West Seattle, Washington
What you see in Kersti Muul‘s photo above aren’t bubbles – they’re herring eggs. And their presence is “a big deal,” we’re hearing from her and from “Diver Laura” James tonight. This area is not a documented Puget Sound spawning ground for herring (this infosheet shows the areas that are), so wildlife watchers have nothing to compare it to – but they’re seeing not only the eggs, but also sea lions offshore feasting on the herring (that explains the second photo in this gallery we published early today, as well as other reports of sea-lion groups offshore last weekend), and gulls with beakfuls of herring:
Kersti says, “I encourage people to be on the lookout for it as well, and to tread lightly right now in the nearshore during these very low tides!” She has been in contact with the state Fish and Wildlife Department, as has Diver Laura, who says WDFW will be sending somebody up for a firsthand look. Here’s a closeup photo she shared tonight:
Because this isn’t a historic spawning ground, the state hasn’t historically sampled here, so, she explains, “we simply have zero data,” and it’s not known yet whether this is a return or a cycle. Both point out that the significance of this might also be future effects on construction and other activities on the shore, since without documentation of this previously, there are no rules/laws about habitat protection.
P.S. Here’s more background information about herring in Puget Sound. Followups to come!
As a result of a 7-2 King County Council vote tonight, the “Access for All” tenth-of-a-percent sales-tax increase is headed for the August 1st ballot. This comes two months after King County Executive Dow Constantine sent the proposal to the council, which at one point mulled shelving it. If approved by voters, it will add one penny of tax to every $10 you spend in King County, and that is expected to raise $67 million a year for about 350 arts, science, and heritage organizations, as described in the original announcement. County Council Chair Joe McDermott, who represents our area on the council, is a co-sponsor of the proposal; tonight’s two “no” votes were Councilmembers Larry Gossett and Dave Upthegrove.
5:19 PM: A big Seattle Fire response is arriving at a vacant building in the 9200 block of Delridge Way SW, where they’re finding smoke but so far no obvious source.
5:27 PM: Most of the responding units have been canceled.
5:37 PM: Photo added. SFD says the fire started in a trash can or similar receptacle outside the house. Firefighters also confirm a fire here a few years ago – (update) our archives show one person died in that fire in June 2014.
5:53 PM: The 2014 fire also killed four puppies, as noted in a followup. We’re checking records for the address, 9222 Delridge Way SW, and have found only two items, both 2015 complaints about alleged unspecified violations of the city’s vacant-building ordinance.
Three items in West Seattle Crime Watch:
ABOUT THE HELICOPTER: Thanks for all the tips about Guardian 1 circling in the 26th/Roxbury vicinity within the past half-hour or so. Nothing on the scanner, so we headed over to see if we could find any police activity on the ground. We found deputies near Roxbury Safeway; they told our photographer that they had been looking for a shoplifting suspect who fled. Guardian 1 just happened to be up and offered to help. No word of an arrest so far.
BURGLARY ATTEMPT: Just got a note from Greg that “someone tried to break into my house on SW Charlestown St this afternoon around 2:10 pm. Alarm went off and SPD took a look as I was driving back home. Only damage was broken glass on a French door, but there is glass all over the place.”
SATURDAY ARREST FOLLOWUP: Saturday morning, we reported on an arrest in North Admiral, and recovery of a stolen Subaru. Probable-cause documents obtained today through the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office confirm the details we heard via radio transmissions that morning – a neighbor called 911 about a prowler in the alley behind the 2100 block of Ferry SW, and told police the prowler was seen in a vehicle. That vehicle turned out to have been stolen in Tacoma, where the 35-year-old suspect lives. He was arrested and booked into jail. We’re waiting to see what bail amount was set this afternoon, and will also be watching later this week to see if he’s charged. (6:07 PM UPDATE: His bail is set at $5,000.)
3:36 PM: A short time ago, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the idea of a “high-earner income tax,” co-sponsored by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold and Council President Bruce Harrell. Since it was a resolution, not legislation, all this means is that they like the idea – nothing actually happens until and unless a bill is drafted and approved. The resolution sets a goal of making that happen by mid-summer.
