Sunday, January 31, 2010

Let's lift a PBR to the Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday to Miss Mary Clymer - proprietress of the super cool indie craft store in Downtown Renton, Happy Delusions, coiner of the hip new moniker for Downtown Renton -"DTR", and creator of original latch hook art.

This enticing tidbit, ripped from the pages of The Stranger newspaper is what got her going. A call out for PBR ART. Money prize and a lifetime of PBR's. Between you and I - she was in it for the money.

Mary was going to give the work another trim before heading out to the judges on Saturday. How did you do, Mary? How was the birthday bash at our local favorite hang? We await the news with baited breath.
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Cake and Flowers

The package said "made from scratch" and the list of ingredients was complete with only words that you could read and find in your own kitchen. This here Red Velvet Muffin was the best packaged cupcake that I have ever had. I salute you, Pat's Custom Cakes. Yummy with a capital "Y".

I was given this goodie by Deb of Girlfriend's Gifts, Antiques and Florals on our own S. Third. Deb does wedding flowers and a recently married gal makes the tasty treats in Seattle dropped her by some muffins (though I say cupcakes without frosting - and they don't need the frosting) as a way to say thanks. I really am still swooning over how good it was.

February 14th is looming nearer - and Deb's got her flower mojo in full swing. The rose bouquets shown above were a mere $3 the other day, and the mug bouquets, $5. Keep our S. Third Street thoroughfare in mind when looking for a little somethin' somethin' for your loved one this year.

Deb's at Girlfriend's Gifts, Antiques and Florals
920 South Third Street

Pat's Custom Cakes
4611 - 36th SW Seattle 98126

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Warning: It's a TAX people, however you slice it - Talking about Prop 1

Lynar Deluca and her son Sammy have spent many an hour in support of Keeping Our Libray Local. Lynar is the voice behind the blog, Vote No 'til You Know.

If you already voted and you just saw the newly released numbers (link here) (good link here) that show how much more you will be paying out of pocket to have KCLS run our library show (this is a new line item to your tax bill ) - don't worry, you can still change your vote, and vote NO.

If you are appalled by the fact that KCLS is currently petitioning their users for an increase from 42 cents to 50 cents per $1,000 in a special election that is being held right now because they claim that they will need to cut back on staffing and hours if they don't get the funds (Wait! that sounds like the same argument Pro Prop 1 is using to get us to sign on!) and you need to change your vote to a resounding NO, don't worry.

If you think that it is not right nor fair that the above mentioned sounds like "taxation without representation" and like it even less that the charts with costing per $1,000 does not reflect the possible addition of of this new tax from KCLS in the above link, you still can say NO.

If you are just now realizing that if Renton Public Library joins with KCLS, the current 21-26 cents per $1,000 tax that we are paying will NOT be applied to our new KCLS bill, but will go into a general fund whose application has not been decided upon - you can still say NO WAY Prop 1.

(check out the costing discussions on Randy Corman's blog in the comments section right here)

When you see that the City of Renton commissioned a MASTER PLAN by an outside consultant to advise on the library to the tune of $118,000 and the conclusion was to KEEP OUR LIBRARY LOCAL, and now we are spending another $130,000 for a "special election" and you wonder how many security officers could have been added to our force at that price, you can still VOTE NO - even if you already voted.

If you think that this special election is all because the City of Renton wants to annex Fairwood, already a member of KCLS since at least 2004, who refuses the city's annexation offer unless Renton joins KCLS. Stop the meglomania unfairly linked to our library issue and say NO to Prop 1.
And Fairwood - The Picaroon apologies and means no ill will.

If you didn't like the fact that the Voter Pamphlet, which should by law, come to you 30-45 days prior to the Ballot and arrived either on the same day or a day after. If you thought it unethical that you should receive Pro Prop 1 literature in with your utility bill. If you have heard King and Bunny Parker ( King is a council member) were the funding source for the expensive mailer that went out to a targeted mailing audience just when your ballot arrived - it is still not too late to VOTE NO.

