day : 03/07/2016 8 results

UPDATE: Police investigate yard fire in southeast Highland Park; fireworks suspected

(WSB photos)

11:15 PM: Several Seattle Fire crews are responding to the 9200 block of 9th SW, where multiple reports are coming in about an apparent brush fire. The first crews arriving say it’s close to a fence but not to a house, and they suspect fireworks, so they’re calling for SPD. We’re en route to check it out.


11:35 PM: Fire charred a yard. Out now, no one hurt. SPD officers are here investigating, as is SFD’s marshal.

11:48 PM: So far, fire investigators tell us, they believe this was indeed fireworks-related. Damage was limited to the yard; a nearby car is covered in ash. One neighbor told us she has a 9-month-old baby who couldn’t sleep because of the noise. Crews are packing up to leave.

CONGRATULATIONS! Schmitz Family chosen as West Seattle Grand Parade Grand Marshals

With this year’s West Seattle Grand Parade less than three weeks away – July 23rd – the Grand Marshals have just been announced – the Schmitz Family:

The West Seattle Grand Parade organization has selected the Schmitz Family as the 2016 Grand Marshals of the parade for their generations of public service and generosity to the West Seattle community.

Dietrich and Vicki Schmitz (WSB photo above) will represent the extended family in the parade, which steps off on July 23rd at 11:00 am on California Ave SW from Lander to Edmunds. Dietrich is a great-grandson of Ferdinand and Emma Schmitz and the son of Alan (deceased) and Vicki Schmitz.

German immigrants Ferdinand Schmitz and Emma Althof married in Seattle just after the Great Fire of 1889. They spent their honeymoon sleeping in a tent, like other Seattleites made homeless by the fire. Ferdinand became a successful businessman. He acquired choice shore and timber properties in West Seattle, which contributed to a large, multi-acre family homestead. He served on the City Council and on the Park Commission Board.

From their homestead, Ferdinand and Emma donated most of the acreage for Schmitz Preserve Park, which lies east of Alki Point. The park contains one of the last stands of old-growth forest in the city and will remain in its natural state forever.

After Ferdinand’s death, Emma donated 17 acres at 4503 Beach Drive SW for the Emma Schmitz Overlook, offering stunning views of the Olympic Mountains.

The four Schmitz children continued their parents’ legacy of public service and generosity to the West Seattle community. After Emma’s death, together the children donated 7 acres adjacent to Schmitz Preserve Park upon which Schmitz Park Elementary School was built.

Individually the children continued their parents’ legacy as well.

Dr. Henry Schmitz was dean of Minnesota’s School of Agriculture, Forestry, Home Economics, and Veterinary Medicine and became the 24th President of the University of Washington. The university’s administration building, Schmitz Hall, was named in his honor. Ferdinand Schmitz Jr. was an executive of PACCAR, President of Smith Berger Industries and a longtime supporter of Lighthouse for the Blind. Emma Schmitz Hartman was a board member of United Way and the Salvation Army and National President of the Camp Fire Girls. Dietrich G. Schmitz, a lifelong West Seattle resident, was president of Washington Mutual Savings Bank for 33 years and sat on the boards of the Boeing Company for 30 years and the Seattle School Board for 33 years, the longest tenure in school-board history. Alan Schmitz, Dietrich’s son, also a lifelong resident of West Seattle, was an Eagle Scout, Scoutmaster, banker, small businessman, 30-year Rotarian, and, later in life, a fitness instructor for senior citizens.

For generations, the Schmitz Family has acted in large and small ways to make the West Seattle community a better place in which to live, an example of public service to which we may all aspire.

You can cheer for the Grand Marshals, and Orville Rummel Trophy recipient Clay Eals, from any spot you choose along the parade route on July 23rd. More previews as parade day gets closer!

Memorial service Wednesday for Rick Herzog, 1949-2016

A memorial service for Rick Herzog, 67, is planned Wednesday at Hope Lutheran. Here’s the remembrance his family is sharing with the community:

Born January 28, 1949 in San Jose, California, Rick left us June 13, 2016, after suffering a sudden heart attack at West Seattle Golf Course.

