(WSB photo from MCHS High Point’s 2014 graduation ceremony at The Hall @ Fauntleroy)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
With just a few weeks to go in the school year, Seattle Public Schools has abruptly announced that one of its high schools in West Seattle won’t reopen next year.
In a letter dated May 18th, the district told families that it’s closing alternative Middle College High School‘s High Point campus, also known as the School for Social Justice and Community Engagement, after almost 20 years, citing declining enrollment. (If you’re not familiar with the overall MCHS program, it’s explained here.)
A statement on MCHS’s staff-maintained website suggests they’re not going without a fight:
The faculty and staff at Middle College High Point are very disappointed with this decision and are working with our community supporters, parents and students to prepare an organized response to this decision and to challenge the justification for closure.
It’s only been three years since MCHS’s West Seattle program went through a major transition:
A Southwest Design Review Board hearing is now set for the mixed-use building planned on part of High Point’s most prominent undeveloped site, at 35th/Graham.
We last mentioned it here eight months ago, when it surfaced in the city’s online files. The outline on the project page hasn’t changed much since then; it now describes “a 4-story structure containing 89 residential units, 8,500 sq. ft. of office space and 1,500 sq. ft. of retail space located at ground level. Surface parking for 98 vehicles to be provided.” The “site plan” dated last month shows an L-shaped building stretching across all of the currently vacant 35th SW frontage, from the corner of Graham northward. The parking entry would be on the east side of the building. The rest of the sprawling site is still set for residential development – most if not all townhouses – but only the mixed-use building is involved in the Early Design Guidance meeting that’s planned for the SWDRB’s next meeting, June 25th at 8 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle. (As reported here on May 5th, the 6:30 pm project review that night is for the CVS drugstore project at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW.)
(WSB photos by Torin Record-Sand)
Without bees … we’d “bee” in big trouble. While kids decades ago grew up mostly scared of getting stung by a bee, today’s kids are learning about their irreplaceable role in the ecosystem, and celebrating them with events like this one … the parade at today’s third annual West Seattle Bee Festival.
Kids and pets were invited to parade around High Point Commons Park.
Costumes, as you’ve probably guessed, were encouraged. They weren’t limited to the littlest paraders.
The parade was part of a five-hour festival centered around the West Seattle Bee Garden on the north side of the park.
If you missed the festival, you’re welcome to stop by the garden some other time.
It’s at 31st and Graham and will have special features this summer such as Tuesday morning storytimes starting June 16th. Don’t miss the flowers! Today’s parade celebrated those too.
(2013 photo: West Seattle Bee Festival parade)
Big weekend ahead. Tomorrow’s third annual West Seattle Bee Festival, at the WS Bee Garden in High Point, is part of it, and a new event has just been announced: The Lunchbox Cookoff. From the Events Committee of the High Point Open Spaces Association, which is presenting the festival:
Chef Chad Brown from Whole Foods Market has created three recipes just for the Bee Festival. He will demonstrated these easy-to-make, delicious, nutritious and fun lunchbox recipes for your family. You can sample his dishes and vote on which one you like the best. Come to the Events Committee table on the north side of Neighborhood House’s High Point Center [6400 Sylvan Way SW]. Get your free ticket for 11:30, 12:00, 12:30 or 1:00 demonstrations. Servings are limited.
Also happening at the Bee Festival:
*Come to the Honey Run at 9
*Make your own bee costume at 10, march in the parade at 11.
*Visit the Information Fair at 11:30 or tour the WS Bee Enclosure at 12.
*Enter the Bee-Ball Tournament or play Field Games at 12.
Find out more at westseattlebeegarden.com; the garden is at 31st/Graham, on the north side of High Point Commons Park.
The West Seattle Bee Garden is getting ready for its biggest season yet, despite a disappointing discovery over the weekend – vandalism against its student-and-teacher-made mosaic sign. We first reported it after hearing from garden volunteers on Saturday, and then went over to follow up, not just on the vandalism, but on what’s ahead at the garden.
Bee Garden founder Lauren Englund (above) tells us that they are gathering financial and time/skills support to fix the mosaic, but can still use more. Both sides were damaged when someone hit it with a brick – it’s a two-sided sign greeting Bee Garden visitors as they enter and exit on the south side of the garden, which is at 31st/Graham, on the north side of High Point Commons Park. This is the side not shown in our weekend coverage:
If you can offer help to restore it, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, looking ahead: Besides the third annual West Seattle Bee Festival in less than three weeks, other activities at the garden this spring/summer include a series of storytimes, 10 am Tuesdays from June 16th through August 18th. On June 23rd, July 14th, July 28th, August 11th and 18th, a beekeeper will be there for a hive demonstration, too.
