West Seattle, Washington
Want to get your weekend off to a rewarding start? Be at Highland Park Elementary School tomorrow (Saturday) morning to help the PTA clean up the playground!
We’ll meet on the blacktop at 9 am for coffee, treats, good work, and good fun! We’ll be tending our school grounds until 12 pm. See you there!
The school is at 1012 SW Trenton [map]. Even if you can’t spend three hours there, the PTA would appreciate any time you can give.
(UPDATED THURSDAY MORNING with details on services, vigil)
7:14 PM: Eight days have passed since 15-year-old Derek “Peachy” Juarez-Lopez was stabbed to death at Westcrest Park, the day before he was to start his sophomore year at Chief Sealth International High School. Police have said they believe the motive was robbery, but there’s no word of an arrest, nor even a suspect description, so far. When we asked this week for an update, their official statement remained that it is an “active and ongoing investigation.” We also asked Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis to elaborate on how the park is being handled; he replied, “We have stepped up our patrol presence in that area, not only because of the recent tragedy, but also to curtail the property crime issues and other nefarious activity that we’ve experienced there.”
The memorial service for the victim, meantime, is planned for Sunday
night, 6 pm, in Columbia City, according to the Sealth school bulletin, which does not specify the location but does say a campus vigil to celebrate his life is also being planned, date TBA. And the crowdfunding drive to help his family has passed its initial goal; its organizers, Sealth staffers who have worked with Derek and his family, have updated the page to say that Derek’s family wants “to personally thank everyone for the incredible outpouring of love that they have felt over the past week.” They added, “As community youth workers, we thank you also for the beautiful love that you have shown them.”
ADDED 7:11 AM THURSDAY: Just received from Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer:
There will be a vigil this Friday, 9/15/17 in commemoration of the short life of Chief Sealth sophomore Derek Juarez-Lopez who was murdered by an unknown assailant on September 5th. The vigil will be held at 6:00 PM in front of the auditorium. Everyone is invited to come out in support of the family and students who now mourn the sudden and tragic loss of this thoughtful and considerate young man.
In addition, the family has announced that they will host a memorial service in Derek’s honor on Sunday, 9/17/17 from 4:00 to 5:00 at Columbia Funeral Home at 4567 Rainier Ave South. There will also be a public viewing on Saturday from 10:00 to 8:00 at the same funeral home.
That Seattle Public Schools video clip shows you what happened this past Wednesday night when the School Board took a joyful action – renaming Highland Park Elementary School’s library in honor of LouAnne Rundall. She’s been a volunteer there for 45 years, more than half her life; teacher-librarian Chris Robert and principal Chris Cronas sang her praises to the board. Hours before the board’s vote, she was honored at an assembly on the first day of school. LouAnne has actually spent close to 50 years working in the library – what she does as a volunteer was a paid position for a few years. Thanks to Chris Robert for letting us know about this – he also shared this photo of LouAnne with him in the HPES library:
She is also the subject of a tribute on the school library’s webpage.
Story and photos by Linda Ball
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
You might not be aware of, or know where – or what – Falconridge Farm is.
An oasis in the midst of an ever-growing city, the equestrian property on 4.2 acres in the Highland Park area is on the market for the first time in decades, asking price $7,600,000. After hearing about the listing from a reader, we set out to find out why it’s up for sale.
The owners, Dr. Jean Nokes and her husband Milt Ghivizzani, have lovingly tended to the property for decades. The property is for sale because Dr. Nokes is no longer riding. But especially for her, their history with this property is rich with memories; she gave us a tour.
(UPDATED 4:08 PM with new information about victim, how to help family, vigil planned)
9:46 AM: An update this morning from Seattle Police, one day after a 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death at Westcrest Park. Detectives now believe robbery was the motive for the killing. They’re not going into further details so far, and there’s no suspect information to share, but they wanted to get that information out as they “actively pursue leads,” and they are asking again for any and all potentially helpful information – you can call the tip line at 206-233-5000. As reported in our Tuesday coverage, the victim was found by passers-by after walking out of the woods on the south side of the park and collapsing near 6th SW/SW Cambridge. He was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, where he died.
