What happened to Capitol Hill ‘conspirators’ in the FBI’s 2010 Russian spy case

The story is something out of a Cold War thriller, with a Capitol Hill twist. Buried cash, “deep cover” spying, “brush passes” at train stations to exchange bags of money, all ending with a U.S.-Russia spy swap on a Vienna airport runway.

Russian intelligence called it the “Illegals program” — an ambitious multiyear spy operation carried out by at least 11 deep cover Russian agents in the U.S. that all came crashing down five years ago this summer. Two of those spies, a married couple with children, lived in Seattle as early as 2004 and left in 2009.

They lived on Capitol Hill.

Known in the U.S. as Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills, the couple lived relatively quiet lives. He purported to be from Yonkers, New York while she claimed to be Canadian. Their spycraft never drew any suspicion from neighbors or their landlord at 424 Belmont Ave E.

In 2010, after the couple had moved to Virginia, they were arrested as part of a major FBI surveillance investigation into the Russian spy ring. It wasn’t until then that the true identities of Mikhail Kutsik and Natalia Pereverzeva were revealed. FBI agents called them the “Seattle conspirators.” Continue reading

Seattle Fire stops overdose in Cal Anderson from joining awful King County heroin trend

Monday night last week in the late evening sun in Cal Anderson, Seattle Fire medics arrived near the playground where bystanders were trying to save the life of a 24-year-old female suffering a drug overdose. Unconscious and not breathing, the woman was brought out of the OD with an injection of naloxone.

Far from a miracle, the overdose fortunately won’t be added to the disturbing trend of spiking heroin deaths:

Death from opiates in King County in 2014:

  • Heroin-involved deaths totaled 156, a 58% increase from 99 in 2013.

  • Heroin deaths involving no other drugs are most common among young adults.

  • Prescription-type opiate-involved deaths have decreased from a peak of 164 in 2009 to 98 in 2014.

In the study from the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, heroin deaths were up across all age groups. As in past UW studies, researches say a mix of heroin with other drugs is often part of the overdose — but 2014 totals reveal a new recipe. “Historically, many heroin deaths have involved cocaine, and this continues to be the case,” a report on the study notes. “However, over the past three years, many more deaths have involved heroin and methamphetamine.”

Heroin’s high, however, is at the core of the region’s addiction problems. “The number of treatment admissions with heroin as the primary drug doubled from 2010-2014 and are higher than any drug since at least 1999,” according to the study.

While it doesn’t address addiction, access to naloxone improved earlier this year with the passage of a new law allowing pharmacists to prescribe naloxone to first responders, homeless shelters, and family members and permit them to administer it across the state. The antidote can’t, of course, save everybody. In April, one man died in an overdose in Cal Anderson while two others were taken to the hospital.

Heroin is also taking its toll on the homeless and mentally ill population in the county:

  • Among those admitted to drug treatment, approximately one-third were determined to have serious mental health issues.

  • Among people who died of drug-overdose, approximately 20% had an antidepressant detected in their body — indicating that the decedent had a serious mental health condition and that they had seen a healthcare provider in the recent past.

  • Mental health and substance abuse commonly overlap and exacerbate one another.

You can read more about the 2014 edition of the study here.

 

Five residents displaced after two-alarm apartment fire near 27th/Cherry

Seattle firefighters battled roaring flames and sweltering temperatures to put out a two-alarm apartment fire near 27th and Cherry Thursday evening.

SFD responded to 540 27th Ave at 4:40 PM, where flames had engulfed the front of the building. No injuries were reported, but SFD said five people will be displaced from the blaze. 

The fire was accidentally caused by improperly discarded smoking materials on the building’s front porch, according to SFD. 

Crews managed to rescue three cats and a dog from the building and treated the pets for smoke inhalation. Misting fans were brought out to cool off firefighters working in 92+ degree temperatures.

 

#fire #nobueno

 

A video posted by David Knirk (@senorfrijoles) on

Seattle LGBTQ Task Force recommendations include public safety, youth — and more rainbow crosswalks on Capitol Hill

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

Its signs may be blue and white but the crosswalks around Capitol Hill Station will be rainbows. While it likely won’t be the most effectual of the recommendations, a proposal to add more rainbow crosswalks to Capitol Hill is part of a plan released Thursday by Mayor Ed Murray’s LGBTQ Task Force “to support a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for LGBTQ people in Seattle.”

Let’s hope this one doesn’t get rolled back.

“Seattle has long been a place where everyone can find an accepting and tolerant home,” Murray is quoted as saying in the announcement of the task force recommendations. “We celebrate our history of advancing equity for the LGBTQ community and we will support efforts to make Seattle even more inclusive. Thank you to the task force for identifying these actions to reduce the violent attacks and verbal harassment experienced by LGBTQ people.”

