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The Garden Guy Chooses New Plants for 2024

Flowers Photo

As a home gardener, one of the satisfying rituals of spring is finding new garden treasures; those plants that are making their debut in the retail marketplaces. They are generally sports or hybrids of plants that have been on the market for years, with the new ones having a different sense of style and usage to them. Or, they can be new hybrids. Whether larger or smaller in size; darker, lighter or variegated leaves or larger flowers; etc., all have the ability to add something ‘extra’ to the humble part of your landscape that cries out to be noticed. A little dramatic? Perhaps. But, you get the gist of what I’m saying. No part of a landscape needs to be boring. It is worth too much in the way of underutilized garden space, monetary value and in satisfying your aesthetic senses to be just ‘Okay.’ A new vignette may be just the thing to enliven the space and create a smile on your face on your face when gazing at the site.

This year, growers and hybridizers seem to have outdone themselves and have brought a bumper crop of hundreds of new (and, of course, improved) plants to garden center shelves and tables. Although I have not actually viewed all of the new candidates, what I have seen at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, area plant trials and wholesale growers’ beds, have provided me with several contenders for your attention. My prime considerations for Western Washington new plants-of-note include drought and heat tolerance (after root systems are established), disease resistance, low maintenance and, of course, presence in the garden. This year, my candidates for your horticultural scrutiny include perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees (sorry folks, I don’t do annuals). Seek them out, do your own research and evaluate their worthiness for that needy spot in your own yard…….

Artemisia x ‘Silver Lining” (White Sagebrush/Wormwood)

My top perennial choice doesn’t have much in the way of flowers, but, the foliage is a solid winner. A hybrid of two North American natives (the clumping Alaskan artemisia and the Western US artemisia) uses the best of its parentage to create a spectacular, durable foliage perennial. The broadly dissected silver leaves are showy from spring to fall. The mounded, low-wide habit maintains excellent form all season and resists opening up, like ‘Silver Mound’. Use this new perennial as a filler, color transition divider or backdrop in a landscape of flashy colors and or as spiller in mixed containers. Its yellow flowers are held on tall scapes and I would cut them off. In addition to its durability and excellent summer heat and drought tolerance, this artemisia will not rambunctiously spread through the garden as does its cousin, ‘Valerie Finnis.’ ‘Silver Lining’ forms a non-stoloniferous 15″ tall x 36” wide, winter deciduous ground cover with cutleaf silver foliage. Best results will be in average to dry soils, either sandy or clay. If those resilience attributes weren’t enough, this plant is also both deer and rabbit resistant.

Perennial runners-up include Agapanthus africanus ‘Bridal Veil’ (Lily-of-the-Nile), Brunnera macrophylla ‘Frostbite’ (Siberian Bugloss), Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Bit of Honey’ (Ox-eye Sunflower), Heuchera x ‘Forever Midnight’ (Coral Bells), and Teucrium fruticans ‘Harlequin’s Silver’ (Creeping Germander).

Panicum virgatum ‘Niagara Falls’ (Switch Grass)

This native from the Great Plains is an excellent grass in just about any landscape. With its late season seedheads and arching habit, ‘Niagara Falls’ is a good replacement for Miscanthus senesis. The powder blue leaf blades arch gracefully in the landscape, creating a soft cascading look. In early autumn, seed head plumes rise above the foliage creating a cream-colored cloud that gives the area texture and interest which will last through winter. Because of its foliage interest, this four-foot-tall grass is a multi-purpose plant that can be used in borders, containers, as specimen or in mass plantings. It is versatile and great looking, just what a plant should be!

It is an easy ornamental grass to grow in full sun to part shade and it will do well in just about any soil type in our part of the State. Remember to water it and cut it back in spring before the new growth appears and you have covered all of your maintenance bases. That’s right, save yourself some work and leave the buff-colored stalks to over-winter. In early fall, the seed head plumes that rise above the foliage will create a cream-colored cloud above the plant and will provide visual interest and bird habitat that will last through the winter doldrums.

Grass runners-up in this category include Amsonia hubrichtii ‘String Theory’ (Bluestar), Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Lemon Squeeze’ (Fountain Grass) and Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Brush Strokes’ (Little Bluestem).

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Eclipse’ (Big Leaf Hydrangea) is a shrub that has been receiving rave reviews from garden centers this spring. Probably because the shrub retains its dark foliage, rather than fading back to green, during the summer heat. The combination of the intense dark foliage and stand-out cranberry-red and white blooms makes for an excellent color counterpoint in just about any yard and, hopefully, a great dried-flower arrangement in a vase.

‘Eclipse’ is purported to have great disease resistance and low maintenance requirements. At three to five feet tall and wide, ‘Eclipse’ is size-appropriate for just about all smaller urban gardens. For its first three to five years, this hydrangea is a prime candidate for a porch or balcony container. After that, it will need annual pruning to keep it within bounds. As with most hydrangeas, this plant does best in morning sun and some afternoon shade. However, it can thrive in more sun in Western Washington if additional moisture is provided. ‘Eclipse’ is cold hardy down to Zone 5a and can take both our summer heat and winter cold snaps. If you are purchasing only one new plant this year, definitely consider the multi-faceted ‘Eclipse’ (and let me know how it does for you).

Shrub runners-up include Abelia x grandiflora ‘Angel’s Blush’ (Glossy Abelia), Calycanthus floridus, ‘Simply Sensational’ (Eastern Sweetshrub), Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Hottie’ (Panicle Hydrangea), Ilex x meserveae ‘Little One’ (Blue Holly), Vaccinium corymbosum ‘Midnight Cascade’ (Hanging) Blueberry and Vitex agnus-castus ‘Queen Bee’ (Chastetree).

Cercis canadensis ‘Garden Gems Amethyst’ (Redbud) is a new dwarf tree which also features dark leaves and is compact enough to grow in a pot. It’s a slow grower that can reach eight to ten feet tall and wide, which is about half the size of a standard redbud. It flowers in early spring, sparkling with pink blooms before the foliage appears. In summer, the leaves will hold their amethyst color through our heat domes.

‘Amethyst’ is one of those plants I’d call a ‘nativar’ (a cultivar of a native plant, a Redbud in this case) that is pollinator-friendly, making it increasingly popular with the bee-lovers of our area. This new hybrid attracts pollinators and creates the perfect conversation piece in a small landscape or on a condo patio in full sun to part shade. If you don’t happen to care for the look of dark foliage, a sister (cousin?) Redbud will be coming out that has leaves which emerge red and then turn green. It’s called ‘Garden Gems Emerald.’

