Scramble for eggs this Saturday

[in our best monster truck voice]: SATURDAY SATURDAY SATURDAY!

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center Spring Egg Hunt starting line in 2011.

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center Spring Egg Hunt starting line in 2011.

This Saturday, April 19, at 10 AM SHARP, Seattle Parks and Recreation is holding Spring Egg Hunts all over the city. You can see the full, city-wide list on their website, but here are the hunting grounds closest to our area:

NORTHEAST

April 19 Spring Bunny Trail
Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center [6535 Ravenna Ave NE], 10 a.m., Ages 12 and under

April 19 Spring Egg Hunts
Nathan Hale Stadium [10750 30th Ave NE], 10 a.m., Ages 1-11
Laurelhurst Park [4554 NE 41st St], 10 a.m., Ages 12 and under

NORTHWEST
April 19 Spring Egg Scramble
Green Lake Community Center, 10 a.m., Ages 3 and under
Green Lake Community Center, 10:30 a.m., Ages 4-7
Green Lake Community Center, 11 a.m., Ages 8-10

Another option in NE Seattle is Calvary Christian Assembly’s annual Easter Egg Hunt at Cowen Park (5849 15th Ave NE). From the CCA website:

Registration begins at 11:30 am. We partner with Roosevelt Neighborhood vendors for this event that features 3 age-specific egg hunts as well as crafts, games, prizes, inflatables and more! Want to help? We will need people to donate candy and work at the event.

For all of these events, you’ll want your kids to bring baskets with which to carry their ovate loot.

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Ravenna Blog publisher posing with the largest holiday decoration in NE Seattle (outside of Candy Cane Lane).

Wedgwood principal heading to West Seattle

Parents and guardians of students at Wedgwood Elementary School (2720 NE 85th St) found the following message from Seattle Public Schools in their inboxes this afternoon:

Dear Wedgwood Elementary School community,

I am writing today to let you know that a leadership change will take place at the end of the school year. Your Principal, Mr. Chris Cronas, has been appointed Principal for Highland Park Elementary, effective July 1, 2014.

I know Mr. Cronas has provided excellent leadership as Principal of your school for four years and has been deeply engaged with the school community. He has had a strong relationship with families and has established opportunities for parents to support classroom teachers. I know you join me in wishing him the best in his new assignment.

Under his leadership, Wedgwood has become the highest achieving school in our District. I am proud of all of the work he has accomplished, and I know much of that success is because of the hard working staff, families and students at Wedgwood.

Kim Whitworth, Executive Director of Schools for the Northwest Region, will be in contact with you soon to talk about next steps for hiring a new Principal to continue the great work Mr. Cronas provided for Wedgwood.

Sincerely,

José Banda
Superintendent
Seattle Public Schools

Chris Cronas is replacing Ben Ostrom, who is moving from Highland Park Elementary to K-5 STEM at Boren, reports the West Seattle Blog.

Eckstein Band Rummage and Bake Sale this weekend

Eckstein Middle School’s Annual Rummage and Bake Sale is coming up!  On Saturday, April 5, from 9 AM – 3 PM, come for the deals, the baked goods, but especially to support Eckstein’s music program. All while accompanied by their award-winning jazz combos!

One of Eckstein Middle School’s bands performs at a concert on June 7, 2014. (From the EMS Band Facebook page)

The sale is also looking for your donations to help make the event a success. (Spring cleaning, anyone?)

Bring clothing in wearable condition, household items others could use, books and music for fresh ears and eyes to enjoy, furniture in good condition, toys, games and puzzles with all pieces and parts, and sporting equipment for a budding athlete to the Eckstein cafeteria on Friday, April 4, from 1:30 – 4 PM. Please no electronics, unassembled furniture, baby carseats, or strollers. The cafeteria’s exterior entrance faces the garden area in the back parking lot.  

Monies raised from the rummage sale go directly to the Eckstein’s music program and are used to help offset some of the cost of off-campus music performances (like performing at the Monterey Jazz Festival and bringing home LOTS of awards), repair damaged instruments, and provide scholarship to children who need assistance.

Spring and Summer Parks & Rec brochures are now available

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Spring classes, and summer camps and classes, special events and pool schedules all await you the latest Seattle Parks and Recreation brochure. Hard copies are available in local community centers, but you can also download an e-edition right here (5.1 MB PDF).

