(August 2011 photo – what the water-main improvements are meant to prevent)
If you’re in the Arbor Heights areas where the city will be replacing water mains and adding fire hydrants as part of the project sparked by the August 2011 house fire – watch your mailbox. Seattle Public Utilities is sending you this one-sheet, now that the date has been set for work to start on October 8th. They’ll move from south to north, starting on SW 105th between 37th and 39th; Award Construction is the contractor, and the city says crews will work Mondays through Thursdays, completing construction by mid-December, with road restoration to follow. As the flyer says: “When completed, these water-system improvements will increase firefighting capabilities, resulting in all properties in Arbor Heights being within 1,000 feet of a 1,000 gallon-per-minute fire hydrant.”
P.S. In case you missed it – one month ago, we researched and published a one-year-later followup on the fire and these planned improvements; see it here.
Tomorrow’s scheduled to be day 1 of the 35th SW project between Roxbury and 100th in Arbor Heights, according to SDOT, which says the entire project should last about a month. It includes changes to the 35th/Roxbury signal, as well as sidewalk work between 97th and 100th, as first reported here 2 1/2 weeks ago.
2:56 PM: If you’re in Arbor Heights and wondering about the notable police presence – there’s a search under way for a hit-run driver, according to Seattle Police. After the crash – for which we don’t have full details yet – the driver parked and ran, with a citizen in pursuit for a while.
3:03 PM: We’re in the neighborhood where it happened, 44th SW south of SW 98th. Nobody hurt. An SPD K-9 team just arrived to join the search. The driver is described as a bald Caucasian man, white T-shirt and blue jeans. He was driving a blue sedan that smashed into a parked white Suburban.
Thanks to “Luckymom30” for breaking this story via the WSB Forums: SDOT expects to start work later this month on a project along 35th SW in north Arbor Heights. As part of it, southbound 35th at Roxbury will be changed to a left-turn-only lane and shared through/right-turn lane; the second part involves sidewalks:
From 97th to 100th, sidewalks are planned along the west side of 35th. The city webpage for the project says the work should start the week of September 24th.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One year ago tonight, one of West Seattle’s most ferocious fires in years destroyed a home in the 10200 block of 41st SW in Arbor Heights.
We wouldn’t usually revisit a fire on its first anniversary. This one, however, affected the lives not only of the home’s owners and renters, but also of those who live in the surrounding area.
It revealed “fire flow” water-system shortfalls that left some of the firefighters helpless for many long minutes to stop the roaring flames destroying the home and threatening to spread. Photos like this one showed their lines, waiting to be filled:
The problems even resulted in a City Council briefing, and a plan for improvements.
So tonight, we look at what’s happened since. First: The immediate effects of the fire – a home, destroyed. What was left of the gutted house was torn down, and the lot remains empty to this day (as reflected even in the official county online records). We went by this morning:
This evening, we spoke by phone with Renée, whose sister was at the time of the fire renting the house, which is owned by their parents. She told WSB the family expects to build a new home on the site by the end of this year. Along with the water-main work that the city is planning, that means two construction projects are about to begin in the wake of the August 27, 2011, fire, that sent up black smoke visible for miles around:
8:49 PM: Seattle Fire Department crews are arriving at a home near 39th and 102nd and reporting “light smoke” visible. We’re on the way and will have updates as more information is available. It does not appear to be a major fire, though – all but three crews have been canceled.
8:57 PM UPDATE: Our crew is there and says it was a small fire contained to a terrarium where a turtle lives. The residents are checking on the turtle.
10:52 PM UPDATE: In case you haven’t seen this in the comments already – a neighbor says the turtle is OK, though a bit shell-scorched.
