Suspect in Rayshauna Webber murder pleads not guilty

David Nichols faces a count of second degree murder and second degree assault (Image: CHS)

The man police and prosecutors say stabbed and killed 25-year-old Rayshauna Webber in a fight that broke out over his derogatory response to her turning down his offer of a light for her cigarette in the middle of Pike/Pine nightlife crowds in Cal Anderson pleaded not guilty Monday morning in King County Superior Court.

David Nichols, 50, faces charges of second-degree murder and assault in the second degree for the early morning July 14th stabbing that killed Webber and left another woman with a minor cut during a night of partying on Capitol Hill.

According to court documents, two women were with the victim when she was stabbed in the early morning melee in the middle of Pike/Pine’s late nightlife scene. They told police the incident began when the suspect approached the group on the edge of the park and offered to light one of the women’s cigarettes. “When they declined he replied with a derogatory comment,” police write. The women told police they talked with the suspect but a fight quickly broke out. Witnesses told police Nichols pushed Webber who pushed him back. When the suspect struck another of the women, she told police she fell to the ground and realized that Webber had been cut and was “bleeding profusely.” Continue reading

Serious crashes on major arterials in Capitol Hill, Central District and First Hill area up from 2018, long road to Vision Zero, SDOT data shows

In April, a car seriously injured a bicyclist at the intersection of 24th Ave E and E Madison. A few months later, a driver was severely hurt in a crash just a couple of hundred feet up the street, on the intersection of 23rd Ave E and E John St.

The locations of these two crashes don’t just point to the places where lives were wrecked. They also offer a first glimpse into the traffic pain points on Capitol Hill, which have clustered on and near Madison in the first six months of 2019, data from the Seattle Department of Transportation show. The Seattle Times first reported on the data.

The two crashes are among the 98 serious or fatal collisions that happened in the first half of 2019. Ten people were killed in traffic. 88 were seriously injured, of which six on Capitol Hill, four on First Hill and eight in the Central District (including a sliver south of I-90). The dataset showed no fatalities in these neighborhoods in the first half of this year.

One important caveat, per SDOT: The data the department provided are preliminary. Usually, there’s a “pretty rigorous auditing process” in which SDOT works with officials from the Seattle Police Department, Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Patrol and hospitals to review and filter out discrepancies for a report that comes out at year-end, SDOT said.

Still, the data provides a glimpse into Seattle’s long road to Vision Zero, its plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030, and problem zones for Capitol Hill, the Central District and First Hill, particularly on or near arterials.

Continue reading

Roq La Rue — now Capitol Hill’s home to pop surrealism — celebrates 21 years of Seattle art

By Tim Kukes

One of the few remaining dedicated art galleries on Capitol Hill is celebrating its 21st birthday but its two decades of art and creation mostly took place far from Pike/Pine. It started with a question.

“Someone asked me, ‘If you could do anything for a living what would you do?’ Kirsten Anderson, owner of E Pike’s Roq La Rue, said.  “I just said, ‘open a gallery,’ which is not anything I’d ever thought of before. Just came out of my mouth.”

The gallery started in a little space on 2nd and Lenora in 1998, which was being lent out as business incubator until the building could be developed in six months.  After that Roq La Rue moved to a space between the Lava Lounge and Shorty’s, and then later to a larger location next to the Rendezvous, according to Larry Reid, manager at Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery in Georgetown, who happened to be an early mentor of Anderson’s.

“Kirsten quickly established herself as a pivotal figure in the emerging Lowbrow/Pop Surrealist movement based on the West Coast, but [it was] soon to become a global phenomenon,” Reid said.  “Locally, she filled a void that had been largely absent from the local art scene.”

Anderson is credited with coining the term “pop surrealism” in the book, “Pop Surrealism: The Rise of Underground Art”, which she wrote in 2004.  Kristen described pop surrealism as using pop culture iconography as archetypal imagery to tell classic stories or fetishizing subcultural nostalgia.

“You can call it the bastard stepchild of Andy Warhol, basically,” Anderson said. Continue reading

Major QFC Harvard Market overhaul planned with big Amazon grocery coming to E Pike (and, hey, there’s going to be an Amazon Go First Hill)

Signage permit information for the First Hill Amazon Go

Amazon has announced it is indeed opening a new store on the Hill… First Hill!

Meanwhile, CHS has learned about a major project planned by QFC to prepare its Pike at Broadway Harvard Market store for competition from Amazon’s so far unannounced but under construction supermarket down the street. Continue reading

Zaika hopes to bring a Capitol Hill happy hour take on Indian food to former Tango space

(Image: CHS)

A departure from date nights and tapas, Zaika hopes to bring Indian food and drinks with a modern twist to Tango’s former space and the rest of Capitol Hill’s happy hour scene.

“I want to introduce more Indian drinks to this area, as other Indian restaurants do not focus as much on drinks,” said Nitin Panchal, the owner of Zaika. “We have a sizable bar, and I want people to come, hang out, and have a nice time in addition to enjoying Indian food.”

Zakia will replace Tango Restaurant and Lounge on the corner of Pike and Boren, as the tapas joint closed after its 19-year tenure at the base of the Hill. Panchal plans to get creative, knowing Zaika has big shoes to fill. “This will be an American restaurant serving Indian food,” Panchal said, hoping to adapt a variety of traditional Indian dishes and drinks to happy hour tastes of today.

