Ahead of sentencing hearing, Neighbours arsonist blames excessive drinking — UPDATE: 10 years

UPDATE: In Seattle’s downtown federal courthouse Thursday morning, Judge Ricardo S. Martinez sentenced Musab Masmari to ten years in prison for the New Year’s arson at Capitol Hill’s Neighbours nightclub.

Martinez doubled the sentence agreed to by both sides in the case, saying it was an exceptional case of arson that was clearly premeditated and not done in an alcoholic blackout, as Masmari had said in a written statement.”The community does need to be protected from the defendant in the future,” Martinez said. “It is not believable that he would’ve been in an alcoholic blackout.”

Masmari remained emotionless as his sentence was read and did not address the court.

“This could have been much worse,” said U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg. “The people who were at the club deserve a lot of credit.”

Greenberg said Masmari had an anti-gay bias and there was reason to believe that setting the fire at Neighbours was a hate crime. However, Greenberg asked the judge not to raise the sentence based on hate crime motivations because it would not increase the sentencing guidelines and would open the possibility of appeals.

Outside the courtroom after the hearing, defense attorney Charles Swift said he may appeal the sentence. “Because of the political nature of this case, one always suspected this could happen,” he said.

Shawn Knittel, a spokesperson for Neighbours who was inside the club at the time of the fire, said he wanted to see a much higher sentence than the five years recommended in the plea agreement. “I’m actually disgusted,” he said prior to the judge’s sentencing.

Masmari at a court hearing earlier this year (Image: CHS)

Masmari, right in purple, at a court hearing earlier this year (Image: CHS)

Original Report — 7/30/14: The former Capitol Hill resident who pleaded guilty to setting a New Year’s Eve fire inside a crowded Neighbours nightclub is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday for sentencing.

Under the plea agreement Musab Masmari will serve the mandatory minimum of five years in prison, although the judge in the case could sentence the 31-year-old up to the maximum 20 years allowed by law. Continue reading

Blue Angels above Seattle, Jet Kiss below Capitol Hill

Mike Ross and crew in 2010 after after receiving the A14 fighter jet for the future installation in Capitol Hill Station (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

Mike Ross and crew in 2010 after after receiving the A4 fighter jet for the future installation in Capitol Hill Station (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

The return of fighter jets above the skies of Seattle has CHS thinking about the fighter jets destined to fly together underneath Capitol Hill.

For the Blue Angels, here’s when to make sure your babies, pets, and skittish friends are in a safe place over the next few days:

2014 – I-90 Seafair and Blue Angels Closures
The annual Seafair festival begins when the pirates land the first week of July and ends with the Blue Angels flying over Lake Washington in a spectacular display of aeronautics. The Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) role is to make sure drivers and pilots are safe during the annual event.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires WSDOT to close Interstate 90 while the Blue Angels perform for the safety of both drivers and pilots.

Which roads and ramps will be closed?

Interstate 90 will be closed to all vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, eastbound and westbound, mainline and express lanes, between Interstate 5 in Seattle to Island Crest Way on Mercer Island:

  • Thursday, July 31: 9:45 a.m. – noon; 1:15 – 2:40 p.m. (Practice)
  • Friday, Aug. 1:  12:15 p.m. – 2:40 p.m., (Practice)
  • Saturday, Aug. 2:  12:15 p.m. – 2:40 p.m., (Full show)
  • Sunday, Aug. 3:  12:15 p.m. – 2:40 p.m., (Full show)

Below ground and slated to hang above the boarding platform with the opening of Capitol Hill Station in 2016, Jet Kiss by artist Mike Ross features two A14 fighter jets deconstructed and re-assembled in a kind of frozen mid-air embrace. “This monumental sculpture is created from two decommissioned A-4 Skyhawk fighter jets,” Ross wrote of his creation.

The jet was one of a pair taken apart and reconfigured for the sculpture (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

The jet was one of a pair taken apart and reconfigured for the sculpture (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

Continue reading

Urban Animal growing into new space to serve Capitol Hill’s dogs, cats and pals

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.28.24 AMUrban Animal veterinary care clinic is moving closer to the heart of the neighborhood it has been serving for two yearswith a move to The Lyric building on 10th and Thomas in this fall

Dr. Cherri Trusheim said she wanted to keep her clinic’s well earned client base by staying in the Broadway neighborhood.

