West Seattle, Washington
Tuesday night was not much of a night for meeting-going, with slush and ice still on the roads, but hardy executive-board members Amanda Kay Helmick, Eric Iwamoto, and Kim Barnes were at the Southwest Library for February’s meeting of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, as were guests Lt. Ron Smith of the Southwest Precinct and Jordan Lowe from startup Josephine.com. Over the course of an hour, here are the toplines of what they talked about:
SOUTHWEST PRECINCT UPDATES: Lt. Smith said the Parks Department was cutting more vegetation by the Roxhill Park bus stop earlier in the day, to increase visibility to reduce crime and other problems. (Helmick mentioned that Metro is getting close to permits for the long-requested lighting alongside the park and is now projecting installation in March.) Businesses in the area are contacting police more often about problems. Then, area crime stats – “a huge increase in vehicle thefts” lately, especially Arbor Heights, Lt. Smith said. Six more than the area had seen by this time last year. But they’ve been making arrests, too. And car prowls are down, as are residential burglaries and robberies. So far this year, there’s been one non-residential burglary in the area, compared to none last year.
HALA REZONING: Barnes has been birddogging this and says that because turnout was low for November’s little-publicized Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda-related Community Design Workshop for the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village meeting was so anemic, the city Office of Planning and Community Development has offered to have another meeting for this area. It’ll be March 1st at Highland Park Improvement Club, start time TBA. They’ll go over notes from the November meeting and get into more details about how to provide community feedback on the proposed rezoning.
JOSEPHINE.COM: Jordan Lowe from Mount Baker was an invited guest to talk about this startup, which “allows home cooks to sell food to their neighbors.” He is one of those cooks and said he uses it as supplementary income. “I pick what I want to cook, how much I want to charge, put it on the website, people come and pick it up. … Over the last couple months we’ve been growing a lot in Seattle.” All cooks need to have a food handler’s permit, he said, and the company pays for it if necessary; they also check out the cooks’ kitchens. He went into some of the details. So far, West Seattle has “three or four people” who are going through the application process. Yes, there’s a catch – “we operate in a gray area,” as Lowe put it when we asked – the meals have to technically be considered “events” by health authorities rather than people making and selling food for purchase. The company started in California and expanded to Portland and Seattle.
NEXT WWRHAH MEETING: Councilmember Lisa Herbold is scheduled to be at the March WWRHAH meeting. The discussion of the group’s direction also has been moved to that meeting (6:15 pm, Tuesday, March 7th, Southwest Library, 35th SW/SW Henderson).
Tonight’s ceremonial “groundbreaking” for West Seattle’s first charter school, Summit Atlas, happened indoors. That’s where the first phase of work to convert the former church/supermarket site at 9601 35th SW will happen – starting next week, according to Summit officials.
It’s been two years since we broke the news that this school was on the way, after discovering an early-stage plan in city files. Tonight, Summit displayed renderings of how the campus will look once they’ve added Phase II, an addition so there’s eventually room for full sixth through 12th grades:
Right now, they have about 125 applicants, split between the sixth and ninth grades with which Summit Atlas will be launched in August, Summit officials told us tonight. They’re accepting applications through March 10th, with a lottery set for the next day if they have more applicants than spaces (they had told us last summer they expected to launch with about 100 students in each of those two grades). The school’s executive director (principal) is Katie Bubalo:
We introduced you to Bubalo in this story last August, when the school year began at Summit Sierra in the ID, one of the two schools Summit (based in California) has already opened in Western Washington. Summit told us that the changes made to their building there are similar to what they plan here. A Summit Sierra 9th grader, Jayla Foster, spoke at tonight’s event:
She said she hopes to become a doctor, and appreciates the “personal attention” the school offers.
Summit Atlas originally was slated to open in fall of last year, but was pushed back a year amid the battle over state funding for charter schools. While a bill passed to provide money from a lottery-related source, charter opponents went to court again and that suit hasn’t been resolved yet. Charters also have support from donors such as those funding the organization that bought and is fixing up the 35th/Roxbury site for Summit Atlas.
The heart of the season for student-benefiting dinner/auctions is approaching, and Arbor Heights Elementary PTA asked us to share their invitation for you to help by attending “Mission: Possible” – 5:30-10 pm Friday, March 10th, at The Hall at Fauntleroy. Tickets are available now – buy yours here; find out more about the event here. Their message: “Please accept this mission and support our community!”
(Have a benefit, PTA meeting, or other event coming up? We can include it in our calendar if you e-mail the info to firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!)
