8 nights away from your First Look at District 1 council candidates

January 28, 2015 at 10:03 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | No Comments

We’ll forgive you for having trouble concentrating on anything but The Big Game.

We’re looking ahead a few days past it – to the District 1: First Look city council candidates’ forum that we at WSB are presenting eight nights from now, February 5th, 7 pm (doors and mingling at 6:30) at Highland Park Improvement Club.

Five days after Councilmember Tom Rasmussen surprised politics-watchers by deciding not to run after all, the race remains with a field of three, listed here in order of their announcements:

*Chas Redmond, who was first to announce, in December of 2013
*Amanda Kay Helmick, who announced her candidacy last October
*George Capestany, who announced his run in November

They’re confirmed, and we’re looking forward to it. Yes, the field may well change between now and the filing deadline on May 15th. Doesn’t matter – it’s well past time NOW to find out what those who are running have to say in response to your questions and ours. This is the first time West Seattle and South Park get to elect a councilmember by district and you might as well make the most of it. You’ll have time to ask questions during the forum and you are also welcome to get suggestions in now (editor@westseattleblog.com). Meantime, there’s lots of room at HPIC (12th/Holden) – full transportation info to come. We’ll have beverages and treats. See you there on February 5th.

Here’s what’s coming up at the north end of Delridge and beyond

January 28, 2015 at 6:43 pm | In Delridge, Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

6:43 PM: From the “in case you were wondering, too” file: A reader e-mailed today with the observation, “I noticed a construction sign and cement barriers up this morning on Delridge, north of Andover Street,” so we went over for a photo, then asked SDOT, and got this reply from Maribel Cruz:

The barriers you reference were installed to facilitate installation of four new Seattle City Light poles prior to the start of construction of pedestrian safety improvements along Delridge Way SW between SW Andover Street and the West Seattle Bridge Trail.

The pedestrian safety improvements project is scheduled to begin the third week of February and to last for approximately six weeks. It will improve the connection for pedestrians and bicyclists from the West Seattle Bridge multi-use trail to the signalized intersection at Delridge Way SW and SW Andover St., and beyond to the Delridge and West Seattle neighborhoods. Most importantly, this project will improve safety for all roadway users.

Project elements include:

* Widened sidewalk along the east side of Delridge Way SW
* Curb ramps at Delridge Way SW and SW Andover St
* Redesign of 23rd Ave SW where it meets Delridge Way SW to reduce the pedestrian crossing distance and provide uninterrupted sidewalk

Cruz promises another update soon.

ADDED 9:06 PM: This SDOT webpage has a little more information, including a simple map.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Burglary suspects charged; car prowls, and what was left behind

January 28, 2015 at 3:55 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

Two West Seattle Crime Watch reports this afternoon:

BURGLARY SUSPECTS CHARGED: The two 20-year-olds arrested after a burglary west of The Junction last Friday are now officially charged, accused of ransacking the house while a resident hid in a closet; they were found hiding in a shed outside a house less than a block away. As we reported here on Monday, James Michael French (left) and Donchevell Delraye Williams (right) both have records, including assault convictions, and both got out of prison (in separate cases) the same day, less than 3 weeks before this break-in, according to what we found out via an inquiry with the state Department of Corrections.

Each is charged with one count of residential burglary. Charging documents say they were found with a bag of property stolen from the burglarized house, and that Williams had a folding knife clipped in his pants. He listed a Federal Way address; French had a West Seattle address listed in probable-cause documents but the charging papers say he told court personnel he had been “living in a drug house in Kent.” Both remain in jail; prosecutors asked that their bail remain at the amount set at their first hearing last weekend, $100,000 for French, $60,000 for Williams. They are due in court on February 11th.

CAR PROWLS: Car prowlers hit at least three vehicles along the Upper Fauntleroy/Gatewood line overnight, one of them ours. First, Mark has more to tell about what happened to his family’s vehicle – and what he found nearby:

My wife’s Honda CRV was broken into sometime last night. Nothing of value was in the car and nothing seems to be taken, although the contents were strewn all over. There was no sign of forced entry, so either the car was unlocked (not likely), or a jimmy tool was used. My wife is in the process of filling out an online police report.

In addition, we found a Suzuki factory-type car rack with 2 bike mounts on it lying on the parking strip across the street. This was dumped there last night as well, and I’m guessing by the same people involved in the car prowl. I imagine the rack was from a stolen car, or was stolen separately and ditched there. I’ve attached a photo of the rack. If someone claims it via a comment in the blog, I will make arrangements for them to pick it up.

This occurred near the California Ave SW and SW Thistle intersection.

We also reported our prowl online (here’s where to do that). No damage; only evidence was open glove box and center console, plus an ice scraper moved from door slot to floor, one small electronics cord taken, will cost about $3 to replace. We don’t have details of the third incident, only that a vehicle was prowled in the same general neighborhood. Car-prowl prevention was a topic, by the way, of last night’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting; we’ll have that full report sometime tonight.

