Monthly Archives: July 2009

old ferries

Belltown: City Hostel Seattle – some actual information

By Jesse Fowl

BelltownPeople blog

OK, I admit it. I got all swept up writing about the City Hostel Seattle project in a narrative form that I completely missed the point that there’s a ton of information that needs to be conveyed. I just got all sorts of excited. Can you imagine being a silly little neighborhood blogger, walking by the historic Lorraine Hotel, and meeting this wild guy Lee? “What, you’re serious? There’s 40 something artists in there remodelling the rooms?!” Right – I frothed at the literary mouth.

The hostel is going to be amazing. This is the kind of project with a scale and impact that will probably garner national attention. It’s such a uniquely amazing project. Speaking with Lee, you really do get the impression that this is the guy’s life work – as if somehow his entire fascinating existence (and it really is fascinating) is all culminating in this one meteoric explosion of an endeavor.

Lee is completely obsessed with the extraordinary. The front desk is going to be completely run on solar power. He’s so dedicated to the project that he spent the last 36 hours on his hands and knees sanding the original hardwood floors on level two from an encrusting layer of acrylic paint. He wanted to save it. When he starts talking about his vision for “setting art free” he can’t stand still and has to move to another room – or, I literally think he would combust with excitement.

Each room is going to be completely transformed from a white cube into an artist’s expression.

Read more

Now it’s done: The scrap yard for the historic ferries

Four Washington State Department of Transportation 1927-built Steel Electric Class ferries wait at the WSF Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility on Bainbridge Island. The ferries, from front right, back to left and finally in the back right are: Klickitat, Quinault, Illahee and Nisqually. The Nisqually and the Quinault will be towed next week to Ensenada Mexico, where they will be recycled. The Klickitat and the Illahee will follow in about two weeks. (Photo: Grant Haller)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      This time, it’s the scrap yard for sure.

      After two earlier tries to sell its four 1920s-vintage ferries, the state now has actually done it, and the first two of the boats may be heading for Mexico by next week.

      Once they get to Ensenada, the four so-called “steel-electric” ferries that hauled passengers and vehicles across Puget Sound for close to seven decades will be cut up for scrap.

     The Illahee, Klickitat, Nisqually and Quinault will be gone forever.

Brian Corey welds a wall of metal called a “Wave Breaker” onto the No. 2. end of the ferry Nisqually. A crew of Boilermakers were putting the wall into place Friday. It will prevent ocean wave damage to the ship on its way south. (Photo: Grant Haller)

     Washington State Ferries has sold all four vessels to Eco Planet Recycling of Chula Visa, Calif., for $200,000, a fraction of what it was thought they were worth a few months ago.

      The four boats, originally built in 1927 for the Southern Pacific Railroad in the Bay Area of California, have been moored at the ferry system’s Bainbridge Island maintenance facility since they were permanently removed from service in late 2007 because of bad hull corrosion.

 

 

       There’s plenty of metal in the old boats, but it took months for the state to reach its goal of selling them all at once. Several prospective buyers had come to the ferry system’s Bainbridge Island maintenance area hoping to buy just one of them.

 

Brian Corey welds a wall of metal called a “Wave Breaker” onto the No. 2. end of the ferry Nisqually. A crew of Boilermakers were putting the wall into place Friday. It will prevent ocean wave damage to the ship on its way south. (Photo: Grant Haller)

“There were a lot of looky-loos,” said Vern Day, manager of the maintenance facility, including an Oregon couple who wanted to buy the Illahee and convert it to a floating restaurant. No sale.

      “We wanted them (all) out of here. We need the space,” said Doug Russell, the state’s chief naval architect.

  With the boats occupying what would be maintenance slips, the system had to spent time moving them out of the way so maintenance chores could be completed on boats still operating. Occasionally, crews had to be sent off-island to do the work because the old boats were in the way at the island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vern Day, Washing State Department of Transportation Vern Day leaves the Engineering Operartion Station of the Nisqually. Day has worked nearly 20 years remodling and keeping the Nisqually, other ferries of the fleet and WSF docks in operating shape. Day was leading a media group on one of the last tours of the ship before it heads south. (Photo: Grant Haller)

 

      The Puget Sound area’s former private ferry operator, the Black Ball Line, brought six of the ferries to Puget Sound in 1940 after they were made obsolete by new cross-bay bridges in California.

