King County Public Health closes Crawfish House

April 18th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Health, Restaurants, White Center news 1 Comment »

Just announced by Public Health Seattle-King County:

The Crawfish House restaurant at 9826 16th Ave SW was closed by a Public Health food inspector on April 15, 2022 at 5:30 pm due to failure to comply with the following outstanding violations:

Demonstration of knowledge in food safety
Lack of handwashing
Inadequate handwashing facilities
Environmental contamination of foods
Effective pest control
Lack of proper cold holding of foods
Contaminated food contact surfaces

The establishment will be reopened once the inspector confirms that these issues have been resolved.

The restaurant’s overall rating from past inspections is “OK.” You can check for other current closures here.

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Get vaccinated Wednesday at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center

July 27th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, Steve Cox Memorial Park, White Center news Comments Off on Get vaccinated Wednesday at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center

Just in – this announcement of a vaccination event noon-6 pm tomorrow (Wednesday, July 28th) at Steve Cox Memorial Park:

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Free COVID-19 testing Tuesday in White Center

November 16th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Greenbridge, Health, White Center news 1 Comment »

From the inbox:

Neighborcare Health, in coordination with King County Housing Authority, Somali Health Board, and Neighborhood House, is providing free COVID-19 testing Tuesday, 11/17 from 12-4 pm at Greenbridge Main Plaza, 9839 Eighth Ave SW:

*Walk-up only. No appointment needed.

*Everyone is eligible for testing.

*Safe, quick, and painless. Test swab only goes part way in nose.

*Each individual will be registered upon arrival so we can process the test and follow-up with test results.

At registration, you will provide your name, date of birth, phone number, and insurance information (if you have it). Testing is FREE for everyone. We will bill your insurance if you have it. If you do not have insurance you will not be charged.

Questions: Call Neighborcare CAT Team at 206-333-2524,

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NEED TESTING? Khmer Health Board event at Evergreen High School next weekend

September 11th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Evergreen High School, Health, White Center news Comments Off on NEED TESTING? Khmer Health Board event at Evergreen High School next weekend

From the WCN inbox:

The Khmer Health Board is organizing a COVID-19 Test Event on Saturday, September 19th from 9 AM – 3 PM at Evergreen High School, 830 SW 116th St.

In-person Khmer translators will be available to assist and insurance is not required for testing. Event is first come, first served. Giveaway items (health and safety supplies, Khmer groceries, etc.) are available until supplies last.

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PHASE 2: State says King County can move ahead to the next step of reopening

June 19th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Coronavirus, Health, White Center news Comments Off on PHASE 2: State says King County can move ahead to the next step of reopening

This morning, the state announced King County can move to Phase 2 of the reopening plan. For more on what that means, here’s a detailed list on the King County Public Health website.

12:36 PM: King County’s own announcement just arrived. Before reiterating that same list, it begins:

Following approval by state Secretary of Health John Wiesman, King County has officially entered Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start recovery plan to allow limited business re-opening. Phase 2 allows for twice the capacity in retail, restaurants, and other businesses previously allowed in King County’s modified Phase 1 and goes into effect immediately.

“Moving to Phase 2 is another step toward economic recovery for our region, but it must go hand-in-hand with even more careful adherence to precautions from our public health experts,” said Executive Constantine. “Wearing face coverings, washing hands, and avoiding crowds and unnecessary contact can help make ours a one-way trip back to prosperity, and prevent the need to go back to stay-at-home orders.”

While there are no additional categories of businesses included in moving from modified Phase 1 to Phase 2, the operating capacity has doubled for those able to reopen. For example, restaurants can now operate with 50% of indoor capacity, and retail with 30% capacity. Businesses with questions on how to safely reopen under the state’s guidance are encouraged to call Public Health’s Business Compliance Line at 206-296-1608.

“We evaluated a number of factors to apply to move to phase two of reopening. Our healthcare system, perhaps the single most important factor, is currently well-prepared to care for COVID-19 cases as well as the other health needs of our community,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Public Health officials recommend that people keep 6 feet apart from one another whenever possible. Outdoors exposures are less risky than indoors, and improving indoor ventilation is recommended. In addition, people need to wear face coverings in public, wash hands frequently, and get tested at the first sign of symptoms.

