Bank robbery suspect IN CUSTODY after Monday attempt

First there were reports of two SPD patrol cars heading east on NE 75th Street at 20th Avenue NE, then a sighting of four patrol cars “lined up” in the area of Top Pot Doughnuts (near NE 70 Street and 35th Avenue NE).

The next bit of information I’m usually looking for after a Wedgwood bank robbery is a notice from Seattle Public Schools that a shelter-in-place is occurring while officers search for the suspect.

Instead, the Seattle Police Department twitter feed shared this bit of happy news:

More info when we get it.

UPDATE (12:48 PM): News chopper spotted hovering in the area.

Another bank branch robbed, local schools shelter in place (UPDATES)

Just before noon on Thursday, October 30, a resident on NE 75th Street spotted three SPD vehicles high-tailing it east towards Wedgwood.

They were heading toward a bank robbery on the 7300 block of 35th Avenue NE.

Police are looking for a white male in his 50s, 5-feet, 4-inches tall, 135 pounds, wearing a black coat with a grey hoodie, jeans, and a cap (reads “Grizzly” in white stitching). The suspect is possibly armed.

Picture taken of the suspect inside the bank, via Seattle Police.

Picture taken of the suspect inside the bank, via Seattle Police.

If you see anyone matching this description, call 911 immediately.

UPDATE (12:13 PM): Schools in the vicinity of the bank robbery are sheltering in place (no one outside the buildings, outside doors locked, inside business as usual). These schools are: Eckstein Middle, Thornton Creek Elementary, View Ridge Elementary, Bryant Elementary, and Wedgwood Elementary (reported by Principal Doug Ouellette on twitter).

UPDATE (12:25 PM): Lockdowns at the previously mentioned schools was lifted at 12:15 PM.

UPDATE (12:32 PM): The previous bank robbery on 35th Avenue NE happened almost exactly two weeks ago, one block up the street from today’s. The descriptions of both suspects appear to be the same, but we have no confirmation from Seattle Police that this was the same individual in both cases.

UPDATE (2:36 PM): Seattle Schools has corrected their earlier list of schools that had sheltered in place this afternoon: View Ridge Elementary was not affected and did not shelter-in-place.

Bank robbery near NE 75th Street and 35th Avenue NE (UPDATES)

Just before noon on Thursday, neighbors reported seeing multiple Seattle Police Department patrol cars in the vicinity of NE 75 Street and 35th Avenue NE.

We have since learned that Seattle Police were responding to a bank robbery in the area.

Via the SPD Twitter feed:

Police searching for bank robber near
7500 blk 35th Ave NE. Susp is white male, 50s, 5’3, denim jacket/jeans, black hat, may be armed.

Seattle Public Schools had local schools in shelter-in-place mode around the same time as police arrived on the scene. The list of schools includes Eckstein, Bryant, Thornton Creek, View Ridge, and Wedgwood.

UPDATE (12:35 PM): Unconfirmed as of yet by SPD, but attention seems to be on the coin store Chase Bank on 35th Avenue NE just north of NE 75th Street.

Here is an image from KIRO’s Chopper 7 which could be heard hovering over our area earlier:

Also, the shelter-in-place was lifted at local schools moments ago.

UPDATE (2:18 PM): The Seattle Police Department Blotter has a post up now about the robbery. Unfortunately, it does not contain the words “in custody.”

If you have any information on today’s bank robbery (in the 7500 block of 35th Avenue NE), please call the police at 625-5011.

UPDATE (2:31 PM): University Prep (8000 25th Ave NE) was in “modified lockdown” from 12:15-12:35 PM.

Public School First Day of Class Eve power outages (UPDATES)

If your VCR is blinking “12:00″ when you get home tonight, this is why:

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Around 3:30 this afternoon, Seattle City Light customers along NE 75th Street from Roosevelt to View Ridge lost power. About 3700 customers were affected, with the cause listed as “Tree” on the city’s power outage page.

