What can your Department of Neighborhoods do for/with you? Hear/ask at Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council

November 29, 2015 at 5:40 pm | In Arbor Heights, Neighborhoods, West Seattle news, Westwood | 1 Comment

As the long holiday weekend ebbs, the everyday world gets ready to rev. So, we’re looking ahead: On Tuesday night (December 1st), the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council has assembled a lineup of guests that’ll be of interest regardless of whether you live/work in those neighborhoods or not. The meeting starts at 6:15 pm, and after some regular WWRHAH committee updates, here’s the main event, as announced by co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick:

6:35-7:45: Department of Neighborhoods (DoN): At our September brainstorm meeting, several residents requested information about P-Patches, grants, and painted crosswalks. We will have a whole team of DoN folks to answer your questions!

Tim Wolfe: Community Investments Division Director
Juan Martinez: Neighborhood Matching Fund Project Manager
Rich Macdonald: P-Patch Garden Program Supervisor OR
Bunly Yun: P-Patch Garden Program Coordinator
Kathy Nyland: Director
Howard Wu: Seattle Department of Transportation
Kerry Wade: Neighborhood District Coordinator

WWRHAH meets upstairs at Southwest Library (35th SW & SW Henderson).

CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Bail set at $100,000 for suspect in Game Stop robbery, under investigation in 4 more holdups/thefts

November 19, 2015 at 4:45 pm | In Arbor Heights, Crime, West Seattle news, Westwood | 4 Comments

New information today in the case of the 30-year-old man arrested at an Arbor Heights house Tuesday night on suspicion of robbing the Westwood Village Game Stop store earlier that night. His bail is set at $100,000 after his appearance in a jailhouse courtroom downtown this afternoon. And the probable-cause documents say police suspect him and a 39-year-old relative – who is not in custody – of committing this robbery, and are investigating them in connection with three other robberies/major thefts in the past six months:

Click to read the rest of CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Bail set at $100,000 for suspect in Game Stop robbery, under investigation in 4 more holdups/thefts…

FOLLOWUP: Arrest in Arbor Heights followed robbery at Westwood Village

November 18, 2015 at 1:11 pm | In Arbor Heights, Crime, West Seattle news, Westwood | 5 Comments

Thanks to everyone who tipped us about a big police response at an Arbor Heights house last night. We have finally obtained Seattle Police confirmation that the arrest made there was linked to the robbery we covered earlier in the evening at the Westwood Village Game Stop store. A witness to the robbery tells WSB they saw a getaway vehicle and provided its description and license plate to police. Officers found the vehicle at a home near 35th and 104th in Arbor Heights and, with a warrant, searched the house and arrested a 30-year-old man who is now in the King County Jail; the vehicle was towed as evidence. We’re expecting a few more details from police this afternoon, and will add them when available, but after many inquiries today about the AH response, we wanted to publish this as soon as we had confirmation of the link.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Westwood Game Stop robbed

November 17, 2015 at 9:42 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, Westwood | 7 Comments

Police are investigating a robbery this past hour at the Game Stop store in Westwood Village, right around closing time. We’re just back from talking with officers and the store clerk, who said the robber tried to pepper spray him, then took a swing at him, and eventually got away with some cash. No medical attention needed; no suspect descriptions. We had just left the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, where Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis had mentioned that robberies are a category of crime currently on the upswing citywide – full report to come.

West Seattle restaurants: Ripple Café closes, cites rent increase

November 12, 2015 at 11:26 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle restaurants, Westwood | 41 Comments

A local restaurant has closed suddenly, blaming a rent increase. Here’s the photo texted by a reader:

The Ripple Café was in the small multi-business building on 35th SW just south of SW Henderson, also home to West Seattle Fish House and Stuffed Cakes. It hadn’t even been open for six months. The King County Assessor‘s records show that the 86-year-old building changed hands this year for the first time in 19 years, sold to WD Group LLC in June for $600,000. While that LLC has a Seattle mailing address, one of its managers lists an address in San Francisco; we’re attempting to contact the owners for comment, and have also messaged the Ripple Café’s proprietor. The building recently underwent some external renovations; the site is zoned for up to four stories of potential mixed-use development, but a check of the online files shows no proposals on the record so far.

