JUNCTION BIZNOTES: Thunder Road Guitars; Azuma Sushi; Kizuki Ramen; Dumplings of Fury

Four biznotes this afternoon, all from The Junction:

THUNDER ROAD GUITARS’ NEW HOURS: Proprietor Frank Gross wants you to know that Thunder Road Guitars (4736 California SW; WSB sponsor) has new hours:

Tuesdays-Saturdays 10 am – 6 pm
Sundays – Closed
Mondays – Closed
Online 24/7

By the way, if you didn’t already know, along with the website at thunderroadguitars.com, TRG’s online presence also includes a popular Instagram account, highlighted by “today’s catch.”

AZUMA SUSHI’S VACATION: The recent change to six days a week has worked so well that the hard-working proprietors of Azuma Sushi (4533 California SW) are now planning their “first extended vacation since we opened 16 years ago!” according to signage all around the restaurant. The vacation closure will be Sunday, July 3, through Sunday, July 17, and the restaurant will reopen on Monday, July 18.

KIZUKI RAMEN’S DELAY: We continue to get questions about when this new restaurant at 42nd/Alaska will open. They have a new public update: “Early to mid-July” because of an “unexpected delay.”

DUMPLINGS OF FURY SOON: This much-asked-about restaurant-in-progress (4302 SW Oregon) also has a brand-new public update: “Trying to get the last inspection scheduled now. Training up staff. All good stuff. Can’t nail a date until the inspection is scheduled though. Those guys are busy so we will keep hopes high that happens fast.”

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Retirement celebration Sunday at West Seattle Christian Church for Alan and Lois Gardner

(Photo courtesy WSCC)

Another local faith community is hosting a celebration of longtime leaders who are about to retire. From West Seattle Christian Church in The Junction:

West Seattle Christian Church invites the community to celebrate Alan and Lois Gardner’s retirement on June 26th in the church’s Activity Center. Since the 1970s they have been a special part of the West Seattle community and the church. Alan served first as Minister of Christian Education and later as Preaching Minister. Lois (aka “Mrs. Gardner”) is beloved by her former preschool and kindergarten students at West Seattle Christian School. They’ve touched so many. Please join in honoring them. The service is at 9:30 am Sunday and there will be a social time after the service.

The church and Activity Center are at 4400 42nd SW.

So much music, and more, for your West Seattle Friday

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(Anna’s Hummingbird, photographed by Mark Wangerin)

While you wouldn’t know it by this morning’s grayness, summer really is about to arrive. As is the President …

SUMMER BREAK STARTS: Last day of Seattle Public Schools classes, with one-hour early dismissal (time varies by school, and remember that schedules change for some in the fall).

BLOOD DRIVE: If you can donate blood, Admiral Safeway is hosting the BloodWorks NW van 1-7 pm, with a break 3-4 pm. More info in our calendar listing. (2622 California SW)

PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: As detailed in our morning traffic report, President Obama is due at Boeing Field Sea-Tac Airport around 3:20 pm, and that will at least briefly affect West Seattle Bridge traffic when his motorcade hits I-5, both inbound today and outbound tomorrow morning. We’ll have updates on WSB.

WINE TASTING AT VISCON CELLARS: 5-9 pm, the tasting room for West Seattle winery Viscon Cellars (WSB sponsor) is open! (5910 California SW)

RAINBOW BINGO: It’s a year-round thing at the Senior Center of West Seattle but all the more festive during Pride Month – “Beach Blanket Bingo” is tonight’s theme and there just might be tickets left, so check with the SC ASAP. Doors open 6 pm, entertainment 6:30, bingo at 7. (California SW/SW Oregon)

JEFF ANGELL’S STATICLAND @ ESR: 6:30 pm, live in-store performance at Easy Street Records in The Junction – details in our calendar listing. (California SW/SW Alaska)

BETH O’CONNOR & FRIENDS: 7-9 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), the “earthy singer-songwriter” will entertain you. (5612 California SW)

SEATTLE GIRLS’ CHOIR HELPS THE HELPLINE: Enjoy great music for a great cause – 7:30 pm concert at Alki UCC benefits West Seattle Helpline, as the group gets ready for a European tour – details in our calendar listing. (6115 SW Hinds)

THE BLUES: Grant Dermody, Orville Johnson, and John Miller perform acoustic blues at Kenyon Hall, 7:30 pm; details in our calendar listing. (7904 35th SW)

MOVIES IN THE PARK: The West Seattle Church of the Nazarene starts its free summer-movie series tonight with “Inside Out,” in the greenspace next to the church, or inside the church in case of rain. From the announcement: “Movies start at sundown. Popcorn, hot dogs, and soda will be provided free of charge. We will have some chairs available although folks are welcome to bring their own chairs or blankets.” (4201 SW Juneau)

MORE FOR TODAY, TONIGHT, THIS WEEKEND, BEYOND … on our complete calendar.

