Help clean up Beacon Avenue today at noon

Today at noon, “Team Java Love,” one of two local Beacon Avenue litter-pickup teams, will be picking up litter on Beacon between Java Love and the Beacon Hill Library. Anyone who would like to pitch in is welcome. Please bring gardening or latex gloves if you have them. We are told that when you check in at Java Love, they may have yellow litter bags and highly fashionable safety vests to use. The job could take 30 minutes to an hour or more, depending on how many helpers are there.

Thanks to Allison for posting this on the mailing list!

Welcome to a new Beacon Hill resident

If you didn’t read the comments in the Thanksgiving pie post a couple of days ago, you missed the announcement of a brand-new Beacon Hill resident.

Welcome to Stella Rose Hill-Stach, born at 5:09 pm on Tuesday, November 25 to Tyler and Sarah!

Congratulations to the happy parents!

(We’re glad to post birth announcements, engagement and wedding announcements, etc. for Beaconians. If you have one, please email us!)

Guest Editorial: Schools and the cost of consensus

by George Robertson

(Editor’s note: this is a guest editorial, and as such, reflects only the opinions of its author, which may or may not coincide with the opinions of the editors. Would you like to write an editorial for the Beacon Hill Blog too? Email us.)

School closures in Seattle are simply a necessity caused by our unwillingness to pay more taxes and the absolutely irreducible minimum costs of operation. In Seattle now, the closures are far from an unreasonable action. Unlike so many tax revolt-driven consequences of democracy, this one makes lots of sense. Seattle has 80% of the buildings in operation today, that we did with double the enrollment in a time more than thirty years gone by.

Nobody has rectified this waste, because no neighborhood faction can accept that their pet school is going to be one of the goners. I am getting pretty old, and my mother, who was full of advice too, died in her mid-nineties about 15 years ago. I was struggling with my daughter’s school district over facilities issues back then. Her advice then, was to accept that no action of government, or even of a school board, would ever be right. That is, she meant, really right. No decision would stand up to close scrutiny as logically impeccable and wise in all ways. She suggested then, that it is important to just try to precipitate some action that improves as much as you can, in the time available, on no action. And then when it comes time to decide, just make sure that you do decide, and then proceed to make it become a prompt reality.

The money we have pissed away not deciding this question for a decade would build you a very nice school to replace that dilapidated junk pile next to Jefferson Park. Had we done it when we were still prosperous, it could have paid for at least some new teachers to reduce the student/teacher ratio in the classrooms of the remaining schools during that last decade. But we could not agree, so we bickered and delayed. We ran the district inefficiently for another ten years with a budget that was perpetually on empty. Now with no reserves and a huge district budget disaster looming, we have no choice; the money saved will merely reduce an impossible budget shortfall, and prevent perhaps some of the layoffs and class size increases we will suffer in balancing the costs of public education with the money we’ve given the district to pay for it. We are doing this now, at a time when bailing out ourselves with unemployment compensation is competing with the schools for our tax money.

That was smart. I should have listened better to my Mom, when I had the chance.

George Robertson is a long-time Beacon Hill resident. His website is

Beacon Hill Dry Cleaners site for sale

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Got $1.3 million to spare? The Beacon Hill Dry Cleaners site on the corner of Beacon and Columbian is for sale. The sale flyer says: “Great opportunity to own 13864 square feet of developable land on the corner of Beacon Ave S and Columbia. This area is expecting major growth.” Sounds like there might be changes coming when and if the sale happens.

Happy Thanksgiving — try a pie!

Pumpkin Pi! Photo by Paul Adam Smith.
Pumpkin Pi! Photo by Paul Adam Smith.
It’s Thanksgiving, and here at the BHB Jason and I are thankful for our wonderful readers, who have made our first month and a half of publishing such fun! To thank you, here’s a great pumpkin pie recipe from my grandma’s recipe collection. I’ve used this recipe many times and it is very good.

Pumpkin Pie

Start with 1 recipe pie crust. Set the uncooked shell aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Put 2 cups pumpkin (or one small can) into mixing bowl.

2 eggs beaten slightly (Egg Beaters work just fine if you want it to be lower-fat)

1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla

then add:
1 c. scalded milk (skim milk works fine if you wish to use it, and so does
soy milk)

Mix all together. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, turn
the heat down to 350, bake 45 minutes. It’s done when you can stick a knife in the
middle and it comes out clean.

Makes 1 pie. For two pies, use a large can of pumpkin and double everything
else exactly.


Van Asselt building closure hearing, 12/15

As we reported last night, the Van Asselt building has been proposed for closure: its students would move to the nearby African American Academy building, and the Academy program would be discontinued. By law, the school district must have public hearings before closing a building. Van Asselt’s hearing is Monday, December 15, 6:30-8:30pm, at the school, 7201 Beacon Avenue South.

Public testimony will be limited to 3 minutes per speaker, and is expected to focus on the school building about which the hearing is being held. To sign up to give testimony, please call (206) 252-0042 or e-mail

If you are interested in hearings for any of the other school buildings on the closure list such as Lowell or Mann, the hearing schedule is here, as is information about community workshops to discuss the other proposed program changes.

North Beacon volunteer potluck dinner, 12/4

The North Beacon Hill Council is hosting a potluck dinner to honor volunteers in the community. Amie Patao writes,

“Whether you pick up litter, help to clean up stairwells, work with the NBHC and GDDC, head up a Block Watch, keep the Jungle safe, help with the Piñata Party, walk your dog so the Hill is populated, go to the off-leash park, or advocate for pedestrian rights, you’re invited. I’m sure I’ve missed some of the many volunteer efforts that take place here on the Hill, so if I have, please know that you are included!”

