WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Thieves hit Triangle business

Another business hit by thieves – this time, Mountain to Sound Outfitters (3602 SW Alaska in The Triangle) reports:

We had 2 Thule Cargo Boxes stolen from in front of the shop last night. A Thule Force Large and a Thule Force XL. This is now the 3rd total that has been ripped off this year, and we want to let the community know to be on the lookout that local small businesses are being targeted.

If you have tips for the investigation, the SPD incident number is 17-457102.

FOLLOWUP: City Council committee OKs Schmitz Park expansion purchase, years in the making

A long meeting of the City Council committee chaired by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold just concluded with a vote supporting a small but significant expansion of Schmitz Park.

We published the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s announcement of this on Sunday. (They’re a supporter, though not a party, to the matter.) Today the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee heard from the 5,000-square-foot site’s owner Bruce Stotler (right) and from West Seattle-residing former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who shepherded the proposed purchase until his term ended two years ago, and handed it over to Herbold.

Stotler said at today’s meeting that he wanted to make sure his parcel on the southeast edge of the forested preserve – donated by the Schmitz family more than a century ago – wouldn’t someday become a “megahouse with a five-foot yard.” Under terms of the deal with the city, he will sell it for $225,000 but retain a “reservation of life estate” interest so he can continue living there until he dies (or if he chooses to move), at which time the city takes full ownership and will demolish Stotler’s house. The money will come from the levy-funded Seattle Park District.

The city originally didn’t have the money for this, the committee was told, but Stotler didn’t give up. And, said Parks’ Chip Nevins, “It’s important to protect the edges of these parks from encroachment by development.” The site might also be part of a new pathway into the park someday, Herbold noted.

The two committee members in attendance, Herbold and Councilmember Mike O’Brien, both voted to approve the deal, and the full council will have the final vote sometime next month.

Showtime for new West Seattle nonprofit Mode Music and Performing Arts

There’s a new mission for the space on the north side of the North Delridge building that’s home to Mode Music Studios (WSB sponsor) and The Skylark:

Mode Music and Performing Arts is a new nonprofit arts organization that introduced itself to the community with an open house this past Sunday – co-founded by Erin Rubin and Kristina Rowell.

Rubin is proprietor of Mode Music Studios, which is two doors south and will continue its core business of music instruction; Rowell is a veteran performing-arts instructor. MMPA will offer theater/performing-arts instruction for youth through classes, camps, and local schools. The first offerings are described in this brochure (PDF). The space also will be available for kids’ birthday parties centered on personalized drama workshops (info’s in the brochure) and event rentals – the space is 900 square feet.

West Seattle Tuesday: Music, community, more!

(Photo by Susan Romaneghi)

Here are options for the rest of your Tuesday – first, from the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide:

HANUKKAH: The eight-night Festival of Lights starts at sundown. No public events that we’ve heard of, but see the top of our guide for a community celebration Friday.

SANTA AT PEGASUS: Night 2 for Santa Photos at Pegasus Pizza on Alki, 5 to 9 pm. Photos are free with any purchase. (2768 Alki SW)

SANTA VISIT AND DIY PHOTOS: 2-5 pm at Main Street Play in White Center. (9988 15th SW)

WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY ORCHESTRAS: Come hear the WSCO Intermediate Orchestra and Wind Symphony: “December Celebration!” concert, 6:30 pm at Chief Sealth International High School Auditorium. Admission is FREE; donations appreciated! (2600 SW Thistle)

From our year-round Event Calendar:

SOUTH SEATTLE FIBER ARTS CLUB: 11 am-1 pm, all welcome – bring your project to this group gathering at Highland Park Improvement Club. (1116 SW Holden)

DINE OUT FOR DAKOTA HOMESTEAD: 5-8 pm at four restaurants – Mission, Great American Diner, Falafel Salam, Matador – part of the proceeds go to the Urban Homestead Foundation, working to buy the former Dakota Substation. More info here.