The bees at the garden now made it through the winter, and will soon be joined by more, as Lauren installs another hive this Thursday. Volunteers made big progress with the garden itself – weeding and planting – last weekend and plan to be out again next weekend.
In June, something new and big will be added to the garden, a pergola designed by Josh Chambers, the architect of the bee enclosure. Before then, seven more school field trips to the bee garden are planned – one all the way from Wallingford! The garden also is getting some enhancements including hive-monitoring equipment so that the garden can participate in research and you can track hive details online, plus sound equipment so that Lauren or beekeeper Krista Conner can narrate and answer questions during demonstrations.
In the meantime, plan to visit for the Bee Festival on May 16th – Deborah Vandermar of the High Point Events Committee is hard at work on that, Lauren says – and later in the summer, the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association will have a Kids’ Day, which Lauren tells us “will have lots of beekeepers onsite, providing activities for kids (scavenger hunt for pollinator-friendly plants, etc.) and multiple hive demonstrations.” Also assisting, Nathalie Gelms, the children’s librarian from the High Point branch. Keep track of all this by checking in at westseattlebeegarden.com.
7:15 PM: No serious injuries so far as we’ve heard, but a three-car crash is blocking Sylvan Way at Sylvan Heights (map), west of Delridge, east of High Point, so if you were heading that way, you’ll need to use another east-west route between Delridge and 35th (SW Holden, perhaps). No estimate yet how long this will last.
8:08 PM: Via the scanner, we learn the road has just reopened.
The West Seattle Bee Festival will be back this year! It’s the third year for the celebration surrounding the WS Bee Garden in High Point, and we just received the official flyer (above) as well as this list of highlights for the festival on Saturday, May 16th:
*The Honey Run starts at 9 am at High Point Pond, SW Juneau & 30th (no registration necessary, just show up)
*Come to Neighborhood House (6400 Sylvan Way SW) at 10 am and make your own bee or flower costume (materials and help provided) so you can march in the Kids and Pet Parade in High Point Commons Park at 11 am
*Learn about Bee-Friendly gardening, food, books and activities at the Information Fair from 11:30 am-2 pm
*Taste healthy, delicious, easy-to-prepare food at the Lunchbox Cook Off from 11:30-1:30
*Take a tour of the West Seattle Bee Enclosure (SW Graham and Lanham Pl. SW) and Garden from 11:30-2 pm, where you can buy honey from the Puget Sound Bee Keepers Association
*Kids can participate in the Bee-Ball Tournament or Field Games in Commons Park
*Music by DA Productions will fill the park. Text your request to 57682 on the day
*Crafts, henna, face painting and more…..
For everyone who’s asked if any free shredding events are coming up in West Seattle – we FINALLY have word of one: 1-4 pm Sunday, April 19th, at High Point Branch Library (35th/ Raymond) – details here. Then, to recycle what you can’t put at curbside, it’s Fauntleroy Church‘s spring Recycle Roundup – 9 am-3 pm Sunday, April 26th; yes/no list here.
10:44 PM: Thanks for the tips – the Guardian One helicopter is in West Seattle now, in the High Point area, over Graham/Lanham. Not sure yet what it’s about – they seem to be focused on a vehicle – we’ll add what we find out.
10:55 PM: Officers are searching on the ground, too – one tells us this involves “stolen property.”
(Police at the Calugas Apartments in High Point)
11:01 PM: Guardian One appears to have moved on. We’ve heard on the scanner multiple times that this involves law enforcement from Mercer Island as well as SPD. Not sure how much more we’ll find out tonight.
11:06 PM: Guardian One’s Twitter account confirms:
Assisted Mercer island pd on search for burglary suspect in west Seattle. Seattle PD also assisting. @SeattlePD
— KCSOAirsupport (@KCSOAirsupport) February 15, 2015
11:32 PM: Photos added.
The 52-year-old woman arrested after last night’s stabbing outside the 35th/Morgan minimart remains in jail, with bail set today at $50,000. According to the probable-cause documents, obtained latelate today from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Police were first called to the store for a report of a fight between two women, with about 10 people watching. The call quickly changed to a report that one had stabbed the other.
