainage of the tennis court and bang board courts, to reduce flooding, and to reduce ongoing maintenance needs.

The southern tennis courts will be closed this spring for construction. The courts are scheduled to be open in time for Summer Tennis Camp in late June. Seattle Parks and Recreation will work with the contractor to minimize impacts to the neighborhood and park.

For more information about the project please click here. If you have additional questions about the project or would like to request accommodations or need an interpreter please contact Katie Bang at or 206-684-9286.

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Boy Scout Troop 166 Local Compost Fundraiser

March 1st, 2016 by hillaryu

Boy Scout Troop 166 is having their annual compost sale!

This is a great time to get high quality compost for your spring planting preparation, as well as support a good cause. All proceeds go to support Troop 166 activities, including scholarships for scouts needing financial assistance.

Purchase includes free delivery (2 bags min) to select N. Seattle zip codes. Click here for more details and to place your order.

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NE Seattle Little League Seeks Umpires for 2016 Season

February 27th, 2016 by hillaryu

Submitted by Barry E.

Northeast Seattle Little League is seeking male and female high school, college age and adult umpires for our 2016 season (youth baseball and softball). Middle schoolers may be considered based on strict experience screening.

Per game compensation and/or School service project hours will be issued to all high school, college umpires and qualified middle schoolers pay rates are based on age and experience.

Rule/mechanics training and administrative support will be provided throughout then season, including certified pre-season training (paid).

The season will run from April through June at NE Seattle are park fields in Laurelhurst, View Ridge, Dahl and Magnuson parks.

If interested, please contact Barry Erickson or text to 206-910-2436.

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Seattle Tilth Trains New Master Composter Volunteers this Spring

February 18th, 2016 by hillaryu

Did you know that Americans waste about 25 percent of all food and drinks we buy? All of this uneaten food generates nearly one quarter of methane emissions in the US, increasing climate change. Alternatively, when it’s kept out of the garbage and composted, food waste is an incredibly useful soil amendment, turning garbage into “gardener’s gold.”

Composters Now in its fourth decade, Seattle Tilth offers the Master Composter / Soil Builder program in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities to train community members to become compost educators — and climate change heroes! Compost reduces global warming, storm water pollution and food waste while building healthy soil and growing healthy plants.

A diverse team of community volunteers participates in 28 hours of classroom learning, hands-on practice and field trips. Learn how to compost while learning about soil science, natural yard care and recycling! Training includes eight sessions during four weeks starting on Tuesday, March 22 in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood (4649 Sunnyside Ave N).

After the training, each Master Composter contributes 35 hours of volunteer outreach, teaching practical techniques to other community members throughout the city. Volunteers work on projects of their own choosing – at schools, churches, community centers, businesses and community gardens.

Food waste is such a problem that the City of Seattle prohibits food waste from going in the garbage. But many residents and community groups need support figuring out what to do with food waste. Master Composters have mobilized to provide needed education.

Apply by March 6

The Master Composter program is for Seattle residents only. However, King County residents who live outside of Seattle are encouraged to apply to similar programs we offer in King County. Applications are due March 6. Bilingual applicants are encouraged to apply.

Learn more and APPLY NOW!


Come to a Seattle Tilth volunteer orientation to get your questions answered:

Volunteer Orientation

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 6-7 p.m. at Bradner Gardens Park; 1730 Bradner Place S

The Master Composter/Soil Builder program is managed by Seattle Tilth and sponsored by Seattle Public Utilities.

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Ending the Silence: A Free Presentation about Teen Mental Health

February 15th, 2016 by hillaryu

The Seattle affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will be hosting an awareness event called Ending the Silence in March as part of their ongoing Speaker Series. The free presentation will take place in the Lake City Library Meeting Room (12501 28th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125) on March 7th from 6:30-8pm.

One in five children experiences a mental health condition, and suicide is the second-leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds. Ending the Silence is an awareness program intended to teach teens about the early warning signs of mental health conditions and when, where, and how to get help for themselves and their friends. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from two presenters including a young adult living with a mental illness.

What people are saying about Ending the Silence:

“I’m really grateful and glad that you talked to us. I often feel very alone or weird because many kids my age don’t understand. But now, I’m sure they would be more supportive of me,” – High School Student

“It is amazing what just one day, one talk can do. You never really know what’s going on in the brain of any particular student,” – Teacher

The message of empathy and hope encourages teens to actively care for themselves and their friends. Ending the Silence presentations usually take place in schools, but this Speaker Series event is open to the public. To schedule a presentation at your school, contact NAMI Seattle: 206-783-9264 or

Learn more about Ending the Silence here.

NAMI Seattle is the only organization in the Seattle area working specifically to fill the gaps in our local mental health system through education, referrals, and support. For more information, contact Selena at 206-783-9264.

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Stephen Merlino wins Writers of the Future Contest

February 14th, 2016 by hillaryu

One of our neighbors, Stephen Merlino, has been officially announced as a winner in the Writers of the Future Contest. The contest, one of the most prestigious writing competitions, is in its 32nd year and is judged by some of the premier names in speculative fiction.

Mr. Merlino was chosen from a group of 8 finalists with the win earning him a cash prize, a trip to Hollywood for a week long intensive workshop, an Oscar-style awards ceremony which draws in excess of one thousand attendees as well as having his winning short story published in the annual bestseller, L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume XXXII.

Stephen teaches English and American History at Mountlake Terrace High School and lives in Seattle. He is an alumnus of the University of Washington with a degree in English and a Master’s in Teaching.

Contest judges include, Tim Powers, author of On Stranger Tides, Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert, Dune, Robert J. Sawyer Flash Forward, Robert Silverberg, Sailing to Byzantium, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, A Mote in God’s Eye, Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game, and Nnedi Okorafor, Who Fears Death, to name a few.

Following the 1982 release of his internationally acclaimed bestselling science fiction novel, Battlefield Earth, written in celebration of 50 years as a professional writer, L. Ron Hubbard created The Writers of the Future writing contest ( in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers of speculative fiction to get that much-needed break. Due to the success of the Writing Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was created in 1988.

The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful. The 368 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 838 novels and nearly 4,000 short stories. They have produced 27 New York Times bestsellers and their works have sold over 50 million copies.

For more information about the contest, click here.

Congrats Stephen!

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9 to 5 the Musical at Seattle Musical Theatre

February 13th, 2016 by hillaryu

Seattle Musical Theatre is excited to bring you 9 To 5 The Musical! Our third show of the season is based on the seminal 1980 hit movie about the hilarious story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era is outrageous, thought-provoking, and even a little romantic.

Pushed to the boiling point, three female co-workers concoct a plan to get even with the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot they call their boss. In a hilarious turn of events, Violet, Doralee and Judy live out their wildest fantasy – giving their boss the boot! While Hart remains “otherwise engaged,” the women give their workplace a dream makeover, taking control of the company that had always kept them down. Hey, a girl can scheme, can’t she?

Tickets and information can be found online.

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