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.

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With possible boost from the ‘Big Blue Wall,’ Country Doctor digs in on new Capitol Hill facility

The “Big Blue Wall” formed across the West Coast on Election Night should help Country Doctor build its new expanded home on 19th Ave E.

The nonprofit provider of low-income health care announced the start of construction this month on their new four-story building on the site of its 19th Ave E offices:

In November 2017, Country Doctor Community Health Centers (CDCHC) initiated construction on a new dental clinic at their site on 512 – 19th Ave E. CDCHC finalized plans to demolish its worn out administrative building and replace it with a new dental clinic, clearing the way for CDCHC’s long held dream of providing dental care for their patients. Accessing dental care for CDCHC’s clients is often difficult, even if they have Medicaid. The new facility will change thousands of lives by making dental services available on a sliding scale to people who currently have no access to dental care. The demand for affordable dental services is so great other Seattle health centers are forced to limit dental appointments, leaving CDCHC patients without any dental access.

The new $6.5 million facility is being funded by a capital campaign, grants, and a $1.2 million grant from the city to support the clinic’s new dental services. Gridlock in Olympia has been an issue. But Shelley Lawson, grants manager with Country Doctor Community Health Centers, tells CHS that Tuesday night’s strong showing by West Coast Democrats including Manka Dhingra in the “pivotal” 45th District State Senate race should help.

“Now that the WA legislature is controlled by Democrats (after last night’s elections),” Lawson writes, “we hope they will finally approve the capital budget which includes funding for the dental clinic.”

“In this political climate funding is fluid,” she said. “We have many community partners who are helping us overcome several obstacles to make this dental clinic a reality.”

The clinic also announced is has hired a new executive director. Raleigh Watts replaces Linda McVeigh who retired in September 2017 — “the first leadership change at the community based health center in 41 years.” Raleigh joins Country Doctor after most recently working as a public health management consultant with clients including UNICEF, WHO, the CDC, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

CDCHC said it expects the building to be ready and dental services to begin in early 2019.

What you should do about anti-choice abortion protesters bringing their campaign to Broadway

A counter message against anti-choice pickets in Seattle (Image: Brady Hall via Shout Your Abortion)

Anti-choice picketers weren’t very successful finding takers for their LGBTQ-mimicking rainbow-colored flyers on Broadway over the weekend. But their presence was disturbing enough.

“We’ve seen an uptick across the country since Trump’s election,” Michelle Farber, organizer and organizer for Seattle Clinic Defense tells CHS about the seemingly incongruous presence of anti-abortion protesters in the midst of Capitol Hill nightlife over the weekend. Continue reading

Ollie Quinn bringing Canadian eyewear fashion to the Pike/Pine ‘neighbourhood’

Coming soon: Ollie Quinn (Image: CHS)

Some 60,000 eyeballs — 30,000 attendees with approximately two eyeballs per person — will roll through E Pike for the 2017 Capitol Hill Block Party this July. There will be a bit of side-eye — and plenty of near and farsightedness.

Ollie Quinn, the Canadian-born provider of eyewear fashion, will join the increasingly crowded field of shops hoping to serve those many, many eyes with its new Capitol Hill boutique planned to open by the end of this month in a long-empty retail space with a clear view of the Block Party’s main stage at Pike and Broadway.

“We want it to be a space that people feel drawn to and are comfortable lingering in, which is why we have a community working space built within where community members can come to study, create or chat,” a company spokesperson tells CHS. Continue reading

Capitol Hill tattoo artist’s restorative work helps breast cancer survivors mark end to battle

IMG_1049For most of his 27-year career, Dark Age Tattoo artist Eric Eye has specialized in realistic portraiture and textural work.

“It’s something that’s come naturally to me,” Eye said about his focus.

About a year before Eye met his girlfriend, she had had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in her battle with breast cancer. To get a well done restorative nipple tattoo, she had to travel to the east coast.

“Her story, it really kind of spoke to me. I understood it on a very personal level how much of a transformation it had made for her,” he told CHS.

Not safe for some people’s work warning: A couple nipples below.

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‘Infancy’ — Officials still gathering data to determine where safe consumption sites can be located

An Insite "supervised injection site" in Vancouver, B.C. (Image: Seattle.gov)

An Insite “supervised injection site” in Vancouver, B.C. (Image: Seattle.gov)

At the end of January, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced they were moving forward with all of the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force recommendations to battle the heroin epidemic at a local level, including launching two safe consumption sites.

Officials are currently gathering data and information and meeting with communities to determine where the two sites, one slated for Seattle and one for greater King County, should be located.

Brad Finegood, assistant division director at King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division, told CHS the process is in its “infancy.”

“There are so many things to undertake in an effort like this where A) there’s none in the U.S. and B) there’s so many community groups to discuss it with,” Finegood said. Continue reading