West Seattle Soccer Club signups: 1 more week

West Seattle Soccer Club has one more week left in open registration – July 1st is the deadline, and after that, signups will be filled “as space is available,” according to WSSC’s Tim McMonigle, who adds: “Remember that we have had to change our age groups to organize teams by birth year instead of academic year. This has been an unfortunate change thrust upon us, and we are doing the best we can to explain the change and answer questions. We have included much info on the WSSC home page, as well as the Registration Announcement page, but if there are any open questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at wsscboard@gmail.com.”

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Friday updates; President arrives this pm

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links; is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)

(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)

6:48 AM: Good morning! No incidents in/from West Seattle right now. Today’s big traffic lookahead:

PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: President Obama is due in this pm from the Bay Area to headline a political fundraising dinner at the Convention Center downtown, and is staying overnight. The Boeing Field advisory kicks in at 3:15 pm today and lasts until 9:45 am Saturday, so his arrival/departure will be somewhere in that window. His motorcade usually uses I-5, and when it’s about to pass, the ramps from the West Seattle Bridge are usually closed, so watch for updates here.

7 AM: Just texted and tweeted by Metro, a West Seattle bus cancellation:


LAST DAY OF SCHOOL: We should also note that Seattle Public Schools‘ last day of classes is today, with one-hour early dismissal.

8:09 AM – PRESIDENTIAL VISIT UPDATE: Found the official schedule on the White House website. 3:20 pm arrival projected; 6:55 speech at the dinner fundraiser; then at 8:25 pm, he’s due to speak at a “private residence” fundraiser, and after that it’ll be back to downtown Seattle for an overnight stay – the downtown security zone is detailed by SPD here. He’s supposed to depart by 9:45 am Saturday, as mentioned earlier.

BRIDGE ALERT: Tonight’s work ends early

In case you’re on the move this early morning, no more bridge detours until Sunday night – the final closure of the week on the west end of the West Seattle Bridge ended early. When we crossed back westward at 12:20 am after a short trip downtown, we noticed the closure was ending, and double-verified via cameras once we got back to HQ.

CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Bail hearing for accused gun-waving car-prowl suspects

The two men arrested two nights ago for alleged car-prowling and gun-brandishing remain in jail tonight, hours after a judge set bail for each at $100,000.

Court documents from this afternoon’s hearing tell us more about the allegations against the two men, ages 25 and 19, both of whom are listed as living at Admiral District addresses.

The narrative says police were first called to Bonair and Alki around 11:40 pm on Monday night. A man told them he was walking along Alki Avenue when he heard the sound of glass breaking and saw what he described as two males hit a side mirror of a black Dodge Ram truck and then break one of its windows, taking items out of it, then getting into a white Ford F-150 pickup truck (described as having a white sticker on the back window) and leaving. The pickup’s owner and three friends were in the area and the witness was telling them what he saw when, the report continues:

… the driver of the F-150 drove north on Alki Ave. SW; as they passed the Ram, both occupants of the F-150 waved pistols at the group. Approximately three blocks east on Alki Ave SW, the truck did a U-turn and began traveling back toward the Ram and group of individuals. As the F-150 approached the group of individuals, the driver turned the headlights off and stopped next to the Ram. The passenger held a small black “Glock subcompact” pistol out the door and was banging it on the outside passenger door of the F-150, while the driver held up another black pistol. The group of individuals feared they were going to be shot so they all ran and ducked behind the Ram. The F-150 left west on Alki.

As I did an area check for the F-150, a road-rage call was aired, stating a vehicle was being followed by a white Ford F-150 with a sticker on the back window in the vicinity of 50th Ave. SW/SW Charlestown.

The officer went to that area but didn’t find the F-150. The officer talked to the victims, a man and woman, around 12:15 am, and this is what they reported:

They were parked on the north side of Madison Middle School talking in the car when a white Ford F-150 pulled up behind them and turned its headlights off. The passenger of the truck got out with a golf club in his hands and approached the passenger side of the vehicle (the two victims) were in. The driver of the F-150 approached the driver’s side with an unknown “metal” object in his hand, which may have been a large wrench. The passenger held the golf club up like a baseball bat and yelled for the two to get off their block. In fear of being assaulted, (the victims) drove off and the F-150 followed.

The woman told police she recognized the passenger but not the driver. Less than 10 minutes later, another officer noticed a white Ford F-150 at the California/Charlestown 7-11, matching the description that had been circulated among police. The report says the driver was standing by the truck, while the passenger was walking out of the store toward it. Police took them into custody; the 19-year-old suspect was reported to have had a Glock 42 in his left front pants pocket, with “4 rounds in the magazine (but none) in the chamber.”

