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Updated: 2 hours 27 min ago

Life, Death and Dignity: Robert Fuller planned every detail of his wedding — and his death soon after

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 04:00
Part one of a three part special report

For the last hours of his 75 years on Earth, Robert Fuller was married to a man who he loved.

“I anoint you,” said Nancy Rebecca, a nurse, clairvoyant and sometime wedding officiant, “Mr. Robert and Mr. Reese Baxter-Fuller.”

Real Change vendor Walter Kozbiel is walking towards a goal

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 04:00

Walter Kozbiel has big dreams and many goals. His current goal is to walk more than 66 miles in one day, which would break the world record. “I feel like I could break that record. Maybe even walk 72 or 73 miles,” Kozbiel said. Although he’s walked in cities all over the country, he’s walked around Seattle for — to borrow lyrics from Billy Joel — “the longest time.”

At least my quasi-apocalypse had room for some homeless people — and The Gap

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 04:00
Real Change columnist

One of our vendors calls me “Dr. Crank Monster.” It’s nice to be appreciated for who you truly are deep down in your cold, dead heart.

I’m thinking about this now in connection with my reaction to the knowledge that Northgate Mall is going to be redeveloped, right about when the light rail line reaches it. This cranks me up.

The press releases are blossomy. They’re going to add greenery. There will be at least one hotel, and office buildings, and not one but three ice rinks for an NHL team. The whole place is going to look like a campus. Whoop-de-freakin’-do.

Stale cookies and unsolicited conversations

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 04:00
Real Change columnist

I joined peers from the UW School of Social Work on May 3 to counter-demonstrate an “Affirmative-Action Bake Sale.” We collectively decided to show our presence, not so much to directly engage but to observe and be present for anyone in need of a sympathetic ear or a space to process their thoughts. The event was, after all, a cheap stunt meant to antagonize and dehumanize.

The Middle Ground by Sam Day 5/22/19

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 04:00

Contact Sam Day at

Reporter's Notebook: Yes in my backyard

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 04:00

YIMBYs rejoice — the city of Seattle is one step closer to saying yes to letting you build in your backyard.

Deputy Hearing Examiner Barbara Dykes Ehrlichman decided that the city’s investigation into the environmental impacts of attached (ADU) and detached accessory dwelling units (DADU) was sufficient, putting to rest an appeal brought by the Queen Anne Community Council in October of 2018.

Medical Examiner Report: Homeless community deaths up nearly 15 percent

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 04:00

The number of deaths of people presumed homeless investigated by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office jumped by nearly 15 percent to 194 in 2018, marking the fourth consecutive year that the number has grown.

Thirty-eight percent of the deaths were due to natural causes such as cardiovascular or respiratory illness, slightly more than the 32 percent of deaths attributed to drug overdoses.

The kindness of strangers: thoughts on Jewish identity and the idea of community

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 04:00

As Jews, we are taught to welcome the stranger as Abraham did the angels and to remember that we, too, were strangers wandering the wilderness. We are taught many of our values in simplified words or phrases, like Tzedakah (Justice), G’milut Chasidim (Acts of Loving Kindness) and Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World). But we don’t always see these ideas in practice.

In my childhood, I witnessed these values in action.

Seattle City Council honors vendor Sharon Jones with a proclamation

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 04:00
Director's Corner | Timothy Harris, founding director

Sharon Jones would have loved the May 20 meeting of the full Seattle City Council.

As the session began, Council President Bruce Harrell suspended the rules of order so that Councilmember Lisa Herbold could say a few words in honor of the late Real Change vendor Sharon Jones, and read a proclamation into the official record:

A Proclamation Honoring the Life of Sharon Jones

Whereas, Sharon Jones was born in Shreveport, Louisiana into an Air Force family; and

Unbroken by Bars: Art exhibition brings awareness to the challenges women face when they’ve been imprisoned

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:00

The latest show at Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) Gallery in Pioneer Square goes beyond the archetypal exhibit. “(Our Love Is) Unbroken by Bars” blurs the lines between compelling art, data and advocacy. Each component blends into a moving experience. Visitors are introduced to five women who have rebuilt their lives after serving time in prison. Three of them gave birth while behind bars and each is shown in photographs in loving embraces with their children. The touching moments convey the bond between the mother and child pairs.

