West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
No arrests yet in the West Seattle arsons.
But new information did emerge at tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting.
Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis said that in addition to the two major early-morning arsons Sunday and Monday – the two cars in Sylvan Ridge and the High Point office building – investigators are also looking at three earlier small fires.
Those date back to a trash can fire outside a vacant house on 34th near Morgan (photo above) on October 12th (but the list they’re focusing on does NOT include the “campfire” outside the former Red Star Pizza).
He also said that SPD and other agencies – including ATF investigators – are devoting a major amount of resources to solving this. And he distributed the arson alert that we published here last night after residents reported getting it via door-to-door visits from firefighters.
Aside from the high-profile arson investigation, the major crime categories “have taken a slight dip” lately, he added, particularly robberies, which he noted have dropped almost to zero since the arrest of “an individual who got picked up in one of our other precincts.” And he mentioned again that the precinct has a watch list of more than 80 repeat offenders, about 20 of whom have been arrested. Working with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to be sure they stay in jail once arrested, though, is a challenge, he acknowledged.
The one specific category for which he offered numbers, burglary, is at 387 year-to-date, compared to 418 in the same period last year.
And then – seguing into “neighborhood concerns” – came the case of one specific burglary attempt that had happened just hours before.
By Alice Enevoldsen
Special to West Seattle Blog
There are currently eight active meteor showers over our heads (which is more common than it sounds), from which you can expect to see about 4 meteors per hour, though if you happen to catch the peak you might see as many as 30 per hour.
Around 5 am or earlier on the next three mornings — October 21, 22, and 23 — will be the peak of the Orionids Meteor Shower. Given good viewing conditions, you can expect to see about 10 meteors per hour, up to 20 meteors per hour during the peak times. These meteors will seem to radiate from just above and to the left (east) of the constellation Orion, high in the south:
(Radiant of the Orionid meteor shower. Starfield from Stellarium)
Around 6-6:30 am on October 22nd will be the peak of the Epsilon Geminids. You might see as many as 2-3 meteors per hour. Watch for these radiating from the constellation Gemini, just a little farther east and higher in the sky than the Orionids.
Also, 5:30 am-6:30 am on October 22nd is the peak of the Leonis Minorids, which adds up to another 4-10 meteors we might per hour before dawn on the 22nd. These will be radiating from the constellation Leo, about halfway up the sky in the east (great chance to look at Venus, Mars, and Jupiter as well).
The other five showers are even more minor, each with rates of between 1-3 meteors per hour, though some of those can be fireballs/bolides. The American Meteor Society has a report of a fireball from last night, which could easily be one of these meteors. Those showers are the Southern Taurids, the Gamma Piscids, the Eta Taurids, the October Luncids, and the Tau Cancrids.
To set your expectations for the coming evenings, with these three showers happening at the same time we have a chance at a few very nice shooting stars this week, especially if you’re up early in the morning watching the skies. This isn’t one of the biggest meteoric events of the year, but meteor showers vary.
Meteors: Meteor Activity Outlook October 17-23 (All dates and times are from this source).
Stellarium: free planetarium software for your home computer, or Android device. Bring up the sky for anywhere in the world, any time and date in history or the future.
Clear Sky Chart: the astronomer’s forecast for the next couple days. Cloud cover, darkness, and “seeing” which is how nice it is to view the stars, all on one handy chart.
WHO IS ALICE?
The suggestions and opinions put forth in this article are Alice’s own and not those of any organizations to which she belongs. You can find more about astronomy from Alice at alicesastroinfo.com or on Twitter as @AlicesAstroInfo and Facebook.
(Added 6:21 pm: WSB photos)
4:50 PM: Police are dealing with a possibly armed person in crisis at a residence in Arbor Heights, and as a result, they’re blocking off traffic, including SW 106th – we’re not sure exactly how far west of 35th, but avoid the general area.
5 PM: Our crew checking on the nearby road closures reports helicopter activity. First it was Guardian One, then a TV helicopter.
5:13 PM: We still have a crew in the area watching for word of a resolution to this. They and others are being kept at a distance. Again, SW 106th is blocked off for several blocks from 35th west.
5:19 PM: The person is reported to have come out of the house and is in custody. An ambulance is going in. That doesn’t mean anyone’s been hurt – usually in situations like this it’s so the person in crisis can be evaluated.
5:30 PM: The person who came out of the house is being placed in the ambulance.
5:40 PM: Our crew at the scene just talked to SW Precinct Lt. Alan Williams, who says they’re still sorting out exactly what started all this, but they hope to have the area opened up again shortly. A relative has been allowed into the house to make sure three dogs in there are safe, and police have been dealing with parents arriving to get their kids at a nearby day care that was being “held in place” until everything was resolved. They also are reported to have retrieved what was described as an inoperable .22 from the house. Again, no injuries reported to anyone in the situation. Police deal with things like this more often than you might realize; we’re reminded of an incident in Gatewood we covered just nine days ago, also resolved without injury.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
What’s the rush?