Will allowing Shell’s Arctic-drilling fleet at Terminal 5 land the port in court? Coalition asks commissioners to reconsider

January 28, 2015 at 2:41 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

At the Port of Seattle‘s Jack Block Park, overlooking six-months-empty Terminal 5, a coalition of environmental advocates called today for the Port Commission to change its mind about allowing Shell’s Arctic-drilling fleet at T-5 as an interim use.

If commissioners don’t reconsider, they said, they might have to take the Port to court.

The notion of supporting an Arctic-drilling operation is incompatible with what the port and the region stand for, says the coalition, also suggesting, it could bring “…environmental harm (to) Puget Sound.” And reps at the media briefing repeatedly decried the fact the prospective deal had been secret until its appearance on the agenda for the commission’s January 13th meeting (published online five days in advance).

The coalition included nine national/state organizations plus City Councilmember Mike O’Brien and former Mayor Mike McGinn, both of whom were at the media event (O’Brien, left in top photo, was a speaker, McGinn, below, was not).

They are all signatories on a letter they said would go to the Port Commission today, leading off with concern that the port is fast-tracking this by using a State Environmental Policy Act exception that might ultimately not apply. Read the letter embedded below (or as a PDF, here):

As reported here right after the January 13th commission meeting, Port Commissioners Stephanie Bowman, Bill Bryant, and John Creighton voiced support for allowing staff to continue working with Foss Maritime, which would be providing the services to Shell, while Commissioners Tom Albro and Courtney Gregoire thought there should be more time for public comment. It was not a formal vote because, as also noted at that meeting, the part-time commission doesn’t usually vote on leases, delegating decisions to port staff.

Those speaking at today’s event took issue not only with the substance of the proposed deal, and with the pre-meeting secrecy, but with the notion of Arctic drilling in any form, supported anywhere. KC Golden from Climate Solutions said that it represents “a one-way ticket to centuries of hell and high water … we must not buy that ticket.”

“We flatly have to say no,” declared Councilmember O’Brien, who chairs the council committee that includes sustainability as its focuses. He said he’s hopeful that constituents will inspire Commissioners Bowman, Bryant, and Creighton to change their minds.

Raising the spectre of environmental damage to Puget Sound, Earthjustice’s Patti Goldman (top photo, second from left) made note of past problems with Shell’s fleet, “the fleet that had everything go wrong!” alluding to the expectation that the problem-plagued Noble Discoverer would return here – it was at Vigor on Harbor Island back in 2012:

(2012 photo by Ilona Berzups)
A West Seattle voice heard at the media briefing was that of attorney Peter Goldman (at right in top photo), who also had spoken during the public-comment period at the January 13th Port Commission meeting. “I regret that this press conference was necessary (but) I’m confident that (the Port Commission) will do the right thing.”

The port’s official statement on this, released this afternoon by spokesperson Peter McGraw: “This opportunity has the potential to create hundreds of family-wage jobs and generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the region. We also respect the differences of opinion amongst community stakeholders and Commissioners, and will carefully review their letter and concerns.”

Hours earlier at the Jack Block Park event, Councilmember O’Brien, among others, had seemed to anticipated the first part of that reaction, saying that “jobs vs. environment” is a “false choice.”

As for the timeline on finalization for the deal, a spokesperson for Foss told WSB they’re not commenting on where negotiations stand. Earlier information suggested work would have to be done at T-5 soon to make it ready for vessels to arrive in spring. Though the contract for Shell at T-5 would be through Foss, it wasn’t mentioned much during today’s event; we asked about that, and Peter Goldman said that while Foss has a good reputation, including attention to sustainability, “we can’t give them a pass just because they’re a good company.”

See the new map as Seattle Police redraws beat boundaries

January 28, 2015 at 12:50 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 1 Comment

Seattle Police announced today that the department has redrawn patrol-sector boundaries, among other changes – here’s the official announcement. From it, above, that’s the new map of sectors/beats in the Southwest Precinct (West Seattle and South Park); compare it to the old one below:

From the SPD Blotter post that contains the announcement, as linked above:

SPD’s five precincts’ beats will also more closely reflect Seattle’s census tracts, to match officer allocation to the recent growth and shifts in Seattle’s many neighborhoods. Beat realignments are a common practice for law enforcement agencies throughout the country, allowing police departments to account for city growth and population density changes. The last time SPD redrew its boundaries was in 2008. Now, six years later, the department has again taken the opportunity to reevaluate and meet the needs of each of Seattle’s neighborhoods.

We don’t have detailed information on the boundary changes, but on first look, the ones we notice seem to involve the William sector in western WS. Meantime, aside from the maps, we don’t have specifics yet about exactly what that means to you, but we’re asking for more details and will add anything we find out.

P.S. If you didn’t read the full announcement, SPD also is taking Tweets by Beat and crime maps down until next week, to align the automated information with these changes. That means the incident list you see atop our Crime Watch page will be unavailable. It also means your tips are more important now than ever, since the tweets and maps are a key way we try to make sure we haven’t missed anything major – editor@westseattleblog.com or 206-293-6302 any time – thank you.