When police arrived, they found the suspect inside the store and arrested her with their weapons drawn at “low ready.” She didn’t have the knife in her possession but officers found one in a trash can. The suspect, who lives about half a mile from the store, claimed the victim had “been after (her) for weeks” and was the aggressor. Four witnesses told police they saw the suspect attack the victim, whose age is not mentioned in the report; the report says officers smelled alcohol on the suspect’s “breath and person.” They talked to the victim while medics were treating her for a small, shallow chest wound. She is described as working at West Seattle Food Bank across the street from the store and having “ongoing issues” with the suspect, who is due back in court on Monday, by which time prosecutors should have made an initial decision on charging her. The King County Jail Register says she spent three days in jail right before Thanksgiving for investigation of assault.
7:28 PM: Police and fire are responding to an “assault with weapons” call at 35th and Morgan. More to come.
7:33 PM: One person is reported in custody in connection with the incident. Most of the SFD units have been canceled.
7:36 PM: A 17-year-old girl is reported (via medical communications on the radio) to have been stabbed. She’s being taken to Harborview.
8:37 PM: Via SPD Blotter – the suspect arrested at the scene outside the 35th/Morgan convenience store is a 54-year-old woman. The circumstances of the stabbing are described as “a fight.” The victim’s injuries are described as non-life-threatening.
Catching up with more local school-related news: Ten students from West Seattle Elementary School were among the participants at the citywide Girls On The Run 5K earlier this month. The photo shared with us also includes teachers, parents, and community volunteers who serve as running buddies, including accompanying their assigned “buddy” in the 5K after weeks of preparation. GOTR isn’t just about running – it’s also about empowerment and character development, helping build self-esteem. Those involved with GOTR at WSES include teachers Colleen Farrell, Amber Simonton, and Hannah Ory, along with afterschool coordinator Alex Cali. As mentioned here on WSB before, GOTR runs on plenty of volunteer power, so if you’re interested in getting involved (WSES is one of six West Seattle schools involved), go here to find out how.
Congratulations to West Seattle Elementary Chess Club members who did very well at a regional chess tournament before the Thanksgiving break. The fifth-grade team placed third overall and two students qualified for the state tournament, Rory Moriarty Carey and Jimmy Oto. Thanks to Ritchie for sharing the news.
(P.S. – You might recall that chess at WSES made news last spring, when the school was visited by international chess star Phiona Mutesi.)
7:40 PM: Suddenly Sylvan Way, which runs through High Point between Upper Morgan and Delridge, is a hot spot for crashes. Police and fire are currently at the scene of another one near Sylvan Way/Sylvan Heights (map). No details yet, but it’s affecting traffic, with at least one lane blocked.
8:24 PM: The crash involved just one vehicle; it ran into a fence and took out a tree. Police told us at the scene that no one was hurt. This was very close to the spot where a driver hit a tree two nights ago.
If you’ve driven Sylvan Way east of High Point this evening, you might have noticed the car crumpled into a tree on the south side of the street. Looks bad, but police told us at the scene that the driver was not hurt.
(Thanks to @hommesea for tweeting that photo)
12:33 PM: Thanks to everybody who texted about this. A driver hit a utility pole on Sylvan Way just east of High Point, and the eastbound side of the road is closed, so if you’re trying to get from High Point to Delridge, you’ll have to go another way. The westbound (uphill) side is open. Police tell us nobody was hurt, but Seattle City Light is headed out to figure out if the pole has to be replaced.
P.S. SCL says this has left two customers without power.
1:31 PM UPDATE: In comments, Terri says it’s now closed both ways.
5:40 PM: Still closed at last report and Metro has been rerouting 128. We went by around half an hour ago – the closure is far from the actual crash scene so no way to tell what kind of progress they’re making.
8:30 PM: As Egan reported about 20 minutes ago in comments, it’s now open again. Thanks to everyone for the updates.
(Photo courtesy Michelle)
One person was taken to the hospital after that flipped-vehicle crash near 30th/Graham in High Point about an hour ago. Thanks to Michelle for the top photo. She reports that, “My husband and I heard a loud crash and then the sound of a car speeding away at a very high speed. We came out and found a car flipped in the intersection, with 1 man inside. The man seems to have some injuries, but was able to climb out of the car with some assistance.” At least one parked car was damaged (at right in the photo). This was originally dispatched as a “heavy rescue,” but the response was scaled back when it was determined the person in the vehicle got out OK.
Officers at the scene told us the man did not have life-threatening injuries.
