West Seattle, Washington
3:28 PM: West Seattle’s first charter school is still moving toward opening in Arbor Heights next fall, despite the state Supreme Court ruling saying public funding for charter schools is unconstitutional.
That’s according to Jen Wickens, regional director for California-based Summit Public Schools, which plans to open Summit Atlas, a charter middle/high school, at 9601 35th SW. Washington Charter School Development bought the site from Freedom Church in June for $4,750,000, initially with a large-scale remodeling/addition project that has now been changed to two phases, the first to get the building ready to host the founding 6th- and 9th-grade classes next fall. City files show its permit is still pending.
Wickens tells WSB that the Washington Charter School Commission “unanimously approved the Atlas contract” earlier this month. She says that while Summit is “deeply disappointed” with the state Supreme Court ruling, they’re moving ahead because “we remain hopeful that we will find a solution to serve the students and families of West Seattle.”
Summit opened its first two schools in Washington this fall and took interested West Seattle families on a tour of one earlier today, Summit Sierra in the International District. Wickens says the Summit Atlas principal, Greg Ponikvar, “has been meeting with families and students and we know there is deep interest from the West Seattle community.” The Charter School Commission approved Summit’s application in August, less than a month after a hearing held at the building the school intends to use. First word of the charter-school plan emerged in January, when we found out about it via a building-permit application that popped up in city files.
Meantime, 10 state legislators – none from our area – are asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision. The ruling has not been finalized, which is why, as explained in this month’s report by the Charter Commission’s executive director, the schools that are open have continued to receive state funding.
ADDED 4:09 PM: And there’s word a short time ago of another filing asking the Supreme Court to reconsider – this one is a “friend of the court” brief from four former state Attorneys General – Ken Eikenberry, Slade Gorton, Christine Gregoire, and Rob McKenna. Here’s the document.
(Added 6:21 pm: WSB photos)
4:50 PM: Police are dealing with a possibly armed person in crisis at a residence in Arbor Heights, and as a result, they’re blocking off traffic, including SW 106th – we’re not sure exactly how far west of 35th, but avoid the general area.
5 PM: Our crew checking on the nearby road closures reports helicopter activity. First it was Guardian One, then a TV helicopter.
5:13 PM: We still have a crew in the area watching for word of a resolution to this. They and others are being kept at a distance. Again, SW 106th is blocked off for several blocks from 35th west.
5:19 PM: The person is reported to have come out of the house and is in custody. An ambulance is going in. That doesn’t mean anyone’s been hurt – usually in situations like this it’s so the person in crisis can be evaluated.
5:30 PM: The person who came out of the house is being placed in the ambulance.
5:40 PM: Our crew at the scene just talked to SW Precinct Lt. Alan Williams, who says they’re still sorting out exactly what started all this, but they hope to have the area opened up again shortly. A relative has been allowed into the house to make sure three dogs in there are safe, and police have been dealing with parents arriving to get their kids at a nearby day care that was being “held in place” until everything was resolved. They also are reported to have retrieved what was described as an inoperable .22 from the house. Again, no injuries reported to anyone in the situation. Police deal with things like this more often than you might realize; we’re reminded of an incident in Gatewood we covered just nine days ago, also resolved without injury.
Update on a story we reported here about this time last night: The memorial bench from ARK Park in Arbor Heights has been found. The family of the baby for whom it was named says the little bench turned up in some bushes in the park, broken in two. Despite the damage, they’re glad to have it back, and thankful that so many people were on the lookout for it.
This marble bench graced ARK Park at 42nd SW and SW 102nd in Arbor Heights, in memory of a little life lost, until a heartbreaking discovery: Someone has stolen it. They had to have known it was a memorial, given this plaque:
Allexandra Ramona Kimball is the park’s namesake and inspiration; as noted here in 2009, the first anniversary of her birthdate was the day ground was broken for the park. While the land is owned by neighboring Arbor Heights Community Church – which also operates ARK Preschool in her memory – it was created for the entire neighborhood, and has been the site of block parties and other celebrations. The bench is described as “irreplaceable to those who were affected by her short, sweet life.”