The punk band Random Orbits will head out on tour today as planned, reports KING 5 (whose story from last night’s newscast is embedded above), even though they suffered a big loss in an Arbor Heights car prowl sometime overnight Monday night/Tuesday morning. According to a post on the band’s Facebook page, the thief/thieves made off with:
Fender 72’ Telecaster Deluxe – serial # MZ9576505 – “SCS” is carved into the back of the head stock
Gibson SG Standard – Serial # 112610579 – Cherry Red
G&L 1981 SB-1 Bass Guitar- Serial # B015960 – Black
David Eden Traveler – Bass Head – Serial # 1887
Marshall JMC 900 – White, with “No Beer On Top” written across the top
2500 dollars Cash which was inside a box of beer koozies/stickers/posters
If you have any information on the break-in or the stolen items, you can call police and refer to incident # 12-191715. Random Orbits is scheduled to play Leavenworth tonight and then keep heading east, all the way to New York state over the course of their tour’s first week.
On this night when the West Seattle Relay for Life teams are walking all night to raise cancer-fighting funds – they have kindred spirits at Arbor Heights Elementary. Barb Glascock shares photos and news from Thursday’s bake sale:
Arbor Heights Elementary School’s 5th graders hosted a bake sale to raise cancer-research funds for Seattle Children’s Hospital. The bake sale was held during the school’s annual Field Day, and, with the help of all of the children, staff and visiting adults buying treats, the kids raised over $500! It was also “Crazy Hair” day. A check will be delivered to Children’s Hospital next week.
(Saturday photo by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
The bonnets worn by Arbor Heights Elementary first-graders Lynn and Lucy on Saturday afternoon might look familiar – two days earlier, they and their classmates wore old-time farmers’ gear to greet a distinguished visitor to their school, newly hired Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda:
(Thursday photo courtesy of AH parent volunteer)
We had reported before on their tomato-growing adventure in teacher Marcia Ingerslev‘s class, and the plan to give away tomato plants at Roxbury Safeway on Saturday; by the time we checked in toward the end of their four-hour stint outside the store, hundreds of plants had new homes, they told us, and as you can see in their table decoration, they had a healthy-food message to go along with it.
That’s one of the most personal moments we caught on video this morning as Arbor Heights Elementary School played host to José Banda – who starts work as Seattle Public Schools’ next superintendent July 1st, after the School Board voted unanimously last night to finalize his hiring. It might be a little hard to hear (with multiple camera shutters mixed in), but he’s speaking with a student about world geography, and mentioning that his son is currently working half a world away – as a teacher. Banda looked in on classrooms all over the school, as well as orchestra practice in the cafetorium, and gave short interviews to the panoply of media crews that showed up (this was his only official photo op as his Seattle visit continued today). But before the designated 10 am start time for the school tour, he was greeted by AH students:
Thanks to an AH parent for sharing that photo of Marcia Ingerslev‘s first-graders, who were dressed as farmers, since they presented the new superintendent with a plant – you saw their story here last week, as they are selling and giving away tomato plants, and will be at Roxbury Safeway this Saturday. (Watching the students, from left, are district communications director Lesley Rogers, executive director of West Seattle schools Aurora Lora; superintendent-to-be Banda; and AH principal Christy Collins; WS school-board director Marty McLaren was there for the visit too). We also took many photos, and more video, and are going through it all right now, to add more to this story later.
(And yes, the new superintendent said, the students did make sure he knows about the poor condition their building is in – rated worst in the district – the BEX IV levy currently proposes a new building for AH, but not to be completed until 2018, and the community is campaigning to have that timetable moved up before the levy plan is finalized this fall; its problems were amply explained during a BEX-related meeting at AH that we covered in April.)
ADDED 4:50 PM: More photos, ahead: Click to read the rest of Video: Arbor Heights hosts superintendent-to-be José Banda…
Tomorrow morning, Arbor Heights Elementary staff and students will be among the first community members to be able to congratulate José Banda on his new job as Seattle Public Schools Superintendent. The School Board voted 7-0 tonight to confirm him, and – as reported here Tuesday – his visit continues tomorrow with a 10 am stop at AH. Here’s the district’s announcement of tonight’s vote: Click to read the rest of School Board confirms new superintendent José Banda, who visits West Seattle tomorrow…
Just announced by Seattle Public Schools in a media advisory, José Banda – scheduled to be confirmed as the district’s next superintendent on Wednesday night – will visit Arbor Heights Elementary on Thursday. Banda has been leading a school district in Anaheim, California, but is coming back to Seattle for the board vote Wednesday night, and the AH visit has been announced as one of his two media availabilities for the visit (a photo op rather than a public event, in case you’re wondering) – the other will include interviews after the board vote.