Then, about an hour later (after partial restoration to the earlier affected area), a large wedge-shaped swath north of about NE 80th Street between Lake City Way NE and Lake Washington also lost power. About 8,600 customers are affected in this area, with many traffic signals on Lake City Way and other arterials out.

Seattle City Light has crews dispatched and estimates the time of restoration to be 7:20 PM. Cause for this second, larger outage is also listed as “Tree.”

An online weather station in the Bryant neighborhood registered four gusts of wind above 20 mph after 2 PM. The barometer continues to fall as well, so we may be in for more blustery weather.

UPDATE (5:43 PM): Seattle City Light saying on twitter that many customers should start seeing power back in the next 45 minutes.

UPDATE (10:08 PM): A brief yet heavy rain around 6: 20 PM knocked out power to another small group of homes. SCL saying at this time that approximately 482 customers are still without power. Estimated restoration time for this group — 34th to 46th Avenues NE on the west and east, and NE 110th to 97th Streets north and south — is after midnight, possibly 2 AM.

Rollover collision near northbound I-5/Lake City Way exit

Shortly after 3 AM, Seattle Fire Department units responded to a rollover collision near or on the I-5 offramp to Lake City Way.

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Via scanner, we’ve learned there are six patients: Three patients with life-threatening injuries and three with non-life-threatening All six have been transported from the scene to area hospitals in stable and with non-life-threatening injuries, the fire department said via twitter.

The collision has the two right lanes of I-5 blocked, with traffic slowly moving through on the left. We expect northbound traffic on I-5 through the area to be impacted for some time as the collision is investigated.

You can see current highway conditions and the I-5/LCW WSDOT camera here.

UPDATE (7:06 AM): Washington State Patrol has more information on this incident:

Power outage in south Ravenna as tree downs power lines (PHOTOS; UPDATES)

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Some wild weather this Saturday morning took a toll on the local electricity infrastructure.


View Downed tree causes brush fire, power outage in a larger map

Just before 10 AM, just after some heavy rains had fallen over the area, a tree on a hillside near NE 50th Street and Ravenna Avenue NE became unstable. The tree, or part of it, fell against some power lines and ignited a fire that was first reported as a house fire, but was downgraded later to a brush fire. Downed lines could be seen in the trees on the hillside as well as in the road below it.

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The affected hillside is just to the south of the Raven View Apartments (5001 25th Avenue NE). This section of Ravenna Avenue NE is a dead end, and residents south of the downed lines were unable to use the road until the scene was deemed safe by Seattle City Light crews.

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As a Seattle City Light crew worked to move the lines from the road, the downed lines on the hillside ignited another small brush fire.

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The ensuing outage affected about 2,000 customers. The estimated time of restoration is 2:41 PM, but some residents of the area have reported lights coming back on already.

UPDATE (1:21 PM): Seattle City Light reporting that power is coming back for another round of residents:

UPDATE (2:08 PM): Seattle City Light has updated the estimated power restoration time to 5:45 PM, over three hours later than the original estimate.

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Here is a picture of what Seattle City Light crews are up against as they make repairs at the incident site (picture taken from Ravenna Avenue NE looking southwest toward where the tree or tree limb downed some of the lines). The conditions at the scene are anything but ideal for SCL crews: Lots of tall, wild greenery and trees on a hillside, with the lines on the uphill slope.

UPDATE (5:22 PM): Seattle City Light says, “[c]rews have restored about 1,000 customers from the NE Seattle outage. About 850 homes and businesses remain out. Crews still working.”

UPDATE (5:43 PM): All but 57 Seattle City Light customers have power restored. Estimated restoration time for the remaining residents and businesses is 10 PM as remaining fixes require the replacement of the downed lines.

Roosevelt house fire being investigated as arson (PHOTOS)

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An early morning house fire in the Roosevelt neighborhood is being investigated as an arson.