The report continues, “There was a Glock 10mm pistol lying on the dashboard of the truck, golf clubs in the back seat, and miscellaneous tools in plain view throughout the vehicle.” Victims from both incidents came to the scene and, the probable-cause documents say, identified both men as the pickup driver and passenger involved in the earlier incidents. Both are under investigation for harassment and theft; the older suspect is under investigation for unlawful firearm possession, as he is a convicted felon, while the younger is also being held on a warrant from southwest Washington for driving with a suspended license. Both are due back in court tomorrow, and we’ll find out if prosecutors will charge them or whether they’ll be released with charges possible later.

VIDEO: Field Day @ Highland Park Elementary on day-before-last-day

Friday is the last day of classes for Seattle Public Schools – and at Highland Park Elementary, today was Field Day, a tradition at many elementaries in the final days of the school year. PE teacher Chellie LaFayette invited WSB to stop by and see what they were up to (that’s her in the hat, below):

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In the morning, the younger students were out enjoying the (fleeting) sunshine:

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That included a chance to do some splashing:

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The older students got their turn in the afternoon. Tomorrow, by the way, school gets out one hour early around the district.

VIDEO: Girl Scouts make history at Schmitz Park Elementary

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Thanks to proud mom Stephanie Gerding for sharing the report, photo, and video about the first Girl Scouts to lead a flag ceremony at Schmitz Park Elementary:

After watching years of assemblies with boys serving Color Guard for the flags, 3rd grader Madeline Gerding from Girl Scout Troop 44428 here in West Seattle wrote a letter to principal Gerrit Kischner reminding him that Girl Scouts are just as responsible as Boy Scouts and could present the colors at assemblies too. Mr. Kischner wholeheartedly agreed and asked the Schmitz Park students from Madeline’s Troop and from Troop 44253 to be Color Guard at the end-of-year assembly today. It was extra exciting since it’s the last assembly at that site before moving on to Genesee Hill this fall!

Yay for all the educators that support these kids and encourage their voices!

West Seattle gets a ballot dropbox, after 5+ years


Thanks to Nathalie Wargo at High Point Library for tweeting the photo – King County Elections‘ permanent ballot dropbox has arrived! Earlier this year, the county committed to restoring dropboxes in areas including West Seattle, where the last one was removed more than five years ago. For the past few years, ballot vans had been brought here for a few days before each voting deadline, but otherwise, using postal mail was required, which required stamps; county dropboxes don’t. So when your ballot arrives for the August primary, you’ll be able to drop it off at High Point Library (35th and Raymond) if you don’t want to use the U.S. Mail.

VIDEO: Chief Sealth IHS supporters @ School Board budget hearing

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4:51 PM: We’re at Seattle Public Schools headquarters in SODO, where the last-week-of-school order for Chief Sealth International High School to cut three full-time teaching positions has brought a big turnout to the School Board‘s budget public hearing. What was supposed to be a 15-minute hearing has already stretched beyond that, with a roomful of people, including teachers and students. Teachers who have spoken so far have talked about the inequity of the cuts and also about the cuts going counter to the district’s goals. “The death by a thousand cuts will come,” declared teacher Jason Glover. “If these cuts are maintained, we will be forced to cut programs.” One of the speakers before him, Sealth teacher Paul Fischburg, said these cuts followed many others:

4:58 PM: Social-studies teacher Noah Zeichner is asking about district policies and boundaries and whether they are “decimating” the school and leading to socioeconomic disparity between the two public high schools in West Seattle. He says that the school was closed to international exchange students this past year, and that they should be allowed to wait and see if enrollment gains over the summer, including those types of students, might make up some of the newly reported shortfall (explained in our story from last night).

5:07 PM: The budget hearing continues, and it of course is about more than the Sealth cuts and other teacher staffing. The board has just heard from longtime district watchdog Chris Jackins, who mentioned a few West Seattle items – including the fact that the original Schmitz Park Elementary building is being closed without “a school closure process,” a point that has also been raised by Vicki Schmitz Block, a member of the family that donated the land for the school on the grounds that it remain a school. He also asked the board not to close Roxhill Elementary, which is not explicitly spelled out in the upcoming budget but is implied because of money included for renovating EC Hughes Elementary, ostensibly to become the new home of the program currently at Roxhill.

5:10 PM: A speaker identifying himself as a Schmitz Park Elementary parent has now both mentioned a plan brewing to use part of its space for child care, while also urging a security plan for the many portables on its site, and expressing concern that they, as well as the building and its equipment, will fall into disrepair. He says he’s frustrated that there does not appear to be a plan. He is followed by three Chief Sealth students who say the courses that might be cut as a result of budget cuts are important to their educational goals.

Another student shortly afterward says that cuts are harming the IB program at CSIHS: “Many people at Chief Sealth want to learn, just like any other person going to school.” The next speaker, special-education teacher Joe Schultz, said he is speaking for students who couldn’t be here – migrants, special-ed, students of color, “an incredibly diverse school that has incredibly diverse needs.” The cuts “will crush programs … it will devastate my students, who love the wood-shop program … which already has gone down to .6 [of a teacher]. I urge you to look at the money that’s available .. and help us save our programs.”

