If you can spare some time for a survey or two, both the City of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools are asking for your help:
CITY’S TECHNOLOGY SURVEY: The City of Seattle is asking questions about your use of everything from Internet access to mobile devices to TV, to try to understand how its citizenry is using technology. You can take the city’s tech survey here.
DISTRICT’S SECOND ‘STRATEGIC PLAN’ SURVEY: If you’re interested in helping Seattle Public Schools shape its goals – and the verbiage that communicates them – take this one. It’s the second community survey that’s been offered as part of the district’s creation of a new Strategic Plan.
Just realized that we hadn’t said “thank you” here yet for everyone who alerted us when this site went down for a bit an hour or so ago. Even if you don’t usually check out our social-media channels, please keep them handy in case of the occasional outage – facebook.com/westseattleblog and twitter.com/westseattleblog are the main ones to bookmark – and make sure 206-293-6302 is in your phone for any kind of breaking news, in addition to a “hey, what’s wrong with your site?” question. Last but not least, please accept our apologies. We recently upgraded servers to make the site faster and more accessible, with great results (helps us do our job too), yet every so often an unpredictable trouble spot might erupt, so we appreciate your patience and support.
-Tracy Record and Patrick Sand, WSB owners/co-publishers
10:43 PM: Turns out the server switchover we mentioned Friday night, to address recent intermittent site slowness, needs a bit more tinkering – and the tech team is set to do it tonight, right after 11 pm. As a result, WSB will have a bit of downtime – maybe 15, 20 minutes, we’re told. As always, if there’s breaking news in the interim, we’ll get the word out in our other major channels – Facebook (here), Twitter (here), and if needed, our other websites, White Center Now and The South Park News. Thanks yet again for your patience.
6:42 AM NOTE: The tinkering is finally over as of about half an hour ago, and WSB has fully moved onto a more-powerful new server. Seems to be running well, but it’s early, so if you hit any speed bumps, please let us know.
FRIDAY NIGHT, 10:57 PM: Just a warning – WSB may be offline for a short time later tonight, because we’re making a technical upgrade – moving to a new server with more power and memory, to handle the ever-increasing usage, which sometimes leads to site slowness. Thank you for your support and collaboration, and forgive us in advance for the inconvenience while we’re making and verifying the change. If there is breaking news during the downtime, we’ll report it in full on WSB’s Facebook page and will have bulletins on Twitter, as always. Our sites White Center Now and The South Park News are on other servers, so they’re always available for backup too.
SATURDAY, 7:31 AM: Looks so far like the move was a success – please let us know in comments or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you encounter any error messages or unavailable pages. Meantime, we’re moving on to catching up with some stories we covered yesterday/last night that were delayed by breaking news and then the technical move. Thanks for your understanding!
There’s a scam born every minute. Every second, probably. Our coverage of the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meeting last week mentioned some, in relation to mail fraud. Now, the state Attorney General’s Office has just issued this warning about the latest trend in e-mail “spoofing” – read on: Click to read the rest of Scam alert! Attorney General’s Office says, don’t get ‘spoofed’…
Who wouldn’t love faster Internet access – if affordable? The cautiously excited reaction on Tuesday was no surprise after we published word that Mayor McGinn announced in his “State of the City” speech that part of the West Seattle Junction area had been added to the planned mega-fast “demonstration” service planned by Gigabit Squared. We promised a followup, and talked this afternoon with Mark Ansboury from Gigabit Squared and the City of Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer Erin Devoto. Here’s what else we found out:
West Seattle Junction added to Gigabit Squared demonstration project, says mayor in State of the CityFebruary 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle online | 28 Comments
Announced by Mayor McGinn in his “State of the City” speech this afternoon: The West Seattle Junction area has been added (along with Ballard) to a demonstration project involving a “public/private partnership with the University of Washington and Gigabit Squared to bring next generation high-speed broadband infrastructure to Seattle. … More than 3,300 people have signed up with an interest in using Gigabit Squared services, along with more than 130 businesses and numerous apartment buildings. Gigabit Squared has also secured the funding they need to begin detailed engineering.” More about the company here. Its Neighborhood Gateway program is described as working toward broadband “100 to 1,000 times faster than what Americans have today.” (We will be following up with Gigabit Squared to get West Seattle-specific answers – but they’re headquartered back east so we may not get more info till tomorrow. [added] As commenters note, G2 has a Seattle-specific website.)