“Our cases have declined significantly since the peak of the outbreak in late March, and are now hovering around our target goal,” said Duchin. “Over the past seven days, however, we have seen an uptick in the number of cases compared to the previous week. With re-opening, we anticipated more cases in the community. That is why it is now more important than ever keep 6 feet apart from one another whenever possible and minimize unnecessary activity, especially people at increased risk for COVID-19.”

“As we move into phase 2 and for the foreseeable future, our risk will be increasing, not decreasing,” said Duchin. “COVID-19 has not gone away and we must take the ongoing risk very seriously. If we are going to be successful continuing to reopen, it’s essential that we do everything we can to prevent COVID-19 spread as we have more contact in social, recreational and work-related settings.”

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VIDEO: Special delivery for National Guard helpers at White Center Food Bank

May 20th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Health, Transportation, White Center Food Bank, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN photos/video)

The White Center Food Bank is among the food banks that have been getting help from the Washington National Guard. And today, the helpers got some help themselves – eight bicycles!

That’s Stephen Rowley from Cascade Bicycle Club. He delivered loaner bikes to the WCFB today for the National Guard members to use. Their leader, Sgt. Aaron Smith, explained:

Rowley explained that these bicycles are usually used in activities at schools, but since those aren’t happening right now, they were available.

The borrowers are expected to keep them for several weeks.

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Local leaders ‘strongly urging’ you to cover your face in public

May 11th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, White Center news Comments Off on Local leaders ‘strongly urging’ you to cover your face in public

Announced today:

Joined by King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor A. Jenny Durkan and supported by local leaders, Public Health – Seattle & King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin today issued a Health Officer Directive for the public to use face coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19 illness.

The Directive, effective on May 18, declares that all individuals at indoor or confined outdoor public settings are strongly urged to use face coverings over their nose and mouth.

Wearing a face covering can help prevent the spread of infection to others by blocking infectious droplets from spreading when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes and speaks. Individuals can be infected and contagious before or even without developing symptoms. Evidence suggests a significant number of infections may be transmitted in this way.

Because face masks such as N95 respirators continue to be reserved for health care workers, residents should use fabric coverings such as cloth masks, scarves or bandanas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides tips on how to make your own cloth face covering.

The Directive applies to both workers and patrons of groceries, pharmacies, big box stores, and other essential establishments, including pet supplies, auto repairs, and home improvement stores. Restaurants with carry-out and food delivery must comply as well. Face coverings do not need to be worn outside unless appropriate social distancing cannot be practiced, such as at farmers markets.

Exceptions to the Health Directive include children, people with disabilities, deaf individuals who use facial movements as part of communication, and others. Health Officer Directives are based on individual compliance by the public; there is no penalty for not wearing a face covering.

The Directive will be in effect until it is no longer needed and rescinded by Dr. Duchin.

Executive Constantine also announced that operators and riders on King County Metro will be required to wear face coverings. Metro operators will not prevent passengers without face coverings from boarding, but recorded reminders will play on Metro vehicle public address systems informing riders of the face covering policy. Security officers will communicate public health guidance to riders who are not wearing a face covering or not staying apart from other passengers.

King County is distributing 115,000 face coverings and masks through community-based organizations. The City of Seattle is working with community-based organizations to distribute over 45,000 cloth face coverings to vulnerable communities, including people experiencing homelessness, older adults, and staff at food banks. Community partners are identifying eligible people based off their existing client lists.

As of May 10, 7,046 King County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and 498 have died due to COVID-19 illness.

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PHOTOS: Top Hat quarantine/isolation site, as work nears finish

April 6th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, King County, Top Hat, White Center news 3 Comments »

For the first time since the day it was announced five weeks ago, we have a close-up look at the quarantine/isolation site the county is setting up in Top Hat as part of its COVID-19 response.

These are county-provided photos taken at the site this past Saturday (April 4th).

Only one four-room modular unit was in place when the site was announcdd. The old Wilderness Technology Alliance building on the site was demolished to make room for more.