Tree runners-up include Heptacodium miconioides ‘Temple of Bloom’ (Seven-son Flower), Hesperocyparis arizonica ‘Crystal Frost’ (Arizona Cypress) and Thuja standishii × plicata ‘Leprechaun’(Leprechaun Arborvitae).

Readers should remember that this list is totally subjective. It is based on the plants I have seen and liked for their hardiness, versatility and’ WOW’ appeal that the neighbors don’t have. Use this list to kick-off your own horticultural sleuthing of those new additions at your favorite garden center. The downside of new-plant shopping is to remember the qualities of patience and perseverance. As new introductions, these little treasures may not appear in your area for a while. Do ask the garden center staff if the plant in question can be ordered or your name added to a Waitlist. That tact has worked for me many times over. Best of luck with this annual rite of Springtime and the newfound joy in your little patch of heaven. Happy gardening all!

Contributing columnist, Bruce Bennett, is a WSU Master Gardener, lecturer and garden designer. If you have questions concerning this article, have a gardening question to ask concerning your own landscape or want to suggest a topic for a future column, contact Bruce at

5 Seattle Restaurants You Must Try In 2023

Eating Out In Seattle

Seattle, the jewel of the Pacific Northwest, is not only famous for its breathtaking landscapes but also its diverse and vibrant culinary scene. In a city where culinary innovation thrives, five restaurants have emerged as exceptional dining destinations, each with its unique charm and flavors. These 5 Seattle restaurants are a must try. Through this article, you will travel on a journey to discover the gastronomic delights of Pizzeria Credo, The Pink Door, All Water Seafood & Oyster Bar, Chan Seattle, and Tilikum Place Cafe.

Pizzeria Credo: Where Tradition Meets Modern Italian Delights

Pizzeria Credo in Seattle is a place where you can enjoy the best of Italian tradition with a modern twist. The pizza I had was fresh and appeared to be made with all fresh ingredients.

  • Italian Culinary Heritage: At Pizzeria Credo, you’ll find a menu that pays homage to the rich culinary heritage of Italy. While the spotlight is on pizza, expect to discover a variety of Italian classics crafted with care and authenticity.
  • Perfecting Pizza: The heart of Pizzeria Credo lies in its wood-fired oven, which adds a smoky and irresistible aroma to their pizzas. Each pizza is a work of art, featuring thin crusts and locally sourced ingredients that burst with flavor.
  • Beyond Pizza: While pizza takes center stage, the menu also extends to other Italian delights, including handmade pasta and delectable desserts like tiramisu. It’s a place where Italian tradition meets contemporary excellence.

Address: 4520 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

The Pink Door: Where All Your Senses Come Alive

The Pink Door is a unique restaurant in Seattle that offers more than just a meal, it’s an experience that engages all your senses.

  • Italian-American Magic: The Pink Door specializes in Italian-American cuisine, serving up a blend of flavors that will transport you to the heart of Italy. From pasta dishes to sumptuous lasagna, the menu is a celebration of Italian-American culinary traditions. The lasagna I ordered had a healthy amount of sauce and I really enjoyed it.
  • Sensory Delights: What sets The Pink Door apart is the immersive experience it provides. Live jazz and cabaret performances add a touch of magic to your dining experience. You’ll also be treated to aerial performances, making it a feast for your eyes and ears.
  • Hidden Gem: Tucked away behind a pink door in Pike Place Market, this restaurant is a bit of a hidden gem. Finding it feels like discovering a well-kept secret, adding to the sense of adventure.

Address: 1919 Post Alley Seattle, WA 98101

All Water Seafood & Oyster Bar: A Seafood Lover’s Paradise

All Water Seafood & Oyster Bar is a restaurant in Seattle that’s all about seafood. If you’re a fan of fresh, ocean-inspired cuisine, this is the place for you. As you know, Seattle is one of best cities for fresh fish and other seafood. It’s one of the reasons I love living in Seattle.

  • Oceanic Delights: This restaurant specializes in seafood, offering a delectable selection of dishes that showcase the bounties of the ocean. From succulent oysters to tender Alaskan king crab legs, they have a menu filled with treasures from the sea.
  • Quality Matters: The focus at All Water is on quality. Expect your seafood to be expertly prepared to preserve its natural flavors. It’s a place where the taste of the ocean takes center stage. The food I saw coming out appeared fresh as it should be being in Seattle, Washington.
  • Seasonal Surprises: The menu may change with the seasons, allowing you to enjoy the freshest catches and seafood specialties based on what’s available. This commitment to seasonal dining ensures a dynamic and delightful experience.

Address: 1000 1st Avenue Seattle WA 98104

Chan Seattle: Discover Korean Culinary Artistry

Chan Seattle is a restaurant in the heart of the Emerald City that provides a fascinating look into the world of Korean cuisine. If you’ve ever been curious about Korean food or want to experience bold and exciting flavors, Chan Seattle is the place to be. As a foodie living in Seattle, I love to discover these new places and different types of cuisine.

  • Unique Flavors: While the exact dishes offered at Chan Seattle aren’t specified, you can expect a mouth watering adventure filled with the distinctive and savory tastes of Korean cooking. Korean cuisine is known for its rich, spicy, and umami-packed dishes, and Chan Seattle delivers giving you delightful variety of these flavors.
  • Cultural Exploration: Dining at Chan Seattle is more than just a meal, it’s a cultural and food dining experience. Korean cuisine often features a wonderful blend of tradition and innovation, and you’ll likely find both classic favorites and modern twists on traditional dishes.
  • Popular Destination: With 312 reviews, Chan Seattle has garnered a significant amount of attention. Its popularity suggests that it has something special to offer, making it an intriguing destination for those seeking to expand their culinary horizons.

Address: 724 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98101

Tilikum Place Cafe: A Cozy Seattle Eatery

Nestled in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, Tilikum Place Cafe is a charming spot that welcomes you with open arms. This cafe doesn’t just serve food; it provides an experience that’s cozy and comforting. Belltown is one of my favorite areas to visit because its close the water and views are amazing. If you’re lucky you can catch the sunset on a beautiful day. The Tilikum Place Cafe has a lot to offer but these are my favorites.

  • Delicious Food: While the cafe doesn’t specify its exact cuisine, you can expect tasty dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. Think of it as a place where they take the best flavors of the Pacific Northwest and turn them into delightful meals. The chefs I saw appeared professional and dressed appropriately.
  • Warm Atmosphere: When you step inside, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a cozy hideaway. The cafe is designed to make you feel at home, with comfy decor and soft lighting. It’s perfect for a romantic dinner or a laid-back brunch with friends. You can bring a date here and feel comfortable.
  • Community Connection: Tilikum Place Cafe is part of Seattle’s commitment to local businesses and sustainable eating. They likely work closely with nearby farmers and suppliers to bring you the best food while supporting the community. As I get older, I would prefer my food come from local farms and less commercial.