West Seattle Wednesday: Highland Park Action Committee tackles traffic trouble spot; Pathfinder Playground benefit buffet; more…

January 28, 2015 at 10:14 am | In West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | 7 Comments

(Monday photo by Long Bach Nguyen)
Busy day/night! From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

SPANISH STORY TIME @ MY THREE LITTLE BIRDS: 11:15 am on Wednesdays, My Three Little Birds in Morgan Junction offers Spanish story time. (6959 California SW)

BABY IN THE HOUSE? OR ON THE WAY? Early Days drop-in support group meets noon-2 pm Wednesdays at Limber Yoga north of Morgan Junction – explained here. (6019 California SW)

DINE OUT FOR PATHFINDER PLAYGROUND: 5-8 pm at Pecado Bueno in The Junction, Mexican buffet benefit for the Pathfinder K-8 Playground Project. Plus, facepainting and a raffle for a recycled-glass playground tile (to feature your name or a short quote).

(Pathfinder Playground supporters Kelly Guenther, Holli Margell, and Susan Melrose, with, 2nd from right, Pecado Bueno proprietor James Schmidt)
Buy a wristband at the door, $15 adult/$10 kid/2-and-under free. (4523 California SW)

PELICAN BREWING MEET-AND-GREET: 5-8 pm, as part of the Barrel Junction week of activities at The Beer Junction. (4511 California SW)

URBAN VILLAGES, 20 YEARS LATER: Not happening in West Seattle, but of interest – as previewed here, former City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck presents a report reviewing how “urban villages” (of which West Seattle has 4) are working (or not), two decades since their creation. 5:30 pm open house, 6 pm presentation, in the Bertha Knight Landes Room on the 5th Avenue street level of City Hall downtown. (5th/Cherry)

PEGGY LEE TRIBUTE SHOW: Doors open 5:30 pm, catered dinner at 6 pm for this Senior Center of West Seattle event – check ASAP to see if reservations are still available! (Oregon/California)

HIGHLAND PARK ACTION COMMITTEE: 7 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club, tonight’s HPAC meeting includes a discussion of the Highland Park Way/Holden intersection woes, plus the search for new leadership. (12th/Holden)

POEMS AND STORIES: 7-9 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), you’re invited – details here. (5612 California SW)

4000 MILES, WEEK 2: It’s the second week of performances for this Pulitzer-nominated dramatic comedy at ArtsWest (WSB sponsor). Curtain time 7:30 pm; get tickets online. (4711 California SW)

YES, THERE’S MORE … browse our calendar for more today/tonight events, and beyond.

West Seattle Seahawk spirit: ‘World’s largest 12 flag’ rally Friday

January 28, 2015 at 8:55 am | In Delridge, West Seattle news, WS & Sports | 16 Comments

(WSB file photo)
Last year, just before the Seahawks’ first Super Bowl win, the giant 12 flag made its debut at Delridge/Andover [map], in a rally hosted by Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) and Bartell Drugs, whose corporate HQs are in the building. This year, they’ve just invited you to help them rally again, 11 am-1 pm this Friday (January 30th), raising the 1,500-square-foot flag at 12:12 pm (of course!). Along with cheering the flag and showing off your own 12thness, the announcement says rallygoers will find product sampling from both companies as well as cheer card/poster giveaways and more. See you there!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday morning updates

January 28, 2015 at 6:50 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | No Comments

(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:50 AM: Good morning! The Wednesday commute watch is on.

8:19 AM: Still no incidents. So we’ll note transportation-news links from the past 24 hours or so … First, if you heard about the proposal in the Legislature to kill the Highway 99 project, KING reports the bill itself is basically DOA … Speaking of the tunnel, if you want to review the fine print about the state and its contractor disagreeing on who’s responsible for extra costs because of soil conditions, WSDOT includes the memo in this update … Here’s our recap of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s first 2015 meeting, including discussion of the city’s responses to WSTC’s 5 most-pressing issues.

9:24 AM: Six minutes after tweeting first word of a problem on the low bridge, SDOT says it’s already fixed.


@ West Seattle Transportation Coalition: Reviewing the city’s responses to the Top 5; mitigation money; more…

January 28, 2015 at 1:25 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Four months ago today, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition informed the city of what it considers the five “most pressing transportation issues” for the peninsula, and set a deadline for responses on what could/would be done about them.

In some cases, the answers boiled down to “not much, without spending a ton of money,” as you might have seen in our report earlier this month, featuring the replies sent to the WSTC right at the wire.

Meeting for the first time in 2015, the WSTC said in essence, that’s not good enough. Its list of 5, meantime, is down to 4. Here’s how the discussion, and other hot transportation topics, unfolded:

Click to read the rest of @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition: Reviewing the city’s responses to the Top 5; mitigation money; more……

West Seattle Crime Watch: Student reports ‘flasher’ incident

January 27, 2015 at 7:52 pm | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 8 Comments

7:52 PM: Thanks to the Chief Sealth International High School parents who have sent us this message received tonight by families – first we have heard of it:

Yesterday, while walking home from school, a student was approached by a man in a newer model, gray minivan. A man drove up to the student, pulled off to the side, opened his door and exposed himself to her. This student ran away and reported this incident when she got home and then reported to the school today. Police were notified, took a report and description, and are now investigating. We do not have a license plate, but the description was a white male in his mid 30s, brown hair, wearing a white t-shirt and worn-out jeans, and driving a newer model gray mini-van. Our student did everything right, immediately getting away from the stranger, meeting up with a nearby familiar individual and reporting the incident to her parent, to the school, and then to the police.