Angie Malpass from King County explains, “They are finishing setting up the rooms with supplies, and while it will be ready to open this week, the county is holding off on opening until there is demand, so the opening is TBD for now, based on numbers”

As of today, the county is housing 48 people at the three other sites it has opened so far.

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FOLLOWUP: Top Hat quarantine/isolation site opening delayed

April 3rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, Top Hat, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Top Hat quarantine/isolation site opening delayed

The opening of King County’s quarantine/isolation site in Top Hat has been delayed. The County Executive’s Office announced Thursday that it would not be opening Friday as originally planned. County spokesperson Angie Malpass provided WCN with some additional details, saying site work is likely to be complete sometime Saturday, so the site could be ready to open “maybe as soon as early next week. It just depends on the need… Currently the three sites open today — Kent, Issaquah and Aurora — still have capacity, so we may hold off.” According to the Friday update from Seattle-King County Public Health, those three sites are housing a total of 41 people. Malpass says the Top Hat site will have 24/7 security – “no walk-ups and no visitors. All patients are triaged by Seattle-King-County Public Health, and the assessment is taken to DCHS who then assigns/places and transports the patient.” The county will eventually have nine sites, including this one – quarantine/isolation in Kent, Issaquah, Aurora open, Harborview Hall and Top Hat soon, and assessment/recovery centers coming to Shoreline, Interbay, Eastgate, and SODO.

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TOP HAT QUARANTINE SITE: ‘At least 2 weeks’ before anyone moves in

March 12th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, King County, Top Hat, White Center news 1 Comment »

Five days after an at-times-contentious phone meeting about the county’s plan to open a COVID-19 quarantine/isolation compound at 206 SW 112th in Top Hat, the promised email followup has arrived. The headline: Calli Knight from King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s office says, “I’ve confirmed with Facilities Management and Public Health that no one will occupy the site for at least the next two weeks. … While residents may see Facilities Management staff at the site working on utility hook-up, no one will be occupying the facilities. We are committed to giving as much advance notice as possible when the facility becomes fully operational (meaning when an individual or individuals actually utilize the facility to get well).” And Knight noted a change from what was said on Friday’s call: “Additionally, my team is working on confirming that medical staff will be on-site once the facility becomes operational.”

Meantime, she promised some of the funding approved this week by the King County Council would “provide robust language access services, and direct resources to community-based organizations in White Center” and added, “We will also continue to work through how best to support impacted businesses in White Center, Kent, and near the two facilities in the City of Seattle.” According to the daily update from Seattle-King County Public Health, the Kent facility – a former motel – has its first patient in residence; the news release also says, “The number of persons in King County’s isolation and quarantine sites will be included in regular updates provided by Public Health – Seattle & King County. No other identifying or personal information will be provided.”

Back to Knight’s email, she said she’s still “working to determine answers to a small number of questions” and hopes to have them by week’s end. Two “fact sheets” were attached – this one (PDF) with Q&A about the quarantine/isolation sites, including their future use; that answer: “We are focused on the public health emergency and creating spaces for people to safely isolate and quarantine. Future use of any of the emergency community services locations being created now is a conversation for a future time.” Here’s the other one (PDF), which overlaps to some degree with the FAQ.

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FOLLOWUP: Preparations continue at planned Top Hat coronavirus quarantine/isolation site

March 9th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, Top Hat, White Center news 11 Comments »

(WCN photo, Sunday)

Tomorrow marks one week since King County announced it planned to use the former Wilderness Technology Alliance site at 206 SW 112th in Top Hat as a COVID-19 quarantine/isolation site. No patients there yet, but preparation work continues, we confirmed with the King County Executive’s Office today. We asked a few questions today since we hadn’t seen the promised followup to last Friday’s telephone meeting yet; spokesperson Alex Fryer said that’s still in the works and likely will be sent to community members tomorrow.

Though no patients are there yet, Fryer said, they are on track to be ready as soon as Thursday; the second modular unit has been delivered, and the sewer line was installed Sunday. The old WTA building will be demolished by the middle of next week, he said (that would potentially clear the way for additional modular units).