For everyone who asked about the Arbor Heights police search early this morning – officers were gone by the time we got there in search of information, but we’ve just obtained details from the report, via SPD media relations. Around 6 am, a call about a car prowl in progress brought officers to the 3500 block of SW 112th. “Two car prowlers were said to have been chased off by one of the two victims,” Det. Mark Jamieson tells us. A K-9 team tracked the suspects to a nearby driveway, hiding “inbetween cars.” One got away; the other, a 28-year-old man, was arrested for investigation of car prowling and trespass.
4:57 PM: A sizable Seattle Fire Department response is arriving in the 10200 block of 38th SW [map] in Arbor Heights for a possible house fire. First crews are not seeing anything, though. We’re on our way and will be updating.
5 PM: SFD crews have radioed that this was a kitchen fire and is now out, so many of the units are being canceled.
5:06 PM: Our crew on scene confirms this. Firefighters say it was a grease fire and the resident(s) extinguished it. No significant damage, no injuries.
9:58 AM: Though much of the discussion of possible Inauguration Day student walkouts has focused on Seattle Public Schools, the first walkout of the day turned out to be from an independent school. A tip from a parent (thank you!) led us to Westside School (WSB sponsor) in Arbor Heights, where some of the preK-8 school’s older students walked out at 9 am, heading along 35th SW to SW Roxbury, then east for a bit and back to the school. More photos later.
ADDED 11:59 AM: Two more photos:
According to a letter sent to Westside families (shared with us by parents), middle-school students approached teachers and administrators yesterday with their plan for a demonstration. Here is an image of the letter – we are asking the school for a copy:
Also see comments below for explanations from students.
No, it’s not a water break. Your neighbor Joe Szilagyi already inquired with Seattle Public Utilities and shares what he found out:
We had SPU out in the mid block the past two days on 32nd between 97th and 100th cleaning sewers and they had to tap the fire hydrant heavily today to finish the job — all the water is very brown SPU told us approximately from 97th to 100th on 32nd, *maybe* adjacent blocks. It should be fine tomorrow morning sometime if no one uses the water, more usage slows the sediment settling. They said if it’s still brown tomorrow for people to call SPU.
The number to call would be the one we’ve published many times – the one Joe used, too – 206-386-1800.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
For the first time in months, the Southwest Design Review Board had a full house – this time for the first look (aka “Early Design Guidance”) at nine live-work units proposed at 4220 SW 100th in Arbor Heights.
At meeting’s end, they told the project team to come back for a second round of Early Design Guidance, after an intense hour and a half of comments, questions, and concerns.
The project’s assigned city planner Tami Garrett asked if anyone had questions before the meeting – and they did. About parking, and even about who the board members were and how they were appointed. (Like the city’s other DRBs, they are volunteers, appointed by the City Council. When there’s an opening, it’s announced publicly, with a call for applications.)
Three were present – Matt Zinski as chair, with Robin Murphy (a fill-in and former member) and Alexandra Moravec.
Here’s how the meeting unfolded: Read More
Last week, we brought you an update on the plans for remodeling and addition work at the ex-church/ex-supermarket at 9601 35th SW that is set to become charter school Summit Atlas this fall. As mentioned in our update, the formal land-use-permit application is now on file with the city, and that meant a new public-comment period would soon begin. Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin brought the official notice – see it here. If you’re interested in commenting, here’s how. The permit is required for the second phase of the project, involving a two-story addition to make more space for the school; work is expected to start soon on the first phase, which mostly involves interior remodeling of the existing building. (Our report from last August included a look at a building elsewhere in the city that the charter company already has remodeled, telling us the plan for use of the Arbor Heights space is similar.) Deadline for comments, meantime, is January 18th.
Almost exactly two years after we broke the news of West Seattle’s first charter school planned in an ex-church/ex-supermarket in Arbor Heights, site work is about to start. The middle/high school to be called Summit Atlas is planning to open with sixth- and ninth-grade classes in fall of 2017, one year later than originally planned, after charters lost and then regained state funding. James Heugas of Washington Charter School Development, which purchased the site in 2015 for $4.75 million, tells WSB that they expect to start work by mid-January on the first phase, interior remodeling for the first phase. They also have “submitted drawings” in the land-use-permit process for the second phase, which will involve a two-story addition – that’s why the new notification signs (including the one in our photo) are up. A formal city notice will likely be out soon, opening a comment period for that application. (See the “preliminary site plan” here.)
We asked what neighbors will see on the sprawling site once the remodeling work begins; Heugas says it depends on whether they will be able to keep the building’s existing roof, which they are currently discussing with the contractor. Because there’s so much room on the site, he expects that the crews and materials will be largely kept within its confines, minimizing disruption to neighbors. (For more on what’s planned at the Arbor Heights site, see our August report.)
