The Angle Lake light-rail station in SeaTac is no stranger to public art. Since opening in 2016, it has welcomed visitors with colorful floating discs, an undulating colonnade of blue aluminum planks, and a vortex of boomerang shapes escorting riders to the parking garage. And now riders will hear guitar strums, drumbeats, and vocal flourishes coming from a new performance space.
The Roadhouse, which opened Oct. 29, is an all-ages, live music venue at the station. Look for it near the parking garage, under a forthcoming neon sign. In addition to producing music shows, the venue (occupancy 145) will be rentable for special events, rehearsals, workshops and classes. It’s part of STart, Sound Transit’s public art program (funded by 1 percent of construction budgets for the regional mass-transit agency).

The venue will be managed by musician and arts educator Eduardo Mendonça, owner of Show Brazil Productions, an educational arts organization based in Kent, where he lives. After one year, stakeholders will determine whether The Roadhouse experiment is worth continuing.

“The Roadhouse will fill a gap of opportunities,” said Mendonça, who has performed guitar and percussion for luminaries from Nelson Mandela to former Brazil president Joao Baptista Figueiredo. “People need to go to Seattle to do things that are related to music and culture. We do have events and opportunities that happen in south King County, but The Roadhouse for sure will be a very good addition in a different way to having our community here.” 

Mendonça said his production company is planning approximately 20 events in the space over the next year, all free to the public. They include a series called “The Sounds of Roadhouse,” aimed at adults and teens and featuring local performers of anything from pop to Latin music.

The venue will also be open to community organizations to host their own events and increase their visibility. 

Source: Crosscut.com, a Pacific Northwest, non-profit news site that’s part of Cascade Public Media.

Higher Social Security payments start in January

Social Security benefits will be 3.2 percent higher in 2024, the latest of annual increases that weren’t always a sure thing.

The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which was officially announced in October by the Social Security Administration, begins in January for the monthly benefits currently paid to more than 66 million beneficiaries. The same increase applies to approximately 7 million recipients of Supplemental Security Income.

The amount of the boost is based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, which is determined by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. By law, it’s the official measure used by the Social Security Administration to calculate COLAs.

The COLA for 2024 is less than half of the 8.7 percent increase in 2023. The year before that, the increase was 5.9 percent. From 2017 to 2021, the amounts ranged from less than 1 percent to 2.8 percent.

COLA’s aren’t automatic. The purpose of them is to help the purchasing power of Social Security benefits from being eroded by inflation, but they didn’t exist until Congress authorized them in 1972, and they weren’t automatic until 1975. Before that, benefits increased only when Congress passed special legislation.

National organizations such as the Senior Citizens League and AARP have pointed out that most older Americans relying on Social Security report that persistently high prices affect their household budgets.

Jo Ann Jenkins, chief executive officer of AARP, said “retirees can rest a little easier at night knowing they will receive an increase in their Social Security checks to help them keep up with rising prices” of gas and groceries. She said AARP wants Congress “to work in a bipartisan way to keep Social Security strong and provide workers and retirees with a long-term solution that current and future retirees can count on.”

Pet owners can get community-level vet services

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, veterinary care is out of reach for the pets of one of every four dog or cat owners.

 A dog named Cowboy was among pets that received an exam during a pet Wellness Clinic at Southeast Seattle Senior Center. The Seattle Humane team that conducted the clinic included  Dr. Jessica Reed (right), vice president of veterinary services.

To counter that shortcoming, Seattle Humane’s Community Medicine program provides affordable and accessible wellness care, vaccinations, and microchips. Wellness Clinic appointments are offered at the agency’s Bellevue campus and pop-up sites. Examples of the latter include Southeast Seattle Senior Center, where pets and their owners received some attention from the Community Medicine team Exams for pets can be scheduled at 425-649-7560 or vets@seattlehumane.org.

Spring ahead this Sunday

Daylight Saving Time starts at 2 a.m. on March 12. You know the drill: Set clocks ahead one hour when going to bed the night before (unless you’re a night owl and will be up when the change comes).

DST will be in effect officially until Nov. 5, when we switch back to Standard Time effective 2 a.m.

As has often been the case in recent years, there is debate again about whether to continue with the twice-yearly switches between Daylight Saving Time and Standard Time. In the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, legislation was introduced again March 2 by Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Vern Buchanan, both of Florida, that would make DST permanent year-round. No more “fall back” or “spring ahead.”

The legislation also was before Congress in 2022 and was passed by the Senate. It didn’t reach a vote in the House, however, expiring there.

Proponents of DST-only say the longer daylight promotes safety and active lifestyles. Opponents of it claim there are financial costs and less productivity.

Currently, Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that don’t utilize DST. They go with Standard Time, as do more than half of the countries worldwide.