If you’re interested in more information about what could and might happen, a group called Trump-Proof Seattle has a town-hall meeting this Thursday in West Seattle – not a city-convened event, but Councilmember Herbold will be there – 6 pm May 4th, at Olympic Hall on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. That organization is proposing a tax it says would be “affecting only the wealthiest 5% of households … 1.5% on income in excess of $250K.” The council resolution expresses support of that, but city legislation has yet to be drafted, and “legal viability” is a big question. We’ll update this report later with video from this afternoon’s meeting.
3:51 PM: Video now added above.
In our coverage of the latest meeting about the Fauntleroy Way Boulevard Project, we noted that SDOT would soon be seeking feedback about two options for the main median – either with a break for traffic at 37th SW:
Those graphics are now on the project page, along with a spot for you to quickly and easily tell SDOT which you would prefer – go here and scroll down. They’re accepting comments on this through May 31st.
Meantime, the project – involving Fauntleroy Way SW in The Triangle, between 35th SW and SW Alaska – is approaching the 90 percent design milestone. And project spokesperson Kate Cole tells WSB that the newest detailed traffic-study data should be available within a week or so – we asked her about it after the topic came up at last Thursday’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting (our full report will be up tonight).
12:34 PM: After seven years, West Seattle High School principal Ruth Medsker is moving on. We noticed in this week’s edition of the school newsletter that WSHS parents are being sought for a hiring team to choose a new principal, so we inquired with the district’s communications office, where director Carri Campbell told us that Medsker will be the new principal at Lincoln High School, which is being modernized to reopen in north Seattle, explaining that she “is coming on early to lead the design of the school (i.e. vision, focus, courses) and will stay on as the principal.”
Medsker was appointed as WSHS principal six years ago, after almost a year as interim principal; before that, she spent five years at district HQ as director of middle and K-8 education. Campbell says an announcement’s already gone out to WSHS families and that a district-wide announcement is due later this week. We have a message out to principal Medsker for comment. (Above right, 2016 WSB photo)
ADDED MONDAY EVENING: The district provided us with the message Medsker sent to the WSHS community:
It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that I have been appointed as the principal of the ‘New Lincoln’ High School, scheduled to open in the fall of 2019. I am honored to lead the opening of the first comprehensive high school in Seattle since Nathan Hale opened in 1963. Opening a new high school feels like a capstone project; putting to use all I have learned during my career; most prominently my work at West Seattle High School and my work with implementing the new state graduation requirements and the recommendations set forth by the 24-credit task force. While I am sad to leave behind the West Seattle community, I am excited to continue to grow and develop as an educator and have the opportunity to lead the creation of school for the Innovation Era.
It has been a privilege to serve as the principal of West Seattle High School for the past seven years. I have loved my time working with an exceptional group of students, a dedicated staff, and supportive families. Together we have worked to build a school characterized by collaboration, academic excellence, acceptance, compassion, and positive outcomes for all students. West Seattle High School is a school where staff, students, and parents work together for the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of each and every child.
As the 2016-2017 year winds down and planning for next year and beyond is taking place, I am confident that the West Seattle community will continue to grow and thrive. Your unwavering commitment to the school, its students, and staff, will ensure that the mission of success and excellence will persist.
The hiring process for my replacement will commence immediately. The district will keep you updated on the process.
Thank you for an amazing seven years!
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – with two notes about City Council and County Council today, too:
‘HIGH-EARNER INCOME TAX’ RESOLUTION @ CITY COUNCIL: West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is introducing a resolution (co-sponsored by Council President Bruce Harrell) at this afternoon’s City Council meeting (2 pm) regarding a “high-earner” city income tax, as she explained in her most recent online update. This is a resolution – a statement of intent, not actual legislation, which theoretically would come later. There’s a public-comment period at the meeting at City Hall, and it will also be live via Seattle Channel (online or cable Channel 21).
ARTS-ACCESS TAX @ COUNTY COUNCIL: Though at one point last month the proposed arts-access sales-tax increase was reported to have stalled in County Council consideration, it’s back and a council announcement says it will be considered by county councilmembers during today’s 1:30 pm meeting. They could vote to send it to the August ballot. The meeting is at the county courthouse downtown, and will be live on KCTV (online too).