5:27 PM: The hearing is still going after an hour. Parent Lynn Ogdon-Perrine is speaking about the needs of the school – its students, its teachers. She has been a very involved volunteer. She says Sealth made it through a very difficult budgeting process – and now, with days left in the year, it’s “unconscionable” that they will have to deal with further cuts, especially losing teachers.

5:29 PM: We mentioned Vicki Schmitz Block earlier; now she is at the podium, speaking about the family’s origins, as immigrants who cared about education. She says Schmitz Park School is missing in the budget book – “it suddenly doesn’t exist, it has just disappeared. … At a minimum, the district needs to amend the budget” to add custodial/maintenance funds. “Disappearing Schmitz Park Elementary really means closing it, and that’s not acceptable.”

5:34 PM: Back to Sealth, another student is now speaking: “I look around this room and I see all these brilliant and amazing people that have supported me and my fellow students … it just breaks my heart hearing that three of these people have to leave or become part-time students … I can’t let that happen. … I can’t believe that Seattle Public Schools wants to take three of these people away. … They dedicate their lives to help students like me.” She says that one of the teachers whose classes she had on her schedule next year has learned she’ll be cut. … Another student says that she had been a student at Pathfinder and recalled having to join in the fight to keep the school from being closed, expressing disbelief that in this district, so many such fights were needed. … She’s followed by a teacher and parent who says she also is in disbelief. (Added) As much as anger and emotion, disappointment was voiced by teacher Julie Brown, who said she has learned her position will be cut:

5:51 PM: Principal Aida Fraser-Hammer is now speaking.

“Finding out about cuts at the last minute does not promote consistency. … Our students deserve to know that they can have the consistency. I know that we run by the numbers, but we hire human beings.” She asks them to take another look and see what can be done to prevent the cuts. And that ends the public hearing, more than an hour beyond the 15 minutes that it was originally scheduled to last. The board is scheduled to vote on the budget at a meeting in July.

UPDATE: Police, helicopter response in Alki/West Admiral area

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(Added: WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)

3:22 PM: The Guardian One law-enforcement helicopter has been over Alki/West Admiral while police have been responding on the ground to what sounds to have started as a suspected package theft – they had been tracking possible suspects along SW Lander. Now Seattle Fire is responding to a possibly related medical call at 56th/Lander. We’re still gathering information as we send a crew that way. More to come.

3:47 PM: Our crew has arrived and here’s what they have been told by police: No crime committed, after all. The people who were reported as suspected package thieves were carrying a package of firewood. The person who was hurt was the person who reported them, who slipped and fell and hit his head. Guardian One just happened to be up and around and that’s how they got involved, police said.

‘We have a plan’: Sound Transit board votes to finalize ST3 ballot measure, with West Seattle light rail in 2030

1:35 PM: Above, you see a live feed (evening update: archived version substituted) from the Sound Transit Board of Directors meeting that just started downtown. During this meeting, the board is expected to finalize the ST3 ballot measure that, among other things, includes a plan for light rail to West Seattle by 2030. See the agenda here. The ST3 resolution, calling for the plan to go to voters on November 8th, is here, with the financial-component resolution here, and the draft of plan details (including who gets what, when) is here. (Other docs are linked from the agenda page.)

2:07 PM: The public-comment period is continuing. The board has heard so far from a variety of speakers, expressing both support – from suburban and Seattle speakers – and opposition, including reps of a newly formed coalition under the banner “No ST3.”

2:32 PM: After about an hour, public comment is over, and the board will hear from the “expert review panel” that took a look at the “methodologies and key assumptions that (have been used to prepare) the plan.” You can read their memo here. From that memo, this might be of interest to those who would like to see a tunnel toward the end of the proposed line to West Seattle, rather than elevated:

For example, several stakeholder groups or jurisdictions have already expressed
interest in supporting construction of a tunnel in alignments where a tunnel is not being
proposed. Staff responded that such a major change in the project scope resulting in increased
costs would likely require additional funding from other public or private sources, beyond what
is available through the ST3 funding package. The Panel suggests that the plan should make it
clear that it is likely “outside” funding would be necessary to support major alignment changes.
This would help set expectations regarding future discussions about alternatives. This suggestion
could be particularly useful in light of the fact that the proposed ST3 plan includes provisional
projects. We assume that additional ST3 funding for a tunnel that is not included in the current
plan would be at the expense of identified provisional projects.

2:58 PM: In case you’re just coming in now – the board is handling other business before getting to ST3 (as with many public meetings, there’s some separation between the public-comment period at the beginning and the actual agenda item about which most spoke).

3:02 PM: And almost as soon as we made note of that – then the board arrived at the ST3 agenda items.