The safety of our students is our top priority for Chief Sealth International. You can help your children stay safe by talking to them about personal safety. Tips to discuss are walking in pairs or groups and being aware of their surroundings at all times, as well as not talking to strangers or getting into their vehicles. Having these conversations, especially with younger children, can be difficult. We encourage you to be sensitive to your child. More tips and information can be found on the Seattle Police Department website.

While it hasn’t been mentioned here so far, we received this while covering the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting and are pursuing more information from police; we’ll add anything more we find out.

8:14 PM: One additional detail that was not in the school e-mail – the police report says the student wasn’t certain exactly where it happened, but it was “near” Delridge/Thistle, which is a few blocks east of the school. This is the first incident of this type that has surfaced in our area since last September.

Can the man who saved the Shoremont save the Alki Homestead?

January 27, 2015 at 5:28 pm | In Alki Homestead, West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 21 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“It’s fixable, in my opinion.”

So says Dennis Schilling of the historic West Seattle landmark he’s considering buying and repairing, the Alki Homestead (originally Fir Lodge), vacant since the fire that charred its interior six years ago this month.

This Friday, Schilling takes a new repair/restoration/renovation plan to the city Landmarks Preservation Board‘s Architectural Review Committee. The meeting agenda is the first public document pointing to his involvement with the Homestead; after finding the damaged landmark on the ARC agenda for the first time in 3 1/2 years, we looked up the Department of Planning and Development files for the site and found Schilling involved.

If you can’t place his name, Schilling is the Mercer Island man who saved the Shoremont Apartments, blocks east of the Homestead, as first reported here in 2011. That classic brick building was at one point proposed for demolition and replacement with an ultramodern-style building. He bought it instead, fixed it up, and says everything’s “been great” since then.

One day while visiting Alki to go to the Shoremont, Schilling told us in an interview outside the Homestead today, he noticed the big “for sale” sign that’s been up for months. (He explains that every time he goes somewhere, he tries to “not drive home the same way twice.”) The rest was history.

Click to read the rest of Can the man who saved the Shoremont save the Alki Homestead?…

Return of the pilfered pig! Endolyne Joe’s gets Danny back – one year later

January 27, 2015 at 3:15 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle restaurants | 10 Comments

Adrian and co-workers at Endolyne Joe’s (WSB sponsor) in Fauntleroy are thrilled to have Danny the Pig back – more than a year after the two-foot-tall decorative swine was stolen. Rich at Joe’s e-mailed us to say that someone had suddenly showed up with Danny, having found the pig and known it was stolen because of the story we published in January of last year. We stopped by for a photo and talked with Adrian, who said the man who brought Danny in said only that he was a construction worker and found the popular pig near where he’s been working. He didn’t want to say where that was, nor did he want to accept a reward (not even the case of bacon originally offered). So if you’ve missed Danny, go say hi! And note that he is now secured.

Super Bowl countdown: More signs of West Seattle Seahawks spirit, before & on gameday

January 27, 2015 at 12:56 pm | In West Seattle news, WS & Sports | 2 Comments

Five days until The Big Huge Massive Super Game. We are collecting uniquely West Seattle notes for what’s up before and during the game. Here are a few for starters:

BLUE FRIDAY (January 30th)

*South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) is taking an all-campus photo at 11:15 am Friday, outside the library, by the statue. If you have any involvement with the college, be there, in gear (or at least in blue and/or green)!

*West Coast Entertainment in The Admiral District continues giving away Skittles to West Seattle Segway tour-takers this week, and on Friday you can stop by WCE HQ (2705 California SW) 9 am-5 pm for “your FREE Seahawks airbrush tattoos. There will even be FREE popcorn while you wait!”

*HomeStreet Bank (WSB sponsor) has more of these Seahawks-themed piggy banks to give away:

Stop by 4022 SW Alaska during business hours (9 am-6 pm) on Friday in Seahawks gear and/or with a recent game-ticket stub to show, and you can get one, while supplies last!

GAME DAY ON SUNDAY

Having a party? Think you’ll have room? Let us know.

*Highland Park Improvement Club: All-ages potluck tailgating; doors open 2 pm. (12th/Holden)

*Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor): Click through to their website to see both versions of their Seahawks/Super Bowl poster, including the one NOT involving the colors blue and/or green. Open 11:30 am on Sundays, Super Bowl and otherwise.