P.S. Here’s the prepared text of the mayor’s speech, which includes another West Seattle reference of note: “We’re also working with Sound Transit to accelerate their planning process, including a Ballard to Redmond [rail] line via 520 and a route from downtown to West Seattle.”
The return of a lost Golden Retriever to her family tonight reminded us that today is the 5th anniversary of the WSB Lost/Found Pets page. In keeping with our mentioned-earlier resolution to “make WSB more useful in 2013,” particularly by making sure everyone knows about free services offered here beyond 24/7 news, a few words about it: We haven’t kept count, but anecdotally, the page at westseattleblog.com/pets has helped at least a couple hundred pets reunite with their people. We never expected to have a lost/found pets sideline, but as WSB readership/participation grew after our turn toward news in winter 2006-2007, we started receiving requests to list them; on January 5, 2008, we launched the dedicated page as an easy-to-find place for listings, whether you’ve found a pet or lost one. Last year, we upgraded its format so each listing would have its own web address, enabling it to be shared if necessary (as with every story or page here on WSB, mouse over the “Share This” link for a simple way to share it via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, and/or dozens more sharing-service options). Once there’s a reunion, please let us know so we can update the listing and remove the details. We share our home with pets (the two cats in the photo above, both adult shelter cats when we adopted them) too, and are glad WSB can be of assistance in getting wayward animal friends home. Hope you don’t ever need to use the Pets page, but if you do – e-mail info (and photo if available, jpg preferred) to email@example.com.
One of our resolutions for WSB in the New Year is to make the site even more useful. Part of that means more visibly showcasing some of WSB’s most popular features. Among them: The WSB Forums‘ “West Seattle Jobs Offered” page. We have long offered FREE “help wanted” listings there for West Seattle/White Center/South Park-area companies/employers (that includes families seeking child-care help and other such jobs) – and even without promotion, it’s consistently one of the top five most-viewed pages on WSB. So starting today, the “Jobs Offered” page has its own link on our row of tabs under the sunset header photo – clicking the JOBS tab will take you directly to the section of the forum where you can see the latest listings and/or post a new one (you have to sign up for a Forum account first, but it’s quick ‘n’ easy). No “job wanted” listings, please – just “job offered” – thanks, and we wish all businesses (and job applicants) a successful 2013!
West Seattle Sunday: Fauntleroy Fall Festival; ‘Tribute Times Two’; Delridge cider; ‘Fight Like a Girl’ …October 14, 2012 at 6:30 am | In West Seattle online, WS miscellaneous | Comments Off
From the WSB West Seattle Events Calendar:
WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: 10 am-2 pm, 44th and Alaska in The Junction. See the Ripe-n-Ready List here.
STITCH & SEW STUDIO OPEN HOUSE: Grand-opening weekend continues with day 2 of the open house, noon-3 pm, 5910 California SW. (Here’s our preview report from last weekend.)
DELRIDGE CIDER PRESSING: 1-4 pm in the Delridge P-Patch, today! Full details on the North Delridge Neighborhood Council website.
GREYHOUND MEETUP: Got a greyhound? Join the meetup today at West Seattle Petco (41st/Alaska), 1-3 pm.
COMMUNITY ART SHOWCASE AT SOUTHWEST LIBRARY: Starts today! Library at 35th/Henderson is open 1-5 pm.
FAUNTLEROY FALL FESTIVAL: No matter what the weather does, festival organizers say it’s on! Just doublecheck the on-site posted schedule for times/locations of events when you get there, as some likely will be moved around. Festival hours are 2-6 pm; location, 9140 and 9131 California SW, at the church, Y, and schoolhouse (9100 block of California SW) – for general reference, here’s the most recent version of the event schedule (but again, changes are expected).
LIVE MUSIC AT C & P: Caryn K and Meg Miller are the locals performing this afternoon at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 5612 California SW.