Address: 407 Cedar Street Seattle WA 98121

There you have it folks! Seattle’s food landscape is a place full of diverse flavors and unforgettable experiences. These five restaurants represent the city’s unwavering commitment to culinary excellence, each offering a distinct and remarkable dining adventure. I’ve visited all of these restaurants and was impressed with their food offerings.

Whether your taste buds are yearning for the perfection of a Neapolitan pizza at Pizzeria Credo, the mouth watering fusion of food and entertainment at The Pink Door, the many treasures of the ocean at All Water Seafood & Oyster Bar, a tantalizing journey through Korean cuisine at Chan Seattle, or feeling comfortable in Tilikum Place Cafe these establishments promise a dining experience that transcends the ordinary. These great places are all located here in the Emerald City of Seattle!

While in Seattle, keep in mind that these restaurants are just the tip of the iceberg in a city full of culinary wonders and chefs that know what they are doing. In the Emerald City, each meal is an opportunity to uncover new flavors, embrace diverse cultures, and celebrate the artistry of culinary traditions. These Seattle restaurants are some of the best in my opinion. So, relish every bite, toast to the pleasures of gastronomy, and savor the adventure through Seattle’s delectable dining landscape.

Photo by Wonderlane is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Rose Kreider: Internationally Recognized Seattle Female Filmmaker Breaking Barriers In The Local Film Industry

Rose Kreider Seattle Filmmaker

Rose Kreider. A name you’ll hear more often than not. Rose started her career during COVID as an actor and model. She walked for New York Fashion Week in 2020 and 2021 for mini fashion designers across the nation, as well as participating in Seattle’s North American fashion week and walking for Macy’s department store four times. Rose began her film directing career in January 2021 after writing her first screenplay, The Woman, and becoming internationally recognized and winning three awards for the film, which includes Best Drama, Best First Time Director, and Best Actor and Director Award. Rose’s original screenplay The Woman is about a struggling art major college student who finds out that he was kidnapped at a young age and that his whole life and everything he’s been told is a lie. He comes to the conclusion to find who he really is and search for his family through trial and error. The film has been featured on many different streaming platforms, including Tubi TV, Xumo, Amazon Prime, OneHub TV, and many more. Tubi TV is The number one platform you can still stream The Woman on. The film has been played over 20,000 times and has been broadcast in over 55 countries since its release in March 2022. 

Rose had a successful red carpet premiere on March 13, 2022, in Edmonds, Washington. She had a sold-out theater of 100 people and a beaming applause after the film. Many friends and family were in attendance as well as locals to the Edmonds area eager to support artists. Rose knew that she was bound to be in a career where she could be creative and outspoken. She says a psychic also told her that she should consider leaving her corporate America job, so that she can blossom her creative outlet. Only a couple of years later went by before she found her true calling: film directing. “I am a very passionate, extroverted, outspoken individual, who is welcoming, determined and driven”, Rose says regarding her film career. Rose has proven again and again on her film set that she creates a safe space, is very friendly, listens to her actors, and even takes advice on script changes or character personality traits from the actors themselves in order to create a healthy balance on the film set she runs. Everyone who has been on her film set says they would love to work with her on a future project again and loves her dynamic as a director and feels heard and respected. 

Rose is looking forward to the future of her Rose Kreider Productions. She plans to branch out by offering her directing services as well as equipment rentals. Whether people want to bundle their rental and hire her as a director as well or just her equipment for their film sets. She is planning on creating a broader production company that involves all and wants to create a female run platform and make an everlasting stamp on the Seattle film industry. What Rose has in store next is something Seattle has never seen before: a documentary spotlighting individuals who have saved a life with a firearm. The title is Silent Citizen Heros, and it is in pre-production as Rose and her crew plan on filming in 2024. She hopes that everyone watches her documentary as it will be inspiring, non-biased, and educational. Not many documentaries come out of Seattle, so she’s very excited to be one of the few. She is also in preproduction for an Amazon book called Deadly Delivery which is a feature crime/thriller that will be filming in early 2024 as well as Wish You Well, a short comedy that will be released before the New Year’s! 

The two films currently available to watch now include The Woman, a 60-minute drama feature film and A Room by the Road, a 9-minute crime/thriller short film that is about a robbery gone bad and the consequences that come with it, which was filmed in Kirkland Washington in May 2022. ARBTR is available now to watch on the free TV or phone app, Reveel! Rose was approached by a local screenplay writer for A Room by the Road and decided to turn this person’s idea into a film while adding her own flair to it also. Rose loves adding unexpended twists and turns in her films and plans on leaving it up to the audiences’ interpretation at the close of her movies. 

Make sure to follow Rose Kreider’s journey on her social media pages: 

Instagram @rosekreider Rose Kreider 

Rose also has a director’s reel and a trailer for her first film The Woman if you are interested in watching before you tune in on Tubi TV! She asks if there is interest or any questions about current or future films, to message her on social media. 

 We can’t wait to follow Rose Kreider’s film career!

Joshua Burgin Reflects on Israel’s Tech Economy

Photo of Israel

When it comes to technology, Joshua Burgin knows what he’s talking about. From his experience developing software for Amazon to his work as the VP of Product and Strategy at cloud computing software provider VMware, Burgin has been in the technology game for a long time. Living in Seattle, he was one of the first employees at Amazon.

He has over two decades of experience developing technology businesses and consults with and advises startups around the world. 

Burgin is also quite connected to his Jewish faith and is a big supporter of Israel’s technology economy. Although he has spent his career so far based in the United States, he has also spent many years as an advisor for Israeli-based technology startups and visiting the country with his family. He feels deeply connected to Israel and to his Jewish faith. In August 2023, he sat down with the Jerusalem Post to discuss Israel’s expanding technology scene and entrepreneurial culture.

Joshua Burgin Sits Down With The Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Post wanted to learn about Burgin’s take on Israel’s post-Covid tech economy. Burgin, who has traveled to Israel almost every six months for the past ten years, believes that even with some of the country’s internal conflict, its economy, especially in the technology sector, remains strong. With the country’s swift, effective response to the pandemic, Burgin said he saw no major slowdown in entrepreneurial expansion. He believes that Israeli tech companies continue to set the standard for innovation and problem-solving with their tenacious spirit. For example, he discussed his work with the web development platform Wix and the marketing analytics company AppsFlyer, both of which are seeing lots of growth of late. Burgin feels that the creativity and bold innovation of Israeli startups such as these reflect the “Israeli spirit.”