At Arbor Heights Elementary, a first-grade class isn’t just talking and learning about healthy food – they’re growing it, too, and ready to share their plants with you. Parent Krista Withers shares the news of a plant sale continuing through the end of the week, and a giveaway planned for weekend after next!
All year long our teacher, Marcia Ingerslev, has been focusing on building healthy habits for lifelong nutrition and good health. In addition to cooking in the classroom each Friday, the children from room 16 have been planting, potting, repotting, watering, and caring for many tomato plants.
These plants will be for sale (by donation) after school at the Arbor Heights Playground this week.
Mrs.Ingerslev explains how this will benefit the class, the school and our community here:
“In the cold days of February, the students of room 16 at Arbor Heights planted two flats of tomatoes. With 400 or more sprouts I figured we would get a couple hundred plants.
We are currently at 400 tomato plants, which confirms what I have always known, anything planted and nurtured by a child grows better than when planted by an adult. Some of the plants have been transplanted several times, others are still waiting for a larger home. We will be selling plants until none remain. On May 19th some of my students are going to be at Safeway on Roxbury to share what they have learned about nutrition. They will have a hundred tomato plants to give away. We want families to be able to eat healthy food. This is our small contribution to that end.
If you can’t wait until then or are interested in purchasing (for a donation) more tomato plants, please contact me at email@example.com. 100% of the proceeds go to fund a native-plant garden and our school and to run Room 16′s nutrition program. All of the seeds, pots, and soil were donated. Manpower was provided by first-grade students.”
After-school sales this week are running from about 3:10-4:05 pm. On Saturday, May 19th, Krista tells us, the students’ visit to Roxbury Safeway (Roxbury/26th) will be from 9:30 am-1:30 pm.
(Photo by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
Arbor Heights Elementary School teacher Mark Ahlness started the Earth Day Groceries Project in 1994, and it’s still going strong – with Ahlness and his students bringing this year’s delivery of specially decorated bags to Roxbury Safeway manager Sai Cho (upper left of our photo) this afternoon. The 350-plus bags – bearing art and messages about Earth Day – will be distributed to Safeway shoppers. (Though April 22nd is still more than a week away, but this is the last day of school before a week of spring break, and that’s why this was delivery day.)
With the pro-football preseason is four-plus months away, there’s plenty of time for players to set their sights on a different playing field – local schools. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Josh Portis made a surprise appearance today at Arbor Heights Elementary School (whose students are the “Junior Seahawks”). His message: Stay in school. Not that dropping out is a big problem at the elementary level, but it’s never too soon to start making sure the message sinks in – encouraging better attendance has been a big districtwide campaign this school year. (Thanks to the Arbor Heights parent volunteer who shared the photo of the quarterback and Ms. Wilson, the first-grade teacher who led today’s assembly.)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The principals of Arbor Heights and Roxhill Elementary Schools say the emergence of a proposal to merge the two into a rebuilt AH was as much a “big surprise” to them as it was to their schools’ communities.
That’s part of what they told a gathering of more than 50 people last night at a quickly organized community meeting, less than a week after the merger proposal debuted in the package of possibilities that district staff is circulating (as reported here) as the first round of community meetings begins about what should be in next February’s 4th edition of the every-six-years BEX (“Building Excellence”) levy.
The meeting, led by AH principal Christy Collins, with Roxhill principal Carmela Dellino speaking from the audience, unfolded while the first of those meetings played out across the city at Eckstein Middle School (West Seattle’s school-board director Marty McLaren had sent her regrets to AH and Roxhill, saying she had to be at that meeting instead of theirs). West Seattle’s version of the levy-input meeting is set for 6:30 pm Thursday at Denny International Middle School, and the meeting materials are now on the district website, if you’d like a preview – PowerPoint overview here and “the 3 options” here (which includes the merger proposal).