(WSB photo, substituted for cameraphone photo that was originally published)
8:11 PM: Big Seattle Fire/Police response on the way to Sylvan Way/SW Morgan in High Point, for a reported two-car crash, with one car on fire, and people reported to be trapped in the other car. More to come.
8:22 PM: Two people are reported to be injured – one seriously. The scene is just east of Neighborhood House’s High Point Center at Sylvan/Lanham, on the westbound side of the road. The more-seriously hurt patient will be taken to the hospital by SFD medic unit, the other by private ambulance. Police are investigating the possibility of DUI.
8:38 PM: Eastbound lanes will be reopened soon, police are saying, while westbound will be closed a while. The crash involved a Honda Pilot and Subaru Forester (the latter is the one that caught fire, and is in the foreground of our top photo). At this point, the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is *not* being called out, which indicates they expect both people to survive. A 128 bus was having some trouble getting through the area a few minutes ago, so if you rely on that route, you might seem some delays.
9:34 PM: SPD just announced via emergency radio that Sylvan is open again, both ways.
10:08 PM: Just published to SFD’s Fire Line website, a summary identifying the Subaru’s driver as a 26-year-old man who was pulled, unconscious, from the burning vehicle by a Good Samaritan before fire crews arrived. He was “alert, oriented and conscious when medics transported him to Harborview Medical Center,” SFD reports. The driver of the Honda Pilot is described only as male; he’s the one who was taken to the hospital by private ambulance, indicating less-serious injuries.
FIRST REPORT, 7:18 PM: We’re at High Point Community Center along with a crowd we’d estimate to number at least 200, at what was supposed to be an informational/Q-A meeting about the Seattle Housing Authority‘s controversial “Stepping Forward” rent-increase proposal.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) September 30, 2014
SHA executive director Andrew Lofton barely got through the pre-planned slide deck, with chants and shouts between almost every line.
After a few attempts at Q/A – really, just Q, because SHA said it would not answer any of the questions – one man shouted that those in attendance were being insulted and should walk out.
Many did, and went into the gym, where they and protesters rallied, with City Councilmember Kshama Sawant on hand.
(Added 9:26 pm – here’s our video of what Sawant told them, amplified via “human mike”:)
Others, meantime, stayed behind, and some spoke about the “stepped” rent increase proposal, which could take a subsidized household now paying $50 in rent, up to $1,000 in the fifth year. Even those who said they supported the concept of encouraging self-sufficiency said unemployment is high and there’s no guarantee anyone can get work, no matter how hard they try.
This man says unemployment is high and he is worried about people find self-sufficiency pic.twitter.com/Ik9Ncq1Tar
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) September 30, 2014
There were declarations that while SHA is calling for tenant accountability, no one is calling for developer accountability to provide more low-income housing.
The meeting is now in an “open house” phase at which those with questions are seeking answers in one-on-one conversations.
9:26 PM: Above, we’ve added our video of what Councilmember Sawant said after “the other meeting” convened in the Community Center’s gym – we had one crew in each room.
Our full video of the meeting in the original room, including all of the protests and the presentation they punctuated, will be added after we get it uploaded later tonight. (Added: Here it is:)
Meantime, Sawant told those gathered in the gym that the SHA meeting was “a joke” and called for “a big action in City Hall” on October 15th.
Opponents of “Stepping Forward” have a petition, and details of their position and objections, online here.
Meantime, the “next steps” slide in the official presentation said a possible “workforce pilot” would begin late this year, and that the proposal would be revised, more public comment taken, a recommendation made to SHA’s Board of Commissioners, then a phase-in with about 4 years from Board approval to full implementation, “rent changes no earlier than 2016.”
“We don’t want it revised!” someone yelled. “We want it gone!”
One more West Seattle Crime Watch reader report tonight – an attempted strong-arm robbery. Jacqueline sent this note:
I wanted to let you know that I called the police and reported an incident that happened just before 8 pm this evening, 9/26/14. I stopped at the Walgreens at the corner of 35th & Morgan in West Seattle (High Point neighborhood), right across from the West Seattle Food Bank. I was stopping quickly to return a dvd rental at the Redbox. When I was getting out of my car, a man approached me and grabbed a hold of my car door handle and tried to grab my purse. I immediately screamed extremely loud, and since I still had my right side of my body partially inside of my SUV, I started beeping my horn and the man backed off, and I also swung my door open at him to try to get him away. I screamed so much and got everyone’s attention in the parking lot with the sound of my horn.