4:08 PM: Thanks to the community member who sent this link for a just-established crowdfunding page for the family, on which the victim is identified as Derek Juarez-Lopez. His family has spoken with The Seattle Times; their story says he was an incoming Chief Sealth International High School sophomore, something we had been trying to get the district to confirm, while also asking if a letter would be sent to families. Classes started at CSIHS (and other Seattle Public Schools) today.
4:41 PM: Here’s the letter families have received from Chief Sealth’s principal Aida Fraser-Hammer – note that it mentions a vigil at the park tomorrow night:
There comes a time in the life of every community that events happen that are difficult, painful and outside the scope of our everyday activities in school. It saddens me to start the school year with the news that one of our incoming sophomores died unexpectedly yesterday. I have been in touch with the family to offer support and let them know the school community is thinking of them as they grieve the tragic loss of their son. I’m sending you this letter to update you on the facts, to assure you that we are doing everything we can to support our students, and to suggest ways you may help your children.
Yesterday, you may have heard about a stabbing in West Seattle. We were notified yesterday afternoon that one of our students, Derek Juarez Lopez, was the victim. Derek was going to be a 10th grader this year. When we talked with Derek’s family, they wanted us to know how much he loved his family, school and friends. They also let us know that he was particularly excited about starting the new school year at Chief Sealth and they gave permission to disclose his name so we could be the ones who informed our students and his friends.
Because this happened just yesterday, we all have more questions than answers. We are in close contact with the Seattle Police Department to ensure that we are aware of any new information. At this time, there are no known suspects. As we learn more we will share this information with our students.
When a classmate dies, it may trigger all kinds of expected and even unexpected reactions in our students, especially if the person who has died is a peer or close friend. Today, we brought in additional counseling resources and will continue to provide support as needed for students. . Our students have been demonstrating a great deal of compassion and kindness. I am very proud of how our staff, students and families are supporting each other.
Parents and guardians have important roles in helping students understand such tragic events. We have encouraged our students to talk with their families about their ideas, thoughts and beliefs. Please call us at 252-8550 if we can help in any way. We believe that it is important to understand and respect each child’s experience. We are also discussing personal safety and will continue to discuss this throughout the school year. Your family’s focus on student safety will help reinforce this message.
Our hearts and thoughts go to Derek’s family. The family plans to have a candlelight vigil at Westcrest Park tomorrow at 7:00 PM. As we learn of more ways to support them, we will let you know. Our community is close and having a tragedy such as this occur makes me realize what a wonderful school community we have at Chief Sealth International School. I want to share our staff’s appreciation of your support and patience during our time of grief.
A memorial for Derek is up now at the site where he was found yesterday morning, 6th and Cambridge:
Again, 206-233-5000 if you have any information that might be related to this crime.
THURSDAY UPDATE: We are now told the vigil information was incorrect.
(UPDATED 4:54 PM with police reporting that victim was a teenager and that he has died)
9:22 AM: A Seattle Fire “assault with weapons” response is arriving at 6th SW and SW Cambridge, on the edge of Westcrest Park (map). According to radio transmissions, a man believed to be in his mid-20s has multiple stab wounds. Police are searching. We’re on the way to find out more.
9:29 AM: Life-threatening injuries, according to medics’ radio discussion, which also says the man was found “on the street,” no weapon found, circumstances unknown.
9:37 AM: Our crew has arrived and says that roads around the scene are being closed off as the search continues.
9:45 AM: You may see a helicopter searching the area too. Meantime, early details have been published to SPD Blotter, including:
… Just before 9:15 AM, the victim, a man in 20’s, walked out of the woods and collapsed on a sidewalk near 6th Avenue SW and SW Cambridge Street. The man said he’d been stabbed and passersby called 911.
9:51 AM: Our crew confirms Guardian One is over the area. We’ve also spoken with a lieutenant who confirms what’s been reported previously and says that Homicide Unit detectives have been sent.
10:38 AM: No new information yet, but the investigation continues. If you have any information, call 911.