In case you’re wondering about the building’s other tenants, we went over a short time ago to verify the closure and while there, stopped in to check with Stuffed Cakes proprietor Donna Lawson. She confirms the change in landlords and a rent increase – which she expected, given the sale – but says her business is doing well and she’s staying. (She also mentioned that the San Francisco owner grew up in Seattle, so does have local ties.)

Westwood ‘transit center’ lighting, sidewalk improvements delayed until next year, Metro says

November 9, 2015 at 3:40 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, Westwood | 9 Comments

(WSB file photo: ‘Wall of buses’ along Roxhill Park, across from Westwood Village)
It’s been two years since the Westwood-Roxhill Community Council started seeking safety improvements along the Roxhill Park section of the Westwood-area “transit center” – particularly lighting. We’ve covered walking tours of the area going back to the end of 2013, where WWRHAH leaders including co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick pointed out the safety issues. In January of this year, Metro told WWRHAH that they had procured a $170,000 county grant for lighting and ADA sidewalk upgrades to the area – but it hasn’t happened yet, so Helmick just followed up again, with various people in the loop, including King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s transportation adviser Chris Arkills, who investigated and then forwarded this update from Metro’s Paul Roybal:

Thank you for your inquiry about the status of King County Metro’s project to construct sidewalk and lighting improvements at the Westwood Village C Line Terminal. Over the past several months, Metro’s preliminary design work has included:

· coordination with the City of Seattle to address technical design issues,
· completion of federal environmental review requirements, and
· identification of City of Seattle permitting requirements.

Certain project elements, including the lighting improvements, trigger requirements of the City of Seattle Street Improvement Permit process. This process requires additional coordination with various City departments, and is typically completed in a three- to six-month time frame. Concurrently, Metro is actively working with the City of Seattle to identify options to reduce the construction duration once permitting is complete. Metro’s design team now estimates that construction will be complete in mid-2016.

Some of the other problems pointed out by WWRHAH in the 2013 walking tour have already been addressed.

HAPPENING NOW: Shirley Enebrad @ Words, Writers, & West Seattle

November 6, 2015 at 5:48 pm | In West Seattle books, West Seattle news, Westwood | Comments Off

Until 7 pm, author and longtime West Seattleite Shirley Enebrad is at Barnes & Noble/West Seattle for this month’s edition of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society-presented literary series Words, Writers, & West Seattle. She’s currently based in Honolulu but remains well-known here for her years not only as a neighbor but also as an entrepreneur – she co-owned The Good Book – and television producer. B&N is in the midst of a mini-Makers Faire so Shirley is talking tonight about the process of “making” writing, from TV to books to web, as well as speaking about her book “Over the Rainbow Bridge,” chronicling her 9-year-old son Cory‘s death from cancer. Shirley was introduced by series coordinator Dora-Faye Hendricks.

Come & get it! Post-show pickup time for Southwest Library art

November 2, 2015 at 6:17 pm | In West Seattle news, Westwood, WS culture/arts | Comments Off

This year’s Community Art Showcase at Southwest Library featured 112 creations by 57 artists and musicians – and librarian Jane Gibson says that if you’re among them, tonight and tomorrow are your last chances to go get your work and bring it home! She shared the photo collage of participants; click the image for a larger version. The library at 35th SW & SW Henderson is open until 8 tonight and 10 am-8 pm tomorrow.

FOLLOWUP: Bail set at $25,000 for suspect in Saturday house fire

October 6, 2015 at 9:40 am | In Crime, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news, Westwood | 3 Comments

(Police and fire investigators at scene on Saturday)
An 18-year-old man is in jail, suspected of setting the fire that damaged a house in the 9200 block of 31st Place SW on Saturday afternoon. SFD confirmed on Monday that the fire had been ruled arson, but we weren’t able to confirm until this morning that a suspect is in custody. Court documents say he is the boyfriend of the 18-year-old woman who was found outside the house, “screaming and crying,” as it burned. She is reported to have told investigators the suspect lived inside the house, and that when they had argued earlier in the day, he had threatened to set it on fire. She also said the house, described by SFD and in an online complaint as “vacant,” had belonged to a relative of her boyfriend and that he had been staying there because he was otherwise homeless. A neighbor told police he had seen the man walking away from the house just before an “explosion” that preceded the fire. The suspect was found “on a pathway near the Roxhill Park entrance,” according to the probable-cause document, and recognized by officers “from prior contacts” (he does not, however, appear to have a criminal record, either felony or misdemeanor). He was booked into King County Jail on Saturday night; on Monday afternoon, a judge set his bail at $25,000. Prosecutors have until tomorrow to file charges.

