West Seattle Blog... » Safety http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Fri, 28 Nov 2014 20:35:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Followup: 47th/Admiral traffic-signal project goes out for bid http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/followup-47thadmiral-signal-project-goes-out-for-bid/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/followup-47thadmiral-signal-project-goes-out-for-bid/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:35:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=293253

Though the city had said as recently as September that work would start on the 47th/Admiral traffic signal this fall, it won’t be any sooner than winter, since the project is only just now out to bid. The solicitation on the city website and in public notices says bids are due December 10th, which is two weeks from tomorrow. The notice projects the signal will cost up to $350,000. It has long been in the works, with the campaign to improve safety at the intersection tracing back to the death of 26-year-old Tatsuo Nakata, hit and killed by a driver eight years ago this month; in summer of 2013, after then-Mayor McGinn proposed an incremental improvement at the intersection, the City Council found funding for a full signal. Whenever work starts – we have a message out to ask about the new projected timeframe – the city estimates that the signal construction will last about three months.

ADDED: In response to our inquiry, SDOT says that the current plan is to start construction in February.

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Staying safe online: Kids 9+ and their families invited Monday night http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/staying-safe-online-kids-9-and-their-families-invited-monday-night/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/staying-safe-online-kids-9-and-their-families-invited-monday-night/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 01:44:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=293032 In case you haven’t already seen this in our calendar, or heard about it via your child’s school: Kids 9+ and their families are invited to increase what they know about online safety – from cyberbullying to social networking to gaming, and beyond – at a free event tomorrow night. It’ll be hosted by Denny International Middle School, starting at 7 pm Monday in the auditorium at Chief Sealth International High School next door (2600 SW Thistle). The presenter is Stefanie Thomas, a victim advocate with the Seattle Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and there’s more info on the official flyer.

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Update: ‘Attempted child luring’ reported in school alert – what we’ve since found out http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/attempted-child-luring-reported-near-boren-building/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/attempted-child-luring-reported-near-boren-building/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 02:10:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=292500 6:10 PM: Thanks to the Arbor Heights Elementary and K-5 STEM parents who forwarded this, which they said they’ve received from school staff via e-mail and robo-call this past hour or so:

There has been a report of an attempted child luring in the vicinity of our school. The vehicle is a black F-150 Ford pickup, driven by a heavy-set, older black male. The license of the truck is B060—. The police were notified, and the subject is a registered sex offender. The suspect has not been apprehended. Please be aware and talk with your children about keeping safe. More information to follow tomorrow.

That’s the entirety of the notice, at least in the version forwarded to us. STEM and AH are currently sharing the Boren Building at 5950 Delridge Way SW. We are checking with police, who will be at tonight’s Crime Prevention Council meeting (7 pm at the precinct, Delridge/Webster) if we don’t reach them sooner.

7:06 PM UPDATE: Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske has been looking into this for us. He finally found the incident report and says it happened yesterday – it was originally called in as a different type of incident, and while investigating that, they say, a child told them of being approached by the person described in the alert, so they are now looking for that person. (We only had a quick comment to speak with him before the WSCPC meeting – if we’re able to get any more info afterward, we’ll add.)

8:49 PM UPDATE: So far what we’ve found out, from covering the Crime Prevention Council meeting, is that this was reported yesterday afternoon and the report is categorized missing child/suspicious vehicle (again, the child is safe, and was not abducted or otherwise harmed, we’re told). The registered sex offender who is believed to be the suspect does not live in the West Seattle area. The report carries the address 26xx SW Kenyon, which is the Denny IMS vicinity, but short bits of info on police reports can carry the address from which an incident is reported instead of where it happened, so we’re still awaiting confirmation of where exactly the child was approached. (Added: 6900 block Delridge, per police)

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: We’re continuing to follow up with police and Seattle Public Schools. In comments, two STEM parents have shared this text of a followup message from their principal:

I received several inquiries about a school messenger sent out by Arbor Heights yesterday concerning an alleged child luring incident. The information contained in the message was shared by a parent, and we were not able to confirm several details after conferring with SPS security or the police, and so we were advised not to send an alert. Because of the questions, I am sending out an update of information we were able to confirm.
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On Monday, November 17 the driver of a black Ford 150 truck with a roof rack was acting suspiciously while talking with a 7th grade Denny Scholar on his walk to school. The driver was reported as being a heavy set older African American male. The incident was reported to the police.
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As always, communicate with your children regarding good safety practices.