       The state acquired them when it bought the ferry system in 1951. Two were retired in 1967. The boats worked all over the Sound, most recently on the Port Townsend-Whidbey Island route, among the San Juan Islands and in service as backups. They were called “steel-electrics” because of the metal in their hulls and because their diesel engines powered electric motors that turned the propellers.

       They were pulled from service because officials said they were too risky and expensive to run. The state has begun building new boats for its fleet and expects one to be finished next year.

       Once the old boats were mothballed, a rush for souvenirs began. One woman said she’d had a baby delivered during a ride on one of the vessel and wanted some piece of hardware as a keepsake. Another woman tried to get something for her father, who once commuted to work on one of the ferries and is now terminally ill.

      Memorabilia such as artwork and nameplates from the boats have been stored in a warehouse and archived and eventually may be used in other ferries, at terminals or displayed at the system’s Seattle headquarters. The upholstered wooden lounge seats, installed during a 1980s renovation, are still on the vessels and will head south with them.

 

A Nisqually life ring waits on a railing of the ferry. Four Washington State Deartment of Transportation 1927-built Steel Electric Class ferries wait at the WSF Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility on Bainbridge Island. (Photo: Grant Haller)

Day donated jigsaw puzzles left on the Illahee to a local charity on Bainbridge Island.

     State crews went to work stripping the old boats of usable equipment such as radar and other navigation hardware, life jackets and fire-suppression hardware.

      On Friday, welders were busy preparing the ships for their ocean trip southward: They’d installed a horizontal breakwater on the Nisqually, planned more on the other boats and were welding rudders and propeller shafts in place so they wouldn’t turn during the trip.

 

 

 

 

  State welders are doing their part of the preparation work for the private buyer because they’re the only ones authorized to do the work in the yard, and to save time. “We were trying to facilitate the removal of the boats as soon as possible,” Russell said.

       Two different tug companies will be used to pull the boats, one at a time, out of their Eagle Harbor slips into the sound, where they’ll be lashed two at a time to each tug for the Pacific Ocean trip south. One steel line will be attached to each ferry from the tug, with the line for the trailing ferry to be strung around and under the leading one.

     The trip is expected to take seven to nine days. Eco Planet Recycling is making arrangements for taking the boats to the Gran Peninsula shipyard in Ensenada, where they’ll be dismantled.

      The sale ends months of state attempts to unload the ferries. It couldn’t get the price it wanted listing them on the state surplus list and eBay. Trying a negotiated-sale route, it got one bid from a Shoreline-based recycling firm for $500,000 plus 10 percent of the actual scrapping revenue.

     That deal fell apart when the expected $700-per-ton scrap price dropped to $200. Escalating fuel prices increased the cost of hauling them south. The state  then negotiated a second sale, for $650,000 to a Tacoma real estate firm thinking of using them as possible office or restaurant spaces. But that sale also fell through because the company couldn’t find moorage for the vessels.

     The ferry system arranged the sale to Eco Planet Recycling last month. Coursey said two ferries, the Nisqually and the Quinault, will be towed away next week, “exact date to be determined.” The system thinks the Illahee and the Klickitat “will be towed away approximately one to two weeks after the first two,” Coursey said. Both must be gone by mid-September.

Film review: In the Loop

Politics is no place for idealists and amateurs, if this fiercely funny satire of British party politics and international diplomacy is to be believed. The triumph of director Armando Iannucci, his writers and especially his star, Peter Capaldi, is that for all the raucous chaos and foul dialogue, it’s a simultaneously hilariously and terrifyingly convincing model of how modern statesmanship must work.

Tom Hollander’s Simon Foster, the diplomatically naive Minister of International Development, looks to be the film’s ostensible hero, a political stumblebum who has a tendency to talk about issues he has no business discussing and an even worse habit of offering opinions in place of doubletalk. But it’s Capaldi’s Malcolm Tucker, the Prime Minister’s director of communications and the administration’s internal strong arm, who commands attention. Where some rule through terror, Malcolm has learned control through verbal intimidation. His invective-laced tirades are as mesmerizing as they are funny, almost hypnotic in their reach for creatively foul threats and insults, and his tactics know no boundaries, especially as Simon’s public comments contradict the administration’s official public line and its secret march to war in lockstep with America. It just gets more tangles when he’s sent to Washington.