From the “just in case you were wondering” file: After hearing about a water problem in south Arbor Heights late today, we checked with Seattle Public Utilities. Spokesperson Andy Ryan tells WSB,”We had a 4-inch water main break this afternoon (in the 10800 block of) 37th Ave. SW. Water was back on at 5:15.” Just a reminder – if you have a water problem, the SPU number to call to report it is 206-386-1800. (And then let us know! Unlike electricity outages, water outages don’t have an online map.)
Tomorrow (Monday) night, the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meets, and you’re invited. We have added the full agenda to the meeting’s listing on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar; major items include another update on the action plan resulting from July’s Find It, Fix It Walk, and a look ahead to Green Seattle Day volunteering on November 12th. The meeting starts at 6:15 pm, upstairs at Southwest Library (35th SW/SW Henderson).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Two months after the Westwood-Roxhill Find It, Fix It Walk with Mayor Murray and a platoon of city employees, has anything been “fixed”? That was the biggest item – and the final one – on the agenda for this month’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting.
FIND IT, FIX IT FOLLOWUP: Lemmis Stephens and Laura Jenkins, working with the city via AmeriCorps, came to WWRHAH for the followup. Here’s the report they brought:
Jenkins pointed out that pages 7-9 show which projects were awarded grants – one of the neighbor groups, at 22nd and Henderson, will have one more work party this Saturday, and, as reported here a week and a half ago, have been paid a visit by overgrowth-munching goats: Read More
Want to see change in your neighborhood? One easy way is to jump in with the people who are already working on it – but can’t do it alone – your all-volunteer community council. Next West Seattle group to meet is the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, 6:15 pm tomorrow (Monday, October 3rd), at Southwest Library (35th/Henderson). Agenda items include following up on July’s Find It, Fix It Walk (WSB coverage here) and information about the new Westside Neighbors Network. See the full agenda preview in our calendar listing – and if the issue that interests you isn’t featured, show up and speak up!
More SDOT paving work on 35th SW – this time, tomorrow in Arbor Heights. Just out of the inbox:
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that crews will be repaving the intersection of 35th Ave SW and SW 100th on Saturday, October 1. This work is weather dependent.
From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 1, travelers can expect the following:
· Crews will be excavating and repaving the intersection of 35th Ave SW and SW 100th.
· Traffic on 35th Ave SW at the intersection will be down to one lane. Flaggers will direct traffic.
· There will be no parking in the work zone.
· Travelers may enter and exit nearby driveways, but may have to wait up to 15 minutes for equipment to clear.
This project is part of SDOT’s 2016 Arterial Major Maintenance (AMM) program. The AMM program maintains our busiest streets by making strategic small scale investments at key locations on city streets.
(WSB photo from 2015)
The only West Seattle swimming event of its kind is back next week at Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club! In case you haven’t seen it in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar yet, here’s the heads-up:
Bring your furry friends for a swim in the AHSTC pool during the week after the club closes.
11003 31st Ave SW
Tuesday-Friday, September 20-23, 5-7 pm
Saturday, September 24, 11 am-1:00 pm
We have some new treats in store for the pups this year!
This is a fundraiser for AHSTC teams used to purchase big ticket items and helps us to keep our team fees down. Suggested donation is $10/dog for one day or $25/dog for a pass and come as many days as you want! Be sure to invite your friends!
Basic details: Dogs must be healthy, up to date on shots and well socialized. Humans are responsible for their dog’s behavior (and poop). Running on the pool deck is encouraged! No people in the poo,l but you will get wet so dress accordingly.
Thank you for supporting AHSTC teams!
If you haven’t heard about this event before – this is after the last swim of the year in the pool for PEOPLE, and before the pool gets its post-season cleaning, and again, it’s dogs-only, no people. Here’s our report from last year’s event.
Another first-of-its-kind start-of-school ceremony happened today, this time at Westside School (WSB sponsor) in Arbor Heights.
While loud cheers greeted staffers dancing in the aisles of the school’s big theater space – each group introduced with inspirational “theme songs,” from Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” – the real call to action came in the form of a fish story.
Westside’s new head of school Ted Kalmus told the assembled students and parents that he had acquired a pet fish that came with the name Wonder. The story of the fish became a tale of how he hopes that everyone will go throughout the year with a sense of wonder – and curiosity, “become the best question-asker you can be.” He invited the students to each take a blue or green “jewel” (the glass pebbles often found in aquariums or terrariums) from bowls at the bottom of the stairs down from the theater, and to hold it and think of something they wonder about.
With that, Kalmus said, the school would be certain to have a “Wonder”-ful year.