4:21 PM: A big Seattle Fire response is on the way to a possible house fire in the 10200 block of 41st SW (map). More to come.
4:26 PM: First unit on scene said it appears to be a small fire on the deck.
4:46 PM: We confirmed that on scene. So small, firefighters were able to extinguish it quickly. No injuries, little damage, SFD left right after we got there.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
Didn’t take your dog to the Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club tonight for the first of five “Dog Days of Summer“? Your next chance is 5-7 pm tomorrow. It was sunny but a little brisk, yet the dogs just couldn’t wait to get into the pool
This is an annual fundraiser tradition to help support the AHSTC swim teams – the dogs are allowed in after the human swimming season ends, before the pool is drained and cleaned to await next year.
This continues 5-7 pm the next three days, and 11 am to 1 pm this Saturday – details in our preview.
The pool is at 11003 31st SW.
When Betina found her car had been prowled overnight, she noticed an odd detail:
My car was broken into last night/early morning between 2:00 and 7:00 AM (Saturday, 9-12-15) near the intersection of SW 104th Street and 32nd Ave. SW in Arbor Heights. The car was parked in the driveway.
I found that the rear passenger quarter glass window was smashed, the driver door was left open, and the hood was also left open (not left wide open, but they did not latch it closed after they were done peering into the engine compartment). Nothing of any significance was stolen and there was no damage to the car, except the window. It does not appear that the person/prowler/thief was very interested in any personal items in the car or they were very neat, because everything was still in the glove box, console, etc.
I find it interesting that the hood was open, but no attempt was made to steal the car itself (no steering column damage). Maybe this car did not fit their esteemed criteria.
It’s become a tradition at the Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club pool – just before it’s drained and cleaned after the season ends, it’s opened to local dogs for a fun(draiser). More than a few people have messaged us in recent weeks to ask if it’s happening again this year, and finally we can say “yes,” after receiving the photo and announcement from Cori Roed:
It’s that time again, The Dog Days of Summer at the Arbor Heights Swim & Tennis Club. Tuesday 9/22 – Saturday 9/26.
Weekdays 5-7 pm
Saturday 11 am-1 pm
Donation to AH Teams via cash or check to AHSTC
Suggested: $10/dog or $25 for a pass for the week.
Your donations allow us to purchase equipment and keep our team fees low. Thank you!
11003 31st Ave SW – Please drive slowly on 31st, no matter HOW excited your passenger is. See you on deck!
No, you don’t have to be a member. And no, you can’t go in too – dogs only.
ORIGINAL STORY, 10:48 AM: In West Seattle Crime Watch this morning, a stolen work van to watch for:
My husband’s van was stolen from in front of our house sometime between 8:00 pm last night and 9:00 am this morning. It was locked and parked in our driveway. We live in the Arbor/Arroyo Heights neighborhood at 10811 35th Ave SW.
It is a white 2003 Ford Econovan 250. It has my husband’s logo on both sides and the back of the van – “Toma Construction LLC.” It contained many tools. We have notified the police, and the dispatcher told us another Econovan (apparently a painter’s van) was stolen from the neighborhood last night, as well. If anyone has seen it, please contact us at email@example.com, at 602-326-7262, or at 206-697-5087.
But first, please call 911.
6:57 PM UPDATE: Found!
(Late this afternoon), we got a call from a WSB watcher saying the van was parked on his street, about two blocks from our house. There is damage to the car and my husband’s expensive tools are gone, but we are thankful that we have the van. Thank you, WSB and neighbors!!
Received tonight from SDOT:
We are writing to provide an update on the microsurfacing project in Arbor Heights. We will be using our make-up day, tomorrow, Friday, September 11, to complete microsurfacing on the following streets:
*SW Arroyo Dr and 39th Ave SW, beginning at 9 AM
*49th Ave SW
*SW 112th St between Marine View Dr SW and 35th Ave SW, including side streets scheduled for microsurfacing
*SW Ocean View Dr
*SW 114th St
We understand using our make-up day may interrupt plans or be otherwise inconvenient, and we make every effort to avoid such occurrences. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we complete this work.
