West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Tomorrow (Thursday), new South Seattle College interim president Peter Lortz will celebrate the 150 students who comprise the school’s tenth 13th-Year Promise class, the biggest-ever group to take advantage of a free “13th year” of education.
13 is a significant number for the school’s new leader for another reason, too.
That’s how old Lortz was when he realized what career he wanted to pursue.
The story emerged while we were talking with him in his new office – steps from his previous office as vice president of instruction – on campus a few days ago.
He was talking with his mom and declared that he wanted to teach college biology.
Exactly why, he doesn’t quite recall. But it wasn’t a big surprise. Both of his parents went to college; his mom was a teacher, his dad an engineer. “I knew what I wanted to do and my parents knew how” to help him get there.
His pathway was clear – and he has spent most of his subsequent years helping students find their own pathways.
At least – the first part of his pathway. While it wasn’t immediately clear that community colleges were where he would find his education calling, since Cincinnati wasn’t a hotbed of such schools, he started turning that way while in graduate school at Miami University (Ohio).
“I was talking to my adviser about master’s versus Ph.D.,” Lortz recalled, and the adviser asked what specifically he wanted to do. The answer was the same one he had at age 13: Teach college biology.
If he wanted to teach at a university, the adviser explained, he would need a doctorate, and he would likely spend a lot of time pursuing grants, doing research, “peek(ing) in the lab every so often.”
Is that what you want to do? asked the adviser.
“No,” Lortz recalled answering. “I want to teach biology.” With a master’s degree, he was told, you can teach at community college.
After some time in Utah and Colorado, he ended up back in Cincinnati, teaching anatomy and physiology at what was Cincinnati Tech College. He took an interest in the Pacific Northwest, sent out resumes, got one nibble that was “not a good fit,” so he just headed out to Seattle to take a chance. He got teaching work at North Seattle College right away, “and I was hooked.”
8:41 PM: Police investigating a crash have blocked northbound 35th SW between Avalon and Fauntleroy, so if you’re headed that way, plan on a detour. Tipster Barb says this is a hit-run, with a vehicle taking off after sideswiping a van (and reportedly leaving a plate behind). We’re headed that way to find out more.
8:56 PM: Our crew at the scene sent the photo we’ve added above. That’s the van the hit-run driver damaged. Everyone inside is OK. Police confirm they do indeed have that left-behind plate and are looking for the vehicle’s owner.
9:52 PM: The SDOT camera for the intersection shows the road’s open again.
(UPDATED THURSDAY MORNING with details on services, vigil)
7:14 PM: Eight days have passed since 15-year-old Derek “Peachy” Juarez-Lopez was stabbed to death at Westcrest Park, the day before he was to start his sophomore year at Chief Sealth International High School. Police have said they believe the motive was robbery, but there’s no word of an arrest, nor even a suspect description, so far. When we asked this week for an update, their official statement remained that it is an “active and ongoing investigation.” We also asked Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis to elaborate on how the park is being handled; he replied, “We have stepped up our patrol presence in that area, not only because of the recent tragedy, but also to curtail the property crime issues and other nefarious activity that we’ve experienced there.”
The memorial service for the victim, meantime, is planned for Sunday
night, 6 pm, in Columbia City, according to the Sealth school bulletin, which does not specify the location but does say a campus vigil to celebrate his life is also being planned, date TBA. And the crowdfunding drive to help his family has passed its initial goal; its organizers, Sealth staffers who have worked with Derek and his family, have updated the page to say that Derek’s family wants “to personally thank everyone for the incredible outpouring of love that they have felt over the past week.” They added, “As community youth workers, we thank you also for the beautiful love that you have shown them.”
ADDED 7:11 AM THURSDAY: Just received from Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer:
There will be a vigil this Friday, 9/15/17 in commemoration of the short life of Chief Sealth sophomore Derek Juarez-Lopez who was murdered by an unknown assailant on September 5th. The vigil will be held at 6:00 PM in front of the auditorium. Everyone is invited to come out in support of the family and students who now mourn the sudden and tragic loss of this thoughtful and considerate young man.
