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Preschool, yoga and tax prep available at El Centro de la Raza

March 20th, 2013 at 5:50 am | 1 Comment | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

El Centro de la Raza from the south. Photo by Wendi Dunlap/Beacon Hill Blog.

Kids, yoga fans and taxpayers are part of some of the upcoming and current activities at El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Ave S. Read on for more information:

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Jonna Bracken is teaching yoga classes at Skin Deep Dance studio on the second floor of El Centro on Thursday evenings, from 7:00-8:15 p.m. The class is open to all levels of practitioners and is an alignment-based class. The fee is four classes for $55 or eight classes for $100, but you can try your first class for free. Questions? Contact Jonna via email at jonnayoga@gmail.com.

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The José Martí Child Development Center is currently enrolling children aged 18 months to four years old for preschool programs with a focus on dual-language education in Spanish and English and a rich multicultural program featuring age-appropriate developmental goals to prepare kids for later success in kindergarten.

Classes for kids aged 18 months through three years start on April 1. Classes for four-year-olds start on June 1.

Assistance is available to fill out applications for subsidies from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) or the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Slots are also available for private pay families. For more information or to enroll, call 206-957-4619 or email jmcdc@elcentrodelaraza.org.

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As mentioned on this site last month, there is a free tax preparation clinic currently operating at El Centro. In addition to tax preparation, help is available for completing the FAFSA (application for student loans for college), applying for food stamps, utility assistance, free credit reports and more.

The United Way Tax Preparation program is free for anyone making under $51,000. Bring photo ID and Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, along with all wage and earnings statements and any other documents needed for tax filing.

Tax prep sessions are open at El Centro on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. (English/Spanish) and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (English/Spanish/Tagalog).


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City announces ‘ultra high-speed’ broadband demonstration project to include Beacon Hill

December 13th, 2012 at 5:52 pm | 12 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

This map shows the 12 neighborhoods in the planned Gigabit Seattle demonstration project, including part of North Beacon Hill. Click to see a larger copy of the map.

This map shows the 12 neighborhoods in the planned Gigabit Seattle demonstration project, including part of North Beacon Hill. Click to see a larger copy of the map.

The City of Seattle today announced an agreement with broadband developer Gigabit Squared that plans to use the city’s excess fiber-optic capacity to provide an “ultra high-speed” fiber-to-the-home/business broadband network starting in Fall 2013 with demonstration projects in 12 Seattle neighborhoods, including portions of North Beacon Hill and other Southeast Seattle neighborhoods. An additional part of the project is the development of dedicated broadband wireless connections to multifamily housing and offices, and “next generation” mobile wireless Internet.

The City, the University of Washington, and Gigabit Squared have signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of intent that allows Gigabit Squared to begin raising the capital needed for the first phase of the project.

That’s the good news. The bad news is: only a small part of Beacon Hill is included in the demonstration project (see this map or this map), so this will only improve things for a limited number of residents. However, Gigabit Seattle asks that you sign up on their website to show your interest in having the service so they can determine where to expand next.

Here’s how the city described the plan today in a press release:

1. Fiber to the home and business: Gigabit Seattle plans to build out a fiber-to-the-home/fiber-to-the-business (FTTH/FTTB) network to more than 50,000 households and businesses in 12 demonstration neighborhoods, connected together with the excess capacity that Gigabit Seattle will lease from the City’s own fiber network. Gigabit Seattle’s technology intends to offer gigabit speeds that are up to 1,000 times faster than the typical high-speed connection.

The initial 12 neighborhoods include: Area 1: the University of Washington’s West Campus District, Area 2: South Lake Union, Area 3: First Hill/Capitol Hill/Central Area, Area 4: the University of Washington’s Metropolitan Tract in downtown Seattle, Area 5: the University of Washington’s Family Housing at Sand Point, Area 6: Northgate, Area 7: Volunteer Park Area, Area 8: Beacon Hill and SODO Light Rail Station and Areas 9-12: Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, and Rainier Beach.