If you have any questions about what to expect during tomorrow’s work or about the project, please feel free to review the attached construction notice we sent previously or contact us.
Here’s that notice; the project hotline is 206-727-3669.
Before this week’s round of community meetings gets under way, we have one more to recap from last week – the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council‘s first meeting since June.
CRIME FOLLOWUP: As WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick pointed out, the June meeting (WSB coverage here) focused on crime, especially chronic problems in the South Delridge area. Some action had ensued – “some flare-ups, some diedowns.” And then Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores got up to speak. He’s one of two Southwest Precinct CPT officers right now – the team had been up to 4 just a few months ago, but, he said, one member has been promoted and another has been assigned to a technology project.
In this area in the past two months, he said, SPD has tallied:
-112 calls for suspicious activity/circumstances
-19 residential burglaries
-13 harassment/threat calls
-6 car prowls
-2 armed robberies
After the June WWRHAH meeting, Officer Flores said, they were clear on what needed to be done in the South Delridge area – they met with several other city departments, got some CPTED principles applied to the area, but they are still working on some things, like graffiti-vandalism cleanup.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
As you might have heard by now, the State Supreme Court has ruled that the publicly funded charter schools stemming from Initiative 1240, approved by voters in 2012, are unconstitutional. The Friday afternoon ruling (see it here) said they’re not eligible for public funding because they’re not under local voters’ control.
This comes less than a month after the state Charter School Commission approved what would be West Seattle’s first charter school, a plan by California-based Summit Public Schools to open a middle-/high-school campus next year at what’s currently the Freedom Church/Jesus Center at 35th/Roxbury (newly named Summit Atlas, according to its website). Even before the state commission’s approval, the site was purchased by Washington Charter School Development for $4,750,000, with the intention of remodeling the supermarket-turned-church building into the school’s first wing (its seven grades are to be phased in, starting with 6th and 9th in the first year). Summit announced that the West Seattle school’s director, Greg Ponikvar, was starting work right after the approval, and had started taking applications.
Summit’s first two schools in Washington had just opened – one in the International District, one in Tacoma. We e-mailed Summit’s regional director Jen Davis Wickens (who we interviewed in July to talk about the West Seattle plan) to ask for reaction on the court ruling. Regarding the West Seattle plan, Wickens said, too soon to say: “Our lawyers are still analyzing the ruling and we’re working on our next steps.” Their Washington operation has been focused on reassuring the families enrolled in the two newly opened schools – here’s the letter Wickens said was sent to those enrolled at Summit Sierra last night in the ID by its director (principal), Malia Burns:
Dear Founding Spartan Families,
It is with sadness that I write this message to you this Friday evening before the holiday weekend.
Today, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that public charter schools are “unconstitutional.” The ruling is not a criticism of charter schools or charter school organizations like our, nor does not immediately shut down charter schools. The case will be sent back to King County Superior Court to determine next steps.
We want to assure you that school will be open on Tuesday, September 8th, as usual. We will be hosting a special community meeting Tuesday morning at 7:45 AM to provide updates.
Rumors and misconceptions can quickly take hold, but please remember that Summit remains deeply committed to each and every family.
Also, please know there are many folks fighting for our public charter schools. We will be working with our colleagues in other schools and with WA Charters to chart our collective path forward (updates will be available on the WA Charters website).
For those families that have asked how they can show their support for their school, please come to the community meeting Tuesday. We will share any and all information that we have with you then.
Our community is new, but it is powerful, courageous, and committed.
Here’s the statement that the Washington Charter School Association, mentioned in the letter, has published. Meantime, back to Summit Atlas, the 400-plus-page application it had filed with the state envisioned supplementary funding from charter-school-support organizations as well as the public funding set up by the voter-approved initiative; the organizations mentioned include the Hollyhock Foundation, CSGF Walton, and the Gates Foundation. You can see the budget documents starting with Attachment 25 in the application. Work has not yet started at the building, which its new owner had leased back to Freedom Church TFN.