GLOBAL GENDER-EQUITY COMMUNITY NIGHT: This will be hosted 5:30-7 pm tonight at West Seattle High School by the WSHS UNICEF Club, which “wants to invite all families, parents, and students around West Seattle! It is going to be a fun evening full of activities and learning about how education, gender equity, and the power of women all play a role in the global theater. Come be inspired by the youth of your community and their passions.” (3000 California SW)
FAMILY STORY TIME: 6:30 pm at High Point Library – bring the kids! (35th SW/SW Raymond)
MONDAY NIGHT QUIZ: 7:30 pm at The Skylark, all ages, prizes! (3803 Delridge Way SW)
And a traffic-alert reminder, again:
OVERNIGHT BRIDGE CLOSURES SET TO START TONIGHT: 9 pm until 5 am tonight, the west end of the West Seattle Bridge – west of Delridge – is set to be closed for streetlight work. Here’s the SDOT advisory.
Our neighbors at the South Park Senior Center have Rainbow Bingo fundraisers, as does the West Seattle Senior Center, and SP has a special search under way – they want to make sure West Seattleites hear about it too:
If you can’t read the flyer – in short, they’re looking for a couple who would be interested in having their wedding as part of South Park Rainbow Bingo on June 10th: “There will be guests and dinner and drinks, a beautiful wedding cake just for you … all legally officiated by Aunt Betty Malone.” In less than 100 words, explain why you and your fiancé/fiancee are THE couple for this wedding – e-mail to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org by May 20th.
Live/work/shop/dine/study (or …) in Morgan Junction? Show some love for the neighborhood! Next Sunday (May 7th), Jill Boone is organizing a community cleanup, and hoping you’ll RSVP ASAP if you can help, so she can have enough supplies on hand:
Bring your kids or partners or friends and come help us make our streets litter free! On Sunday, May 7 at 9 AM we will gather on the sidewalk near Domino’s and Thriftway and then spread out in groups or families to pick up litter on both sides of the street.
Children are encouraged to come (with parents)! This is a wonderful give-back to your community that even little ones can participate in. I will pick up grabbers and bags from (the city) and if you need them, gloves.
For little tykes, I suggest bringing along a pair of kitchen tongs for them to use.
Last year, Zephyr at age 3 did a great job getting cigarette butts with his tongs. A little bucket might help too.
Last year we cleaned up along 35th in the pouring rain and we still had 8 intrepid volunteers. Hopefully, we will have sunny or at least dry weather this year. And we plan to do this at least once a month through the summer season.
Please RSVP if you are going to come, so that I can get sufficient litter grabbers from the city. You can RSVP by emailing me at email@example.com ! Tell me how many of you and ages of kids coming. Let me know if you need gloves too and what size.
6:51 AM: Good morning. No incidents in or from West Seattle right now, but two reminders for the day ahead:
MAY DAY: Here are the alerts about the protests with permits and possible transit effects, as well as what we found about protests without permits. We’ll be monitoring throughout the day.
WEST END OF BRIDGE TO CLOSE TONIGHT: The first overnight closure for streetlight work on the west end of the high bridge is scheduled to start at 9 pm tonight, west of Delridge. Here’s the alert SDOT originally sent two weeks ago.
Thanks for the great photos sent this weekend! Here are a half-dozen more:
That’s Paul Walchenbach‘s aerial view of Alki during Sunday afternoon’s low tide. (Yes, the drone was operated from outside the park.) Next, from Guy and Joy Smith near Alki Point:
They explained, “For the last several days at Alki Point, large groups of sea lions have been feeding on schools of either smelt or herring. The seagulls get in on the action too. We’ve lived here for 23 years and have never noticed this before.” (Ed and Terry also mentioned the unusual sea lion activity.)
Matthew Saporito photographed a Great Blue Heron at Constellation Park:
A few miles away, Max Szyszkowski caught the beauty of the bay and downtown from Duwamish Head:
Another bird sighting – a pelagic cormorant photographed by Bruce Easter:
And from Jim Borrow, a busy sunset:
Thanks again – firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way to get us photos – and we have more in queue!
P.S. We mentioned earlier that May will have a round of tides even lower than the ones these past few days – they start on Thursday, May 25, and will continue through Memorial Day.