From the Seattle Fire Department’s Fire Line:

[SFD crews were] dispatched at 2:09 am to a house near 8 Avenue NE and NE 72 Street for a report of a porch fire that extended to the roof. Firefighters quickly extinguished the visible flames but worked for about an hour aggressively digging out the hidden fire located in the attic void spaces. The home owner discovered the fire and was out of the building by the time firefighters arrived.

After the home was extinguished, fire investigators determined that the fire was intentionally set on the front porch, and the case was turned over to the Seattle Police Department’s Arson/Bomb Unit.

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Investigators also estimated $100,000 in damage to the house and its contents, with an additional $5,000 damage to the home next door where the siding had begun to melt.

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If you have any information which could aid detectives in their investigation, please call the SPD Arson/Bomb Unit at (206) 684-8980.

Todd Byers, in yellow, talks with neighbors as they  survey the damage to his home on the morning after the fire.

Todd Byers, in yellow, talks with neighbors as they survey the damage to his home on the morning after the fire.

Road safety improvements coming to NE Blakeley Street / Union Bay Place NE

Some well-known traffic trouble spots near University Village are getting some overdue attention next month.

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is in the process of designing the following safety improvements to the Union Bay Place NE/NE Blakeley Street area (projected to begin construction as early as August 2014):

  • 25th Ave NE & NE Blakeley Street: Modified signal timing and intersection design. New bicycle leaning rails* (allow cyclists to wait for light change without dismounting, placing one foot on the rail).
  • 30th Ave NE & the Burke-Gilman Trail: Raised pedestrian crosswalk and repaired sidewalks approaching this crosswalk along 30th Ave NE between NE 50th Street and Union Bay Place NE.
  • Union Bay Place NE between NE 45th St & 30th Ave NE: New paved and painted pedestrian pathway along both sides.


View Safety Improvements to NE Blakeley St and Union Bay Place NE in a larger map

This work is funded by mitigation from the University Village and the Village QFC as well as Pedestrian Master Plan improvements. You can read more about the mitigation funding of this project on page 17 of this SDOT analysis of QFC’s 2012 land use application (208 KB PDF) to expand the store and build a parking garage.

The pedestrian improvements are part of SDOT’s Sidewalk Development Program and funded by the voter-approved Bridging the Gap levy. The Program’s 2014 projects include these new sidewalk connections:

Questions?  Contact Maribel Cruz with SDOT at 206-684-7963 or maribel.cruz@seattle.gov.

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*We are looking into the bicycle leaning rails to find out more about them (and see if these will be the first ones installed in Seattle).  We will update the post as we learn more!

Vehicle theft leads to hit and run, and ends with foot chase (UPDATES)

At approximately 12:40 PM on Tuesday, June 24, Seattle Police and Fire staff responded to a motor vehicle accident (MVA) call at 12th Avenue NE and NE 65th Street, next to the Roosevelt Light Rail Station construction site.

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What was unusual for this particular MVA was the large number of police vehicles near the collision site (at least nine, by our quick count). Turns out that this incident was a hit-and-run by a stolen vehicle, Seattle Police told us via twitter. A witness to the incident said that after the collision, the suspect fled south.

South of the collision area, on the east side of 12th Avenue NE (pictured above) medics were treating an adult male while officers looked on.

We’ll post more details below when we get them.

UPDATE (1:49 PM): We have confirmation by the SPD that the “suspect was detained by Seattle residents while officers arrived.”

UPDATE (Wednesday morning): Q13FOX had a story on the incident during their 11 PM newscast. You can read the summary and/or watch the video here.

UPDATE (Thursday morning): On the afternoon of the incident, we reached out on twitter on the off chance of contacting someone involved in the subduing of the suspect after he fled the stolen vehicle. A man named Shawn (last name withheld by request) replied, not only with his narrative of the events but a very thoughtful setting of his role that afternoon.

We have yet to see an official narrative of the incident from the Seattle Police Department, but the description of the event that Shawn has shared with us matches what other witnesses at the scene observed.

Here is the account, in Shawn’s words, from two separate emails received on Wednesday:

If you’d just like my recollection of events, I was overlooking the intersection there, on the NE corner of 2nd level of the Whole Foods shopping plaza.  I was on break from work at the time, when I heard a loud screech followed by a massive crunch of metal.