According to Panchal, introducing Indian food to happy hour will require a significant departure from a typical Indian restaurant’s aesthetic and menu, incorporating traditional recipes and popular spices into cocktails and happy hour bites. Continue reading

More summer fun to come on Capitol Hill: 11th Ave Street Fair, Adult Recess in Cal Anderson, Kinky Boots in the park

A scene from the 2018 11th Ave Street Fair (Image: CHS)

Pride may have passed and another Capitol Hill Block Party is in the books but there are still a few more Capitol Hill summer events to look forward to including art-filled street fairs, a new sports-y event at Cal Anderson, and the return of movies in the park.

11TH AVE STREET FAIR — Sunday, August 25 — 11th Ave between E Pine and E Union — More
Blue Cone Studios
will hold the 11th Avenue Street Fair again this year, hoping to connect and showcase Capitol Hill creatives in a free, wide open event.

“After a huge summer of festivals that cost money I think it’s important to throw something in the neighborhood that’s free to the people and involves community performers, creators, and makers,” said Carolyn Hitt, the founder of Blue Cone Studios.

Residing above Queer/Bar on 11th Ave, Blue Cone Studios is an organization run by a group of Capitol Hill artists and creatives providing like minded individuals with a meeting place, gallery space, and on Tuesday Nights during Capitol Hill art walk, an open art studio. Blue Cone’s mission of providing marginalized artists with a space to connect with other artists while creating and displaying art is twofold. While collaboration between artists evokes a sense of community, Hitt believes experiencing art encourages individuals to find an artform resonating with them.  Continue reading

CHS Pics | Outside the fences of Capitol Hill Block Party 2019

CHS wandered the edges of Capitol Hill Block Party this weekend and found so many events, DJs, funky drummers, and halfpipes that you couldn’t help but wonder what the festival would be like without the fences and $85 a day tickets.

CHS reported here on the Block Party producers’ efforts to create new events outside of the ticketed footprint including the second year of Battle of the Block skateboarding competition in Cal Anderson and DJs in the Chophouse Row courtyard. Those efforts were joined by more organic outgrowths of the swell of humanity attracted to the three-day festival like sidewalk drummers and an ultimate frisbee battle pitting Portland vs. Seattle. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Block Party expands free events held beyond festival gates

(Image: Capitol Hill Block Party)

Two blocks of E Pike are home to music, food, and troves of festival goers as Capitol Hill Block Party takes to the streets this weekend. Although increasing artist fees and production costs have raised ticket prices in recent years, CHBP plans to celebrate Capitol Hill beyond festival gates by offering a variety of free events.

“We’re excited about this year’s expansion of free events that will allow people who aren’t attending CHBP to still participate and enjoy the community celebration, while still getting a taste of CHBP,” said Kate Harris, CHBP’s executive producer.

While producers says Block Party attendance has not increased in the past eight years, the festival has continued to cement itself in Seattle’s music and arts scene, attracting big-name headliners across music genres. According to Harris, artist fees have tripled since 2012 and production costs have increased exponentially, resulting in a notable rise in festival ticket prices.

With crowds exceeding 20,000 people, surging ticket prices, and performances from mainstream talent, Block Party has strayed from its roots as a small, neighborhood celebration. According to Harris, this evolution has not gone unnoticed by the festival’s organizers, as CHBP has offered free events co-organized by a variety of local nonprofits, hosted at Cal Anderson Park and nearby businesses in recent years. This year, CHBP will expand upon its free events. Continue reading

After this weekend’s Capitol Hill Block Party, changes may be afoot for big events on the Hill

(Image: Capitol Hill Block Party)

2019 will be a pivotal year for the Capitol Hill Block Party, which kicks off today. And not because the great flautist-twerker-chanteuse Lizzo is gracing its main stage Saturday. This August, the city will start looking into what effect the Block Party, grown from a street festival into a ticketed, three-day musical extravaganza now in its 23rd year, has on the neighborhood — and how it can move forward on the Hill in the coming years.

The city has hired local consulting firm Fife Consulting to lead an outreach process with people and businesses in the neighborhood. The company is also completing a study of large outdoors events across the city.

The process, separate from the regular post-CHBP “debrief” with city officials or public comment during Special Events committee meetings, will start in late August and will include focus groups, an online survey as well as interviews with residents, businesses and local business and neighborhood agencies, said Seattle Special Events Committee chair Chris Swenson.

By December, Swenson said, the process should be wrapped up. At which point the Special Event Committee will decide on whether the event can go forward as is, or in a modified form. These modifications could be light (as in: keeping the event but changing days, hours or footprint) or more significant, such as the consideration of other neighborhoods, formats and weekends, Swenson said.

“We want to make sure that this is still the right place, time and manner for this event to happen,” he said. “This is a Capitol Hill-centric event, and Capitol Hill is evolving, and we want to make sure this dedicated art center is the best place for the Capitol Hill Block Party.”  Continue reading

Court: Fatal Capitol Hill stabbing sparked by fight over declined cigarette lighter — UPDATE

A King County Superior Court judge Thursday found probable cause to hold David Nichols in jail for murder in the second degree and assault in the second degree. Seattle Police announced they had arrested Nichols Wednesday for the deadly overnight stabbing at Cal Anderson Park early Sunday that left 25-year-old Rayshauna Webber dead.

His bail was set at $2,000,000. Nichols has not yet been charged in the case.

UPDATE 7/22/2019 2:54 PM: Nichols has now been charged in the murder:

David Lee Nichols has been charged with Murder in the second degree-Deadly Weapon, and Assault in the second degree-Deadly Weapon.  He will have an arraignment hearing on August 5 at 8:30AM, E1201.  Bond remains at $2,000,000.

SPD identified the suspect publicly after taking Nichols into custody thanks to video surveillance from a nearby business and credit card information from an E Pine business he patronized that night, according to court documents. Continue reading