Without naming any actual countries or even dates, it turns into a commentary on the political machinations involved in justifying an invasion of Iraq, by misrepresenting evidence, suppressing conflicting information and quarantining dissenting voices. David Rasche is perfectly devious as the American architect of invasion of an unnamed country in the middle east (think of him as equal parts Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, with a casually arrogant demeanor and a cutting line of attack) and he’s in no mood to see Simon’s confused statements add to his own troubles, namely an American analyst (Mimi Kennedy) suspicious of his intelligence and an outspoken General (James Gandolfini) resistant to send anyone to war without good reason. Which is absurd in a political culture statecraft is merely high-stakes poker on an international scale and reason is merely an excuse to serve opportunity and power.

There’s not much shape to this film, which plays like a pair of connected episodes of TV series (no surprise, given the roots of the film in the British series The Thick of It) and is directed in the mock-doc style that has become so familiar in shows like The Office (and, I’m told, The Thick of It). But for all the satirical exaggeration and comic complications (one of them courtesy of Steve Coogan as a frustrated constituent whose private conflicts with Malcolm become a very public distraction), but its portrait of politics as gamesmanship over governance is fiercely funny and terrifyingly convincing. Hollander makes Simon’s bumbling lack of media savvy and his timid tiptoe up to making a moral stand endearing while the film plays him as completely impotent in the face of guile, experience and the ruthless determination of Malcolm, a power player whose caustic wit is so cutting that it practically lacerates anyone who faces it without the thick skin of political experience. Mr. Smith came to Washington with an idealism strong enough to stand up to such cynical ploys. Mr. Tucker has no such armor and Iannucci no such faith in idealism without guile. Given the way things turned out in the war the last administration engineered in Iraq, it’s hard to blame him.

Directed by Armando Iannucci; written by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche, with additional dialogue by Ian Martin; featuring Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison, Anna Chlumsky, David Rasche and Steve Coogan. 106 minutes. No rating, but its foul language would melt the ears of the ratings board.

M’s trade of Washburn leaves rotation’s future up in the air

    Jarrod Washburn was indeed traded by the Seattle Mariners in the final hours before the trade deadline – he just didn’t land in any of the hotly rumored locales.

    Boston? Nope. New York, Milwaukee or Minnesota? Nah.

    Instead, Mariner general manager Jack Zduriencik sent Washburn – a pitcher he really didn’t want to trade – to Detroit in exchange for two young left-handed starting pitchers.

    In exchange for Washburn, who had two months left on his four-year deal with Seattle, the Mariners get 23-year-old lefty Luke French, who has bounced between Triple-A and the major leagues this year, and 20-year-old Mauricio Robles, who was pitching in Class-A.

    The Mariners didn’t make an immediate decision on French’s immediate role with the club, but it’s likely he will join the Mariners as part of their rotation. Seattle has the best ERA in the American League, but the rotation is a jumble.

    Washburn is the third member of the original starting rotation taken out of the mix. Carlos Silva has been on the disabled list for most of the year, and Erik Bedard is serving his second DL stint right now. On top of that, another member of the April rotation, lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith, spent time on the DL and has just rejoined the rotation in the past 10 days.

    The Mariners added another young (27) starter in Ian Snell in trading with the Pirates for shortstop Jack Wilson earlier in the week. And former first-round draft pick Brandon Morrow is trying to make his way back to the rotation, but he continues to struggle at Triple-A Tacoma.

     “We had an opportunity to acquire two starting left-handed pitchers under the age of 23, including one with major league experience,” Zduriencik said. “As we continue to build the Mariners’ organization, it is crucial that we acquire depth and quality. This deal is another step in that process.”

    It’s not clear if Washburn’s ties with Seattle have been completely severed. The Mariners could have dealt Washburn any time in the past couple of weeks, but they held off in part because they were trying to ascertain if they had a chance to sign him during the winter.

     “Would he be willing to be a rent-a-player someplace and then come back and sign with us?” one senior member of the Mariner brain trust said earlier in the week. “If we knew that was a possibility, it would make a trade a lot more palatable for a lot of people here.”

    Washburn, who never ducked the topic of trades, said he would keep all his options open, including a return to Seattle, this having been his most enjoyable season since 2002, when he won a World Series ring in Anaheim.

    However, he is represented by agent Scott Boras, a fearsome negotiator who has a history of steering his clients to the best deal out there, so that may be a roadblock should the Mariners pursue Washburn as a free agent.

    Still, Washburn has been quick to say, “my agent works for me,” in indicating the pitcher will make the final choice.

    The Mariners will have the money to be competitive for Washburn this fall, should they choose to do so. After starting the season with a $99 million payroll, the Mariners have trimmed $12.35 million off it with Washburn ($10.35 million) off to the Tigers and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt ($2 million) having been traded to the Royals.

