West Seattle, Washington
By Marika Lee
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The main presentation at last night’s Southwest District Council meeting was by a visitor from the other side of the city, circulating a petition to support funding for aging Seattle Parks facilities citywide.
“It is a modest increase in property taxes but we feel with the money that is going to be generated over the next three years, if used properly, will provide some tangible benefits,” said Tim Motzer, who spoke to SWDC about the petition sponsored by the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance.
The petition is urging the Board of Commissioners of the Seattle Park District – in other words, the Seattle City Council – to maintain the current park district assessment rate of 27.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for the remaining three years of the Park District’s six-year spending plan. That would increase tax collections in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
“We can generate about $26 million and that revenue along with other sources from the city would allow us to fully fund the eight community centers,” said Motzer, a retired Parks worker.
After IAFF Local 27 – the Seattle firefighters’ union – sent word of seven firefighters starting a fundraising long-distance bicycle ride tomorrow, we asked if any of the firefighters on the ride are based in West Seattle, and found out that one is! First, the announcement:
Fire fighters from all over Washington State are helping actor Gary Sinise, (Lt. Dan Taylor from the movie Forrest Gump), raise funds and awareness for the Gary Sinise Foundation. One of the foundation’s programs, known as “R.I.S.E.,” builds “smart homes” that accommodate the specific injuries of severely wounded military service men and women returning from war.
This team of fire fighters would like to announce their “Fire Fighter’s Ride 4 R.I.S.E.” bicycle benefit ride starting prior to the Seattle Fire Department annual Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Ceremony on October 6th at 08:00 AM located at Occidental Park near Pioneer Square in Seattle and ending in Los Angeles on October 29th. This event will include 24 stops at predetermined cities in WA, OR, and CA, where they will participate in dinners and benefit auctions to raise additional funds and awareness for the program.
To date, the Gary Sinise Foundation has built 39 “smart” homes for Veterans and will have 60 homes completed by the end of the year. Two of the veterans receiving “Smart Homes” from the Gary Sinise Foundation are from the state of Washington.
There are 7 fire fighters riding the entire 1500+ miles from Seattle to Los Angeles with additional riders joining them along the route to support our severely wounded veterans in their quest to have a normal lifestyle.
Check out the foundation and donate (here).
IAFF Local 27’s Tina Clere responded to our followup inquiry and tells WSB that one of the seven firefighters is based at Station 29 in North Admiral, Tim O’Mahony.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 7:43 PM THURSDAY: Tonight we received a few inquiries about a report that a West Seattle High School student made a threat in a classroom during the school day. We contacted district spokesperson Kim Schmanke to ask if she had any information about this, and she just sent us the letter that WSHS principal Brian Vance sent to families tonight:
Dear West Seattle High School families,
Late in the school day, one of our students made a threatening statement. Upon learning about the comments, we contacted the district’s Safety and Security office and the Seattle Police Department.
We contacted the families whose students overheard the comments before sending a school-wide communication.
Please know that we take safety in our buildings very seriously; the well-being of our students is our top priority.
I realize any talk of violence is a cause for concern and we will continue to investigate to assure you that we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students safe at school.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to speak with parents and guardians directly.
ADDED 8:03 PM: We asked if /how the student had been disciplined. Schmanke replied, “My understanding is we cannot disclose the specifics but yes, appropriate protocols were followed regarding the student.”
ADDED 8 AM FRIDAY: Thanks to the parent who forwarded us a second letter that they say was sent this morning:
Dear West Seattle High School families,
I wanted to follow up from my email last night regarding the threat that was made by one of our students yesterday afternoon. I received several emails with a variety of concerns. Unfortunately, I cannot share every detail from our investigation but I wanted to at least clarify a couple of things.
· The student who made the threat was identified immediately and will not be at school while we continue our investigation.
· In an abundance of caution, there will be additional security at school today.
· Both district security and Seattle Police Department are aware of the situation and are helping with our investigation.
· We are planning a normal school day today and plan to move forward with all the homecoming activities this weekend.
· If your student needs to talk with someone, our counselors will be available to do so.