9:09 AM: We’ve been talking with SPS spokesperson Stacy Howard over the past hour. She confirms that a local parent saw the suspicious vehicle, reported it to police, and then directly contacted schools. Howard says there is supposed to be a protocol for what steps are gone through to send a school-wide alert, and they are sending a reminder to school administrators about that today.

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West Seattle scene: 35th SW meeting, afternoon edition http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-scene-35th-sw-meeting-afternoon-edition/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-scene-35th-sw-meeting-afternoon-edition/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 01:02:47 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=290225

The second of two meetings for the 35th Avenue SW Safety Project has wrapped up at Southwest Branch Library. We stopped by during the feedback session, post-presentation (if you missed the former, our report on the first meeting includes both video of the entire presentation plus the slide deck). SDOT’s project manager Jim Curtin says about 40 people attended – that’s what we counted at meeting #1 – but this group had some different interests, including parking. Listening to attendees who were invited to look at drawings of the road and write their thoughts next to specific areas, we heard continuing concerns that a “road diet” is in the cards. And again, Curtin said no plan’s been drawn up yet, but if a road diet is tried and doesn’t work – as happened in The Junction some years back – it can be undone by repainting the road.

WHAT’S NEXT: SDOT plans to continue “outreach” while creating design concepts, November through January; then in February (no specific dates announced yet) design alternatives will be unveiled and reviewed during another round of meetings. Questions or comments? jim.curtin@seattle.gov is the address to use.

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West Seattle sinkhole: Avoid 45th SW between Alaska & Edmunds http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-sinkhole-avoid-45th-sw-between-alaska-edmunds/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-sinkhole-avoid-45th-sw-between-alaska-edmunds/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 18:38:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=290086

A sinkhole is blocking the northbound side of 45th SW between Alaska and Edmunds (map) west of The Junction. After two reader tips (thank you!) we arrived just as an SDOT worker was putting out cones and tape to block off the sinkhole. One neighbor says it happened, at a previously patched spot in the road, around 8 am. No repair ETA yet; the worker told us that, as you might have guessed, many crews are out dealing with downed trees right now. Though there’s enough room for a car to squeeze by in the southbound lane, that’s still very close to the sinkhole’s edge and we’d advise avoiding the road unless you live on that block and have to get to/from home.

ADDED MONDAY NIGHT: We went back to check on the sinkhole just as it was getting dark. A Seattle Public Utilities crew was there to do some investigating:

We’ll check in with SPU and SDOT tomorrow.

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1,065 crashes in 10 years on 3 miles of ‘I-35.’ Safety project begins, to create a ‘more forgiving’ street http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/1065-crashes-in-10-years-on-3-miles-of-i-35-safety-project-begins-to-create-a-more-forgiving-street/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/1065-crashes-in-10-years-on-3-miles-of-i-35-safety-project-begins-to-create-a-more-forgiving-street/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:45:36 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=289605 By Tracy Record & Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

(September 2006 reader photo, memorial at 35th/Graham)
Susanne Scaringi

Oswald Clement

Gregory Hampel

Andrew Seffernick

James St. Clair

Their names weren’t all spoken during Wednesday night’s launch meeting for the 35th SW Road Corridor Safety Project. But the knowledge that five crashes on “I-35″ had ended their lives – five deaths in seven years – hung heavy.

“There are so many reasons we want to eliminate these serious crashes,” said SDOT‘s Jim Curtin, opening the first “issue identification” meeting for the project, which he is managing. “… We want to create a street that’s more forgiving, so when people do make mistakes, the consequences aren’t so tragic.”

What began Wednesday night – 8 months after it was promised – is intended to result in changes and improvements within a year, along the three miles of 35th between Avalon and Roxbury – three miles that have seen 1,065 crashes in the past 10 years, Curtin said.

(May 2013 crash at 35th/Roxbury: WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
Distraction is blamed for about a third of the crashes. After that: Speeding, impairment, failure to grant right-of-way. Despite the absence of a major safety campaign, there has been progress.

willowspeed.jpg

(October 2008 speed sign at 35th/Willow, where recent studies showed the highest average speed)
The speed limit along the project area is 35 mph; studies from the past year show that speeds have “come down considerably since 2007,” Curtin said, but they are still over the limit. 85 percent of the traffic is going almost 41 mph at SW Willow, 38.5 mph at SW Brandon, 36.5 mph at SW Roxbury. At those speeds, “we’re rolling the dice .. pedestrians do not typically do well” if hit at those rates of speed.