‘TRIBUTE TIMES TWO – ANTHEMS OF ACTIVISM’: A double bill at The Admiral Theater starting at 4 pm with a Pete Seeger tribute by Peter McKee, followed by the 7 pm Steve Goodman tribute with Clay Eals, Tom Colwell, Bruce Hanson, and Mark Myers. Details on this Facebook event page – and in our preview from earlier this week. It’s music, history, stories, even humor – go to one or both shows!
SONGWRITERS’ SHOWCASE: 8 pm at Skylark Café and Club (3803 Delridge Way SW).
More on the calendar!
(Google Street View car near WSB HQ in July 2011 – thanks to Tony for the reminder comment!)
Two people have mentioned this to us today so far, so we’re sharing it: Google Maps‘ “Street View” 360-degree photography apparently has been updated for West Seattle – so if you have a minute, you might want to go see if that goes for your neighborhood. We can attest to one change: For a LONG time, if you looked at the Google Street View for California/Edmunds in The Junction, you would have seen the West Seattle Summer Fest road-closure signs and tents … from three or four years ago. Now, it’s a clear view (see here).
Since yard/garage-sale season isn’t over yet, we’re still receiving some questions about where to announce sales on WSB. The quick answer: The WSB Forums‘ Freebies/Deals/Sales section. Here’s how:
*If you already have a WSB Forums user name, sign in and go here
*If you don’t, go here first to register
*Then when you do, go here
*Please be sure the subject of your post includes the sale’s date(s)
That’s it! Free listing for your yard/garage/rummage sale.
P.S. If your school, church, or other large nonprofit organization is having a big benefit sale, you are also welcome to send an announcement for the WSB West Seattle Events Calendar – firstname.lastname@example.org (as with all calendar items, please include the who/what/when/where/why/link info in your e-mail, NOT as an attachment, and please e-mail us at least a week in advance – thanks).
P.P.S. Yes, we’ll be presenting West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day again next year – mark your calendar(s) for May 11, 2013!
Though some online offerings like traffic cameras will remain “powered off” till Tuesday, the city says its electrical maintenance work is over and much of the city website is back in business. Here’s the news release:
Work on the Seattle Municipal Tower electrical system scheduled for Labor Day weekend has been completed ahead of schedule. The City’s website and online applications are up and running and no longer impacted by this maintenance work. Maintenance work was conducted after City staff discovered a power transmission problem that impacted the Data Center.
Last night, as reported in our as-it-happened coverage of Mayor McGinn‘s West Seattle Town Hall, Admiral resident Diane Vincent told him the city should have planned better to make sure computerless citizens weren’t out in the cold during the Seattle Public Library closure week – she tried to use community-center computer labs, and found some of THEM closed too. The mayor promised action. Here’s the official announcement just sent by Seattle Parks:
During this week when Seattle Public Library branches are closed, these Seattle Parks and Recreation “Rec Tech” computer labs will be open for public use:
· International District/Chinatown Community Center, 719 8th Ave. S, Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and today and Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
· Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry St., hours vary because of daily programming; please call 206-684-4788 for public hours.
· Miller Community Center, 330 19th Ave. E, hours vary because of daily programming; please call 206-684-4753 for public hours.
· Yesler Community Center, 917 E Yesler Way, Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. Additional hours may be available for public use based on daily programming; for information, please call 206-386-1245.
· Southwest Teen Life Center, 2801 SW Thistle St., will open today and tomorrow (Thursday) from 5 to 8 p.m. and Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. but no technical support will be available.
Regular library operations resume on Tuesday, September 4. …
We’ll add a direct link shortly to Diane’s question (#19) in our video of the entire event. (added) You can hear her question (we didn’t turn the camera, though) and see the mayor’s response, starting here.
If you do business with the city online – or frequently use its online databases/websites – heads up: A $2 million maintenance/repair project is going to affect many of those services during several days surrounding Labor Day weekend, and in some cases even sooner, so if you have something important to do (including bill-paying, in person as well as online), take care of it as soon as you can. The city just published a detailed rundown of this outage’s effects – you can read it here.
