West Seattle, Washington
Two incidents to report in West Seattle Crime Watch tonight:
GUNFIRE CONFIRMED: Police confirm that what sounded like gunshots along Marine View Drive early this morning *were* gunshots, even though the incident was only logged as a “disturbance.” Casings – we don’t yet know how many or what type – were recovered in the 10600 block of Marine View Drive (map), SPD confirmed to WSB, adding that no injuries or damage were reported.
BURGLARY ATTEMPT: From Joshua:
I just wanted to get the word out of an attempted burglary in the 46th Ave & Spokane St area. [map] My wife and I weren’t home at the time and it happened sometime between this past Saturday and yesterday morning. They tried getting into the back door of the house by prying the locks and then tried the same thing on the garage door and did a lot of damage to those locks. Luckily, they weren’t successful.
Thanks again for the Crime Watch reports – 206-293-6302 text or voice if it’s urgent (after you’ve called 911), firstname.lastname@example.org if it’s not.
(Photos courtesy Jane Taylor)
After 10 years and five tons of donated food, this is the last year that Jane Taylor and Kristen Parsons are able to lead the Lettuce Pray program. They’re looking for volunteer(s) to take it over so it doesn’t die on the vine, so to speak, at the end of this season. Here’s what’s involved, as explained by Jane:
Lettuce Pray is a summer food-bank collection program set up informally through many of the churches of West Seattle.
Five churches — Alki UCC, St. John the Baptist Episcopal, West Seattle Unitarian Universalist, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, and St. Bernadette’s Parish — are participating this year; in some years that has been as many as nine, depending on what other priorities the churches have. The churches mobilize their home gardeners to bring spare home-grown produce to church every Sunday morning during the harvest season (this year July 3 – October 2) and put it in specially marked Lettuce Pray boxes or baskets. We make the rounds, collect the produce, and put it in cold storage at the West Seattle and White Center Food Banks.
We have been doing this for ten years and have collected over 10,000 pounds of fresh produce. It can be done by one person, but we find it’s more fun when two people do it. It’s the easiest possible volunteer gig and allows so many people to make numerous small contributions that make a big, big impact.
Anyone who is interested is welcome to reach out to Jane Taylor – email@example.com. Our final collection will be October 2, and it would be great to bring a new volunteer on before we finish up so they can see what we do.
What you see in the top photo is what the average week’s haul takes – about 120 pounds of food, and it all fit into Jane’s Honda Insight hatchback. That’s Jane and Kristen in the second photo, by the way, with part of this week’s Lettuce Pray haul – “fresh corn and juicy plums.”
(UPDATED 9:36 PM WITH PHOTOS FROM TOUR TODAY)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 4:26 PM: Since its last maintenance stop ended in mid-July, the Highway 99 tunneling machine has dug 1,000 feet. Another 500, and it will be at the official halfway mark. But right now, WSDOT says, the machine is stopped down “to inspect and replace some of the larger cutterhead tools on the front end … STP chose to check the tools – and change them as needed – because Bertha has moved from clay into a mixture of sand and gravel that will more quickly wear them down. Replacing the tools now will preserve the machine and ensure it continues to function well as it mines toward STP’s next planned maintenance stop.” You can read the full update here, and you can go here to see where the machine is now – that’s also the page that tracks its progress, currently listed as 4,135 feet along the planned 9,270-foot tunneling route.
ADDED 9:36 PM: A West Seattleite who has long represented our area on Viaduct/Tunnel advisory groups, Vlad Oustimovitch, is sharing photos tonight from a tunnel-project tour earlier today. First photo shows a used drilling tooth that was replaced today, as part of the work mentioned above:
Next, you’re looking at “giant rollers” that hold up the tunnel-building part of the machine:
Here are the pistons that push the machine forward once rings are in place:
Another view from inside the tunneling machine:
Here’s the control room:
And “the tail end” of the machine:
Back outside the machine, in the already-built 4,135 feet of tunnel, here’s a look at the upper deck:
Oustimovitch was one of “about eight” people on today’s tour.