“We are expanding now,” says veterinary assistant Ross Tindale, “business has been steadily increasing on a month to month basis, this summer has been pretty crazy so far.” Continue reading

Broadway bank held up in reported armed robbery — UPDATE: Suspect photos

photo (36)Police are looking for an armed man who held up the Capitol Hill branch of Homestreet Bank Monday morning.

According to police radio dispatches, the suspect entered the bank in the 700 block of Broadway E around 9:30 AM in the hold-up. He was reportedly armed with an “old revolver.”

The suspect was described as a black male in his 30s, around 6′ with a medium build, and wearing a red jacket, blue ball cap, blue jeans and black plastic, square-framed sunglasses. He left on foot headed northbound from the north Broadway bank. The suspect’s red jacket was found discarded outside the bank.

There were no reported injuries.

UPDATE 1 PM: SPD has posted a brief and photos of the suspect –

A man wearing a red jacket and brandishing a handgun robbed a Capitol Hill bank this morning.

The suspect, who appeared to be in his 20s or 30s, walked into the Homestreet bank in the 700 block of Broadway East, displayed a gun and demanded money. Seattle police officers arrived within minutes, but the suspect had fled, ditching the jacket he was wearing.

Robbery detectives and a K9 unit responded and are searching for the man. If you know the suspect, or have any helpful information, please call 206-684-5535. The man is armed, so if you see him call 911 immediately.

Seattle making plans for new downtown school

The new Northwest School building -- complete with rooftop sports field -- could be a model for a new downtown school at 2nd and Spring (Image: CHS)

The new Northwest School building — complete with rooftop sports field – could be a model for a new downtown school at 2nd and Spring (Image: CHS)

Monday night, Seattle Public Schools will host a meeting to discuss a proposal to create a downtown elementary school by taking over the former Federal Reserve building at 2nd and Spring. It’s not exactly Capitol Hill news except for the fact E Mercer’s Lowell Elementary currently serves as the district’s destination for downtown families. Continue reading

Sound Transit sets requirements, $30M+ price tag for prospective Capitol Hill Station developers

Just FYI, this is how Spain does transit plazas

Just FYI, this is how Spain does transit plazas public markets

CHStation-TOD-area-600x467-1What happens above ground at Capitol Hill Station will ultimately be just as important as the transit system serving thousands of passengers below. Another significant milestone has been reached in the process for Sound Transit to sell off its land around the Broadway station property to companies eager to meet the community’s transit oriented development needs. Here is the announcement from the Capitol Hill Champion community group assembled to represent the area’s residents, organizations, and businesses in establishing development requirements with Sound Transit and the City of Seattle for the properties:

Sound Transit has published its request for proposals (RFP) from bidding/short-listed developers for the Capitol Hill TOD sites.  The RFP includes site specific evaluation criteria, scoring for inclusion of community benefits, affordable housing tool, and an updated timeline. Links to the Sound Transit RFP documents can be found on our Resources page.

This marks another HUGE MILESTONE for the Capitol Hill community. BIG THANKS to the community for all of your hard work and support over the years!

We are still accepting responses to our 2014 Community Priorities Survey through 7/27.  Please take a few minutes to rate community priorities and answer developer’s questions to the community. The results will be included with our next correspondence to bidding developers and available on our website at the end of this month.

CHS reported here on a June meeting where the final roster of prospective developers made presentations about their work and vision for the sites.

The $1.8 billion light rail extension connecting downtown to the University of Washington under Capitol Hill is expected to open for service in early 2016. Sound Transit forecasts that by 2030, there will be 14,000 boardings a day at Capitol Hill Station. The transit oriented development around the station on Broadway could add as many as 400 apartments to the site. More than a third will be built as affordable housing. Thousands of square feet of retail and a semi-public plaza that could be home to a farmers market and more are also part of the plans. Continue reading

Anti-Genocide Noise Brigade march planned to start on Capitol Hill

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 4.51.05 PMThey’ll miss one of the men their message is aimed at by a few days — President Obama leaves town Tuesday night. Protesters are planning an “Anti-Genocide Noise Brigade” rally and march starting on Capitol Hill Thursday:

Join others who refuse to allow the atrocities against the Palestinian peoples continue without LOUD RESISTANCE. Bring pots n pans, musical instruments, yourself! every week. We will march in solidarity with the Palestinian peoples resisting occupation by Israeli colonizers

The un-permitted march starts at Seattle Central Thursday, July 24th at 7:30 PM, according to organizers. No route for the march has been posted.