UPDATE: Fire at vacant Westwood house; firefighter injured

October 3, 2015 at 2:51 pm | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news, Westwood | 19 Comments

(Added: Photo courtesy Conrad)
2:51 PM: Seattle Fire has a “full response” headed to a possible house fire in the 9200 block of 31st Place SW, which is in Westwood (map). More to come.

(Smoke was visible for blocks – photo courtesy Sebastian, looking SW over Westwood Village)
2:55 PM UPDATE: It’s a confirmed fire and SFD units have water on it.

(WSB photos from here down)
3 PM UPDATE: Now reported to be under control. One possible injury.

3:07 PM UPDATE: Via Twitter, SFD describes the house as “vacant.” That’s borne out by this DPD record for the address that SFD has logged for the fire – a complaint made and investigated less than a month ago.

3:20 PM UPDATE: Nobody hurt, we’ve confirmed with SFD. Fire investigators are en route to look into the cause. The fire is mostly out except for some smoldering in the walls. Neighbors tell us it’s been a problem house for a year or so.

3:35 PM UPDATE: Update – we’ve since been told a firefighter suffered a hand injury and has been taken to the hospital.

5:58 PM UPDATE: As mentioned in comments, fire and police investigators have been there; we went back over for photos.

Still no official word on the cause, but the police presence confirms they are investigating the possibility of arson.

MONDAY UPDATE: Lt. Sue Stangl from SFD says investigators determined that this fire was “set,” and so Seattle Police are investigating. Damage to the house is estimated at $100,000, and $5,000 to its contents.

West Seattle coyotes: Just spotted, in the street

September 30, 2015 at 11:15 pm | In Coyotes, West Seattle news, Westwood, Wildlife | 3 Comments

Just in via text (206-293-6302, 24/7), our first coyote report of the fall:

Just spotted a large coyote in the street on SW Thistle, near the alley between 24th & 25th Ave. I slowed down thinking it was a stray dog, then watched it go into the walkways in between the apt buildings there. Just want to spread the word since it’s in a highly populated area.

As also noted in our exchange with the texter, that’s across the street from the stretch of Longfellow Creek that runs east of the Chief Sealth International High School/Denny International Middle School campus. But coyotes can turn up anywhere, whether a greenbelt is nearby or not – just browse our eight-plus-year archive of sighting reports for ample evidence of that. When you see one, do your best to scare it away – more for its good than yours – as explained here.

FOLLOWUP: About the missing, fire-damaged Westwood mailbox

September 22, 2015 at 11:14 am | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news, Westwood | 3 Comments

(August 28th photo, courtesy Megan)
From the “in case you were wondering too” file: Three and a half weeks after the fire that destroyed mail and led to removal of the mailbox outside the Westwood post office, we asked USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson if it would be back any time soon. His response: “There is no spare mail collection box of this type available. So we are repairing the old one. The process is underway and we hope to have it ‘back in place’ in the not too distant future. I can’t give you a date for that just yet.” We’re still checking on the fire investigation, but we’ve been asked several times recently about the box’s status, so here’s that followup in the meantime. If you need an outdoor dropbox, the Junction post office (California between Genesee and Oregon) still has one.

HAPPENING NOW: Raingarden tours in Sunrise Heights and Westwood as King County marks completion of its first ‘green stormwater infrastructure’ project

September 20, 2015 at 1:44 pm | In Environment, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 1 Comment

1:44 PM: Looking for something to do this afternoon? After King County Councilmember Joe McDermott and project manager Mary Wohleb ceremonially cut a big yellow ribbon, raingarden tours are under way in Sunrise Heights and Westwood until 4 pm – find the map here. It’s all to celebrate the completion of 91 roadside raingardens in planting strips spread across 15 blocks in those two neighborhoods, to keep stormwater out of the combined-sewer system and, in turn, keep untreated wastewater from overflowing into Puget Sound when the Barton Pump Station in Fauntleroy is overwhelmed. This is one of two King County Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) reduction projects in West Seattle that date back to early public meetings in 2009, and it was the county’s first-ever project of this type (the other project is the million-gallon Murray CSO storage tank being built across from Lowman Beach Park).