    Third baseman Adrian Beltre ($12 million), reliever Miguel Batista ($9 million) and Bedard ($7.75 million) all are in the final year of their deals. In total, that’s $41.1 million that could be cleared, although some of that will be needed if the club picks up the option for 2010 for Wilson ($8.4 million).

    Some smaller salaries, $2 million to Ken Griffey Jr. and $500,000 to Mike Sweeney, also could come off the books as both of those men also will be free agents.

    An eighth-round pick of the Tigers in the 2004 draft, French started seven times for the Tigers this year, including July 23, when he had a 5 1/3-inning, two-run stint against the Mariners in what proved to be a 2-1 Seattle win. He is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA.

    And during his time at Triple-A, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound lefty was 4-4 with a 2.98 ERA for Toledo.

    Robles has never pitched higher than the Class-A Florida State League, and he’s likely to be assigned to High Desert in the California League.

Apple’s rumored king-size iPod: The future of the written word?

I’ve seen the future of the written word.

Or rather, I’ve visualized it in my head, based on some recent items on tech-rumor sites.

As some of you longtime readers know, I’ve long believed the Web page, as we currently know it, is not the ideal showcase for professional journalism (or several other forms of professionally made content).

News-biz people will tell you how Web ads just don’t attract nearly as much money per reader as print ads.

They’ll also tell you how the Web’s basic structural metaphor (individual pages, infinite links) works against the notion of a journalistic product combining different stories about different topics into one whole.

And I’ll tell you that Web-based typography and layout, despite many clever workarounds, still leave a lot to be desired.

And it’s damn difficult to charge for content on the Web, as you may have heard. Even some commercial porn sites are having trouble.

Meanwhile, two or three big new platforms have emerged with great possibilities for content-based profits:

Netbooks (Windows and Linux PCs in less-than-laptop sizes) have become such mass-market items that wireless providers are giving them away with new contracts. (This entry is the “or three” of this list, because these devices are still tied to the traditional Web.)

Dedicated ebook reading devices have finally taken off, in the form of the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader. New competitors are promised over the next few years. These platforms were designed from the ground up for commercial content, but are so far crippled by graphics and design limitations.

Then there’s the beloved Apple iPhone, and its limited-feature-set cousin the iPod Touch, with their highly successful App Store.

It’s revolutionized the whole consumer software business with its inexpensive, do-one-thing-well applications. It’s revolutionized the digital content business as a single mobile hardware platform for audio, video, games, and texts. (Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble now sell ebooks for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform, as do several smaller vendors.)

In the New Yorker, novelist and print-media historian Nicholson Baker lauds the iPhone/iPod Touch platform as a more satisfying e-reading environment than Kindle or Sony Reader. He likes that the iPhone’s screen offers sharper resolution and full color. He likes its (slightly) greater typographical diversity.

I agree, except for the size of the thing.

Yeah, I’ve got 52-year-old eyeballs and prefer larger-sized type.

But I also want the juxtaposition of word and image you get on a well-designed print page. I want the visual sensation of ordered confusion a good newspaper page can express. I want the “splash” of a good magazine spread. I want the visual sequential narrative of a well-curated photo essay.

Yet I’d like that in a handy, go-anywhere device. Something where you just turn it on and it works; no complex interface to fuss over, no confusing setup and maintenance issues, no frustrations. (Hint: This means I don’t want a Windows Mobile tablet.)

What I want is the iPhone/iPod Touch, only in a bigger, splashier, more useful size.

And that’s apparently what we’re going to get, sometime in early to mid-2010, if you believe the current industry rumors.

Some of the rumor articles call the gadget a “Mac tablet,” and claim it would run a stripped down version of Mac OS X.

But that’s not what I want it to be.

I want it to be an iPod Touch with more, not a Mac computer with less. I don’t want something that runs MS Office or Adobe Photoshop really poorly; I want something that delivers documents and media really well.

I truly believe such a device, or the second or third versions of it, could be the breakthrough product we need to truly replace print.

I’m no Photoshop whiz or demo designer, so let me verbally display what I’m imagining.

In my vision, individual newspaper and magazine articles would still be available as Web pages for free access. What readers would (quite willingly) pay for, in one-shot buys and subscriptions, is a whole package of carefully chosen and carefully designed words and pictures, in on-the-go tablet reader form.

