Category Archives: Neighborhood Pride

BHIS principal honored as Principal of the Year

Kelly Aramaki.
Kelly Aramaki.
Beacon Hill International School Principal Kelly Aramaki was honored today as the Washington State Elementary School Principal of the Year. Aramaki, who has been the BHIS principal since 2011, was one of three finalists out of 18 statewide nominees, and will advance to a national celebration this fall in Washington D.C. as part of the National Distinguished Principal of the Year program.

The award was determined by a panel from the Elementary School Principals Association of Washington, who lauded Aramaki’s dedication to instructional leadership and engagement with the school, including occasionally breaking into song “to create a positive, collective identity” among the school’s staff.

Beacon Hill businesses, people honored by Seattle magazine

The big blue pizza oven at Seattle magazine’s “Best Pizza” restaurant, Bar del Corso. Photo by Dapper Lad Cycles in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool.

The December “Best of 2012” issue of Seattle magazine (unfortunately, not fully available online — you’ll have to buy a copy) gives Beacon Hill some city-wide love for our food, as well as taking note of a variety of Beacon Hill neighborhood “bests.”

Bar del Corso (3057 Beacon Ave. S.) was named “Best Pizza” in the city: “Tradition and creativity have never been so happy together as they are at Jerry Corso and Gina Tolentino Corso’s year-and-a-half-old Beacon Hill pizzeria.” The pizza crusts are singled out for mention: “simply perfection.”

In the “Best of the Neighborhoods” Beacon Hill category, Bar del Corso took another prize: “Best Restaurant.” “Best Bar” is El Quetzal (3209 Beacon Ave. S.), and the El Sabroso food wagon (corner of 16th Ave. S. and Roberto Maestas Festival Street) next to Beacon Hill Station earned accolades as “Best Takeout/Delivery.” The Station (2533 16th Ave. S.), just a few steps away, is “Best Coffee Shop,” while the Hilltop Red Apple (2701 Beacon Ave. S.) is, unsurprisingly, the “Best Grocery Store.” (The Promenade Red Apple at 23rd and Jackson likewise won that honor for the Central District.)

Not all the awards are food-related. The “Best Hair Salon” is Hair Skill Design (3226 Beacon Ave. S.), and the “Best Kids’ Activity” is the Beacon Mountain playground at Jefferson Park (3801 Beacon Ave. S.).

The “Best Live Music Venue” in the neighborhood is the Garden House (2336 15th Ave. S.), home of ROCKiT Community Arts events. Betty Jean Williamson, the current ROCKiT director, was named “Neighborhood Hero.”

Congratulations to all of the Beacon Hill neighbors, businesses, and organizations who have been honored. They all help make this neighborhood the great place to live that it is.

Beacon Hill bicycle and pedestrian plan honored with award

Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

The Beacon Hill Family Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, a project of Beacon BIKES and the City of Seattle, has won a 2012 VISION 2040 Award from the Puget Sound Regional Council. Vision 2040 Awards honor real-life examples of sustainable growth and improvements to quality of life in Puget Sound communities.

The Beacon Hill Family Bicycle and Pedestrian Circulation Plan has been designed as a ten-year plan to develop a network of pedestrian and bicycle routes to connect important and well-used locations with neighborhood greenways, cycle tracks, intersection improvements, and other solutions to increase safety for walkers and cyclists of all ages. Among the proposals is a crosswalk and “median refuge island” at South Spokane Street and Lafayette Avenue South, a location that leads directly into Jefferson Park from a neighborhood greenway but is currently very dangerous to cross.

Read more about the award here.

Seattle Met: Bar del Corso one of Seattle’s best restaurants

Photo by Dapper Lad Cycles in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
Bar del Corso on Beacon Avenue South is featured in the annual Seattle Met Best Restaurants list for 2012. Writer Kathryn Robinson says “[Seattle’s] soul resides in the mom-and-pop neighborhood restaurants that dot the city like a starry constellation. Jerry Corso’s Beacon Hill pizzeria provides the blueprint for how it’s done.”

The only other Southeast Seattle restaurant mentioned is Columbia City’s Full Tilt Ice Cream.

Read about Bar del Corso, Full Tilt, and the 23 other restaurants included on the list here.

Dearborn Park Elementary honored for breakfast improvements

This morning, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn will visit Beacon Hill’s Dearborn Park Elementary (2820 S. Orcas St) to honor its staff with a Super School award as part of the Fuel Up First with Breakfast Challenge. The Challenge is a joint initiative of Dorn, the Washington State Dairy Council, Share Our Strength, and Children’s Alliance.

In the Fuel Up First with Breakfast Challenge, all of Washington’s schools were challenged to change their breakfast programs to increase school breakfast participation by 50% during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years. Schools that have made the greatest improvements will be awarded cash prizes.

During today’s event, parents and students will have breakfast with Superintendent Dorn at 9:30 a.m., followed by a ceremony at 10 a.m. in which Dorn will present the Super School award to Principal Angela Sheffey Bogan and the students of Dearborn Park. Dorn will also announce additional winners of the contest.

Snackdown pt II: Southeast Seattle vs. International District

A tasty huarache from El Quetzal on Beacon Avenue. Photo by Lesa Sullivan in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.

As is only right and proper, Southeast Seattle wiped out West Seattle/White Center in the last round of Seattle Weekly‘s Snackdown competition to find the neighborhood/district with the best eatin’. Now we’ve moved into the quarterfinals, with a tough match against a heavyweight: the International District.