Aprie hunts trends to keep fashion selling on Broadway

aprie__DSC0252aprie__DSC0227Rayna Stackhouse contributed this report as part of the UW News Lab. She is joining CHS as our summer intern. Welcome Rayna!

Las Vegas’s hustle and heat happen to be the setting for the largest global fashion exchange called MAGIC. One weekend in August brings together more than 50,000 buyers, sellers, and designers, with $200 million worth of orders each day.

Among these buyers are Lizette Gutierre-Parker and Katrina Baker who work for the fashion boutique Aprie, on Broadway at Thomas.

Both agree that these buying trips are their favorite weekends on the job. But sometimes, things don’t always go smoothly.

“We do have very similar taste, we know what will sell here and we have a good grasp on our customers,” says Baker, “but we have been compared to an old married couple because I will like something she doesn’t… We have to stop and think, can we sell this?” Continue reading

Don’t do this on the First Hill Streetcar tracks

The First Hill Streetcar won’t start service between Pioneer Square, the International District, and Capitol Hill until this fall or later. We don’t suggest you borrow this idea from a project already well known to the Internet but new to us for putting tram, trolley, and streetcar lines to work for alternative purposes.

It’s surely dangerous and likely against the law. But it does stoke the imagination.

Hat tip to @mattargyle!

UPDATE: Seattle Bike Blog points out you also shouldn’t do this:

CHS Pics | Seattle Pride Saturday 2014 on Capitol Hill

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Participants in the 2014 Seattle Dyke March

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Drag Queen Story Time at PrideFest Family Day

A performer at the Capitol Hill Pride Festival on Broadway

A performer at the Capitol Hill Pride Festival on Broadway

Someday — maybe soon — we won’t be able to close down the street for a festival. But we’re fairly certain the Seattle Dyke March will parade down Broadway forever.

The Seattle Pride Saturday night tradition continued this weekend as the 2014 edition of the city’s LGTBQ celebration continued with a full day of activities and night of parties on Capitol Hill before Sunday’s downtown parade.

Nice shoes

Nice shoes

The Capitol Hill Pride Festival — now in its sixth year — again had Broadway restaurants, bars, and merchants spilling into the street with Pride patios and special food and drink offerings. Despite the occasional sprinkle, attendance was again strong for the  day of drag entertainment, pet fashion contests, singing, and dancing organized by Broadway merchants. Hopefully attendees got their fill. With the plan to extend the Broadway Streetcar targeting a 2017 start of service, construction of the line and changes in Seattle Department of Transportation policy could mean the end of closing off the street.

Meanwhile, PrideFest celebrated Family Day in Cal Anderson and filled 11th Ave near the park with food trucks in a new expansion of the Pride Saturday event. Kids enjoyed Drag Queen Story Time while in the background, the annual Prom Dress Rugby game played out on Bobby Morris Field.

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More pictures of Pride Saturday on Capitol Hill, below.

Continue reading

First look inside new Cafe Solstice Capitol Hill

IMG_1568IMG_1575 Part coffeehouse, part bar, part bistro and grounded in Capitol Hill’s coffee pastCafe Solstice is officially open for business a block off Broadway at 10th and Thomas.

“It’s to bring people together, so in the morning people have coffee together and they talk, and at night they have a beer after work — they talk, they hang out,” Solstice general manager Sarah Schafer told CHS before the cafe’s summer solstice preview party last Saturday. “It’s about creating relationships.”

IMG_1576If you step in and think the new space nails the quintessential elements of current coffeehouse design, you’re not alone. One of the primary drivers of the buildout now works for Starbucks.

IMG_1566The new 3,500-square-foot (plus mezzanine) Solstice serves breakfast and lunch/dinner cafe-style fare plus baked goods and coffee and beer (including more than a dozen on tap.) It’s open seven days a week from 6 AM to midnight on weekdays, 6:30 AM to midnight on the weekend. A tuna fish sandwich will run you $10. Fancier fare clocks in at a few dollars more. You can learn more at cafesolsticeseattle.com.

The addition of Solstice to Capitol Hill’s cafe scene will soon be followed by another. Wylie Bush tells CHS his new Cafe Barjot coffee shop and juice bar on Bellevue Ave is on track for an opening next week. The website says July 1st but you’ll want to check for updates before making the stroll down from Bush’s Joe Bar.

Joe Bar’s Wylie Bush is planning to debut his new Cafe Barjot coffee shop and juice bar on Bellevue Ave.