City Council overcomes mayor’s veto on Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue plan

The Seattle City Council doubled down on its plans for how best to spend $6 million in Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue Monday, voting to ignore Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of the legislation.

Only interim Council member Abel Pacheco, downtown rep Sally Bagshaw, and North Seattle rep Debora Juarez sided with the mayor Monday.

CHS reported on the fight over funding scraps for health and food programs as the mayor attempted to focus the tax revenue on a smaller set of existing resources vs. creating new, often progressive programs.

The tax on sugary beverages was originally earmarked for creating new programs related to “healthy food and beverage access, birth-to-three services and kindergarten readiness, a public awareness campaign about sugary drinks, support for people actively living with obesity and diabetes, community-based programs to support good nutrition and physical activity and evaluation support for those programs.” With Monday’s veto-killing vote, the council’s plan for new programs can again try to move forward.

Meanwhile, Monday’s full City Council action also included approval of Seattle’s Green New Deal resolution. Durkan’s response to the approval was much friendlier than the sugary beverage tax situation. In a statement, the mayor applauded the vote and said she was “committed to expediting climate action” by issuing an Executive Order directing City departments to “evaluate how they can accelerate their action items under the City’s Climate Action Plan, and how Seattle can best meet the goals of the Green New Deal.” The final resolution can be found here.

Swamped with ‘non-emergency’ 911 calls, Seattle Fire testing new response team for homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health issues — UPDATE: Capitol Hill part of plan

Homelessness and basic human health needs are swamping Seattle’s emergency services. A pilot program for the Seattle Fire Department will create a new team to handle the thousands of 911 calls that need real responses but aren’t emergency medical situations.

“As our city grows, our ability to deliver emergency and non-emergency responses must also grow. We pioneered Medic One, which became the gold standard in emergency health response. Non-emergency cases need a similar response in our growing urban environment,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said Tuesday about Health One, a new, $500,000 program focused on downtown Seattle and “some adjacent residential neighborhoods” set to launch in coming months to create a SFD team focused on responding to substance abuse, non-emergency medical issues, helping people access needed city services.

In 2018, 42% of SFD’s medical calls were deemed “low acuity” calls — calls where the department dispatched its resources that “generally resulted in no action or a non-emergency transport.” Continue reading

Health officials: Man with measles visited Broadway minute clinic

A Canadian tourist’s stop at a Capitol Hill minute clinic is part of a roster of locations around Seattle and King County that health officials are warning about after the man was diagnosed with measles.

(Image: Immediate Clinic)

According to the announcement from King County Public Health, the infected man visited the Immediate Clinic in the 1500 block of Broadway between Pike and Pine on Friday, April 26th starting around 11 AM. “These times include the period when the person was at the location and two hours after,” the bulletin reads. “Measles virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after someone infectious with measles leaves the area.”

Officials says anybody at the clinic around that day and time should check up on their measles vaccination and “call a health care provider promptly if they develop an illness with fever or illness with an unexplained rash between April 27 and May 19, 2019.” Continue reading

Washington set to raise smoking and vaping age to 21

Washington is set to become the ninth state to raise the legal age for buying tobacco, e-cigarettes, and vaping products to 21.

The Washington State Senate approved the legislation by a vote of 33-12 Wednesday to raise the sale age for tobacco and vapor products from 18.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the Washington State Department of Health jointly requested the legislation, according to an announcement from Ferguson’s office. Gov. Jay Inslee has said he will sign the legislation. Continue reading

Why do so many Capitol Hill-area kindergarten immunization rates still fall below herd immunity? Here’s what one school said

For the second straight day, there were no reported new cases of measles in Washington State.

That’s a weird sentence to start the news in 2019. But it’s true. There’s an outbreak of measles in modern day Washington. How did we get here… again?

Wednesday, the Seattle Times again rolled out the county’s illuminating dataset showing kindergarten immunization coverage rates for the 2017-2018 school year. Every couple of years when an outbreak flares again and people start talking about herd immunity — the point where enough people are immunized to protect those most vulnerable to infection — the same glaring red dot in the center of Capitol Hill draws attention and questions. Continue reading

Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax producing healthier than expected returns

A tax on sugary drinks sold in Seattle has produced more money than expected — and the missing Capitol Hill mystery pop machine had nothing to do with it. Now City Hall is sorting out how best to put the healthy revenue from unhealthy — without moderation! — beverages back into the community.