Backing up: He began with a presentation; not recommendations or suggestions, but instead, the project’s goals and facts. We recorded those first 46 minutes on video, including some Q/A:

Below, you’ll see the slide deck Curtin walked through during that opening presentation:

(PDF version is here.)

Curtin stressed that 35th is “a neighborhood” – 488 parcels along the three-mile stretch in the project zone, 73 percent of them single-family homes, 11 percent apartments/condos/townhouses – so when there are crashes, they are virtually (and sometimes literally) “in people’s front yards”:

(January 2010 crash at 35th/Cloverdale – WSB reader photo by Bruce)
While he stressed repeatedly that “tonight, we’re not jumping into solutions at all,” it was clear that some are eager, even ravenous, for solutions. One man who said he’s had two cars “totaled, absolutely totaled” decried people who drive on 35th SW “as if it were the Indianapolis 500,” particularly in the years since it became the last north-south two-lanes-each-way road through the heart of West Seattle.

(Seen April 2010 at 35th/Webster, shared by MAS)
He continued, “If you put 35th on a road diet, you won’t need more people to enforce (the speed limit).” (He was challenged loudly by other attendees and Curtin had to put the brakes on what almost accelerated into a shout-down.)

The speed van and radar trailers are among the measures implemented since 2007 that have brought speeds down somewhat, “but there is still room for improvement,” Curtin declared. (Our archives include this long list of changes made as of a 2008 discussion (note that a road-diet study was mentioned then, six years ago).

Police enforcement has brought some progress over the years.

(WSB photo: April 2011 emphasis patrol on 35th)
Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske told attendees about an enforcement period in which SPD made contact with 200 drivers over four months, with 70 pulled over for “talking on a cell phone while driving,” 40 for speeding, and the other 90 for “various violations” (including other forms of distracted driving). He said they might be back on 35th, and they are hoping to “do the same thing … in different areas.” The overtime is covered by grants they seek.

In Q/A, Curtin and Wilske were asked how road design might affect the stated major causes of crashes, distraction and impairment. “The way we design our streets have a huge impact on how people behave on our streets,” Curtin replied. “We have great big wide streets,” and, for example, that encourages people to speed, he says. “That’s why in Seattle our neighborhood streets are designed to be 25 feet wide with parking on both sides,” very little room to speed.

One resident of 35th mentioned that other drivers “don’t like their momentum broken” by, for example, his necessary turns into his own driveway, or buses slowing/stopping to pick up people. He suggested it would be worse “with three lanes” – referring to widespread suspicion that a “road diet” (rechannelization) is already decided. “Nobody’s said anything about three lanes at this point,” said Curtin, reiterating that this is the discussion stage, not the design stage.

But the topic came up again and again, and Curtin mentioned something he’s said before – that while Seattle has “done more than 30 road diets,” usually preceded by “gloom and doom,” the latter does not come to pass. (Fauntleroy Way SW, rechannelized in 2009, is a frequent example.)

Another point he made: While every intersection is a legal crosswalk – and you’re required to stop – SDOT won’t mark them “on roads like 35th” unless there is a signal. If they “change things significantly on 35th,” that would allow more marked crossings, he noted.

Was there ever a traffic change that didn’t work out? Curtin was asked. He brought up California SW, “which we put on a road diet twice, in 1970s and 1990s,” and while, he said, it worked well along most of the stretch, it did not work in the heart of The Junction, so they reversed it. “And that’s the beauty of a road diet – it’s just paint,” so if it doesn’t work out, the road can be repainted.

That led to a question about the state of SW Alaska, westward from 35th. Curtin pointed out its status as a bus route – “every time a RapidRide bus passes you, that’s hundreds of people who would (otherwise) be in cars” – as some solace for traffic concerns.

After those 46 minutes of presentation plus Q/A, breakout conversations were offered for topics including a proposed neighborhood greenway on 34th SW, which will be studied, Curtin said, next year – and what Curtin acknowledged might be “difficult choices” involving hot topics such as parking and channelization.

The 40-plus people in attendance were invited to offer their thoughts at three tables – broken geographically into the north, central, and south sections of 35th. Notes were written on huge sheets of paper mapping section of I-35.