During Friday’s call, county officials said they were still shaping the criteria for who this facility would house. We asked Fryer what they’d decided on. His reply:

Criteria would include those who have been exposed to the virus, who are not ill, and need a place separate from others; those who are symptomatic but not critical and in need of housing; and those recovering … examples include:

i. College students living in dorm housing

ii. People who have traveled to the region and don’t have a home to self-quarantine

iii. First responders who have been exposed or are exhibiting symptoms who can’t self-quarantine at home

iv. People experiencing homelessness

v. People who can’t self-quarantine at home because they have a family member who is at a high risk of contracting the virus

The King County Council is scheduled to consider emergency funding tomorrow related to the outbreak response; here’s the agenda and packet (PDF) for the 1 pm Tuesday meeting, with the emergency-funding response on page 239. The documents call for allocating $10 million to placement of the modular facilities, which so far have been announced for two Seattle sites (Interbay and North Seattle) as well as the Top Hat location.

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CORONAVIRUS: King County conference call reveals new information about Top Hat quarantine/isolation site

March 6th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, Top Hat, White Center news 17 Comments »

(This is also published on our partner site West Seattle Blog)

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

New information on the King County quarantine/isolation facility planned at 206 SW 112th in Top Hat, just east of White Center, first announced Tuesday. The new details emerged in a conference call meeting that county reps organized for community members; we were on that call, which just concluded, for WCN and partner site West Seattle Blog.

The site will start up with two 4-room trailers, with up to six more when a vacant building on the site is demolished. (Above are our photos after the first trailer was delivered Tuesday – the county had 14 in storage on Harbor Island.) The county has now decided NOT to open the site until utilities including water/sewer are hooked up to the trailers’ built-in bathrooms – they originally had said they would start with portable toilets and hand-washing stations but have scrapped that plan. They expect the connections will be complete by the middle of next week.

The site will NOT have medical staff – but the county plans to “check in” with people at least twice a day. They also plan to deliver food and other supplies. And they will have 24-hour security who will “notify” county reps if someone leaves the site.

Who will be there? Criteria are still being developed, the county reps said. Three scenarios were mentioned for starters – people who are traveling and have nowhere else to go, people who are unhoused, people who can’t “self-quarantine” because of a situation at their home such as an at-risk person also living there.

How long will someone stay? If they’re being tested – until the test results are in, if those results are negative. If they’re ill, “until they’ve recovered.”

The call wasn’t strictly informational – strong opposition was voiced, primarily by people pointing out that the area is home to low-income people and other marginalized populations and should not have to bear this burden and risk. “10,000 people are opposed” was mentioned – apparently a reference to this online petition. But county reps were clear – this decision has been made and will not change.

Those on the call, besides several staffers from various county departments such as Local Services, included County Councilmember Joe McDermott and Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta. McDermott said County Executive Dow Constantine‘s request for emergency funding will be approved at next Tuesday’s King County Council meeting.

We have a few other details to add shortly.

ADDED 12:58 PM: First, for those wondering about the other two quarantine sites, the county has provided these addresses – 531 Elliott Avenue West [map] in Interbay and 1132 N. 128th Street [map] in North Seattle. The Top Hat site was formerly home to the Wilderness Technology Alliance.

Julie Hiatt of the North Highline Fire District, which serves the area, was on the call and said NHFD had not even had a meeting with the county to talk about this; one was promised. County reps also said they were not intending for NHFD to have to transport patients to/from the site; they are working with potential providers such as Tri-Med.

One community member on the call was aghast at the single-security-guard plan: “You’re bringing this into poor communties and telling us there’s going to be one security guard for people who might leave?” Security plans would be re-evaluated along the way, county reps said. Another community member: “If this is going to spread, this is not the community you want it to spread in – most (nearby) people don’t even have health insurance.” The site is in a densely populated area of North Highline, with neighboring apartment complexes including the huge new Southside by Vintage across SW 112th.

Another community member: “It seems like an experiment. … The community does not want this facility here. It’s going to cause death … There is death attached to this facility.” County reps countered that this was meant to save lives; Local Services director John Taylor countered, “The consequence to the community of not doing this could be disastrous.”