A proud graduate of West Seattle High School (’67), Rick earned his BA from Concordia University, in Seward, Nebraska. His career began with the Washington State Ferries, before later retiring from the University of Washington.

It was while working a Seattle-Winslow ferry run that he would meet his wife of 30 years, Diane; they were married August 15, 1974, and later moved to Lake Forest Park in 1981. An avid golfer throughout his life, Rick was surrounded by many lifelong friends, in the neighborhood where he grew up, and playing the game that he loved. He will be missed.

Preceded in death by his parents Fred and Jan, and wife Diane, Rick is survived by his son Nate, son Morgan & daughter-in-law Allison, sister Deborah Bessette & brother-in-law Steven, brothers-in-law Dave Drain, Dennis Drain & sister-in-law Marsha, Dale Drain & sister-in-law Tina, and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial services to be held Wednesday, July 6, 2 pm at Hope Lutheran Church in West Seattle.

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

Documentarian’s look at another chapter of Colman Pool’s history: “From Segregation to Integration”

As we’ve been reporting, Colman Pool in Lincoln Park marks its 75th anniversary tomorrow, having opened on July 4th, 1941. On Saturday, we shared a video with the story of the first two people to swim in the pool. Tonight: Local author and documentarian Lee O’Connor e-mailed WSB to announce he’s just released a short film about an ugly side of Colman Pool’s earliest years, and how it moved “from segregation to integration.”

Among the sources he cites is Shelley Sang-Hee Lee‘s book “Claiming the Oriental Gateway: Prewar Seattle and Japanese America,” excerpted here (click on the second passage to read more). O’Connor, a Seattle resident, is author of “Take Cover, Spokane: A History of Backyard Bunkers, Basement Hideaways, and Public Fallout Shelters of the Cold War.” He is currently working on a documentary based on it, while writing another book he says is “about abandoned underground missile silos in the Columbia Basin.” As mentioned in his video, Seattle Parks now maintain a non-discrimination policy; it’s on page 4 of this year’s brochure. The city’s overall policy, and how to file a complaint if you experience a violation, is here.

Beacon Hill International School students’ TLC for Alki Beach

People come to Alki Beach from all over the region – but not always just to hang out. We just received this report about one group who visited Alki recently specifically to give the beach some TLC. And they have a request for you:

5th-grade students from Beacon Hill International School did a beach cleanup at Alki Beach on June 22nd. These students are part of the school Global Leadership Team and spent all year working on sustainability education at their school and in their community. The students had just held a 30-day single-use plastic ban at the school and choose to culminate the event by picking up plastics and other garbage along the beach. Students collected mostly plastic bottle caps, cigarette butts and a variety of small plastic particles that washed ashore during their low-tide cleanup.

The team would like to remind beachgoers this busy holiday weekend of the critical impact plastics have on our oceans and sea life and encourage everyone to refrain from using single-use plastic products, such as straws, cups and lids, cutlery or single use water bottles, whenever possible. Instead, bring your own reusable bottles, silverware, and containers, and take all your garbage with you. Help keep our beaches and seas healthy!

The students would also like to thank the folks at Pagliacci Pizza in West Seattle for donating pizzas and fully compostable products for the cleanup.

ALL-CITY BAND: 3 events in West Seattle

(WSB photo, 2015 Band Jam)

Summertime means Seattle Public Schools‘ mega-marchers, the All-City Band, are on the move. We have three West Seattle events to tell you about, all later this month. First, ACB is celebrating its 65th anniversary with a fundraising dinner/auction on July 22nd:

This year, All-City Band celebrates 65 years of Entertainment, Excellence, & Pride by gathering friends, families, and past & current members of ACB with a dinner and auction.  We will gather together to celebrate this amazing accomplishment by holding an auction dinner fundraiser followed by an Alumni weekend.     