I was able to get back into my car and get the heck out of there. I pulled out onto 35th Ave SW and drove up a few blocks and called 911. Here is the description I gave the police:
(First two photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
3:44 PM: Police and fire are responding to a report of a man shot in the leg near 30th SW and High Point Drive SW. Officers are with him and SFD medics are arriving. Updates to come.
3:57 PM: The victim is an 18-year-old man described as having a small-caliber-handgun wound through the back of his calf. He’s on the way to the hospital. No arrest reported yet. According to our crews on the scene, it’s actually in the southeast part of High Point, near the 30th/Sylvan area where Forest Lawn has its headquarters building.
4:12 PM: Via SPD Blotter, here’s what police are saying:
Officers began receiving calls just after 3:30 p.m. Friday of a fight involving up to 20 people in the 3000 block of High Point Way SW. Officers rushed to the scene and found an 18-year-old that had been shot in the leg. Witnesses pointed officers towards a group of people who had made their way through a cemetery and disappeared. … Officers continue to scour the area looking for the suspect in this case. The only description provided of the shooter is a black male, 5-foot-8, 150 pounds wearing a red shirt. Officers are asking anyone who spots the suspect to call 911 immediately.
According to radio communication, police believe they have found the (or a) gun in the area.
(This photo and next by WSB’s Christopher Boffoli)
5:21 PM UPDATE: Still no word of an arrest. The aforementioned gun can be seen in the photo above, under a car. Though only one victim has been confirmed at this point, multiple shots were fired, indicated by the markers:
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
For the 10th year, Seafair Clowns stopped at a local school for a big supplies giveaway. Today was the big day, and this time, the recipients were students at West Seattle Elementary in High Point. Seattle firefighters and police were there to help too:
That included Fire Chief Gregory Dean:
And West Seattle’s own “Officer Lumpy” got a big smile from West Seattle Elementary principal Vicki Sacco:
Also part of the event – Stoneway Concrete and Gary Merlino Construction.
(WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
6:52 AM: Now a second fire response – again, it’s always a big response for a building, until crews get there and evaluate – this time, 6400 Sylvan Way SW, which is Neighborhood House in High Point.
6:56 AM: SFD reports it’s a kitchen fire at High Point Center. They’re reducing the response, canceling some of the units that were headed that way. The biggest challenge, per scanner, is dealing with the automatic sprinkler system.
7:07 AM: SFD’s investigator won’t be able to get to this scene until he’s done at the fire on SW Barton in Westwood.
9:40 AM NOTE: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli checked back at the center a short time ago and says they were finishing cleanup and expected to open for the day shortly.
It doesn’t get much fresher than a stand selling organic produce right next to the big garden where it’s grown, and that’s what’s happening until 7 pm at the High Point Market Garden Farm Stand (32nd/Juneau), during this season’s first weekly opportunity for public purchases. Here’s the produce/price list for this week:
High Point is one of two Market Gardens that are part of the city Department of Neighborhoods community-gardening program. The produce stand will be open to the public every Wednesday, 4-7 pm, through the end of September.
(2011 WSB photo from High Point Market Garden)
This Wednesday is your first chance to buy fresh organic produce picked steps away from the point of sale – opening day for the High Point Market Garden Farm Stand, just announced by the city. It’s at 32nd/Juneau (map) and it’ll be open 4-7 pm Wednesdays, July 9th-September 24th. The first harvest is expected to include spinach, carrots, leafy vegetables, new onions, peas, turnips, and radishes. The city announcement adds that the stand and its counterpart at NewHolly “accept EBT cards and participate in Fresh Bucks which doubles consumers’ first $10 spent on the card.
Local public-school enrollment continues to rise, and even new construction/expansion isn’t taking all the pressure off some campuses. Latest evidence: Today, a portable classroom is arriving at West Seattle Elementary in High Point, according to Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Tom Redman. He says it’s a “single-classroom portable -to be used as a homeroom.” According to district numbers featured here last month, WSE expects 443 students this fall, up about twenty from last year.
One more round of graduation congratulations tonight: A commencement ceremony at The Hall at Fauntleroy celebrated the 14-member Class of 2014 from Middle College High School‘s High Point Center campus, a Seattle Public Schools program also known as the School for Social Justice and Community Engagement.
Congratulations to the graduates, in alphabetical order:
Congratulations also to their administration, faculty, and staff, led by MCHS principal Cindy Nash, at right below with West Seattle’s school-board rep Marty McLaren:
MCHS’s location at High Point Center facilitates environmental education and volunteering, including participation in Keep High Point Green, featured here earlier this year.
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