Two more video views of the gray whale that amazed West Seattle whale-watchers on Saturday (no sightings today, although grays were spotted in other areas of central Puget Sound, including off north Seattle shores, and this one could have been among them): First, nighttime views from photojournalist Cliff DesPeaux, who spent several hours at Jack Block Park late last night/early this morning, the last West Seattle sightings before whale-watchers called it quits for the night. Next, from John at Gypsy Soul Productions, who shot this video as the gray whale meandered around the shore by Harbor West (the condos built on pilings over the water):
If you’re interested in whale sightings and not already on the Orca Network e-mail list, sign up here – they send a daily/nightly roundup of sighting reports, often with photos, not just orcas – you’ll often see news about grays and humpbacks, too.
(Our first report, with morning sightings, photos and video, can be found here)
Any closer, and it would have needed a reservation for a table. That’s video we got via iPhone about an hour ago, when the gray whale that’s been hugging West Seattle shores all day turned up just west of Salty’s on Alki. As noted in our first report this morning, it was sighted south of Brace Point in the 7 o’clock hour, then made its way slowly up along Lincoln Park, Lowman Beach, Beach Drive, Alki Point, then turning into Elliott Bay, where it picked up quite a fan base on shore:
That’s what we found when we first pulled over by Anchor Park (see the anchor in the foreground – this is also known as Luna Park since part of the old amusement park’s natatorium used to be under that pier). As the whale moved eastward into the bay, the crowd moved with it. We lost track of it when it went under for an extended time after the Royal Argosy passed by Salty’s. If you’ve got photos/video to share, we’d love to add more – meantime, the two people who shared photos earlier have shared more – first, two from Trileigh – no, we don’t know what the orange spot is in the closeup:
And from Rick:
As for whether the whale’s OK or not – we know at least one citywide-media friend was trying to track down experts. Certainly they are seen around here from time to time. Again, our earlier report with more photos and video is here.
1:12 AM UPDATE: We gave up the whale watch for the night just before dusk but a hardy crowd has stayed out looking – and been rewarded with sightings off Jack Block Park. Josh Trujillo of seattlepi.com has published amazing shots – check them out here. And depending on who else is out overnight, you can follow the Twitter hashtag #alkiwhale to get the latest.
That’s a tow truck finishing the two-step process of pulling a flipped car back to the upright position, about an hour after that car overturned on Delridge at Willow (map) around 1:10 am. The second car you see in the video was parked when the black car hit it, police told us at the scene. They say someone from the flipped car was taken to the hospital, though we don’t know how badly they’re hurt. The crash happened in the northbound lanes at a wide spot in the road, so Delridge wasn’t closed to traffic for long – cars were directed around the wreckage, using the center and southbound lanes.
Though the wind stayed away from many other parts of West Seattle, it blew strongly enough off Alki for these adventurers to get in some good runs - Christopher Boffoli was there to capture it on video.
Followup to last night’s 1st report on the West Seattle workshop for Mayor McGinn‘s “Youth and Families Initiative“: The gathering was hosted by Denny International Middle School, whose music director Marcus Pimpleton led his Seattle All-City Band in a rousing warmup for the event. An estimated 300 people – which would be the largest crowd at any of these meetings so far – heard the mayor explain his inspiration and hopes for the initiative:
As happened at other gatherings, participants broke into small groups to discuss questions, particularly “What would you like to see in five years – what should Seattle look like then?” The “achievement gap” was mentioned frequently; though Seattle is considered one of the most-educated cities in America, several speakers said, our schools seem to have a tough time keeping up. Another frequent mention: More data-gathering is needed to find out which programs work and which don’t. And there were calls for helping figure out how kids who are falling behind can get a boost to catch up. Next steps: The fifth and final kickoff workshop is next Monday night at Garfield Community Center; right after that, it’s a month of Community Caucuses. The city’s not setting the times and places for these – they’re asking who wants to host them; find out more here. And a Youth Summit is planned at City Hall on April 8th; RSVP here.