THE WHALE TRAIL’S WINTER GATHERING: As we type, orcas are passing West Seattle again. They are beautiful and endangered. What’s the latest on their present and future? Find out tonight with The Whale Trail, 6 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor). Tickets $5, kids free, available online in advance. (5612 California SW)

WEST SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ ENSEMBLE: All welcome at tonight’s 7 pm concert in the WSHS Theater. (3000 California SW)

ADMIRAL NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: 7 pm at The Sanctuary at Admiral. See the agenda highlights here. (42nd/Lander)

BASKETBALL: The West Seattle High School boys are back home tonight, 7:30 pm vs. Eastside Catholic. (3000 California SW)

LOTS MORE … on our complete calendar page!

WEST SEATTLE WHALE WATCHING: Northbound orcas

(photo by Monica Zaborac)

9:25 AM: Last night people watched southbound resident orcas through sunset … now we are getting reports they are headed this way northbound, likely in view from Fauntleroy “soon.”

9:31 AM: At least one is already reported in view from Emma Schmitz Overlook.

10:08 AM: Thanks to commenters for updates, most recently Peter, who sees “About 6-8 orca heading northbound, mid-channel and spread out, between Blake Island marina and West Seattle.”

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tuesday watch

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

7:36 AM: Good morning. Clear but cold this morning. No incidents reported in/from West Seattle so far.

UPDATE: House fire in South Alki area

(Added: WSB photos)

2:50 AM: Firefighters are at a house in the 3700 block of 59th SW [map], fighting what SFD calls a “small attic fire.”

3 AM: The fire has been declared “under control.” No injuries reported so far.

3:05 AM: And now the fire is pronounced “tapped.”

3:12 AM: Our crew has arrived and confirms the fire’s out, no one hurt. The cause is under investigation.

10:06 AM: We just checked back with SFD about the cause. Spokesperson Kristin Tinsley says, “Fire investigators ruled this fire as accidental … caused by heat from roof work earlier in the day, which ignited a smoldering fire in the eaves above the front door.” Damage/loss is estimated at $70,000.

UPDATE: Police search after robbery in South Delridge

9:25 PM: Thanks for the tips/questions about a police response in South Delridge. Police are investigating a report of an armed street robbery. We don’t know yet exactly where it happened – possibly near 9000 Delridge Way SW – but they’re seeking two suspects, described so far only as two Hispanic men 18-20 years old. Via scanner, we’ve heard police report finding a gun. There’s no medical dispatch, so – so far – it appears no one’s been hurt.

9:40 PM: A K-9 team is assisting with the search.

10:32 PM: Still searching. No new details – we will be seeking the report tomorrow.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Street robbery followup; stolen Accord found; recognize this package thief’s car

Three West Seattle Crime Watch notes tonight:

STREET ROBBERY FOLLOWUP: Though the victim apparently still has not reported it directly, witnesses’ account of a street robbery in The Junction on Saturday afternoon resulted in a police report that we requested and obtained today. (Above is one witness’s photo of the three suspects running away, as originally published Saturday night.) It was classified as a “suspicious circumstance” since the victim was never found. Here’s our transcription of the report narrative by one of the first two officers dispatched at 4:38 pm, “called in by a third party”:

Upon our initial arrival in the area, no one (victim/witnesses) flagged us down in reference to the robbery. Multiple witnesses would continue to call 911 stating they observed three younger black males being chased by a female southbound from SW Edmunds St and California Av SW. (Six officers) did an extensive area check for the victim/suspects with negative results.

(The original two dispatched officers) were able to make contact with three witnesses on the corner of 44th Ave. SW and SW Edmunds St. (One witness) stated the following: She was in the parking lot on the southeast corner of 44 Av SW and SW Alaska St. She observed the three listed unidentified suspects loitering in the same parking lot. They appeared as if they were “plotting” something; possibly criminal. They then began to approach her. She had her child with her, and she stated to them “don’t even think about it.” The three suspects then turned around and walked toward the Metro bus stop on SW Alaska St. She then entered her vehicle and locked same. She then heard a woman screaming “They took my phone!” She looked up where the three suspects walked toward and observed the three suspects running southbound through the alleyway between California Av SW and 44 Av SW. She also observed a “Persian”-looking female wearing a white hooded sweatshirt and black framed glasses chasing them. She lost sight of all suspects where the alleyway meets SW Edmunds St.