If you think that there has been a lot of DOOMSDAY SCARE TACTICS (don't support Prop 1 and the library will... - what!? not exist??!!! Our librarians have been making it work for YEARS of being underfunded! it's just time to give them the support they so need!). That our "progressive" city council may just be out of touch with this community and be talking down to us all here a wee bit -


If you already voted, you can pick up a replacement ballot at the King County Election's website

If you haven't yet voted, check these sources out:

Vote No 'til you know

Save Renton Library

PS if the librarians say it's not a good idea, you know, maybe it's not a good idea. They would know. And PPS, the librarians at KCLS are not happy with their employer -FYI

UPDATE 1/30:Randy Corman's blog covers where the monies owed to us from KCLS and our Benson Hill annexation here and other facts. The debate is HOT folks!

Getting Greek

I love the seasonings and spices that come in Greek food. Who doesn't long for a Gyros sandwich on the regular? It was long overdue to investigate the newest restaurant at The Landing, Daphne's Greek Cafe.

While Daphne's Greek Cafe is indeed a chain of restaurants with 66 locations in California, this is one of only two spots to open in our state (the other in the Southcenter Mall), still making it unique for all of us here. A Greek friend of mine recently shared that while this was not what you would find in her Greek grandmother's kitchen, it was pretty tasty food, and that is exactly what I came to discover myself this week.

The prices were reasonable, the cafe is super cute and clean, the staff very friendly and the food was good. My companion and I had scored some coupons that we found at Liberty Cafe on S. Third Street, offering us a lunch special for under $5, and that was all the incentive we needed to head on over and try the Gryos and the Greek Chicken Salad.

The company recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and we hope that this newly opened casual dining cafe will not be effected by the proceedings. During these financially "tight" times, Daphne's " also has introduced some new, more affordable menu items, one of which includes a pita sandwich, fountain drink and two sides for under $7." As you can see from the menu board below, the prices reflect an understanding of our tightened purse strings these days.

Daphne's is open for both lunch and dinner, with a large offering of food and platters that could be taken to an office party, gathering or picnic. The first time I had the pleasure of trying a sampling of Daphne's wares was when dear Ruzielle (pictured below) came to the New Year's Day Potluck at Liberty Cafe just a mere 3 weeks ago. The baklava is really good and the platters full of hummous, dolmas, pita bread, tzatziki and more was hard to resist nibbling on repeatedly. Thanks again, Ruzielle, for bringing such tasty treats.

What did I most enjoy about my trip to the Greek side of lunch? The people. The Manager checked in on us, asked how our meal was, Ruzielle is a friendly sight and I like going where I feel my trade is welcomed.

Daphne's Greek Cafe
The Landing
815 Southwest 10th Street, Renton, WA 98057-5587
(425) 228-8811

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Saftey on the Trail - What I "can" say

There is a lot of "tooing" and "froing" on blogs, and Facebook and Twitter about the Cedar River Trail Harasser and I do not want to add to the confusion. When and if I can say something further, you know that I will. It will probably come down through some more official channels, so keep your eyes open to other sources as well. But do note: Nobody has been charged in the alleged Cedar River Trail incidents.

Sooo, please be safe on the trail. Call 9-1-1 if anyone intimidates or harasses you and follow-up with Cyndie Parks of the Renton Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit or Terry Higashiyami of the Renton City Parks Department.Why? Because when this occurs, a case needs to be built. And we still need your help.That's where that little word "alleged" comes in to the picture.

UPDATE: 1/28 The Renton Reporter's Celeste Gracey has written an update about this case and has a copy of the Press Release from the Police included - here is the link.

Cyndie Parks
Community Programs Coordinator/Crime Prevention Unit

Terry Higashiyami
Administrator Community Services/Renton Parks Dept.

PS - This guy is known and identified to the Police. This is not about figuring out who he is, or publishing his name or whereabouts. It is about victims coming forward and building a case.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Police Blotter: The Cedar River Trail Harasser

He looks clean cut, an approachable and professional white male, 6 ft. 3" tall, thin and slender build, babyface and in his 30's. In the mornings from 6am til 8:30, Monday through Friday, when the world is waking and people begin their day with some exercise on the Cedar River Trail, he is intimidating and harassing the people who use our lovely local resource through intimidation by running and or knocking people off the path, cursing and spitting at them as he goes. He targets young and old, with or without dog or companion and seems to get off on taunting and provoking others into some kind of altercation with him. Worse, he lives right in Downtown Renton - he is our "neighbor".