This afternoon at 2 pm, the City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee, chaired by Councilmember Bruce Harrell, looks at a high-tech solution to a recurring problem: How to tell when reports of gunshots are really gunshots – and how to find out about gunfire if no one reports it. The committee will see a presentation for a system called ShotSpotter, which involves acoustic sensors – a media advisory for today’s meeting summarizes it this way:
How will the Automated Gunfire Locating System work? When gunfire occurs outdoors, acoustic sensors will activate instantly and software will triangulate and identify the exact location of the gunfire. A gunfire and acoustic expert analyzes and validates the audio data and routes the alert to the police dispatch center. Within minutes, the police will receive critical information and arrive at the exact location of the gunfire knowing how many shots were fired, the original shooter’s position, speed and direction of travel (if shooter moved) and exact time of gunfire.
The company’s PowerPoint is online as part of the committee agenda, so we took a look, and noticed the map above – labeling part of West Seattle as an area recommended for the sensors, because it’s one of three areas in the city that together represent 55 percent of the shots/shootings/weapons calls (the West Seattle area mentioned is described as representing 8 percent of the calls), while only comprising 18 percent of the city’s acreage. Today’s meeting is a briefing – no specific proposal is up for a vote; too soon for that, and note that the slide deck says the cost of this is $40,000-$60,000/square mile annually – but if you’re interested in watching, Seattle Channel will have it live, on cable 21 and online at seattlechannel.org.
WSB’s informal partnership with The Seattle Times, now in its third year, is pretty low-key. In case you missed our original announcement in August 2009: It’s a casual relationship that means the Times sometimes links to WSB stories from its home page – as well as highlighted stories from some the dozens of other news websites from around the region that are in the partnership (which started in 2009 with just a few of us – including WSB, our site to the south White Center Now, Capitol Hill Seattle, and My Ballard), and we do the same if there’s a story of interest on their site, plus they will grant permission to use a Times photo on request if they happen to have one that would enhance our coverage. (Here’s an example.) No contract, no money, no behind-the-scenes involvement on either side. Our favorite part of it is the fact that many times, when we have a story about somebody in West Seattle doing something great, it might be linked from the region’s biggest news website, meaning even more people will hear about it beyond the 120,000+ homes/businesses/offices that read WSB anywhere from once to 100 times each month.
SO, that all said, something new: Today in the paper version of the Sunday Times, a new section called “Around the Sound” debuts, featuring quick blurbs from some of their partner sites. The first version includes one they chose from WSB, a short mention of park safety on the agenda of last Tuesday’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting (here’s the full story, with video, if you missed it). Just thought we’d mention it in case you read the Sunday Times but missed this (which is on page B3 – here’s a PDF version). They decide what to feature, same way we decide what – and if – to feature any Times content here, but once in a while, you just might see something from our peninsula go by.
Story and photos by Keri DeTore
West Seattle Blog contributor
Did you notice the lights and cameras set up at Cupcake Royale in The Junction on Monday?
That was a crew from Bellevue-based Expedia, interviewing local travel writers who have applied their storytelling and outreach skills to fundraising for international projects.
West Seattleites Beth Whitman (photo left) and Pam Mandel (photo right), along with Debbie Dubrow (center, from Mount Baker), are longtime travelers and writers who publish blog-format sites where they share their experiences, and their tips and tricks for smarter, easier travel. Along with Michelle Duffy (not pictured), they found each other through their writing, and began meeting regularly at Cupcake Royale to share stories and support.
At one point, they wondered, “What MORE can we do?” They wanted a way to bring together the travel-blog community, and unite it around a cause. After doing some research, realizing that others in that community wanted “something to latch onto,” and finding other groups with strong fundraising models, the four women created Passports with Purpose.
Much of what we report on WSB includes, or originates from, information made available online by the city – the 911 log, the police-report map, DPD permit status/filings to list a few – and the city has put it all out there for the public under the leadership of its Chief Technology Officer, West Seattleite Bill Schrier. Now, the city sends word he’s leaving that job (one year after the City Council reconfirmed his appointment):
Mayor Mike McGinn today announced that Bill Schrier is retiring from City service as the city of Seattle’s chief technology officer after 30 years.