(Another witness) stated the foI1owing: He observed three black male juveniles running eastbound on SW Edmunds St. from California Av SW. He then observed a male wearing an orange jacket chasing them. As the male wearing the orange jacket passed him, he stated to him “CaIl 911, they stole a purse!” He did not see a female chasing after them. He lost visual of the subjects running as they proceeded eastbound on SW Edmunds St.

(Third witness) stated the following: He observed three black male juveniles running southbound through the alleyway between California Av SW and 44 Av SW. He observed a female chasing after them. AlI subjects were running toward the intersection of SW Edmunds St and California Av SW. He lost visual of the subjects running after they cleared the alleyway and ran toward said intersection.

All witnesses described the three unidentified suspects as three black males, l2 to 13 years of dg€, and aI1 wearing black hooded sweatshirts. The female [victim] was described as olive skinned, has a foreign accent, wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, and black framed glasses. Officers could not locate either the suspects or the victim at this time. Nothing further.

The incident # is 17-454074.

STOLEN CAR FOUND: Five days ago, we published Linda‘s report about her niece’s Honda Accord getting stolen in mid-move. Early this morning, they got the call that police had found her car. Linda says it was in OK shape, with a flat tire, “only missing a backpack and a new little speaker. I say she got off lite! The gas tank was mostly still full! Maybe someone just needed a ride home :-). We are thankful and want to thank Seattle Police for finding her car so fast. Merry Christmas, everyone. Oh, by the way, we both have ‘the club’ on our steering wheels now.”

RECOGNIZE THIS PACKAGE THIEF’S CAR? Dee Dee shares a neighbor’s security video of a package stolen from her front porch last Wednesday afternoon:

The car has a distinctive look and sound so she wonders if you might recognize it. Dee Dee usually has packages delivered to her workplace “but I somehow missed this order.” The thief had a passenger, and yes, this has been reported to police. She adds, “The package was expensive but I’m sure they won’t be too interested in my candle-making supplies!”

SCHOOL BOARD: West Seattleite Leslie Harris is now president

While we’re talking local elected leadership – we should also note that the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors rep for West Seattle/South Park, Leslie Harris, has just been elected board president. She is beginning her third year on the board. Her next community-conversation meeting, by the way, is 3-5 pm Saturday, December 23rd, at Delridge Library; that and her January and February meeting are listed here along with her contact info.

CITY COUNCIL: See who will be in charge of which committee next year

The City Council made its decisions today about who’s on which committee – in other words, who’s focused on which types of city business. West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold will continue chairing the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee. Herbold also will be vice chair of the Governance, Equity, and Technology Committee, a member of the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee, and an alternate member of the Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Committee. Here’s the rest of the list of which committee each councilmember is chairing; to see who has membership on which committees, read the resolution text here.

P.S. Councilmember Herbold’s next “district office hours” are this Friday (December 15th), 2-6 pm at South Park Community Center (8319 8th Ave. S.).

WHALE WATCHING: Orcas off West Seattle

2:57 PM: Texters tipped us to Southern Resident Killer Whales heading this way, southbound – Orca Network‘s last report was that some of them were seen as close as West Point on the north side of the entrance to Elliott Bay, so we’re awaiting word of whether they’re visible from this area, and headed downhill with binoculars just in case. Let us know if you see them!

3:46 PM: ON has them off, and much closer to, Bainbridge. We are looking from Constellation Park & not seeing them. (4 mins later … just spotted two along S. Bainbridge!)