ADDED 3:24 PM: First, our video of the short round of speeches that began the event – Kristine Cramer from the KC Wastewater Treatment Division spoke first, then Councilmember McDermott and Wohleb.

As McDermott pointed out, “Neighbors spoke up, and the county listened.” That hinted at the pre-construction controversy for both West Seattle CSO projects. After early meetings dating back to 2007, three options for reducing the Barton basin (map) overflow were presented in 2010, and this was one of them; the other two involved stormwater-storage facilities on the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse back lot, or under upper Fauntleroy Way across from the ferry dock, which generated much opposition, given the historic unofficial park status of the area.

Once the “green stormwater infrastructure” plan was announced in late 2010, that too generated skepticism – the city had tried it in Ballard and that did not go well, to say the least. In 2011, the county tried to calm the most common concerns with a special meeting to address them.

Before today’s ceremony, we talked with project manager Wohleb, who said none of the fears had borne out, so far. No ponding, for example – if anything, she said, the bioswales are draining water more quickly than expected. While this coming fall/winter will be the first rainy season post-completion, some raingardens were done before last winter, so we asked if they have any data. Not so far, in part because the Barton Pump Station itself has been out of commission for construction, too, KCWTD says.

Wohleb also had words of praise for the entire project team, including the contractors >Goodfellow Brothers and designers SVR. Also mentioned today: The copious amount of communication with neighbors (look at all the block-by-block updates on this page, just as an example).

WHAT’S NEXT: If the county needs more stormwater to be taken out of the system, four more blocks could get raingardens – shown in the project map above as “delayed”; they were designed and permitted, just in case. If you’re in the project area and interested in a home raingarden or cistern, the rebate program through RainWise is funded through next year; check it out to see if you’re eligible.

And note that projects like this are in the works for Highland Park and South Park – here’s the county project page for that.

Something to say about the Barton CSO project? The county has set up an online survey – just go here.

SUNDAY: Celebrate completion of Barton CSO roadside-raingarden project in Sunrise Heights, Westwood

September 17, 2015 at 11:56 am | In Environment, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | Comments Off

The rain falling right now reminds us of what’s coming up Sunday afternoon in the Sunrise Heights and Westwood neighborhoods – the King County Wastewater Treatment Division‘s celebration of the completion of the Barton Combined Sewer Overflow Control project. 15 blocks now have roadside raingardens after two seasons of construction; a ceremonial ribbon-cutting is planned at 1 pm Sunday at 32nd SW and SW Kenyon, and then from 1:30-4 pm, tours will be offered of “three recently planted blocks.” It’s also a chance to get updated information about the project, including the ongoing RainWise program, offering incentives for people in the target area to install rain gardens and/or cisterns. This project has been much-discussed, going all the way back to early meetings six years ago, so now that it’s done – whether you’re coming to the celebration or not – the county’s offering a survey for feedback – find it here.

@ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council: Updates on crime/safety, transportation, The Bog, more…

September 8, 2015 at 4:00 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | Comments Off

Before this week’s round of community meetings gets under way, we have one more to recap from last week – the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council‘s first meeting since June.

CRIME FOLLOWUP: As WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick pointed out, the June meeting (WSB coverage here) focused on crime, especially chronic problems in the South Delridge area. Some action had ensued – “some flare-ups, some diedowns.” And then Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores got up to speak. He’s one of two Southwest Precinct CPT officers right now – the team had been up to 4 just a few months ago, but, he said, one member has been promoted and another has been assigned to a technology project.

In this area in the past two months, he said, SPD has tallied:

-112 calls for suspicious activity/circumstances
-19 residential burglaries
-13 harassment/threat calls
-10 assaults
-6 car prowls
-2 armed robberies

After the June WWRHAH meeting, Officer Flores said, they were clear on what needed to be done in the South Delridge area – they met with several other city departments, got some CPTED principles applied to the area, but they are still working on some things, like graffiti-vandalism cleanup.