That was just one of many questions asked in a short but contentious meeting last night at the EC Hughes school building in Sunrise Heights.
The meeting itself was an afterthought for Seattle Public Schools. When SPS went around the city earlier this month for three meetings on a package of relatively small boundary changes for its attendance-area (aka “neighborhood”) school maps, the package didn’t address the fact that SPS was planning to move Roxhill Elementary into the Hughes building, after expansion and renovation.
First official word of that came when we asked the district on September 30th what the plan was for recently vacated-by-former-tenant EC Hughes, resulting in this WSB story.
But in the following week, when the aforementioned three meetings were held, there was nothing in the presentation about Roxhill/Hughes. And though the boundary changes that were discussed at those meetings were in south West Seattle, the local meeting was held in the north, at Schmitz Park Elementary.
Then, after at least one Roxhill parent pushed for more information about the changes that moving the school to Hughes would bring, the boundary-change map changed again, and last night’s meeting was added. The SPS website notes that the information about Roxhill and Hughes was added October 13th – less than a week before that meeting.
But the biggest changes now proposed for the “Growth Boundaries” map – originally approved by the School Board two years ago, and with this and other amendments going to the board tomorrow night – would affect a third school:
Three reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch this afternoon:
CAR-PROWL LOOT TO LOOK FOR: From Janet:
Someone broke into our car in the 6000 block on 42nd between Monday night and Tuesday morning and stole a GPS and 3 big bright blue bags containing ‘Begin with Books’ for kids that we had borrowed from the library. And a French 1 dvd, ‘Little Pim’ Eating and Drinking.
If anyone sees this, could they please return them to the library on our behalf? We were told that the thieves might just throw them in the bushes so we be in the lookout for them once they realize the bags had books in them.
MORE CAR PROWLS: From Barb:
3 of my neighbors have had their cars broken into at overnight in the last 4 weeks. 6900 block of 37th Ave SW. One of the cars was actually unlocked and the registration to the car was stolen. Another neighbor reported he found some of his missing items down the block. Seems like we have some bad mojo in Gatewood happening between the car prowls and the fires. Please let people know to be on the lookout for anything strange.
BREAK-IN: From Patricia:
Just want folks to know that there was a break-in (Monday) in North Admiral – during the day. Perpetrators barged through a chain ‘hold’ device on the door, and then broke the glass of an inside entry door with a hammer. Stole a bike, checkbook (later tried to cash a check at Bank of America in the main Junction), and also jewelry. Reported to police.
Finally, an **update**:
SFD AT TONIGHT’S CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL MEETING: Update from West Seattle Crime Prevention Council president Richard Miller about tonight’s meeting – Seattle Fire Engine 11’s crew has just been confirmed as the guest. Got a question about SFD? Come ask. And bring your neighborhood crime concerns for local SPD. 7 pm, Southwest Precinct, Webster/Delridge.
While artist Jesse Link worked on that West Seattle Junction mural, we published a few in-progress looks (starting October 8th) … and realized we hadn’t been back in a few days to see if it’s finished. It is! (If you haven’t seen it “in person,” it’s on the south side of the almost-done apartment building at 4535 44th SW. It’s his second West Seattle mural in less than two months, after the bear on the north side of Shack Coffee in Luna Park.)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
After more reports of yellow or brown water in West Seattle homes in recent days, we have followed up again with Seattle Public Utilities, as promised.
Discolored-water reports are usually specific to one neighborhood and one situation – maybe fire-hydrant use, or a pipe break. This page on the SPU website usually covers those short-lived situations. We first checked with SPU, which provides the city’s water supply, when we started getting reports almost a month ago from neighborhoods scattered around the peninsula. (Our first report from September 25th is here; our second, on September 30th, is here.)
Three weeks later, we’ve continued to get questions – and comments like this one, where a West Seattleite was startled by discolored bath water – so we inquired again. As this comment pointed out at the end of last week, there’s a new bit of information, which we’ve confirmed with SPU:
A memorial service is planned in West Seattle on Saturday for Dean Kermit “Kerm” Franks, 97. Here’s the remembrance his family is sharing:
Dean Kermit “Kerm” Franks, a longtime West Seattle resident and retired vice principal of West Seattle High School, died of natural causes October 16 in West Seattle, supported by his extended family. He was 97, and had been a resident of The Kenney retirement community since 2005.
He was born January 23, 1918 in Coldwater, Kansas, the third of four children born to Willard and Tulu Franks. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1940.
He met his future wife, Esther Faye Anderson, while teaching high school in Eudora, Kansas. They were married in February 1942, ten days before he was drafted into the Army. His service was in Alaska, and when the war ended the couple decided to settle in Seattle. They started a family and Kerm began a 30-year career with Seattle Public Schools. He earned his Masters and Doctor of Education degrees from the University of Washington. He took early retirement in 1975.
From 1961 to 1975, Kerm and Faye co-managed the Seabeck Conference Center on Hood Canal. They are remembered fondly as “Uncle Kerm” and “Auntie Faye” by the many former staff members, who were high-school and college youth at the time. For more than 25 years beginning in 1963, Kerm and Faye hosted a series of exchange students from Europe, Asia and Central America. They also traveled to a number of countries, visiting the families of their student guests.