(Photo by Monica Zaborac)

4:03 PM: Still visible SB, from Constellation, as they approach north Blake Is. Among those here is Donna Sandstrom from The Whale Trail – her group’s winter gathering for orca updates is tomorrow night (see our calendar).

(Photo by Kersti Muul)

4:17 PM: We have to head back to HQ but as of a few minutes ago there were a few still in view off Blake, still southbound.

6:57 PM: While we were glad to be able to see the whales, we were there only with binoculars, not a camera (our photographer was busy elsewhere), so we are appreciative to receive two photos we’ve just added above.

HOLIDAY GIVING: Nucor employees and their company deliver big gifts to West Seattle Food Bank

(WSB photo: WSFB operations director Lester Yuh, in black jacket, with donation-delivery delegation)

The West Seattle Food Bank welcomed a giant holiday haul today – the annual visit by a delegation from the Nucor West Seattle steel mill to deliver food and money, courtesy of the company and its employees.

(This photo and next two are courtesy of WSFB)

This year, employees donated 4,740 pounds of food – more than two and a third tons! – and $751 in cash; the company’s match for all that totaled $10,982, and Nucor added $3,367 more in cash. Here’s WSFB development director Judi Yazzolino accepting the check from Nucor’s Stephanie Sanchez:

Another important component of the delivery – Omega Morgan donated the flatbed truck! Here are Todd Strobeck and Erik Tronvig from OM:

You can help the WSFB and its thousands of clients too … here’s how.

Memorial on Saturday for Evelyn Coy, 1927-2017

Family and friends will gather Saturday to remember Evelyn Coy, and are sharing this remembrance with the community:

Evelyn Louise Coy, beloved daughter of Oscar and Ester Nilson, was called home to her Lord on Saturday, November 4, 2017, at the age of 90, after a short illness.

She is preceded in death by her mom and dad, sister Gertrude Countryman (Roy), and husband Donald.

Born in Seattle in 1927, she grew up in West Seattle when there were few houses and Army Outposts along the ridge above Puget Sound. She attended West Seattle High School, graduating in 1946, and soon after, following in her Dad’s footsteps, went to work for the Sears Roebuck Company.

In 1948 she married her husband Donald, and began raising their family. They were lifelong members of the West Seattle Community. Evelyn was active in many activities including Boy and Girl Scouts, receiving the Silver Fawn award from the Boy Scouts of America honoring her tireless service to scouting; PTA at the local level, both with her own children and also with her grandchildren, receiving 2 Golden Acorn Awards for outstanding service above and beyond; and later was a King County voting assistant. Both Don and Evelyn were longtime members of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, serving on many committees, as a Sunday school teacher, and on the church council. Evelyn was recently honored during a worship service for her 50 years of faithful of service on Altar Guild.

She is survived by her daughter Karin Van Sant (Wade), sons Stephen (Donna), Gary, Karl (Fran), Laura Coy, 7 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be Saturday, December 16, at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle at 11 am. In lieu of flowers; memorial gifts may be made to First Lutheran Church.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Road Runners @ national championships

As promised – we have a followup today from the coaches of the youth cross-country team West Seattle Road Runners, who sent word Friday that four of their runners would competein the national championships Saturday. From James Powell, who was in Tallahassee with the runners:

West Seattle Road Runners, a USATF-sanctioned club that has developed from its earlier affiliation with High Voltage Track Club and High Point Community Center/Seattle Parks and Recreation, participated in the 2017 youth cross country season here in the Pacific Northwest.

The team had 48 athletes on its roster this season, 14 of these runners raced fast enough to advance to the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships. The race this year was held in Tallahassee, Florida, and 4 of these runners made the trip.

The team was represented by three runners in the 7-8 year old girls division (Macy Powell, Cailin Ross, and Lincoln Sitzmann) and 1 runner in the 9-10 boys division (William Frederick).

