73 year old Romulo ‘Ome’ Almeda kept an illegal immigrant woman secluded in his Magnolia home for four years. He paid her a measly $400 a month for acting as the nanny, landscaper, maid and cook. She was shuffled between his properties in Magnolia and in California, not given a choice as to when she would go or whether she wanted to. She was not allowed to go anywhere including attend church for fear that someone would see her and report her as an illegal immigrant.
The woman left the Philippines where she earned $6 an hour as a manicurist to find better opportunities in the U.S. Out of the $400 she was receiving each month for working 12 to 16 hours a day, she would send all but $50 to $100 to her family in the Philippines. After years of seclusion she was eventually able to tell her family of her situation. Her sister then contacted another Filipino family in Seattle who then got in touch with a local pastor who was able to help remove the woman from the house in April 2009.
Almeda was arrested and believed at the time that he did nothing wrong and that he was simply helping the woman by offering her extra money and a place to stay. He later admitted wrong-doing and realized that what he did was unlawful. He paid the woman $90,500 for what he shorted her in wages. He was charged and reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. He has not been jailed and has been scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.
Magnolia residents have been hearing grunting and squealing noises as well as stampeding. What do they find when they look out their door? Pigs. Several pigs are roaming wild around the Magnolia neighborhood. They were most likely once somebody’s pets and were released. Judy Woods of Pigs Peace Sanctuary in Stanwood is expecting she will receive a call. The pig sanctuary is already full with 190 pigs and has a waiting list. It spends $200,000 a year caring for unwanted pigs.
Around 7:30pm in the evening of July 25th, a woman who lives on W Emerson Street near Discovery Park called police to report a hostile and suspicious solicitor that had come to her door. After hearing a friendly knock at her door, she peeked out the speak easy where she saw a well groomed, 6′ tall African American man. She opened the speakeasy and told him that she did not accept solicitors at her home. The man became agitated and upset that she did not give him a chance to tell her who he was and the reason for his visit. She then asked him the reason. He became angry and told her that he’ll just get what he came for and proceeded to curse racial slurs at her while taking photographs of the side of her house. The woman’s sister followed the man as he left and headed into Discovery park, cursing racial slurs at her as well.
The Seattle Police Department wants to remind people to be cautious of solicitors. Licensed door-to-door sellers must always display their registered license on their shirt. The license will display the sellers name and picture. The license is only good for the registered product they are selling. Be sure to acknowledge the solicitor so that they know someone is home and to avoid a burglary. It is always safer to address the solicitor from a side window or behind a locked screen door. If a solicitor asks to come into your home for any reason such as to use your phone or bathroom or for a glass of water, remember that you do not know the person and you are not obligated to let them in. If a sales person is allowed in the home, do not give into pressure to buy anything. If you ever feel uncomfortable end the conversation and ask the sales person to leave. Do not hesitate to call 911 if needed.
This past weekend was a scorcher, and as we get into the thick of summer, let’s hope we don’t report more stories like this one: last weekend, police received a call from a concerned passerby, who reported seeing a pig, and a dog trapped in a hot car. When officers arrived at the scene, located at the corner of W Bertona St & Gilman Avenue W, and the witness had opened and unlocked the car to let the animals cool down.
Although it was evening, it was still 86 degrees, and officers reported finding a small panting dog, and a large pot belly pig with sweatpants on – as if it wasn’t hot enough! According to the Seattle Pi, the car was filed with empty food and water bowls, and was covered in feces. The police gave the animals water, and found the owner at a nearby bar. It’s important to remember that the inside of your car is much hotter than the outside temperature, so please be cautious not to leave small children or animals unattended in your car this summer. For more information on the police report, visit the Seattle Pi.
Many in Seattle question whether it’s worth investing time and money in solar panels given that Seattle isn’t known for its constant sunny days. Keith Hughes, owner of West Seattle Natural Energy, pointed out that, “Berlin, Germany receives 3.2 peak sun hours per day, and 44 percent of Germany’s energy production comes from solar” where as “Seattle receives 3.8 peak hours of sunlight per day and only 1½ percent of its energy comes from solar power.”
Seattle City Light and Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED) are working together to promote and change the way Seattle uses renewable energy through their Washington initiative. The goal is to change one neighborhood at a time and to have 150 solar systems operating by the summer 2013 . Projects have already been done Queen Anne and Magnolia as well as other Seattle neighborhoods. When a community agrees to go solar Northwest SEED searches for vendors that will give bulk discount for supplies and installation to the homeowners. Each neighborhood is set up on a grid so that the energy that is not used by one homeowner will flow to other neighbors within the grid.
It is estimated that in the past two years Washington has pumped nearly $4 million into the local economy, created 14 new jobs and has generated more than 600 kilowatts of solar electricity to Seattle’s grid. Seattle City Light estimates that only 600 out of its 400,000 customers use solar energy. Benefits of using solar panels are tax credits and rebates as well as lower energy bills. Living in Seattle helps a little too. Seattle’s annual lower temperatures allow the solar panels to work better and the rain washes them off.
This impressive 3 bed 1.75 bath Magnolia craftsman home is now available for rent, and features hardwoods throughout the main level, with a gas fireplace, and open floor plan for entertaining. It also has a great deck on the front of the home, perfect to oversee the neighborhood, sweeping bay and mountain views and great for entertaining. The lower level has a fully finished basement with custom built-ins and finishes, bedroom and recently updated bathroom. The home also comes with a 2 car garage, and is a first time rental; and it certainly shows! The home is just blocks away from Discovery Park, and in close proximity to the Magnolia Thriftway and the Magnolia Public Library.
It’s half way through November and if you’re wondering how you’re going to cram all those leaves out front into your yard waste container, we have a solution! Through the month of November, Seattle Public Utilities is coming to the rescue, and collecting excessive bags of yard waste left by your container free of charge. They’re warning that the excessive bags should be filled with only leaves, and should be packaged and contained properly.
Seattle Public Utilities usually charges around $3.20 per gallon bags collected, but this month they’ll pick them up for free to help prevent drain blockage and flooding issues that could occur in the fall. Leaves can also be placed in your home compost piles, as their compost experts have determined that under most circumstances, you will not have to worry about contaminants such as gas or oil affecting the leaves. If you’d like to help the community and Seattle Public Utilities, sign up with their adopt-a-drain program to help clear Seattle drains of debris.
If you are looking for something to do in Seattle for Thanksgiving, bring the family out for the annual Turkey Trot. Costumes are encouraged in this 5k walk/jog event that is done every year on beautiful Seaview Avenue in Ballard. Signup fees to register are as follows: Adults $30, and children (10 and under) $15. All money raised is donated to the Ballard Food Bank to help those in need.
Turkey Trot started in 2007 as a group of friends looking to enjoy a morning jog on Thanksgiving Day. But every year, the assembly grew significantly and now thousands of families come out and enjoy the fresh, crisp air of the Seattle coast. All those who register will receive a “Turkey Trot 2012″ t-shirt (sizes vary from Men’s, Women’s and kids).