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SUNDAY: SouthWest Stories spotlights WSB in year 10

2 pm tomorrow at High Point Library (35th SW/SW Raymond), your WSB co-publishers are honored to be in the spotlight at SouthWest Stories. That’s the monthly speaker series co-presented by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and the Seattle Public Library. But since we’re much more about writing than speaking, the format is a bit of a changeup – it’ll be a conversation with SWSHS executive director Clay Eals, himself a longtime journalist. The occasion: This year, we’re marking WSB’s 10th anniversary as a 24/7 news source for the peninsula. See you at the library!

Members of West Seattle church, mosque meet for dinner

Thanks to Brian Callanan for the photos from Our Lady of Guadalupe, which hosted visitors from the nearby High Point mosque for a potluck dinner on Friday night.

That’s Father Jack Walmesley and Imam Osman Yusuf. Hundreds of people came for fellowship.

The church and mosque are just blocks apart.

Another Seattle Parks play area set for renovation: High Point

The next Seattle Parks play area set for renovation in West Seattle is in High Point. Two public meetings have just been announced so you can see and talk about the design options, and whether or not you can make one or both of those meetings, the Parks Department has an online survey up about the project right now. You can answer the survey here. The meetings are both at High Point Community Center (6920 34th SW), both on Saturday afternoons, 1-3 pm February 25th and 1-3 pm April 8th. The project – which is south of HPCC, near the tennis courts – has $700,000 in funding from the Seattle Park District levy.

NEIGHBOR DAY: High Point event brings together neighbors from near and far

By Cliff Cawthon
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Neighborhood House’s High Point Center is a place where neighbors gather almost every day of the year.

But Saturday afternoon had something extra – a Neighbor Day gathering with an emphasis on welcoming and celebrating the neighborhood’s immigrant communities amid the Trump Administration’s attempts at what’s being called the “Muslim Ban.”

“A lot of people who we work with could be affected by the immigrant ban,” explained Megan Demeroutis, Neighborhood House’s Family Resource Center supervisor. Demeroutis said that the potluck’s international flavor and the activities were meant to bring people together in the mixed-income Seattle Housing Authority– managed community. Read More

UPDATE: Big response, small fire in High Point

8:55 PM: Seattle Fire has sent a “full response” to Bridge Park at 3204 SW Morgan in High Point. First units on scene report it’s a laundry-room fire on the first floor.

9 PM: To be precise, per scanner, it’s a dryer fire, and it’s out. No injuries reported. Most units are being dismissed. The ones staying behind will be clearing smoke from the first floor, but report that’s the only floor affected.

HAPPENING NOW: High Point Library celebration

January 29, 2017 1:16 pm
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 |   High Point | West Seattle news

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1:16 PM: Three weeks after the High Point Library reopened following a month-plus renovation/upgrade project, it’s party time! Until 3 pm, you’re invited to help celebrate. City Librarian Marcellus Turner is here (at left in the top photo, with HP library staff) and speaking at 1:30 pm. Treats and kids’ activities (book-themed, of course!) too:

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The branch is at 35th SW and SW Raymond.

1:40 PM: “We’re really happy to have you back home,” Turner has greeted patrons (and staff), lauding the upgrades here, including the kids’ area, joking that the newly decorated wall means different things to different people – he saw lily pads, while someone else suggested it looked like an aloha shirt. If you haven’t been to the branch since the reopening, some of the biggest changes are small but mighty – additional outlets all around the space, so you can plug in and get your work and/or studies done. (SPL’s full rundown of the changes is here.) While the party’s on until 3, the library’s open today (and all Sundays) until 5.

UPDATE: Water-main break in High Point

7:05 AM: Thanks to the texter who reported that water service is out for some High Point residents near 34th SW and SW Holly. They report Seattle Public Utilities says it’ll be out for a few hours.

12:45 PM: More info from SPU spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin: “SPU crews continue to work to repair a vertical break on an 8-inch water main on 34th Avenue SW. Water is anticipated to be back on for customers by 1:30 pm today and crews are expected to be done with the repair and off the street by 3 pm. Crews initially throttled the water main around 4:45 am, which caused some customers to be immediately out of water. About 68 water services are impacted.”