The publication was also interested in Joshua Burgin’s thoughts on the country’s sustainability practices and the extent to which the country is fostering a more eco-friendly world. Burgin noted that some Israeli companies are on the cutting edge of climate innovation. For instance, he discussed Watergen, which extracts water from the air to help provide clean drinking water in areas where it is scarce. He also praised the country’s sustainable approach to living, with its bike-friendly cities and green spaces. Burgin believes that it is Israel’s global business perspective that helps such companies thrive and continue to shatter expectations. Israeli companies seek to make their solutions and innovations accessible to global markets, which helps not only their economy but supports countries around the world in becoming greener.

Burgin’s Admiration for the Israeli Spirit

In addition to the global outlook, Burgin also emphasized his belief in the positive impact of Israel’s mandatory military service. He thinks that this service helps produce strong, mature leaders who are able to create innovative startups that address complex problems. In particular, he discussed intelligence Units 8200 and 81 as exceptional “breeding grounds” for technological intelligence. Avishai Abrahami, a co-founder of Wix, served in Unit 8200, Burgin pointed out, and many people refer to Israel as the “Startup Nation.” Burgin thinks that this reputation is in large part due to the famous compulsory military training and how it interacts with the culture’s strong, entrepreneurial spirit.

Burgin has lots of hope for the technological future of the “Startup Nation” and emphasized that the country’s impact on innovators around the world should not be overlooked. As Israel’s leading technology innovators look outward with their solutions, Burgin suggests that the rest of the world should look toward Israel, as its dedication to entrepreneurship is creating tech solutions that address all kinds of world challenges. The country’s resilience to adversity and tough times like the pandemic also demonstrate the power of perseverance when it comes to business and how perseverance can lead to innovative technological breakthroughs. Read his biography here.

About Joshua Burgin

Joshua Burgin began his tech career in the early 90s. His major in philosophy at Haverford College outside of Philadelphia may seem an odd start to what has become an extensive career, but combining his love for reflection and innovation with his love for technology allowed him to begin his career at a small start-up that sold books online. Though friends and family believed this company would never survive, Burgin believed in the other 99 individuals working for the company that would soon grow into the industry giant known as Amazon.

Even in the early 90s, Burgin knew that the challenges were only beginning. Thankfully, Amazon was starting in Seattle, where an endless supply of another international staple, coffee could accompany long nights of working. During these long nights, Burgin would be working on new innovations that would allow for enhanced purchasing for consumers while marveling that the rise of the internet was merely one short decade ago.

Eventually, Burgin would leave Amazon, albeit temporarily, and help a series of start-ups and other entrepreneurs chase their own tech dreams. He would help consult and grow these companies to build their own foundations. Eventually, he found his way into a new space, a small gaming organization by the name of Zynga. This company challenged the tech space again by helping to develop programs that could run not only on personal computers but also on handheld devices with the rise of apps.

Afterward, he found his way back to Amazon, where he worked with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in developing their cloud services. These services would soon help Seattle gain the nickname of Cloud City, not because it was featured in the latest Star Wars, but because it became home to the cloud services for tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and Oracle. For eight years, Burgin worked on these projects, helping to build the foundations for what is now a part of everyday life for consumers, whether they be large corporations or a grandmother hoping to save unlimited numbers of pictures of her grandkids.

Now, as the Vice President of Product & Strategy at VMware, Burgin has again seen new growth in technology. His humility, however, will limit the credit he will take for changes in technology, as he refuses to take credit for industry innovations. However, throughout the history of his prestigious career, he has always remained at the cutting edge of the newest and greatest technological innovations by having a keen ability to look for what he calls inflection points. These are the moments when opportunity exists and breaking the next thing needs to happen.

Even as recently as the early 2000s, technology was a niche market that only appealed to those who could afford a computer, companies looking to take the next step in organization, and even governments looking to function more consistently. Now, Burgin recognizes that technology is more than that. This niche market has moved fast and changed what was once a privileged convenience into an everyday reliance for everyone. Projects that Burgin has been involved in have allowed technology not to run life but to integrate seamlessly into it.

For individuals like Burgin, the last 30 years have defined what a technological revolution can look like, and seeing it grow at every stage can still amaze even those who witnessed it firsthand. In a short period of time, technology has made extensive changes in science, business, healthcare, government, and nonprofits. In essence, technology has changed daily life.

Burgin may not have thought about what technology would look like today when sitting in philosophy class in college, but in a way, it is comforting to know that those charged with impacting everyday life are thinking about the fundamental truths of human life. Burgin’s presence in the world of tech means that designing the next great technological advancement is not always done with the bottom dollar in mind but rather with how to improve human life.

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Superfine Seattle 2023 In Belltown 7/27/23 – 7/30/23

SuperFineArt Seattle Event

Colorful, creative, and accessible, Superfine Art Fair returns to Seattle at the height of summer with 2000+ high quality artworks by 70 in-person artists, thoughtfully curated and approachably priced from $50 to $5000. After launching the fair back in 2015, entrepreneurs Alex Mitow and James Miille expanded the nationally recognized fair to Seattle in May 2022 as its seventh market and are excited to return to Belltown’s Block 41 from July 27-30.

The decision to position the fair in time with the Seattle Art Fair was a carefully considered one:

“A21 and Art Market Productions, the teams behind The Seattle Art Fair, have really pioneered the concept of a first-rate art fair in Seattle. As colleagues in the industry, we frequently cross paths and are thrilled to position our unique, artist-driven model in context of their world-class event this summer. We feel that the events together provide a vast survey of what the contemporary art world offers to Seattle residents and visitors at every stage of the art collecting journey,” says Superfine CEO Alex Mitow.

Superfine’s artist-to-buyer model creates a direct link between creator and collector in a professionally curated space that maintains the warm sense of hospitality the brand’s dynamic duo are famous for. Keeping with its democratic ideals, 100% of art sales go directly to the artist, and work is available at price points friendly to all collectors. As a result, the fair attracts a high-intent, art-buying audience, creating a sustainable opportunity for independent artists to sell art and build their collector network (over 75% of visitors report coming to the fair to buy new art). “It’s rare that someone visits one of our fairs and doesn’t walk out with something they’ve fallen in love with – at the very least a print, but often an original painting, sculpture, or limited photograph,” quips co-founder James Miille, also an exhibiting photographer whose own career spurred on the Superfine method. Artists are encouraged to show affordable prints and merchandise as a means of motivating collectors at all stages.