You can join us by attending the 65th Anniversary Auction and Dinner on Friday, July 22nd.  The event will be held at the South Seattle College Brockey Center (6000 16th Ave SW).  The event will begin at 6 pm with a cocktail hour and silent auction, followed by dinner, a live auction, and entertainment. 

Tickets are $45 and can purchased using this link.  Ticket prices will increase to $50 after July 5th.

Band alumni can also use the link to register to participate in the alumni weekend.  The Alumni weekend will include an all-band rehearsal on Saturday, July 23rd, and marching in the Seafair Chinatown Parade on Sunday, July 24th.   

All proceeds from this event will directly fund items for All-City Band and the students such as purchasing new equipment, purchasing music, and helping with student scholarships for tuition and travel. If you have questions, or need additional information, please email them to
Thank you very much for considering All-City Band, and attending our function.  The auction is sponsored by the Friends of All-City Band, (FOACB), a 501(c)(3) with tax ID #20-23354444.

The next day, on Saturday, July 23rd, you’ll see the All-City Band (directed by Marcus Pimpleton) in the West Seattle Grand Parade (11 am start at California/Lander in Admiral, heading southbound on California to Edmunds in The Junction).

And on Friday, July 29th, the ACB will again host and perform in Band Jam, an annual pre-Torchlight Parade tuneup for marching bands (and special guests) – always free and fun, at Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle) – more details (including confirmed start time) are promised soon.

YOU CAN HELP! Luna Park neighborhood cleanup next Saturday

One of West Seattle’s “gateway” areas is scheduled for some community TLC next weekend, and organizers – including community members, merchants, and Seattle reLeaf – hope you can help. Volunteers will gather in the lot between The Shack and Luna Park Café at 9 am for “weeding, cleaning up around the street trees, and spreading mulch. Come prepared wearing closed toe shoes and long pants. We’ll provide tools, gloves, and instruction.” They’ll be working until noon – lots of time to go to West Seattle Summer Fest after that! Interested? RSVP here.

P.S. This is intended as the first in a series of work parties to get ready for a potential Neighborhood Park and Street Fund grant to revitalize landscaping in the area north of the business district, under and near the bridge. The community member who wrote the grant application, Roxane Rusch, says the work will include the weedy area along SW Manning.

West Seattle Sunday: Pre-holiday highlights

(Bald eagles, photographed on the Beach Drive shore by Harley Broe)

We’re right in the middle of the three-day holiday weekend. Here are highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

LOW-LOW TIDE WITH SIGN-LANGUAGE INTERPRETATION: Beach walk! Seattle Aquarium volunteer beach naturalists will be out from 10 am-1:30 pm today at Constellation (63rd SW/Alki SW) and Lincoln Park (by Colman Pool) beaches, and at Constellation – south of Alki Point – sign-language interpretation will be available 10 am-1 pm. The moment of lowest tide is 10:38 am, -2.7 feet.

WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: Vegetables, flowers, fruit, cheese, wine, meat … summer’s abundance is at the market in The Junction, 10 am-2 pm. (California SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska)

VISIT THE LOG HOUSE MUSEUM: Noon-4 pm, visit the museum to explore the history of West Seattle and vicinity, including the third phase of “Telling Our Westside Stories.” (61st/Stevens)

TOUR THE ALKI LIGHTHOUSE: 1-4 pm, free tours with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at Alki Point Lighthouse – be there no later than 3:40 pm. (Alki SW/Beach Drive SW)

PLAY GAMES! Check out the schedule at Meeples Games (WSB sponsor) starting at 1 pm – right side of the home page. (3727 California SW)

ZACH POHL @ C & P: Live music with singer-songwriter Zach Pohl at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 3-5 pm. (5612 California SW)

INDEPENDENCE FEST: Big bill of live music at The Skylark starting at 3 pm, all ages, $5 cover, details here. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

SOUTH PARK SOUND IN ADMIRAL: Gnarlene and the Frisky Pigs and Wild Wild Mexico perform at Parliament Tavern, 9 pm, no cover. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

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