West Seattle, Washington
Big news from West Seattle Montessori School & Academy (WSB sponsor) – it’s expanding in more ways than one! Here’s the announcement:
West Seattle Montessori School & Academy, a Pre-K through 8th grade school serving West Seattle, White Center, North Highline, and Burien families since 1985, is pleased to announce exciting changes this coming school year.
*A fifth pre-primary classroom (2½ – 6 year-olds) will be opening this fall.
*A new enrichment center will be opening this coming school year, located in the former White Center King County Library. This enrichment center will be home to a performance stage area, kids’ kitchen, and a student-run store, The Owl’s Nest. This new community-centered space will extend student learning and cultivate all-school connections.
West Seattle Montessori School & Academy strives to create an environment where students embrace differences and can connect on compassionate levels with others and the world around them. West Seattle Montessori School & Academy is still accepting applications for the 2017-2018 school year.
If you are already set for this school year but looking beyond, West Seattle Montessori’s open-house dates are already set for preschool through 8th grade – November 7th, 6 pm-7:30 pm; January 27 (2018), 1 pm-3 pm; March 7, 6-7:30 pm. The school is at 11215 15th SW.
Just a quick note so you’re not surprised about this time on Wednesday night (July 19th) – that’s when White Center’s Jubilee Days festival will launch its annual fireworks show. The show happens at Steve Cox Memorial Park, as does the carnival that also starts Wednesday night. One more early mention: This year the Saturday/Sunday (July 22nd-23rd) street fair that’s part of the festival will be on 16th SW between Roxbury and SW 98th – that’s the main street in downtown White Center, one block east of where the street fair’s been in previous years. Lots more info on the WCJD website, also all-new this year.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: WSB and WCN are participating in the multiple-media-outlet #SeaHomeless day of special coverage. For the occasion, we revisited what is the White Center/West Seattle area’s only fulltime shelter, which opened in late March.)
By Tracy Record
Editor, West Seattle Blog and White Center Now
It’s the shelter that almost wasn’t.
At an acrimonious community meeting last September – when King County revealed it was weeks away from opening a shelter at its former Public Health clinic in White Center – some threatened legal action to stop it.
But that’s not what happened.
Instead, community leaders and other residents formed a task force. They made a counter-proposal. Instead of the low-barrier, adults-only, overnight shelter that the county wanted the Salvation Army to operate, the counter-proposal was for a 24-hour family shelter to be operated by Mary’s Place, which specializes in helping homeless families.
The county agreed. Mary’s Place agreed. The followup community meeting in January had applause instead of shouting. And three months ago, the shelter opened at 8th SW/SW 108th. No lawsuits. No protests.
We toured on March 21st, just before the first families arrived. And that was the last time we visited the shelter – until this week, when we requested to drop in for a followup.
Our tour guide and interviewee was Liz McDaniel, family-shelter developer for Mary’s Place, who has been with the organization for eight years, dating back to when it was just the operator of a “day center” – now, it’s so much more. She understates her role: “I get to open all our new sites.” And in fact, she had opened a new one the night before our conversation, at the opposite end of King County, up in Shoreline.
But we were there to talk about White Center, the only fulltime shelter in the WC/West Seattle area. As of our Tuesday morning interview, 15 families were there, 55 people – 20 adults and 35 children. And there’s still room for more – official capacity is 70 people.
Another statistic: Since opening June 21st, the shelter “has served more than 3,400 bed nights.”
“Guests,” as Mary’s Place refers to the people it’s sheltering, are referred by the county program Coordinated Entry for All, which works with the 211 hotline.
And McDaniel says they are keeping “the promise that we made to the community, that we would prioritize families that are already in this neighborhood.”
Three months in, they are still completing renovations/additions that are needed so that the former clinic can truly serve as a livable space. One that catches our eye immediately upon entry fills a small atrium/courtyard:
The play area is the work of the Seattle University College of Engineering, we’re told. And like so many other things at the shelter, volunteers helped make it happen, including those who cleared the area of its weedy plantings.