Superfine’s unique, artist-driven, people-focused approach has been widely recognized by national and global media outlets including Forbes, the Guardian, and the Advocate. Aside from Seattle, the fair hosts annual editions in Los Angeles, New York City, Washington DC, Miami, and Savannah, as well as biannual shows in San Francisco.

Fairgoers enjoy a long weekend of art at Superfine and across Seattle. Art installations like Holly Martz’s Prime Cuts will be displayed, live performances from musical guests like international saxophonist LE//ON and local musicians Chhaylee Young and Craig Suede, and collaborations with arts and culture organizations like Make.Shift and Northwest Film Forum are all on tap. Body painting artist Kree Arvanitas, whose solo show with Bonfire Gallery opens a day before the fair, is providing a live demonstration. On Saturday 7/29, Superfine will host a free Night Market featuring local food vendors such as MariMakan and Ms. Helen’s Soul Bistro. It all starts Thursday 7/27 with a Grand Opening sponsored by local non-profit Path with Art: a group that fosters the restoration of individuals, groups, and society from the effects of trauma through arts engagement and community building.

Superfine Seattle runs from 7/27-7/30 at Block 41 in Belltown. To get your tickets to the fair and discover all the programming, visit Superfine Seattle’s home page

Carlee Russell’s Alleged Kidnapping, Separating The Facts From Fiction

Road for Driving

After the frenzied search for Carlee Russell, and her surprise reappearance at her parents’ house a few days later, there has been a multitude of questions surrounding her return home. Her initial disappearance caused a lot of confusion and fear in the town of Hoover, Alabama. The 25-year-old nursing student claimed to have been kidnapped on the side of I-459 as she was trying to help a toddler she saw wandering alongside the road.

Initially, Russell declined to talk with authorities due to her shock but was transported to the hospital for an evaluation. She then spoke with investigators about her ordeal and since that time, it appears that the kidnapping might have been a hoax. Authorities have not outright called the kidnapping a hoax but they have publicly stated that they are unable to verify the details of her story. The police have requested a second interview, but Russell has declined.

Here is what we do know so far, on July 13th after leaving work, Russell called 911 to report a toddler in a diaper wandering on the side of the road. She hung up with the police and then called a family member to tell them what she saw. Carlee lost connection with the family member but the line stayed open. Carlee’s mother, Talitha, said in a statement the individual on the phone with Carlee was her brother’s girlfriend. The girlfriend said she heard Carlee say, “Are you ok?” and then a scream.

Police arrived at the scene three minutes after Carlee exited her car. Traffic camera footage showed her pulling over and exiting her car. Police then confirmed that there were no other calls that day reporting a toddler on the side of the road. The police found her car, the door open, and the engine still running. Carlee’s purse was still in the car along with her wig, her Air Pods, and an Apple Watch.

Police conducted an extensive search for Carlee. Multiple tips had come in after Carlee was reported missing. After 49 hours, she returned home on foot. She received medical attention immediately after her return. Her family then asked for some space for Carlee to process the trauma she experienced during the alleged kidnapping.

After the police were able to interview Carlee, they held a press conference to inform the public of the investigation’s findings so far. Chief Nick Derzis laid out the facts of the case and ended the conference by saying the police could not confirm Carlee’s claims of being kidnapped.

Carlee told the police the following regarding the kidnapping:

  1. After she stopped to help the boy, she said was pulled into an 18-wheeler by a man with orange hair and a bald spot who had come out of the woods.
  2. Carlee said there was a woman in the truck and she could hear a baby crying. She did escape once from the truck, but they captured her.
  3. Carlee was then blindfolded but not tied up. Carlee said the kidnappers did not want to tie her up because they did not want to leave marks on her wrists.
  4. She was then taken to a house where the man and woman took pictures of her while undressed but they did not physically or sexually assault her.
  5. The next day, Carlee woke up and was fed cheese and crackers by the woman. The woman then played with Carlee’s hair.
  6. Carlee was then led out into a car but managed to escape somewhere in West Hoover. She told detectives she ran through a lot of woods before coming out near her home.

Police have been unable to verify any details of her story. However, they did uncover some information that Carlee did not tell them during her initial interview.

The following are the details that were uncovered and confirmed by the police and the secret service during their investigation:

  1. Surveillance video from the spa Russell works at showed her concealing a dark-colored bathrobe, a roll of toilet paper and other items from her work before walking out.
  2. Russell then ordered food from the restaurant Taziki’s and after that, went to Target on U.S. 280 where she purchased granola bars, Cheez-its, and a drink. The food she ordered from Taziki’s was still in her car but the other items from her work and Target were missing from her car and the scene.
  3. The police released information about the search history on her phone. They found she had searched the term “Do you have to pay for an Amber Alert” two days before she vanished. On the day she disappeared, she searched “How to take money from the register without getting caught Reddit” and “Birmingham bus station.” She then searched for a one-way bus ticket from Birmingham to Nashville. Later she searched for the movie “Taken.”
  4. The police also found two searches on the computer at the spa related to Amber Alerts, including what is the maximum age for an Amber Alert.
  5. Using data from her phone, police discovered she had traveled about 600 yards in her car while she was on the phone with 911 alerting them to a toddler on the side of the road.
  6. Detectives also noted she had $107 in cash in her right sock.

Since this initial interview, Carlee has refused to sit down for a second interview. Also, her boyfriend, Thomar Latrell Simmons removed all traces of her from his social media. When she first disappeared, he wrote an impassioned plea for her return and posted it to his Facebook account. After she returned, he claimed that she had to fight for her life to come home. Now, his social media is completely devoid of any mention or photograph of Carlee. He also has not commented publicly since the police stated they were unable to confirm her story.

So what’s next? Keith Czeskleba, Hoover Police Department’s public information officer told USA Today, “We have not begun to count the number of hours and resources dedicated to this case – both from our agency and partner agencies as well. I cannot recall a missing person case like this in my time here – certainly not of this magnitude.”

Czeskleba did not say exactly what the police were planning on doing next but they are hoping to get more information from Carlee. The police are most likely chasing down any additional witnesses, checking surveillance cameras in the area, and following up on any tips. There was one tip that came in from a trucker about the possibility of seeing a grey vehicle and a man standing next to Carlee’s car during the time of her “abduction.” That tip has yet to lead to any solid information. We will report on any other details that are reported.  

7/25/23 – Carlee Russell Update, It was all a Hoax

An update to our previous story about the alleged kidnapping of Carlee Russell. After pressure from the police for a second interview, Russell finally decided to come clean about her ordeal. She was scheduled to come in for a second interview and then her attorney Emory Anthony instead told police he had a statement from Russell regarding her “kidnapping.” Police Chief Nicholas C. Derzis read the statement provided by Russell’s attorney during a press conference.