The couple built a cabin at Lake Cushman, near Hoodsport, Washington, in 1976. They spent summers there, encouraging visits from family and friends. Kerm was physically active until near the end of his life, enjoying hiking, berry picking, swimming, square dancing and handyman projects. He was still chopping wood at the cabin into his 90s.
Kerm was an active member of Tibbetts United Methodist Church in West Seattle, where he served in volunteer administrative positions.
Faye died in 2012, after 70 years of marriage. His son, David, died in 2013. He is survived by daughters Marsha (Mike) and Candace (John); son Dean (Cynthia); 7 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; 4 nephews and 3 nieces.
A memorial service to celebrate his long life will be held next Saturday (October 24th) at 10 a.m. at Tibbetts United Methodist Church, 3940 41st Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116. Memorials may be sent to Tibbetts Church, or to Seabeck Conference Center, 13395 Lagoon Drive NW, Seabeck, WA 98380.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you usually access the West Seattle Bridge via Fauntleroy Way, and you’re planning on going off-peninsula this weekend, you might consider an alternate route because of these lane closures, just announced:
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is conducting roadway panel replacement on the West Seattle Bridge/Fauntleroy Way SW Expressway ramp heading eastbound and westbound. From Friday, October 23 at 7:00 pm to the evening of Sunday, October 25, crews will repair the roadway following an emergency sewer repair project in the same location. The inside eastbound and inside westbound lane will be closed during this time and drivers should allow extra time for their trips due to possible congestion in this area.
This work was originally scheduled for early October, then postponed.
First – thanks to Guy and Joy Smith on Alki Point for the photo from this past weekend, which they ID as Common Mergansers: “We’ve learned from watching and reading that they’re normally in rivers and lakes, but in spring and fall they spend time in salt water if it’s on their migration route. They fly fast and swim fast and have the habit of all swimming in the same direction with their heads under water when looking for fish. When they dive, they dive as a group. They have serrated teeth on their bills for holding the fish. They nest in tree cavities and the chicks jump out when they’re still covered with down.”
Now – swimming into highlights for the rest of your Tuesday, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – where you can look ahead days, weeks, months at a time, any time:
DINE OUT FOR ‘HOMES OF HOPE’: 5-10 pm tonight at Pecado Bueno in The Junction, all-you-can-eat taco bar with proceeds going to help All Souls Church (WSB sponsor) build a home for a family in need in Mexico. (4523 California SW)
(added) WEST SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASTICS FUNDRAISER: Dine at Talarico’s in The Junction today/tonight and a percentage of proceeds will be donated to the WSHS Gymnastics program. (4718 California SW)
FAMILY STRATEGIES! Get inspiration and education 6:30-8:30 pm tonight at Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) – community welcome for free presentation “Start with What Works: Executive Skills Strategies for Families“; details in our calendar listing. (10015 28th SW)
WEST SEATTLE SHAMBHALA MEDITATION GROUP: Need a little more serenity in your life? 6:30 pm, you’re welcome to join this weekly group at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Read about the group here. (4408 Delridge Way SW)
NEIGHBORHOOD CRIME CONCERNS? Bring them to Southwest Precinct leadership during the monthly West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting tonight, 7 pm, in the precinct’s community meeting room. (2300 SW Webster)
TUESDAY TRIVIA: 9 pm at the new Parliament Tavern – signups start at 8. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
SIXTEEN LISTINGS IN ALL on today’s calendar – see the rest here.
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:22 AM: After a quiet night, it’s routine on the traffic front this morning, in this area, so far.
ADDED 7:47 AM – DELRIDGE/HIGHLAND PARK GREENWAY UPDATE: Construction update from SDOT includes these key points:
… on the west side of 21st Ave SW between 22nd Ave SW and SW Dawson St, SDOT will prepare the sidewalk for widening. Temporary lane restrictions will be in effect, and flaggers will be stationed at either end of the work zone to direct traffic during work hours, 7 AM to 7 PM. Bus zones will not be affected.
This work will take 5-7 days to complete. Crews will return in two weeks to pour asphalt. Throughout this period, SDOT crews will also install speed humps on 21st Ave SW between 22nd Ave SW and SW Dawson St.
The installation of a new storm drain just north of where 22nd Ave SW merges with 21st Ave SW is now complete.
Crew will also begin installing curb ramps, curb extensions, a new crosswalk and a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) just south of where 22nd Ave SW merges with 21st Ave SW. An RRFB is a pedestrian – or bicycle – activated crossing signal that uses irregular flashes to alert drivers that a person is entering the crosswalk.
RRFBs are already up in several other West Seattle spots, from California/Dakota to the Boren school zone on Delridge.
8:46 AM: An SFD engine is headed to an aid call (low-level medical response) at 8th and Roxbury. We’re checking on traffic effects. (Update – NOT a traffic situation; somebody is being tended to on a bus bench.)