In addition to their running gear, these runners apparently packed the Pacific Northwest weather with them and landed to weather very similar to what they had been training and racing in all season. Each of these runners ran beautifully executed races, resulting in some of the fastest times ever recorded for the program, including personal best performances. All 4 runners plan to return for the 2018 cross country season and, when asked, their biggest goal for next season is to have more teammates to train and race with. The 2018 National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships will be held in Reno, Nevada, and the West Seattle Road Runners are aiming to have record participation at the meet.

If anyone is interested in joining the team next season, or finding out more about the West Seattle Road Runners youth cross country team, please email the coaching staff at westseattleroadrunners@gmail.com.

WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: Burn ban ending

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency says the burn ban in King County (and Snohomish too, if you’re keeping track) will end as of 2 pm this afternoon – the air quality is improving and the wind is expected to pick up tonight, to keep pollution in check.

Now, for the rest of your West Seattle Monday

Thanks to West Seattle pilot/photographer Long Bach Nguyen for the view of our peninsula, minus the recurring fog! It’s been a busy news morning already but we do still want to share the highlights for the rest of your Monday, mostly from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar and Holiday Guide:

WEST SEATTLE CYCLERY CLOSING SALE CONTINUES: As noted here last week, West Seattle Cyclery in The Junction is closing. The liquidation sale has been extended through tomorrow, proprietor Brad Loetel tells WSB. The shop’s open today through 7 pm. (4508 California SW)

MEATLESS MONDAY: 4 pm cooking class at West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) with Chef Kim O’Donnel. Contact the Y to sign up. (36th SW/SW Snoqualmie)

SANTA AT PEGASUS: Santa Photos at Pegasus Pizza on Alki, 5 to 9 pm, first of three nights. “Come down to Pegasus Pizza and Pasta for a night of fun with the Alki Santa! Pictures are free with any purchase. … We are expanding the event from 1 to 3 days so that everyone will have a chance to get pictures with Santa! We suggest coming Monday or Tuesday as Wednesday is typically really busy.” (2768 Alki SW)

HOLIDAY COOKIES: Cookie-decorating party at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). 6-8 pm. $30. Contact Salty’s to see if there’s room. (1936 Harbor SW)

BOREN STEM K-8 CONCERT: 6:30 tonight, 4th through 8th grade musicians from Louisa Boren STEM K-8 perform their winter concert. We found this out after seeing several of them performing at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market on Sunday:


The concert is at the Chief Sealth International High School Auditorium. Check our calendar for other schools’ concerts this week, too, and we always welcome announcements sent to editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks! (2600 SW Thistle)

EVENING BOOK GROUPS: Two meet tonight at local libraries, both at 6:45 pm – at Southwest Library, this month’s book is “Euphoria” by Lily King (9010 35th SW); at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, this month’s book is “Cleopatra: A Life” by Stacy Schiff (2306 42nd SW). Everyone’s welcome.

FEUERZANGENBOWLE: At Prost! West Seattle:

Join us every Monday throughout December at 7 pm for a festive German Holiday tradition called Feuerzangenbowle. We soak a sugar cone in German Rum, light it on fire, which drips molten sugar into our house-made Glühwein. It’s delicious and it benefits a local cause! Half of all Glühwein proceeds will go to the West Seattle Food Bank. Come celebrate this Holiday Season with us at Prost!

(3407 California SW)

CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL CONCERT: Tonight at Holy Rosary, 7 pm, doors open 6:30 pm: “Seattle Christian High School will present its annual Christmas choral concert, featuring the elementary Honor Choir, Won By One, and VISION.” Free-will offering. (42nd/Genesee)

Have a great rest of your Monday!

Water break in Arbor Heights

(Added: WSB photo, SPU crew wrapping up work around 11:40 am)

Thanks for the tip: We just checked with Seattle Public Utilities about a reported water break in Arbor Heights. SPU says a 4-inch main broke and water was welling up in the 11400 block of 35th SW. They “partially closed a valve to reduce the flow” while making repairs; water should be returning to the 58 homes and four hydrants that were temporarily affected.

