West Seattle, Washington
Story and photos by Marika Lee
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
One parent said he didn’t learn of changes at his son’s school, Concord International Elementary, from the school or the district, but by asking his son what he did at school in Spanish that day. His son’s reply: “Nothing.”
That was just one of the experiences shared at Tuesday night’s community meeting in South Park to voice concerns about the changes to the Spanish/English dual-language program at Concord.
Another Concord parent, Paulina Lopez, said at the meeting organized by the Concord PTA, “I have always been very strong on bilingualism. That is why I chose Concord. It came to my surprise that there were changes. One reason was because I wasn’t aware of the changes when the year started.”
As reported here last Friday, with the changes, reading and writing are being taught primarily in English.
Four reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:
ARBOR HEIGHTS BURGLARY: Thanks to Greg for word of what happened in his neighborhood late this afternoon: A burglar got away on a motorcycle after breaking into a house at 39th SW and SW 104th. Neighbors told him they noticed a blue motorcycle parked in front of the house, engine running. When they went to check it out, a man came out of the house in a jacket, gloves, and black motorcycle helmet with visor, plus three backpacks. He took off quickly. Police were called. If you have any information, Tweets by Beat says the incident number is 17-369164.
BURGLAR ON VIDEO: Duncan shared two video clips and this report:
We had a prowler Sunday night who broke into our house on the 63xx block of 41st Ave SW while we were sleeping around 1:30 am. We believe he was looking for a place to sleep because nothing was taken and because we know there have been squatters in the two vacant houses behind us. Attached are two videos that were captured by our security cameras. If anyone recognizes him, I would encourage them to reach out to the police.
The incident number is 17-366067.
STOLEN CAR: Mary Jane hopes you will be on the lookout for her car, stolen sometime overnight Monday night into Tuesday morning on Bonair Place SW in the Alki area. It’s a white 2008 Mercury Milan with tinted windows, license plates BCK4159. SPD incident number 17-367388. (UPDATE: The car’s been found.)
PUNCTURED GAS TANKS: Thanks to Jeff for this FYI – a gas-station clerk told him two customers this week have come in with punctured gas tanks, which they didn’t know about until they started their fillups. Anybody else?
Start your weekend at one of West Seattle’s special spots! Here’s the invitation:
You’re Invited! A Garden Party for Dragonfly Park
Join the Friends of Dragonfly Park on Saturday, October 7, from 9 am-12 pm, to get the gardens ready for winter. The main tasks will be laying burlap and spreading sheet mulch.
Seattle Parks and Recreation will provide all of the tools, gloves, and materials. Folks may want to bring a dust mask if they’re sensitive. The Dragonfly Park is located on 28th Ave SW between Yancy and Adams [map].
If you’d like to meet your neighbors, help protect the watershed (a healthy park = a healthy creek!) and spend a little time outside before the winter sets in, head on over on Saturday morning between 9 and noon. Can’t attend this weekend, but want to keep up? (Go here) for news and neighborly camaraderie.
The group is tracking volunteer hours in order to apply for a city grant to purchase new plants and shrubs in the spring. Every little bit counts, so swing by and say hi.
If you know of a group or business might like to contribute financially or with volunteer hours, reach out to Laura Bruco at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’d love to hear from you.
A Little History
If you’re a dog lover or a nature lover, you may already know about Dragonfly Park. Back in the ’90s, Seattle artist Lorna Jordan designed dragonfly-shaped gardens and a metal pavilion shaped like a dragonfly, with a winding path leading down to Longfellow Creek. It’s still a magical little pocket park, but over the past decade this North Delridge neighborhood gem has fallen into disrepair. Until now.
A group of 60+ neighbors in the North Delridge / Luna Park area has teamed up with Seattle Parks and Recreation to restore the gardens to their earlier grandeur. Previous garden parties have focused on pruning, weeding and deadheading, as well as prepping the beds for this weekend’s sheet mulch.
After this weekend’s party, the Friends will focus on planning and fundraising for new plantings to go in next year. Phil Renfrow, Senior Gardener with Seattle Parks and Recreation, is leading the updated design efforts, with a focus on sustainability. The group is hoping that Lorna Jordan will speak at the park during an event in November.
See the full final design on SDOT’s website, and in a smaller version below:
From the SDOT announcement:
Throughout the design process, we’ve been committed to improving mobility on Fauntleroy Way SW for all users – people who walk, bike, and drive. The final design includes two lanes of traffic in each direction on Fauntleroy Way, as we have today, with new sidewalks and crosswalks, a protected bike lane, traffic signal revisions to improve flow, landscaping improvements and more. Read more about the final design on our webpage.
Based on technical analysis and input from the community, we have incorporated into the final design a 2-way left-turn break in the median near 37th Ave SW, while maintaining the traffic calming effects of the landscaped center median. You can read the full summary of public feedback about this design change here.
Construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project is currently anticipated to begin as soon as early 2018. This fall, we’ll begin pre-construction outreach, including sharing more information about traffic routing during construction.
