Since midnight, the Seattle Fire Department 911 log shows two “brush fire” calls in West Seattle (out of a total of six citywide today). Above, the aftermath of one of them, shared by Dennis, who wrote, “Someone with fireworks didn’t like our tree. 12:35 last night. Be careful, folks, it is REAL DRY out there … this is what can happen.” He’s in the 3600 block of SW Othello in Gatewood; the other “brush fire” call so far, about 12 hours later, was in the 8100 block of 14th SW in Highland Park.
The biggest party on Gatewood Hill tonight is at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation church at California/Othello – in honor of Rev. Peg Boyle Morgan (above), who’s retiring after 13 years. The party includes a lasagna dinner …
… and marimba music:
Rev. Morgan’s tenure with WSUU included its purchase of, renovation of, and move five years ago into the Gatewood church building, a home of its own after two decades of meeting in rented space. WSUU will welcome an interim minister, Rev. Beatrice Hitchcock, in August; she’s coming from the same role with a congregation in Anchorage, Alaska. But first, Rev. Morgan will preside at tomorrow’s 10:30 am service, at which she’ll be formally installed as WSUU’s Minister Emerita and will share her “best hopes for Westside’s future.”
From Johnny and Kalynn on SW Austin in Gatewood:
We woke up this morning and our truck had been stolen. It’s a Red 1994 Ford F150 XLT. The license place is C89822C. Only the back license plate is on. The front has no plate. If anyone has seen it, we would really like to get it back.
If you see it – as SPD advises, call 911.
12:03 PM: Don’t know yet what it was about, but a group of military helicopters flew northbound over the west-facing West Seattle shore a short time ago. Anybody get a photo/video? We ran out the front door with the phone (resulting in this video, but they’re somewhat tiny-looking in the distance). One observer said via Twitter that it looked like four Chinooks and a Blackhawk.
12:24 PM: Thanks to James Bratsanos and to Joe for sending photos so far. The two above are from James – first the wide view of all five, then a closer look at two of the Chinooks and the (Blackhawk?).
12:28 PM: More info in comments – including Jim Clark spotting what might be the answer to the question of what this was about.
12:33 PM: Further verification of what Jim found – a program on that Facebook page says Special Forces from JBLM were to fly by/in (Paine Field in Snohomish County), with “Chinooks x 4.”
2 West Seattle Crime Watch notes – an incident this evening plus an SPD stats/trends update:
GATEWOOD BURGLARY: A neighbor texted us (206-293-6302 any time) about that big police response near 41st/Elmgrove in Gatewood [map] around 6 pm. When we went over to check, police told us they were checking out a burglar alarm but hadn’t yet found evidence of a break-in; no one was home. Later, though, it was confirmed as a burglary, according to neighbors and to SPD’s automated Tweets by Beat. That was the first confirmed West Seattle burglary, per TBB, since one reported at noon yesterday in the 8400 block of 12th SW.
STATS/TRENDS: Today’s edition of the every-two-weeks SeaStat SPD-wide briefing includes a page of year-to-year and week-to-week stats for the Southwest Precinct, which includes West Seattle and South Park – scroll through this slide deck to the very last page. Year-to-year – January 1st through May 9th this year, compared to the same period last year – every category except aggravated domestic-violence assault is up. (Though there’s no breakdown per precinct sectors, we know that the breakdown in one category – no 2014 homicides in West Seattle and none so far this year; the one 2015 homicide listed for the SW Precinct was in SP.) In the week-by-week stats for the past month, all categories are trending downward (or holding at zero) except for larceny, which was up from 12 in the third week to 13 in the fourth week.
One note tonight, from a Gatewood resident who’s wondering if the same hit-run driver had any other victims:
Unfortunately, our neighbor’s car got hit quite badly about 7:40 pm this evening by someone driving out of control down Rose near 39th. It was a gray SUV. We have of course called the police and our neighbor found the car at 44th and Portland without the driver. The reason I am writing is we heard a loud boom about 5 minutes prior to the hit and run. Please share with the police if your car was stolen or if your car was also hit in the Gatewood area.