In addition, the family has announced that they will host a memorial service in Derek’s honor on Sunday, 9/17/17 from 4:00 to 5:00 at Columbia Funeral Home at 4567 Rainier Ave South. There will also be a public viewing on Saturday from 10:00 to 8:00 at the same funeral home.
(Above: Click play button to see archived video of Harrell’s statement, Q&A, and oath)
4:50 PM: Watch it here live – one day after Ed Murray announced he’s resigning as mayor, City Council President Bruce Harrell will take the oath of office to become interim mayor. That’s set for 5:01 pm, after he – at least, as announced in advance – makes a statement and takes media Q&A. Updates to come.
4:54 PM: With City Council colleagues and city department heads among those surrounding him, Harrell has taken the podium, a bit later than expected. “I don’t see this as a caretaking obligation .. I see this as an opportunity to set the stage for excellence,” Harrell said. He is not yet announcing whether he will keep the interim job or decline it – but is hoping to announce his decision by 5 pm Friday, and has advised the council to be potentially ready to take action next Monday (September 18th). He mentions that the presentation of the city budget is coming up and “either I will present it, or I will receive it.” After mentioning a variety of issues he expects it to address, he says, “Let’s heal together … for those who are hurting, let’s heal together. We have a lot of work to do as a team – so let’s do it. It’s as simple as that.”
Asked what factors he’s evaluating in making his decision, Harrell says he’ll put “the needs of the city” first, whatever he decides, not his own “agenda.” Asked about some of the procedural points in the City Charter, he says it’s been a “challenge” to “dig out what the charter addresses,” and promises a “citywide e-mail” to reassure employees about the continuity of their work.
5:09 PM: Harrell has been sworn in as mayor. (As Jim Brunner of The Seattle Times pointed out on Twitter, city webpages already have a new header with his name replacing Murray’s.)
5:12 PM: The swearing-in event is over, so we’ve removed the live-video window atop this story, replaced it with an image from the Seattle Channel feed, and will re-add the full archived video once it’s available.
P.S. Harrell ran for mayor in 2013, finishing fourth in the primary behind Murray, then-incumbent mayor Mike McGinn, and former City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck. His current council term has two more years to go, unless he gives it up by deciding to keep the interim mayoral job until the November election results are certified.
6:19 PM: Archived as-it-happened Seattle Channel video is now embedded above.
THURSDAY NOTE: We originally embedded the archived video from YouTube; it’s now available from the Seattle Channel site (minus the outdated “live at 4:45 pm” slate), so we have substituted that.
E-mailed by Ann:
STRANGER DANGER ALERT! There is a woman wandering California Avenue in the Admiral Junction area who approached my children and told them to “get in the red truck.” at approx 12 pm. Thankfully I was right there with them when this happened. She is white, with sandy blond hair (a little messy looking in the back) small to medium build around 5’5”. She is wearing a purple sweater over a white shirt with dark pants.
We were at A Kids Place, too dentist office on our way out the door when she came inside and made her approach. I contacted 911 as did the receptionist, who then followed her down the sidewalk for several blocks. Another woman who she approached after walking in front of her moving vehicle also called the police. As an additional note, there was no red truck in sight. The receptionist did speak with her once she turned around after having walked straight into traffic, nearly getting hit. The receptionist asked her what she was doing in the office and the woman said she was opening the door to hell and was saving my children from the apocalypse. I don’t know what she said to the woman in the car. She obviously is in some paranoid/delusional/(semi?) psychotic state of mind.
As with the most recent two reader reports about children being approached, we want to conclude this one with safety advice to share with your kids, from SPD – find it here.
The Southwest Design Review Board calendar now has one project set for a fall meeting, just added – the second review for 2715 California SW [map], “a four-story, 48-unit apartment building with one live-work unit and retail to be located at street level” with 46 underground parking spaces. The project, called “Admiral Station,” passed the first phase of Design Review on its first try six months ago (WSB coverage here). Its second and potentially final review is penciled onto the SWDRB calendar for 6:30 pm Thursday, October 19th, at the Sisson Building/Senior Center (4217 SW Oregon).