Other work that is expected to be done by mid-July is adapting a restroom to make it accessible, and adding two showers in what was a storage area so the building has three – the Evergreen Aquatic Center, a mile away, has in the meantime been making its showers available to shelter families.
Crews also are converting another storage area into a laundry room:
In the meantime, all the laundry has to be sent offsite. And a “small kitchen” is being added as well, so some cooking can be done at the shelter.
So what happens during the course of a day at the shelter?
For the adults- “services that focus on housing and employment.” Throughout the open spaces in the shelter, there are signs, and set-aside areas, devoted to those focuses.
They get help working on applications, determining what are their barriers to housing, getting “tools to move forward.” The shelter has been open almost the exact length of an “average stay across all our locations” – 87 days. But three families already have moved out into housing, despite the challenge of rising rents, “harder and harder for families to afford, particularly if they’re a single-parent household – it’s challenging to find something to afford within Seattle. We spread the branches wide and look all over the place, White Center, Burien, Renton, Kent, places that families can afford.”
Mary’s Place also has launched a new “diversion program to help divert families from shelter directly into housing,” which requires “flexible funding,” so if you’re looking to donate money – that program could use it, she adds.
For employment, guests spend time filling out resumes, looking for openings, getting practice in “mock interviews.”
For the kids, there’s an immediate effort to be sure they are enrolled in school, and to arrange for transportation “within 48 hours of arriving.” This location is on school-bus routes, though at some of the other Mary’s Place sites in the region, they work with Metro, taxicabs, “whatever.” Now that school is out for the summer, the focus is on activities; McDaniel says they have been “working all year” on getting scholarships to day camps around the area, and kids are already out at camps ranging from art to environmental activities.
Health care also is available through the shelter, with a nurse on site part of the time.
Some aspects of shelter life involve clearing up misconceptions. McDaniel says some presume that shelters can be “a scary place – but we work hard to create a safe and welcoming community, where families can sit down and have a meal together, where kids can play appropriate to their age, where people feel welcomed as soon as they walk in the door … A lot of families are afraid they’ll lose their children when people find out they’re homeless. But your kids can’t be taken away simply (because of that).”
While Mary’s Place works on “a 90-day model … some families have more extended barriers” and it takes longer for them to get back onto their feet. Especially refugee families, McDaniel notes. Most of those who Mary’s Place is serving now are from East Africa, particularly Eritrea, though MP also has seen “our first few Syrian families,” as well as some from South Asia and Central America.
Wherever they are from, Mary’s Place emphasizes “the inherent belief that our families are good enough, and have the capability, to take care of their own families – they were housed at one point and they’ll be housed again. They have the tools to meet their own needs. There’s just a one-time gap – 97 percent of families experiencing homelessness will never experience it again. We help them navigate a really hard system at a traumatic time in their lives. We do it better together.”
Those working “together” at this shelter include about 20 staffers as well as the 55 guests, and volunteers. The guests have responsibilities beyond seeking housing and (if not already employed) work: They are assigned chores, for which points are awarded.
Those points can be spent at an on-site “store” with items such as clothing.
The youngest guests are able to earn points, too, and they have what the sign on the door dubs the “mini-mart” (top photo).
We asked McDaniel if the process of getting the shelter up to full speed has brought any surprises. “I think the biggest kind of joy and surprise has been the way the community has surrounded the space … we saw that in the work group and the process to get in. That has not waned. Between the schools and organizations already in the neighborhood” – she mentions White Center-headquartered WestSide Baby in particular – “(people) have stood alongside us and provided tools and resources to be sure this is a sustainable program in the community … White Center is such a strong community. People continued to bring in meals and donations and volunteer, and that excitement hasn’t gone away.”
