GOALS REACHED, Dreams Pursued
A look back at Pacific Northwest people and places, 2003
'Visions' are changing
A reorganization of city of Seattle planning, proposals to increase residential density in the downtown core, a flurry of development ideas and the defeat of three incumbent City Council members are among the changes that have occurred since publication of the "Changing Visions" series of stories on planning, urbanization and vision in the Puget Sound basin.
Leading the charge on coming to grips with Seattle's future is Mayor Greg Nickels, who in September began to undo the city's 35-year-old tradition of weak central planning by appointing John Rahaim as director of a new planning department. The mayor won council agreement to change the Department of Construction and Land Use to the Department of Planning and Development. The reorganization changes DCLU from primarily a regulatory agency to one that brings together formerly scattered long-range-planning responsibilities.
Nickels followed that up with proposals to lift height and density restrictions in the downtown core and Denny Triangle to allow the kind of high-rise urbanism that has occurred in Vancouver, B.C., using as a consultant Vancouver City Councilor Gordon Price, who was quoted in the series.
Ground was finally broken for light rail, monorail planning lurched ahead, and Paul Allen's South Lake Union development got underway, while ambitious development proposals were floated for the Sodo, Interbay, Central Waterfront, University District and Northgate neighborhoods.
To help sort out its direction, in October the city kicked off a scheduled rewrite of its comprehensive plan, to be completed late in 2004. Meanwhile, the council shakeup will give a new complexion to city politics.
Bill Sr. is keeping a little busy
"I guess nothing terribly exciting," replies the characteristically modest William H. Gates Sr. philanthropist, retired attorney, father of the world's richest man when asked what he's been up to during the past year.
No, not much at all, unless you count publication of "Wealth and Our Commonwealth," a book (now in second printing as a paperback) he wrote with Chuck Collins about democracy and the need to keep the federal estate tax; a high-profile national book tour; induction into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences; work in Rome as part of a law organization that counsels underdeveloped countries about ways to select judges and pass laws, as he puts it, "the fundamental stuff that makes organized society possible."
Did we mention the AIDS vaccine? The elder Gates is co-chair and CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest philanthropy in world history. With other researchers and health organizations, the foundation is creating global HIV-vaccine-development centers so various labs, scientists and pharmaceutical companies can collaborate more easily, covering the grid of vaccine possibilities.
Oh yes, one more significant thing, Gates Sr. says: His youngest granddaughter, Phoebe, has learned how to walk.
A chef nourishes new hopes
A truly talented cook can whip up a memorable meal with whatever ingredients life throws her. So it is with Naomi Andrade Smith, a professional chef and amateur historian who mixes her passions for food with a love of history.
When we last chatted, Smith's business was booming at Villa Victoria, her Madrona catering and takeout shop, and she was delving deeper into her family's African-American, Mexican and Chickasaw roots.
In June, Smith shuttered the tiny storefront in order to move her growing business to a bigger building. But just before closing the deal, she had severe abdominal pain that turned out to be pancreatic cancer.
"My stomach hurts me sometimes, but I'm still alive," she said this past fall while recovering from major surgery. Friends brought soup to the woman who before had always cooked for everybody else. "It feels wonderful to accept those gifts," Smith said.
Smith won't reopen her business. Instead, she plans to spend time with her daughter and husband and hopes to study anthropology with an emphasis on Afro-Mexican cuisine. "I want to go to Mexico and find out more about my family and why I'm here. I've never gotten my degree, and if not now, when? If I can run a restaurant, getting a degree is going to be like eating candy."
Girls spread their wings
The Seattle Girls School literally took off this fall every member of its first class, now in eighth grade, co-piloting a four-seat plane and, together, stretching canvas over a wood-and-fiberglass frame to create a 15-foot ultralight.
The school more than doubled its classroom space with a new, two-story prefabricated building, complete with an extra-wide garage door the entrance to the ultralight "hangar." Head of School Marja Brandon already is starting to think about a submarine project.
Next year, the school will add a fifth grade and will be at full capacity with about 130 students in grades 5, 6, 7 and 8. Dreams are to find a bigger building in the Central District, one where the school could add a gym, a music room and a few more closets.
For now, however, Brandon and her staff are busy dreaming up stimulating, hands-on projects that stretch the girls' brains and ambitions.
Blessing people, houses, airplanes and even battleships is all in a day's work for Aupuni Iwi'ula, a Hawai'ian kahuna who makes his home in Seattle and teaches about Hawai'ian spiritual beliefs in the Northwest, New York, Maui and the Big Island.