The statement provided by her attorney stated the following, “We ask for your prayers for Carlee as she addresses her issues and attempts to move forward understanding that she made a mistake in this matter. Carlee again asks for your forgiveness.”

Russell’s ex-boyfriend, Thomar Latrell Simmons, took to Instagram to express his resentment over the hoax. Previously, Simmons had defended Russell on his social media but after the statement made by the police, he has deleted his defense of his no ex-girlfriend.

He wrote, “Carlee’s actions created hurt, confusion, and dishonesty. I was made aware of the false narrative after coming to the defense of my ex Carlee Russell. Myself and my family’s nature was to react in love, and genuine concern. We are disgusted by the outcome of this entire situation. I strongly feel exactly like you all, blindsided with Carlee’s actions.”

Police are still unclear about Russell’s motivations to stage a fake kidnapping and Derzis said that his office is currently discussing charges with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office. The police are also planning on meeting with Russell today to interview her regarding the hoax. If the motivation for the hoax is released, we will report on the findings.

8/1/23 – Carlee Russell Update, Lawmakers Looking to Create New Felony Charge for Faking a Kidnapping

Local lawmakers are now considering changing the laws so in the future anyone who fakes their own kidnapping can be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor. This comes after Carlee Russell was arrested last week by Hoover police for making false statements to the police about her own fake kidnapping.

The Hoover Police Department hosted a press conference to discuss the charges against Russell. Chief Nicholas Derzis said in the press conference, “The story opened wounds for families whose loved ones really were victims of kidnappings.”

He added he shares in the frustration that Russell was only charged with misdemeanors and asked state legislators to review the law to see if there could be any “enhancements” made to the law to help deter others from falsely reporting a violent kidnapping. Regarding the current charges against Russell, Derzis said, “Existing laws only allowed the charges that were filed to be filed.”

Russell was charged with one count of false reporting to law enforcement authorities and one count of falsely reporting an incident. If convicted, each charge is a misdemeanor with a $1,000 bond and each is punishable with up to one year in prison and a potential $6,000 fine. She was released on a $2,000 bond.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall was also at the press conference. Marshall said that his office intends to prosecute the case fully. Marshall said, “We don’t see this as a victimless crime. There are significant hours spent, resources expended as a result of this investigation, and not only that, but the many men and women who are civilians who wore those yellow vests on a hot afternoon and evening looking for someone they thought was abducted, trying to be of assistance.”

Marshall added his office would be continuing to monitor the case to see if there are any additional charges that need to be brought against Russell. The outcry in the community has caused lawmakers to take notice. Hoover’s City Council President John Lyda plans to present a resolution demanding tougher accountability for people that fake their own abduction. Lyda said, “It seems reasonable to me that a crime that rises to the level of what we saw, Ms. Russell, the crime that she’s charged with, where she has alleged that she was a victim of a felony and it turned out to be a hoax, perhaps that needs to be charged and prosecuted as a felony.”

Let us know if you have any information or corrections to this story.

Lee Hardin Brings Clean Comedy To The Carco Theatre

Lee Hardin Comedian Coming To Renton Washington

For comedian Lee Hardin, standup comedy is something that should be enjoyed by everyone. That is why it is important to him to bring quality comedy to theatrical venues nationwide that is appropriate for all ages.

Lee is a comedian based out of Murfreesboro, TN. He has been performing standup for ten years. In that time, he has performed in comedy clubs, filmed and released a Dry Bar Comedy Special, and was featured on the Huckabee Show.  His unique point of views highlights his experiences growing up as a single child, dating, and shopping at Goodwill. He also shares his opinions on Taco Bell and Le Croix. His energetic approach to his subject matter engages audiences of all ages and keeps them laughing all night long.

At the beginning of this year, he embarked on a new journey. He began contacting theatres looking for venues that might be interested in bringing a night of clean comedy to their scheduled seasons. His venture has been a success. He has been touring non-stop since January 2023. He generally has at least one feature comedian at these shows, and sometimes includes a comedian to host the show.

He is excited to bring his brand of comedy to The Carco Theatre in Renton, WA. Lee will be there on August 18 at 7:00 PM for a one night only engagement. For information, please visit You can also follow Lee Hardin on Facebook and Instagram.

District 2 Candidate Tanya Woo: “We need Action, Not Performative Politics, Not Virtue Signaling” In The City Council

Tanya Woo

By Connor Nash

It was a warm summer evening at Hing Hay Park when I interviewed Tanya Woo, who is running for District 2in the city council elections. Tanya is there with members of the Chinatown International District Community Watch (CID Watch), a group she created three years earlier. The CID Watch was formed in response to the 2020 George Folyd protest when many non-peaceful agitators vandalized buildings and businesses in the CID.

The CID Watch was started to support businesses and community members as they went through the whirlwind that was the pandemic and the 2020 summer protests. Now the CID Watch mainly works within the CID’s encampments; distributing aid, de-escalating situations, and treating suspected overdoses.

Woo also organizes the community through the CID Watch. Most notably, the CID Watch successfully protested the expansion of the SODO Services Hub, which the county canceled.

For this biweekly meeting of the CID Watch, the group went to the encampment on 12th Ave S and King St, the new location of the 12th and Jackson encampment cleared in early 2022. During my time with CID Watch, the group distributed water and snacks, checked to make sure an individual was still breathing, and Woo guided a man (high on fentanyl) out from the middle of the street.

My interview with Woo focused on the Chinatown International District, the major infrastructure investments being planned, and the public safety problems facing the neighborhood. I also asked if the city and county are doing enough to help the CID, and what she would do if elected to the city council.

My first question is what is your elevator pitch on why you are running for District 2 City Council?

“Oh, that’s a good question. Well, I think short of it is Chinatown International district got named top 11 most endangered neighborhoods in the nation. And this was not an overnight event, this was years and months in the making. Seeing all these changes in the last three to four years, especially during the pandemic, COVID racism, and [with] pandemic hate.

“This neighborhood has been a microcosm of all the challenges that South Seattle has been facing. We have encampments. We have open-air markets. We have gentrification displacements and lack of housing. So all of these things I think are applicable to South Seattle.”

A flashpoint in the CID is the new ST3 station going through CID. Do you support the 4th Ave option or do you support the North/South option? And Why?

“So you have one group saying that to place the station here would gentrify… the entire community. Now the other group is saying if we don’t place the station here then you are denying transit to an entire community.