Seven weeks have passed since the mayor’s abrupt announcement that the city would lurch away from the longstanding District Council system and look for new ways of “engagement.” As part of that, the Department of Neighborhoods has been running an online survey (with promotion including paid ads here on WSB and other places). The District Councils, including the two in West Seattle, are in the meantime about to resume their meetings after the traditional August break. And Delridge Neighborhoods District Council chair Mat McBride, who turned the group’s last meeting into a rally of sorts with reps from DCs around the city, has just issued an invitation in this open letter to City Councilmembers Lisa Herbold, Lorena González, Tim Burgess, and Rob Johnson, which we’re publishing with permission:
Esteemed City Council members (representing D1, At-Large, and Neighborhoods Committee),
I am requesting your presence at the September meeting of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting on Wednesday, September 21. The DNDC is very interested in having a conversation with you regarding community, engagement, and the future of the District Council system within DoN (we’ll also be ranking NSF grants that evening, in case you wanted to observe a DC in action).
District Coordinator Kerry Wade will follow up with an agenda, including specific time and location once it’s finalized. Your RSVP is appreciated.
Chair, Delridge Neighborhoods District Council
PS, in case you haven’t been following DoN’s Engage Seattle poll, it’s a good read. All responses and comments (predominantly by white middle-aged homeowners, which I suppose raises some ironic existential questions) are published. Recommended reading, and if you haven’t taken the poll, I suggest doing so.
Quite a few comments have been made in support of the District Council System (side note – good on you for making all responses transparent, even those that highlight flaws in this latest proposed revision of DoN). And they’re right to do so, the District Council System (DoN’s, not City Council’s) is vital.
Democracy has to be public. Not solely, and there’s a lot of good suggestions about how to enhance the process and increase engagement. But it’s the District Councils, through a relationship officially observed by the City, that provide this function. It is vital to have public discussion with City representatives and elected officials. It is vital to challenge assumptions. It is vital to provide a forum in which the public can champion or object to issues, initiatives, or proposals within a specific geography. Because at the end of the day, it comes down to people doing things. Not taking a poll, not reading a newsletter, not submitting a comment to a blog, but actual honest-to-goodness engagement. Communities are made of people that come together and unite over a common goal. Where technology can enhance and assist this process, it absolutely should. But without an established network and designated place for that to manifest, it’s meaningless. Community is local, friends, and you have to make local work.
So, how to accomplish this? The best solution is also the easiest – restore the DoN District Coordinator staff to pre-2008 levels.
When the cuts first came, and again when they continued, community leaders predicted the exact circumstance we find ourselves in today – the fraying of the social network to the extent that it struggles to provide its most basic functions. The District Coordinators served as the glue within each District, themselves clusters of communities. It’s a big job, and staffed appropriately, it works great – an individual with a comprehensive knowledge of the individuals and organizations operating within the District is able to coordinate and direct active and emerging civic engagement to promote or fulfill the goal of serving the community. The act of networking people is the single most successful way to disseminate information – we have never been able to improve on talking to each other (not that we should). Humans can consume a huge amount of data, and most of it is not registered as important. This is especially true of communication by local government to citizens. If you want your message communicated, you need peer-level discussions within the community. Since most City correspondence is dry and boring (on the surface, anyway), you need citizens who will consume it regardless, translate salient points as necessary to make it accessible, and explain why it’s important to care about. And then, you really need them to talk about it.
Good news! You’ve had that model in place for the last 28 years. By most assessments, it’s past the “Proof of Concept” phase. Success is built upon the enhancement and improvement of existing infrastructure. The dismantling of an established and proven institution, which is to be replaced by an untested concept, is – well, it’s a singularly terrible idea. Restore the District Councils, and commit to enhancing them through all the excellent suggestions for improvement that I’ve read from other respondents to this survey.
As for the upcoming District Council meetings – everyone, as always, is invited. The Southwest District Council is expecting Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre at 6:30 pm Wednesday, September 7th, at the Sisson Building/Senior Center in The Junction (California/Oregon).
The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council mentioned above will be on Wednesday, September 21st – as Mat McBride wrote, time and location to be finalized, and we’ll publish an update when that happens.
Your Seattle Public Library branches offer more than reading, viewing, and listening material (as this WSB story reminds us) – they also offer free workshops and classes. And Sandra Sinner from the Delridge Library sends word that there’s still room in a two-day class this weekend teaching 3-D printing design to beginners: 1-5 Saturday (info) and 1-5 Sunday (info). Free, but you have to pre-register, so if you’re interested, do that ASAP by calling 206-733-9125.
Today, we are happy to share another story about a West Seattleite with an amazing achievement! Proud mom Shawnda Fukano explains what her son has just accomplished:
While most kids were enjoying one of the final weekends of the summer, Colton Fukano was clinching the Washington State BMX Championships in the 5 & under category.
A West Seattleite and soon to be kindergartener at Genesee Hill Elementary, Colton began racing BMX this past January and quickly showed that he wasn’t your average 4-year-old on a bike. After finishing several races on top, he was picked up by the Sonic BMX Team, coached by Jamie Stenson and sponsored by Sprocketts Recycled Bicycles in Magnolia and Potter Racing Products. He headed into the state finals this weekend with four State Cup 1st place finishes during the season, and his 1st place finish on Sunday earned him the State #1 Plate.
Colton’s dad, Casey Fukano, started taking him to the North Seatac BMX Track for fun when he was three years old. Colton loved it, asking, “Can we go to the Sandy Park today?” all the time. During this past winter, when the weather was too bad to ride in Seatac, they tried out a BMX clinic at the Peninsula Indoor BMX track in Port Orchard, an easy ferry ride from Fauntleroy. Colton loved it, and he’s been racing ever since.
Colton would like to say THANK YOU to his coach Jamie, his team sponsors Sprocketts and Potter Racing Products, and Nikko Teriyaki in Jefferson Square for his favorite race-day meal: chicken teriyaki! And, he’d love to see more kids get involved in the sport of BMX, which is an Olympic sport (US won a gold and silver medal this year). The Seatac track is just a 20-minute drive from the Alaska Junction, so head over and have some fun!
Five ways to spend the rest of your West Seattle Wednesday:
GET OUT OF THE HOME OFFICE … or away from the coffee-shop table, and instead, spend your noon hour at West Seattle’s only coworking center, WS Office Junction (WSB sponsor). This weekly free meetup welcomes work-at-home people, entrepreneurs, freelancers, coworkers, etc. Noon-1:15 pm, and you’re welcome to bring your lunch. (6040 California SW)
HIGH POINT MARKET GARDEN FARMSTAND: Your weekly chance to buy West Seattle-grown produce, sold next to where it’s harvested! 4-7 pm – details in our calendar listing. (32nd SW/SW Juneau)
ULTIMATE AUTUMN FRISBEE: 6 pm at Fairmount Playfield, the weekly drop-in disc event has changed to a slightly earlier time in anticipation of fall – details here. (5400 Fauntleroy Way SW)
IRISH SET DANCING: 6:30 pm lesson if you need it, 7 pm dancing, at Kenyon Hall. You don’t have to bring a partner. Donation of $5 per person/$10 family is requested. More info in our calendar listing.
SEE OUR CALENDAR FOR MORE … it’s here for you 24/7.
With the students and staff from Schmitz Park Elementary moving into the new Genesee Hill Elementary, many have wondered what would happen to the SPE campus. Bits and pieces of information have emerged unofficially, and we’ve continued to ask the district for comment. Finally, this morning, the plan is out, as part of this announcement:
Seattle Public Schools is excited to announce that starting in fall 2016-17 families will be supported with expanded child-care options in West Seattle. SPS, in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation, will be providing new child-care options in the Schmitz Park building as well as in the Genesee Hill and Lafayette Elementary buildings.
For many years, the need for child care has been growing across the City but reached a crisis level in West Seattle. Recognizing the growing need, former Lafayette Principal Robert Gallagher and Schmitz Park (now Genesee Hill) Principal Gerrit Kischner, along with Associate Superintendent of Capital and Facilities Dr. Flip Herndon and other central staff, Seattle School Board Director Leslie Harris, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, worked together and identified a solution to meet the needs of the district’s West Seattle families.
Details of the solution:
• Eighty child-care spots are planned for the new Genesee Hill Elementary school.
• The district has finalized a multi-year lease with the Associated Recreation Council (ARC), to provide additional child care at the Schmitz Park building. At least 100 new childcare spots are expected to be licensed and made available to waiting families.
• ARC staff will walk child-care students from Genesee Hill students the three blocks to the Schmitz Park building after school dismissal, just as they do currently in walking students between Lafayette and the Hiawatha Community Center. Once registration is complete, ARC will determine which students will remain at Genesee Hill for child care and which students will walk to Schmitz Park.
• Child-care registration and enrollment began on July 2 for the majority of waitlisted families.
• Additional child-care spots are also being added to Lafayette Elementary thanks to Hiawatha Community Center and Seattle Parks and Recreation.
The district wants to thank our community, Schmitz Park PTSA, and the City for supporting this solution for our shared families. We couldn’t have done it alone. While we haven’t been able to meet the needs of all our West Seattle families, we have made significant gains.
We also want to recognize the Schmitz family’s contribution to Seattle Public Schools and the West Seattle community. The Schmitz Park site opened as an annex to Genesee Hill Elementary in 1953 when Dietrich Schmitz served as President of the Seattle School Board and his brother, Henry, served as President of the University of Washington. In 1956, the assistant principal at Genesee Hill, Ms. Dorothy Jack, was appointed to open Schmitz Park School, and the current building was completed in 1962. With the start of the next school year, neighborhood students will return to Genesee Hill Elementary. SPS will retain the former school building in its inventory, and we are pleased it will remain open and serving families in West Seattle for the foreseeable future.
In keeping the building open, we not only meet the needs of our families but also reduce potential vandalism, ensuring SPS continues to be a good neighbor and steward of our resources.
Principal Kischner, who has been instrumental in development of the child-care plan, said, “This agreement shows what we can get done when we work together. I am especially pleased that this multi-year lease will allow families to plan ahead and commit themselves to the long-term viability of the Schmitz Park-Genesee Hill community. It demonstrates the kind of partnership that can make a difference to neighborhoods throughout the city.”
The SPS history of Schmitz Park Elementary is here. The school, at 5000 SW Spokane, is on land donated by the Schmitz family, which remained involved with the school for its decades of operation. They were part of the community celebration of the school that we covered back in June, and Vicki Schmitz Block and son Dietrich Schmitz represented the family as Grand Marshals in July’s West Seattle Grand Parade.
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:30 AM: Good morning. Power has been restored to everyone affected by the overnight outage, so that shouldn’t be affecting travel this morning. No incidents reported in the area right now. If you travel through West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way, today is the second scheduled day of the repaving project.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL REMINDERS: Today is the first day of classes at Hope Lutheran School (42nd/Oregon), a short distance south of the two other West Seattle schools that are already back in session, Holy Rosary and Seattle Lutheran. Tomorrow (Thursday) is the first day for Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our full list of the “early” wave of school reopenings is here. … Seattle Public Schools start classes in exactly one week; you’ll see school buses out again today practicing routes.
(Map of outage area, from Seattle City Light website)
12:38 AM: Thanks for the texts: Seattle City Light‘s outage map says more than 3,500 homes/businesses have lost power, mostly in southeast West Seattle and White Center. No word yet on the cause.
12:53 AM: The map now has the “estimated restoration” time of 7 am, but we always add the reminder, that’s a guesstimate and it could be much sooner, or much later. SCL is still investigating the cause.
1:15 AM: Commenter SteveMG reports seeing SCL and emergency responders in the 8th/Roxbury vicinity.
1:18 AM: We’re getting some reports of power restored – mostly from South Delridge. No change in the outage-map total yet but sometimes it lags.
1:25 AM: Now the map’s caught up with the restoration reports – 294 customers (homes/businesses) still without power, in White Center. Here’s the updated map:
1:36 AM: Along with SteveMG, a commenter on our partner site White Center Now also mentions what seemed like an underground “explosion” at 8th/Roxbury. Here’s what SCL tweeted about the cause, without mentioning a specific location:
Crews have identified an equipment failure in an underground vault as the cause for the White Center-W. Seattle outage.
— Seattle City Light (@SEACityLight) August 31, 2016
6:27 AM: Power has since been fully restored.