It’s not every day – or every year – or sometimes, ever – that you get to show off for somebody who is a true master at something you happen to love to do. So it was quite the honor for students at Alki Taekwondo this past Friday to get the chance to demonstrate their martial-arts skills for Grand Master Chin Ho Lee, a mentor of Alki Taekwondo’s chief instructor, Steve Coates. Edgar Riebe from West Seattle’s Captive Eye Media was there and offered to share this video of the big occasion. He says there was a great turnout to watch the demonstration and hear from the Grand Master. Alki Taekwondo was founded in 1982; the Grand Master was the first to open a Korean Martial Arts school in the Pacific Northwest, back in the ’60s, and had a storied career in other areas too – according to Alki Taekwondo’s original announcement of this event, he also served as an FBI Special Agent after emigrating to the U.S. from Korea, where he returned many years later and worked as an executive for Hyundai.
We dropped by the Denny International Middle School cafeteria just before lunch today – to visit the fabled Lunch Ladies who had let us know earlier this week (as reported here) about their plan to try to break a record for most school lunches served in a day. The old record was 599 – and Doree Fazio-Young sent word late today that they did it, serving 604! We talked to her moments before they started serving – and she explained the day’s OTHER big events:
Doree and Sue have worked together for 20 years. Congrats on the record!
Update: The snow that others had seen earlier didn’t reach WSB HQ till just now. No, it’s not heavy; no, it’s not sticking. But it’s something of a serious snow shower, at least here, so we’re capturing video for posterity. (As noted here over the weekend, we had this same type of light snow right about this time last year, too.) This is right in line with the midmorning forecast: “scattered rain and snow showers.” (Got pix or vid? We’ll be happy to add – email@example.com – thanks!) 1:11 PM UPDATE: Definitely not sticking, and intermittently mixed with rain, so no need to panic about getting home later, etc., at this point!
West Seattle’s State Sen. Joe McDermott is one of the sponsors of a bill that’s getting a lot of buzz in the State Legislature’s waning days: SB 6250, with the official title “providing fiscal reform,” but the bottom line, it would ask voters whether to implement income tax for those making more than $200,000 a year. Sen. McDermott explains the bill in the video clip above, shot and shared by Senate Democrats staff; it got a public hearing Thursday night in the Senate Ways and Means Committee (of which he’s a member). This report from our citywide-news partners at the Seattle Times suggest it might not have much hope of passage this time around.
We still don’t know where they were from or where they were headed, but we sparked some discussion on Facebook by noting this late-in-the-day flyover involving two double-rotor choppers (Chinooks, we believe) – and then Jeff J was kind enough to send in his iPhone video of the sighting, so we’re sharing.
Story, video and photos by Christopher Boffoli
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
As powerful aftershocks rumbled through central Chile today, closer to home, Seattle firefighters scrambled over a twisted pile of steel reinforced concrete and mangled cars.
Throughout the month of March, SFD is doing structural collapse training at their Joint Training Facility on Myers Way on the southeastern edge of West Seattle, part of their annual rescue training aimed at providing every city firefighter with the necessary skills to deal with what they may someday have to do here in Seattle.
Dana Vander Houwen, Public Information Officer for the Seattle Fire Department, told me today that even though the SFD actually has an excellent specialized technical rescue team, if a catastrophic event were to occur in Seattle they “would not be able to be everywhere.” So by broadening the training for firefighters, the entire department will have essential rescue skills.
The rubble pile being used this month was designed by Seattle firefighters who have training in engineering a rescue environment. It is reasonably realistic but still is generally structurally sound and safe for firefighters to train in. Though Vander Houwen added that part of the training does involve having the firefighters assess for themselves the structural safety of the scene, adding bracing or support where necessary. Adult and child-sized dummies are placed strategically in the rubble:
During the training, firefighters also must make decisions about locating victims, prioritizing patients based on the severity of injuries and the complexity of extraction, and developing strategies to remove the victims in a way that is safe for rescuers. Throughout the process they will use an arsenal of rescue tools, including various saws, the jaws of life, rescue baskets, ropes, etc. Vander Houwen says that each year the training is varied. But the simulated earthquake theme this year seems particularly relevant after powerful earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, as well as this week’s anniversary of Seattle’s Nisqually earthquake. Vander Houwen says this particular training scenario “is a way for firefighters to get hands-on training for an earthquake scenario or terrorist attack.”