Right before Seattle Public Schools got out for spring break (which lasts all of next week), Gatewood Elementary students got to show off their projects for the 4th annual Science Palooza. Here are some highlights from Thursday night’s event, shared by Nicole Sipila, who chaired the science fair:
We had 69 kids with 48 projects. The kids really stepped up the projects this year and everybody was really impressed.
Simone & Delaney exploring sound with their project, The Pitch of Pipes:
… More than just your average volcano replica, Kailey, Hailey, and Hudson made a model of Mt. St. Helens and showed how much of the mountain was lost and the effects of the lahar:
… We also had some exciting guests. UW Material Advantage was on hand to demonstrate material science applications at a graduate school level. Most popular were the semi-conductors.
… Also, Gatewood’s choir, conducted by Mr. Hall, performed the National Anthem to kick start the evening and then came back later to perform two more songs.
It was an amazing night of science learning & sharing, along with a great community building event. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped put this wonderful evening together.
9:18 PM: Auto thieves have hit one family in Gatewood twice in the past three days. The vehicles taken from their driveway/carport are a taupe 2006 Volvo XC70, license plate AMR4548, stolen Friday morning, and a silver 2006 Nissan Frontier 4-door pickup, license plate B31289L, gone since early today. The vehicles’ owners say there was nothing about the first theft that facilitated the second – no key left in either car, for example. If you see either vehicle, please call 911.
9 AM MONDAY: The vehicles’ owner says they both were found in an apartment-building parking lot in the 6500 block of 35th SW, less than a mile away from where they were stolen: “Someone in the apartments called to report the Volvo as a suspicious vehicle. When we arrived, we saw the truck parked in another stall. The Volvo was driven more than 150 miles and contained a lot of drug and DNA evidence. Unfortunately, there were no clean prints. The truck had more of the same drug evidence, it wasn’t driven more than 20+ miles.”
(West side of Myrtle Reservoir site, where work is likely to be staged)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Nine months after Seattle Public Utilities discussed the earthquake-resistance retrofit needed for West Seattle Reservoir in Highland Park, we know what’s in store for our area’s other underground water facility, Myrtle Reservoir.
Myrtle was covered in 2008, West Seattle in 2010. Then in 2012, their designer, MWH, told the city about “possible seismic deficiencies” in their work – not potentially catastrophic, but not something that could be ignored, either. Analysis and testing ensued, and in June of last year, we reported on the retrofit/strengthening plan for WS Reservoir, interviewing reps from SPU and its consultants.
At the time, they didn’t know exactly what would need to be done to Myrtle Reservoir, a relatively small reservoir (5 million gallons) at the city’s highest point on the east side of the Gatewood neighborhood. Now they do.
Baby (or toddler, or preschooler) on board? Free safety checks at Swedish Automotive later this weekMarch 3, 2015 at 4:32 pm | In Gatewood, Safety, West Seattle news | 2 Comments
That’s Victor Gonzalez-Arredondo, child-safety expert at Swedish Automotive (WSB sponsor). This Thursday and Friday, 11 am-2 pm, he’ll be front and center offering free safety checks of baby/child car seats – all you have to do is drop by Swedish, 35th/Kenyon. (All makes of vehicles welcome for the safety checks, by the way!)
(Added: WSB photos by Tracy Record)
3:16 AM UPDATE: Busy night for emergency responders. Now there’s word of a flipped pickup truck in Gatewood, near 39th/Myrtle. It went out as a major “heavy rescue” response but most units have been canceled. We’re checking it out.
3:37 AM UPDATE: Police told us at the scene that the pickup’s driver was gone when they arrived, so this is a hit-and-run. The driver appears to have hit a parked vehicle and a couple of mailboxes along 39th SW south of Myrtle before the truck flipped. So this is the second hit-and-run-away of the night in West Seattle.