P.S. If you have water problems, such as no service or discoloration, 206-386-1800 is the SPU hotline. And thanks for then letting us know too, so we can check on the big picture of what’s going on.

About the crane at the Fauntleroy ferry dock

Thanks to the reader who sent that photo and asked what the crane is doing at Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy dock. We asked WSF, and spokesperson Ian Sterling replied that it’s there for “routine annual maintenance work that we’re doing at a bunch of terminals and it just happens to be Fauntleroy’s turn.” He says the crane is expected to be at Fauntleroy for about a week and a half and its work is not expected to affect dock operations. The WSF website describes the work as “Landing Aid Repairs, Steel Pile in trestle, Hanger Bar Replacement.”

CONGRATULATIONS! President’s Volunteer Service Awards for 4 young West Seattleites

The photo and report are from Sheryl Guyon:

Husky Deli has been a pillar of the community for generations. So, it’s not surprising that they attract quality employees.

What is a coincidence is that four of the young men serving ice cream have all been awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award for exceptional service to their community.

It is a nationally recognized honor which was started by President Obama. It recognizes citizens who give back to their community in a significant way, each dedicating their time for the betterment of others.

Each student logged 150 hours or more of service in the past year, including time spent serving the homeless, participating in All City Band, helping freshmen at West Seattle High School through Link Crew, volunteering to help at sporting events, promoting the Crop Walk for Hunger, and helping younger students succeed.

From left in the photo are West Seattle High School seniors Peter Guyon, Aidan Day, and Neil Gromlich, and Chief Sealth International High School junior Chase Gaither. Congratulations to all!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Foggy Monday watch

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

7:06 AM: Good morning. Foggy and freezing out there, so beware of slick roads. No incidents reported so far in/from West Seattle. Two notes:

COLUMBIA PROJECT: As explained here, if you use Columbia Street downtown, note that work is scheduled to start today on the first phase of a major project.

LAST WEEK BEFORE SCHOOL BREAK: Seattle Public Schools and those who follow the same calendar will be on winter break after this week – school on Friday (December 15th) will be out one hour early.

7:12 AM: Metro alert just in:

Proposed Schmitz Park expansion goes before City Council committee this week

One of West Seattle’s biggest parks will get a little bigger, if a proposal for the city to buy an adjacent parcel gets final approval. The announcement was sent tonight by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

109-year-old Schmitz Park is on track to be expanded by a parcel at its southeast corner.

The plan, which has secured approval by the Seattle Mayor’s office, is headed for consideration by a Seattle City Council committee on Tuesday morning, Dec. 12.

Working on this plan for nearly three years is a group calling itself Friends of the Historic Schmitz Park Addition, including former Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Schmitz family spokesperson Vicki Schmitz Block, and the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

SWSHS is pleased to congratulate and support this recent announcement, which would involve legislation for the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation to acquire the property of West Seattle resident Bruce Stotler, located at the southeast corner of historic Schmitz Park in West Seattle (see map).

This issue will be voted on in Seattle City Council committee on Tuesday, December 12, during the meeting of the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee chaired by Lisa Herbold, which begins at 9:30 am and is open to public comment. If passed in committee, the legislation will go to full Council in early January.

The process began in 2015 when property owner Bruce Stotler reached out to former Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen about donating or selling (below cost) his property abutting the park. Councilmember Rasmussen led Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre and others on tours of the Stotler property.

(2015 photo: L-R, Bruce Stotler, Tom Rasmussen, Vicki Schmitz Block, Rasmussen staffer Evan Clifthorne)

Rasmussen and property owner Stotler later met with Councilmember Lisa Herbold in 2016, presenting goals to:

• Expand Schmitz Preserve Park by adding Bruce Stotler’s property to the park
• Allowing Stotler to live on the property through a life-estate agreement with the Parks Department
• Potential increase future accessibility to the Park at its southeast corner, potentially improving ADA access
• Establishing this agreement at a time that the property owner was willing to do so with a large donation component

Fast forward to today: Former Councilmember Rasmussen expresses his own appreciation to Mr. Stotler, Councilmember Herbold, and others for championing this issue and bringing it to the fore. “I believe this is an important step toward the preservation of our parks, and Mr. Stotler is setting a remarkable example of how an individual resident can continue in the tradition of the Schmitz family’s original gift of the park land to the City of Seattle.”