2. Dedicated gigabit to multifamily housing and offices: To provide initial coverage beyond the 12 demonstration neighborhoods, Gigabit Seattle intends to build a dedicated gigabit broadband wireless umbrella to cover Seattle providing point-to-point radio access up to one gigabit per second. This will be achieved by placing fiber transmitters on top of 38 buildings across Seattle. These transmitters can beam fiber internet to multifamily housing and offices across Seattle, even those outside the twelve demonstration neighborhoods, as long as they are in a line of sight. Internet service would be delivered to individual units within a building through existing wiring. This wireless coverage can provide network and Internet services to customers that do not have immediate access to fiber in the city.

3. Next generation mobile wireless internet: Gigabit Seattle will provide next generation wireless cloud services in its 12 neighborhoods to provide customers with mobile access.

See more about today’s announcement at the Seattle Times, which points out that parts of the East Side already have fiber broadband, and residents of Ephrata in Grant County have “one of the world’s fastest broadband services” — for $45 per month. Some parts of Seattle already have access to this speed as well, including the South Lake Union neighborhood through CondoInternet, which charges $200 per month for their “up-to-gigabit-speed” service. Gigabit Seattle has yet to finalize the rates for their service.

According to the Gigabit Seattle website, “the more interest we have in your area, the higher priority your neighborhood will become.” They ask that all interested people sign up at their website to show interest in receiving this service to their neighborhoods.


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Parks making improvements to Beacon Mountain

October 5th, 2012 at 5:50 pm | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

The slides at Beacon Mountain will be closed through December while the playground is revised and improved. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

You may have noticed the slides at Jefferson Park’s Beacon Mountain Playground have been closed. Have no fear — they are only closed so that Seattle Parks and Recreation can make the final revisions and tweaks to the new playground that opened in July. The work is being done in conjunction with the contractor and manufacturer of equipment, before the warranty expires. The work should be done by year’s end.

The work will include additions and alterations to the playground including revisions to the surfacing in the spraypark and additions to the mechanical system for spray features; plant replacement and hillside fortification to prevent erosion; revisions to hillside slides; and additions to site furnishings such as picnic tables, benches, bike racks, and trash receptacles. New interpretive panels describing solar energy production in the park will also be installed.

The slides will be closed through December.

For more information (or if you want to suggest additional improvements), contact project manager Andy Sheffer, 206-684-7041 or andy.sheffer@seattle.gov.


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Broadband improvement meeting at El Centro 9/20

September 12th, 2012 at 5:23 am | 1 Comment | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Annoyed at slow Internet speeds here on Beacon Hill? Mark Thursday, September 20 at 6 p.m. on your calendar—CenturyLink is hosting a community meeting to discuss what needs to be done to have faster speed in the area.

According to representatives from UPTUN (Upping Technology for Underserved Neighbors) and from CenturyLink who spoke at last night’s North Beacon Hill Council meeting, there have been problems with Seattle’s permitting process for installing new broadband infrastructure, causing hold-ups or cancellation of several broadband upgrade projects that had been planned for 2012. (The Beacon Hill Blog posted about some of these potential projects in July.)

Those interested in finding out more are invited to the meeting on September 20 at El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Ave. S., Room 307 (top floor, north end of the building). The meeting will run from 6-8 p.m., and there will be cookies and coffee provided.


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Spray park drainage to be fixed

July 24th, 2012 at 4:08 am | 2 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

We received an e-mail from Andy Scheffer of Seattle Parks and Recreation with some news about the spray park at Beacon Mountain. Here’s what he said:

The spray pad at Beacon Mtn. – Jefferson Park is temporarily closed because the water is not draining quick enough. The engineer is researching a fix and the contractor is going to make the necessary changes as soon as he is given direction (early this week). The system was tested on multiple occasions prior to the opening on July 14th. However, the issue was not readily apparent until the spray park experienced, continual, high usage.