WHAT’S NEXT: Curtin couldn’t stress enough that this is the input phase – offer your comments and concerns now, before something is designed/proposed. Next big chance to do that is meeting #2, same format as this one, though Curtin promised “tweaks”: 3:30 pm next Tuesday (October 28th), 3:30-5 pm at Southwest Branch Library, which, unlike Wednesday night’s venue, is on 35th (at SW Henderson) … a spot where we’ve covered a few crashes in the past year alone, including this one exactly one year ago:

(WSB photo: October 2013 crash at 35th/Henderson)
In February of next year, SDOT expects to unveil and circulate “design alternatives,” with a decision to be made in spring. In the meantime, if you have something to say, say it, urges Curtin: “If anyone feels they’re not being heard at these meetings, send me an e-mail at any time (jim.curtin@seattle.gov) … I’d be happy to come out and walk the corridor with you … I’d be happy to meet with you whenever and wherever.”

What would YOU do to make 35th SW safer? Come tell SDOT Tuesday – or via the contact options here.

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Making 35th SW safer: SDOT adds second community meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/making-35th-sw-safer-sdot-adds-second-community-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/making-35th-sw-safer-sdot-adds-second-community-meeting/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:22:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288951

(WSB photo from 2008: One of many safety rallies/demonstrations on ‘I-35′)
Just in from SDOT: Two meetings are now planned to kick off the 35th SW safety-improvement program. The 6:30-8 pm meeting next Wednesday (October 22nd) at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center was announced back in August; now, they’re adding a meeting on Tuesday, October 28th, 3:30-5 pm at Southwest Branch Library. Plans for the “multi-year” safety project were first announced back in February, after years of crashes and concerns along what’s been dubbed “I-35.”

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Reader report: Safety alert, if you walk your dog in Schmitz Park http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/reader-report-safety-alert-if-you-walk-your-dog-in-schmitz-park/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/reader-report-safety-alert-if-you-walk-your-dog-in-schmitz-park/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:11:23 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288863 Out of the WSB inbox, from Beth:

I was just in Schmitz Park talking to the park warden and he asked if we could get some info up on the blog. People had a campout under the bridge (last night) and left all their supplies/ garbage strewn about. They had a large amount of chicken wings and he is working on getting it all picked up but wants people who bring their dogs in to be aware that there may be chicken parts he can’t reach around the bridge/going down the ravine; they can cause a choking hazard/ digestion problems for the dogs.

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Speaking of firefighters: Upcoming storytime in West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/speaking-of-firefighters-upcoming-storytime-in-west-seattle/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/speaking-of-firefighters-upcoming-storytime-in-west-seattle/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 22:36:29 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287345 Local libraries host storytimes every week – but every so often, there’s an extra-special edition featuring Seattle Fire Department reps, always firefighters, sometimes others, all the way up to Fire Chief Gregory Dean. Another round of Firefighter Storytimes – fun events to teach little ones about fire safety – has just been announced, and it includes a West Seattle visit: High Point Branch Library, 11:30 am, October 23rd.

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Update: Why Sealth, Denny, Roxhill were briefly ‘sheltering in place’ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/why-sealth-denny-roxhill-were-briefly-sheltering-in-place/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/why-sealth-denny-roxhill-were-briefly-sheltering-in-place/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:18:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286665 ORIGINAL REPORT, 2:18 PM: Several parents messaged us about Chief Sealth International High Schoolsheltering in place” for a while this afternoon. It was related to a report that a teenager had been seen in the Westwood Village area with what looked like a gun. Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Stacy Howard says police found the teen, who turned out to have an Airsoft gun, but was not threatening anyone. She says Sealth, Denny International Middle School, and Roxhill Elementary sheltered in place for less than half an hour, and it’s over now.

ADDED 8:50 PM: Denny assistant principal Patricia Rangel has forwarded the letter that Denny and Sealth parents will get explaining the situation:

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Unneeded/expired prescription drugs? Take-Back Day this Saturday http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/unwantedunneeded-prescription-drugs-take-back-day-this-saturday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/unwantedunneeded-prescription-drugs-take-back-day-this-saturday/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:31:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286619 Keeping unneeded, unwanted, and/or expired prescription medicine around the house is a bad idea for a variety of reasons. Tossing it in the trash or emptying it down the drain is a bad idea, too. So what to do? Get rid of it this Saturday (September 27th), 10 am-2 pm, during the next Take-Back Day. The official local drop-off spot will once again be the Seattle Police Southwest Precinct at Webster/Delridge.