A far cry from last September’s rancor.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: There’s a “daily need” for volunteers at the shelter – especially to help with the kids, “with outings, and during the school year with homework help,” McDaniel says. No prerequisites except to be “people who like people.” Information on volunteering is on the Mary’s Place website.
For donatable items – blankets and diapers remain their biggest need. (Yes, the kids at the shelter right now include babies.)
And the biggest need of all is space – this shelter is open, the aforementioned new one in Shoreline is open, but the need for more shelter space around the metro area continues. Despite that, this shelter is not intended to be permanent; the county and nonprofits are working on a long-range plan for a mixed-use project at the site that would include housing as well as headquarters for several nonprofits. That’ll be the topic of a separate followup.
11:28 AM: Thanks for the tips – we heard from two people in Highland Park/Riverview before this big power outage even appeared on the Seattle City Light map. More than 2,000 customers (homes/businesses) are out.
11:37 AM: As the map shows, the outage also stretches into parts of White Center and South Park. The SCL map now has a restoration-time “guesstimate” of 2:31 pm – but keep in mind, could be sooner, could be later. We haven’t yet heard what caused it – if you’re seeing SCL trucks, please let us know, since that’s usually a clue. // And remember that dark traffic signals = all-way stops. Someone just messaged us to say there’s already been a crash at 8th/Roxbury.
12:07 PM: West Marginal/Highland Park Way is another major intersection with the lights out, and people “driving recklessly” as a dispatcher relayed a little while ago (monitored via scanner). SCL says a crash is what caused this and they’re still hopeful of having the power back on by 2:30ish.
12:38 PM: Added two photos from 8th/Roxbury – above, SPD is helping with traffic there (there’s a crash and a stalled vehicle); below, SDOT working with the signal box (and a generator).
12:43 PM: At least part of the area has the power back, per comment and texts, after about an hour and a half.
12:54 PM: The SCL map has updated and says the outage is about two-thirds of its original size – now 1,300+ customers, mostly south/east of West Seattle.
1:08 PM: Now down to 560+ customers out.
1:35 PM: And now just a handful.
Can you help find a suspected killer? The King County Sheriff’s Office has just identified a suspect in the May 7th murder of James Little in White Center, and released his photo:
A Murder 1 warrant has been issued for Billy D. Williams, 30, of Oregon, for the May 7th murder of Seattle resident James Little, 30.
Little was attending a birthday party at a bar in the 9800 block of 16 Ave SW when a group of women got into a fight. The fight ended up outside and the women eventually separated.
Little approached a group of people across the street when Williams, who was in the group, pulled a gun and shot him in the head, killing him.
Detectives have not released a motive for the shooting but said Williams has ties to Albany, Oregon and Seattle. Williams is described as a black man, 30, 5’8”, medium build.
If you have information regarding the whereabouts of Williams you can call 911 or you may remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $1000 by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
Two local schools are inviting you to help them help homeless children and teens whose families are at the new Mary’s Place-operated shelter in White Center:
Lafayette and Genesee Hill Elementary Schools are doing a book drive this month to collect books for children and teens who are guests at Mary’s Place in White Center. We have collected over 1200 books already!
We are still on the lookout for books that are in languages other than English and ones that feature characters and themes that are historically underrepresented in children’s books and reflect the population Mary’s Place serves (diverse ethnic and socioeconomic narrative settings, immigrants, nontraditional family units, etc.). If people have books of this sort that are new or gently used, they are welcome to drop them off at Lafayette from today through Friday May 19th.
There will be a box outside of the school’s front doors where books can be dropped off.
Lafayette is at 2645 California SW in The Admiral District.
King County Sheriff’s Office deputies are investigating a shooting that left one man dead along 16th SW south of SW 98th early today. The street remains closed between 98th and 100th. Our full report is on partner site White Center Now.