I sincerely regret this inconvenience and can promise you that we are doing everything possible to get the system up and running again. Please don’t hesitate to e-mail or call me with additional questions or concerns.

Thank you, kindly
Andy Sheffer


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Beacon Mountain spray park runs dry

July 22nd, 2012 at 10:40 pm | 4 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Neighbors have reported some disappointment that the new water spray park at the Beacon Mountain playground in Jefferson Park is not working. We have contacted the Parks Department to ask what went wrong (so far, it seems that it may be the drains), and if there is an expected date for the water feature to return to service. Watch this space for more information as we get it.


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Schools closed, library open (late)

January 20th, 2012 at 5:39 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Though Seattle Schools and most other schools are closed today (see schoolreport.org to check on your school’s status), Seattle Public Library is taking a chance that conditions will be better this afternoon, and library branches will open at 1 p.m.


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Library to offer free computer classes

December 22nd, 2011 at 6:04 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Photo by go-team in the Beacon Hill Blog Photo Pool on Flickr.

Need to learn computer skills? The Seattle Public Library will offer free computer classes at the Beacon Hill Library (2821 Beacon Ave. S.) during January and February. These courses include a series of classes for people who have little or no experience with computers, as well as a few more advanced classes.

All classes are free and open to the public. Registration is not required, but seating may be limited. For more information, call 206-386-4636.

The class list:

  • Computer Basics 1: Learn how to use a computer keyboard and mouse.
    6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, January 2
  • Computer Basics 2: Learn how to use basic features of the Windows software operating system. The session will cover using the toolbars, scroll bar, and text boxes.
    6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, January 9
  • Email Basics: Get a free email account and learn how to use it, including how to send email, send attachments, and use the address book.
    6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, February 6
  • Internet Basics 1: Learn about Web browsers and how to navigate a Web page.
    6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, January 23
  • Internet Basics 2: Learn how to use search engines, evaluate websites, and print from the Web.
    6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, January 30
  • Library Catalog Basics: Learn how to search the Library’s catalog to find DVDs, CDs, books, and other materials, and how to reserve and renew items.
    10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, January 7
  • Downloading E-books & Audiobooks: Learn how to download e-books and audiobooks from the Library’s website.
    6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, February 13
  • Web 2.0 Basics: Learn about blogs, wikis, Facebook, and more.
    6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, February 27

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You’re invited to a virtual “ride along”

November 11th, 2011 at 7:01 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Next Tuesday, November 15, everyone is invited to “ride along” with Seattle Police officer Nate Shopay to get a taste of life for a patrol officer on Beacon Hill. That’s right, everyone. There’s room for the whole neighborhood, since it’s a virtual ride along — a Tweetalong! Shopay will use Twitter to post his experiences on a typical day patrolling Beacon Hill between South Orcas Street and South Othello Street, during the second watch shift from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Seattle Police Twitter account is @SeattlePD. On the day of the Tweetalong, search for #tweetalong on that account to follow the tweets.


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Input wanted on new directions for Community Centers

June 7th, 2011 at 8:30 am | 1 Comment | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Jefferson Park Community Center. Photo by Wendi.

Seattle Parks and Recreation has been challenged by the City Council to re-think the way community centers should operate in this time of budget difficulties.

A citizen advisory team has worked for a while on developing new ideas for the operation of the centers, and now Parks would like to hear from residents in the wider community at two meetings, one at Bitter Lake in the far North End, and the other right here on Beacon Hill.

All are welcome to attend. The Bitter Lake meeting is on Wednesday, June 15, 7 – 8:30 p.m., at Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave. N. The Beacon Hill meeting is the next day, Thursday, June 16, 7 – 8:30 p.m., at Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Ave. S.

A draft of the options that have been proposed so far will be available tomorrow, June 8, at all community centers and on the Seattle Parks and Recreation website. There will also be an online survey posted on the same website starting June 8 which you may fill out if you’re unable to attend the community meetings.

For further information, please contact Susan Golub at susan.golub@seattle.gov.


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