We the community, need your help in reporting such occurrences - whether you were a victim in the recent past or if this unfortunately happens to you or a loved one next time you walk the trail. The man is known to the police, but we the public need to follow up on any incident and help us to get this "pressure cooker" off our path. Just calling 9-1-1 will not be enough to stop this individual.

The new signs that have gone up on the Cedar River Trail were distributed by the Renton Parks Department. A couple that I have been in contact with recently (who will remain anonymous), had just such an incident with a man on the Cedar River Trail one morning in winter and have been galvanized to spread the word and try to make Renton safe from someone who acts like a walking time bomb of anger and malice. Through the assistance of Terry Higashiyami of the Parks Department and Cyndie Parks of the Renton Police Department Crime Prevention Unit, the story is getting out.

The couple have been walking the trail for 15 years now, every morning and each day of the week. When the young man came upon them that morning of December 20th, they tried to avoid him, get out of his way, but when he targets you, there is no escape. The man is a verbal abuser - racial slurs, cursing and he likes to spit on you as he does so. So as the couple tried to veer out of his way, the man stiffened his shoulders and ran into them, sending them off the path. Totally unprovoked, other walkers have shared the same story. Men with sturdier builds have been his victim as well. The man seems fearless and aggressive. He has "stalked" women on the trail and seems to enjoy it. His actions are becoming bolder and more alarming as his violence escalates. The City of Renton trash cans that have been vandalized were the result of his karate style kicks (he was identified and seen by another walker of committing this act). Since reporting this, the man has changed his clothing and his hair, but he likes to circle the trail from the lake to the library and seems to be savvy enough, like Robert Di Nero's character in the movie "Cape Fear, with just what he can get away with in regards to the law.

So, what can you do? Well, if you see or are the victim of this kind or intimidation or harassment, first call 9-1-1. Please then follow this up with a call to either Terry Higashiyami of the Renton Parks Department or Cyndie Parks of the Renton Police Department Crimes Prevention Unit, who are teaming up to handle this situation.

If you have already been a victim of this type of incidence - please call Terry and Cyndie as well. They are pulling together a file and would like to hear from you. It is important - let's get this guy off the trail before something worse happens to a neighbor or a friend.

Walking groups are being formed so that in numbers, those who walk the trail can find safety. There is mention of having Cyndie Parks give a talk on "Safety on the Trail". In the meantime, please keep safe out there and don't take matters into your own hands - just call the police. I will give updates when I can.

Cyndie Parks
Community Programs Coordinator/Crime Prevention Unit

Terry Higashiyami
Administrator Community Services/Renton Parks Dept.

UPDATE 1/28: Our guy, who has changed his look by getting facial hair and jogging in dark clothes , "probably" got taken in on other charges the night before last, according to our Mayor, but not on the charges listed above. We still need to help call in, help the police build a case. Remain vigilant but not turn into vigilantes.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Grass Roots efforts to keep our Library Local

The ballots have been sent out, and the time has come to cast your vote. There is a strong grass roots effort to keep our library local (as it has been for the last 100 years) and inform you, the voter, of the price that you will have to pay to get that shiny, new KCLS that is being promoted as the library's second coming. More taxes, a bond, and the loss of a local treasure.

With 4 million books in their stacks and over 40 locations, the undisputed need to update our local library through the hands of KCLS seems to many the pretty penny choice - until you look further. Newcastle(joined in 2005) and Federal Way joined KCLS, and where are their new digs? (Thanks RentonBen for the links). Ever try to get a book in a timely fashion when you are the 200th person on the list? At the holidays, I looked for a book by author Garrison Keillor and when the librarian assisting me noticed it wasn't in the stacks, she ordered it for the library and within a week I was reading it. Now that my friends, is service. I personally think our book selection nothing to be sniffed at and don't feel like becoming a lost cog in the KCLS wheel.