The call ended after an hour but more communication including an email list was promised.

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CORONAVIRUS: White Center Heights Elementary precautionary cleaning tonight

March 4th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, Highline School District, Safety, Schools, White Center news Comments Off on CORONAVIRUS: White Center Heights Elementary precautionary cleaning tonight

Thanks to the White Center Heights Elementary community member who forwarded this:

We have learned that a staff member who has been out ill this week has symptoms that may be related to Coronavirus. The individual is staying home and being monitored by a doctor. The doctor has not recommended a COVID-19 test at this time.

We are treating this with an abundance of caution. White Center Heights will get a deep cleaning this evening. School will be open tomorrow. We will continue to monitor this situation.

For more information about Coronavirus, please visit our website or call the district Health Services office at 206-631-3011.

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FOLLOWUP: Why SW 112th quarantine site was chosen, and 3 other sites announced

March 4th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, King County, White Center news 5 Comments »

That’s video of today’s King County briefing on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, concluded a short time ago. Along with announcing new cases, and new recomendations, more quarantine sites were announced – modular housing in Interbay and North Seattle, like what arrived at 206 SW 112th in Top Hat yesterday, and a motel in Kent. King County Executive Dow Constantine also addressed the concerns over the Top Hat site, saying it was chosen because the county owns it, it has utilities, and it can be set up quick.

(WCN photo from Tuesday)

You can advance the video to (updated) about 11 minutes in, to see what he said. Today’s other King County announcements are in this news release.

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UPDATE: King County-owned Top Hat property is first portable-housing site for coronavirus patients; Senator Nguyen questions site choice

March 3rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, King County, White Center news 31 Comments »

(WCN photos)

5:59 PM: That county-owned site at 206 SW 112th, across the street from the northwest side of the sprawling new Southside by Vintage apartments, is the first to hold a portable housing building that might soon be used for people who need to be isolated because of coronavirus COVID-19 illness.

The four-room, eight-bed unit is one of 14 that the county has been storing at the old flour mill on Harbor Island. We talked with King County Executive Services spokesperson Barbara Ramey at the site this afternoon. She says the county originally bought 20 portables like this one and six are in use elsewhere for people experiencing homeless. Who will use this, and when? That’ll be up to Seattle-King County Public Health, Ramey says. Here’s a look inside:

First, crews will be working to hook these up to utilities – they include bathrooms – but if they’re needed faster than that work can be done, she said, temporary hand-washing stations and portable toilets will be brought in. The county is planning deployment of the other 13 available portables – some at as-yet undetermined sites – as well as continuing to work on the purchase of a motel whose location remains undisclosed. Ramey also said there’s been “outreach” to neighbors to let them know what’s being done at this site, which holds an old commercial building that will be torn down.

6:15 PM: 34th District State Sen. Joe Nguyen just sent this news release questioning the site choice:

While lauding the state’s energetic response to the spread of coronavirus, Sen. Joe Nguyen (D-White Center) said the siting of a quarantine facility in White Center continues a pattern of systemic disregard for that community.

“I understand why this facility is needed,” said Nguyen, who represents White Center in the Washington State Senate. “But the appearance of placing it in a neighborhood that has already been historically marginalized conveys a message about whose safety we most value in our society that is not lost on me.”

Nguyen’s comments came after King County officials announced today that a quarantine facility for those diagnosed with coronavirus will be opened in the Top Hat neighborhood of White Center following news of multiple deaths from the virus earlier this week.

“It is promising to hear of action from the state regarding the containment of coronavirus,” Nguyen said. “While a quarantine facility does not necessarily mean the surrounding area is more prone to infection, I am wary to see that this facility has been placed in a community already deeply disenfranchised by decades of policies working against it.”

White Center is one of the most racially diverse areas in King County, with 60 percent of its population made up by people of color, according to 2010 Census records.

The quarantine facility is expected to be operating within 10 days and will include 32 rooms for people infected with coronavirus. More facilities are expected to be announced in the coming days in response to an increasing number of cases of the illness being diagnosed in King County.