That short film – 7 minutes – is by two West Seattleites, Max Larkin and Emily Boardway, and if you can spare the time to watch and rate it, you could help them keep advancing the film’s mission: Telling the story of Young Onset Dementia. The short film, “The Music in Hugh: A Look at Young Onset Dementia,” shows Max taking care of – and sharing music and laughter with – his father, a practicing physician until stricken by YOD a few years ago at age 56. The film is entered in the 2010 Neuro Film Festival, launched by the American Academy of Neurology Foundation. If Max and Emily win, the prize will go toward their project Spoke Your Mind, not just raising awareness about Young Onset Dementia but also gathering support for the children of those with it. There are three prizes in the festival, including Fan Favorite, which is where your vote comes in – after you watch the video (or before), click through to its page on the YouTube site and rate it – you need a YouTube or Google log-in for that. The voting deadline is 3/17 (two weeks from today).
WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli has been shooting neon signs around West Seattle, and this is the first compilation he put together – after we took a look at it, we thought you might be interested too. See if you recognize the signs!
Tomorrow, it’s back to school for Seattle Public Schools students (among others) after a week of midwinter break. About 100 students spent four days of the no-classes week at Denny International Middle School in West Seattle, which offered a music camp for 4th through 8th graders again this year. Our video clips are from the week-ending recital at Denny on Friday afternoon. Music director Marcus Pimpleton told the audience that a hallmark of the camp was having the young musicians – who numbered more than 70 – mentored by high-school volunteers (more than 30!). You can see a few of the mentors in this clip of the steel drummers:
The high-school volunteers were from Chief Sealth and Roosevelt High Schools. Click ahead for two more clips from the Friday afternoon recital, including one student group with a ’70s classic: Click to read the rest of Video: Music and mentoring at Denny midwinter break music camp…
More than 60 people were at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center last night for U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott‘s “winter 2010 community meeting.” The big topic was the same as it’s been for months – health-care reform (McDermott, you may recall, also happens to be a doctor) – which he’s been involved with for years.
He said he remains optimistic a health-care-reform bill will be passed, but whatever is finally approved, won’t necessarily be “final” – his example was Medicare, first passed in 1965, worked on every year since then. McDermott said he would like to see the 1945 act creating state insurance commissioners repealed; his view is that one central set of controls would represent a more efficient system. Asked about voter anger, McDermott suggested that the most infuriating thing for a voter is to see her/his representatives do nothing – those are the people, he says, who will get voted out. On another hot topic, he said he supports ending the filibuster rules in the U.S. Senate that so often slow progress there to a standstill. Last but by no means least, he believes legislation will be introduced within a few months to negate the U.S. Supreme Court‘s ruling on “corporate personhood.” Got something to say to Rep. McDermott? His contact info is here. Meantime, three more elected officials who represent you are having a Town Hall meeting tomorrow – the 34th District legislative trio, State Sen. Joe McDermott (no relation to Jim), Rep. Eileen Cody, and Rep. Sharon Nelson. They’ll be at High Point Community Center, 11 am tomorrow (Saturday).
This is about as wild as it gets on Fat Tuesday in West Seattle – at least, before the sun goes down. For the second year in a row, Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) stores from around the area sent reps to the Admiral store for a celebration of paczki – filled-donut-type pastries that are Fat Tuesday traditions. That celebration included a 3-minute paczki-eating contest – our clip above shows the first half (or so) of the contest, and below, the announcement of the winner!
Same as last year, the winner was the rep from Queen Anne Metropolitan Market. Spectators were “winners” in their own way, treated to free paczki and coffee. And you can still buy paczki in the Metro Market bakery, four options for fillings – chocolate, vanilla, lemon or raspberry.