We’ve received several calls about a police response at 35th/Austin (map) – the original call was “assault with weapons”; one witness said there was a report of someone seen in the neighborhood with a gun. At the scene, officers told us it’s being investigated as a case of suicide. SW Austin is blocked off on the west side of 35th SW.
(As always when mentioning suicide, we want to point out a local resource for those considering self-harm or otherwise in crisis: The Crisis Clinic has a 24-hour hotline, 206-461-3222.)
12:57 AM: A big Seattle Fire response is arriving at the 3900 block of SW Holden in Gatewood (map). It was described as a suspected roof fire; first units arriving aren’t seeing anything.
1 AM: They’re checking the attic, but report that it might just be “an overheated light fixture.” Some of the arriving units are being canceled.
1:09 AM: They’re now checking to be sure there’s not a smoldering fire in the ceiling.
1:11 AM: Minutes later, that’s what they’ve found, a small “smoldering fire in insulation … knob and tube wiring.”
1:19 AM: They’ve re-assessed the fire at 3′ x 3′ and declared it “under control.”
(WSB photo: Gatewood Elementary, SW Myrtle side)
Three and a half hours after publishing our Wednesday update on the Friends of Gatewood “keep a teacher” fundraising drive, we updated it with the official district announcement that the drive had met its goal. But the final word comes from the parents who organized and took action so quickly, and their public message of gratitude:
Today we received the wonderful news that we raised enough funds to keep our teacher that ensures that there will be no relocation on October 10th as the district letter originally mandated. Friends of Gatewood raised $66,758.52, the Go Fund Me account that was created last night raised around $1000. The online donation site will be closed since we met our goal.
This accomplishment is shared with many, many people with our school, West Seattle and supporters beyond. The vigor, concern and passion expressed by so many people made this goal a reality; the process exemplifies that improvements need to be made in many areas, that the problems are real and complex, and that our students and teachers will not take the brunt of the inadequacies of an imperfect public school system.
All schools are unique by virtue of the individuals who occupy them. Gatewood Elementary’s infrastructure is more unique than the typical public elementary school. We stand by our students’ needs and our teachers to set them up for success. Thank you a hundred times over for answering the call for help.
Friends of Gatewood
2:30 PM: Police are at Gatewood Elementary right now investigating a report that a child threatened a teacher with a knife. No one has been hurt; we’re there and we have talked to staff. They don’t expect this to interfere with normal dismissal this afternoon. (And if you’re noticing a TV helicopter, this is the report they’re checking out.)
2:46 PM: The district has issued a short update via Twitter: “No injuries at Gatewood after teacher reportedly threatened w/knife. Special-needs student being taken to hospital for evaluation.” Per police-radio communication, the student is 9. As noted in our ongoing coverage of the Gatewood teacher-funding situation, the school has an inclusion program for EBD (emotional/behavioral disorder) students.
‘We’re being held for ransom’: Anger voiced by Gatewood Elementary parents told to raise $90,000 to keep a teacherOctober 8, 2014 at 10:19 am | In Gatewood, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 49 Comments
(1:44 PM UPDATE: SPS says in a statement that “Gatewood teaching staff will remain intact” because of the fundraising campaign – full statement is at the end of this story)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
They’re raising the money, but they’re angry about it.
While one group of Gatewood Elementary parents filled the chairs at School Board director Marty McLaren‘s regular community-conversation meeting last night, another led a fundraiser at a private home, toward their goal of raising $90,000 – described by some as “ransom” – to keep Seattle Public Schools from removing a teacher from their school.
That impressed McLaren, who opened last night’s meeting by saying, “I just want to acknowledge the extraordinary show of force that the Gatewood community has made … my sense is that many people from West Seattle proper have really invested in this. It’s really something.”
But also really something the parents can’t believe they have had to do.
