by Mark Van Streefkerk
Last year when the Columbia City Ale House announced it was closing its doors for good due to the pandemic, bartender Emily Eberhart knew she had to do something about it. Having worked at the tavern for seven years, Eberhart wasn’t ready to say goodbye to her coworkers and South End community of regulars. Although a global health crisis loomed, Eberhart approached Ale House owner Jeff Eagan and asked to take over the business. He said yes, ushering in a new chapter for the Columbia City watering hole.
Eberhart remembered last year’s turning point that galvanized her into action: “[Eagan] made a statement about closing forever and my immediate response was, ‘No we’re not.’ I had an amazing group of regulars and people [who] came to me, ‘What are we doing and how are we going to do this? Let’s make it happen.’ I knew the support was there.”
Continue reading Bartender-Turned-Owner Emily Eberhart Starts a New Chapter for Columbia City Ale House
by Dr. Stephan Blanford and Misha Werschkul
Since the pandemic’s onset, Washington families have experienced a rolling crisis in jobs, hunger, health, and education. The prospect of eviction hangs over far too many. Food insecurity has skyrocketed. Child care facilities have closed, many of them permanently. And a rocky transition to remote learning is now impeding students’ educational progress. The acute stress on children and families may harm kids’ health, their education, and their ability to earn a living.
Continue reading OPINION: Washington’s Children Shouldn’t Have to Relive Our Past Mistakes
by Billy Gumabon
I remember when the global pandemic was declared and the nation went into lockdown. This ultimately trickled down into the prison system, and they immediately suspended all visitations and programming in prison. With no family and loved ones coming in to visit and no physical contact with the outside world, I was left in a spirit of uncertainty, worry, and fear. I just sat in my cell and watched the news helplessly for hours to see the latest updates from President Trump addressing the nation, hoping to catch a glimmer of hope I could hold on to. However, I kept seeing the number of positive cases and the death toll rise due to the coronavirus, and the president acting like a child during his debriefing sessions. That didn’t help my anxiety.
Continue reading OPINION: The Pandemic From the Eyes of a Prisoner
by Elizabeth Turnbull
As the food-centric holidays of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Day approach, many Seattlietes are confronted with maintaining financial and food security amid the new lockdown and further deliberations over future federal aid.
Various food banks in South Seattle have seen an increased need for food in the community from the beginning of the pandemic response in the spring. As happens every year around this time, this need has become even greater in preparation for the holidays.
Continue reading As Holidays Approach, So Do Food Insecurity Concerns
by Jessie McKenna
This is the second in our series of articles checking in on the neighborhoods of South Seattle, produced by community members living within them. Read our first, a Rainier Beach and Dunlap check-in, here.
Per the new norm in the era of COVID quarantine, I don’t see people out on Beacon Ave as much or at the coffee shops, restaurants and grocery stores like I normally would, and I miss my community — our interactions and checking in with each other, sharing news and resources. I miss being connected to my neighborhood in a way that feels organic and authentic (vs. awkward and/or virtual).
I’m grateful for the online realm where my friends and neighbors are sharing stories and information, but nothing beats face-to-face conversation and we’re not getting as many of those these days. But I caught up with some neighborhood folx to check in on them one-on-one (virtually), and then later we arranged a time for me to snap their pics from a safe distance.
Continue reading Neighborhood Check-In: Beacon Hill
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Last Wednesday, April 29, tenants at Bellwether Housing Kingway Apartments & Juneau Townhomes submitted a petition signed by 100 residents across the two adjacent affordable housing complexes, making several demands of their landlord, Bellwether Housing. The demands included rent reduction or forgiveness and a fair and transparent payment plan in light of COVID-19 shutdowns. Bellwether responded on Friday, May 1, stating they were unable to decrease or forgive rent and they reiterated previous policies outlined in a letter issued to residents on March 19. The March 19 letter, from Director of Property Management Michelle Hawley and Resident Services Manager Elliot Swanson, said that back rent accrued during the government shutdowns could be paid on a payment plan that wouldn’t go into effect until normal operations resumed and that residents would have at least nine months to pay any back rent that might have accrued due to coronavirus-related unemployment.
Continue reading Tenants Organize For Fair Treatment at Bellwether Housing Kingway Apartments & Juneau Townhomes
by Carolyn Bick
Though the rate of novel coronavirus infections has slowed, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said that Washingtonians still aren’t staying home enough.
At a televised press conference on March 30, Inslee said that the data that has come in over the weekend has been “alarming.” The number of positive tests that have been coming in from counties surrounding King County, such as Skagit County, Adams County, and Island County have been two to three times higher than the week or so before.
Inslee attributes this to people going out too often on non-essential trips, thereby not following his stay-home order as well they should.
Continue reading Inslee considers extending stay-home order, addresses violation reporting, equipment shortages
by Carolyn Bick
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has issued a two-week-minimum stay-at-home order for the state. While all gatherings, regardless of size, are banned effective immediately, non-essential businesses have 48 hours to close. Banned gatherings include weddings and funerals.
Continue reading Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee Issues Stay-At-Home Order