Representing the Schmitz family, Vicki Schmitz Block said, “The Schmitz Family is grateful to Mr. Stotler for his vision of adding his property to Schmitz Park, the Seattle Parks Department for agreeing to purchase this piece of land, and Mayor Jenny Durkan for shepherding the project forward. We are hopeful that this action will generate renewed interest and involvement by the community to ensure the future of this forest-like park.”

Jeff McCord, Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director, added, “We hope to continue to provide outreach, support and advocacy for projects like this one which help to enhance our wonderful West Seattle character and environment. The prospect of having better public access to a great asset like Schmitz Park, as well as helping to expand and preserve the park for all to enjoy, is great news for our community.”

The proposed purchase agreement that’s part of the committee’s Tuesday agenda lists the price the city will pay for the 5,000-square-foot parcel as $225,000, about half its current assessed value.

West Seattle mom’s quest for closure, 3 years after baseball-player son’s death in a crash

The holiday season is a time to give … and a time to reach out.

It is also a time to try to cope with the loss of those who are no longer with us.

Three years ago, Jenny Taylor lost her 26-year-old son Jay Taylor in a car crash.

His loss was also a loss to the community. Jay was a star baseball player at West Seattle High School, helping the Wildcats win the league championship. (That’s Jay in the photo at right, with recently retired WSHS baseball coach Velko Vitalich.)

He also played college baseball at multiple schools, and his potential had been recognized by pro-baseball teams. Before all that, Jay mentored many younger players.

His promising future was taken away in August of 2014, on the night before he was to return to Kansas for his final year of playing college baseball. He crashed near Lincoln Park in a summer downpour. Jenny explains that he suffered a brain injury that took his life 9 days later.

“The loss of our son is something we will never get over in my lifetime. I wake up every morning trying to remember how his hug warmed my heart and how proud I was of him and maybe someday I will be able to feel love in my heart again. It’s just horrible to lose a child of any age.”

Before WSHS, Jay went to Schmitz Park Elementary and Madison Middle School. His love for baseball started with T-ball at age 5. Along with playing in youth leagues, Jenny says, her son “played all year around on select teams that traveled around … during the summer also.”

His achievements are detailed in part in his obituary. During his senior year, in June 2006, the Colorado Rockies drafted him, and interest was shown by other teams including the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres, Jenny recalls. “He didn’t sign and accepted a full ride to Lewis-Clark in Idaho that year.” His college career took him to several other schools, finally Sterling College in Kansas, “where he met his girlfriend, the captain of the softball team, and gave her a promise ring in May.” She too was from western Washington (Renton).

Then came the crash. “The night of the accident, he had been at Lincoln Park and left his backpack and went back to get it during a downpour, and was seen by a RapidRide bus driver rounding the corner on an a oily roadway, sliding into a pole and not getting aid soon enough …” Jenny says the bus driver did not call for help, while her son remained at the scene, gravely injured. But separate from that, she is seeking closure in the form of a headstone in tribute to her son. “I feel that all of his friends and teammates need some closure and a place to grieve, to process this horrible accident. I as a mother can only now think of putting his ashes to rest here in West Seattle in the (J) section that is still open after 3 years was just meant to be. My family is starting over and can’t afford the plot and headstone that Jay deserves.”

She is asking for community help via crowdfunding, hoping that those touched by Jay’s life might be able to make the memorial happen.

“My son never gave up on his dream, and deserves a nice headstone … he brought scouts to his school for other players to follow their dreams.” She hopes to be able to fulfill this last one she has for him.

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