4:03 PM: The board members are making their final round of speeches before the official vote.

4:08 PM: “We have a plan,” declares board chair County Executive Dow Constantine after a unanimous vote in favor of the plan. Next, the vote to send it to the November ballot.

4:20 PM: More from Constantine: “It’s expensive, but it’ll never be cheaper … so we must move forward to November … the hardest work is yet to come” – the work of convincing voters around the region to approve it. A moment later, the final, unanimous, voice vote sending it to the November 8th ballot.

West Seattle development: 2626 Alki SW changes; 3601 Fauntleroy appeal; 3838 59th rowhouse

From today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin, three West Seattle notes:

REVISED PLAN FOR 2626 ALKI SW: For those wondering what’s up with this mixed-use development, long slated for the corner of 59th SW and Alki Avenue SW:

(WSB file photo of future development site)

first announced at an Alki Community Council meeting three years ago – here’s an update. It went through two Design Review meetings in 2014 with at least one more required, yet, to date, not scheduled. In 2015, its official land-use application was submitted. Now, one year later, the prospective developer has turned in a revised application, according to this notice in today’s bulletin. It’s now summarized as “a 3-story structure containing restaurant, 12 apartment units and parking for 23 vehicles”; at the time of the last Design Review meeting almost two years ago (WSB coverage here), the description was “14 residential units, 5 live-work units, commercial space, and 23 parking spaces.” This opens a new comment period for the project – send comments to prc@seattle.gov by July 6th.

3601 FAUNTLEROY APPEAL: The recent approvals (reported here in May) for this proposed 14-house development in East Admiral have been appealed. Here’s the notice. A hearing is set August 23rd in the city Hearing Examiner‘s chambers downtown.

3838 59TH SW ROWHOUSE: The bulletin includes the “environmentally non-significant” decision allowing a 3-story, two-unit rowhouse building on a sloped site (“environmentally critical area”) uphill from Beach Drive. The decision is appealable, and the notice explains how, with a deadline of July 7th.

West Seattle Thursday: Light rail, school budgets, WSTC, ‘Weirdo Simpatico,’ The Slags, and more…

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(Stars! Photographed by Lynn Hall “off Beach Drive” earlier this week)

Big meetings and big fun in our calendar highlights for the rest of today/tonight:

SOUND TRANSIT 3: At 1:30 pm, the Sound Transit board is expected to take its final vote on the $54 billion Sound Transit 3 package that you’ll be voting on in November, including a plan for light rail to West Seattle in 2030. You’ll be able to watch live here; the agenda and related documents are here. (401 S. Jackson)

LOW TIDE: Still low enough for excellent exploring, though the volunteer beach naturalists aren’t out today. -1.7 feet at 1:35 pm.

DELRIDGE GROCERY CO-OP FARMSTAND: 4-7 pm today, the Delridge Grocery Co-op farmstand is in its new location in the church parking lot north of the Delridge P-Patch. (Delridge Way SW & Puget Bouleard)

SCHOOL BOARD BUDGET HEARING: At 4:30 pm, the Seattle School Board has time set aside for a public hearing on budgets. As we’ve been reporting, new enrollment projections have led to an order for teacher-staffing changes at local schools, and some, particularly a 3-teacher cut for Chief Sealth International High School, are likely to be brought up by speakers. (3rd & Lander)

WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: Monthly WSTC meeting at 6:30 pm, Neighborhood House‘s High Point Center. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)

WEIRDO SIMPATICO: 7 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), “Seattle author and jazz vocalist Katy Bourne reads from Weirdo Simpatico: Little Stories for Short Attention Spans as bassist Paul Gabrielson improvises a live musical backdrop.” (5612 California SW)

HI-YU WHITE ROSE CEREMONY: It’s a gathering not only to celebrate the new West Seattle Hi-Yu Junior Court and Teen Ambassadors, but also in honor of past royalty. Full details here. 7 pm at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church. No charge; donations welcome. (3050 California SW)

THE SLAGS AT THE POGGIE: Thanks to The Slags for letting us know when they play Poggie Tavern, whose calendar isn’t online (otherwise we’d include their listings regularly) – see and hear them tonight starting at 9. (4717 California SW)

TRUE LOVES TRIO AT THE PARLIAMENT: Thanks to the Parliament Tavern for sending us their listings so we can include more live music here in the calendar (free!). At 9 tonight, no cover, it’s True Loves Trio and special guests. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

THERE’S MORE, AS ALWAYS! See it all here.

Fifth year of international competition for AMNO & CO underwater-robotics team

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(WSB photos by Torin Record-Sand, taken June 15 at Evergreen Aquatic Center)

It’s a big year for the three local students collectively known as the underwater-robotics team AMNO & CO. In April, we mentioned their by-invitation appearance at the White House Science Fair. Starting today, the team is competing internationally again, this time in Houston. Our photos are from their last local practice – at Evergreen Aquatic Center in White Center – and this is their official news release:

In May, AMNO & CO ROV team qualified for the MATE international ROV competition in Houston, Texas. (Check out the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) competition at marinetech.org.)