The dinner is Thursday, December 4, 6:30-9:00 pm, at the Jefferson Park Lawn Bowling Clubhouse, 4103 Beacon Ave South. Bring a dish to share; no alcoholic beverages are allowed at the clubhouse for this event. The potluck is in place of the monthly NBHC meeting.

Maple school kids sending care packages to troops today

Kids in Marcia Ventura’s fifth grade class at Maple Elementary School have been working on a project that culminates today with the shipping of about 50 care packages to the First Platoon, Charlie Company, 1-4 Infantry, stationed in Mizan, Afghanistan.

According to Ventura, this is the second year that Maple’s fifth graders have sent treats and morale to troops overseas. Last year, the class “adopted” a Marine, Corporal Paul Craddick, who served in Ramadi, Iraq. The students exchanged letters and phone calls, sent him monthly care packages, and hosted a welcome home party when he returned to the US. Along with students at neighboring Kimball Elementary, Maple’s fifth graders participated in a successful drive for gifts, to be sent to all 175 Marines in Craddick’s unit.

This year’s drive is slightly different, says Ventura, as “the students lack a personal connection
to any of the soldiers in the platoon. However, as the students were studying about the election all fall the issues in which the two presidential candidates differed, students became interested in the two wars in which the United States is engaged.” Locals may have already seen evidence of the class’s interest in politics; earlier this fall, the kids made “VOTE” signs and went out on Election Day to wave their signs and encourage Beacon Hillers to vote.

The students have carefully organized and labeled items which are now in the classroom, ready to be packed up this morning. Five parents, as well as Karen Craddick (Corporal Craddick’s wife) will volunteer their time to help the kids pack, fill out shipping forms, and send a little bit of Beacon Hill to Afghanistan.

More on the proposed school closures and other changes

Now that the school closure/relocation proposals are public, some parents are gearing up to fight, while others are resigned. (And some are probably thrilled, because programs are actually moving closer to them, or to better facilities.) We expect that there will be a big hubbub on this in coming days, though perhaps the Thanksgiving holiday will slow that momentum a bit.

The P-I‘s article about the proposals includes a map showing the movement of the various programs, generally southward.

Seattle Public Schools have posted a lengthy document that goes into detail on all the proposals, with statistics, maps, and reasons for the proposed actions.

Blogger and columnist (for the South Seattle Beacon) Sable Verity has a few things to say about the proposals, and particularly the proposal to kill the African-American Academy, starting with:

“I would like nothing more than to be able to stand up and say that the choice is wrong, that AAA is a fantastic school for our children and needs to be preserved. NOPE. I speak from experience as a former parent and employee. Shut. it. down.”

Half a ton of world-class Swinery bacon — cheap!

Photo by Craig Allen. Mmmm... Schweinfleisch!
Photo by Craig Allen. Mmmm... Schweinfleisch!
We mentioned the coming of The Swinery from Culinary Communion previously.

Now, by way of Chris Bailey on the mailing list and in the comments to our most recent mention of Culinary Communion, some delicious, delicious news:

Bacon Fundraiser at Culinary Communion!

Calling all friends of Culinary Communion, bacon lovers and foodies alike, we need your help! We need to move 1,000 pounds (yes, you read it right, 1,000 pounds) of bacon. It’s a long a story . . . but, in order to secure permitting and to start selling at farmer’s markets in 2009, the city needs to do one final inspection of our new space and 1,000 pounds of our house-cured, incredibly delicious bacon is standing in the way!

So, we need you, your friends, family and co-workers to buy our bacon! Selling for only $10/lb., our famous bacon is made from 100% organically-raised Berkshire heirloom pork and cured on-site at the CC house. It has been gaining considerable acclaim all around the city and you will see why when you taste it! Plus, what better time to have a couple pounds of homemade bacon on-hand. Think: Thanksgiving stuffing, weekend brunch, hostess gift or freeze a bunch to use throughout the year. This is an opportunity not to be missed (and a great way to support a local business during these crazy financial times)!

Swing by Culinary Communion any time to get your bacon on (even until noon on Thanksgiving Day). Not sure you have time to make the trek to Beacon Hill? Give us a call and we’ll do our best to bring the bacon to you! And, one more thing, consider starting a “Community Bacon Drive” at your office. Forward this to your co-workers, collect their orders and we’ll stop by your office with a special delivery. (Plus, we’ll throw in an extra pound for your help.)

Thanks in advance for helping us making our goal of selling 1,000 pounds of bacon a reality! Who knows? Maybe we’ll even make the Guinness Book of World Records . . . Most Bacon Sold in Least Amount of Time!

Our very best to all of you this Thanksgiving. We are thankful for the continued support you’ve given us over the years and the enthusiasm and excitement you’ve shown for our new endeavors. Thank you for being a part of it!

The Culinary Communion Team
Our Founders: Chef Gabriel & Heidi
The Kitchen Staff: Katie, Tom & Pip
The Office Staff: Zora, Michael, Adrienne & Jenny
House Managers: Gloria, Virginia & Teresa

Culinary Communion, LLC
2524 Beacon Avenue South
Seattle, Washington, 98144

Stock up and save! Makes a great Christmas gift! :)

Random bolding mine. Thanks for the info, Chris!