Real Change vendor Dawn Comiskey: 'I always want to take care of people.'

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:00

Dawn Comiskey learned early in life what it means to be independent. She was an only child who grew up in a town in Northern California. She grew up quickly. She had to. “You have to shoulder all your parents’ hopes and dreams” she said, “You’re it. I was supposed to be good at everything. I still feel I need to make sure everything’s always done properly.”

The Middle Ground by Sam Day 5/15/19

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:00

Contact Sam Day at

The appeal and gripping grippedness of ‘Game of Thrones,’ which I’ve never seen

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:00

Let’s talk about something we don’t know about!

Oh, to be as carefree and unconcerned about the truth as our president. What an imaginative life he leads, while I’m stuck week after week trying to say at least one or two things that are true.

I wouldn’t want to mislead people about subjects that matter to me. I only want to mislead about subjects I don’t care about.

For example, I could write an entire column about everything I don’t know about a certain TV series that I’ve never seen. Not one episode.

Review: 'Nina Simone: Four Women' hones in on the nuance of being a Black woman in America

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:00
Play written by Christina Ham, Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton

On opening night of “Nina Simone: Four Women,” nearly every seat in the theater was filled with eager audience members. They were not shy in expressing their pleasure along with vocalizing words of approval. “Four Women” is a drama mixed with humor. The synopsis reads, in part, “through storytelling, debate and music, ‘Nina Simone: Four Women’ immerses us in the complex harmony of protest.

Health One promises smarter, faster crisis response in downtown core

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:00

Come the fall, Seattle will launch a new mobile response unit in the downtown area to care for people suffering from behavioral health issues, substance abuse disorders and other chronic health conditions in order to cut down on calls to emergency services.

The Health One team will include firefighters and social workers, and will respond to calls that are considered “low- acuity,” meaning they require less intensive care.

‘Diggling’ — and reimagining community

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:00

Who are we? It is a question with an evolving answer, one I believe is most revelatory comes in the space wherein language fails — when we misread, misinterpret, misunderstand the other. Who we are reveals itself within the cohabitational relationship between language and community. I learned this from an argument that brewed one day at Aurora Commons — a disagreement barreling toward violence because language, that reliable tool, had failed.

Reporter's Notebook: affordable housing investment, hate crimes up, shifting the poverty line

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:00
Cooperation makes it happen

Seattle will invest nearly $5 million to fund an affordable housing cooperative in south Seattle.

The project, located at Othello Square on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, will include small-business assistance and affordable commercial space as well as market-rate and affordable homes. There will be 68 affordable units.

The goal of the development is to prevent displacement and help people build familial wealth, according to a press release.

Survey: Students are subject to high rates of housing insecurity

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:00

For much of his life, Daniel Long made his living performing manual labor jobs and picking up work in the construction industry. He liked the act of building things, of being a person who creates. But a knee injury forced him out of the industry.

“It’s a hard thing when you’ve been doing something all your life, and it changes to something you can’t do,” Long said.

So, Long made a choice — if he couldn’t construct buildings in the physical world, he would find a way to build something in the digital space.

The Power of Believing

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:00
With your support, Zack Tutwiler found somewhere to belong

After 25 years of publication, Real Change remains unique among Seattle newspapers.

Not just because we’re the largest independent weekly newspaper still standing. Or because — unlike most print publications — our circulation and readership are still growing.

Our continued relevance comes down to this: At a time when the public dialogue on homelessness has gone more than a little toxic, Real Change is a place where people like Zack Tutwiler — who have struggled all their lives — can find acceptance and community.

A gold miner and history buff who preferred his coffee blonde

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 04:00
Robert Sawyer obituary

Real Change vendor Robert Sawyer died from bladder cancer on Sunday, April 28. He was 73.

Sawyer became a Real Change vendor in 2002 after a life spent mining gold in various places including the Snoqualmie Pass and as a member of the Air Force.  Gold mining was both his job and his hobby until the work dried up and he found Real Change.

He sold the paper near the Safeway grocery store near 23rd Avenue and East Madison Street.