One day after the dedication of the all-new Arbor Heights Elementary, Mayor Ed Murray visited this morning (as previewed here yesterday) to celebrate something else that’s new there – the Seattle Preschool Program. The levy-funded program has expanded to 600 students at more than 30 schools around the city; the levy’s original goal is to enroll 2,000 students by 2018. Tuition is free to families whose income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Arbor Heights still has room for more students, according to the SPP website, which also says there’s room at two other West Seattle schools where the program operates, Louisa Boren STEM K-8 and Highland Park Elementary.
Announced after our visit to Arbor Heights Elementary for today’s dedication of the new building: Mayor Murray will be at AHES tomorrow morning to greet preschoolers arriving for their first day in the levy-funded Seattle Preschool Program. The announcement we received this afternoon says he’ll be joined by school district and city officials during his 7:45 am visit. (We published an announcement back in July that the city-funded program had dozens of openings in local schools including AH.)
And the ribbon is cut at Arbor Heights! Genesee Hill dedication one hour away pic.twitter.com/7WF4Mw6NL2
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) September 6, 2016
The just-concluded dedication ceremony at Arbor Heights Elementary celebrated a day that twice came close to never happening. Mentioned many times during the pre-ribbon-cutting speeches was the fact that the school community had to fight to get the rebuild – and then had to fight to get the schedule moved up in the BEX IV levy so that students could get out of deteriorating conditions as soon as possible. Not mentioned – the fact that just a few years before, during a contentious school-closing process, the Arbor Heights program was proposed for closure. That too was fought and now AH students are hours away from their first day in a $28 million building built for their eSTEM curriculum, as highlighted by principal Christy Collins:
The ceremony in the AHES Commons was attended by a crowd we estimated at more than 400 – here’s just part of it:
The ribbon-cutting was followed by tours – here are our photos from the recent media tour, including many of the elements that Collins mentioned. She was joined onstage and at the microphone during the ceremony by 34th District State Sen. Sharon Nelson, 11th District State Rep. Zach Hudgins, Seattle PTSA Council president Sebrena Burr, Schools First president Melissa Pailthorp, West Seattle/South Park School Board rep Leslie Harris, School Board president Betty Patu, and SPS Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland.
AHES is one of 5 new schools the district is dedicating, and the next one is in West Seattle too – Genesee Hill Elementary (1 pm)!
ADDED: Another view of the crowd in the commons, showing the bracing in the back, meant to be educational as well as safety-enhancing:
The big smiles during the ribbon cutting:
Pieces of the ribbon were offered to kids afterward – “Batman” got one:
Both kids and parents were helping the Arbor Heights PTA make the most of the big turnout, handing out cards touting the “4th Annual Direct Drive” fundraiser – one was offered to us as we walked down the sidewalk before even getting to the school, and the PTA had a table in the lobby:
It was a day for celebration and for gratitude – with principal Collins thanking many, including the neighbors who dealt with two years of construction, and the Louisa Boren K-8 STEM community whose Delridge building they shared the past two years (“wonderful hosts”). And now, as of Wednesday morning, Arbor Heights’ new future begins.
We’ve reported already on the five Seattle Public Schools in West Seattle that are starting the new school year with new principals. We have since learned that a major local independent school has had a change at the top as well: PreK-8th Westside School (WSB sponsor) is now led by Ted Kalmus, who has a two-year appointment as interim head of school while Westside embarks on a thorough process to create a strategic plan and launch a leadership search. He took over after the departure of four-year head of school Kate Mulligan last June. Kalmus served as head of school at independent Billings Middle School from 1997 to 2015, and worked with Westside as a consultant prior to taking the leadership role. He also is on the board of the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (which has its headquarters south of The Junction). By the way, tomorrow will start Westside’s second year in its permanent location in Arbor Heights.
Reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch tonight:
STORAGE FACILITY HIT AGAIN: Two customers of the Public Storage facility in the 2900 block of SW Avalon Way have e-mailed to let us know burglar(s) have struck there again. One reports, “My unit along with about 15 others were hit overnight or sometime this morning.” She’s on a floor with “secure elevators” but was told that entry was made via emergency-exit stairwells. She says she’s moving her belongings somewhere else. The other victim who contacted us also reported being told that multiple units were broken into. We also reported last Sunday on multiple break-ins at the same facility.
MARINE VIEW DRIVE BURGLARY: Also via e-mail: “Today, around 12:30, my parent’s house in the area of 112th & Marine View Dr SW was broken into. The (burglars), possibly two of them, neighbors think were white males wearing construction vests & driving a dark SUV. Made entry through window & took the stolen items out the garage. Of the stolen items, the biggie was a safe. About 2×2.”
Thanks again for the Crime Watch reports – 206-293-6302 text or voice if it’s urgent (after you’ve called 911), email@example.com if it’s not.