Each “issue” would be a complete, self-contained document, including any embedded audio or video files. No additional downloading would be required. The reader could receive it at home in the morning, then access it on his/her iPod Tablet whenever and wherever, with or without a cell or WiFi connection.

They’d have full use of modern digital typography, not merely Microsoft’s ten “Web-safe” fonts or Flash-based font substitution schticks. PDF-like rendering would overcome HTML’s severe typesetting limitations. Justified columns, smart hyphenation, kerning, footnotes, superscripts and subscripts, indentations, drop caps, charts and graphs — these e-mags would look and read like professionally made works. (Technical manuals and scientific textbooks could go treeless and keep the typographical tricks they need.)

Like Zinio’s electronic editions of magazines, they’d have clickable headlines and table-of-contents listings, zoomable text, and intuitive navigation including animated “page turning.” Unlike them, they’d be designed for on-screen reading from the ground up, not merely digital replications of print layouts.

On the software end, this is all doable. The pieces and programming tools exist. So do the e-commerce platforms, such as Apple’s App Store.

Now, at last, the user-end hardware is almost here.

(The hardware doesn’t have to be Apple’s, as long as it’s got a hi-res color screen, internal storage, and the ability to play common file formats such as Adobe’s PDF.)

If my suspicion’s right, near-future historians will see the mid-to-late aughts as a tough but necessary transition period from print to ebooks and emags.

What will those ebooks and emags evolve into?

That’s a topic for another day.

Finally, a time set to haul away four ’20s-vintage ferries

     This time, it’s the scrap yard for sure.

     After two earlier tries to sell its four 1920s-vintage ferries, the state now says it has a deal to get it done, and the first two of the boats may be heading for Mexico by next week.

     Once they get to Ensenada, the four so-called “steel-electric” ferries that hauled passengers and vehicles across Puget Sound for close to seven decades will be cut up for scrap.

     The Illahee, Klickitat, Nisqually and Quinault will be gone forever.

       Washington State Ferries has sold all four vessels to Eco Planet Recycling of Chula Visa, Calif., for $200,000, a fraction of what it was thought they were worth a few months ago.

      The four boats, originally built in 1927 for the Southern Pacific Railroad in the Bay Area of California, have been moored at the ferry system’s Bainbridge Island maintenance facility since they were permanently removed from service in late 2007 because of bad hull corrosion.

       There’s plenty of metal in the old boats, but the state has had a tough time selling them. It couldn’t get the price it wanted listing them on the state surplus list and eBay. Trying a negotiated-sale route, it got one bid from a Shoreline-based recycling firm, which said it would pay $500,000 plus 10 percent of the actual scrapping revenue.

     That company, Environmental Recycling Systems, also planned to tow them to Mexico for dismantling.  That deal fell apart when the expected $700-per-ton scrap price dropped to $200. Escalating fuel prices increased the cost of hauling them south, and ERS asked for a delay, said Marta Coursey, spokeswoman for the ferry system.

       The state instead negotiated a second sale, for $650,000 to a Tacoma real estate firm, Managing Green, which considered using them as possible office or restaurant spaces. It couldn’t find moorage for the vessels, however, and that purchase also fell through. Managing Green forfeited a $30,000 deposit in the process, Coursey said.

        Late last month, the system said it had arranged to sell the boats to Eco Planet Recycling. Coursey said the four ferries will be towed, two at a time, to Ensenada, Mexico. The first two, the Nisqually and the Quinault, will be towed away next week, “exact date to be determined,” she said. The ferry system thinks the Illahee and the Klickitat “will be towed away approximately one to two weeks after the first two,” Coursey said.    

       The Puget Sound area’s former private ferry operator, the Black Ball Line, brought the four ferries to Puget Sound in the early 1940s after they were made obsolete by new cross-bay bridges in California. 

       The state acquired them when it bought the ferry system in 1951. The boats worked all over the Sound, most recently on the Port Townsend-Whidbey Island route, among the San Juan Islands and in service as backups.

      They were pulled from service because officials said their badly corroded hulls made them too risky and expensive to run. The state has begun building new boats for its fleet and expects the first two new ones to be finished next year.

Help us continue our work

We’re out-of-work journalists – mostly from the old Seattle P-I, but also formerly of the Seattle Weekly, The Seattle Times and other news organizations that have been downsizing. We’re trying to continue doing our work, but we need your donations to keep going.