Final details are now all worked out for the rescheduled microsurfacing in Arbor Heights. Here are full details from SDOT:
The pavement on many Arbor Heights streets is about to improve. On Wednesday, Sept. 9 or Thursday, Sept. 10, SDOT will be applying a microsurfacing overlay to local roads, weather permitting. This preventative maintenance work was scheduled originally for Monday, Aug. 31, and Tuesday, Sept. 1, but SDOT postponed the work due to rainy weather.
SDOT understands Wednesday, Sept. 9 is the first day of school. Please review the map above and the notes below, and contact us if you foresee any complications with your transportation and access needs during the work period. This week, SDOT’s contractor, VSS International, distributed a final notice confirming the work with neighbors on streets scheduled for microsurfacing.
To ensure the microsurfacing treatment has time to properly cure and dry, streets receiving the treatment are closed, on average, for 4 hours between 7 AM and 5 PM on the day work is scheduled. In rare cases, streets may be closed for up to 8 hours to ensure proper curing and drying. If you live, work or play on a street scheduled for microsurfacing, please note the following:
• Please follow posted “No Parking” signs and detours
• Cars must be relocated off the road and planting strip area prior to the start of work. Cars parked within the posted work area will be towed at the owner’s expense. If you wish to use your car on the day you are scheduled for microsurfacing, we recommend you move it to an unaffected street prior to 7 AM.
• If work coincides with your regular garbage, recycling or yard waste pick-up, please have your bins to the curb before 6 AM to ensure collection. We will not affect pick-up.
• Streets generally reopen within 4 hours of closure, but in some cases, may take up to 8 hours to reopen
• If a street is not completed on the day it is scheduled, it will be completed on our make-up day, Friday, Sept. 11. If for any reason SDOT is unable to maintain this schedule, you will be re-notified of the new date to resurface your street.
• Emergency vehicles will have access through the project area at all times without delay
Please note, SW 104th St east of 35th Ave SW is scheduled for microsurfacing on Thursday, Sept. 10, not Wednesday, Sept. 9 as indicated on some final notices distributed in the neighborhood.
Microsurfacing is a preventative maintenance method that extends the life of pavement for 7 to 10 years. Similar to painting a house, microsurfacing creates a protective layer which preserves the underlying structure and prevents the need for more expensive repairs in the future. To be effective, the treatment must be applied in dry weather and dry completely before being driven or walked upon again.
SDOT successfully completed a microsurfacing pilot project in Arbor Heights in 2014. More information on that project is available here.
Questions? For more information:
Art Brochet, Seattle Department of Transportation
2015Microsurfacing@seattle.gov | 206-727-3669
August is going out as blustery as if fall were here already … and September starts with community groups resuming their regular meeting schedules. As the leaves fall, consider turning over your own new leaf and getting involved, if you’re not already. Tomorrow night is the first Tuesday of the month, which means the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council invites you to the Southwest Library‘s upstairs meeting room, 6:15-7:45 pm. Here’s the agenda:
6:15-6:20: Introductions & Community News
6:20-6:45: Committee & Neighborhood Council Updates
6:45-7:15: Welcome Back and Updates: SPD Officers Jon Flores and Kevin McDaniel will be with us to give us an update on the micro-policing plans. And how things looked this summer
7:15-7:40: Topics for Next Meetings: Brainstorm ideas for meetings and things to touch base on with the City.
7:40-7:45: Wrap Up: Break down the room; library locks up promptly at 8 pm.
Even if you just want to sit in the corner and observe/listen, all are welcome. The library’s on the southeast corner of 35th SW and SW Henderson.
(WSB photos by Christopher Boffoli)
34 years after Westside School (WSB sponsor) was founded, it finally has a permanent home. “Heading Home” was the theme for Saturday’s celebration of the newly completed campus in Arbor Heights, as it has been for the process of making that dream come true, even before work began at the former Hillcrest Presbyterian Church 16 months ago. So no mere windstorm was going to stop the party, and the ribboncutting happened indoors.