“I am outraged,” declared one attendee. “I am just outraged that a major-city school district would try and pull a stunt like this … I cannot believe we are being asked to pay for a teacher salary. This is a major city, I cannot imagine this happening anywhere else in the country.” She drew applause.
“We’re being held for ransom for someone else’s mistake … and it feels precedent setting,” said another. “I don’t want a single dime of that money to go to the district that has a record of poor judgment and misuse … I feel it’s going to happen to another school.”
Followup: ‘Biggest bake sale imaginable’ Saturday as Gatewood Elementary families raise money to keep a teacherOctober 3, 2014 at 8:36 pm | In Gatewood, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 54 Comments
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One day after news began to spread of a district-ordered teacher-reallocation move affecting two local elementary schools, one is launching a short-time, big-sum fundraising drive: $90,000 needed by Wednesday, to keep from losing a teacher.
We first reported Thursday afternoon on the situation that could result in one teacher being moved from Gatewood Elementary to newly reopened Fairmount Park Elementary. Fairmount has more students than planned for, the district says, while Gatewood has fewer first-graders than planned for.
While the district has not publicly identified the teacher that would be moved from Gatewood to Fairmount Park, Gatewood parents say the current version of the plan would move first-grade teacher Ms. Morgan. Parent Tracy Clarkson sent the photo at right, her twin daughter and son with Ms. Morgan, who is their teacher. Says Clarkson, “We are longtime West Seattlers, but new to Gatewood. We cannot lose this teacher!”
Another parent e-mailed more details about what will happen tomorrow, and beyond:
Gatewood is mobilizing. We need to raise $90,000 by Wednesday morning. We have about 10% thus far. Disbelievingly, our beloved teachers have each committed $500.
The parents of Gatewood and their children are planning to hold the biggest bake sale imaginable tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. at California and Myrtle and going on throughout the day.
We ask for any community support from everyone. Even if not a monetary donation, we appreciate moral support, too. The families and teachers could sure use it right now.
A donation account was set up late today at Chase Bank; you can donate at Chase and tell them it’s for “Friends of Gatewood.” Parents say online fundraising is not an option because they have to have the cash in hand by Wednesday morning, and online donations wouldn’t be disbursable that way.
They are hoping at least to get a time extension, and say that the district’s executive director of schools in this area, Israel Vela, indicated support for that in phone calls today to parents who had left him messages about this.
Meanwhile, the district responded to a followup question we had sent yesterday. At the ribbon-cutting for Fairmount Park on September 2nd, the day before the new school year began, it was announced they anticipated opening with 380 students. The current enrollment cited by the district is just below that. So why is an adjustment being made just now? District spokesperson Lesley Rogers replied with this backstory:
In August we decided to fund an additional teacher (the student projection [for Fairmount Park] went from 290 to 329, or 39 additional students). This was part of an overall district assessment that resulted in 26 schools having adds or pulls, with a net 2.0 addition. We also added in 2 schools based on high urgency (Arbor Heights and Alki Elementary).
We decided to wait to address FTE [full-time-student equivalent] adjustments due to the traditional student movement, wait list, data cleanup, and no-shows that happens in the first 2-3 weeks of school. The student enrollment reached 368 at 9/22 (Fairmount Park).
The other component was the budget situation. Our mitigation fund was depleted after the last 2 adds. We decided to wait to find out what schools have significantly lost student enrollment, as Gatewood, to transfer FTEs.
Overall, we are waiting for the official 10/1 counts that will be reported on 10/12 to recommend more staffing adjustments. At the same time we are using the current student count to identify the hot spots adjustments and deploy/execute earlier.
We’ll continue to follow up.