This announcement went out one day after we asked SDOT specific questions about where the project stood, including the “traffic routing during construction” question – so apparently they have yet to decide whether to go with the longer construction schedule, which would involve keeping one lane open each way on Fauntleroy during the project, or the shorter schedule, which would involve making that stretch of Fauntleroy temporarily one way. The answers to our questions, which came in concurrently a short time ago along with this general announcement, also included the note from SDOT spokesperson Norm Mah that “We’re continuing to coordinate with Sound Transit on our collective project timelines.” That was also mentioned by City Councilmember Lisa Herbold in her weekly update last Friday.
2:11 PM: Just announced by Seattle Police, a second arrest in connection with last month’s deadly shooting of Edixon Velasquez outside his home on 31st SW in Westwood:
A 19-year-old male was arrested this afternoon in Auburn by the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force. The suspect will be booked into the King County Jail after he has been interviewed by detectives. This remains an active and on-going investigation.
The first suspect arrested, Velasquez’s 21-year-old ex-girlfriend Anna Kasparova, remains jailed in lieu of $1,000,000 bail, charged with first-degree murder and scheduled for arraignment later this week. More to come…
3:06 PM: The task force is associated with the US Marshal’s Office, whose regional spokesperson tells us that investigators learned that the suspect “was associated with” a resident of an Auburn mobile-home park, and found him with others in the mobile home, then arrested him “without incident.” Still working to find out more.
For the second consecutive day, we’ve received an announcement that another business has opened in The Whittaker (WSB sponsor). This time, it’s West Seattle’s first freestanding BECU branch. The credit union’s newest branch is 2,500 square feet, with five employees and one manager, per the announcement, which also says:
At the new location, BECU members can open accounts, apply for loans, and take care of financial transactions. Consistent with BECU’s operating model, the West Seattle location will offer an innovative “tellerless” layout, which empowers members to access their accounts in ways most convenient for them, including ATM, online banking, and mobile banking. Member consultants will be available to assist with these transactions, as well as provide one-on-one support for opening accounts and more complex services like mortgages, personal loans, auto loans and business services.
The branch at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW will be staffed 9 am-6 pm weekdays and 9 am-1 pm Saturdays, and has two 24-hour ATMs.
Back on Monday, we told you about local service clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions) joining forces to organize West Seattle Night Out for Disaster Relief, 5-9 pm Wednesday, October 11th. Participating restaurants and other businesses will donate part of their proceeds to help relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the Mexico City earthquake. They’ll also accept checks for direct donations – more details on that as it gets closer. With exactly one week to go, the first restaurant to sign up, we’re told, is Great American Diner and Bar in The Junction (4752 California SW). Service-club volunteers are continuing to contact other businesses directly – we’ll update the list as we get word of more.
In the wake of the Las Vegas shootings, Admiral, Alki, and Fauntleroy United Churches of Christ are organizing a community candlelight vigil for victims, survivors, and “the soul of the United States.”
It will be Saturday, Oct. 7, 7:30 pm in the main parking lot at Fauntleroy Church (9140 California Ave. SW). Parking there will be reduced but available in the upper lots.
Another beautiful day under way … here’s what we have for highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
COFFEE WITH A COP: Meet Southwest Precinct police at Alki Starbucks – drop in any time between 2 and 4 pm to chat, as previewed here. (2742 Alki SW)
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS ART: It’s early-release Wednesday for Seattle Public Schools, and South Park Library invites youth to create 3-D mixed-media coffins and learn about Dia de los Muertos, as explained in our calendar listing. 3-4:30 pm. (8604 8th Ave. S.)
SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL: West Seattle’s aging park facilities are a major topic on tonight’s agenda, as well as a discussion of future SWDC leadership. All welcome, 6:30 pm, Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction. (4217 SW Oregon)
DIABETES PREVENTION CLASS: Tonight, 6:30-7:30 pm at the West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor), the next diabetes-prevention class starts:
1 in 3 people is at risk for diabetes, are you? Find out if you are at risk by texting RISKTEST to 97779. If you are at risk, the YMCA can be your partner in reducing your risk for the disease. Join the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and learn how to reduce your risk for developing diabetes, one small step at a time. This evidence-based program is designed to support adults in making lifestyle changes that will improve their overall health and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other national organizations committed to preventing chronic disease. For more information, please contact Brie Davis at email@example.com. Registration is required.
(Contact Brie for location specifics and other details when you register.)
6:43 AM: No incidents reported in/from West Seattle so far this morning.
WEEKEND VIADUCT CLOSURE: Another reminder that Highway 99 will be closed in two phases this weekend, for work in addition to the regular twice-yearly Alaskan Way Viaduct inspection closure – 11 pm Friday to 5 am Monday, northbound 99 is scheduled to close between the West Seattle Bridge and Battery Street Tunnel. 5 am to 6 pm Saturday and 5 am to 6 pm Sunday is the schedule for the southbound lanes to close.
8:14 AM: Thanks for the texts and comments – there’s a crash under the bridge on the ramp from Avalon, reportedly involving a bicycle rider.
8:18 AM: The SFD medic unit’s been canceled and a private ambulance called instead, per scanner, so injuries are apparently not major.
8:50 AM: For those who use 4th Avenue S.- SDOT reports the signal at 4th and Lander is in flashing mode. Remember, that means it’s an all-way stop.
9:54 AM: We checked with SFD regarding the bicyclist hurt in the Avalon crash. SFD spokesperson Kristin Tinsley says he’s a man “approximately 50” and was in stable condition when taken to the hospital.