*Admiral Bird: First coffee shop we’ve heard to be hosting a Super Bowl party. (California/Admiral)

*Trinity West Seattle: First church we’ve heard to be hosting a Super Bowl party, per the announcement sent to us, “… with three huge HD screens and a pretty epic sound system. Last year we had a great turnout from our neighborhood and wanted to open it up for folks that might not have a party to attend or place to watch the big game. We’ll have food and drinks around 2:30 and kickoff is at 3:30 this Sunday.” (35th/Ida)

AND BEFORE ALL THAT …

*Remember the food drives! Tibbetts United Methodist Church (3940 41st SW; WSB sponsor) is part of “United In Blue” – details here; Peace Lutheran Church (39th/Thistle) has one going, too. You can drop off all week to make sure your Seahawks spirit goes toward a good cause beyond “Go, Hawks!”

*Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor) is giving away West Seattle-customized “I’M IN” signs while they last. (4410 California SW)

West Seattle Crime Watch: 3 reader reports, including not exactly the kind of loot a burglar can run with

January 27, 2015 at 11:29 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Three reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch this morning:

GARAGE BREAK-IN: From Kathy:

My garage was broken into over the weekend and a Lincoln Electric welder and cart were stolen.

Seems like a brazen thing to steal as it’s very heavy and the garage is on an alley that is pretty visible (between California and 42nd near Brandon). I reported it to police and just want this incident out there in case anyone has information.

MOTORCYCLE DAMAGED IN HIT-RUN: From Aaron:

My brand-new Ducati Monster 696 (with only 120 miles on it!) was hit (Monday morning) on California Ave SW, and the driver fled the scene. Three witnesses watched the driver hit my bike, but none were able to get the license plate.

The driver was a white woman in her mid-to-late 30s with shoulder-length or shorter blonde hair. Her vehicle is a silver Honda Pilot. She backed into my parked motorcycle, knocking it over its kickstand and onto its left side. The impact snapped off a mirror, bent the handlebars, and caused engine damage. And then she just drove away. This happened at approximately 9:15 a.m. on January 26, near 5440 California Ave SW, on the east side of the street just north of the Rapid Ride stop.

If you have any info for police, the incident number is 15-28651.

CARS VANDALIZED: John reports this happened Monday morning:

I woke up to an unpleasant sight … somebody had grabbed some large rocks from my neighbor’s front yard and completely shattered my driver-side windows of my ’04 Subaru wagon. They got both of the neighbors’ cars as well – both older Subarus. 6700 block of 39th Ave SW.

REMINDER FOR TONIGHT: As previewed earlier, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske is expected to be at tonight’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meeting – all welcome for crime/safety updates and networking to make neighborhoods safer, 6:30 pm at the precinct (Webster/Delridge).

VIDEO: Missed the Asteroid 2004 BL86 flyby? See it here!

January 27, 2015 at 9:45 am | In Skies Over West Seattle, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

(Video: Copyright 2015, Jason Ayres Gift Enevoldsen)
Couldn’t find Asteroid 2004 BL86 last night, even with the info in Alice Enevoldsen‘s special edition of “Skies Over West Seattle? No worries. We have video to share, courtesy of Jason Ayres Gift Enevoldsen, via backyard scope: “I took one 6s-long image once a minute for 103 minutes to capture it moving across the Beehive Cluster (M44) in the SE portion of the sky. It appears at the bottom middle of the frame and moves up and left.” You might have to watch a time or two to spot it. Note that it is NOT going to look to you like a Hollywood asteroid – it’s a spot on the screen like all the other spots. We found it cool just the same. (If you prefer Vimeo, watch it there.)

West Seattle Tuesday: What you can catch today/tonight

January 27, 2015 at 9:03 am | In West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | 1 Comment

(Photo by Matt Olson – red-necked grebe dining on a prawn off Duwamish Head last weekend)
You’ll find today’s full menu on our calendar, but as usual, we’re offering a sampler:

BABY STORY TIMES: 10:30 am at both the Southwest Branch (35th/Henderson) and West Seattle (Admiral) Branch (2306 42nd SW) Libraries this morning, free and fun.

CAPTAIN & CAPTAINS: The West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network is expecting to hear tonight from Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske, with updates including the recent series of robberies (most-recent WSB update here). You don’t have to be a captain or even part of a Block Watch to be there – all welcome. Meeting’s at 6:30 pm at the precinct. (Webster/Delridge)

PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING FORUM: Not in West Seattle, but of interest – how to have more of a say in how your money’s spent: The City Neighborhood Council and Councilmember Nick Licata are co-hosting a forum about “Participatory Budgeting and how it works in other cities, with an eye toward whether it could work here. 6-8 pm in the Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall downtown. (5th/Cherry)

NOT USING SOCIAL MEDIA YET? 6 pm event at High Point Library might help you figure out how to change that. Info here, including how to sign up. (35th/Raymond)

BLUES TO DO: 8 pm at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor), this week’s blues extravaganza is themed “Ladies Sing the Blues.” (6451 California SW)

KARAOKE … at Skylark in North Delridge and Yen Wor Village in The Admiral District, both 9 pm starts, both detailed on our calendar.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tuesday updates; bridge collision

January 27, 2015 at 7:00 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 31 Comments

(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:00 AM: Routine morning so far on the routes through/from West Seattle. This week’s only traffic alert remains for Highway 99 north of downtown, late-night/early-early-morning lane closures all week. Also, it’s a short week for Seattle Public Schools – no classes on Friday for “the day between semesters.”