As I said last night, please know that we take safety in our buildings very seriously; the well-being of our students is our top priority. I realize any talk of violence is a cause for concern and we will continue to investigate to assure you that we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students safe at school. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Brian Vance, Principal
West Seattle High School
Both suspects jailed in connection with the September 19th Westwood shooting death of 25-year-old Edixon Velasquez had hearings today:
BAIL HEARING FOR ALLEGED SHOOTER: Bail is now set at $250,000 for the 19-year-old man whose arrest was announced on Wednesday. Probable-cause documents from this afternoon’s jailhouse hearing say that police learned he was in a “dating relationship” with 21-year-old Anna Kasparova, an ex-girlfriend of the victim who is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly luring him out of his home to be shot to death. According to the documents, after Kasparova’s arrest, the male suspect confessed to an acquaintance of his that he was the man who shot Velasquez. That’s all today’s paperwork says; we may find out more after his second scheduled appearance tomorrow, by which time we also should know if he will be charged. The only record we’ve found for him is a misdemeanor theft case that’s pending in Auburn, which is where he was arrested, though documents list his “last known address” as Bonney Lake.
ARRAIGNMENT FOR ANNA KASPAROVA: The first suspect arrested in the case appeared in King County Superior Court this morning for her arraignment. According to the document filed after the brief hearing, she pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to return to court in two weeks for a case-scheduling hearing. Her bail remains set at $1 million. Charging documents filed last month say she told Velasquez she needed to see him, then asked him to come out of his house and help her park her car; security video from a neighbor shows that she got out of the car and appeared to “take cover,” prosecutors say, before a man walked up to the car, pulled Velasquez out, shot him and fled. The video is reported to show Kasparova then walking up, looking down at Velasquez lying on the ground, then getting into her car and driving away, never calling for help. She was arrested the next day at her mother’s house in Burien.
It’s almost salmon-spawning season, and two West Seattle creeks will be watched. One needs your help. Puget Soundkeeper‘s announcement explains:
Puget Soundkeeper is searching for dedicated volunteers to survey the coho salmon that return to Longfellow Creek in West Seattle. Salmon surveys are a great way to observe one of nature’s most amazing migrations and experience scientific field work. The data we collect from these surveys help us understand the effects of toxic runoff on one of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic species and determine the best methods to protect them in the future!
·The nature of this work is geared toward adults only.
Surveying is a weekly commitment that takes approximately 1 hour to complete. The salmon run begins in mid-October and finishes mid-December, during which there will be a survey every day. Volunteers will be divided into teams of 2-3 people and assigned a weekday to conduct their survey.
We’re looking for adventurous volunteers! Surveying requires handling fish carcasses found in the creek (with gloves) and dissecting the female salmon to check for eggs.
Volunteers should be in good physical condition. Surveying in Longfellow Creek requires climbing up and down steep muddy embankments and wading through shallow water on uneven terrain.
Surveying is conducted in varying weather conditions. If conditions are dangerous (e.g. a downpour), we will cancel on that day. Otherwise, we survey rain or shine.
Volunteers will be provided with surveying kits and waders (unless you have your own pair). Data collected during the survey will be uploaded by the volunteers into Puget Soundkeeper’s database.
Volunteers will attend an orientation meeting on Tuesday, October 10th from 6:30-8:30pm at Chaco Canyon Organic Café in West Seattle (3770 SW Alaska St).
More info – and the registration form – can be found here.
Back in January, we told you about West Seattleite John Bennett‘s purchase, with business partners, of neglected commercial spaces in the heart of South Park. Perhaps the crown jewel of those spaces was the 1920s-era South Park Hall, a large second-floor space including a stage, a kitchen, and lots of room. Bennett told us at the time that they hoped to keep it an event venue – and that’s exactly what transpired. We heard this week from the two other West Seattle entrepreneurs who have made that happen, Heidi Herr and Corina Luckenbach, who you might know from Admiral Bird – and now, as proprietors of South Park Hall. They are offering a $100/hour introductory rental rate through November; the space holds 175 people and has A/V capability as well as the aforementioned kitchen and small stage, plus a bar and renovated restrooms. Luckenbach says, “We are super proud of what we were able to do and to keep it looking as original as possible.” The newly renovated venue (1253 S. Cloverdale) has a website with lots of info at southparkhall.com.