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SURVEY: Southwest Seattle Youth Alliance wants to hear from you

December 7th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Health, Online, White Center news Comments Off on SURVEY: Southwest Seattle Youth Alliance wants to hear from you

The Southwest Seattle Youth Alliance needs your input to help gauge community attitudes toward youth substance use. You can help by answering this year’s online survey ASAP – in English here, en Español aqui.

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SATURDAY: First-ever Khmer Health Fair in White Center

September 16th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Health, White Center news 2 Comments »

Happening Saturday (September 21), 8 am-1 pm:

The Khmer Health Board is hosting its first-ever, FREE health fair to address health disparities in the local Khmer community in the greater Seattle area. The health fair will incorporate free health screenings, wellness services, and resource/education promotion to engage understanding on how to support Khmer American health needs. The Khmer Health Board’s mission is to advocate for health equity in their Khmer community by addressing the institutional and systemic barriers that impact the health, safety and well-being of the community.

The goal of the health fair is to improve the Khmer Seattle communities’ access to much-needed health screening, health education or other preventative services related to oral health, diabetes, immunizations, housing services, and counseling/mental services among others. Historically, Khmer American refugees have overall worse health outcomes than any other non-refugee Asian immigrant. Even decades after resettlement, well-being suffers in comparison to other ethnic groups. The health fair would emphasize a holistic approach to health and well-being for the local Khmer community.

By recognizing the problems in this group will allow for those that provide service to expand on what on supports and resources that currently exist. Common health and wellbeing issues today include legacies of historical trauma that have resulted in PTSD and put the community at higher risk of Hepatitis B, liver cancer, heart disease, and isolation continue to affect both individuals and families. The health fair can refer individuals to appropriate existing resources and intentionally create long-term support.

Khmer Americans rank among the highest in poverty and lowest in educational attainment. Along the low English proficiency, cultural differences, and distrust in American healthcare, this contributes to the Khmer community facing barriers in accessing treatment or preventive care. The health fair is a way for the Khmer Health Board to address the health problems that their own community faces in a culturally relevant way.

The event will take place on Saturday, September 21, 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM at White Center Community Center at Steve Cox Memorial Park. Contact Jennifer Huong at to learn more about the event or contribute as a sponsor.

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GET OUT! Youth need to move more, confirms new study unveiled in White Center

September 11th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Health, White Center news Comments Off on GET OUT! Youth need to move more, confirms new study unveiled in White Center

(WCN photos, video)

A new report unveiled Tuesday in White Center is aimed at getting more activity into more youths’ lives. Our photos and video are from the event at Steve Cox Memorial Park that accompanied this King County announcement:

Too many young people in King County – particularly in communities of color – face barriers to physical activity even in a region famous for outdoor recreation, a new study conducted by the University of Washington’s Center for Leadership in Athletics in partnership with King County Parks and the Aspen Institute found. A new coalition that will include local professional sports teams and community-based organizations will implement the report’s recommendations.

A new study found that less than 19 percent of youth in King County get the amount of physical activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a figure that is below the national average and declining.

The study – conducted by the University of Washington’s Center for Leadership in Athletics in partnership with King County Parks and The Aspen Institute – recommends empowering local schools to be community hubs for physical activity and improving transportation options that connect youth to parks and playfields.

King County and the UW Center for Leadership in Athletics today launched the Play Equity Coalition – a partnership of community-based organizations, school districts, local governments, and professional sports teams, including the Mariners, Sounders, Seattle’s NHL team – will help partners implement recommendations.

“We are doing more than ever to ensure that every child and youth in our rapidly growing region enjoys the proven physical, mental, and academic benefits of exercise. It is ingrained in the work we do with land conservation, Best Starts for Kids, the renewed Parks levy, and more,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “The report recommendations will help us create an unprecedented alliance of local governments, schools, community organizations, and professional sports teams, uniting our efforts so more kids can play.”

Authors of the study, called State of Play: Seattle-King County, found that while screen time may play some role in declining rates of physical activity there are many other barriers keeping youth from being physically active.