Registration for summer camps has already begun, but registration for other types of classes starts on Tuesday, March 11.

 

Latest Northeast Branch renovations nearly complete!

The meeting room of the Northeast Library (6801 35th Avenue NE) still has some children’s area materials stashed in it, but the remainder of our local branch of the Seattle Public Library is nearly done with its recent renovations.

Ravenna Blog Intern #2 samples the selection in the newly renovated Children's area of the Northeast Branch of the Seattle Public Library.

Ravenna Blog Intern #2 samples the selection in the newly renovated Children’s Area of the Northeast Branch of the Seattle Public Library.

After an open house held in October, the library saw some reduced hours (including Friday closures) in November and December as construction rotated through the branch. Changes for the staff included the obvious during construction…

…as well as a new layout: The reference desk area is now where the public computers are located, and all staff service desks and self-checkout area are along the west wall (or the top of the picture below).

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Bird’s-eye, roof-off view of the renovated portions of the Northeast Branch. NE 68th Avenue entrance is on the left (click to enlarge).

All the new pieces of the Jodi Green and Mike Halperin Children’s Area — seating, tables, even the shelves in the center of the area — are mobile.

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A slightly out-of-focus Delavan at the October 2013 open house gave the plans a thumbs-up.

Folks with small kids, you’ll like this: Story Times are starting up again soon! Here’s the schedule, which starts up again on January 14:

Toddler Story Time (ages 1-3): Thursdays at 10:15 AM and 11:15 AM.

Preschool Story Time (ages 3-5): Tuesdays at 10:30 AM.

Pajamas and Puppets (all ages): Wednesday, January 29 at 7 PM.

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City Librarian Marcellus Turner, Library Board members, representatives from Miller Hayashi Architects, and Children’s Services Librarian Erica Delavan at the open house in October 2013.

The Northeast Branch doubled in size after a major expansion in 2004. It was renovated most recently in 2009. Seattle architect Paul Thiry designed the building, which opened June 3, 1954 and was designated a landmark by Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board in January 2001.

Take the PLUNGE on New Years Day at Matthews Beach (UPDATE)

UPDATE (January 1, 2014): Jordan Stead, a photojournalist with the Seattle P-I, was at the PLUNGE this afternoon. Now we can enjoy the action while staying DRY:

One year ago, one of the Ravenna Blog interns (whose birthday happens to be New Year’s Day) really really really wanted to do the Polar Bear Plunge at Matthews Beach please mom please.

So we went. He got his five-year-old toes wet, and I was proud of him.

The 2014 Polar Bear Plunge is coming up on Wednesday, January 1, at Matthews Beach (9300 51st Ave NE). People dressed in swimsuits and wooden Viking helmets and costumes will run into the cold, cold waters of winter Lake Washington to celebrate the coming of a new year…and win a Patch of Courage for submersing themselves up to their necks.

Participants may start registering on-site at 11 AM, with plunging to take place at noon.

More information follows, as well as pictures from the 2013 Polar Bear Plunge.

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It’s cold out, but it’s a festive atmosphere.

The history of the Polar Bear Plunge (from the Seattle Parks and Recreation’s PBP event website):

The Polar Bear Plunge was the first official event of its kind in the Seattle area. Janet Wilson, Aquatic Center Coordinator at Meadowbrook Pool, started the event off on January 1, 2003. About 300 people participated in the first Polar Bear Plunge; since then the attendance has reached nearly 1,000 brave bears. The plunge has inspired other, similar events in the Seattle Area. At this family event, wear a costume, enjoy warm beverages, and receive a Patch of Courage if you immerse yourself.

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Not even Waldo himself could stay in hiding from this event.

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Why, YES, even children can participate. Kids (as well as folks who might need to take things a little more slowly and/or carefully) enter the water before the rest of the huddled, shivering masses. Above is as far as the birthday boy got, which I still found impressive.

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After the Polar Cub Club has had a turn, the cold, shivering masses line up along the shore from one end of the park (looking south, here)…

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…to the other (north view). Lifeguards are on duty.

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The event is rather popular for local photographers/media folks, too. (Though they tend to be dressed to stay dry.) In the foreground here is Josh Trujillo (Seattle P-I).

