day : 05/02/2018 12 results

SCHOOL-BUS STRIKE: Tuesday will be Day 4 of First Student drivers’ walkout

(Some buses rolled out of First Student South Park yard today. Photo by striking driver Al, who texted “Tell the kids I miss them!”)

No word of new negotiations in the school-bus drivers’ strike against First Student, so Tuesday will be Day 4. Seattle Public Schools, which contracts with First Student for yellow-bus service, says in its newest update that some drivers have reported to work:

Some First Student drivers have decided not to strike. As they report to work, we are asking First Student to prioritize bus routes that serve students in special education and those in underserved communities (e.g. Title I schools). As of Monday, Feb. 5, about 70 of the 395 regular First Student drivers had completed approximately 260 daily routes (including both bell tiers).

For now, the best course of action is urging both sides to find middle ground.

The drivers’ union, Teamsters Local 174, says in an update today that “adequate, affordable health care” is the main issue. First Student contends it’s offering a “fair, equitable” deal. Strike side effects, meantime, include increased car traffic at schools – we tweeted a photo today taken at Boren STEM K-8 – and improvised after-school transportation, as noted by the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) on Instagram.

BASKETBALL: West Seattle High School boys win Metro League tournament opener over O’Dea

(#2 Elijah Nnanabu, top scorer for WSHS)

FIRST REPORT, 8:27 PM: That was a nailbiter for a few minutes – but the West Seattle High School boys pulled it out and just beat O’Dea on the Fighting Irish home court on First Hill, 59-55. Next up in the Metro League championships, they play Rainier Beach at 8:30 pm Wednesday at Seattle Pacific University. We’ll have photos and more about the game after we get back to HQ.

ADDED 11:56 PM: It was the thriller on First Hill. Though the Wildcats ended the first quarter up 10 points, and had a 12-point lead for a bit in the second quarter, much of the second half was a lot closer. West Seattle outfought the Fighting Irish, but not without some nailbiting moments. And a lot of cheering by the passionate fan base that crossed the bay for the game.

The lead changed hands for the first few minutes, until WSHS started to settle into the upper hand. They had lost to O’Dea by just two points in the regular season, and didn’t seem too mystified by their opponents’ game plan.

The Wildcat defense forced O’Dea to try lots of outside shots – generally without success. West Seattle had better luck getting inside, including a reverse shot by #2 Elijah Nnanabu – the night’s top scorer with 18 – early on. That really energized the crowd.

O’Dea’s cold-handed shooting was particularly in evidence in the second quarter. The Wildcats had ample rebounding opportunities, and #5 Abdullahi Mohamed excelled. He got the basket that widened West Seattle’s lead to 12 points in the second quarter.

O’Dea started chipping away at that lead for a while. WSHS kicked the defense up a notch, and when they got the ball back, kept powering through:

But the lead was down to five points at halftime, 28-23. Out of the gate in the second half, #23 Anthony Giomi – second-leading Wildcat scorer with 16 – hit the first basket.

They couldn’t pull away, and the Fighting Irish got too close for comfort – narrowing the gap to three points by 5:15 to go in the third quarter. West Seattle stepped up their game again, but O’Dea sensed an opening and tightened up the defense in the waning moments of the third quarter, getting within two in its final minute.

(WSHS head coach Keffrey Fazio)

In the fourth quarter’s early going, O’Dea was suddenly just one point down, 42-41. A pivotal possession for WSHS at 5:34 led to a basket, and the crowd roared. A foul shot widened the lead to four points. But there was no pulling away, despite exciting moments like a steal that led to another Nnanabu bucket. With three minutes to go, the WSHS section in the bleachers was doing some footstomping. At 2:45, the lead was opened to six points, 50-44.

#24 Simon Harris added two points to that with a basket at 2:05. Victory was in view – but still not a sure thing, and two minutes can be forever in basketball. In fact, it almost was – an O’Dea three-pointer with :45 to go turned a five-point WSHS lead into two. But they just wouldn’t let O’Dea get any closer than that, and the final was 59-55.

ONE MORE THING ABOUT WEDNESDAY: It’ll be a WSHS doubleheader at Seattle Pacific University – the girls play Cleveland at 7 pm, before the boys face Rainier Beach at 8:30.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Southwest Precinct fraud-prevention advice as tax season gets going

Scams and fraud aren’t always as obvious as you might think. Here’s more advice about how to protect yourself, sentby Southwest Precinct crime-prevention coordinator Jennifer Danner:

As we head into tax season, we often see an increase in tax fraud and various forms of scams.

In order to combat this, the SW Precinct would like to provide our community with some helpful prevention information about these scams, as well as the most effective way to report them! Subsets of the population are more vulnerable to these types of scams- but everyone can help protect themselves by keeping the following ten practical suggestions in mind, provided by the Federal Trade Commission:

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CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Suspect in assault on police officer is awaiting trial in notorious burglary case

We’ve learned more today about last night’s incident in which a police officer suffered a knife injury to the hand – and the suspect arrested and jailed in the case.