4:54 PM: Police have just provided an update – saying that the victim has died, and that he was a teenager, 15 years old, not an adult as originally believed:
The victim has died from his injuries. Detectives have confirmed he is 15 years old, not in his 20’s as previously reported. This crime occurred at the southern portion of Westcrest Park. Police are investigating and are asking anyone with information about this case to call 206-233-5000.
We just talked with SPD spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson and he confirmed that’s all the new information they have – they want to hear from anyone who might have seen or heard anything that can help with this “very active homicide investigation.” This is the third homicide investigation this year in West Seattle – the first one was the May shooting on Alki that killed a 23-year-old man (still no arrests); the second one was the baseball-bat killing of a 24-year-old man at an encampment over Highway 509 in June (two people arrested and charged).
WEDNESDAY NOTE: We have published an update on the case here.
Jenni and Todd Watkins were going to spend a little well-deserved time relaxing today. Instead, they’ve been at their Dutchboy Coffee stand at 16th and Holden in Highland Park all day repairing damage done by burglars early this morning. The burglars took the door off its hinges – and made off with point-of-sale-processing equipment as well as items including two containers of milk. Video from the SeaMart convenience store next door shows two people approaching the stand just before 5 am, wearing gloves:
The video’s been shown to police. If you have any information, you can refer to SPD case number 17-328373. And yes, Dutchboy Coffee will be back open tomorrow, 6:30 am.
Second confirmed gunfire incident tonight – and again in this case, no victims reported – dispatchers reported multiple calls, and officers have radioed in that they found casings at 11th and Kenyon.
Three West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports tonight:
SNACK SHACK BURGLARIES: We took that photo two months ago today, the day West Seattle Baseball proudly dedicated their long-awaited new “snack shack” at the Pee Wee baseball field in Riverview. today, WS Baseball board member and parent Zach Jones sent this reader report for Crime Watch:
The new snack shack at the Pee Wee Fields has been broken into twice in the past week. The first break-in happened last Thursday night 8/3 and again Tuesday night 8/8. The thieves broke in through side vents (which have since been secured with welded bars) and stole our iPad min, a small amount of cash, all of our snacks/food, and other miscellaneous items. They also destroyed our cash register.
They also tried to gain access through the side door by some sort of torch but were unsuccessful. There was a trail of snacks going east down the hill where there are several homeless camps. It’s likely that one of them has committed this crime. We have filed a police report with SPD.
Lots of parents in West Seattle Baseball worked especially hard to raise money and hundreds of volunteer hours went into opening this for all the families of our league. It’s disappointing to put so much effort into this project and have someone ruin it. If any of your readers have experience with storage container security measures, please reach out to email@example.com, we would appreciate any help.
Two other Crime Watch reader reports:
BACKPACKS & HAT STOLEN: From Shannon in Seaview:
We had our car loaded with camping gear for a camping trip and parked in our front yard just a few feet from our front door, and someone smashed the window, on 48th between Findlay and Juneau.
Luckily, they weren’t interested in our camping gear, but they did steal our backpacks. I suspect they probably ditched them once they realized there weren’t any electronics or anything easily pawned inside them. I am writing in hopes someone will come across them dumped in the bushes or something. One taupe-colored Camelback-brand day pack with first-aid kit inside and one blue and gray Kelty daypack with a Camelback, bright lime green North Face raincoat, and a baseball hat. The baseball hat is dark blue with a light pink script capital “I” on it. I really really want the hat back more than anything, for sentimental reasons. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PACKAGE THEFT: Anita e-mailed today to report, “We had a package stolen from (SW) Findlay yesterday sometime after 12:00 noon that was delivered by UPS … Don’t know if this is something going on with other people in the area or not.”
TALK WITH POLICE SATURDAY: Another reminder that Southwest Precinct police’s “Picnic at the Precinct” is part of the Delridge Day festival again this year – and it’s Saturday, 11 am-3 pm, at Delridge Community Center park (4501 Delridge Way). See you there.