I hurried down the stairs located on the NE corner there and looked over to my left to see a car pretty much flipped into incoming traffic.  I began running toward the car to check on the victims when I realized that people were yelling STOP HIM at someone.

I looked over across the street and saw a young guy in a red T shirt and baggy jeans running down the opposite sidewalk.  I shouted, Hey you, stop, and he didn’t acknowledge me or the other people shouting similar things.

It was at that point I shouted at him again, Hey, you, stop right now, and started chasing after him.  I ran across the street and onto the opposite curb; he wasnt a great runner and I caught up to him near the SE corner of the Whole Foods on the opposite side of the street.  He actually tripped himself up mostly, and kind of ditched it into the bushes there along with his bag… I slid him off the bush and onto the ground and tried to get control of his arms.

At that point the level of rational thought I had put into this move was literally zero, and it was about then that he started getting really squirrelly with his left arm, trying to pull it away and use it as leverage or reach for something.  He actually did pull it completely out of my grasp at one point and it was all I could do to keep it pinned underneath him, afraid what he might try to pull out.

Fortunately that was the moment that the driver and another Good Samaritan ran up and helped get better control over him; I kept shouting at onlookers to call the cops not sure if any of them actually had or not.  I was very concerned about the well-being of the driver, who probably should not have been running after this guy after such a serious crash; he was being treated after I finished giving the cops a statement and I was glad to hear he ended up being pretty much ok.

It only took about 5 minutes or so for the cops to show up, by which time we were all wrapped up pretty good with the guy, who was resisting and shouting the whole time.  The cops knew who to go for right away (a small relief) and they pulled us apart and took him into custody.

That was about the point I realized I was probably going to be late back into work, and asked the cop after giving my contact info if he could write me a note for my supervisor.  He gave me his card, and said just give them this, if they have any problems at all, call me.

That was pretty much it.  Tbh I didn’t think about it at all, if I had, I probably would have done nothing.  But I was worried he might try to carjack someone or worse and it just kind of happened. :3

I didn’t even realize it was a stolen car at the time, I just saw him running from an accident that he caused and no one moving in the victims car.

[…]and I just don’t really want any undue attention for such a minor incident.

Ultimately, the only thing I’ve really taken away from this and other similar events is that sometimes we are at the right time and the right place, in life, to affect change or do the right thing.  And in those rare moments, it’s better to go with your gut reaction and act rather than forever wonder ‘what if’.  Being trapped in a box alone with that question can be a deadly curse.

I would just add that we each have far more power than we think, and I truly believe we are all responsible for making the world we live in into the world we’d imagine for ourselves and our loved ones.

On Tuesday afternoon, one man was booked into King County Jail for vehicle theft. We are watching for more documentation on the case (in King County District Court) and will continue to add updates here.

Last day of live fire exercises at 32nd and 68th (PHOTOS)

Friday, May 16 was the final day of live fire training at 6556 32nd Avenue NE, and it was a doozy.

“Two months to build, ninety minutes to destroy,” said one of the firefighters at the scene. Looking at the clock at the end of the burn down, he wasn’t that far off.

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How did you think they washed their bunker gear?

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Mr. Propane Torch is ready.

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Recruits run EVERYWHERE…

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…even to photo ops.

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Pre-burn down meeting between trainers and recruits.

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If we all put our shoes INSIDE our pants before we put them on, just think how much faster we could get dressed in the morning.

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Lt. Sue Stangl, one of the Seattle Fire Department’s public information officers, was on hand once again to answer questions. Here she’s telling spectators that once the smoke and fire get going, we may all want to move.

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This set of valves split the main line of water being pumped from a nearby engine (on the right, near the boot) into multiple lines to various hoses. This firefighter is about to turn the valves to ON and is holding down the apparatus with his body weight. Lots of pressure about to be released.