Click to read the rest of @ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council: Updates on crime/safety, transportation, The Bog, more……

UPDATE: SW Barton reopening after substance found on Metro bus turned out NOT to be a ‘hazardous material’

September 2, 2015 at 4:42 pm | In West Seattle news, Westwood, WS breaking news | 11 Comments

(WSB photo. Note: This is NOT the bus on which the substance was found – that’s a few buses down)

4:42 PM: Eastbound Barton is closed right now at 30th SW because of a Seattle Fire response at the bus stop across from Westwood Village. According to the scanner, a “white powder” of some kind was found on a bus, which subsequently was evacuated, and they’re treating it as a possible hazmat situation until otherwise determined. We’ve just arrived at the scene to find out more.

4:48 PM UPDATE: This appears to be happening aboard a C-Line bus – not the one in our photo, a short ways east on Barton, which is now blocked both ways.

4:55 PM UPDATE: We’ve confirmed with SFD at the scene that no one has needed medical treatment. The suspicious substance was called in by the bus driver. Barton remains blocked off between 30th and 26th. (And yes, that is a TV helicopter that just arrived over the scene.)

5:09 PM UPDATE: Crews are suiting up in hazmat gear.

5:25 PM UPDATE: They subsequently went into the bus. We’re waiting to hear/see what happens next. Again, Barton is blocked BOTH WAYS.

5:33 PM: The verdict: Cleaning supplies (photo added above).

Barton will reopen shortly.

Join in! Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meets Tuesday night, with crime/policing on the agenda

August 31, 2015 at 7:54 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | Comments Off

August is going out as blustery as if fall were here already … and September starts with community groups resuming their regular meeting schedules. As the leaves fall, consider turning over your own new leaf and getting involved, if you’re not already. Tomorrow night is the first Tuesday of the month, which means the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council invites you to the Southwest Library‘s upstairs meeting room, 6:15-7:45 pm. Here’s the agenda:

6:15-6:20: Introductions & Community News

6:20-6:45: Committee & Neighborhood Council Updates

6:45-7:15: Welcome Back and Updates: SPD Officers Jon Flores and Kevin McDaniel will be with us to give us an update on the micro-policing plans. And how things looked this summer

7:15-7:40: Topics for Next Meetings: Brainstorm ideas for meetings and things to touch base on with the City.

7:40-7:45: Wrap Up: Break down the room; library locks up promptly at 8 pm.

Even if you just want to sit in the corner and observe/listen, all are welcome. The library’s on the southeast corner of 35th SW and SW Henderson.

UPDATE: Fire destroys mail in drive-up box outside Westwood Post Office

August 28, 2015 at 5:11 pm | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news, Westwood | 25 Comments

5:11 PM: If you use the Westwood Post Office drive-up box, take note. From regional U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Ernie Swanson:

Mail deposited in a drive-up collection box outside the Westwood Post Office, 2721 SW Trenton St., Seattle WA 98126, was destroyed in a fire at about 4:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 28.

Mail deposited in the box after about 5:30 p.m., Thursday, August 27th, was burned beyond recognition.
An investigation is being conducted into the possible cause of the fire. The Seattle Fire Department extinguished the fire.

We’re checking on the mailbox’s status.

ADDED 5:23 PM: Before we could even do that – we received the photo we’ve added above, from Megan (thank you!). Note the sign says you can’t use the burned mailbox – asking customers to take their mail inside. We’ll be checking on replacement plans, as well as the aforementioned investigation.

P.S. This is the same drive-up-mailbox location that was briefly out of service five and a half months ago after the box was hit by a car.

6:40 PM: Just went to Westwood for a firsthand look, and the burned mailbox has been removed.

8:04 PM: We’ve also heard back from USPS’s Swanson, who says the box *will* be replaced, no timetable yet.

Why police, medical examiner were at Roxhill Park/Westwood bus stop

August 20, 2015 at 6:43 pm | In West Seattle news, Westwood | 34 Comments

(WSB photo)

Thanks to everyone who messaged us to ask about police and the medical examiner at the Roxhill Park/Westwood Village bus stop. Here’s what we found out at the scene: Somebody died on a RapidRide C Line bus. The bus driver was going to go take a break when he discovered that a passenger who wasn’t getting off the bus, couldn’t – he was dead. It’s not being investigated as a crime, as there’s no evidence suggesting foul play. All we know at this point is that the dead person is a man, no age estimate.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Close-up ‘flasher’ at Westwood Village