In case you’re wondering, work really has begun on the long-closed, arson-damaged restroom/storage building at Riverview Playfield. Our photo above is from Wednesday morning – as we pulled up, workers were visible on the roof and operating the equipment that’s in the photo, but they were out of view before we got the camera out. Neighborhood advocates had been aghast to hear at one point that the relatively new facility might remain closed, waiting for repair funding, for several more years, but Parks confirmed in May that $200,000+ had been allocated from the levy-funded Seattle Park District, and during the Highland Park Find It/Fix It Walk days later, Parks confirmed the plan. They then said work would start with the roof, and that’s what a building permit has been issued for. Parks expects the building will be ready to reopen in fall.
If this water-service shutdown tomorrow affects you, Seattle Public Utilities says, you should already have been notified via a door-hanger. But just in case, here’s the full announcement:
About 103 customers in West Seattle will be without water for about 11 hours (Thursday, July 27th) while SPU performs water-meter replacement work. The shutdown is expected to last from approximately 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Affected customers have been notified of the shutdown by door hanger. The sections of main to be shut down are indicated below:
1. The 24 inch main in SW KENYON ST from 9TH AVE SW to 5TH AVE SW
2. The 8 inch main in SW CLOVERDALE ST from EAST TO THE END OF THE MAIN to
3. The 3-8 inch main in STUBS AT SW KENYON ST from NORTH TO END OF MAIN to
4. The 24 inch main in 5TH AVE SW from SW KENYON to GATEHOUSE ASSET NUMBER 7377
5. The 4/6 inch main in 4TH AVE SW from SW THISTLE ST to TO THE END OF THE MAIN NORTH OF SW ELMGROVE
6. The 8 inch main in SW Thistle ST from 4th Ave SW to 5th Ave SW
7. The 8 inch main in SW Elmgrove st from 4th Ave SW to 5th Ave SW
8. The 8 inch main in 5th Ave SW from SW Kenyon st to SW Thistle St
9. The 8 inch main with PRV on it SW Kenyon to the West
10. The 8/2 inch main in SW Kenyon st to the East
Sorry, no SPU map to accompany this – looking at Google Maps, the areas mentioned are north of Westcrest Park – but hopefully the SPU list above will help.
As far as we know, this is the final West Seattle forum before ballots are due on August 1st – tomorrow (Tuesday) night, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council hosts 12 of the 15 candidates for the two citywide City Council positions on the primary-election ballot. Seven people are running for Position 8 (incumbent Councilmember Tim Burgess is not) and eight people are running for Position 9 (incumbent CM Lorena González among them). Here’s who has RSVP’d, as sent by DNDC chair Mat McBride:
It’s happening 7-9 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club (1116 SW Holden), and the format is simple – each candidate gets 5 minutes to make her/his pitch. Then you get to talk with them one on one. Even if you don’t want to do anything but listen and leave after that first hour, McBride’s pitch to you: “I’ve said this before, but nothing, nothing is more impactful than showing up. You cannot disregard a community that shows up. Let’s be that community.” All ages welcome.
12:23 PM: Seattle Fire is on the scene of a house fire in the 8100 block of 14th SW. We’re on the way to find out more.
12:23 PM: We’re arriving in the area. Firefighters are still searching the house to be sure everyone is out OK. SFD is asking for more backup.
12:37 PM: Firefighters report the fire is knocked down “in the wall” of this 2-story house – we’re not seeing any more smoke – but are checking to be sure it didn’t extend to the rest of the house. No injuries reported so far; we hope to talk to the incident commander soon to confirm.
12:48 PM: Firefighters tell us no one was home when this started; the neighbors called it in. It was confined to the wall. They confirm, no injuries. Some of the crews are being dismissed.
Highland Park Elementary students will NOT lose their volunteer reading tutors after all, thanks to community contributors plus one generous ongoing supporter of the Reading Partners program. Here’s the update from Dina Johnson, the volunteer tutor and community advocate who has been working for more than a month to get the word out:
Just received this from Linda Givler, admin of the “Save Highland Park Reading partners” GoFundMe Page:
The GoFundMe campaign to save the Reading Partners program at Highland Park Elementary School has ended. The page will be left up for a few days to allow everyone to see the latest update.
Together we were able to raise $12,787 in 30 days. I think that is amazing, even though it is short of the $30,000 necessary to continue the program.
