A Yankee in Magnolia

One of our very own authors will be signing his brand new book “Yokohama Yankee: My Family’s Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan”  at Magnolia’s Bookstore on March 30th at 2:30 p.m.. Leslie Helm, Magnolia resident and editor of Seattle Business magazine, is also a former Tokyo correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

About “Yokohoma Yankee” (from Helm’s website)

Leslie Helm’s decision to adopt Japanese children launches him on a personal journey through his family’s 140 years in Japan, beginning with his German great-grandfather, who worked as a military adviser in 1870 and defied custom to marry his Japanese mistress. The family’s poignant experiences of love and war help Helm learn to embrace his Japanese and American heritage. Yokohama Yankee is the first book to look at Japan across five generations both from the inside and through foreign eyes. Helm draws extensively on primary source material including his great grandfather’s unpublished memoir to bring his family history to life. The book also contains a wealth of photographs, maps, illustrations, postcards and ephemera from the late 19th century to the present day.

The book debuted March 13 to rave reviews:

Leslie Helm has written a lively and engaging account of his remarkable family history and its intertwining with Japan.  He relates the experiences of five generations from the time of his great grandfather’s arrival in Yokohama in 1869 down to the present and tells what it was like to live in Japan but still be an outsider. It is a warm and human story that will charm its readers.”

— Kenneth B. Pyle, Henry M. Jackson professor of Asian history and Asian studies, University of Washington and recipient of Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun

One of the finest correspondents to have reported on Japan, Leslie Helm tells the riveting, sometimes painful,story of his multinational, biracial merchant family.  Living in Yokohama for generations in war and peace, the Helms are at the heart of Japan’s long modern history without ever actually becoming “Japanese.”

—Sheldon Garon, Nissan Professor in Japanese Studies, Professor of History and East Asian Studies, Princeton University


Helm will also be speaking about the book at Town Hall on April 3rd at 6 p.m..


Spring egg hunt tomorrow at MCC

Kids 10 and under are invited to the annual Magnolia Spring Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 30, just outside of the Community Center. Arrive early because the hunt will begin promptly at 10 a.m.. Melissa from the Community Center reminds us:

Parents, for the safety of your child and others, please stay clear of the search area while the hunt is occurring. We ask that all kids share in this special occasion and hope they share during the hunt, too! Please arrive early enough to find a place along the hunt perimeter. We ask all participants to wait behind the perimeter until the official horn blows!

Age groups and location:

Up to 1 year—Magnolia tennis courts

Ages 2-3—Magnolia playground

Ages 3-10—Magnolia playfield

For more information, please call the Community Center at 206-386-4235. The event is free. Volunteers are needed; please call the Center if you are able to help set-up and clean-up.


Magnolia Community Center

2550 34th Ave. W

Seattle, WA 98199


What is going on in Magnolia? One bad and one good

A magnolia woman got the shock of her life this morning when her home was burglarized while she was in bed. (from the SPD blotter)

Officers responded to a report of an occupied burglary at a house in the 3300 block of 38 Ave W in Magnolia.  This morning just shortly after 9:00 a.m., the victim reported that she was asleep in her bedroom when she heard the door bell ring 3 times.

The victim stated that the bedroom door next to her bedroom opened up, and then her bedroom door opened up.  The victim hid in her bed, under her covers, until the suspects removed the covers and exclaimed that someone was in the house.

The suspects ran out of the house in a westward direction away from the scene.  Officers arrived and canvassed the neighborhood on foot and located two witnesses who observed the suspects running from the scene.

Officers conducted an area check with negative results.  Officers found that the suspects gained entry inside the home by prying open the back door.

The suspects are described as two black males in their 20s. The investigation continues.



Just in case you were starting to think all was bad in our nabe… we received this email today:

Yesterday while walking back to our daughter’s house here in Magnolia my credit card and $14 fell out of my pocket un-noticed. I went back to the spot where it probably happened, but the card and money were gone. I cancelled the card. About an hour later Chase bank called to tell me someone had turned in the card and the money! I would love to thank the person(s) who were so kind to do this. This community has some very nice people living here.

– a visitor from Eugene, OR


Another Village break-in – Home of the Velvet Foam

By reporter Steven Smalley

For the second time in four days, another smash-and-grab burglary has occurred in the Village. Just like the last break in, the alarm sent the thieves scurrying to snatch what they could and get out the door – or in this case, a tall window that was broken at Uptown Espresso.