August 1, 2015 at 12:08 am | In Crime, West Seattle news, Westwood | 3 Comments

Just found out about this via a late-night note from the victim, who is an 18-year-old employee at a Westwood Village business. She says this happened outside the WWV Starbucks:

While I was on a 10-minute break, having a cigarette, a man who was also smoking slowly approached me and sat down on the bench I was sitting on. He made small talk, i.e. how are you, “it’s smoke:30 huh?”. I responded politely and then looked away from him and paid attention to my phone. I was sitting there for about 5 minutes when he leaned down, put out his cigarette, turned to me and said, “Have a nice day.” I turned to respond to him and immediately saw that he was holding his completely exposed penis in his hand. He then got up and walked away immediately while adjusting himself. I went inside and the incident was reported to both Westwood security and the SPD.

The man was probably in his 30s, a white male with short brown hair of average height and build – probably around 5’9″ or so. He had been wearing a yellow button-up shirt and shorts; his eyes were covered by dark sunglasses. I had never seen him before and am obviously in the area often. I assume he had planned this out due to his clothing and sunglasses.

I just want to get the word out because there are many young people who spend time in Westwood Village and I don’t doubt that this man would do this again.

She didn’t say what time this happened so we’re following up to ask, and will add that information when we have it. SPD’s Tweets by Beat (which you can browse on our Crime Watch page) show a lewd-conduct report in the area, time-stamped 10:45 pm, but that might only indicate the time the report was processed.

7:27 AM UPDATE: It happened around 7:30 pm Friday.

Retired Marine’s ‘Valor Run’ to stop in West Seattle on Saturday

July 22, 2015 at 3:41 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, Westwood | 1 Comment

Tomorrow morning, retired U.S. Marine Corps Major Bridget Guerrero starts a four-day, 160-mile run around Puget Sound, and it will include a stop Saturday at Westwood Village, according to a notice circulated to merchants there. (Thanks to Donna at Giannoni’s Pizza for the tip.) The photo is courtesy of our friends at MyEdmondsNews.com, who wrote last weekend about Maj. Guerrero’s plan, part of Valor Run, an organization honoring military women lost in Iraq and Afghanistan; 160 have died since 9/11, so Guerrero’s run will include one mile for each. According to the webpage about her run – where you can make a donation – “Bridget’s goal is to raise $5,000, which will be split between Valor Run, Inc. and the USMC Scholarship Foundation for a scholarship given in the name of USMC MAJ Megan McClung.”

Guerrero starts running tomorrow morning on Whidbey Island and will conclude her run Sunday in Dupont, southeast of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Her full route can be seen here, and you are invited to run with her at any point along the way. She is expected to arrive at Westwood Village sometime between 12:30 pm and 3 pm on Saturday. An “honor station” will be set up for the occasion in the center of WWV across from Carter’s, according to the notice circulated to merchants, which says it will be supported by Warrior Pointe as well as by a local family, relatives of U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jarod Newlove, killed in Afghanistan five years ago.

Celebrating West Seattle salmon and stewardship, at streetside as well as creekside: Troop 40255′s project

July 12, 2015 at 7:08 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, Westwood, WS culture/arts | 1 Comment

A ribbon-cutting today celebrated West Seattle’s newest public art – created by Brownie Girl Scout Troop 40255 at the bus-stop shelter on northbound 35th SW at Cloverdale. It tells the story of salmon, and shows our state’s terrain.

From left in the photo are Molly Gazewood, Marley Strackhouse Parks, Alana Bass, Tannée Heinen, Natalie Aguilar Fox. While inviting us to the event, Marcia Strackhouse explained that it was both a celebration of the art itself and of the people who inspired it:

Most of these young people have grown up along the Fauntleroy Creek Watershed, and in their schools, preschools and day care centers, Judy Pickens (and husband Phil Sweetland) have been there to ensure our youth understood their impact on the environment and our salmon. … As Troop Leaders, we were so impressed with their knowledge at ages 8 and 9. They know the cycle of Salmon, understand the importance of maintaining and
keeping our creeks, rivers, and ocean clean, as do many of our West Seattle youth. They have become environmental stewards.

Judy was there for the ribbon-cutting celebration, and accepted a bouquet:

Judy and Phil have kept the Salmon in the Schools program going locally, from egg deliveries to the creekside events at which fry are released each year.