7:08 AM: Just getting word of a car/motorcycle crash on the eastbound bridge, Spokane St. Viaduct section, (update) between 1st and 4th Ave. exits. Someone who just went past the scene says the rider was sitting up.

(Added: Image from SDOT Twitter feed)
7:15 AM: From the scanner – left lane(s) are blocked at the scene; the rider is believed to have an ankle injury and will be taken to the hospital by private ambulance.

7:36 AM: One left lane still blocked but most of the emergency response is wrapped up so probably not for much longer.

8:06 AM: Tow crew on scene now, per SDOT.

8:12 AM: Now cleared.

EVENING COMMUTE NOTE: Several have mentioned slowness during the evening southbound commute. Metro summarized it this way around 6:21 pm: “Transit service to West Seattle is experiencing significant delays due to various traffic issues in downtown Seattle and on the West Seattle bridge. Some buses are traveling via 1st Av S instead of the Viaduct. No stops are being missed.”

Update: Motorcyclist hurt in incident at 59th/Alki

January 26, 2015 at 9:36 pm | In West Seattle news, WS breaking news | 1 Comment

(WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
9:36 PM: Alki Avenue SW is blocked at 59th right now because of a crash involving a motorcycle rider. We’ve heard conflicting reports about whether or not another vehicle is involved. More to come.

10:03 PM: The scene is already clear. WSB’s Christopher Boffoli got here before SPD left and says the rider was the only one involved and is being taken to the hospital.

10:42 PM: A little more from Christopher: “I spoke with a friend of the victim who told me a group of friends were departing eastbound at the same time, several on motorcycles and a few more in cars, from roughly the intersection of 59th & Alki. The man I spoke to said he watched as his friend wobbled and lost control of his motorcycle right in front of Saigon Boat Cafe. He said the victim has recently had a shoulder injury and that tonight he apparently fell over and hit the street on the same shoulder. The bike was drivable so his friends were riding it home for the victim.”

West Seattle music: New album recorded in a local living room by “Lucky Brown” and friends

January 26, 2015 at 8:47 pm | In West Seattle news, WS culture/arts | 7 Comments

More West Seattle music! Above, you can preview the audio from a record released today, made in a West Seattle living room, according to the musician/producer who goes by “Lucky Brown.” From his artist statement about “Mystery Road”:

Lucky Brown and his friends play music together on a carpet in the living room. They record to a portable tape machine situated in or near a kitchen because most of this music was recorded after a shared meal. Much of this album is the record of the musicians playing or creating the song for the first time together – listening to and communicating with each other. Searching for a beautiful feeling that has not yet been invented. As his thirst for authenticity remains unquenched, Lucky Brown’s journey transcends limitations of time, space, subject or object.

“Lucky” wanted to share it “to help promote the unique arts and culture environment of West Seattle,” and included “the personnel list and where they live”:

Ollie Klomp – Drums, Percussion – Lives in West Seattle and hosted the session in his living room
Bob Heinemann – Bass – Lives in West Seattle
Jason Gray – Bass – Lives in West Seattle
Marc Hager – Rhodes – Lives in West Seattle
Lucky Brown – Trumpet, Producer – Currently living in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Thomas Deakin – Saxophone, Bell – Lived in West Seattle at the time of the recording, now living and touring in Europe.
Mars – Trombone – Lives in Bellingham
Jabrille ‘Jimmy James’ Williams – Lives in the Rainier Valley
Ben Bloom – Guitar – Lives in West Seattle

Click the title link in the embedded audio player to find out even more about “Mystery Road.”

How did we get here and how are ‘urban villages’ doing after 20 years? Review to be presented Wednesday

January 26, 2015 at 6:51 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 49 Comments

For some, the intensive redevelopment in the heart of West Seattle – particularly The Junction – might seem to be relatively sudden, just the past few years. The groundwork was laid 20 years ago, when the city Comprehensive Plan designated some areas as “urban villages.” West Seattle has four:

Some were bitterly opposed to what they saw as a plan forcing West Seattle to bear an unfair share of future growth, with a legal challenge and secession movement resulting. The urban villages went forward, and much of the potential redevelopment is only just now coming to pass. Meantime, the city is getting ready to revise the Comprehensive Plan to look ahead another 20 years, to 2035, and as part of that, former City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck is presenting this Wednesday “a study that measures results and achievements of the urban-village strategy.” The presentation is not in West Seattle, but some community activists here are so interested in attending that the next meeting of the West Seattle Land Use Committee (usually on the fourth Wednesday) has been canceled so members can attend this instead. It’s fully previewed here, happening Wednesday night (January 28th) in the Bertha Knight Landes Room on the ground floor of City Hall downtown, open house at 5:30 pm, presentation 6-7 pm, all welcome.

School of Rock-West Seattle: Welcome, new WSB sponsor!