For the three team members – Alex Miller, Clara Orndorff, and Nicholas Orndorff – this will be their fifth consecutive year at the international competition, and as always, the team with the fewest members. However, for the first time, the team will be competing in the Explorer (mostly college) class, a benefit from having won the Ranger (mostly high school) class at last year’s international event.

Ever since AMNO & CO began competing in MATE competitions seven years ago, it has been one of the team’s goals to participate at this level, since college teams bring a unique and elevated standard of innovation which pushes the boundaries of ROV technology.

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(From left, Alex and Nicholas; Clara had already headed to Houston)

ROVs are extremely valuable for accomplishing tasks in environments which would otherwise be inaccessible to humans due to depth, chemical hazards, temperature conditions, and other risk factors. This year’s tasks require teams to build a vehicle which can function reliably in both Gulf Coast oil waters as well as under the ice sheet of Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Teams have to design and build a vehicle to access CubeSats (miniature satellites), secure wellhead components, take sensor measurements, and assess the general condition of the environment in Europa. In doing these tasks, AMNO & CO will be competing against the qualifying teams from countries that include the USA, Canada, Egypt, China, Hong Kong, Scotland, Russia and several others.

While MATE’s tasks require teams to execute a set of specific mission objectives in a tank, communication is also emphasized in the competition, so teams have to write a technical report, create a poster, and deliver an engineering presentation, much in the way that members of a real company would.

In Houston, AMNO & CO will compete in NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab, a 40-foot-deep test tank that houses a full-scale mockup of the International Space Station designed for astronauts to practice space walks before executing them in real life. This facility creates a unique challenge, because it requires teams to operate in a depth much greater than an ordinary swimming pool (where most teams including AMNO & CO practice), simulating the effect of operating in an unknown environment such as Europa.

In addition to competing and fundraising for the MATE competition, AMNO & CO seeks to instill their passion for engineering in others. For instance, they gave a special presentation in the Seattle Aquarium’s Window on Washington Waters tank, piloting their ROV for an eager audience of spectators, and showing close up views of genial rockfish and gorgeous anemones. Also, team member Alex Miller mentored the Junior Huskies, an ROV team of West Seattle students at Washington Middle School, who, through their exceptional teamwork, problem solving and intellectual curiosity won the Scout (middle school) class at the MATE Pacific Northwest Regional Competition at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center.

In addition, during Spring Break, AMNO & CO was surprised and honored to have the opportunity to participate in the White House Science Fair, where they got to demonstrate their vehicle to many interested scientists and celebrities, meet other students with fascinating projects, and shake hands with President Obama.

This year’s international competition will be held June 23-26. For more information about the competition, please contact Jill Zande at jzande@marinetech.org. For more information about AMNO & CO, please visit facebook.com/AMNOandCoROV or contact them at amnoandco@live.com.

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Here’s our report on AMNO & CO’s victory last year. We first reported on the team in 2012; Nicholas and Alex are now 17, and Clara is 19. Good luck to them in Houston!

West Seattle Crime Watch: Another bicycle theft; what car prowler(s) left behind

9:04 AM: Bicycle thieves seem to have been particularly prolific lately. Earlier this week, we featured four bicycles – three “found” (check the photos if you’re missing one), one stolen, and here’s another theft report, from Peter:

Would like to report a stolen bicycle from alongside my residence (5900 block of Beach Drive SW), sometime between 4 pm Monday, June 20, and 2 pm Tuesday, June 21. Bike is a Black 2005 Marin Muirwoods commuter bike, 24 speed, serial number C145GSB003. (I saw the abandoned bike postings from this afternoon, but none of them are mine.) The thief had to come onto private property to take the bike from alongside my house. Stock photo of bike (here).

A police report has been filed, and the bike is also registered on BikeIndex.org, and has been reported stolen to them.

ADDED 9:18 AM: This photo and report just came in from Melissa:

We live at 50th and SW Waite and someone went through our neighbor’s car last night, though they didn’t take anything. Our cars weren’t touched but we did find this on the sidewalk by our house – confirmed that it is not our neighbor’s- but maybe someone else is missing this from another prowling? It appears to be full of dog toys and pet care items.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday updates & previews

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links; is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)

(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)

6:05 AM: Trouble on northbound I-5 north of the West Seattle Bridge – a crash at Yesler is blocking two lanes and backing up 5 in a big way. There’s also trouble on SB 5 in the same area, if you happen to be heading this way instead of outbound.

TRAFFIC-AFFECTING PREVIEWS: The Fauntleroy Expressway work continues on its Sunday-Thursday schedule, so 9 pm-5 am tonight would be the last scheduled session for the week, closing the west end of the bridge overnight … Paving work is scheduled to continue on 26th SW, southbound between Barton and Cambridge, just south of Westwood Village … President Obama visits Seattle Friday pm, leaving Saturday, specific times not yet announced.