ADDED 5:26 AM SATURDAY: Overnight, we received the letter to the community, drafted by organizers of the fundraising drive. Click (or scroll) ahead to read it:
Click to read the rest of Followup: ‘Biggest bake sale imaginable’ Saturday as Gatewood Elementary families raise money to keep a teacher…
My work van with all of my tools inside was stolen from in front of my home at 39th and Holden. It is a 2003 Ford Ecovan with Relius Marine in large blue and green lettering. The license # is A46580Z. The police have been informed. The van was stolen after 1:00 a.m. or so on September 27, 2014. I am out of business without my tools & van. Please call Rick at 253-350-4263 with any information.
And call 911 if you see it – don’t approach a suspected stolen car, police advise, since you never know who or what might still be in it.
With ballots going out in mid-October, the “November 4″ election is closer than it seems. Just announced by Rev. Erik Kindem from Peace Lutheran Church in Gatewood, a forum this Sunday on two of the statewide initiatives you’ll be voting on:
. I-594 would expand current criminal background-check requirements to include all gun sales and transfers in Washington State with specific exceptions.
. I-591 would limit the circumstances in which firearms can be confiscated and would limit the ability of government agencies to require background checks.
Stacy Anderson from FAN (Faith Action Network) will be leading the forum, which will begin at 12 noon. Peace Lutheran is located at the corner of SW Thistle and 39th Avenue SW in West Seattle. Members of the public are invited to attend.
Back in April, we shared the announcement of a reunion for the Gatewood Elementary School Class of 1956. Now, the followup – Carol Stoner shares the photo above and this report on how it went!
We finally managed to locate more than 70 of the original list of 90. Most of us had not seen the school since the remodel in 1991, and we spent much of the tour reconciling our memories with the new reality.
The Class of 1956 attended Gatewood before the ‘gator was its mascot, when wooden desks with iron grillwork legs were bolted to the floor, and empty inkwells clanged if you flicked them during study time. Cloakrooms in the back were filled with wet coats, dripping boots, and lunchboxes with baloney sandwiches on white bread. No actual library; books were shelved in Mr. Acedo’s sixth-grade classroom, and choosing 35 books for your class was brief, stressful, and done very quietly during his class if you were book monitor that month. And, even in 1956, the wooden stairs leading up into the school had deep indentations, hollow treads, where former students, perhaps parents and grandparents, had trudged in previous decades.
On August 22nd, twenty-eight ‘Woodies reunited for a tour of the remodeled school and a catchup picnic in Lincoln Park. They found the wooden steps had been replaced, but delighted in the fact that the century-old banisters had been retained. Gone also were the wooden desks and cloakrooms, giving the rooms a modern feel and more space. The class picture on the front steps and the tour itself was much like herding cats, but a good time was had by all.
The picnic following at Lincoln Park, catered by Husky’s, was great fun. We heard apologies for remembered slights: “I’m sorry I pushed you off the table in Kindergarten, but I wanted to nap there” or “Sorry I teased you so much, but you were so cute when you blushed.” Episodes were told about teachers who had impacted our lives for good and bad, but we heard no bad stories about missing classmates, only “Remember how fast he ran?” or “She was so funny! Do you remember when she…?” We also told stories on ourselves, and it turns out that little candy store across the street from school must have made a fortune!
Although most of us shared the grade-school experience with one class for seven years, we split into two groups in ’56, some going to Madison and some to Denny. Some classmates we hadn’t seen in 58 years. Since then our classmates have built homes, airplanes, businesses, and families. They have climbed mountains, written books, worked in law enforcement, education, and health care. They have been firefighters, commercial fishermen, and researchers. They’ve worked with numbers, words, machinery, and people. It was a joy to reconnect with old friends, to remember cloakrooms, wooden desks, and inkwells, and when we were all twelve.
8:39 PM: Just in case you’ve seen the police search near Myrtle Reservoir Park – police tell us they are looking for someone they had pulled over who turned out to have a warrant out for his arrest, and took off running.
9:04 PM: No arrest yet, but we’re continuing to monitor.
MONDAY AFTERNOON: Here’s an update.
