The Madison Valley Community Council held its annual meeting on May 15, before taking a summer break.

Following a quick election, Penelope Karovsky is staying on as council president, as is secretary Diane Zahn. Sally Van Over stepped in as treasurer, taking over for Cherie Sato. A vice president position remains open. Returning board members include Ron Flynn, Paddy McDonald and Kevin Murphy. There are still two board vacancies, and residents in the community council’s service area are welcome to contact the MVCC about filling them. The council won’t meet again until September, but Karovsky said several community events are expected to take place before then.

Karovsky said 2017 was the first year the MVCC added a board, as it had just been officers in the past. Board members meet once a month for an hour to discuss neighborhood issues, set future agendas for community meetings, and are also called on to lead various community projects.

Here’s your sign

Miles Krauter put up a new community bulletin board next to Bailey-Boushay House back in March, and it has already been tagged with graffiti.

The Madison Valley Community Council discussed ways to discourage future vandalism, and members agreed painting the board — possibly with handprints from local school children — might be a good deterrent. In the meantime, Karovsky said she would deal with removing the existing graffiti.

Painting the parking problem

Former board member Jennifer Goodwin is working to gather support for a project to fix neighborhood parking problems by painting curb tops yellow.

Seattle code states no person shall stand or park in front of a public or private driveway within a street or alley, or within five feet of the end of a driveway or alley.

Goodwin told the MVCC she wants to paint curbs yellow at the five-foot mark, which the City of Seattle allows, but is too costly for the city to do itself.

“The city says it’s illegal for us to do red — just yellow,” she said.

The hope is to gather an inventory of residents wanting the curbs near their driveways painted, and also to find volunteers for the labor. Goodwin said high school students needing to complete community service hours might be an option, and she’s hoping to also gather support from the Madison Valley Merchants Association.

McDonald said he’d like to get the city’s attention regarding sidewalk deficiencies and ADA access issues in the neighborhood.

Karen Ko, a community engagement coordinator with the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, suggested residents report such issues on the city’s Find It, Fix It website or mobile app.

Former mayor Ed Murray would join residents from several neighborhoods each year for Find It, Fix It Community Walks. Ko said it’s unclear if Mayor Jenny Durkan will continue those walks.

Goodwin said anyone wanting to volunteer to paint curbs, or to put their address on the list of curbs that need painting, can message her through the MVCC Facebook page.

Emergency togetherness

Garfield North resident Thomas Kiehne has been making the rounds at community councils in the Central Area to gauge interest in forming emergency preparedness groups, and to find out whether there’s a way for them all to work together.

Kiehne is in the process of developing a Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare team and emergency communications hub in his neighborhood.

The Leschi Community Council is interested in setting something up, and the Madrona Community Council is currently searching for volunteers to take the lead on emergency planning. Madison Park has its own emergency communications hub.

“It’s very hard, when you’re a small community like we are, to get something like that started,” Karovsky said.

The Seattle Office of Emergency Management wants neighborhoods to take the lead on preparing for a catastrophic emergency — most likely a massive earthquake or major flooding here — because it will not have the resources to immediately respond.

“It’s kind of up to us,” Kiehne said.

Karovsky said the MVCC tried to get an emergency hub started last year, and McDonald recommitted to working on that project. 

“The big problem for us is we’d have to find some place outside the liquefaction zone,” McDonald said, referring to the valley’s vulnerability to earthquakes and the need for a safe place to locate resources.

It takes a village

Denise Klein finished the meeting with a presentation about Wider Horizons, a nonprofit that creates community “villages” aimed at providing seniors with assistance and meaningful engagement.

Members comprise a network of supports, whether it be helping seniors age in place or connecting them with social groups for activities, such as knitting, gardening, reading and talking politics.

The model started in Boston, and Klein’s Northeast Seattle village formed six years ago, she said. There are four villages in King County, including one in the Central Area that formed in June 2015.

“If something goes wrong, I have a support group,” Klein said.

While Wider Horizons is a nonprofit, there are annual dues of $600 for an individual and $900 for a household of any size. Klein said 25 percent of members do pay less than that, but there is no formal sliding scale.

People can find out more at widerhorizonsvillage.org, or by contacting Klein at 206-650-3586 or denise@widerhorizonsvillage.org.