The International District is certainly known for its food, but it may be that Southeast Seattle has much more variety. At any rate, you know what to do: vote early, vote often.

Southeast Seattle vs. West Seattle: a lip-smacking Snackdown

Have a torta at El Quetzal! Photo by Eleazar Teodoro in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.

Get your votes in for Southeast Seattle! Seattle Weekly‘s Voracious food blog is running their annual Snackdown, in which regions of Seattle compete for the Snackdown title as “Seattle’s best eating district.” This week, Southeast Seattle is up against West Seattle and White Center. You can vote on the website.

In this year’s competition, the suburbs are included, and some Seattle neighborhoods are lumped in with others. So, Beacon Hill is part of the “Southeast Super Region” along with the Central District, Madrona, Mount Baker, Georgetown, Columbia City, and Rainier Valley. Last year’s champion, White Center, gets paired with West Seattle. The Southeast wiped out the Northeast Super Region in a pre-competition qualifying round last week.

Of course, we know all about the great food that can be found on Beacon Hill and elsewhere in the great Southeast. Surely we can defeat the Westerners this week. The winner of this week’s competition will then face the winner of the competition between Downtown/Belltown/Pioneer Square/Sodo and the International District.

Beacon Hill named one of 10 Great Neighborhoods

The APA praised Beacon Hill’s connectivity to light rail via the Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, Columbia City, and Othello stations. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

Guess what, neighbors? You live in a Great Place. The American Planning Association (APA), an organization of “planners, citizens and elected officials — committed to making great communities happen,” named Beacon Hill one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2012. This puts Beacon Hill in the company of neighborhoods including the Garden District in Baton Rouge, LA; Fells Point, Baltimore, MD; Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA; Cooper-Young, Memphis, TN; Downtown Walla Walla, WA; and others. The Great Neighborhoods are part of 30 Great Places in America listed by the APA, that also include 10 Great Streets and 10 Great Public Spaces.

The characteristics of a Great Neighborhood, according to the APA, include:

  • Has a variety of functional attributes that contribute to a resident’s day-to-day living (i.e. residential, commercial, or mixed-uses).
  • Accommodates multi-modal transportation (i.e. pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers).
  • Has design and architectural features that are visually interesting.
  • Encourages human contact and social activities.
  • Promotes community involvement and maintains a secure environment.
  • Promotes sustainability and responds to climatic demands.
  • Has a memorable character.

The APA cited the Hill’s “dynamic and engaged community,” diversity, and light rail connectivity, while also mentioning our “commanding views and scenic vistas,” and landmarks including “the largest Olmsted-planned and designed green space in Seattle — Jefferson Park.”

Great Places are eligible for bronze plaques to mark the achievement, but it’s unknown at this stage whether Beacon Hill will have a plaque installed.

Food Forest friends to celebrate “Ground Making” 9/29

The Food Forest site was marked during July’s Jefferson Park Jubilee to show where the features of the park will eventually be. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

Three years into the Beacon Food Forest planning, the site is still just plain lawn. That will change on Saturday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the forest’s first trees are planted at the Beacon Food Forest Ground Making Day celebration. All are invited to this inaugural work party to begin the transformation of the site.

West African drums will be played by Katia Roberts and Friends, and there will be food provided by Tom Douglas, La Panzanella, and more. Volunteers should RSVP to Glenn Herlihy at, and bring their own gloves.

The next day, Sunday, September 30, a tree planting workshop is scheduled for the Food Forest site from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., taught by Jana Dilley, Seattle Public Utilities’ reLeaf Program Manager. There are 20 spaces available in this workshop to learn how to plant and care for fruit trees. RSVP to to reserve a space.

Both events will be held at the Beacon Food Forest site, the southwest corner of Jefferson Park, at South Dakota Street and 15th Avenue South.

The Ground Making work party will begin by planting trees in a small area of the site. The rest of the site preparation and planting will come later, after the site is connected to a water source. The Friends of the Beacon Food Forest sent out an announcement explaining the delay:

“Hard working people at Seattle P-Patch (BFF is a Seattle P-Patch) are negotiating with several government agencies to find our point of connection to city water. Since we are starting with absolutely nothing but grass on our site we need to find where we will be placing our water meter and routing our water to the forest garden. Currently we are exploring two options: 1) Seattle Parks and Recreation allows us to tap into their Jefferson Park system or 2) we create our own point of connection by digging up 15th Ave S and running a new line up into the site. Seattle P-Patch, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle public Utilities who are negotiating these terms are being asked to be as economical and ecological as possible in their final decision. When the point of connection is agreed, final drawings for construction will be delivered to the Conservation Corps who will be doing the construction beginning, we hope, later this month.”

Red Apple celebrates lottery success with free cake

Photo by Wendi Dunlap.
The Hilltop Red Apple Market on Beacon Avenue South will host a customer appreciation celebration tomorrow, September 20, at 11 a.m. to celebrate being named as the Washington’s Lottery Seattle-area Retailer of the Year. There will be free cake for Red Apple customers, along with lottery promotions. Lottery representatives will present the store with a plaque and a $500 check.

The Red Apple has a high volume of lottery ticket sales, and has sold a lot of winning tickets. Last year, the store sold 14 winning tickets worth $1,000 or more.