In addition to answering questions, the two principals sought to explain their side of how this idea might have sprung up, and Collins explained in a show-and-tell why it’s imperative that a new building replacing the 64-year-old AH becomes part of the levy, some way, some how.
Out of the WSB inbox, from Rosslyn:
Arbor Heights Community Meeting on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 at 7:00 pm at Arbor Heights Elementary School Cafeteria.
Purpose: To talk about the district’s proposal to combine Arbor Heights Elementary and Roxhill.
As reported here yesterday, that proposal is part of what’s being circulated for possible inclusion in the Seattle Public Schools Building Excellence (BEX) IV levy next year – but had not been brought up for community discussion prior to turning up in a district PowerPoint at a School Board work session this past Wednesday.
ADDED EARLY SATURDAY: We had sent School Board director Marty McLaren a request for comment on this and other possible BEX IV proposals for this area, and she replied regarding this one that district-headquarters staff “is supportive because it solves the problem of two deteriorated buildings at once and results in a school with significantly reduced operating costs than two schools.” She also has the caveat regarding everything proposed so far, “none of this is set in stone.”
(Sgt. Joe Bauer shows neighbors a map of burglaries reported in the past month)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
JoDean Edelheit‘s neighbors might have wondered why police cars were in her Arbor Heights driveway Monday night – if not for the fact the neighbors were all in her living room with the uniformed visitors.
The Seattle Police Department has been offering the opportunity for these “living-room conversations” for a while – explaining them as opportunities to explore community concerns in informal settings. Monday afternoon, in fact, the SPD Blotter blog-format website published a short story about two recent ones. And that was not long after we got the call from JoDean, inviting us to the one scheduled to happen at her house hours later.
She hosted a dozen neighbors and four SPD reps. The questions weren’t surprising, but some of the answers were.
(Scroll down for updates on the outage and other weather woes)
8:09 AM: Looks like another round of wild weather moving through. And while we’re not sure yet if it’s weather-related, Martha in Arbor Heights reports a power outage. She’s at the end of 35th near Seola Park and says it went out about an hour ago. The outage is not on the City Light map and we haven’t reached them for confirmation yet, but she says that when she called it in, they told her 106 homes were affected. Meantime, the National Weather Service has a “short-term” forecast alert for heavy rain, up to half an inch an hour, this morning.
8:35 AM UPDATE: Not far from Martha’s location at the end-of-35th bend, a tree on SW Seola Lane (map) is apparently to blame for the outage, according to Tbone‘s note in comments and a 6 am “wires down” listing on the 911 log.
9:41 AM UPDATE: Added a photo of the tree trouble at Seola Lane/Seola Beach Drive. City Light’s Scott Thomsen, meantime, confirmed the outage and said it should be fixed by early afternoon. He also says the SCL outage map is fixed now.
10:05 AM UPDATE: Massive downpour for the past few minutes, in line with the Weather Service’s warning (above), though a little past their timeframe.
10:55 AM UPDATE: Sage K sends word that the Delridge onramp to the West Seattle Bridge is flooded again and should be avoided. We’re going to check that out.
11:56 AM UPDATE: Seattle Public Utilities crew was on scene at the Delridge ramp puddle, clearing the drain, when we arrived. (Besides the crew members in our photo, they had a vacuum truck there, too.) Meantime, we have an update from City Light on the Seola outage:
Crew is on site. They’ve isolated the damage to restore most customers. 23 are still out. Two spans of wire are down. Estimate for restoration of service for the remaining customers is about 2:30 pm.
As we continue publishing school-fundraiser announcements, here’s an unusual one for next weekend: Arbor Heights Elementary PTA is presenting a “Family Photo Event,” open to all, not just AH families. 9 am-6 pm next Saturday and Sunday (3/10-3/11) they are scheduling professionally photographed family-portrait sessions for $35, “including one complimentary 8 x 10 print and one low-resolution file.” You can even bring the family pet. Fundraising Committee chair Amanda Nokes says, “We will photograph multiple poses and families will choose their favorites themselves.They are of course welcome to purchase any additional pictures they’d like.” But you need to contact her to book a session – 206-902-6324 or firstname.lastname@example.org. (Get more details via this flyer.)