6:50 AM: The NB I-5 crash has been cleared. But now there’s a crash on southbound 99 before the exit to the West Seattle Bridge.

9:22 AM: A WSDOT e-mail alert says that crash scene finally cleared a short time ago.

FOLLOWUP: See the new Seattle Public Schools enrollment projections that led to last-minute teacher-staff changes

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

On Thursday afternoon, the Seattle School Board has 15 minutes set aside for a public hearing on next year’s school budgets.

In the wake of this week’s announcement of teacher-staffing changes at local schools – with Chief Sealth International High School told to cut the equivalent of three full-time positions – some plan to be there to speak out.

When we first reported the changes on Monday, the only attendance projections for next year that were publicly available were estimates made in February and included in the district’s “budget book.”

Today, the district made its newest projections public – the ones, we’re told, on which the staffing changes were based. You can see them here. The local schools with double-digit changes from the February projections are:

Arbor Heights Elementary – 23 more than previously projected
Chief Sealth IHS – 73 fewer than previously projected
Denny IMS – 13 fewer than previously projected
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 – 20 more than previously projected
Lafayette Elementary – 19 more than previously projected
Madison MS – 29 more than previously projected
Schmitz Park Elementary – 13 more than previously projected
West Seattle HS – 79 more than previously projected
West Seattle Elementary – 21 fewer than previously projected

Shortly after seeing those numbers today, we spoke with the district’s enrollment manager, Ashley Davies, about the trends and what they are watching for another potential round of changes in fall.

Davies told us that the projection changes for Sealth and WSHS are because of “fewer 9th grade residents” in the Sealth attendance area and more in the WSHS area “than we anticipated.” She added, “We have seen more students in the Chief Sealth area who have opted into option schools like Cleveland, NOVA, Center School, schools that only get students through the open-enrollment choice process across the district.”
Also, she said, “there were more students from the Sealth attendance area who applied to WSHS than the other way around … The district does have a neighborhood model, but we do value choice for our families, so they can choose another school.”

The school-choice process closes May 31st, Davies said, and that is why these projections arrived with less than a week left in the school year.

Regarding choice, we asked her about the contention/suspicion some commenters voiced that prospective students might have been directed away from Sealth. Davies said, “To my knowledge, there was no instance in which families had been directed away from Sealth … (but) it does come to a point where a school is limited in its capacity and we might not be able to offer as many seats. … Initially, though, we had seen, based on Sealth and WSHS enrollment from last year, we did anticipate more students at Sealth than at WSHS and they do have similar capacities …” But as of now, she said “both have (room) so it’s not an instance where we need to ensure that one school doesn’t get full.”

The trend could continue, she acknowledged, because the north West Seattle increases/south West Seattle decreases are also playing out at elementary schools. She said the district is “trying to find ways to closely monitor what’s going on in the individual attendance areas – some of the things are happening at a pace that we can’t necessarily predict.” One way in which she said they hope to do that is to “partner with school leaders around finding out ways in which neighborhoods are changing and how that will impact their individual schools.”

How this week’s teacher-staffing-change orders will affect schools, we don’t yet know; administrators were told to come up with their plan by week’s end. Meantime, Thursday’s public hearing on school budgets is set for 4:30 pm at district HQ in SODO (3rd and Lander) – if you’re interested in speaking, the agenda says, just show up.

Myers Way Parcels: Highland Park Action Committee asking city to delay decision


(Click to see full-size PDF)

Our first report from the Highland Park Action Committee meeting that just wrapped up: HPAC voted tonight to send the city a letter asking that the proposed sale of most of the Myers Way Parcels in southeastern West Seattle be shelved. From the draft letter approved by the group:

… As you know, these 33 acres contain wetlands, wildlife habitat, and open space connected to the Hamm Creek watershed and the Duwamish River. In addition, there are several racial and socio-economically diverse neighborhoods surrounding and connected to this area, many of which are unincorporated areas of King County.

Highland Park and South Park are the closest Seattle neighborhoods bordering the Myers Way Parcel, but for the neighborhoods of North Highline, including White Center, Boulevard Park and Top Hat – the Myers Way Parcel is at the center, connecting these communities to each other. Yet, these communities have no representation or say in what happens to this area at this time. At the same time, there are ongoing discussions about annexation of these unincorporated communities into the City of Seattle, with a determination possibly as early as November 2017.

There is a significant clean-up underway for the Duwamish River, which could be the heart of this part of West Seattle, if the clean-up efforts continue and there is no additional negative environmental impact of the river, the creeks and wetlands that feed into the river.