“[There are] pros and cons to both. And the one thing that I would like to hear more [of] are mitigation efforts from the city and the county. Everyone talks about placing things near here and taking things away from the community. And putting these kinds of projects near the community, but no one talks about investment in the community.

“And another thing that is missing from the plans is that it’s not just CID that’s affecting, but everyone along Line One. Othello station, Columbia City station, the outreach, and engagement have not been done for the rest of the communities along Line One.

“The short answer is, I remain neutral because I see how divided these two options are with the community and I believe we should build bridges and work together. We need to talk to people, everybody who has been affected, and gather more data before making a decision.”

Can we talk about the perception of public safety in the CID? What would you do to solve those public safety perceptions/concerns?

“I think public safety, especially in the CID, is a result of a lot of disinvestment [from] the city and the county. You know, the community has come up with all these solutions, at one point we had four patrol watch block groups patrolling this area.

“The community is really good at coming together and coming up with solutions for itself.

“We have like four different neighborhood plans that we just want funding for and multiple proposals on how we want to see public safety in the CID. That included ambassadors and social workers, and we just need that investment by the city.

“There are business owners that would love to see more community service officers come in. They usually operate from 8-5, it would be possible for them to come in the evenings and on the weekend.”

So if you were elected you would be more of an advocate and a voice for those plans?

“So this community watch group is a successful model and many other neighborhoods reach out to us and ask how they can implement something similar in their neighborhoods. We do a lot of translation services and we know the neighborhood, we know who does what, and what people need. [We are] familiar and see the same people and built that connection and relationship of trust.

“So as a council member, I would support and find a way for these programs to be funded. Because they’re doing work in the community. There are a lot of great programs, like REACH, LEAD, Co-Lead and Just Cares put a lot of great work into the communities. They need to be funded and supported.

“We saw in the last budget cycle that LEAD and Co-LEAD we underfunded by $8 million and ended up finding funding elsewhere. How do we divert money from programs that have proven results?”

This a loaded question, but a proxy for your overall positions on public safety. Would you say the Seattle Police Department budget is too high, too low, or just right?

“I think, first and foremost, we need alternatives but we need SPD because [of] my work in the Community Watch. We come out here and we are able to de-escalate fights without having to call the police.

“But there was one time that we were out in the encampments and there were shots fired. We don’t have the training to attend to that, so for that, we need the police. We called the police, they came in 10 minutes, and they were able to arrest someone who was selling drugs, and had cash, and guns in their car at the time.

“We also don’t want officers to go out to calls that they don’t have training. So we especially like the social worker, officer combination [and] being able to have a social worker come out without having to go through the police.

“But we also need policing alternatives…and we see that this community has a great model on how we can do that. We just need more city and county support.

What are your thoughts on the city’s response to 12th and Jackson? And what would you do if you were in the city council?

“I think we definitely need alternatives to policing. Social worker teams. I think community-based solutions similar to what is going on with the 3rd Ave plan. We need something similar to that. And I just feel like most of the small businesses feel like this area of downtown has been forgotten and left out. So it would be great to have more engagement with the city. More investments. And funding all of the neighborhood solutions.

“The community has been proposing and we haven’t made any headway.”

What are your thoughts on the Little Siagon park that is set to be built, but has been delayed many times?

“I attended someone of the meetings where the park was being reviewed and it is quite interesting with the process of sightlines. Making sure that there aren’t places where people can hide and people can feel safe. And how do we stop people from sleeping and congregating in these areas and doing drugs? And that is being built into the park.

“But I think we run the risk of what we see in Hing Hay Park. During COVID people were living there, there were tents and it was unusable by the rest of the community. And I think having an expanded park ranger program would be helpful. Having a park concierge there. And that has been successful.

“So I think the expanded park ranger program and more investment in the community spaces would be helpful, in terms of community safety.”

What do you think of the job Councilmember Morales has done representing District 2 and the CID?

“I will talk about the city council as a whole. I feel like –”

But you are running specifically against CM Morales, not the whole city council.

“I can talk about the contrast between my approach and my opponent’s approach. My opponent wants to defund the police. I don’t feel like that…that ideological experiment did not work. It just made everything worse.

“Things didn’t get better. We need action, not performative politics, not virtue signaling. We need someone to go in there and act.

“Not only bringing up police alternatives but also making sure our police are supported, there’s reform and culturally competent training.

“The other contrast is that people in the city council feel like we should leave people that are un-housed where they are. Well, unfortunately, having the CID having the two largest encampments in the city, we’ve seen too many unhoused neighbors die. It is not humane to let people live outside. It is traumatic and we need to make sure that services are currently being offered. That people going out there are building trust, de-escalating techniques. And able to build relationships to bring people inside.

“I feel like we need to be able to hold our city council members accountable. There needs to be more transparency and accessibility….We need more engagement with government processes.

“With the SODO shelter expansion, we brought seniors, business owners, and non-English speakers to the city and county because people wanted to be heard, they wanted to be involved, and they wanted to be engaged. I think that is something that’s been lacking.”

Do you think that has been lacking in CM Morales? Do you think she has been engaged with the community?

“I think that’s another big contrast. We have feet on the ground, we see what’s happening on 12th and Jackson. We are in the encampments….and we see a lot of policies without our input. And that has to change. I think we need to bring it down to the neighborhoods and community and really listen to people. And implement all these plans that the community has suggested.

“We always ask the youth what they want to see and they say ‘We want basketball, after-school programs. We want more community programs like they were before COVID.’ And that hasn’t been done yet and yet we still keep asking ‘What do you guys want?’”

Photo Courtesy of Tanya Woo Campaign

Who’s Running For Seattle City Council? Meet D3 Candidate Alex Cooley

Alex Cooley

A mixture of civil libertarianism and economic progressivism, cannabis entrepreneur Alex Cooley is running for Seattle City Council in District 3.

By Connor Nash

At first glance, Alex Cooley looks like your typical Seattlite, alternative, gauges, hand tattoos, gig worker, and he has a weed business. And like many Seattlites, Cooley’s politics are both progressive and bold, meant to shake up the system.

A million square feet of new housing, banning sweeps of homeless individuals,  legalizing and taxing all drugs, and shifting money from police to “alternative solutions are just a few of the ideas Cooley is advocating in the D3 race. These proposals seem like they are ripped from a Vice News Youtube video, which may be an asset in capturing those young, urbanist voters.