January 26, 2015 at 3:51 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Grand-opening day is less than a week away for School of Rock-West Seattle, one of our newest sponsors. As a new local sponsor, they get the chance to introduce themselves to you, and here’s what School of Rock-West Seattle would like you to know:

Residing in a residential neighborhood, School of Rock is an ingenious concept that gets kids and adults rocking out to the classics and on stage performing with their peers. Music programs are designed to create a supportive environment where music students of all skill levels are comfortable yet challenged at every turn. In addition to individual private music instruction on guitar, bass, vocals, keyboards and/or drums, students also learn how to jam with their peers in a weekly rehearsal session.

West Seattle will be operated by former School of Rock instructor Phil Gustavson along with father Bob Gustavson and close friend Eric Muhs, each musicians, passionate youth advocates, and educators. Phil’s lifelong love of music began at an early age playing piano and falling asleep in the booths of clubs listening to his father’s bands. At age 12 he picked up a guitar, and his musical journey continued into adulthood as he produced small, all-ages concerts for local bands and played in various bands in his hometown of Richland, WA. After a horrific car accident in 2001, he lost use of his arm for a time and his ability to play guitar was tested. But from hardship came new dedication and he vowed to pursue his passion for music and education.

Following graduation from The Evergreen State College, Phil formed the Seattle area gypsy jazz group Hochiwichi and found a part time job teaching at The Seattle School of Rock. He rose the ranks from teacher to Assistant GM while earning two Master’s Degrees from Antioch University, which gave him the tools to become the operator of his own School of Rock.

“For the past six years I have had so much fun introducing students to music and I’ve seen firsthand how this place can impact kids in positive ways,” said Phil, “I’m thrilled to be bringing School of Rock to West Seattle families. It is such an enriching and creative environment that benefits not just the students but the community.”

All School of Rock programs are performance-based and emphasize the message that music is not just about playing an instrument; it’s about teamwork, building confidence, and creating leaders. The first stage is “School of Rock 101,” teaching basic skills through 45-minute private lessons and 90-minute group sessions. Next, students reach the main program, the heart and soul of School of Rock – the “Performance Program.” This stage consists of 45-minute private lessons and a final show. The students are cast in songs and rehearse them each week, preparing for a blowout concert in front of a real live audience.

Additionally, School of Rock also offers 5-day intensive summer, spring break, and winter camps, involving rehearsals with a big show at the end. These 5-day intensive camps are guaranteed to transform a wanna-be into a true rock performer.  School of Rock also recently launched an adult performance program and a preschool program called “Little Wing.”

Through School of Rock’s “Guest Performer Series,” students have the opportunity to learn from and jam with some of music’s most iconic names, including Matt Cameron, drummer from Soundgarden and Pearl Jam; Jon Anderson, lead vocalist from the legendary rock band Yes; Earl Slick, David Bowie’s guitarist; seminal post-punk bass player Mike Watt; and collaborator of the groundbreaking pop-rock duo The Eurythmics, Dave Stewart.

The grand opening for School of Rock-West Seattle is this Saturday, January 31st, 1-6 pm; pre-registration discounts are available now. Regular hours at 4701 41st SW will be Monday through Thursday from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm. For more information, please call 206-294-3175.

We thank School of Rock-West Seattle for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.

What’s next for the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce? Annual meeting Thursday; early-registration deadline today

January 26, 2015 at 2:43 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | No Comments

What should the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce focus on in 2015? That’s one of the topics in the spotlight at the annual meeting this Thursday (January 29th), and the Chamber says both members and nonmembers are invited. The catered luncheon starts at 11:30 am at the city-landmark Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd/Lander); if you sign up by the end of today, you’re eligible for the early-registration discounted rate of $25 member/$35 non-member. Go here to register online.

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: What we’ve found out about the 47th SW burglary suspects

January 26, 2015 at 12:34 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 56 Comments

(Reader photo from Friday afternoon; Williams is the standing arrestee, French is on the ground)
Bail was set over the weekend for both suspects arrested after last Friday’s West Seattle break-in at a 47th SW home where a resident hid in a closet until police arrived (WSB coverage here). The suspects, both 20 years old, have warrants in other cases so we’re naming them though the charging decision in this case won’t likely be made before tomorrow: $100,000 is the bail set for James Michael French, who has a North Delridge address; $60,000 is the bail set for Donchavell Delrae Williams, who lives in Federal Way. His warrant dates back to May 2013, in an assault case for which the paperwork is not available online since it’s out of Juvenile Court; court documents say Williams had prior felony convictions for assault and taking a motor vehicle without permission.

French’s warrant is from earlier this month, involving what the state terms as “escape” from community custody, the technical term for probation, related to a conviction for a 2013 robbery in Des Moines in which he hit a gas-station clerk in the face while robbing him at gunpoint and knifepoint. French’s history, according to charging documents in that case, had by then also included an attack that inflicted rib fractures on a 58-year-old man who had just had surgery, plus other convictions including robbery, assault, harassment, and drug violations, dating as far back as 2008, when he was 14. He pleaded guilty in the 2013 case and was sentenced in May 2014 to 22 months, which would have included time he had already spent in jail by then. Both French and Williams remain in jail, according to the register, and are scheduled for another hearing tomorrow afternoon.