Three biznotes tonight:
JUNCTION DAY OF GIVING TOMORROW: One more reminder that most West Seattle Junction businesses are donating part of their proceeds to local nonprofits tomorrow, 10 am-6 pm, during the annual Junction Day of Giving. Each nonprofit has chosen a beneficiary – right now, the list is at 30 participating businesses, 20 beneficiaries, and you can see it all here. Look for balloons marking participants!
THUNDER ROAD GUITARS GIVING FROM THE ROAD: While Thunder Road Guitars (WSB sponsor) is listed as a participant, their storefront at 4736 California SW will be closed tomorrow because TRG is attending the Tacoma Guitar Festival at the Tacoma Dome. But they’re still giving, “from the road” – proprietor Frank Gross says, “We DO still plan on participating in the West Seattle Junction Day of Giving and will be donating 10% of our sales Saturday the 29th to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Be sure to stop by and see us at the show this weekend!” (It’s open 9:30 am-5 pm tomorrow, 10 am-4 pm Sunday.)
DRUNKY’S TWO-SHOE BBQ OPENS IN WHITE CENTER: It’s opening night for the second location of Drunky’s Two-Shoe BBQ, in White Center. We stopped by less than an hour ago and the wait was already an hour. Photos are on our partner site White Center Now.
Another abandoned (therefore likely stolen) bicycle found – this time, in the White Center area, reports Matt, who shared the photo of that Cilo Pacer, saying, “It’s a really cool old bike. Hope the owner gets it back.” Is it yours? Or likely that of someone you know? Let us know and we’ll point you at Matt.
(Photo from Highline Bears’ opening night last year)
We know, you’re just getting into the mood for baseball, with the Mariners’ season now under way, and high-school teams playing too. Here’s more: The Highline Bears will be back this summer, and sent this announcement to let you know:
The local semi-pro Highline Bears baseball team announced that their opening game for the 2017 season will be Friday, June 2 in White Center, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.
The Bears – who were established in the fall of 2014 – are a summer collegiate baseball team that plays their games locally at Mel Olson Stadium, inside of Steve Cox Memorial Park, in White Center.
The Highline Bears are part of the Pacific International League (PIL) that features nationally recognized teams such as the Seattle Studs and Everett Merchants. In the Bears’ inaugural season, they successfully met their goal of bringing a high level of baseball back to our community. In doing so they broke every league attendance record, and co-founder/manager Todd Coughlin led the team to a winning record.
Going into their third season, the Bears have some very exciting things planned for fans.
“We have put a lot of energy into creating a better fan experience for our community, as well as having one of the most competitive schedules in our league,” General Manager Justin Moser said. “This season will include new between-inning games, special game night promotions, and a ton of giveaways.”
The Bears are known for their fun in-game experiences, offering in past seasons a pizza box race, truck tire inner tube race, and sleeping bag race, where kids run away from “Buntly” the Bears’ friendly mascot. Between innings, and throughout the games, Buntly runs through the stadium handing out t-shirts, candy for kids, and other fun prizes. The Bears also work closely with local non-profits offering ticket fundraisers and doing a 50/50 raffle every game where the proceeds benefit the non-profit of the night.
The team will have a minimum of 17 home games, and Moser is hoping to get to an extra one or two more dates set before the season starts.“I’d love to have 18 or 19 home games, we’ve been working closely with King County Parks to be able to have this be a great home for semi-pro baseball. It’s going to be an exciting season for everyone involved,” Justin added.
The Bears opening night will be against the NW Emeralds on Friday, June 2, at 7:05 p.m. Tickets to games are very affordable at only $5 for adults, with kids 12 & under FREE. Season tickets for the Bears are $70 for a single ticket and $130 for a pair, which includes a free Bears T-shirt.
For more information on the Highline Bears – and to purchase tickets online – go here.
11:03 PM: On partner site White Center Now, we’re covering a shooting that happened in WC about half an hour ago. A man has serious but not life-threatening injuries. The shooter is said to have fled north toward Roxbury so Seattle Police are helping with a wide-ranging search in case he’s in West Seattle. Updates as we get them.