Monday in Olympia, supporters of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition were among those joining environmental and education advocates who rallied to raise concerns about the state budget (as explained here, with rally photos here). While DRCC is an advocacy group that also makes the rounds of neighborhood groups and festivals), much of their awareness-raising happens on the river itself. “Yes, it is a river,” as group leaders reminded during a recent tour. They pointed out the good, the bad, and the ugly – perhaps the best example of the former, the wildlife in our video above that’s found a way to co-exist with the industrial development: Two eagles (our video shows one) perched on the heavy equipment atop a barge. The river tour co-sponsored by ARCADE was meant to highlight the “built environment” as well as nature – ahead, more of the sights in both categories: Click to read the rest of Video: Touring the Duwamish River – “Yes, it’s a river”…
Cheerleading isn’t just for sports – this routine was part of a mega-pep rally this afternoon at Seattle Lutheran High School on behalf of the Lutheran Elementary School Tournament participants from sister school Hope Lutheran. More than 60 students from Hope’s fifth- through eighth-grade classes have headed south to Concordia University in Portland for the 48th annual edition of the tournament, where more than 1,000 students from around the West are competing in academic and athletic events. According to Bil Hood, Hope students are participating in 10 events including swimming, music, math, drama, Knowledge Bowl, science, spelling, chess, basketball, plus cheerleading – the students in the top video – and drill team – the ones you see here:
Read more about LEST here; we’re expecting updates from Portland over the next few days.
Late last night, we published a note from the Alki woman attacked while driving a Metro bus last weekend in Tukwila, saying King County Executive Dow Constantine would meet with her this afternoon, and asking for community support. 2 TV crews went to Alki to see if anyone showed up; we spotted them interviewing Constantine afterward, and went over to ask him how the conversation went: He said it went as well as it could, considering the circumstances:
You heard him talk about the strength of the driver and her family; her daughter is the one who first wrote publicly about the attack, in a post one week ago in the WSB Forums. As for what steps Constantine might seek to improve driver safety, he said it just might be time to revisit the idea of some physical barrier between drivers and passengers – it was studied several years ago, he said, and not pursued at the time.
An emotional Friday night at the Seattle Lutheran High School gym, for several reasons. This ceremony was one of them: A new board was dedicated to honor the school’s track-record holders, and it’s named after the man who holds four long-distance records for SLHS: Eric Engelstone, a 1983 SLHS alum who died in 2004. The ceremony was held last night while Bear Creek was visiting – and that’s who Engelstone’s daughter Kendall plays for:
With her – sister Christine, mom Shelley, and the man who coached Eric Engelstone in his recordsetting days, Bob Matthews. The rest of the night was one for the Kleenex, too, since it was Senior Night – photos and game highlights ahead: Click to read the rest of Friday night basketball, report #2: Senior Night @ Seattle Lutheran…
Those are just some of the highlights — shot by Captive Eye Media for WSB — from last night’s Chief Sealth High School boys’ varsity basketball victory over Franklin High School at Sealth/Boren, 72-58. It was considered one of the biggest games in the city last night, with Sealth #2 in its division (behind Rainier Beach), Franklin #1 in its own (and last year’s state 3A champion). Sealth’s Keon Lewis led the scoring with 28 points; here’s a full game wrapup from our partners at the Seattle Times. The girls’ varsity game (stats here): Franklin 63, Sealth 44. Also last night – at West Seattle High School, Bainbridge was the visitor; boys’ varsity score (game stats here) WSHS 39, Bainbridge 35; girls’ varsity (stats here), Bainbridge 43, WSHS 34.