OPEN AGAIN! See what’s new inside reopened High Point Library

January 9, 2017 2:07 pm
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 |   High Point | West Seattle news

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(WSB photos unless otherwise credited)

The High Point Library (35th/Raymond) is open again after five weeks of renovations and additions. So we just stopped by to see some of what’s new. Above – the new “accent wall” highlights what’s been added to the kids’ area. In the foreground of our photo is a new filtered computer station also added to the kids’ area, and a new tablet to use. One big – and yet small – feature you’ll see everywhere … new outlets to plug into … your laptop, your charger cord, whatever.

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The outlets are at tables, in activity rooms, even inbetween added “soft seating” on the adult side (photo above). In the lobby, you’ll see a new digital display letting you know what’s coming up at the library – visible through the entrance door even if you pass by when the library’s closed:

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And at the desk – a self-checkout station that is now fully accessible:

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Those are just some of the additions/upgrades! When we stopped in shortly after opening time at 1 pm, some patrons had already arrived to check things out, including Sydney, enjoying the kids’ area:

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Thanks to Sydney’s dad Jon for that photo – and thanks to Lisa and Ken on the library staff for showing us around. They point out that a few things have yet to be completed – and a few items are still on the road, expected to arrive later this week, delayed by bad weather back east; the meeting room by the entrance has some new connectivity features that are still being worked on, too. You can read more about the renovations/updates here, including your invitation to join City Librarian Marcellus Turner at the High Point branch for an official celebration on January 29th.

MONDAY: High Point Library reopens

January 8, 2017 9:17 pm
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 |   High Point | West Seattle news

Reminder for Seattle Public Library users: The High Point branch (35th SW/SW Raymond) reopens tomorrow after a five-week closure for renovations, plus additions including “hundreds of new books, DVDs, and CDs for children, teens, and adults.” SPL says both the branch and book drop will be open again as of 1 pm Monday; details are here, including plans for a celebration on January 29th with City Librarian Marcellus Turner in attendance.

FOLLOWUP: High Point Library set to reopen January 9th

When the Seattle Public Library closed its High Point branch at 3411 SW Raymond two weeks ago for refurbishing, the reopening date was TBD. Today, SPL set the date – 1 pm January 9th is when the branch will reopen. From the announcement:

… The 12-year-old branch closed Dec. 5, 2016, so the worn carpeting could be replaced. While the building was closed for that work, the Library also took the opportunity to make other interior improvements that support the changing ways that patrons are using libraries and respond to the thoughtful comments the Library has received from the public.

Improvements included reconfigured holds, teen and children’s areas, additional seating and power in seating areas and at tables, and technology and sound quality enhancements in the meeting room. When the branch reopens, it also will have hundreds of new books, DVDs and CDs for children, teens and adults.

SPL also plans a celebration later in the month – 1-3 pm Sunday, January 29th, with refreshments and a 1:30 pm speech by City Librarian Marcellus Turner.

SCHOOLS: Portable headed for West Seattle Elementary

(WSB file photo: Portable bound for West Seattle Elementary in 2012)

School may be out for winter break, but that doesn’t necessarily mean an absence of activity at local campuses. West Seattle Elementary School is expecting a big delivery this week, for example: Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Tom Redman tells WSB that a one-classroom portable is to be delivered to WSES this Wednesday (December 21st). He adds, “SDOT has determined the schedule for delivery to be during the day between the morning and afternoon rush-hour time frames.”

HIGH POINT LIBRARY REMODELING: Closure ahead, but first, Q&A open house

(High Point Library photo by Architectsea via Wikimedia)

We recently noticed a building-permit application for unspecified work at High Point Library and asked SPL what’s planned. Today, we finally have the official word of the remodeling plan, which will require some closure time later this fall – read on for details plus announcement of an open house for your Q&A in a week and a half:

The High Point Branch, 3411 SW Raymond St., 206-684-7454, is tentatively set to temporarily close effective Monday, Dec. 5 for refurbishing. The book drop also will close.