P.S. If you’re interested in the proposed changes to the Design Review process, see our coverage of the citywide public hearing earlier this week by going here.
12:45 PM:Metro has sent a reminder about what’s in its September service change, which kicks in September 23rd, one week from Saturday. Here are the local highlights:
• Night Owl: From midnight to 5 a.m., riders will see additional trips on most of these night service routes in Seattle, White Center, Burien, Tukwila and direct service to SeaTac Airport.
The two local routes are 120 and RapidRide C Line.
Also, C Line will “see more trips to ease crowding.” Trips also will be added to 50, 60, and 131, described in today’s reminder as follows:
• Route 50: Serving riders between Othello Station and Alki, a dozen more evening trips, creating consistent 30-minute service until midnight seven days a week. This additional service is funded by the City of Seattle.
• Route 60: Serving riders in White Center, South Park, Georgetown, Beacon Hill, First Hill and Capitol Hill. By adding 24 trips, weekday buses will come every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. instead of every 30 minutes. This service is funded by the City of Seattle and Metro.
• Route 131: Serving riders in Burien, Highland Park, South Park, SODO and Downtown Seattle. Northbound trips come every 15 minutes weekdays from 6:30-9:30 a.m.
You can get specifics on those and other changes, route by route, including links to PDF versions of the new timetables, via this Metro webpage.
ADDED WEDNESDAY EVENING: BH reminds us in comments (and we have an e-mail reminder too) that the September 23rd service change also will bring relocation of a downtown bus stop many West Seattleites use – Columbia east of 2nd. Here’s the official alert doc.
(Dark-eyed junco, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
Here’s what’s happening for the rest of your Wednesday:
EARLY-RELEASE WEDNESDAYS BEGIN: Starting today, every Wednesday of the school year, Seattle Public Schools will be out 75 minutes early.
FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES … grown at the High Point Market Garden, available for purchase at the weekly farm stand next to it, 4-7 pm today. (32nd SW/SW Juneau)
DELRIDGE GROCERY BOARD MEETING: All welcome at the meeting of the board working to make the Delridge Grocery Cooperative store a reality, 6:30 pm at Cottage Grove Commons. Here’s our report on the coop’s recent “town hall” meeting. (5444 Delridge Way SW)
CLIMATE CHANGE: 7 pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe‘s Walmesley Center:
Holy Rosary and Our Lady of Guadalupe parishes are co-sponsoring an evening with Jeff Renner called “Laudato Si: A Faithful Response to Climate Change.” Jeff, a member of Mary, Queen of Peace parish in Sammamish, will discuss the changes he’s observed in our climate during 38 years as chief meteorologist and science reporter with KING-TV in Seattle. He will also talk about the latest science and how it relates to Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home.”
(3410 SW Myrtle)
CHIEF SEALTH IHS PTSA: First PTSA meeting of the year for Chief Sealth International High School, 7 pm in the Confucius Center on campus. (2600 SW Thistle)
34TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS: 7 pm at The Hall at Fauntleroy, this month’s agenda is devoted to hot issues in Burien. (9131 California SW)
THE BILLY JOE SHOW: 8-11 pm at Parliament Tavern. No cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
TRIVIA NIGHT: 8:30 pm, it’s the famous Wednesday night trivia at Talarico’s in The Junction. (4718 California SW)
WHAT ELSE? See the full lineup for today, tonight, and beyond, on our complete-calendar page.
A few notes from last night’s Fauntleroy Community Association board meeting at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse:
FERRY UPDATES: Gary Dawson, longtime Fauntleroy rep on the Ferry Advisory Committee and also a member of WSF’s Triangle Route Task Force, briefed the FCA board. He wasn’t at the most recent Task Force meeting, but caught up recently with other members. And he looked ahead to the next meeting of the Task Force, coming up tomorrow (Thursday), 4:30-7 pm (Fauntleroy Church, 9140 California SW), as well as the public meetings planned on Vashon (September 20th) and in Southworth, with people furious that boats continue to leave without being filled. He also noted that WSF has been short on boats due to unplanned maintenance issues. and had an update on turnover on the task force – especially among its Vashon membership; without Vashon representation, he thinks WSF should consider discontinuing the Task Force.