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West Seattle schools: K-5 STEM, Arbor Heights volunteers work to make things ‘a lot’ safer http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-schools-k-5-stem-arbor-heights-volunteers-work-to-make-things-a-lot-safer/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-schools-k-5-stem-arbor-heights-volunteers-work-to-make-things-a-lot-safer/#comments Sat, 20 Sep 2014 23:14:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286379

(WSB photos)
Way back in January, when the Seattle Schools Traffic Safety Committee convened at the Boren Building, they heard K-5 STEM parents and staffers warn that existing safety challenges in and around the parking lot would only intensify when Arbor Heights Elementary moved in starting this fall. And it’s indeed been busy, to say the least – so this morning, volunteers gathered for a “parking-lot party” to fix what they could – a lot of painting, for example (top photo), and weeding/de-mossing.

Bigger issues remain to be solved, beyond the scope of a weekend work party – see our report on this past week’s Delridge District Council meeting for more on that – but progress is progress, one step (or paintbrush) at a time.

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West Seattle traffic alert: Crash on 35th near Camp Long http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-traffic-alert-crash-on-35th-near-camp-long/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-traffic-alert-crash-on-35th-near-camp-long/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 23:50:32 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285055

Thanks to Clark for the photo from a reported car/motorcycle collision near Camp Long, in the 5000 block of 35th SW, northbound side. He says traffic is getting through, with only the outside northbound lane blocked. The SFD dispatch was for an “aid response,” lowest level of medic callout, so that likely means no major injuries; we’re checking.

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Got gas (service)? Puget Sound Energy’s sending smell-mail http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/got-gas-service-puget-sound-energys-sending-smell-mail/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/got-gas-service-puget-sound-energys-sending-smell-mail/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 20:28:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=284482

That quick video clip’s all about something Puget Sound Energy is sending out to more than a million customers via postal mail (in this case, e-mail just wouldn’t work), as explained in this announcement:

Billing statements from Puget Sound Energy arriving in mailboxes over the coming weeks might smell a little rotten.

A newly designed natural gas safety brochure is being sent out to more than 1.1 million PSE customers throughout September. In addition to lots of important information about what to do if there’s a suspected gas leak, there’s a scratch-and-sniff section that’s a reminder of the rotten egg odor associated with natural gas.

To help detect gas leaks more easily, PSE and other natural gas utilities add an odorant called mercaptan to the natural gas, which is naturally odorless and colorless. Everyone in a family needs to recognize the stench, and know what to do if they smell it:

* If a natural gas odor is detected inside or outside a house or building, or if a leak is suspected, everyone should get out immediately.

* Do not switch any lights or appliances on or off.

* Do not use cell or landline phones inside the structure or near the smell.

* Do not use anything that might create a spark or has a flame, such a lighting a match or a cigarette.

* When far away from the area, call 911, or PSE’s 24-hour emergency hotline at 1-888-225-5773. PSE’s natural gas technicians will respond immediately from our service centers at no charge to check out a problem.

* A hissing sound, blowing dirt or bubbles in a puddle may also indicate a possible natural gas leak.

In addition to delivering a “rotten egg smell,” the pamphlet also reminds customers to call 811 to have underground utility lines located before having any work done to prevent injuries and damage.

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Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC isn’t meeting tonight, but IS meeting with Highland Park AC, police on September 24th http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/wwrhah-isnt-meeting-tonight-but-is-meeting-with-hpac-police-on-september-24th/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/wwrhah-isnt-meeting-tonight-but-is-meeting-with-hpac-police-on-september-24th/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 16:04:30 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=284379 It’s September, and the community groups that took all or part of the summer off would usually be getting back to their normal schedules. But two of them have a different plan for this month. Tonight, the first Tuesday, would usually be the regular meeting night for Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, but here’s what’s on the schedule instead, as announced by Joe Szilagyi:

One more month of a slightly different WWRHAH schedule!

No meeting tonight as we’ve mentioned — the next one will be a joint meeting with the Highland Park Action Committee at their meeting space on Wednesday, September 24 at 630 pm. This meeting will be dedicated to and focusing on Seattle Police across our two areas and South Delridge. Bring your questions — we’ll have all the key staff from the Southwest Precinct there!

Meeting: HPAC & WWRHAH joint SPD meeting
Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Time: 630 pm-830 pm
Location: Highland Park Improvement Club, 1116 SW Holden

Here’s the Facebook event if you want to join that or share it.

If you live in one of those areas and have concerns/questions for SPD, that meeting will be particularly crucial, as the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council has canceled its September meeting because of health challenges among its leadership.

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