The LGBTQ Task Force plan is organized into four areas: Public Safety, LGBTQ Youth, the Built Environment, and Public Understanding:

·         Seattle Police Department will continue the Safe Place program to identify local businesses that will shelter victims of harassment until officers arrive.

·         The Department of Neighborhoods will use Neighborhood Matching Funds to support projects that promote LGBTQ safety.

·         The City will direct more resources to support Project EQTY and other social service providers that work with LGBT youth. Continue reading

A District 3 look at what’s happening in the two Seattle-wide City Council races

The Position 8 gang

If you’re one of the roughly 55,000 registered voters in District 3 who hasn’t turned in a ballot ahead of the August 4th primary, maybe you’re still trying to decide what to do about those two at-large seats.

All Seattle voters can cast a ballot for candidates running for the citywide Position 8 and Position 9 seats on the Council. In theory, the two at large council seats were left in place so those members could vote with a full Seattle perspective and champion broad issues on the council like transit or pre-K education.

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Earlier this month, KUOW took the time to briefly interview all four Position 8 candidates and all six Position 9 candidates at Seattle locations of their choosing. The Seattle CityClub also hosted a July 15th debate that featured candidates from both races. Candidates have been making news in other ways, too.

First, a look at the piggy banks. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Undaunted by Seattle wage debate, Ian’s moves in where Zpizza bailed

The Broadway location formerly home to the Zpizza chain stands empty this summer, pundits say, because of Seattle’s new minimum wage law. We don’t know what pundits will say about this. Come October, a new pizza chain will have moved into the same space. And the new owners seem way more into this whole $15 per hour thing.

“My friends and family brought it up more than people in the business,” Brandon Stottler tells CHS. “It feels more like the right thing to do to respect service workers and what they do.”

This fall, Stottler and business partner Ryan Flohr will open Ian’s Pizza on the Hill in the Broadway Building just north of Pine in the same space vacated by the minimum wage-challenged chain. Part of a small chain of Madison, Wisconsin-based pizza joints that proudly offers health insurance to its employees, the Ian’s philosophy is much more sympatico with Seattle’s pro-labor movement.

Its pizza is pretty out there, too. “We try to get really weird with our pizza,” Stottler said. Continue reading

On the List | Seattle Art Fair Tableaux Vivant installation in Volunteer Park, Blue Angels, Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation

(Image: Wendy Red Star)

(Image: Wendy Red Star)

This weekend’s first ever Seattle Art Fair will include a Capitol Hill component. Artist Wendy Red Star is creating Tableaux Vivant: Nature’s Playground — “an imagined wilderness of assorted hunting decoys” including bears, birds, and deer — at Volunteer Park:

Visitors to the park and fair-goers alike are encouraged to pose within the landscape of this semi-fake and natural environment for selfies or photographs taken by the artist. Red Star is using social media as a way to document her piece and will provide a special hashtag to the public to use when they image share on their social media platforms.

The installation should be ready Friday afternoon and is planned to be in place through Sunday.

This weekend also bring SeaFair festivities to the area including the incredible and incredibly loud, totally amazing war machines, the Blue Angels:

  • Thursday: 9:45 a.m. – noon: 1:15 – 2:40 p.m. (Practice)
  • Friday, July 31: 11:50 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. (Practice)
  • Saturday, Aug. 1: 11:50 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. (Full show)
  • Sunday, Aug. 2: 11:50 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. (Full show)

More things to do: Celebrate Medicare’s 50th birthday with a free cupcake at Group Health Capitol Hill, meet the neighbors at the first ever First Hill Fidos dog contest, stop through the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation at the Broadway Performance Hall, or take a stroll on the Harvard/Belmont Walking Tour.

To find even more events on and around Capitol Hill or to add your own, check out the CHS Calendar. Continue reading

Mayor backs off affordability recommendation for Seattle single-family zones

Backing down from slow growth opposition and in a nod to a wave of bungalow nostalgia, Mayor Ed Murray announced Wednesday afternoon he will not support one of the most controversial — and possibly widely impactful — elements of the 60+ recommendations from his Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda Committee.

Murray said Wednesday he will not support the recommendation that could have opened 94% of single-family zones in Seattle to more multi-family style development to help offset soaring rents.

In the announcement, the mayor blamed “sensationalized reporting by a few media outlets” for helping to create the backlash. “The Council and I created the HALA process because our city is facing a housing affordability crisis,” Murray is quoted as saying. “In the weeks since the HALA recommendations were released, sensationalized reporting by a few media outlets has created a significant distraction and derailed the conversation that we need to have on affordability and equity.”