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And at noon, everyone not simply spectating heads into the lake!

Some hints and safety tips for Plungers (adapted from the PBP website):

1. Come early/Carpool/Take the bus: Parking is limited! Plan your trip with the Metro Trip Planner.
2. If you have heart problems, consult your health care provider BEFORE taking the plunge.
3. Don’t drink! Alcohol does NOT warm you up, and actually accelerates hypothermia.
4. Do not stay in the water longer than 15 minutes. Body heat is lost 25 times faster in water than in air.
5. Do NOT remove your warm clothing until swim time, and DO remove wet clothing before getting back into dry clothes.

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I’m not sure if the woman on the left was a zombie BEFORE she went in, or just after.

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After the plunge, participants are treated to the Official Polar Bear Plunge Beverage: HOT TANG. Sounds gross, but is actually quite tasty. Think Hot Apple Cider, but with faux orange flavor instead.

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The Burke-Gilman Trail cuts through Matthews Beach Park, and is another excellent way to get to the park without a car. Great way to get warm after the plunge, too, by cycling or hoofing it home on the trail.

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Ravenna Blog Intern #1 enjoying his HOT TANG.

The Polar Bear Plunge has a Facebook page if you’d like to learn more about the event, or see more of last year’s crazy people participants. The number of people willing to jump into 46°F water in January while barely clothed is impressive.

For those who might appreciate more of a warm-up before plunging into winter lake water, there is a Resolution Run 5K and Polar Bear Dive down at Magnuson Park, also on January 1. Registration is limited to 2,500 crazy people.

Seattle Parks & Recreation winter registration is open!

The weather outside is frightfully cold, at the moment. But your local community centers are nice and warm!

Head inside your local community center or pool to pick up a copy of the Winter 2014 course brochure for Northeast Seattle, or download it here (3.04 MB PDF).

Seattle Parks and Recreation 2014 Winter Brochure for Northeast Seattle (click to download; 3.04 MB PDF)

Seattle Parks and Recreation 2014 Winter Brochure for Northeast Seattle (click to download; 3.04 MB PDF)

The Northeast Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities covered in the above brochure are:

Community Centers:

  • Laurelhurst (4554 NE 41st St)
  • Magnuson (7110 62nd Ave NE)
  • Meadowbrook (10517 35th Ave NE)
  • Northgate (10510 5th Ave NE)
  • Ravenna-Eckstein (6535 Ravenna Ave NE)

Pools:

  • Helen Madison (13420 Meridian Ave N)
  • Meadowbrook (10515 35th Ave NE)

Course registration began on Tuesday, December 3, so hurry up and register today before “Hip Hop Tots” fills up!

Changes to Eckstein attendance area to be introduced at tonight’s School Board meeting (UPDATE)

Changes to Eckstein Middle School’s attendance area and yet another shuffling of APP students and schools — changes made public only five days ago — will be introduced to the Seattle School Board this evening, to be voted on at the following regular meeting of the School Board on November 20…

unless

In a reply to emails voicing concerns about the new Growth Boundary maps released on Friday, November 1, School Board Director Harium Martin-Morris sent the following response:

I am writing in response to your email regarding the November 1st version on the Growth Boundary Plan.  As written, I do not support the plan and along with Director De Bell will be offer an amendment that will go back to the previous version of the plan with the following changes:

*   Assign NE APP students to the new James Addams Middle School starting in 2014
*   Have a maximum of 3 classes per grade level at James Addams Middle School
*   Assign others APP to Hamilton until Wilson Pacific  Middle School is online.  At that point Hamilton would also go to the 3 classroom per grade and all others go to Wilson Pacific

That would mean that the middle school and elementary attendance areas in the NE would go back to  October 16th revision with some minor changes basis on community input.

Regards,

Harium Martin-Morris

At this time, we have heard that only two Directors are openly in support of the amendment: Martin-Morris and DeBell. In order for the amendment to pass, it needs support from four of the seven members of the board.

If you are in support of the previous plan, Wedgwood Elementary PTA President Terri Green recommends that you “keep sending e-mails to the entire School Board [...] voicing your concerns about the plan released last Friday and attend the meeting at the John Stanford Center (2445 3rd Avenue South) this afternoon at 4:15 pm. We need to turn out in force so the School Board can see how many folks are dissatisfied with the November 1 boundary proposal.”