12:04 AM: No further information from KCSO, but we expect to get more details later this morning and will update here and on WCN.
Village Green Nursery at 10223 26th SW, closed last year by longtime owner Vera Johnson, is reopening under new ownership. Noah Trutzschler and Sarah Young (photo at right) contacted us to say they’ve taken over and are getting ready for a grand opening next month. Right now, they say they’re “in the process of setting up the nursery to its former beauty, and plan on continuing the tradition of providing the community with healthy and beautiful plants.” They also plan to feature garden art and are looking for artists. You can see their full announcement on our partner site White Center Now.
Two Crime Watch notes:
STOLEN TRUCK: That white 2007 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab Short Bed was stolen from Highland Park (8th SW/SW Austin) between 11 pm last night and 6 am today. More info:
License Plate is B99251V
Tailgate has the throw back “TOYOTA” in black vinyl across it.
The truck has a matching white cap on the bed, a large grey container on the roof which looks like a cargo box but is actually a Roof Top Tent (James Baroud Evo Space), an off road ARB bumper, black wheels, axiliary lights, CB radio antenna, Rino Rack Awning, and tinted windows.
A police report has been made. If spotted please call 911 (and) contact John at 425.213.9833 or email@example.com
WHITE CENTER INVESTIGATION: Our partner site White Center Now is down right now (working on it) so we’re mentioning this here – King County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a possible stabbing in the 9900 block of 10th SW, and the Guardian One helicopter is or was assisting in the search, according to scanner discussion, which indicated the suspect and victim may be related.
The city of Seattle currently has two potential annexations on the table – one in the South Park/Duwamish River area, the other in White Center/North Highline. A briefing on both is set for tomorrow’s meeting of the Seattle City Council’s Education, Equity, and Governance Committee (2 pm Wednesday, City Hall downtown, also live on seattlechannel.org). The documents in the agenda indicate that if the city decides to send North Highline annexation to the area’s 8,600+ registered voters, that’s more likely next year than this year (which had been previously mentioned as an option). See more in our preview on partner site White Center Now.
P.S. The committee meeting also includes updates on two voter-approved, levy-funded initiatives, the Democracy Voucher program and the Seattle Preschool Program, which according to the briefing slide deck now has half a dozen sites in our area.
TUESDAY NIGHT NOTE: The agenda has been revised and the Democracy Vouchers briefing is no longer planned.
Just announced late tonight – the longtime executive director of the White Center Food Bank, which serves part of West Seattle too, is retiring. Rick Jump‘s message:
To the clients, donors, volunteers, and staff of the White Center Food Bank and to the greater
White Center Community:
I have lived in White Center for 35 years; raised my children here, forged lifelong friendships, built partnerships, and helped to grow the White Center Food Bank for the past twelve years. It has been both my professional and personal passion to help support the most vulnerable in our community.
It is a unique place – one built on community, diversity, and resiliency despite the many challenges we have faced.
I am proud to call White Center my home.
This is why my decision to retire as the Executive Director of the White Center Food Bank is made with a heavy heart. I arrived at this decision after both I and my wife, Judy, have struggled with health issues in recent months. As much as I love this community, after 12 years of dedicating my life to helping others, it is time that Judy and I take care of ourselves.
I leave the White Center Food Bank knowing that it is in good, capable, and caring hands and am excited to see how it continues to grow to meet the needs of White Center now and into the future.
Thank YOU all for being such a wonderful community and for your support of the White Center Food Bank over the past 12 years. They have been some of my most formative and inspiring years of my life.
We have a few followup questions out to WCFB, including when Jump plans to leave and what the process will be for choosing his successor. His list of achievements is long, including winning the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce “Westsider of the Year” award in 2011 (that’s when we took the photo you see above).