Friday, members of the Seattle City Council met with the Community Advisory Board of the Sweetened Beverage Tax to discuss why the tax exceeded revenue projections, what to do with the extra money, and to make recommendations for how to use the money in the 2018 and 2019 budgets.

“Communities of color and low-income people face the greatest disparities in terms of health and education outcome,” Christina Wong, co-chair of the board tells CHS. Continue reading

Inside the Capitol Hill Urban Float, ‘the largest float pod center in North America’

Urban Float is Capitol Hill’s new flotation therapy spa, a place to let your mind wander to its outer limits while bobbing in salt water. It is located in the street level of the wedge-shaped building at the intersection of Madison, Union, and 12th, across the street from the Ferrari dealership, a suitably luxe, modern facility for this upscale iteration of the time-honored practice of soaking and thinking. With six locations from Houston to Vancouver, the Capitol Hill location is five-year-old Urban Float’s new flagship and, they say, “the largest float pod center in North America” at 4,000 square feet.

“Floating has been around for more than 40 years, but as this form of therapy has become more popular among elite athletes and celebrities, the concept has ultimately reached urban professionals, students, parents – really anyone in need of a break from the daily stresses of the fast-paced, digital world,” Urban Float co-founder Joe Beaudry said in the announcement of the new Capitol Hill location.

Urban Float has both corporate-owned stores and franchise locations. The Capitol Hill location is owned and operated by the Bellevue-based company.

After filling out a release form on an iPad, visitors are asked to pick the soundtrack to accompany the beginning and end of their float. CHS chose “Waves and Birds,” and the attendant helpfully suggested we might prefer “Waves and Birds in the Distance.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Century Ballroom hosts donation drive — ‘Like dance, giving blood is a community need’

Capitol Hill’s Century Ballroom might not be the first place you’d think of to make a donation but the Odd Fellows building dancehall was host to a special blood drive Monday.

The drive came as Century owner Halle Kuperman wanted a unique way to begin the ballroom’s 21st year of business. “I now know why it’s so important to give blood if you can; because many cannot,” Kuperman wrote. “There are some restrictions for sure, but not everyone who has a tattoo or piercing or is gay, or has traveled, etc. is excluded.” Last year, CHS wrote about Century Ballroom marking 20 years of dance on Capitol Hill.

The drive with Bloodworks Northwest comes as older donors have aged and younger generations are much less likely to donate blood.

“Like dance, giving blood is a community need,” Kuperman said.


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Here’s why Capitol Hill’s Galbraith House is being demolished

(Image courtesy John Fox)

Officials at Sound Mental Health tell CHS the decision to demolish a landmarked Capitol Hill mansion comes in the midst of planning about how the property owner can best serve the more than 20,000 people it helps each year struggling with addiction and mental health.

“The number of folks who need support help in our community has increased exponentially,” Sound spokesperson Steve McLean tells CHS.

“Our challenges are myriad — one of our challenges is space.”

CHS posted Tuesday about salvage underway on the 1904-built Galbraith House at 17th and Howell. An application to fully demolish the building that has been used as a Sound — formerly Sound Mental Health — facility and its neighboring carriage house has been approved by the city.

McLean tells CHS that Sound has been evaluating its options for the property for the past several years even before it became unusable in 2017 due to safety and structural issues. “At this stage of this process, we are assessing what we are going to do with that property,” he said. Continue reading

What it looks like now that classic Capitol Hill restaurant Charlie’s is an urgent care clinic

(Image: CityMD)

Charlie’s on Broadway was a classic for many reasons, Capitol Hill regulars old and new witnessing its death not once but twice being among them. The cynical might say the fate of the building and bones of Charlie’s might also be a new classic Capitol Hill situation.

CHI Franciscan Health and CityMD have announced the opening of their new urgent care center on Broadway:

This state-of-the-art center meets the growing need for convenient, cost-effective, high quality medical care for local residents. Each location is staffed primarily by board-certified emergency medicine doctors. Together with key clinical support staff, such as X-ray technicians and medical assistants, they have the ability to handle a wide spectrum of common urgent care needs for the Capitol Hill community.

Continue reading