Kahuna blessings involve spiritual cleansing in the case of houses, or protection in the case of vehicles. Recently, the United Nations asked Iwi'ula to bless its fresh-water project, which has sites around the world. The kahuna flew to U.N. headquarters in New York and, at the opening ceremony, asked his guardians for support and resources for the global project.
That was a breeze compared to a local job at Fire and Ice, a new restaurant on First Avenue in a building that used to be a mortuary. "There were all kinds of things all over the place bottles flying and entities agitating the staff," Iwi'ula said. "I've cleared it, but not blessed it. We decided it was best not to extract the entities, but have the ghosts be part of the pull to the restaurant. I asked the entities to (interact with living humans) only once a year, preferably Halloween."
Meanwhile, this past fall, clients of the kahuna, Bart and Denise Iaia, had a baby a girl just as the spirit haunting their house had predicted in early spring.
The strong man makes moves
Gain 20 pounds. Become the World's Strongest Man. Be a good father to 4-year-old Dawson.
Those were the goals of 23-year-old, 300-pound Jesse Marunde at the start of summer.
By September, Marunde had qualified for the World's Strongest Man championship held this past fall in Zambia, where monster-size guys lift monster trucks and hoist platforms of squealing "Bud Girls," among other things, in the made-for-television sport.
Marunde dropped out after two events, sidelined by an old back injury. But the trip to Worlds was still sweet. At the base of Victoria Falls, he proposed marriage to his girlfriend, Callie, who is also a strength athlete. She said yes.
Marunde also moved from Sequim to Renton and went into business as a personal trainer at Gold's Gym.
In his own training, instead of gaining 20 pounds, Marunde decided to "lean out" so he'd have more endurance. He weighed in at 272 for Worlds.
As for Dawson, he turns 5 next month. He spends Fridays and weekends with Marunde and likes to push tires around when playing in his dad's gym.
'The Energizer' is plugged in
We wanted to catch you up with Aubrey Davis, but he's a tough guy to nail down. Not only was he re-elected chairman of the State Transportation Commission last summer, he's still on the board of Group Health Cooperative and was appointed to its search committee for a new medical director. And then there was the conference on road pricing he went to in Miami, which he squeezed in between visits with state legislators on transportation issues. Not bad for a guy who's 86.
Davis, who says he failed a retirement course, is one of the state's top leaders on transportation. So respected is he that Gov. Gary Locke broke his own policy on appointments and asked him to stay on the commission as long as he wants. He'll serve until July 1, and then he doesn't know whether or not he'll stick around. "I feel pretty good about the way things are going," says Davis. "It's incredible how much has been accomplished in two years."
The Tango gains traction
The skinny electric car that zooms from zero to 60 in four seconds is slowly, steadily, rolling out of a father-son Spokane workshop into the American auto scene.
Early this past summer, Rick and Bryan Woodbury brought the rechargeable commuter car they'd invented to an alternative-vehicle expo at the reopening celebration of University Way in Seattle. If it ever gets into production (a big if), the car they call the Tango could alleviate air pollution, cruise past freeway congestion, shimmy through urban gridlock and squeeze into tiny parking spots.
While visiting the Fremont Fair, the Woodburys ran into a local businessman who'd just read about the two-person concept car. The businessman plunked down a $10,000 deposit for a carbon-fiber luxury model (when it's ready).
Another investor, in Ohio, has given the Woodburys' Commuter Cars Corp. funds to ready the Tango for the big Los Angeles Auto Show, which starts Jan. 2.
"We want to get it polished so it's Ferrari-quality in all its details," Rick Woodbury says. After the skinny commuter car picks up speed with the luxury sports-car crowd (so far, 10 people want to buy the $80,000-plus model), the father-son team dreams of making a mass-produced "people's car" affordable for regular commuters.
Honors for Boyd and the band
Spokane singer-songwriter Jim Boyd and his band Kyo-T won the 2003 Native American Music Award for best pop/rock recording. It was the third time in two years that Boyd has received the Native American version of the Grammy. The recording, called "Jim Boyd and Kyo-T Live at the Met," was the first public performance by Boyd's new band, and a benefit for Native American education in Spokane.
He and his band were also nominated for song/single of the year, for "Them Old Guitars." He most wanted recognition for that work because it was an elegy to longtime friend and former bandmate Jerry Stensgard, who died from a heart attack.
Richard Seven, William Dietrich and Paula Bock are Pacific Northwest magazine staff writers. Linda Shaw and Susan Gilmore are Seattle Times staff reporters.
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