News Briefs

Restaurant Revitalization Fund can help, Speaker Series continues at Heritage Museum, and more.

(File Photo).

(File Photo).

Restaurant Revitalization Fund can help

There’s good news for island restaurant and foodservice owners, who can apply for tax-free federal grants equal to the amount of their businesses’ pandemic-related income losses.

On March 11, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 created the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund to provide outright grants as direct relief for restaurants sustaining financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is administering the program.

The program applies to most businesses that have a primary business of selling food or drink — restaurants, food stands, trucks and carts, as well as bars and pubs.

In addition, bakeries, wineries, distilleries and tasting rooms can also apply if at least 33% of their gross income comes from serving food or drink on-site.

Maximum grant potential can be calculated by subtracting 2020 gross receipts from 2019 gross receipts. The tax-free grant can be up to 100% of the difference between these two figures.

Check out frequently asked questions about revitalization grants; more information about them is available here, and eventually, at the SBA COVID resources page.

In addition to these grants, there is also a grants program for shuttered venue operators.

Both programs require substantial documentation, so business owners will generally need to work with their accountants to apply for the grants.

Mark your calendar for flea market sale of Pan Asian collectibles

A spring Nominoichi, or flea market, sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 8, at Mukai Farm & Garden, 18017 107th SE. The event will be outdoors, following social distancing and mask requirements.

Pan Asian items can be dropped off and donated at Mukai Farm & Garden on Saturday and Sunday, May 1 and 2, 9 a.m. to noon.

Japanese vegetables and Marshall Strawberry plants, the famous strawberry plant that was grown at the Mukai Farm and picked, packed and shipped around the country, will be featured for sale. There will also be a selection of popular paperback novels in Japanese.

“Oh my gosh! We are already getting some really cool, unusual and fascinating items donated,” said Tina Shattuck, Mukai Farm & Garden Executive Director. “The plant starts will be fun for gardeners, and a lovely way to pay tribute to the role of the Mukai’s and many islanders in the success of Vashon’s strawberry farms.”

If your Asian-themed bric-a-brac, knickknacks, curios, art and tchotchkes no longer spark joy, donate them to Mukai! The sale proceeds will be used to support programming, continued restoration, and future work on the Barreling Plant.

Mukai Farm & Garden is being restored and managed by the Friends of Mukai to celebrate Vashon’s Japanese American and agricultural heritage, and the greater Asian American Pacific Islander communities. Mukai shows how history lives and is relevant to our lives today.

King County Local Services awards Community Service Area grants

Community Engagement Grants have funded 43 volunteer-led community activities and initiatives in unincorporated King County areas, including Mukai Farm & Garden, which received $3,000 to support the popular, annual Japan Festival.

“Community organizations are vital in unincorporated King County, but they can be labors of love — even in normal times,” King County Local Services Director John Taylor said in a statement. “It has been especially difficult for them during COVID-19 to engage with their community members. I’m happy that King County can lend a helping hand to groups and organizations that are dedicated to making their communities better places to live, work, and have fun.”

A total of $90,000 in grants was awarded to community organizations. The grants range in value from $500 to $4,000 each. Applicants were required to match at least a quarter of the overall project cost, and the projects had to be open to all residents, regardless of ethnicity, income or language.

Speaker Series continues at Heritage Museum

Bianca Perla, executive director of the Vashon Nature Center, will explore the different ways in which water has shaped Vashon’s natural heritage in “Wild Wonder – An Island Shaped by Water,” a prelude to the upcoming Wild Wonder natural history exhibit, in this talk at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 13, on Zoom.

Water grows our forests, determines what life appears on our shores, and carries salmon back to their birthplace. Water brings us life and flows through all of island life, from rain that swells the streams and fills the aquifer to the water we drink to quench our thirst. Water has influenced who we are and continues to shape who we become, from the Swiftwater people to mosquito fleet captains, fishermen, strawberry farmers, telecommuters, spring snails, osprey, and cedar trees. Register online here.

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