The grand total is in from the most recent Recycle Roundup in Fauntleroy. Judy Pickens sends the report:
A total of 370 vehicles bearing 13.5 tons of recyclables passed through the Fauntleroy Church parking lot during the Sept. 24 Recycle Roundup. This take brings to 204 tons the amount collected from West Seattle households for responsible recycling since twice-yearly roundups began in 2010. The church’s Green Committee will host the spring roundup on Sunday, April 22.
That’s up almost 50 percent from last fall’s 9.25-ton dropoff day.
P.S. If you can’t wait until spring – the West Seattle Junction Association‘s recycle/reuse event is coming up a week from Saturday – 9 am-1 pm October 14th!
(Photo by James Bratsanos)
If you were up early – you might have seen that magnificent moonset! If not, thanks to those who sent the photos we’re sharing along with highlights for today/tonight, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
OPERA PREVIEW CONCERT: Free – one hour of music and stories previewing “The Barber of Seville.” 2-3 pm at Kenyon Hall. All ages welcome! (7904 35th SW)
‘ANGST: BREAKING THE STIGMA AROUND ANXIETY’: New documentary about a common mental-health problem – free screening tonight at Seattle Lutheran High School, 6:30 pm. Open to all; recommended for age 12 and up. More info in our calendar listing. (4100 SW Genesee)
MYERS WAY HOMELESSNESS: That’s the central topic of tonight’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, with scheduled guests including the city’s director of homelessness George Scarola and King County Sheriff John Urquhart. All welcome. 7 pm at North Highline Fire District HQ. (1243 SW 112th)
READ THE KORAN IN 4 WEEKS: First Lutheran Church of West Seattle pastor Rev. Ron Marshall‘s long-running four-week course starts a new series tonight, 7 pm – details in our calendar listing – check to see if there’s room. (4105 California SW)
COMEDY NIGHT: 8:30 pm – right after Thursday Night Football – with Komodo Comedy at Hawks Nest West on Alki. (2806 Alki SW)
MOONRISE/MOONSET FOR TONIGHT/TOMORROW: 7:07 pm moonrise tonight, 8:08 am moonset tomorrow.
LOTS MORE ON THE CALENDAR! See the full list for today – and beyond – by going here.
New plan this year for trick-or-treating in The Admiral District – merchants will welcome trick-or-treaters on Halloween – Tuesday, October 31st:
Admiral District merchants of West Seattle are proud to announce the return of the annual “Trick-or-Treating” event for 2017. This year the Admiral District “Trick or Treating” event will occur on Halloween, giving families the opportunity to trick or treat in a safe environment on the holiday itself. This long-standing Admiral neighborhood tradition has grown in popularity each year, and continues to be a West Seattle family favorite.
Trick or treating in the Admiral District is 100% volunteer-supported by the businesses operating near the intersection of Admiral and California Ave SW. Each year, local businesses give back to the community by providing a safe place for trick-or-treating. Find your favorite costume, grab the kids, and come out on Tuesday October 31st to join in on this popular West Seattle event!
Participating merchants will display the sign you see atop this story.
P.S. The annual WSB Halloween guide – not just Halloween itself, but also the special events leading up to it – will go live this weekend; if your organization/business/etc. has a public Halloween/harvest/fall-festival-type event, please send us the information ASAP if you haven’t already – firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
7:02 AM: No incidents reported in/from West Seattle so far.
WEEKEND VIADUCT/99 CLOSURE: It starts tomorrow night – Highway 99 will close in two phases, for the regular twice-yearly Alaskan Way Viaduct inspection closure, plus work related to the tunnel project. First, from 11 pm Friday to 5 am Monday, northbound 99 is scheduled to close between the West Seattle Bridge and Battery Street Tunnel. Then, 5 am to 6 pm Saturday and 5 am to 6 pm Sunday, the southbound lanes of the same stretch are set to close. (If anything reopens ahead of schedule, as always, we’ll update.)
7:18 AM: SDOT reports a crash partly blocking the right lane on the eastbound West Seattle Bridge at midspan. Apparently no injuries, as SFD has not been sent. (Watch the top-right camera for updates.)
7:37 AM: That incident has now cleared.
8:15 AM: SDOT reports a crash at Delridge/Holden.