(Sunday night photo by Tim Durkan)

First, SPD spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson tells us the officer’s injury was not major – he was treated at a hospital and released shortly thereafter. As we reported last night, he says, it started with the officer noticing graffiti vandalism in progress on a fence at Delridge and Henderson; he pulled over and made contact with the suspect, who tried to run – a brief struggle ensued, the officer got the suspect under control, called for backup, and after another officer arrived, the suspect started fighting, and at some point the officer discovered he had a laceration to the hand. A knife was found at the scene.

Today we’ve learned the suspect is 20-year-old Jorge Cruz-Benitez, who was arrested and charged in November of last year for allegedly breaking into a Highland Park house while the people who live there – including three children – were asleep. (One of the adult residents tracked him down and widely shared his first-person story.) While Cruz-Benitez was originally held in lieu of $30,000 bail in that case, court documents show that a judge allowed him into an alternative custody program in early December after two and a half weeks in jail, and it was to include treatment for substance abuse. Along with investigation of assault, he is being held right now for investigation of violating drug laws.

Second lawsuit in West Seattle illegal tree cutting settled for $360,000, city announces

(City-provided photo accompanying announcement)

3:34 PM: Almost 10 months after the city announced its first settlement in the infamous West Seattle illegal tree-cutting case, another has just been announced. From the city news release:

The City has settled the second of two civil suits against West Seattle homeowners who the City alleged hired people to cut down a swath of a greenbelt in late 2015 or early 2016 to improve the homeowners’ views.

The unpermitted tree cutting near the 3200 block of 35th Ave. SW occurred in environmentally critical areas on a steep slope near the defendants’ homes. In its two lawsuits, the City alleged that two separate groups of people were responsible for cutting two distinct areas of City trees. Between the two cuttings, 153 trees of varying sizes, including many big-leaf maples and Scouler’s willows, were felled and left crisscrossing the area. The first suit settled in 2017 for $440,000. In the second suit the City sought damages from Kostas Kyrimis, Linda Kyrimis, Nancy Despain, Wendy Sweigart, Leroy Bernard, Joyce Bernard, Charles King, Shirley King and Bruce Gross. The defendants have agreed to pay the City a total of $360,000 to resolve the matter.

Parks remediation of the area is already under way, and Parks plans to use the settlement funds to continue its work restoring the site and other greenbelt areas in the City.

Read the full news release here; our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is quoted as saying, “I expect these clear consequences will make someone think twice before considering arboricide in the future.” You can also read the settlement document here; we’re reading it now and will add any details of note that the city announcement didn’t include.

4:05 PM: A few other notes:

-Before the settlement, the case had been scheduled to go to trial this May.
-City-led restoration work continues at the sites where the trees were cut; volunteers helped out on Green Seattle Day last November.
-If you are new, or need a refresher on where this happened, our March 2016 story included a map.

TRAFFIC ALERT: SDOT crew to work on 6 West Seattle traffic signals tomorrow

Just in from SDOT:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that work is being done at six intersections in West Seattle to install new traffic control components so that they are compatible with the latest traffic control operating system. The new equipment will allow improved system operations and updated pedestrian crossing times. This work is a part of collaboration with community feedback over pedestrian crossing times along SW Admiral Way and California Way SW. Work is scheduled for Tuesday, February 6.

What to expect:

Revised signal operation timings and updated pedestrian crossing cycle length during a.m. peak, p.m. peak, and off-peak hours. The locations are as follows:

41st Ave SW and SW Admiral Way
42nd Ave SW and SW Admiral Way
California Ave SW and SW Admiral Way
California Ave SW and SW Lander St
California Ave SW and SW Stevens St
California Ave SW and SW Hanford St

FIRE STATION OPEN HOUSES: 4 open in West Seattle for Neighbor Day visits

(WSB photo from Station 32’s open house last November)

This Saturday is Neighbor Day around the city – and one of the most popular aspects is the chance to visit local fire stations during Neighbor Day open houses. They’re not all open for the occasion but here are the ones on the list this time – 11 am-1 pm Saturday (February 10th) – in West Seattle:

-Fire Station 11 in Highland Park (16th/Holden)
-Fire Station 29 in North Admiral (2139 Ferry SW)
-Fire Station 32 in The Triangle (38th/Alaska)
-Fire Station 37 in Sunrise Heights (35th/Holden)

More about Neighbor Day as the week goes on!

P.S. Though the list on the city website does not include Station 32 right now, we doublechecked with SFD and they say the new station WILL have an open house too.