Hundreds of the Pre-K-through-8th-grade school’s students, family members, staff, and other Westside community members present and past were there to see the new campus a week and a half before its first classes.
They heard from Head of School Kate Mulligan:
Westside’s founder, Alice Howell, was also onstage (second from left, below) along with, in our next photo, former head of school Jo Ann Yockey, teacher Claudia Ross-Weston, former head of school George Edwards, and assistant head of school Don Cunningham:
As “owner’s rep,” Cunningham supervised the renovations and construction with which Sundberg Kennedy Ly-Au Young Architects and general contractor Kirtley-Cole Associates LLC created Westside’s permanent home. To officially open it, Howell wielded the giant scissors for the ceremonial ribboncutting!
(June 2015 WSB photo of future charter-school site at 35th & Roxbury)
Summit Public Schools has just cleared a major hurdle in its plan to open West Seattle’s first charter school at the site of what’s currently the Freedom Church/Jesus Center at 35th and Roxbury – the state Charter School Commission, chaired by West Seattle resident Steve Sundquist, approved the plan today at a meeting in Georgetown.
Summit, a California-based organization, is opening its first two Washington schools this fall, in the International District and in Tacoma, and plans to open this one in fall of next year, phasing in middle- and high-school grades over four years, starting with 6th and 9th grades in year 1. As we’ve reported during coverage going back to January, Washington Charter School Development already has purchased the site for $4.75 million and plans first to remodel its supermarket-turned-church building, later adding onto it.
We’re seeking comment from Summit managers, who told us last month that as soon as this approval came through, they would proceed full speed ahead with setting up the school and recruiting students. By authorization of state voters, charter schools get public funding, and are open to all; Summit told us last month that if more students apply than they have room for, they’ll use a lottery to assign the spots.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
10:20 PM: All those sirens are from a big Seattle Fire response headed to a possible house fire in the 10200 block of 32nd SW in Arbor Heights [map]. Updates to come.
10:23 PM: Crews are starting to arrive. Early word is that the fire started in the living room, and that everyone got out of the house OK.
10:28 PM: Per scanner, they’re scaling back the response. The fire has been declared “tapped.”
10:43 PM: Our crew has talked with the incident commander, who says it was a “small electrical fire” that’s now out; nobody hurt, and the residents will be able to go back inside shortly.
Two West Seattle Crime Watch reports tonight. First one is a reader report from Chris, who hopes that you will be on the lookout for these items stolen by car prowler(s):
At about 8:20 this (Sunday) morning, a purse was stolen from a car on 108th and 35th Ave SW. It had a wallet and a phone (white LG with cover). The purse was a gold cloth purse with a design and a shoulder strap. The wallet was a gold leather. If you see these in the bushes or somewhere, we would love to get them back.
The car prowl has been reported to police. According to the SPD crime-report map, seven car prowls were reported in West Seattle between Tuesday and Saturday (the most recent period mapped):
BURGLAR WHO LEFT A CARD BEHIND: This one is from a police report with narrative now accessible online, from a burglary in the 2600 block of 46th SW last Sunday.
Thanks to Brent Lindblom for sharing the photo and report:
Congratulations to the Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club swimmers who are advancing to the Seattle Summer Swim League ‘SSSL” “All City” championship.
All City is August 4, 2015 (Tuesday) at 4:00 and will be held at Wedgwood Swim Club, 7727 28th Ave NE. Below are your Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club All City Qualifiers by name and events:
Lucy Rysemus: Alternate for 100 Free Relay
Sadie Pallotta: Alternate for 100 Free Relay;
Marlo Pietsch: Alternate for 100 Free Relay
Clara Henzke: Alternate for 100 Free Relay
Brooke Swanson: Alternate for 50 Breast Stroke
Cassidy Wells: 200 Medley relay, 50 Back Stroke, 200 Free Relay
Madison Cannard: 200 Medley Relay, 50 Breast Stroke and 200 Free Relay
Sofia Libao: 200 Medley Reay; Sophia Minor: 200 Medley Relay and 200 Free Relay;
Alena Slee: 200 Free Relay
Ty Lindblom: 200 Medley relay, 100 IM, 50 Back Stroke and 200 Free relay.
