The Backstory

The Backstory

They’re easy to miss if you don’t already know they’re there, embedded in the sidewalk next to the Seattle Mennonite Church. Thirty-two bronze leaves which, depending on the season and the time of day, can fade barely noticed into the background of the sidewalk, or shine as brightly as stars.

 This is The Backstory on:

The Leaves of Remembrance

Thirty-two Leaves of Remembrance are located in Lake City in front of the Seattle Mennonite Church, each one engraved with a name and year of birth and death, commemorating a life once lived in our community.

These Leaves are part of the Tree of Life project developed by WHEEL, a homeless women’s organizing effort. The Tree of Life sculpture in Victor Steinbrueck Park is the only permanent homeless memorial in the world.

The Tree of Life in Victor Steinbrueck Park near Pike Place Market.

 

The tree has two large branches with leaf-shaped holes stamped out of the iron. The fallen bronze Leaves of Remembrance symbolized by these holes are scattered throughout the City near places that people have felt connected to, including the Seattle Mennonite Church in Lake City.

The Mennonite Church became one of the first installation sites in 2012 when Sally Kinney, a member of WHEEL and founding member of the Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness, approached pastors Melanie and Jonathan Neufeld to ask for support for the project. Sally recently explained why she took her request to the Neufelds. “I have great admiration for Melanie and Jonathan and their work in Lake City”, she said.

“Over more than a decade, they have gathered the un-housed people in our area together, given them a home in God’s Little Acre, the Mennonites’ drop-in center, started first a night shelter in the church which graduated to a roving shelter in many different area churches, and perhaps most importantly, given them a voice in our community.”

“When I mentioned the Leaves project to them, it was with the intention of them adding another symbol of love they show to our outside neighbors: a place to permanently honor the fallen with these Leaves.”

Continue reading “The Backstory”

Q&A with Marie Spencer, Owner of Pony Express

Q&A with Marie Spencer, owner of Pony Express

All in a Day’s Work – Change, Challenges and Giant Bunnies

Marie and Rod Spencer, Owners of Pony Express, Lake City

Enjoy Lake City (ELC) recently visited Marie Spencer at Pony Express, a Lake City Shipping and Packaging store. Marie and her husband Rod have owned the store for over 22 years. Marie shared her thoughts on the changes, challenges and surprises that come with owning a business.

 

ELC: How did Pony Express get started?

It was 12 guys who got together one night in 1982 and thought it would be really cool if Grandma could send a gift to a grandson through UPS to make sure that it got there. But UPS wouldn’t work with anybody but businesses at that time, so these guys said, let’s open a business that ships for grandmas. So they all opened up around the Seattle, Everett, Lynnwood area just doing UPS and Fed Ex shipping. At that time, we co-opted together – the bookkeeper divvied out the bills so that each location paid their own bills. As we grew, we grew into our own entities and got our own account numbers, so now we’re an independent mail and parcel center.

Continue reading “Q&A with Marie Spencer, Owner of Pony Express”

Q&A with Annette Heide-Jessen, Owner of Kaffeeklatsch

Kaffeeklatsch, the Coffee Shop & Bakery in the Hearts of Lake City

Annette Heide-Jessen, Owner of Kaffeeklatsch

Enjoy Lake City (ELC) visited Annette Heide-Jessen at her Lake City Way bakery and coffee shop to talk about social gatherings around coffee, cake stung by a bee, and the power of working together for a better future. Annette was recently named to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkans’ newly formed Small Business Advisory Council, which will provide policy recommendations and recommend resources to help small businesses thrive amid Seattle’s current growth and affordability crisis.

  

And don’t miss our Mystery Diner’s

“Rapid Restaurant Review”

following the interview!

 

ELC: How did you get into your own business?

I was born and raised in Berlin. I had two degrees as a registered nurse and a pediatric nurse.

When I got to the States, I was 27 and I had to refresh my degrees. I got an associate’s degree, then ran out of money, so I couldn’t do it. Then I volunteered at a local hospital and I did not like the system here at all! The way it’s run, the hierarchy, the 20 people that go through a room with one patient and I thought “I don’t want to do this”.

I tried a number of jobs and ended up at Columbia City Bakery as the retail manager. I was laid off in 2009, could not find a job for the life of me. My boyfriend Brian had also been laid off from his job in construction. We were thinking “what do we do now?” We started planning Kaffeeklatsch and opened the doors in 2011.

Continue reading “Q&A with Annette Heide-Jessen, Owner of Kaffeeklatsch”

Q&A with Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, Owner of Gyro on Lake City

Q&A with Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, Owner of Gyro on Lake City

A Little Taste of Egypt in Lake City

Enjoy Lake City (ELC) recently visited Mohamed Abdel-Aziz at his Lake City Way restaurant to talk about delicious Mediterranean food, growing up in Egypt and life in Lake City. The restaurant recently moved a few doors down from its old location and now has a bigger seating area and a larger kitchen. And don’t miss our Mystery Diner’s “Rapid Restaurant Review” following the interview!

Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, Owner of Gyro on Lake City

ELC: How long have you been in the restaurant business?

It’s been 25 years since I came to the States from Egypt.

ELC: How did you decide to start your own restaurant?

That was the job I found months after I came to the States, first as a cook, then a lead cook, then a manager. But I found myself going nowhere and I just wanted to have my own thing and not have a boss anymore; to be my own boss.

ELC: Did you learn to cook when you came to the States or in Egypt?

I knew a little bit from back home in Egypt, but when I came here I learned from the different restaurants I worked in. Red Robin, Salty’s , Applebee’s. I managed Applebee’s so I learned everything about the business at Applebee’s and I trained everyone else. Meetings with the cooks about the new commercials, how to cook the new items, everything.

The restaurant has a fresh new look and a brightly painted façade (courtesy of LCFF).

Continue reading “Q&A with Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, Owner of Gyro on Lake City”

Q&A with Roy Ovenell, Owner of Roy A. Ovenell Insurance Agency, Inc.

Q&A with Roy Ovenell, Owner of Roy A. Ovenell Insurance Agency, Inc.

Covering Risks and Taking Risks

Enjoy Lake City (ELC) recently visited Roy Ovenell at his agency on Lake City Way to talk about the upcoming Car Show, the insurance business and a few fun adventures.

Roy Ovenell, Owner of Ovenell Insurance Agency

ELC: Can you talk a little about the Lake City Car Show and how you got involved in it?

This year, the Car Show is on Sunday, August 6 in the Bank of America parking lot during the Salmonfest street fair. We have a lot of regular attendees who have come for years. I helped out 10 to 15 years with a series of people who ran it. Eventually they all moved on and so I was kind of the last guy standing, so now I do the Car Show! I like to serve the community and this is one thing I do. Last year we had about 40 cars, but we could accommodate 70.

The Lake City Car Show has 40 plus cars to view.

We have room for all kinds of cars, vintage all the way up to the present – trucks, military vehicles, commercial type vehicles and special interests. So if somebody buys a brand new fancy car, bring it in!

ELC: Have there been any rare vehicles in the show?

One was a 1955 Mercedes 300 SL which was the first real sports car that used the gull wing. Very unique car, not very practical to drive, worth a fair amount. It was pretty cool to have that at the show. Continue reading “Q&A with Roy Ovenell, Owner of Roy A. Ovenell Insurance Agency, Inc.”