Like many of the former Vice News audience, Cooley’s ideas have been shaped by his growing family and expanding business. When asked why he is running for City Council, he responded, “I decided to run the day my son was born. I need him to grow up in a place where leaders behave like leaders and respond to their neighbors when they are called upon…

“We haven’t had leadership that listens. We aren’t able to trust that our elected officials will do a good job. We’ve been hindered by political games, inflexibility, indecisiveness, and special interest money. We can’t afford more of the same.”

Lack of trust in the city government isn’t a new phenomenon, but the abysmally low approval ratings are the new norm. An Oct 2022 KOMO News/ Strategies 360 poll found that the Seattle City Council had an unfavorability rating of 58%, up from 20% the year before.

To Cooley’s point on a lack of “leadership that listens,” I asked Cooley (and will ask all D3 candidates) their stance on holding office hours if elected. Current D3 Councilmember Kshama Sawant fails to hold any regular office hours, instead opting for larger, rally-like events with both constituents and supporters of her causes.

Cooley’s responded that he would “Absolutely” hold office hours, explaining “I intend to go many steps further than having office hours every week. I will hold regular town hall meetings at least quarterly, I will have weekly “Brews w/Cooley” meetings, and in general, will be in the community daily available to all.”

This openness to greater public availability and outreach is refreshing, considering the current Councilmember is extremely aloof when it comes to constituent services. This is something that I will keep a lookout for if Cooley is elected since this is a notable and bold shift from how constituent services are being run currently in D3.

Although Cooley will have a different way of interacting with constituents, some of his policies are similar to Councilmember Sawant notably on Sweeps and free transit. When asked about his overarching policy ideals, Cooley specifically cited “ending the practice of sweeps” and explains on his website that “pushing around people experiencing homelessness two blocks at a time is failing everyone.”

When it comes to public transit, like Councilmember Sawant, Cooley is pushing for more free public transit options, including “reinstat[ing] the free ride zone…” The Free Ride Zone was ended in 2012 but was an agreement between the City of Seattle and King County where Seattle would pay King Co $400,000 a year to cover all fares Downtown.

A policy area that Cooley has institutional knowledge in is cannabis since he owns Solstice, a company that sells various cannabis products. Cooley has assisted legislators on the local, state, and global levels on cannabis policies. In 2010, Cooley worked with State Senator Kohl-Wells in writing SB 5073, which created the medical cannabis industry, and later on I-502 which legalized recreational cannabis use.

Cooley also worked with the Seattle City Council to write “all of their protective legislation that allowed for safe access for patients. And in 2016, Cooley worked with the United Nations during their Special Session on Drug Policy.

When asked if the city is doing enough to support minority-owned cannabis businesses, Cooley answered “No, this city could be doing much more.”

He explained how he proposed a policy to various council members and the mayor’s office for “cannabis consumption clubs” where people can enjoy cannabis products in a bar-like atmosphere. One city that implemented a policy for cannabis clubs is West Hollywood, CA. Yes, the gayest city in Los Angeles is also the only city that allows for indoor smoking of cannabis products in both residential and commercial areas (with proper permits).

Cooley states that these cannabis clubs would be “licensed through a similar merit-based system that the state is using for their social equity retail licenses.” These clubs could be great to not only expand the opportunities for new businesses but expand the diversity in the homogenous Seattle cannabis industry.

Of all his bold, progressive policies, the one that will be the most politically polarizing is his stance on single-family zoning. In an Urbanist win, Cooley supports banning single-family zoning in Seattle. But one urbanist win is a loss for the NIMBY crowd who make a sizable constituency in D3.

In a race devoid of polling, it’s difficult to see if Cooley’s politics will appeal to enough hip, millennial dads like himself to make it to the general. What is refreshing is to see someone running on a “change the system” message without the baggage that is the norm in a Sawant campaign.

Photo Courtesy of Cooley for Council

WGU Announces Learn Where You Live Scholarship

Student at WGU College Adult Program

New Scholarship Opens More Pathways to Higher Education for Rural Residents

Learn Where You Live Scholarship supports adult learners seeking a college degree in rural communities

SEATTLE, Wash. (May 31, 2023) Wanting to stay in your hometown shouldn’t bar you from obtaining a college education that can help you reach your career goals. A new scholarship opportunity from Western Governors University  (WGU) is aimed at adult learners who live in rural areas of the country, so they, too, can access a quality, affordable, accredited degree where they live. 

The Learn Where You Live Scholarship is valued at up to $3,000 and is available to new students or returning graduates who want to further their education at WGU. Scholarship recipients will receive up to $750 per six-month term, renewable for up to four terms. Applicants must live in a rural area of the U.S. as is designated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Brian Cameron, who lives on the Oregon Coast near Oceanside, said he would not have been able to pursue his bachelor’s degree in business management where he lived if not for the remote online program at WGU.

“It’s hard to find resources living in a rural community,” he said. “The online business program has allowed me to get a proper degree and do it from home. I can literally study anywhere when I have time away from work, whether that be at coffee shop or by the ocean.”

The launch of the new scholarship comes on the heels of WGU’s Northwest Regional team’s rural jobs report,  Shifting Winds: Examining Employment Trends in Rural Northwest Regions. The research, conducted in partnership with WGU Labs, shows that while demand for talent shifted throughout the pandemic, rural healthcare job listings continue to dominate in these regions, and rural STEM-sector job postings are rising significantly — with up to a 183% increase in rural areas. Demand for bachelor’s degrees has also increased as a requirement compared to high school diplomas.

The most sought-after skills were auditing, marketing, computer science, business development, project management, accounting, Agile methodology, finance, workflow management and data analysis. With more than 60 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in business, healthcare, IT, and education, WGU can prepare adult learners with the skills that employers are seeking.

“This is a commitment the university has made and certainly the Leavitt School of Health has made,” said WGU Senior Vice President of the Leavitt School of Health, Keith Smith, PhD. “We’re in the process of adding several non-clinical programs, a portfolio that meets the entire spectrum of needs for rural health.”

“Everything we do at Western Governors University is aimed at increasing accessibility and opportunity for each student, regardless of their location, background, motivations, or life situation,” added Tonya Drake, PhD., regional vice president of WGU.“Many students want to go back to school and pursue higher education, but the cost and location can be overwhelming and deter many students from attending college.”

Drake, who grew up Longview, Wash, had to leave her hometown to get her bachelor’s degree.

“A lot of people leave and don’t come back. Great strides have been made, but I still have nieces and nephews who live in rural parts of the state and wonder if they will have to leave their towns to get an education and a good-paying job,” she said. “The rural community is the backbone of our economy, and we look forward to helping people gain the degrees needed to obtain in-demand jobs in their hometowns.”

To find out more about the scholarship and apply by June 30, visit the Learn Where You Live Scholarship page.

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