Here’s what we did this week that went uncovered by other news organizations:

  • we broke the story of how the Bite of Seattle almost saw protesters carrying guns and how gun rights activists even in Seattle might become more open;
  • we wrote about an incident in which a longtime gay rights activist, and currently a top official in the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, watched three men beat and kick his friend on Capitol Hill, of all places, while yelling anti-gay remarks;
  •  we broke the story of how Seattle might ban smoking in parks;
  • other news sites only reported a proposal by King County Council members to try to get Seattle to pay more for the ride-free zone. We went further and found Metro already believes the city is paying for buses to operate in the zone.

We also:

  • brought you an explanation from the P-I’s former transportation reporter of the viaduct debate between Seattle’s mayoral candidates;
  • former P-I Mariners reporter John Hickey reported on the Mariners’ recent trades;
  • and we bring you film reviewers by the P-I’s former film critics, commentary from former P-I columnist John Levesque and food stories from former P-I food critic Rebekah Denn.

We hoped you’ll keep reading and help us keep going.

The park you can’t play in

Just about any warm, sunny day Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill is filled with people tossing Frisbees and laying out in the sun. The park, opened in 2006, is actually a cap over the Lincoln Reservoir and includes an extensive “water feature” in Seattle Parks Department lingo. The water feature is comprised of an imitation waterfall, a sluice taking water into a large section that mimics a stream (complete with faux steppingstones) and a final section that’s a shallow pond. The whole thing is gorgeous, a design home run, and on summer days it’s not uncommon to see dozens of children, adults and dogs playing in the water.

All of that splashing around has caused the usual questions and speculating on the Hill. Is it legal to be in the water? Isn’t that drinking water?

On Monday, I happened to walk through the park and ran smack into something I hadn’t seen before: two fully clothed young men, often seen sitting on Broadway, in the water up to their necks in the moat around the imitation waterfall. I wasn’t sure if they were swimming or bathing per se and really didn’t care, but I did want to clarify what the rules of the water were.

“You’re not supposed to be in it at all anywhere,” said Joelle Ligon, a Parks spokeswoman. “It wasn’t designed as a water feature to play in. It was designed for visual enjoyment.”

Yes, the City of Seattle has literally created a park you can’t play in.

Ligon said there are signs affixed to the feature itself telling people not to be in the water. But in reality the signs are tiny plaques, hardly visible to most people, and their words aren’t exactly commanding, reading,  “Keep people and pets out of the water and don’t climb on the fountain. Thank you!”

The signs don’t get much attention from parkgoers. It’s obvious why: the water feature so replicates the sense and feel of a stream that it literally begs you to take off your shoes on hot days and walk in its tepid water. Or throw a ball for your dog in the feature’s southern pond. Or simply sack out in the water altogether, as one man did this past Wednesday in the 103 degree heat.

Ligon did clear up one myth. The water feature’s waters are not part of a drinking water supply, but are instead simply recirculated and treated with chemicals she couldn’t specify.

“It’s a constant battle to keep people out of that water,” Ligon said. “In weather like this summer the situation is exacerbated.”

About all the Parks Department can do about the situation is to make occasional patrols with its new park rangers. But the rangers cannot hand out tickets or write trespassing citations, as both are the province of police officers. Instead, Ligon said they enforce the park code by telling would-be swimmers the rules. Ligon says people usually cooperate.

But, to judge by this summer, as soon as the rangers range elsewhere, people are back in the water. And most everyone seems OK with that.

Dawdy was a reporter for The Seattle Weekly

Eat All About It: Seattle star on “The Next Iron Chef”

The Food Network released the names of contestents for The Next Iron Chef, and Holly Smith is on the list. Smith, of Cafe Juanita and Poco Carretto, recently joined other top chefs in five weeks of worldwide taping, flying ‘from Los Angeles to Japan to New York to compete in the food fight of their professional lives.’ Here’s how the Food Network described the competition, which premieres Oct. 4:

“Whether working with exotic ingredients like jelly fish, creating their own version of international “fast food” or experiencing umami…the chefs must demonstrate their speed, artistry, innovation and leadership in each dish.” Smith, a James Beard award winnerwhose place is one of the handful that restaurant critics long to visit long after their reviews are done, took on the show along with notables like New Yorkers Nate Appleman (formerly of SF’s A16) and Jehangir Mehta of Graffiti.

I caught up with Holly briefly by phone — she’s in L.A., cooking for the Television Critics Association — and learned a little bit more.

Read more here.

Denn was the food critic for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer