day : 26/03/2017 9 results

ONE YEAR LATER: What has, and hasn’t, happened in the West Seattle tree-cutting case

(WSB photos: Above, south section of the illegally cut site, photographed this weekend; below, same area, photographed April 2016)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

One year has now passed since first word of a brazen round of tree-cutting on publicly owned slopes in east Admiral.

On Saturday, March 26, 2016, a stream of visitors made their way to the narrow street ends from which the cut trees could be seen (the photos above are from just north of City View/34th). The night before, The Seattle Times had broken the news, reporting that more than 100 trees had been cut on Parks– and SDOT-owned land, apparently weeks earlier.

Among those who visited the slashed slopes a year ago today were City Attorney Pete Holmes and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. As noted that day in our first followup, she reported being “assured that criminal and civil sanctions are on the table for the responsible parties.”

No criminal cases so far. But you might recall that midway through the past year – six months after the tree-cutting went public – Holmes announced two civil lawsuits on September 20, 2016. One involved “the northern site” (off 35th SW), naming nearby residents Stanley Harrelson and Mary Harrelson and Martin Riemer and Karrie Riemer, as well as Forrest Bishop and John Russo, who the city alleges “were hired by the Harrelsons and Riemers to cut trees on city property located adjacent and/or across from (theirs).” The second suit involved “the southern site” (off City View), naming nearby residents Kostas Kyrimis and Linda Kyrimis. Both lawsuits also mentioned John/Jane Does whose identities the city had not learned yet.

(March 2017 video by Christopher Boffoli)

Since then, we have continued to watch the online files of both lawsuits, which have tentative trial dates in fall 2017. Two months after the filings, we reported last November on some action in both cases: The Kyrimises had sought a stay, saying they “have good cause to believe that one or more criminal charges are potentially going to be brought against them.” They were granted a partial stay. The Harrelsons and Riemers, meantime, filed documents that acknowledged they hired Bishop and Russo for tree-cutting but specifically not admitting to any involvement in the illegal tree-cutting on the city parcels. The Harrelsons’ lawyer acknowledged that a month before the tree-cutting came to light publicly, they had contacted the city — “on February 5, 2016, the Harrelson Defendants sent a letter to the City advising the City of what had occurred on the Parcels and offering to share a remediation plan the Harrelson Defendants had developed with a former arborist for the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation. …”

Since that report, another four months have gone by; we’ve continued to check the files, and nothing else of note has happened in the cases. No criminal charges, either misdemeanor or felony, either. In preparation for this “one year later” update, we checked directly at week’s end with both offices that would be involved with such filings – the City Attorney’s Office (if misdemeanor) and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (if felony).

KCPAO spokesperson Dan Donohoe said nothing has yet been referred to their office (which would have to happen before prosecutors could prepare felony charges). CAO spokesperson Kimberly Mills told us they have nothing to report yet but affirmed that the investigation is still very much active. So we haven’t heard the end of it, apparently. Stay tuned.

Services Tuesday for Clement John Chelminiak, 1920-2017

Services are planned Tuesday for Clement John “Chelly” Chelminiak, 96. Here’s the remembrance his family is sharing with the community:

Clement John Chelminiak – July 17, 1920 to March 17, 2017

C.J. Chelminiak lived a remarkably American life. He loved his family, his community, and he had a deep faith in God.

Born in South Bend, Indiana, he ran outside to watch the Spirit of St. Louis fly over. That inspired a young man and he worked 42 years at Boeing and was one of Joe Sutter’s “Incredibles” who designed the 747. He enjoyed the Boeing retirees lunch in Renton on Thursdays.

“Chelly” was all about family. He is survived by his children, Paul, Kathy, and John (Lynn Semler). There are four grandchildren, Mindy Simmons, Kelsy Ausland (Aaron), Morgan Tuff, and Megan Chelminiak, and a great-grandchild, William Ausland. His youngest sister Antoinette (Angie) Claxton survives him. He was preceded in death by his parents Leo and Theresa Chelminiak, brothers Ted and John, and sisters Gertrude McKiel and Sr. Helen Marie C.R.

The greatest commitment of his life was to his wife Gertrude Kroll, who left us much too soon. He wore his wedding ring through more than 30 years of grieving. And now, they are dancing a polka in heaven.

Dad and Mom moved to Seattle toward the end of World War II. They came with son Paul, and soon daughter Kathy arrived; son John arrived at West Seattle Hospital in 1952. They lived in apartments along California Ave. SW, not far from West Seattle High School. They made lifelong friends in those apartments – other families, most of whom worked at Boeing. We spent our major holidays together with those families for several decades.

In 1949, Dad built the family home on Genesee Hill. He remained in the home until days before his death. The neighborhood was his closest family. Growing up, we had water fights, picnics, parties, touch football games and incredible Fourth of July celebrations. Those families grew up and moved out and new families came. Dad made fast and lifelong friends with those families, and they became part of our celebrations. West Seattle was his true home.

His rock was Holy Rosary Church, and he used his engineering skills on many building projects there. His neighbors on Genesee Hill were often his best friends. He loved the mountains, golfing, and Hawaii.

Chelly followed traditions. One of those passed down to all family members is making Polish sausage. It is the heart of all family celebrations. Dad was the master mixer. All of us were the grinders and stuffers.

Services will be Tuesday, March 28, at Holy Rosary Church – West Seattle. Rosary will be at 9:45 a.m., Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. with a reception to follow. A donation to the American Cancer Society is requested in lieu of flowers. Aloha!!

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

CONGRATULATIONS! Southwest 13U boys win citywide basketball championship

And MORE citywide champs! The photo and report are from Michelle Gaither:

The Southwest Community Center Boys’ Rec 13U team won the Seattle Parks and Rec Championship for 2017.

Congrats to Coach Joel and (L-R), Koelton, Isaac, Teagan, Anthony, Richard, Keller, Uiligi, Kobe, Syr, Quinn, Coach.

Wondering how to get involved in citywide youth sports? Go here.

CONGRATULATIONS! Basketball championship for Hiawatha CC team

Another local girls-basketball team is celebrating a citywide championship! The photo and report are from Rob:

I wanted to share the great news about our girls’ 12-year-old competitive-division team that plays out of Hiawatha Community Center. After an undefeated season, the girls had a dominating performance in a 39-25 defeat of Laurelhurst Community Center for the competitive-division championship today! Great job, girls!!

From left to right: Lauren Wright, Wynn Larsen, Simone Lieberman, Emily Larsen, Chloe Stephens, Nya Crump, Aimee Askay, Molly Hatfield, Carmen Cruz, Sam Seidl, Sylvie Gliko, Tohni Robinson, Coach Daimen Crump, Coach Rob Wright, Coach Kristi Crump.

Sign of ‘soda tax’ resistance at South Delridge’s Boss Drive-In

We spotted this sign this afternoon at Boss Drive-In (formerly Burger Boss) while checking out something unrelated in South Delridge. The “soda tax” refers to the “sugary beverages tax” proposed by Mayor Murray in his State of the City speech, as reported here one month ago.

The two-cents-per-ounce tax, to be charged to distributors, would not just be on sodas, as defined: “The ordinance defines sugary drinks to include liquids with a specified amount of caloric sweetener, syrups and powders that are used to prepare sugary beverages,” including fruit drinks, energy drinks, sweetened teas, and ready-to-drink coffee drinks (in bottles/cans/etc., not mixed and served at a coffee shop), as further explained here. The ordinance creating the tax has not yet been introduced so far as we can tell; if approved, the mayor says, it is expected to raise $16 million a year for programs meant to close the educational opportunity gap, “based on recommendations from the Education Summit Advisory Group,” which are detailed in this 150+-page report.

FACT-CHECKING: As for whether it would create $5 sodas – depends on how you crunch the numbers. One way to have a $5 soda would be a base price of $3 for 100 ounces – that’s 12 1/2 cups of soda – and $2 in tax (2 cents an ounce). Since it would be charged to distributors, depends on how they would pass it along.

West Seattle’s own Arboretum: Know much about it?

(Photo courtesy Marie McKinsey)

Like many places, West Seattle has more than a few “best-kept secrets.” Is the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) Arboretum one of them? That’s what the Arboretum Advisory Committee hopes you can help them find out. Even if you’ve never heard of it, they would love to have your participation in this quick one-page online survey, as they gauge community awareness while working toward celebrating the Arboretum’s 40th anniversary next year.

UPDATE: Orcas reported off West Seattle

12:13 PM: Thanks to Trileigh for first tip – orcas have been seen off Alki in the past half-hour, headed southbound. While we were writing this, Donna from The Whale Trail called in a tip too – look toward Blake Island.

12:46 PM: Texter says they are visible “mid-Blake” – so you should be able to see them from the Beach Drive shoreline, especially Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook.

1:48 PM: Commenter Jen says they’re off Vashon now.

2 weeks of Japan @ Chief Sealth International High School

March 26, 2017 11:31 am
|    Comments Off on 2 weeks of Japan @ Chief Sealth International High School
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

The photos and report are from Joshua Hansell, Japanese teacher at Chief Sealth International High School, where his students and visitors shared what he calls “two weeks of Japan at Sealth”:

First, from March 2nd to 12th Sealth hosted a student group from Moriyama, Japan for the 6th year in a row. The group stayed with host families around West Seattle, enjoyed Seattle sights including Boeing’s factory tour, and participated in Japanese classes at Sealth. If you’d like to host a student for 10 days next year, please contact Sealth’s Japanese teacher Joshua Hansell – email available on Sealth’s website.

Then, Sealth hosted the Washington Japanese Immersion Day Camp for the 3rd year in a row on March 18.

All that Saturday, 100 high school students from as far away as Ellensburg studied traditional Japanese arts like Tea Ceremony, Kendo, Taiko drumming, and the musical instrument Koto, all in Japanese. Students made and enjoyed a curry and gyoza lunch, then competed in teams for exciting Japan-themed prizes in the afternoon.

Highlights for your West Seattle Sunday

March 26, 2017 8:25 am
|    Comments Off on Highlights for your West Seattle Sunday
 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

(Barred owl in Fauntleroy Park, photographed by Mark Wangerin)

Short list compared to Saturday – here’s what we have:

WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: Year-round, rain or shine, in the street in The Junction, 10 am-2 pm. (California SW between SW Alaska and SW Oregon)

WEST SEATTLE LITTLE LEAGUE JAMBOREE: Day 2 for West Seattle Little League is scheduled for Minors on the field right now (9-10 year-olds), Majors (11-12) starting at 1:45, playing through 7:15 pm, but keep an eye on the weather. Bar-S Playfields. (64th SW/Admiral Way)

SEED SWAP: 2-3:30 pm at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, it’s the third annual Seed Swap: “Bring as much information as you have about your seeds, such as variety, growth habit and days to maturity. Please – no hybrid seeds, old seeds or GMO seeds.” Co-hosted by Seattle Farm School. (2306 42nd SW)

GET ON STAGE/GET INVOLVED! Second monthly open-microphone event at The Skylark, presented by Mode Music Studios (WSB sponsor). This month’s spotlight organization/beneficiary is Mary’s Place, which helps families experiencing homelessness (and is operating the newly opened King County shelter in White Center). Signups at 3, music at 4, all ages; more info in our calendar listing. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

SILVER LINING: “Neo-retro” music, live at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 3-5 pm. (5612 California SW)

ALBUM RELEASE SHOW: SeaNote live at The Skylark to celebrate its album release, with the help of Portland Timbre. 7:30 pm, all ages, $5 cover. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

LOOK INTO THE FUTURE via our full-calendar page!

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