Ben Kinerk: 50 Free, 200 Medley Relay, 50 Breast Stroke and 200 Free relay.
Tate Ingraham: 200 Medley Relay, 200 Free Relay
Brendan Klem: 200 Medley Relay. 200 Free Relay
Gabby Carufel: 50 Back Stroke. Alternate 200 Free Relay
Hanna Tittel: Alternate 200 Free Relay
Taylor McGlothlin: Alternate 200 Free Relay
Naomi Williams: Alternate 200 Free Relay
Jeff Kasahara: 200 Medley Relay. 50 Back Stroke. 50 Breast Stroke
Nate Williams: 200 Medley Relay.
Tyler Lenzie: 200 Medley Relay.
Dylan Jergens: 200 Medley Relay.
(Photo by Scott Thomas)
11 months after crews began the process of building the new Arbor Heights Elementary by demolishing the old one, construction has reached a milestone, with structural steel going up. Both Scott Thomas and Darren Pilon sent photos today.
(This photo and next by Darren Pilon)
We also have an update on the construction plan – Seattle Public Schools is building to the maximum possible capacity, about 660, rather than to the smaller option, 500 students. This is according to district spokesperson Tom Redman; the decision had not been made when the last pre-construction community meeting was held, nor had it been made when we asked a few times in the ensuing months.
Arbor Heights students and staff will spend their second year in interim quarters at the Boren Building starting in September, with enrollment projected at about 400. As of right now, the plan to occupy the new building for the 2016-2017 school year is still on. That’s three years earlier than what the district was planning until the Arbor Heights community convinced SPS leadership that they couldn’t serve students appropriately for that much longer in the old, crumbling buildings.
SUMMARY: Twenty people spoke tonight at the only local hearing the Washington Charter School Commission will have for Summit Public Schools‘ proposal to open West Seattle’s first charter school in a supermarket-turned-church building in Arbor Heights. Only one was a charter-school critic. Another voiced some skepticism. The other 17, including Summit employees and even a recent graduate from a Bay Area Summit school, voiced strong support. The speakers were chosen in a drawing; when they were done, time remained, and many more numbers were called, but almost all those ticketholders seemed to have vanished. Meantime, the commission will make its decision in mid-August and is still taking written comments.
Below, our as-it-happened coverage of tonight’s meeting:
6:12 PM: We’re at what will become, if the state Charter School Commission approves, the home of the first charter school in West Seattle, where three commission members are in attendance for an official public hearing/forum on the proposal. Summit Schools, a California-based charter operator, wants to open a middle-/high-school campus at 9601 35th SW, just purchased by a charter-development firm from Freedom Church (which is leasing back the space until the project gets under way). We’ll be reporting live as the hearing goes.
Joshua Halsey, executive director of the commission (whose members include West Seattleite Steve Sundquist, former member of the Seattle Public Schools board), has just welcomed attendees and explained the process, that the commission will vote to approve or reject Summit’s application in mid-August. Two other commissioners are here, including Trish Millines Dziko, who leads the Technology Access Foundation, which has its headquarters in White Center.
Halsey says speakers will have up to 2 minutes each (longer if they need translation services). A stenographer is here to record the comments. A rough estimate of the crowd? Maybe 100 people, seated in the Freedom pews. Written comments are being accepted, by e-mail and postal mail, between now and July 31st, Halsey says.
And with that, Jen Davis Wickens, Summit’s chief regional officer for Washington, begins her presentation. (We spoke with her for our most-recent story on the proposal, which we’ve been covering since the first of the year, after finding out about it via an application in city Department of Planning and Development files.)
She first shows, on the big screens here in the cavernous former supermarket, a shot from “signing day,” a celebration of college acceptance among Summit schools.
We live in Arbor Heights and someone stole our 1991 Honda Civic around 2:00
a.m. (Friday) morning. It has been reported to the police. Have you seen this? License: ASU1041
If you have any info, call 911.