The effort to remind citizens of the benefits to stay local is provided by the hard work and efforts of concerned library goers. The signs are paid for by those that hang them. The signposts in streets and in front of homes are made from recycled council election signs. The artwork by local denizens who care (thanks Catherine Mille).

My mother's home received a very pretty and shiny mailer endorsing KCLS and asking for a "Yes" vote on Prop 1 the other day (targeted audience - my home never got one!). It was at least an $8,000 investment a practiced eye told us, and listed so many of the council members who refused to take a stand on the KCLS issue in the January 8th issue of the Renton Reporter and at the council meeting held a little over a week ago Monday. But they were willing to endorse and add their names to the pretty, expensive flyer that goes along with the expensive, singular "special election"voting ballot for this issue. Now why again could we not wait for a later date when there surely would be other issues that the citizenry had to vote upon? So much for our precious taxpayer dollars. A big shout of praise and thanks to council member Marci Palmer who has publicly been a supporter of keeping the library local since day one - never keeping us in suspense as to her thoughts or affiliations.

Look for yourselves before you vote - these links have a lot more to say about this issue than The Picaroon could ever begin to address.

Beth Asher handing out pamphlets asking voters to keep our library in our own hands and out of KCLS's domain. Hard work and hoping to win the good ole fashioned way - one vote at a time.

Local businesses are not afraid to let you know where they stand. Yeah Liberty Cafe and Happy Delusions, you rock!

Super artistic effort for the cause by Catherine Mille (but not a super picture here on the blog. See it in person - this doesn't do it justice)

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Tie Dye and Hula Hoops, oh my!

"Saturation of color" - that is what Drew Hoffswell's Tie Dye shirts are most immediately known for when first glimpsed. After nearly three decades of creating his T-shirt art, first in a shop, then on the festival circuit and now just for a couple of blues events he attends each year and for the friends that keep wearing his work, Drew has a deft hand at creating the rainbow hued spirals that stand out above the average tie dye wear.

Just this month, Drew opened a stall at the Happy Delusions store in Downtown Renton, a place known for it's cornucopia of handmade treasures and gifts. So many people continued to ask where the shirts and Tie Dye babywear could be found, that Drew was forced to find a way to make his creations more readily available.

Moderately priced from $20-$30 bucks, depending on the size and type, there is a shirt or pair of leggings for everyone. A mutual friend of Drew's and The Picaroon is carrying cards for the shop around with him now, so that he can direct the many admirers he has of his wild hued hoodie. Everyone wants to know where they can score such a spectacular find.

The master himself at work. The Picaroon had the distinct pleasure of seeing Drew working his craft.

Perhaps my own personal favorite at the booth are the hand taped Hula Hoops that Drew makes. I personally own one already and it is the second in my growing collection. Hooping is really starting to take off across the globe (check out this link for hula hooping) and was initially created by the Greeks as a form of exercise. Usually one has to be at a festival to find such rad and richly colored adult hoops. These are not the Wham-O hoops of your former youth. These are large and heavier weighted hoops that any adult can relearn to use. Tune up the IPod and get around to that lurking New Year's resolution.

Happy Delusions
924 S. Third Street Renton WA 98057

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cake and Balloons in the DTR

What's a party without some cake and balloons? Just this week, Downtown Renton received a new addition in the holiday baking and celebrating arena - Go Deli's new specialty cake counter.

The cakes are all baked and decorated on site - and every flower and flourish is hand piped on and made of frosting. The only exception would be the tiny silk leaves and the toys. The cakes are lovely pieces of art. Light and fluffy cakes that are not your typical American cake fare.

Nope, you won't find a buttercream frosting in sight on these cakes that have a texture akin to that of an angel food cake. The frosting is whipped (non-dairy) and not a bit cloying or overly sweet. The cakes each have a flavorful filling - like chocolate or strawberry are two that I saw yesterday afternoon. There are cakes available for immediate pick-up with matching festive balloons for sale, or you may browse through the books and place an advance order. Weddings, birthdays - you name it.