UPDATE: 3-car crash at 32nd and Thistle in Westwood

June 17, 2015 at 10:27 pm | In West Seattle news, Westwood, WS breaking news | 3 Comments

(WSB photos)
10:27 PM: Police are blocking off SW Thistle at 34th because of a crash just to the east, at 32nd and Thistle. Multiple cars involved; our crew is still trying to find out more at the scene.

10:33 PM: At least two people are hurt; one is being taken to the hospital, and the other is still being evaluated at the scene. Three cars are involved.

10:37 PM: Police at the scene tell us TCIS is not being called out – no life-threatening injuries – so this scene will clear after tow trucks arrive to move the vehicles. SFD has tweeted that it’s taking a 33-year-old man “in stable condition” to Harborview Medical Center.

11:59 PM: Just got a chance to go check the area to be sure the scene is clear … it is.

Student safety: How SPD followed up after chief’s Denny visit

June 17, 2015 at 4:05 pm | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle police, West Seattle schools, Westwood | 2 Comments

(WSB photo from June 1st @ Denny)
Two weeks after Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole visited Denny International Middle School and heard students request more help from police in staying safe (WSB coverage here), members of her department followed up to start making good on that promise. Southwest/South Precincts Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon shares these notes of what happened when they visited the Denny/Sealth campus this past Monday, one day before the last day of school, particularly to lay the groundwork for a safer start next fall:

* SPD Reps met up with students and staff at 12:40 at classroom

* Walked SW Kenyon Street between 2600 Block and Delridge SW

* Walked from Kenyon & Delridge to Holden & Delridge; observed Holden Stairs; returned to Denny via same route

* Mark drove routes between Denny/Sealth Campus and Westwood Village to observe areas about which students expressed concerns.

* SPD Officers spoke with students about ways to minimize their chances for victimization (Robbery/Assault)

* Discussed the possibility of SPD officers getting together with students at the beginning of the school year to discuss safety measures; being proactive and focus on prevention vs. being reactionary.

Measures in Progress

* Mark will work with Youth Ambassadors and Denny Staff through the summer to engage surrounding neighbors to form Block Watch groups with have Denny/Sealth student safety as a prime focus.

* Mark will facilitate communication between the Youth Ambassadors Program and The Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative regarding the Safe Passages Program (a group of adult volunteers who provide a presence in the Rainier Beach community between the 1400-1800 hrs on school days to deter youth violence and disorder). The goal is to try to implement this program for the Denny/Sealth campus area by the fall of 2015.


* Raise tree canopy on SW Kenyon Street Between 2400 – 2600 Blocks. Tree canopy should be no lower than 8′ to ensure good lines of sight for pedestrians transiting SW Kenyon ST.

* Request SDOT conduct additional vegetation clearing at dead end of SW Kenyon ST & 24th Ave SW.

* Request SDOT conduct vegetation clearing along trail/walkway/bridge over creek between Delridge WY SW & 24th Ave SW along SW Kenyon Street (Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail).

* Request additional vegetation clearing be done on the Holden Stairs, between Delridge WY SY & 20th Ave SW. (possible return of the goat herd?)

* Request vegetation clearing along the non-through streets of 26th Ave SW, 25th Ave SW and the North/South Alley that runs parallel between those two streets, between SW Thistle Street and SW Trenton ST. Students use these corridors to transit anyway; let’s open them up to reduce cover and concealment.

* SPD conduct student safety assembly at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.

VIDEO: Congratulations, Chief Sealth International High School Class of 2015!

June 13, 2015 at 9:58 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, Westwood | 4 Comments

(Sealth staff & students’ procession at start of this afternoon’s ceremony)

Story by Tracy Record
Photos/video by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers


You probably know that’s short for “You Only Live Once.” It started and ended what language-arts teacher Breanna Whited told the Chief Sealth International High School Class of 2015 at its graduation ceremony this afternoon. (More on her speech later.)

Though commencement is considered to be the start of the rest of graduates’ lives, as Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer detailed, the 267 graduating seniors already have achieved quite bit. She went through a long list of achievements including more than 20,000 hours in community service and $1.2 million in college scholarships.

The principal noted some of the class’s “bold” accomplishments – from a World Water Week focus on the unglamorous but life-saving topic of toilets, to Hafid Yassin‘s dunk seen ’round the world.