Similar to Sunday’s break-in at Gim Wah restaurant, a sizable front pane was shattered to gain access to the establishment around 4 AM, which set off the burglar alarm, alerting police. The only thing taken, according to sources who spoke with Magnolia Voice, was the 20-year-old cash register with a few coins left in it. Nothing else was gone as far as anyone could tell.

“It was kind of a dumb break-in,” says the source, confirming Uptown’s Belltown store was broken into a few weeks ago too.

Glass crews were seen installing a new window by mid-afternoon. As of press time, suspects are still at large.

21st Ave West Paving Scheduled for April 2 and 3

Roadway repairs are coming to 21st Avenue West between West Emerson Street and Commodore Way West. SDOT paving crews will grind and pave the street on April 2 and 3 from 9am-5pm, if the weather is good.

The road will be closed to cars with a detour in place, but all crosswalks and sidewalks will remain open. A police officer will assist traffic at the intersection of 21st Avenue West and West Emerson Street.

Magnolia Chamber needs Executive Director

Known for such successful events as the Auto Show, Winterfest and Summerfest, The Magnolia Chamber of Commerce is looking for an Executive Director. Board President Dan Penhollow says if you are interested in being involved in our community and have the following skills and qualifications, please reply with a resume to info@magnoliachamber.org:

  •  Strong verbal and written communication skills, demonstrated executive and managerial skills; self-starter who has a high level of initiative.
  • Proven leadership abilities.
  • Be detailed oriented; able to work independently and meet deadlines in a multi-task environment, proficient in computer skills, displays a high degree of tact and diplomacy.
  • Be a college graduate with experience in advertising, business, marketing, public relations, or a related field or four years related experience in management and/or businesses ownership.
  • Have strong knowledge of social media and how to execute and promote on varied media outlets including, but not limited to, Twitter, Facebook, Magnolia Voice, and The Chamber Website.

Click here for more information about the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce.

Discovery Park overlook closes due to slide acitvity

By Danielle Anthony-Goodwin at our sister site My Ballard

Seattle Parks and Recreation have closed the North Bluff Overlook and viewing platform at Discovery Park. The closed areas are located directly west of the Daybreak Star Cultural Center (5011 Bernie Whitebear Way). Increased slide activity on the north bluff near the viewing platform is the reason for the closure. Seattle Parks and Recreation crews are currently working to asses the damage and stability of the viewing platform. The platform is currently fenced off and closed to public use.  To find out more about Discovery Park and the platform closure click here.

Photo courtesy of Seattle Parks and Recreation. The photo shows the Discovery Park Visitors Center which remains open.

Gim Wah Gum Machines Found

By reporter Steven Smalley

A call to Magnolia Voice by an alert student from Blaine school pointed out the location of the stolen gumball machine from the break-in Sunday morning at Gim Wah restaurant.

The candy and toy dispensers were located in the shrubs just south of Karen’s Place children’s play area adjacent to the Community Center. Both units had their coin boxes smashed to create holes to access the money.

Seattle police were called to the scene who then placed the machines in the patrol car for transportation. A Gim Wah employee was notified.

Break-in at Gim Wah early this morning

By reporter Steven Smalley

Smash, right through the glass front door of the Gim Wah restaurant came the burglars at 4 AM, awakening a neighbor in time to scare off the crooks. All it took was lots of noise from the now-awake resident to frighten away the thieves. They did score some cash though, in the form of the bubblegum machine stationed in the front lobby that was taken after the bad guys crawled over broken glass in the door. It’s the only thing missing says Alan Chan, owner of the restaurant.

This is just the second time in 20 years the restaurant has been burglarized, according to Chan. “I feel bad,” he says. Chan also said he had plans to reinforce the alarm system already in place.

Palm Sunday found the glass company hard at work replacing the door under the watchful eye of Chan. The restaurant was scheduled to open at 4 PM as usual.


Soil Remediation at Former Officers’ Quarters in Discovery Park

 By reporter Steven Smalley

A Magnolia Voice news tipper delivered a hot one that sent reporters to Discovery Park to investigate construction activities around the former officers quarters, now for sale at a reported value of $15 million.

Park visitors noticed large pieces of construction equipment, including dump trucks and a backhoe, digging out the front and side yards surrounding many of the historic former military homes. Information on the project was not immediately forthcoming which raised suspicions. Fears were allayed when a spokesperson for Forest City, the leasing agent for the homes, explained that since 1905 when the homes were built by the military, lead paint had leached into the ground contaminating some of it.

The current project removes dirt and grass from the surface of the yards and replaces it in a soil remediation effort prior to the sale of the homes. Surface water from downspouts will be channeled through new pipes which will divert it into a proper drainage system.

No word yet on who the new owners may be or if an offer has been made.