ALL IS NOT LOST. An ongoing supporter of the RP program in Seattle, who has chosen to stay anonymous, has designated their annual contribution to make up the difference and allow the Highland Park Reading Partners program to continue this coming school year.
We are very, very fortunate that a Reading Partners supporter has stepped up to help save our Reading Partners program at Highland Park. I know you will all be as excited as I am to continue helping our wonderful little readers next school year.
This was truly a group effort. Thanks to everyone…
Now it is time to celebrate.
(Dina’s P.S.) I’m giddy with delight (and amazement!) We proved that people CARE about schoolchildren in our little corner of Seattle!
Last year, the first-ever Festival Centroamericano filled Westcrest Park in Highland Park with a daylong celebration of Central American culture (WSB coverage here). We just got word it’s coming back for a second year. The announcement:
The second annual Festival Centroamericano event is dedicated to learning and sharing the culture of Central America. The festival brings together, from neighborhoods throughout Seattle, people who are from, or have friends and family from, the seven Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama).
Embracing our Central American heritage and culture to a community that is not well exposed to it can also offer a great opportunity to learn something new especially with the different ethnic groups (Indigenous, African, Mestizo, Latino) that are involved in the festival. The organization unites the different ethnic groups from each of the Central American countries to exchange cultures and learn from one another.
The Festival Centroamericano will be a family-oriented and free for the public event, therefore, everyone is welcome to experience a Central American community at Westcrest Park, 9000 8th Ave SW, on August 27 of 2017 from 12 to 7 PM. The festival will have live performances and vendors providing food, art, information, and other great services!
From the inbox:
I came across two commercial type lawn mowers ‘stashed’ in a remote area off the beaten path area below Highland Park in a spot they shouldn’t be. My concern is they might be stolen from some commercial landscaper or gardener and that’s how they make their living. I have the two brand names on the mowers for proof if someone is missing their equipment. These do not belong where I found them.. that’s for sure!
A police report has been filed, and we’re awaiting the number.
Here’s something heroic you can do right here, right now: Help save the reading-tutor program at Highland Park Elementary. Here’s the latest from Dina Johnson, the volunteer leading the effort:
Update for Save Highland Park Reading Partners. We are at $8,462 of $30k goal!
Donations have been steadily accumulating, many $50 or $100. I update on the Facebook page daily. Someone named Wendy Rush just donated $500 today! I don’t know her, but MANY THANKS to Wendy!
I’m feeling very heartened. Was disappointed by last week’s Summer Book Swap – LOTS of book donations, but almost no one came by to browse. Was it the 95-degree heat that day? Many people missed a chance to get wonderful free books for their kids. Luckily, a 9-year-old girl did grab a complete boxed set of the Little House books. But the complete boxed set of Narnia books was unclaimed…
Thank you to the book donors, though – credit at the used bookstore means RP can add to the student library for all the schools.
If we make $10,000 or more I will be so gratified that people care, although it wouldn’t be enough to save Reading Partners this year. (A hard-working Volunteer Coordinator needs to be hired to make everything run smoothly for the volunteer program.)
In that case, the donations will be refunded. THANKS to 99 generous donors so far!! I’m sure someone will be eager to claim the 100th spot of honor!
You can do that – or maybe even be the 101st or 102nd or beyond, if you don’t see this until later tonight, or Sunday, or … – just go here.
(UPDATED FRIDAY AFTERNOON with letter-writing info for roundabout support)
DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS: Yun Pitre visited – she’s an 11-year city employee who was formerly a Neighborhood District Coordinator, now a Community Engagement Coordinator, one of four working with community groups around the city. She’s assigned to Districts 1 and 2. (That’s City Council districts, as in 7 of them, rather than the old not-numbered neighborhood districts, of which West Seattle had two.) “We’re still your liaisons to city government,” she affirmed, when asked what her role now means. HPAC co-chair Michele Witzki said she hopes the department will offer added resources. “One of the reasons they broke everything up was for equity – and now not only are we getting (fewer resources), but it seems we’re competing with some of the other (disadvantaged) neighborhoods that have (greater) needs.”