The first student to speak was Timothy Wo, who observed that “we’re all thinking right now … ‘it’s over’.” (That’s him in the frame grab below, but the video is of the entirety of the rest of the ceremony, beginning with the principal’s speech.)

To get to “the promised land of graduation,” he said, he and his classmates “crossed the land of procrastination.” Whatever lies ahead for them in the immediate future, he expressed confidence they would “reap success, whatever it is, and make it into whatever it can be.”

Another student speaker, Monica Harris, urged her classmates to “stand tall – we have nothing to fear.”

And she celebrated the fact that “by persevering, we have proven we deserve to be here today.” The proud family and friends had proven that too, and they were saluted during the ceremony.

They of course exhibited plenty of exhilaration themselves:

Back to staff speaker Whited, introduced as “hilarious and beautiful.”

She spoke warmly and personally to her now-former students, saying she watched them while chaperoning the senior prom three weeks ago: “It was OK for me to cry there, which I did, because I had to be strong to speak to all of you today.”

Mentioning she was a 1985 high-school graduate, she said, “I am you in 30 years … and yes, you’ll still be this fabulous.” With the help, Whited continued, of three things to remember, starting with: “Apologize quickly, even when you are right – you will be loved and you will be happy. It’s better to be happy than to be right.”

The essence of her other advice: Shut down your “negative self-talk,” and “do what you love,” which she said she’s been doing for decades. And shortly thereafter, the Chief Sealth Class of 2015 was off to find a way to follow her advice.

OTHER NOTES: One of the valedictorians and the salutatorian, Sophia Boyd and Olivia Boyd, are sisters, and the daughters of former longtime CSIHS principal John Boyd. Samuel Orlin also is valedictorian. … SPS executive director of southwest schools Israel Vela had a stand-in, northwest ED Jon Halfaker, because he was at his son’s graduation in Kent … Last year, umbrellas were in use because of the threat of rain; this year, one was in view because of the sun:

West Seattle Crime Watch: 1980s-vintage bicycle stolen

June 1, 2015 at 7:27 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, Westwood | 6 Comments

In a West Seattle Crime Watch report earlier this afternoon, we mentioned that crime will be the focus of tomorrow night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting. Since then, the person who sent the announcement, co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick, has sent a Crime Watch reader report of her own:

I had my 1980s Panasonic ladies bike stolen from my porch last night. 10 speed with Schwinn cruiser handlebars. It has a rear fender and bike rack. A light and bell on the handlebars and a clip for a basket on the front. Lots of star stickers, a Proletariat Pizza sticker and an Amanda4D1.com sticker too. It’s not worth a lot, but it’s My Bike! You know? I reported it to the police, and I’ve been driving around the ‘hood like a stalker…. the picture is from when I first got it almost 5 years ago. So BUMMED!

If you see it … let police know, and then consider commenting here as well.

RECENT BICYCLE CASES: None of these have been resolved so far as we know, so we’re mentioning them again (all three have photos too): 12-year-old boy’s silver Fuji Absolute stolen May 28th, also in Westwood; child- and adult-size bicycles found in Westwood and Highland Park respectively, published here May 20th – we suggested to the finders of the latter two that they be reported to police for pickup.

West Seattle coffee: Starbucks’ local epicenter adding 4th spot

May 25, 2015 at 10:38 am | In West Seattle news, Westwood, WS beverages | 31 Comments

You could call Westwood Village the epicenter of Starbucks in West Seattle, with a standalone shop, a stand inside the QFC supermarket, and Starbucks coffee featured in the Barnes & Noble bookstore café. If that isn’t enough for coffee-loving shoppers – city permit files show that another one is on the way: While digging through recent applications overnight, we found this project filing for 2800 SW Barton, carrying the notation: “Addition of a new Starbucks within existing food service footprint in existing Target store.” While that page doesn’t show an application date, the permit number suggests it was filed within the past week. Not a new concept, as the two chains have been working together for more than a decade, but we thought you’d want to know.

BY THE NUMBERS: This will boost the number of West Seattle Starbucks outlets, existing and planned, to 13, by our count: Along with the aforementioned four in Westwood, there’s Admiral Way, Admiral Safeway, Alki, Avalon, Jefferson Square Safeway, Junction QFC, Junction 47 (planned), Morgan Junction, Roxbury Safeway.

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