ADDED 1:08 PM: We’re adding state Corrections Department mugshots for both suspects (French at left, Williams at right). According to a DOC spokesperson, both were released from prison on January 5th, serving time in apparently unrelated cases.

Future kindergartener in the house? Don’t wait to register!

January 26, 2015 at 9:46 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

If you have a future kindergartener in the house, you’ll want to register her/him for school sooner rather than later. If you’re going into Seattle Public Schools, two special registration events are coming up in West Seattle – February 12th at Roxhill Elementary and February 19th at West Seattle Elementary, both 5:30-7 pm, and both open to families seeking enrollment in any school, not just those two. The events have been in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar for a while, but the principal of West Seattle’s most populous elementary, Schmitz Park’s Gerrit Kischner, suggested a reminder, explaining on behalf of all schools, not just his:

We’d really like to make sure that all families with incoming Kindergarteners enroll by March 6th (the end of Open Enrollment). In recent years, Schmitz Park has experienced around a 20 percent increase in Kindergarten enrollment between May and September. This makes it very difficult to plan, budget and assign balanced classrooms. Of course, some families will move over the summer, but to the extent that we can minimize this late enrollment, the better.

School-tour season is here as well. Schmitz Park has its first adults-only kindergarten tour scheduled tomorrow (Tuesday, January 27th). Several other schools’ tour dates are on our calendar (click the CATEGORIES button and choose SCHOOLS on the pulldown list), and we’ll add any others we hear from. Meantime, find out more about SPS enrollment here.

What’s on the calendar for your West Seattle Monday

January 26, 2015 at 8:59 am | In West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | No Comments

(Sunday morning fog burnoff, with seagull: Photo by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
Notes for today, mostly from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

MORE WORK AT LOWMAN BEACH: Separate from all the work across the street on the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control project, Seattle Public Utilities is repairing the culvert that conveys Pelly Creek and storm drainage to the outfall west of the Lowman Beach Park tennis court. SPU says it’s damaged and causing soil erosion, so they are “excavating a portion of the damaged pipeline, repairing the broken pipe, and backfilling to surrounding grade.” The work starts this week and is expected to continue for about 10 days. (7017 Beach Drive SW)

LA LECHE LEAGUE OF WEST SEATTLE: The support group for nursing and expectant moms has its monthly morning meeting today at 10:30 am, Neighborhood House’s High Point Center. (6400 Sylvan Way)

JINI DELACCIO EXHIBITION CLOSING: Easy Street Records has a two-part event today to mark the end of its exhibition of photographs by the late Jini Delaccio: 1 pm, the sale begins; 5 pm, the music begins. More info here. (California/Alaska)

BEER MEET-AND-GREET: 6-8 pm at The Beer Junction, it’s a free brewer meet-and-greet event with Firestone Walker. (4511 California SW)

FREE ESL CLASSES: 6:30 pm, open to all to improve English-language skills, Neighborhood House’s High Point Center. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)

WORDS & MUSIC: Tonight’s nightlife listings include trivia and karaoke – see for yourself!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: January’s last Monday

January 26, 2015 at 6:44 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 3 Comments

(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:44 AM: The fog that moved in late last night has lifted, at least in this area, so visibility is no longer a problem between here and downtown. No West Seattle traffic alerts for today, but if you use Highway 99 north of downtown in the late night/early morning hours, note lane closures are planned for the rest of the week.

7:02 AM: Fog’s moving back in, here in the Gatewood/Upper Fauntleroy area. So be aware of potentially changing conditions.

10:17 AM: Just got a text alert about a gravel truck spill on SW Oregon near 39th – rocks on the road. “Bit of a mess,” writes the texter. We hope someone has already reported this to SDOT – the hotline for road hazards is 206-684-ROAD.

Skies Over West Seattle, special edition: Asteroid & comet in range!

January 26, 2015 at 1:26 am | In Skies Over West Seattle, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

EDITOR’S NOTE: Two special sights in the sky have sparked this edition of our periodic feature by West Seattle’s own Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen, so get ready to find out what to look for, how, and where.

(Processed photograph of Comet Q2 Lovejoy by Jason Ayres Gift Enevoldsen taken January 16, 2015 from near The Junction)
By Alice Enevoldsen
Special to West Seattle Blog

Asteroid 2004 BL86 is going to be flying past the Earth on Monday night, at a distance of only three times the distance to the Moon. It will not hit us, but it will be visible from West Seattle with a telescope or steady binoculars. Clear Sky Chart is still predicting clear enough skies to look for it.

At the same time, Comet 2014 Q2 Lovejoy is also a beautiful telescope object this week, and will be until the Moon gets too bright.

If you don’t have a telescope, attach a pair of binoculars to a tripod or other steady object. You’ll see some neat things, definitely the comet, and perhaps the asteroid if you have very sensitive eyes.

Finding Asteroid 2004 BL86

Near-Earth asteroids move across our sky more slowly than shooting stars and satellites, but faster than the Moon. They are dim and tiny. This one will be visible in a decent backyard telescope for most of the night of January 26 to the morning of January 27.

Click to read the rest of Skies Over West Seattle, special edition: Asteroid & comet in range!…

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