Thanks to Kevin McClintic for sharing a photo and toplines from last night’s Arbor Heights crime-prevention/Block Watch-formation meeting, which he says about two dozen people attended. Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon (next to the pulpit in Kevin’s photo) was the guest speaker for the meeting coordinated by AH residents Sherry Fullerton and Kathy Ward. Mark stressed what you have heard from police over and over – if you see something suspicious happening, call 911. If you see someone who looks unfamiliar – say hi, “let them know they’ve been seen,” as Kevin summarized the message. Interested in getting involved with Arbor Heights Block Watch efforts, but couldn’t get to the meeting? You can e-mail email@example.com and/or join the new Facebook group Arbor Heights Block Watch.
By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Moving toward the citywide semifinals in two weeks, Global Reading Challenge events continue at participating Seattle Public Schools, and today, it was Arbor Heights Elementary School‘s turn to gather its teams to compete, share their reading knowledge, and decide who’s moving to the next level.
This time, it took what was described as an “unprecedented” tiebreaker!
Got confirmation today that the rescheduled Arbor Heights crime-prevention/Block Watch-organizing meeting is happening tomorrow – Thursday, March 1, 6:30 pm, at Arbor Heights Community Church (41st/102nd). The announcement invites Arbor Heights residents to:
Meet with your neighbors to:
¨ Get information on the recent area crimes
¨ Strategize on actions to reduce area crime
¨ Get printed material on improving home security, enhancing personal safety, and reducing car-related crimes
¨ Learn what WE can do, working together, to reduce neighborhood crime
Come prepared to share your experiences about recent crime and public safety concerns in the neighborhood.
Come ready to become an active participant in reducing area crime and improving neighborhood quality of life.
Got a call today from an Arbor Heights resident – near 44th SW and SW 102nd – who wanted to get the word out about someone who came to her door around 5 pm Monday. She told us he claimed to be raising money for Chief Sealth International High School – but she checked with the school today, and it does NOT have anyone doing door-to-door selling. She also called the police, explaining that after she told the solicitor she wasn’t interested, she watched him for a while, and when he noticed her watching, he started running, catching up with a car that was driving up and down the block. (Sorry, no descriptive info, she mainly wanted everyone to know that any such Sealth soliciting claim was bogus.)
(Photos courtesy Mark Ahlness – more on the AH Elementary Facebook page)
February is a most literary month at many West Seattle schools, with writing/reading events dotting many a calendar. Tonight, for the second consecutive night, we bring you a story about an author visiting a local school – this time, Northwest author Paul Owen Lewis at Arbor Heights Elementary. It’s the third time he’s visited AH, according to longtime teacher Mark Ahlness, who says Lewis’s first visit was in 1998 – that would have been before EVERY student currently enrolled at AH was born! He spoke to assemblies as well as to classes:
Mark says, “As always, he was dynamic, entertaining, and inspirational. A great day that the kids will remember!”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The city’s work to replace undersized water mains in Arbor Heights – a problem spotlighted by water-supply trouble during a house fire last August – is expected to start this month.
That’s part of what Seattle Public Utilities told more than 60 residents who gathered for a community briefing/Q-A session last week at Arbor Heights Community Church, barely a block from the home that burned August 27th.
The first work will be on a relatively small stretch along Roxbury:
But the rest of it – see the full map here – won’t happen until this fall. Why the gap? That’s part of what was explained.
This hasn’t been announced to the media yet, so big thanks to Kevin McClintic for scanning and sharing the postcard he received this weekend: The community meeting promised by Seattle Public Utilities regarding upcoming water-main upgrades is set for this Thursday (January 26), 7-9 pm at Arbor Heights Community Church (4119 SW 102nd). As first reported here last month, water mains totaling two-thirds of a mile will be upgraded this year, as part of a process that began when last August’s big house fire called attention to problems in the system. (That day, firefighters had to run hose almost half a mile to access an adequate firefighting supply.) That process also has included hydrant upgrades; here’s our report on that, from November. (August 27 photo by Katie Meyer for WSB)
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