4:38 PM: Big Seattle Fire response for a possible fire at a house on SW Ida just west of 35th SW (map). First crews to arrive aren’t seeing anything. More to come.
4:54 PM: Small kitchen fire at a house on the south side of SW Ida, quickly put out. The elderly resident who was cooking when it happened is being taken to the hospital to be checked out.
Not to rush the end of your summer, but Seattle Public Schools‘ first day is now less than two weeks away, and some schools have get-ready-for-the-new-year events even sooner. Like this announcement we just received:
Gatewood Elementary would like to get the word out that this year the K-5 Meet & Greet, Volunteer Fair and Ice Cream Social will be combined on Thursday, August 28th, with a staggered start.
We hope you can join us! This will give your child an opportunity to find out your child’s class assignment, meet their new teacher, interact with new friends and take a small tour of the school and classroom.
K-1 @ 5:30 to 6:15 pm
2-3 @ 6:00 to 6:45 pm
4-5 @ 6:30 to 7:15 pm
Thanks again in advance to the parents, PTA leaders, volunteers, staffers (and sometimes even students!) who share big news here so we can help get the word out too – here’s how.
2:55 PM: Thanks to Alex for the photo – she says this lemonade and cookie sale at California/Portland in Gatewood (map) is raising money to help the Red Cross help fire victims in our state. (We’re waiting to hear back about how long they’ll be there.)
ADDED: If you didn’t already see the comment – congrats to the lemonade-and-cookie sellers for raising almost $200, which will be multipled by matching donations. If you missed the stand but would like to help, here’s what the Red Cross is doing in the fire zone, and how to donate.
Following up on the Gatewood burglary spree first reported here Wednesday – the suspect is now charged with three counts of residential burglary. And we’ve learned that a warrant was already out for his arrest before police found him after the burglaries Saturday afternoon, because he’d missed a sentencing hearing a day earlier. Plus, he has an extensive record dating back more than half his life, to age 14.
The suspect is Jason Edward Wyman, who turned 33 the day before his arrest. The police report lists a Westwood address for him. He is charged with burglarizing three homes in Gatewood; in two cases, the police report says, he was interrupted by people who were home at the time and had left doors unlocked or open; in a third, he stole from a guest house. At least one victim has surveillance video showing him with items stolen from her home.
“The defendant’s brazen behavior is alarming,” prosecutors wrote in the charging documents, noting that while burglary is not a violent crime, entering occupied residences can quickly escalate to violence. They go on to describe him as a “flight risk” with “17 warrants since 2000, based on 15 bookings at King County Jail.”
Last Friday, Wyman was supposed to appear for sentencing in a theft case dating back to last August – and failed to show up, leading to issuance of a $10,000 warrant for his arrest. His criminal history spans three states and includes at least one conviction for escape. He had struck a plea bargain in the case, which involved a day last August in which he was caught on video stealing a TV and two computers from the Renton Wal-Mart; according to court documents, and was going to be recommended for a residential DOSA sentence – that’s the program involving mandatory drug treatment.
Now, if Wyman is convicted of three counts of residential burglary, he faces up to 7 years in prison. According to the King County Jail Register, his current bail is set at $50,000. We’ll keep the case on our watch list.
In case you also noticed the small yellow helicopter circling/hovering over Gatewood/Upper Fauntleroy (almost directly over WSB HQ for a while, so we grabbed a bit of video), thanks to Shannon for noting in a Twitter discussion that it was a tour-company helicopter. (Photo added, shared by Rey via Facebook)
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
4:49 PM: No serious injuries reported in a collision involving two cars at 37th and Thistle in Gatewood (map), with one car on its side, but westbound Thistle is blocked until a tow crew arrives.
5:05 PM: Added a photo. Our crew doublechecked at the scene and police confirmed, no one required medical attention at the scene. The road should be clear shortly. P.S. Thanks to the people who called and e-mailed to let us know about this.
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