During the closure, the Library plans to hold several programs at alternate locations and to open the nearby Delridge Branch, 5423 Delridge Way SW, 206-733-9125, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays. Alternate services will be confirmed after a firm closure date is set.

The 7,200-square-foot High Point Branch opened in June 2004, thanks to the 1998 voter-approved “Libraries for All” bond measure that renewed and revitalized libraries across the city.

After 12 years of use, the branch needs new carpet. While the branch is closed for that work, the Library also will add seating and electrical outlets, expand the holds area, and expand the children’s area to provide a more welcoming space for families. Acoustical panels in the meeting room will be added to reduce the sound of street traffic. Improvements are based on branch usage and projected service needs.

Patrons are invited to learn more about the improvements at an open house at the branch from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7. City Librarian Marcellus Turner and other Library staff members will be on hand to answer questions and explain alternate services.

While the branch is closed, patrons may choose any other Library location as a pickup location for items placed on hold and may return materials to any branch. If patrons don’t select an alternate branch by Friday, Nov. 25, their holds will be sent to the Southwest Branch, 9010 35th Ave. SW,
 206-684-7455.

The construction project is currently out to bid. The Library expects to confirm the closing date in mid-November after bids have been reviewed. The refurbished branch is expected to reopen in January; a reopening date will be set once construction work is underway.

WEST SEATTLE HALLOWEEN: Teens’ haunted house starts season

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The first big event of the season happened tonight at High Point Community Center: About 40 teens worked to plan, set up, and perform in this year’s Haunted House.

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Four more photos from WSB’s Leda Costa, ahead: Read More

Why High Point Pond is more like a wetland right now

High Point Pond – the size of a small lake – is more like a wetland, temporarily, after its first draining in two years.

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A concerned reader tipped us via e-mail, worried about the fish in the pond, so we went over to check it out, and then sought out information via the High Point Open Spaces Association, which maintains the pond as part of an agreement with Seattle Public Utilities. Community Association Manager Janell Gonyea explained:

The OSA grounds crew drains the pond periodically to inspect all of the components in the pond to determine if any maintenance is necessary. We check the inlet and outlet lines to make sure they are clear and we check the pond liner to see if it is exposed or not. We also check to see if there are invasive plant species that could alter or damage the pond liner. We check the emergency risers to make sure they are operating correctly and we inspect for sediment build up in the pond. We also inspect the re-circulation pump and will conduct routine maintenance on that.

The last time we drained the pond was in 2014 and at that time, everything was in good condition. We do not anticipate any problems with the pond at this time because it has been performing normally, but we do want to be proactive about examining the pond and its components to make sure that there is no maintenance needed. The fish will not be affected because there will be enough water left in the pond for the fish. The pond will begin refilling naturally. The weather report is calling for rain later this week, so the pond will begin filling with that rainfall and storm water.

Thanks also to the OSA’s Deborah Vandermar for pointing us to this info. The pond is part of the Natural Drainage Systems built into the High Point redevelopment a decade ago.

P.S. For a wider look at the drained pond, here’s our Instagram clip from this morning:

P.S. If you’re not familiar with the pond’s location – here’s a map.

West Seattle Transportation Committee to talk 35th SW & more on Thursday

As September continues, so does the new season of community meetings – and the next group to resume its schedule is the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. The WSTC just announced what’s on its agenda this Thursday:

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition hopes you are refreshed after summer and ready to get back to work! Our first meeting after summer recess is this Thursday, September 22nd at 6:30 p.m. We meet at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center.

Esteemed guests who will be joining us include Jim Curtin from SDOT to talk about the 35th Ave SW project and Angela Brady from the Office Of The Waterfront for a general talk about the post-Viaduct world. And undoubtedly we will also discuss ST3 and WSTC’s role (if any) in the initiative process.

We hope you can join us for what should be a fascinating meeting!