Contact info for all seven Seattle School Board Directors can be found in this latest issue of the Wedgwood Weekly (upper right hand corner)

On Sunday, November 3, the SNAPP (North Seattle Accelerated Progress Program) PTA said on its website it “maintains its position that splitting the APP Middle School and co-housing with attendance area schools is not in the best interest of our community or helpful with the overcrowding in the north end. Although many APP MS students come from the Whitman and Eckstein reference area, putting APP in these schools would only serve to further crowd them and keep reference area kids out.”

On Monday at a Call to Action meeting at Wedgwood Elementary that over 200 parents attended, many voiced surprise over the revisions made to the previous Growth Boundary maps (released on October 16), as well as bewilderment over why the November revisions were made in the first place. And no explanation for the changes — released last Friday at 7 PM ahead of a Wednesday meeting — were given by the School Board.

Eckstein Middle School PTSA President Tobi Bet, speaking at Monday’s meeting said, “No rhyme or reason to this. None.”

On Tuesday, the Wedgwood Community Council issued a “formal letter of concern” about the boundary changes, which they said “did not allow critical stakeholders adequate time to review and consider the changes relative to potential alternatives.”

And this morning, Ravenna-Bryant Community Association released a letter of their own, which urges the School Board to reconsider the latest boundary changes (via email):

Dear Board of Directors:

On behalf of the Ravenna Bryant Community Association Board of Directors, I ask that the school boundaries proposed on Friday November 1st not be adopted because they do not meet three of the four core values for Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan.

The four core values of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan are:

  • Community - developing strong connections between a diverse range of people and places
  • Environmental Stewardship - protect and improve the quality of our global and local natural environment
  • Economic Opportunity and Security - a strong economy and a pathway to employment is fundamental to maintaining our quality of life
  • Social Equity - limited resources and opportunities must be shared; and the inclusion of under-represented communities in decision-making processes is necessary

Our neighborhood schools create a strong sense of Community because families can walk to school, for the school day as well as extracurricular activities.  The new boundary proposal would erode this sense of community by forcing kids to attend a school miles away, instead of blocks.

Our neighborhood schools allow families to walk, bike, or carpool to school which not only creates community but also helps meet the City’s Environmental Stewardship goals.  Eckstein has a successful walk and bike to school program that would be destroyed by these new boundaries.

The last minute release of the proposed boundaries, given at the late hour of 7 p.m. on a Friday night for a Wednesday meeting, does not adhere to the City’s Core Value of Social Equity.  Our community is left scrambling at the last minute to provide alternatives and organize ourselves.

The Ravenna Bryant Community Association urges the School Board to reject these new boundaries, and demands that the Seattle School District create new boundaries that honor the core principals put forth in the City of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan.  Please consider moving the boundaries for Eckstein further north, at least to NE 95th, and find room for the APP at Hamilton in the south wing of Lincoln High School.

Sincerely,

Tony Provine

RBCA President

 

Tonight’s regular meeting of the Seattle School Board starts at 4:15 PM at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence (2445 3rd Avenue S).

The agenda for tonight’s meeting is available here (PDF). Public testimony is scheduled to start at 5 PM for those 25 speakers who were pre-selected; an additional 63 on the wait list), with the Action Items and Introduction Items portion scheduled to start at 6 PM.

School Board meetings are streamed live online (though not for iOS users, it seems) and broadcast on Channel 26 (Seattle Public School TV).

We will have live coverage of tonight’s meeting below, if we can. We’ll be watching along at home, and taking notes.

UPDATE (2:29 PM): It is our understanding from a Keep Wedgwood Neighborhood Kids at Eckstein Facebook page post by Wedgwood Elementary School PTA President Terri Green that the newest version of the Growth Boundaries map AND Director Harium Martin-Morris’ amendment will BOTH be introduced at the meeting tonight, and voting will take place on both at the next School Board meeting on November 20. In case there was confusion on the order of things.