It’s a gift only you can give … your time. Here’s a request from the White Center Food Bank (which also serves south West Seattle):
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR INVENTORY HELP DECEMBER 30!
Are you available to help weigh and count the inventory of the White Center Food Bank? We start at 9 am and go until it’s done (usually before 2 pm). We will need 5-10 people who can lift 40 pounds. Other tasks that morning include counting and recording. If you can help with this important yearly task, contact Audrey Zemke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-762-2848.
The plaque honoring Deputy Donald A. Armeni – for whom the West Seattle boat-ramp park is named – is one of 16 on a new memorial unveiled Friday at the King County Courthouse. It honors Deputy Armeni and 15 other law enforcers from the King County Sheriff’s Office who lost their lives in the line of deputy. We covered the downtown ceremony for our partner site White Center Now, as it included a tribute to Deputy Steve Cox, the WC deputy and community leader killed exactly 10 years ago. See the WCN coverage, with video, here.
For almost three months, via our partner site White Center Now, we’ve been tracking King County’s proposal for a shelter in a former county clinic building at 8th SW/SW 108th. A tense community meeting in mid-September led to the creation of a community task force to work with the county on potentially modifying the plan – and late today, the county confirmed that’s happened. The building still will be used as a shelter, but it will be for families. Read the full story on WCN.
The season of holiday helping is well under way. Ian Smithgall of the White Center Food Bank sends this success story about a South Delridge business’s recent fundraising event:
Every year, Thomas Salle – of Meat the Live Butcher – hosts a “Meat the Live Butcher Dinner and Auction”, raising money in support of the White Center Food Bank and its mission to #KeepWhiteCenterFed.
Thomas Salle is a third-generation meat cutter and now holds the title that his father, Bernie, started in the sixties as the Live Butcher™. This year, Tom (the Live Butcher) and the White Center community rallied to support the White Center Food Bank, helping to raise well over $16,000 in support of our food assistance programs! This will help to feed over 953 families living in White Center with food insecurity this holiday season. White Center owes Tom a debt of gratitude for his service and dedication to ending hunger – on behalf of our clients at the White Center Food Bank, we thank you and the White Center community for your unwavering support.
Happy holidays from the White Center Food Bank!
Missed it? You can still help the WCFB – which also serves south West Seattle – by going here.
If you don’t regularly check our partner site White Center Now (whose stories are also accessible via the WC link on the navigation bar/menu atop WSB), two items from last night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting might be of interest. One, an update on the proposed 8th/108th homeless shelter, from the King County department head accountable for the project; the other, a plan to up the usability of the non-stadium athletic fields at Steve Cox Memorial Park. Details on both are part of this story on WCN.
Seven quick biznotes from the local food/drink scene:
PEEL & PRESS TURNS 2: Today through Sunday, Peel & Press in Morgan Junction (6503 California SW) is celebrating its second anniversary, offering diners a free appetizer or dessert.
STUFFED CAKES TURNING 6: And at 9003 35th SW, Stuffed Cakes is about to turn 6 – mark your calendar for Saturday, November 5th, 10 am-3 pm, when the party will include free mini-cupcakes, face-painting, and prizes.
PELLEGRINI ITALIAN MARKET: Starting tomorrow, Pellegrini Italian Market in The Junction (4521 California SW) has new hours – 11:30 am-8 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 am-4 pm Sundays, closed Mondays. They’ll also have a Happy Hour – 3-5 pm, including $4 glasses of wine with menu entrées.
OUNCES DELAY: If you checked in over the weekend, you might have seen the update that Ounces (3809 Delridge Way SW) has delayed its soft open. New date soon.
Two notes from our partner site White Center Now:
COMPANY STORE: 21+ bar/restaurant now open in what was Company (9608 16th SW) – WCN story here.
MOONSHOT COFFEE: Soft-opened last weekend in what was Caffé Delia (9622 16th SW) – WCN story here.