UPDATE: Crash on West Seattle low bridge; 1 taken to hospital

1:11 PM: That’s an image taken from the SDOT camera on the “low bridge,” where a crash is blocking both directions right now. No other details so far but you’ll want to take alternate routes.

1:45 PM: SDOT says the crash has cleared. We’re checking with SFD about injuries.

2:15 PM: SFD spokesperson Kristin Tinsley tells WSB that a woman believed to be in her mid-50s was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

DEVELOPMENT: Early-stage proposal for 2800 block of SW Yancy

The latest early-stage proposal from city permit files is for three lots that now hold houses in the 2800 block of SW Yancy – 2811, 2821, and 2827. They would potentially be combined and redeveloped with three 3-story buildings with 43 microapartments and an underground parking garage. The draft “site plan” carries the name of Transitional Resources, the nonprofit that is headquartered nearby, on SW Avalon, with a variety of services for people living with mental-health challenges, including residential units offering “supported housing.” We contacted TR’s CEO Darcell Slovek-Walker to ask for more information on what’s being considered. She replied, “We are in the very early stage of exploring how we can sustain the properties we have rented for years on Yancy Street.” The proposal carries the address of 2821 SW Yancy, though the parcels that would be involved run from 2811 through 2829, according to city files.

Unity event @ Louisa Boren STEM K-8 as Black Lives Matter at School Week begins

It’s Black Lives Matter At School Week nationwide, with local support from the Seattle School Board, which last week adopted a resolution that declares “that the lives of black students matter, as well as the lives of all of our students of color, and that we encourage participation district-wide in the national Black Lives Matter At School Week from February 5-9, 2018.” We stopped by Louisa Boren STEM K-8 this morning after Shawna Murphy sent word of a before-school unity event planned by the PTA.

Yes, you probably noticed something obvious about the people in that photo. And it’s one of the issues raised by the Social Equity Educators (SEE) group from the teachers’ union, the Seattle Education Association: They want the district to hire more black teachers. (Here’s the SEE website.)

At Boren, meantime, buttons, stickers, signmaking, and books were available before school, and we’re told an assembly was planned for today too.

STEM K-8 is the only school we’ve heard from so far – any other local activities/assemblies? Please let us know – editor@westseattleblog.com or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thanks!

West Seattle Monday: From cooking to community involvement, and more!

(Steller’s Jay, through a midwinter foliage drapery, photographed by Jeremiah Holt)

From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar for your Monday:

FREE TAX HELP: 2-7 pm at Delridge Library. No appointment required; details here. (5423 Delridge Way SW)

MEATLESS MONDAY: Cooking-demo class at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) with Chef Kim O’Donnel, 4-5 pm. Today: Red Lentil Dal with Wilted Greens. Cost and other details here. (3622 SW Snoqualmie)

IMMIGRATION DISCUSSION: Fauntleroy Church‘s series of discussions on immigration-related issues continues tonight with “Welcoming the Stranger: How Can Religious Institutions Help Those at Risk of Deportation?” All welcome. Dinner (free-will offering) at 6:30 pm, discussion at 7 pm. (9140 California SW)

FAMILY STORY TIME: 6:30 pm, High Point Library. (35th SW/SW Raymond)

BASKETBALL: The West Seattle High School boys play this year’s first postseason game tonight, 7 pm, at O’Dea. (802 Terry Ave.; map)

PUGET RIDGE COMMUNITY COUNCIL: 7 pm at Puget Ridge Cohousing, with topics including the Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator talking about Block Watches. (7020 18th SW)

AND THAT’S NOT ALL … see our complete-calendar page. And if you have an event, performance, presentation, etc., open to the public, be sure we have it for West Seattle’s most-comprehensive event calendar – e-mail info (plain text, not an attachment) to editor@westseattleblog.com as early as possible – thank you!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Monday updates

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links; is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)

6:49 AM: Good morning. No incidents reported in West Seattle or on the outbound routes.

Updates:

SCHOOL BUS STRIKE: First Student drivers who transport Seattle Public Schools students are striking for a third day.

FAUNTLEROY/WILDWOOD CLOSURE: First scheduled day of a two-week project closing this intersection just south of the Fauntleroy ferry dock and rerouting the C Line and Route 116. We’re headed downhill in a minute to verify.

7:20 AM: As of a few minutes ago, the intersection is still open. But preparations are under way (for example, a car in the “no parking” zone on 45th SW just north of Wildwood was being towed). And the buses ARE rerouting – we were behind a RapidRide C Line going eastbound on SW Trenton. Once on 45th, it’s slow going for the C Line while negotiating a traffic circle that, as a commenter pointed out, has been extended with asphalt for the buses. We’ll check back next hour to see if the closure’s set up yet.

11:38 AM: We did finally get back to the area after 10 am, and yes, the closure is now in effect. Note that 45th SW north of Wildwood is a lot busier than usual because of the detours.

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