Also, hot out of the Ravenna Blog Email Inbox, a letter on the recent boundary plan changes by Representative Gerry Pollet:

Dear Board members and Superintendent Banda,

As with many of my neighbors, I was also shocked by this last minute change to the assignment plan proposals, which had never been presented at a public meeting. The proposal would dramatically undermine much of the benefits achieved by the District in adopting a neighborhood assignment plan. It is unacceptable that students immediately north of 75th – within sight of Eckstein – would be assigned to Addams.

When I heard from neighbors about this change to the Plan, I reviewed the materials prepared for the Board’s meeting and was dismayed that they do not disclose this impact in plain language. One has to first review the detailed map and wade through the bureaucratic lingo to piece together that this dramatic change to our community would be put in place in September.

Students in the Wedgwood Elementary assignment zone between NE 75th (where Eckstein is) and NE 95th, would be walking to school where there are no sidewalks and a very dangerous arterial on a steep hill to cross. Ironically, our community has been working with the City to improve the crosswalks, signals and speed on NE 75thto allow students to safely cross to and from Eckstein. We can reduce transportation costs and increase safety by amending this plan to resume having Wedgwood Elementary feed Eckstein.

I am all too well aware of the incredible overcapacity problem at Eckstein, coupled with ancient portables and other capacity issues. This latest proposal is not a solution for that problem. As you know, along with my colleagues, I have worked to bring significant funding and resources to reopen and renovate schools to address the overcrowding across NE and N Seattle. We will continue to work with the District to procure funds – and hope that the District will work with the City and your legislative delegation to obtain new properties near the core of our overcrowding problems, e.g., Roosevelt Reservoir and Lake City Pierre properties.

The community south of NE 50th Street had to petition and organize to be kept together with their neighborhood assignment to Bryant Elementary in the last set of decisions. It is disheartening that this effort and commitment to that community would be ignored again in the latest boundary change proposal – again without having provided the community a chance to comment at the meetings. The repeated need to organize communities to have the same discussion about integrity of neighborhoods and stability in assignments undermines the excellent progress made by the District in the School Assignment Plan.

Representative Gerry Pollet

46th District (Northeast and North Seattle, Lake Forest Park and Kenmore)

 

Latest school boundary proposals for NE Seattle could spell big changes for local students (UPDATES)

The latest round of potential school boundary changes drawn up by the Seattle School District will be presented to School Board members this Wednesday, November 6. And for many Northeast Seattle families, there are some big differences to be spotlighted:

  • Under these new changes, if accepted by the School Board on November 20, students across the street from Eckstein Middle School would no longer be attending there. Instead, all students currently attending Wedgwood Elementary would begin attending Jane Addams Middle School.
  • North Seattle Accelerated Progress Program (APP) middle school students would be moved from Lincoln Hamilton into Eckstein.
Proposed Northeast Seattle  middle school boundaries. If accepted, most of these changes would be implemented in 2015.

Proposed Northeast Seattle middle school boundaries. If accepted, these changes would be implemented in the next two years.

The documents outlining these proposed changes were last updated on October 31, and released the next day, at 7 PM. On a Friday night. So many families in the affected areas may just be hearing about them.

Wedgwood Elementary PTA President Terri Green has weighed in about these proposed changes, in a message that started circulating over the weekend. It reads, in part:

SPS boundary changes as they impact the Wedgwood community

On Friday, November 1 at 7 pm, SPS released a third iteration of their plan they think may be final to address growth boundaries. There are major modifications which will significantly impact your children and our community in two ways:

  1. Starting next school year, ALL Wedgwood students would be assigned to the new (as yet unopened) Jane Adams Middle School (6-8), even kids who live across the street from Eckstein.
  2. Former Wedgwood students currently attending Eckstein will be moved to the new Jane Adams Middle School for 7th and 8th grade. (Part of the Northend APP middle school program is proposed to move into Eckstein.)

A full copy with details of the plan is available on-line here. This plan was devised after community feedback to the previous October 16 proposal. No major changes were proposed for our school at that time and thus there was no call to action. Now our community needs to respond quickly if we wish to impact this process before it is too late.

Green goes on to say a Call to Action meeting is being held at 6:30 tonight, Monday, November 4th, in Wedgwood Elementary School’s library. (We will be attending, and will provide LIVE COVERAGE below, if possible.)