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After the fire was set inside the house, the first sense to pick up the change was hearing: Snapping and crackling could be heard. Then smoke began to leak out of the stripped roof.

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Flames were not far behind.

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Increase in the flames.

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Imagined conversation later in the day:

“Hey, grandpa. What did you do today?”

“Oh, you know. Just sat on the stoop and looked outside.”

“It was a beautiful day! You should have at least gone for a walk.”

“Eh. Nah.”

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A hole had been pre-cut in the roof on the east side of the house (near the peak of the Bravo side). The flames from here were TALL.

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A movie to show Mommy later.

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I never made it to any of the afternoon training sessions, but the morning sessions were never this well attended. And never had nearly so many miniature lawn chairs.

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Top floor window on the Delta side. Roof beams now exposed.

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Below this window, one can start to see the flames through small holes in the exterior of the house.

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Roof peak gone.

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And the rest of the roof is soon to follow.

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Three representatives from Polygon Northwest, the company that purchased the old Children’s Home Society land and will develop the parcel, were on hand today for the fire.

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When you’re a retired Seattle firefighter who takes pictures for the department, you get a better perch.

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As the fire consumed the living room, an occasional piece of glass would pop out and shatter.

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Alpha side.

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Deputy Chief Phil Jose (white helmet) talks with Lt. Stangl, and Lt. Luis Batayola (red helmet) from nearby Fire Station 38. Station 38 will be doing some training next week on at least one of the remaining single family homes on the north side of the block (no more total burn downs, though).

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In the background here we see one of the engines covered in wet tarps to protect the equipment from the heat of the fire. The yellow tape marks the boundary where only fire department personnel may enter. The red and white striped tape marks the exclusion zone around the burning house where no one may enter.

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Anytime a section of the house fell in and sent up a shower of ash, a firefighter stationed at the northwest corner of the house would send a shower of water into the air after it.

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Here we see one of the recruits enjoying some rehab time with a piece of pizza. (Most confused-looking delivery boy ever, by the way.)

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Alpha side has seen better days.

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It’s easy to see why people like calendars full of these guys.

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Oh. Hello there, sir. Are you looking at m…

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…oh, there’s a cute kid standing in front of me. Never mind.

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Bravo side.

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Little girl fresh from ballet class (looks like), watching the event with her hands clasped behind her back, just like the recruits.

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Another shot at some ash as the front of the house falls in.

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The one place WITHOUT fire? The fire place.

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This section around a Delta side window resembles an Easter Island monolith. To me.

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View through the length of the house. Daylight basement indeed.

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Here a recruit helps protect a tree at the corner of the lot (viewed through a chain link fence). This tree will be kept on the property even as Polygon homes constructs a run of seven single-family homes down this side of 32nd Avenue NE.

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Charlie side, with the alley beyond.

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As nearby Eckstein Middle School let out, swaths of teenagers wandered by the scene.

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Watching Bravo side.

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The woman on the left is Deb, a local resident. The woman on the right is Sunny, and she and her family used to rent this house. She, her husband, and their two children lived in 6556 32nd Avenue NE for four years before they purchased their own home and moved on.

We agreed that this was all really weird for her to watch.*

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As the house become not much more than smoldering embers, the firefighters donned their air supply masks and waded in.

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Debris was moved from the yard surrounding the house to within the cement foundation.

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The maple tree the firefighters were protecting got a bit singed, but will definitely pull through.

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I told Lt. Stangl that this sort of event must be like the Blue Angles equivalent for the fire department.

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At the tail end of the burn, Battalion 4’s chief stopped for a visit. Not much left of the house besides the fireplace.

Previous posts on these live fire exercises:

Seattle Fire to conduct “live fire” training at old CHSW site on May 13-16

Day Two photos

Day Three photos

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*Sunny: If you see this, I apologize for not saying more about your family’s time in the neighborhood and in this house. Later that afternoon I returned my defective iPhone, got a new one, and only then realized that I had not backed up my notes from the event (which included your email address). Thank you for sharing your memories of your time in this house with me.