Therefore, we are strongly urging Mayor Murray, Seattle City Council, and Department of Finance and Administrative Services to:

1) Hold off on any further plans to develop and/or sell any or all parts of Myers Way Parcels PMA #4539-4542 until there is final determination of annexation of North Highline into the City of Seattle and if North Highline is annexed that those community members are given the same opportunity to provide input into the final recommendations;

2) Until an outside agency with experience, knowledge, and connection with the clean-up of the Duwamish River has evaluated the environmental impact of the each of the “Range of Options,” as outlined on page 6 of the Preliminary Recommendation Report On Reuse and Disposal of the Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services PMA 4601 JTF Expansion Property PMA 4540-Undeveloped lot at 9501 Myers Way S. PMA 4541-Undeveloped lot at 9701 Myers Way S. PMA 4542-Undeveloped lot at 9600 Myers Way S. PMA 4601 JTF Expansion property from June 15, 2016, has been fully explored and vetted that there will be no additional negative environmental impact on the Duwamish River, the clean-up efforts or in any violation of the Clean Water Act. …

The city’s preliminary recommendations – to keep part of the land for expansion of the adjacent Joint Training Facility, and sell the rest – were made public one week ago. A community meeting is planned at the JTF (9401 Myers Way S.) one week from tomorrow, 6:30 pm June 30th (here again is the official notice). The eventual decision on the land’s future will be made by the City Council.

P.S. The rest of our coverage of tonight’s HPAC meeting will be published tomorrow.

State of 911, plus local crime trends, @ West Seattle Crime Prevention Council

From last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at the Southwest Precinct, last one until September:

CAPTAIN’S BRIEFING: Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis opened with the declaration that a “grandiose state of car prowling is happening in our neck of the woods” – The Junction, Highland Park, and South Park are the hardest-hit spots right now. He implored people to PLEASE not leave ANYTHING in their cars – if thieves stop scoring stuff, they’ll stop trying. “We don’t want to make it lucrative for these guys to keep doing what they’re doing.” Without naming names, he mentioned that some prolific suspects have been caught. “We want to keep the pressure up throughout the whole summer.”

He said the shots-fired issues are under scrutiny as well. “Some of them have a nexus toward certain houses, or friends that they visit … these guys are riding cars, coming from (different areas, north to east to south) … if you hear it, make sure you call it in, so we can get the appropriate types of response out there.” Arrests tend to “make a lot of that activity go away,” he said. “Timely and accurate reporting is the key to a lot of this stuff … sometimes we don’t get the information until maybe the next day, which is not good enough … it’s a lot harder than … right when that stuff is happening. Load 911 up so they can get all that good information out to our officers.” He said that things in Puget Ridge/Pigeon Point had quieted down – traffic-wise as well – after emphasis patrols. One PR resident verified that. Capt. Davis said that with the 4th of July approaching, there’ll be some fireworks/gunshots confusing, but still call it in. “Sometimes we get there and it is fireworks … sometimes we get there and we find shell casings … exercise due diligence, make that 911 call.”

Next topic, burglaries: Read More

Pecos Pit Bar-B-Que in West Seattle: New WSB sponsor

One day after the official grand opening of Pecos Pit Bar-B-Que in West Seattle, today is the new restaurant’s first full day in business, and we’re welcoming them as a new WSB sponsor. As with all new local sponsors, Pecos Pit gets the chance to let you know what they’re about:

IMG_0130 Get In Here Now

We believe in BBQ’s primal power: The artful use of wood, fire, and smoke to enhance the quality of one’s life and “spread the love.” So … we are taking this power, fusing it into an innovative business model and delivering a simpler but better BBQ experience. Do Well, Do Good, Have Fun!

After 35 years of having a single Pecos Pit Bar-B-Que location on 1st Avenue, Ron and Debra Wise have teamed up with Gerry Kingen to share their iconic Seattle jewel with the rest of the world. The new Pecos Pit location serves the same famous Pecos Pit BBQ found on 1st Ave for decades, along with some new habit-forming options. Offerings include our traditional pork, beef, and chicken sandwiches in a decidedly sloppy style, plus beef brisket and hot links. (Explore the menu here.)

New variations include stuffed smoked potatoes (sweet or russet) and a “Walkaround Bowl” filled with the meat of your choice plus cheese, cold slaw and sauce. We also serve healthy salads made with your choice of smoked meat, or have it veggie style with baby kale, olives, tomatoes, cowboy caviar, cheddar cheese, and blue cheese or ranch dressing. You can even buy bulk, smoked meats, including Pecos pork, beef brisket, turkey legs and smoked chicken.

Pecos Pit Bar-B-Que‘s new West Seattle restaurant is located at 4400 35th Avenue SW. Our hours are 11 a.m.– 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. We have indoor and outdoor seating; you can order ahead by phone at 206-708-7691; or, use the drive-through. Our 16 parking spaces are next door, off the alley, to the east.

We thank Pecos Pit Bar-B-Que for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.

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