That short video by Dina Johnson tells the story of how supporters are hoping to save the Reading Partners one-on-one-tutoring program at Highland Park Elementary. We first mentioned it here last weekend; their next event is a book swap tomorrow (Sunday, June 25th) afternoon at Highland Park Improvement Club (1116 SW Holden). It’s free – bring books, for kids and/or adults! – and also a chance to find out more about the program and how volunteers are trying to save it. Their main fundraiser is a GoFundMe page that has now passed $6,000 but has a long way to go to the $30,000 needed by July 15th to keep the program from being dropped at HPES.
Students at Highland Park Elementary are getting an early start on beating the heat. Today – second-to-last day of school – is Field Day, and PE teacher Chellie LaFayette tells us that means bonus outdoor fun.
The younger students’ Field Day fun was earlier this morning, and the older kids will be out this afternoon.
P.S. Highland Park kids work hard in the classroom too, but as reported here last weekend, are facing the loss of a reading-tutor program – this Sunday brings a chance for you to help.
The one-on-one Reading Partners tutoring program is in danger at Highland Park Elementary, according to volunteer tutor Dina Johnson, who’s organizing a campaign to save it. “All the tutors wish to continue. We have established a close rapport with students and watched them progress. We know this is one of the under-performing schools in Seattle. Over 50% of the kids aren’t reading at grade level. So we decided to try raising the funds – $30,000. Deadline is July 15th.” They’ve set up a crowdfunding page here; there’ll also be a free Summer Book Swap event 1 pm June 25th at Highland Park Improvement Club – (updated) details here. And look for Dina at the Westwood Village Street Fair Saturday, with a table in front of Giannoni’s Pizza on the south side of the center.
That’s the new Snack Shack for West Seattle Baseball, and you’re invited to the Pee-Wee Fields at Riverview Playfield this Saturday to celebrate it, and to watch championship games. We heard about this from Megan Varner, a WS Baseball board member who has run the Snack Shack for the past three years. She explains, “We finally got a new Snack Shack after 15+ years, through large donations and fundraising!” They’re still adding the finishing touches – “literally … down to the final minute” to get ready for Saturday: “A lot of local sponsors donated time and work to pull this off. Great community effort.”
The “grand reopening” will start around 11 am Saturday, with a ribboncutting planned at 11:45 am, followed by the Pinto and Mustang season championship games starting at 1 pm. Megan says, “It will be a day filled with food, games, and baseball!”
P.S. Megan says special thanks goes to: “Eric Moe of JEM Contractors and Mark Hubbard of Grindline Skate Parks did all concrete work. Big thanks to O’Neill Plumbing for their help, and our many sponsors this season, as well as several WS families who went above and beyond to support this effort.”
As mentioned in our West Seattle Thursday highlights this morning, Highland Park Elementary School‘s playground project has a dine-out fundraiser continuing this evening at Zippy’s Giant Burgers in White Center (open until 9 at 9614 14th SW). We recently asked the HPE PTA how the project is going, since the city mentioned some grant money had been awarded. Here’s the update from PTA vice president Connie Wolf:
After three years of work on our playground project, we are ready to break through the asphalt. Construction drawings from the Pomegranate Center along with funding from the Neighborhood Matching Fund’s Community Partnership Fund and King County Youth Sports Facilities Grant have us set to build Phase 1 of our new playground.
This phase will include installation of a net climber, hill slides, a boulder scramble, an ADA ramp, and a new welcoming community entryway. Two key principles of the design are a natural landscape that encourages imaginative play for our children and a welcoming place for our school and neighborhood.
In order to ensure the funds on hand will cover all of the construction work, we had to pull certain elements out of our base bid. Gateway artwork, landscaping, and a seat wall are pieces of this phase that we are currently fundraising for.
Phase 1 should be completed this fall, and then we will begin working toward the second half of the project which will include more play equipment: a tree deck, log steps, and boulder stacks.
You can support the HPE playground project by participating in our dine outs (thank you Proletariat Pizza, Zippy’s Giant Burgers, Chipotle, and Mioposto), attending our fall playground celebration (currently being planned), and volunteering in our work parties (more info on that to come).
Thank you to everyone who has helped to create this incredible play space for our children.