FAUNTLEROY FALL FESTIVAL: The popular annual event is coming up on Sunday, October 15th (details forthcoming). While the festival’s organizer couldn’t be at the meeting, she sent some updates: A falcon will be among the new attractions. New Fauntleroy business Wildwood Market will be a food vendor, with mac and cheese. The tamale vendor will be back. So will the cake walk, pumpkin painting, and birdhouse-making. They’re still looking for festival sponsors – and volunteers.
FAUNTLEROY TRIANGLE: 14 more planters are on the way to various areas in and around the newly reconfigured triangle in Fauntleroy’s Endolyne area. The planters and their dirt are to be provided by the city, while FCA is accountable for the cost of the plants. The owner of the building in the heart of the triangle has been donating the water to keep the plants hydrated in that area. FCA has a few other issues with how the area is working, but SDOT says other items are on hold because they are concentrating right now on “corridor” projects.
SURVEY: Every other year, the FCA surveys the community, both to find out what’s on residents and businesspeople’s minds, and to let those people know about FCA. It’s soon going to be survey time again, so they’re opening discussions about what they might ask and how they might get the survey out to the largest number of people. In the past, they’ve used postal mail as well as online.
MEMBERSHIP: A board business item included running through who had paid dues – FCA is one of the few local groups that collects them – and who had not. About a third of the membership on the rolls is behind. The bills should have arrived in spring with the newsletter. Also, a concern was raised about whether they’re reaching new prospective members who move into the area.
NEW BOARD MEMBER: Kris Ilgenfritz was introduced as the newest member of the FCA board.
NO CRIME BRIEFING: Though SPD had been on the agenda, they were not in attendance, so there was no update on local crime trends this month.
6:34 AM: Good morning. If you use 15th SW south of Roxbury, including via bus, note that a big early-morning fire response was still blocking the road as of just after 6 am. We’ll be checking back on that after sunrise. Otherwise, no incidents in/from West Seattle and vicinity.
ROAD-WORK ALERT TODAY: SW 106th/107th reconfiguration between 16th and 27th continues today.
ROAD-WORK ALERT FOR THIS WEEKEND: WSDOT is resuming repaving work on Highway 509 south of here and will have lane closures all weekend.
6:46 AM: Metro says 15th SW is open again.
8:06 AM: Eastbound bridge trouble reported by comment and text – thanks! Bus lane reported blocked by cars/bus collision. Also, SDOT reports a crash on NB 99 at Lander.
5:35 AM: Thanks for the tips. The helicopter you might have heard over White Center/South Delridge was TV, checking out a fire call on 16th in downtown WC, just south of Roxbury. West Seattle fire units were dispatched for mutual aid for a while. We have a crew checking it out.
5:52 AM: What caught fire was a refrigerated truck trailer parked by a building at 15th/SW 98th that firefighters also say sustained damage. No injuries. Power’s out because lines were involved. (The TV helicopter has long since moved on to something else elsewhere in the region.)
6:13 AM: Added photos. Metro says buses that use 15th SW in the area might be affected; fire trucks were still blocking that street when we left a few minutes ago – we’ll be going back after sunrise for a closer look.
9:58 AM: The investigation continues:
In the photo above, you can see the blackened area where the fire spread to the building by which the trailer was parked.
A team of package thieves to watch for, according to this reader:
A package theft on 28th Ave SW near Holden around 2 pm (Tuesday). Amazon box containing a couple clothing items stolen from a front porch. Neighbor witnessed and reported a 1990s teal Subaru with a white female driver and an black male accomplice– white t-shirt & track pants, maybe about 6′ tall, who ran up the driveway, grabbed the package, and both fled in the vehicle.