A key challenge, researchers say, is that access to physical activity in King County is inequitably distributed on multiple levels, including race, language, affluence, and physical ability. Among other findings in the report, youth who do not speak English at home are both less active and less likely to participate in organized physical activity than their English-speaking peers.

“In the report, we tried to prioritize the voices of youth and families most disenfranchised from physical activity in our region. Now we have to collectively commit to taking that data seriously. It’s time for King County to recognize the vital role that physical activity plays in community health and educational outcomes and do something bold to address the inequities in who plays sports, who has recess, and who has access to outdoor play spaces,” said Julie McCleery, research associate at the UW Center for Leadership in Athletics and the report’s principal investigator.

In addition to improving physical health, exercise promotes social and emotional learning that supports whole childhood development. Research also shows that physical activity improves school attendance and academic performance.

Researchers at the UW Center for Leadership in Athletics – based in the College of Education – conducted the eight-month study, which involved more than 1,600 parents, K-12 students, and coaches through surveys, interviews, and focus groups.

The Play Equity Coalition will unite the efforts of school districts, and community partners such as Baseball Beyond Borders and Congolese Integration Network as well as Seattle Children’s Hospital and the YMCA, in addition to professional sports teams. An example action the coalition will take is to develop an equity toolkit to help programs, investments, and agencies evaluate how existing programs and policies impact access.

Removing barriers to physical activity throughout King County

While King County is famous for its outdoor recreation opportunities, many young people do not have easy access to parks, trails, and greenspace. Executive Constantine’s Land Conservation Initiative – an ambitious plan to protect 65,000 acres of the last best open spaces within a single generation – is accelerating the protection of greenspace in urban areas.

The authors of the study cited Trailhead Direct – transit-to-trails service co-led by King County Metro and King County Parks – as a successful example of improving access. The service added a new route this season that starts and ends at Sound Transit’s Tukwila International Boulevard Station and connects to all hiking trails in the Trailhead Direct network.

Other examples of King County promoting physical activity include:

The King County Parks Levy – which voters recently renewed – will provide about $110 million in grant funding for a variety of park and recreation-related programs and capital projects, which will advance many of the recommendations included in the report.
King County Park’s provides funding for youth sports through a recently expanded program that now annually provides $2.5 million for programs and capital projects through a competitive process along with $1 million in discretionary grants awarded by King County Councilmembers.
Executive Constantine’s Best Starts for Kids initiative strategically invests in health and safe environments, including $640,000 for physical activity programs.
Still, researchers say more needs to be done to overcome the barriers to physical activity that many young people face, particularly in communities of color in South King County.

The study, for example, says programs should do more to provide information about activities in multiple languages. The study also recommends more innovative transportation partnerships similar to Trailhead Direct and free ORCA Opportunity cards for youth in less-affluent communities.

Researchers also recommend establishing schools as hubs for physical activity, launching a public health education campaign promoting the benefits of physical activity for youth, and providing program staff and policy-makers with an equity toolkit to help them make access to physical activity more equitable.

The research was guided by an advisory group of 27 representatives from Public Health – Seattle & King County, school districts, park agencies, nonprofits, professional sports teams, community recreation providers, and businesses.

The study was funded by the UW Center for Leadership in Athletics, King County Parks, Kaiser Permanente, Seattle Mariners, Bezos Family Foundation, YMCA of Greater Seattle, evo, and Seattle Children’s Hospital with in-kind donations from Amazon.

Among those at the announcement, local football legend Sonny Sixkiller:

And Highline Public Schools superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield:

She also declared that regarding making the study’s recommendations reality, Highline is “all in.”

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White Center scene: Greenbridge health fair

June 29th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Greenbridge, Health, White Center news Comments Off on White Center scene: Greenbridge health fair

Thanks to Gill Loring for the photos from the sun-graced Greenbridge health fair that kicked off the weekend.

As previewed here earlier in the week, a variety of partners joined forces to present the fair.

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Health fair Friday in Greenbridge

June 25th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Greenbridge, Health, White Center news Comments Off on Health fair Friday in Greenbridge

You’re invited!

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