Green will also be attending Wednesday’s School Board meeting (4:15 PM at the John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd Ave S), but families should contact School Board members themselves before then. The Seattle School District is divided into seven parts, each one represented by an elected member. The representatives whose areas are affected by these changes in North/Northeast Seattle are:

In addition to expressing thoughts/concerns to School Board members, parents should also email feedback to GrowthBoundaries@seattleschools.org, the official Seattle School District boundary plan address. Put your school or issue in the subject line.

For the full list of information about these proposed changes (including the data used to create them), visit the Seattle Public Schools — Growth Boundaries page.

UPDATE (12:09 PM): Thanks to some commenters on Facebook, we have learned the APP @ Lincoln PTA’s official stance on the proposed changes to their program:

PTA Responds to New Boundary Proposal

On Friday evening, the Seattle Public School district released their latest proposals for updating school boundaries. The district will present this proposal to the Seattle School Board on Wednesday, November 6th. If you would like to speak directly to the board regarding this proposal at the meeting, you may, but you must call the district and sign up on Monday (11/4) morning.

The SNAPP PTA maintains its position that splitting the APP Middle School and co-housing with attendance area schools is not in the best interest of our community or helpful with the overcrowding in the north end. Although many APP MS students come from the Whitman and Eckstein reference area, putting APP in these schools would only serve to further crowd them and keep reference area kids out.

You can read the entire APP @ Lincoln PTA statement here.

UPDATE (Tuesday, November 5, 7:52 AM): Correction/Clarification from elementary school APP parent and Roosevelt resident Elena Waite :

Current APP middle school students do NOT attend Lincoln- in the North, they go to Hamilton and will continue at Hamilton in the proposed plan, for now, as well as Eckstein and then Whitman. I would also like to note that APP has advocated for its own Middle School site – at Wilson Pacific and never advocated to be at Eckstein as we know that school is already crowded as a neighborhood school.

UPDATE (Tuesday, November 5, 7:03 PM): Those that emailed Seattle School Board Member Harium Martin-Morris received the following email in return, outlining an amendment Martin-Morris plans to introduce at Wednesday’s meeting.

I am writing in response to your email regarding the November 1st version on the Growth Boundary Plan. As written, I do not support the plan and along with Director De Bell will be offer an amendment that will go back to the previous version of the plan with the following changes:

* Assign NE APP students to the new James Addams Middle School starting in 2014
* Have a maximum of 3 classes per grade level at James Addams Middle School
* Assign others APP to Hamilton until Wilson Pacific Middle School is online. At that point Hamilton would also go to the 3 classroom per grade and all others go to Wilson Pacific

That would mean that the middle school and elementary attendance areas in the NE would go back to October 16th revision with some minor changes basis on community input.

Regards,

Harium Martin-Morris

————————-

NOTE: While most local residents probably assume (correctly so) that most Ravenna neighborhood students attend Bryant Elementary, many in the North Ravenna area (including those here at Ravenna Blog Headquarters) are located within the Wedgwood Elementary attendance area. In fact, the boundary for Wedgwood itself is planned to expand further into Ravenna in the coming years (reflected in the image above).

APP students are scattered throughout neighborhoods, and all currently attend school at old Lincoln High School in Wallingford (see Elena Waite’s note above). Lincoln was closed in 1981, and is used as an interim location for Seattle schools and programs.

Last days for Peaks Frozen Custard in Roosevelt

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Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Especially in the case of Peaks Frozen Custard (1026 NE 65th Street), closing on Sunday, September 29.

From their website:

We could not be more grateful to all of you amazing custardmers. It has been 5 years of wonderful. So why would we close? Peaks is a small family business that takes 100% of our families attention. We had fun, but now we’re on to a new lifestyle! At the same time, our lease comes to an end- so it was renew, relocate or stop!

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Hours for the remainder of their days on NE 65th Street are 6-10 PM on Thursday and Friday, and 1-10 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

And should you “custardmers” want to give the Peaks folks a good send off, a celebration is planned at the store on Saturday.

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A few glimmers of tasty frozen hope:

  1. Peaks says that, “We will, however, be serving what has become the best frozen treat in the Northwest at festivals only.” Keep tabs on the Peaks Frozen Custard website and/or Facebook page for that info.
  2. A “new and unique” frozen yogurt shop will be taking the space.