The counter is right in the front as you enter the deli. You will also find that Dawn Hart, the manager, has been expanding her baking repertoire and there are now muffins, quick breads, pastries and lava cakes for those wanting a small portion of something for their sweet tooth. What I love are the great mylar balloons that we now can get so easily in the DTR for celebrating. Balloons always put such a nice touch on cake days, whatever the cause for celebration.

Go Deli
306 Williams Ave.S.
Renton WA 98057
Open 7am til 7pm 7 days of the week
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Walking off the Holiday Pounds

Cedar River trail - 60 degrees out, sunshine and a public holiday. Needless to say, the pavement was getting pounded by a few more than the regulars yesterday afternoon. New Year's resolutions and a great outing for families to take together. Whatever the reason, let's just check in with this local and lovely gem.

In the shade, there are still all the remnants of this being winter. On cooler days, the path can still be coated with a hoary frost in places that the sun never gets to shine upon.

I like the little waterfalls and special quiet moments that are a part of the meditation that is one of the benefits of walking the trail.

There are now new signs advising the public to call the police if they are harassed or bothered. I put in a quick call to see if there was any incident that caused these signs to be placed. I will keep you informed of the answer when I have it. Don't let this put you off from enjoying the area. There are more folks who come now that the dog park is in full swing. This added trail attendance can be to our advantage.

Note that if you are a regular walker on the trail (or biker), that construction along the trail begins today for the next week. Think of it as an obstacle course and use it to your workout benefit.

All the rain has given our dear Cedar River a little more girth these days. It is cresting over the corners of the walkway here and threatening to dampen our toes. But only on small stretches of the trail, so don't let that stop you from getting out there anytime soon.
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

DK Market

If you like to mix it up in the kitchen and come out with a load full of groceries for a very pleasingly low price, than DK Market may become your new grocery food haunt. This is not the place for everyone. Some have likened it to a kind of "Winco" of an Asian, Russian, Indian, Filipino persuasion. I love it and especially like the fact that I can come and find new taste treats that differ from the previous visit's, but are just as welcome.

It is in a huge warehouse space, with pallets as display cases and a definite chill to the air (dress warmly for an extended stay). There is tea, jams, juices, spices, canned goods and dried legumes.

The bread selection is always improving. There are fresh selections from Russian and Asian bakeries, as well as pita bread and nan bread sitting side by side for sale. The Vietnamese Bakery's croissants and the Russian Rye bread are not to be missed. There is also something for the sweet tooth. Try the Chinese "Cocktail Buns" with the coconut inside. Personal favorite.

The produce selection is good and cheap. I bought a bunch of fresh mint for 79 cents, where it goes for more than three times that at Safeway. Russet potatoes were the same price as Red and Yellows. Cauliflower was a little over a dollar a head. I made out like a bandit.

This is a good place to come if you are on a budget, like to cook and want to experiment in your cooking routine.

Did you get enough chocolate for Christmas?

More and more, the parking lot seems to be crowded, so the word must be getting around. Inside the store, there are two structures housing a Russian Deli and a Vietnamese Herbalist. Weekends tend to be busy, so be forewarned. It is a treasure in the rough, probably why the prices are still so good.

DK Market
720 Lind Ave SW
Renton, WA 98057
(425) 228-2635
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Renton in the rain

Morning Rain by Tu Fu
A slight rain comes, bathed in dawn light.
I hear it among treetop leaves before mist
Arrives. Soon it sprinkles the soil and,
Windblown, follows clouds away. Deepened

Colors grace thatch homes for a moment.
Flocks and herds of things wild glisten
Faintly. Then the scent of musk opens across
Half a mountain -- and lingers on past noon.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Cinnamon spice and everything nice

There are some of you that count on me to tell you the latest flavor of cupcake to be found around town. I do hate to let you down - so let's get right to the facts. It's cinnamon flavored and it's rockin'.

Salted cinnamon frosting? Yes, and worth every caloric bite! This may in fact be my favorite frosting that they have conspired to create.

Go in and have a smile from Brandie and a cupcake that will light your spirits up. You need it - did you see all that water falling down from the sky lately?

Common Ground Cupcakes and Coffee
900 South Third St.(425) 235 - 1717
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