(It’s been a month and a half since the unveiling of options for Phase 2 of the 35th SW Corridor Safety Project – but the final plan hasn’t come out yet.) The meeting site is at 6400 Sylvan Way.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Community answers the call to ‘Be There’ for West Seattle Elementary

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9 AM: The call went out two weeks ago: Help get West Seattle Elementary students off to a good start with a show of support, the “Be There” rally (explained here). And community members answered the call! More photos to come.

ADDED 10:30 AM: As promised, more photos. “Captain America” made an appearance:

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So did Southwest Precinct Community Police Team officers Kevin McDaniel and Jon Flores:

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And City Councilmember Lisa Herbold:

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But the students were the stars:

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This was also the first day of the first school year with new principal Pamela McCowan-Conyers, promoted from assistant principal when Vicki Sacco – who was there for today’s rally – moved to a new job at district HQ.

REMINDER: You’re invited to ‘Be There’ for West Seattle Elementary students tomorrow

September 6, 2016 8:38 pm
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 |   High Point | How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

If you’re not going to be busy getting your own kid(s) to school tomorrow between 7 and 8 am … you are invited to “Be There” for the students of West Seattle Elementary as they start the new school year. It’s been almost two weeks since we first previewed the plan, and invitation, for “community leaders, school supporters, family and friends to line up to cheer, clap and high-five students as they enter into the new school year,” in partnership with the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor). They’re hoping for at least 100 men and 100 women to be there, “dressed for success,” to give the students an unforgettable start to the year – just be there at 7 am to be part of it. The school is at 6760 34th SW.

PHOTOS: Summer of Learning = summer of creating @ High Point Library

All summer long, Seattle Public Library programs have kept kids and teens busy, learning, exploring. Not just through reading – the High Point branch celebrated two programs Monday evening, both of which produced creations you can enjoy. First, the song you can hear below:

That song is the work of the STYLE program – Songwriting Through Youth Literature Education. The students read Maya Angelou‘s poem “And Still I Rise,” talked about it, and wrote music inspired by it.

Imani showing off her Certificate of Participation.
(WSB photos by Leda Costa)

STYLE, taught by education director Nate Bogopolsky and teen librarian Ken Gollersrud, was a collaborative program – as was the other one celebrated last night, the six-week game designing program Story ‘Hood. It was led by SPL digital media/learning program manager Juan Rubio and intern Tigh Bradley along with Gollersrud. They led ten tweens through the process of designing, coding, testing, and then playing a game. Last night, the gamemakers, with friends and family, walked from the library to High Point Commons Park to play the game, Storm Fighters:

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Playing Storm Fighters. at Commons Park.

This is what the Storm Fighters game looks like.

Playing Storm Fighters at Commons Park.

The game is based on High Point-area history/information but ultimately about environmental consciousness, and photojournalist Leda Costa, covering the celebration for WSB, observed that awareness turning into action: “On our walk back to the library, some of the kids actually started picking up litter around the park and saying things like ‘Look! I picked up virtual litter and real litter!'”

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The game is “their creation completely,” said Rubio. “They came up with the idea about falling trees, a storm that destroys the environment, they wrote all the text that you see in the game, they decided on the locations, so it’s about working together but it’s also about going through the design process and creating content/creating media.” The game integrates GPS.

Playing Storm Fighters at Commons Park.

You can play it at Commons Park with a smartphone or tablet – go to taleblazer.org and use the game code gsyiykb.

ELECTION FOLLOWUP: New High Point dropbox a hit

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(August 1st photo of High Point dropbox, courtesy Ken @ High Point Library)

While overall voter turnout wasn’t so great, there were some positive numbers associated with this month’s primary election – including the number of voters using the new permanent ballot dropbox by the High Point Library. A King County Council committee got a briefing from KC Elections today on how the new dropboxes – this was one of 19 in the county – did; here’s the resulting news release:

…Nearly 36 percent of voters (more than 160,000 voters) cast their primary ballots via drop boxes. This is a substantial increase compared to the 2015 general election, in which 26 percent of ballots were returned via drop boxes. This year, over 100,000 primary ballots were returned to drop boxes on Election Day, 20,000 more than any previous Election Day total….