(Our first Sunday report with other Polar Plunge video and photos is here)
As you saw in our first report about this morning’s Special Olympics Polar Plunge at Alki, there was a big law-enforcement contingent among the 350 people organizers say signed up – and that video shows them as the first group to dash into the 45-degree water. (At center, the Southwest Precinct’s commander, Capt. Joe Kessler, next to acting SPD Chief John Diaz - other law-enforcement luminaries who were on hand are shown in our first report. After plunging, Capt. Kessler pronounced the water “perfectly balmy.”) Tonight, Mary Do from Special Olympics reported in this WSB comment that the event raised $30,000. Also tonight, Chief Sealth’s Polar Plungers, who won the Spirit Award, are challenging any and all other high schools to “come try to take it away next year,” according to Michael Bunch, who shared this photo of the whole group afterward:
We had photographed Sealth athletic director Sam Reed with the trophy close-up – read on to see that photo and a few more we wanted to share before this event’s in the books: Click to read the rest of Special Olympics Polar Plunge at Alki, report #2: The results!…
From the Polar Plunge to high-school hoops to NFL playoff-cheering, and beyond, it’s been an active weekend around West Seattle – and here’s one more event report to add to the mix: At Merrill Gardens-Admiral Heights (WSB sponsor) on Saturday, residents played in a Wii bowling battle with a visiting team from Merrill Gardens-Queen Anne. In our video, you see Aida – top scorer on the day with 178 – getting a spare. Unfortunately, MG-AH’s Colleen Barnes reported later, that wasn’t enough for the West Seattle team to overcome the challenge; Queen Anne won 738 to 621, but AH had three of the top four scorers (Rudy with 168 and Mary Ann with 109, in addition to Aida, while QA’s Frank was #3 at 134). Wii bowling is popular with retirees – we spotlighted it at The Mount almost two years ago, at which time the Senior Center of West Seattle noted it had a Wii system on the way too.
That’s WSB photojournalist Christopher Boffoli‘s video from the Beach Drive slide scene, where city crews were back working today. Though SDOT had said the road would be closed, commenter Peter (on our earlier report) and Christopher both report that it’s been allowed through one lane at a time, with flagger help. SDOT had said they expected today’s work on the slope – which first slid last week – to be done by 4 pm, and that they would be monitoring the site daily TFN while evaluating what else to do. We’ll be heading toward the area soon to check on its status. 4:30 PM UPDATE: From Marybeth Turner at SDOT:
To aid with traffic, SDOT’s Street Maintenance crews made modifications on site that allowed one lane of Beach Drive SW to remain open. They were able to clear away the debris from the roadway while using flaggers to let traffic by. Our urban forestry crews also removed trees that might otherwise fall onto the roadway or power lines. SDOT crews finished earlier this afternoon and then left the street as it was before, with one lane open and drivers taking turns. We will continue to monitor this site.
Seems like it’s all about Lincoln Park today – this is the third item in which it’s factored, but undeniably the most pleasant – Gatewood resident Pam from Nerd’s Eye View shares that video from a walk along the LP waterfront. She observed that this is one of those afternoons in which West Seattle is definitely “paradise.” Meantime, Rob and Patricia Shiras shared this photo of an eagle seen near their Seaview home: “We see the eagle almost every day and sometimes just circles above us. The eagle gets chased away by the crows and seagulls.”
All four Seattle Lutheran High School basketball teams played host to their rival Sea-Tac League opponents, the Evergreen Lutheran Eagles, on Saturday. Highlights, including video, ahead: Click to read the rest of High-school sports: Seattle Lutheran vs. Evergreen Lutheran, x 4…
11:54 AM: That’s video of work being done at the slope with the slide that shut down Beach Drive in the 6000 block – south of there, it’s closed to the Lowman Beach intersection (as first reported here very early this morning), since there are no outlets. SDOT told us at the scene at midmorning that they needed to evaluate the stability of the top of the slope before figuring out what needed to be done to stabilize it, and how soon the road could be reopened. Note that Route 37 buses are being detoured TFN. We’re continuing to check with SDOT for the latest and will add updates as we get them. 2:02 PM UPDATE: Just checked the scene. Road’s still closed, and as some have noted, the tricky thing is that there is no signage at Jacobson, which is the last place to head east/uphill before the closure – so we’re seeing many people drive all the way up to the closure, be surprised, and turn around to head back. Here’s the latest from Marybeth Turner at SDOT:
The urban forestry crews expect to wrap up, and then we will clean up and set up traffic control to reopen Beach Drive, except for restriction to one lane at slide site. Goal is to reopen by 5 pm. We will continue to monitor the site through the weekend.
5:29 PM UPDATE: The road’s open again, per the Metro alert that says 37 and 53 are back on their regular routes.
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