UPDATE: Council president — and candidate for citywide Position 8 — Tim Burgess foreshadowed the announcement with an updated posted Tuesday about HALA’s recommendations:

While the list of recommendations from HALA is long, one specific policy has received the most attention and criticism from neighborhoods across Seattle. It’s the recommendation that single-family zoning be relaxed in all areas of the city to allow for new duplexes, triplexes and stacked flats, a policy some believe will lead to speculators buying up homes, tearing them down, and replacing them with more expensive multi-family structures. We should take a step back from any policy that leads to that kind of speculation, disruption, and the widespread loss of existing, more affordable housing.

Meanwhile, support for an alternative affordability plan galvanized Wednesday as a coalition of City Council candidates has pledged to pursue the plan from HALA member and Position 8 candidate Jon Grant. Grant’s plan calls for an expanded linkage fee program that includes residential development in order to fund construction of 9,000 units of affordable housing for households at 0-30% of area median income — 4,000 more units than recommended by the HALA committee. Grant would also dedicate 5,000 of those units towards homeless housing.

The full announcement from the mayor’s office is below. Continue reading

Little Oddfellows ready to open inside Elliott Bay Book Company

(Images: Little Oddfellows)

It wasn’t as big a surprise as finding out Atticus Finch is a racist, but Little Oddfellows wasn’t in the plans. This spring, Capitol Hill food and drink veteran Linda Derschang told CHS her decision to take over the cafe space inside Elliott Bay Book Company was too good an opportunity to pass up.

This weekend, Derschang will unveil her version of a literary cafe:

Little Oddfellows will be making its debut this weekend inside of Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill.  The menu includes baked goods and desserts, coffee and espresso from Caffe Vita, sandwiches, grain salads, and housemade juices and scratch sodas.  Beer and wine will also be available.

Little Oddfellows will be open at 10am on Saturday, August 1st.  It joins Linda’s Tavern, King’s Hardware, Smith, Oddfellows Cafe+Bar, Bait Shop, and Tallulah’s as part of The Derschang Group.

Little Oddfellows is open from 10am to 10pm Sunday through Thursday and from 10am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday.  The Derschang Group has been a long-time admirer of both Elliott Bay Book Company and Caffe Vita and are very excited to partner with both of them.

Following a summer buildout, Little Oddfellows replaces the Elliott Bay Cafe after Tamara Murphy said she decided not to renew her lease for the space to “pursue other interests and projects.” Murphy and her cafe accompanied the legendary and last of its kind Seattle bookstore in its move to Capitol Hill from Pioneer Square in 2010.

From the business side of things, the opening also presents the opportunity to see how Derschang’s managers integrate a counter entity added on to their ongoing operations at Oddfellows. Ericka Burke will unveil a similar set-up on 11th Ave when her “juice and provisions” counter opens at Chop Shop.

Meanwhile, Derschang isn’t the only Capitol Hill food and drink maven taking a bookish turn this summer. The guys behind Lost Lake and the Comet are preparing to open Hemingway-inspired Ernest Loves Agnes “later this summer” in the old Kingfish Cafe space on 19th Ave E.

First Hill Fidos to take a bow (wow) in neighborhood’s ‘first ever’ canine contest

unnamed (1)First Hill is busy this summer making space for street parks and gathering for a new series of events to celebrate the community. First up Thursday night, First Hill Fidos:

The First Hill Improvement Association is proud to be programming a series of summer events along University Street. Our first event is in First Hill Park (Minor & University) and is an opportunity to show off your best friend! Neighbors can enter their dogs in a talent show, costume contest, and cutest dog contest!

Mark your calendars!

Thursday. July 30th
Registration begins at 5:30pm – Show at 6:00pm
First Hill Park
(Minor & University) 

This event will also feature hot dogs from local business Dirty Dogs, music, prizes, and the chance to build community with your two and four-legged neighbors on First Hill.

The summer series along University Street is funded through a grant by the Department of Neighborhoods, and our mission is to build community and enhance the public realm along this neighborhood green street.

This event is free and open to the public. Bring your dogs to enter in the contest or just come and behold the cuteness! Invite your friends and neighbors!

Email us at hello@universitystreet.org to pre-register or if you have questions.

The First Hill neighborhood has reportedly added 3,000 new residents in the last decade. Here’s your chance to meet some of them — and their dogs.

Meanwhile, Seattle Parks is looking for your feedback on its off-leash areas around the city:

We need your input on your recreational behavior and desires concerning Seattle’s off-leash areas in order to best meet our present and future demands and needs. The Seattle Animal Shelter estimates there are close to 150,000 dogs currently in the city of Seattle. Given the size of this user group, Parks will survey and analyze the recreational behaviors and characteristics of dog owners to help inform the Strategic Plan. This effort will be part of the larger recreation demand study currently underway.

You can take the off-leash survey here.