…In December 2015, the King County Council passed a motion asking King County Elections to develop a plan to improve access and convenience of ballot drop-off locations throughout King County. A primary aim of the motion was to lower barriers to voting. The Elections Division’s plan, which was approved by the Council on May 2nd, 2016, adds 33 additional ballot drop-off locations in King County for a total of 43 locations.

For the August primary election, a total of 29 ballot drop box locations were ready for voters. The remaining locations will be open in time for this fall’s general election. Once the plan is completed later this year, more than 90 percent of King County residents will live within three miles of a ballot drop box.

Among the most used new locations are the Lake City Library, University of Washington – Schmitz Hall, and High Point Library drop boxes, all located in areas that scored highest in the evaluation for key equity demographic characteristics. Scores were based on an Equity and Social Justice metric that considered a combination of diversity, household income, and English proficiency. Strong return rates at these locations signal progress for King County’s ongoing efforts to lower barriers to voting and strengthen the ability for all citizens to exercise the right to vote.

We followed up to get the West Seattle-specific numbers: 5,548 ballots were turned in via the High Point drop box for this year’s primary. King County Elections spokesperson Nancy Standifer tells WSB more than 4,300 of them were dropped off on Election Day (August 2nd). While it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison given that ballot vans only were sent over for a few days and limited hours each election, we asked for those numbers: August of 2015, 1,725 ballots at the West Seattle Stadium dropoff van; August of 2016 (two days) at the HP Library dropbox, 4,912 ballots.

PHOTOS: Kids’ Day with Puget Sound Beekeepers @ West Seattle Bee Garden

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11:30 AM: While the West Seattle Bee Garden is here to see at High Point Commons Park any time, it’s only once a year that you can enjoy it with the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association offering a variety of activities and demonstrations – and that’s happening right now: PSBA Kids’ Day at the WSBG. If you’re worried about the weather – there’s shade, as well as canopied booths with activities, crafts, and coloring, plus a garden full of gorgeous flowers.

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This is all free and all happening at 31st SW/SW Graham until 1 pm.

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Above, Bee Garden founder Lauren Englund in her “bee suit” for a hive demonstration; next one, by the way, is 12:15 pm, so you have time to get here!

12:20 PM: Back at HQ, we’ve added a few more photos, including Chris Porter (below) with pollination information:

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Christine Deppe and Marco Deppe had a coloring quiz for older kids – whether you can identify parts of a bee’s anatomy:

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The PS Beekeepers, by the way, are the people with whom you check if you discover a honey-bee swarm and don’t happen to be a hive-keeper – information about that is here.

SATURDAY: Kids’ Day with Puget Sound Beekeepers – ‘bee’ there!

August 15, 2016 8:47 pm
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 |   Fun stuff to do | High Point | West Seattle news

(Photo from 2015 PSBA Kids’ Day at West Seattle Bee Garden)

Remember the West Seattle Bee Festival back in May, a fun but damp day? If you’ve been looking for a reason to make a return trip to the West Seattle Bee Garden in High Point – this Saturday (with sunny, very warm weather expected) brings it! The Puget Sound Beekeepers Association is presenting Kids’ Day at the Bee Garden 10 am-1 pm on Saturday (August 20th), with hive demonstrations, honey tasting, scavenger hunt, pollination simulation, crafts, even the “waggle dance.” And the kids will learn along the way how important bees are to our everyday lives. It’s all free, courtesy of “your friendly local beekeepers,” who work hard to protect and nurture these amazing (and sometimes misunderstood) insects. The Bee Garden is on the north side of Commons Park, 31st SW and SW Graham.

High Point brush fire provides safety reminder: This can happen fast

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We happened to be driving 35th SW less than an hour ago when we noticed Engine 37 heading to a “brush fire” call a block away, so we followed. A patch of tall, dry grass was burning on the vacant, to-be-developed lot on the north side of Graham at 34th SW. As we tweeted while standing there, it was out literally within two minutes of the Seattle Fire crew’s arrival.

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Seemed too small to mention here, but we heard High Point management just put out a notice about it, so in case you were worried, this is what happened.

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