“Bill Schrier has been an effective and innovative leader in helping Seattle use technology to support our residents, our businesses, and an open government,” said Mayor McGinn. “Under his leadership Seattle has begun to connect more of our neighborhoods to high-speed fiber broadband, set national standards for accessing information online, and helped create and improve other innovative and effective ways to get the people of Seattle better engaged with their government.”
During Schrier’s tenure as chief technology officer and head of the Department of Information Technology (DoIT), the city of Seattle was named as the best large city government website in the nation by “Best of the Web” in 2001, 2006 and 2011. Schrier led the development of data.seattle.gov, an award-winning website that increases access to datasets generated by various departments of Seattle city government. DoIT also oversees the city’s television station, the Seattle Channel, which was named best municipal TV station for large cities in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Schrier’s retirement from City service will be effective on May 2. Erin Devoto, deputy director of DoIT, will serve as acting chief technology officer until a permanent director is chosen.
According to his Twitter feed, Schrier is at a conference in Minnesota – but we’ll be asking for comment. Via Twitter, of course. (Where he just promised “more in a while.”)
After finding out from this WSB Forums post that Comcast had issued a warning of an overnight internet-service outage tonight (actually early tomorrow), we checked to see how widespread it would be. Here’s the reply from Comcast’s Steve Kipp:
We will be doing maintenance on the vast majority of our service area in West Seattle. The work will take place between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. We anticipate that service will be interrupted for about 5 minutes. The time of the interruption will vary depending on when we do the maintenance work on the equipment serving that neighborhood.
All of the work will take place at our headend facility in Burien and won’t involve construction crews working out in the individual neighborhoods.
We apologize to you for WSB having been all but inaccessible for more than an hour and a half this morning – the longest outage in years. Our server-management company, the usually impeccable WiredTree, had what they described as a “complex” problem that affected not only our site, but many others elsewhere. They say it’s fixed now. One reminder – Whenever anything goes awry, we step up our already intensive reporting on Facebook (here) and Twitter (here), so that we can continue keeping our 24/7 news-coverage commitment, so during this outage, we reported breaking news there – and we also had just started to post WS stories to our White Center site, whitecenternow.com, hosted by a different server company, so NOT affected if WSB’s host company has trouble. Again, sorry about that, and now on with the rest of the day …
With all the wonderful photos that we’ve been fortunate to be able to publish, it seemed that the new image-viewing site Pinterest was a place to be. We signed up a couple weeks ago and just now created our first board – West Seattle Wildlife (note – we respect copyrights here, and will NOT pin contributors’ copyrighted photos unless they have given us explicit permission). If you use Pinterest too, see you there. Since it’s a quiet Friday night (so far), seems like an opportunity to remind you about some other places you can find, and collaborate with, WSB, since this is our fifth year of using “social media” to be where you are, when you’re not here:
Google+ (jury’s still out on this one)
Twitter (automated stream of WSB story links)
Twitter (West Seattle Crime Watch links)
YouTube (where we upload most of the video clips we use in stories)
If you don’t use any of those services, no worries – you won’t miss anything; WSB on the Web is the main place to be. (With a handy mobile format that automatically kicks in if you check the site via smartphone.) Then, there’s the good old-fashioned stuff – the simplest ways to reach us, whether or not you’re on the other services too:
24/7 phone (text or voice)
If you look up Metro Transit info online, Metro wants to know what you think about a new homepage they’ve put up for a test drive. They say it highlights the most popular features – route schedules, announcements, trip planning – and works better on mobile devices than the current site. Check it out here, and then answer a survey that you’ll see at the very top of the page. This is just for the home page; they plan to roll out other changes later this year.
The theme of our most widely circulated story this past week was – don’t miss an opportunity to tell people how much you love/appreciate them. We keep trying to find the right time to tell you exactly that, but there’s always one more story that needs to be written, one more e-mail to answer … but finally here in the middle of the post-Super Bowl night, we’re going to just stop and say: THANK YOU.
The occasion: January’s final numbers for WSB readership are in, and it was a record-setting month:
*First month ever with more than 1,100,000 pageviews (final total: 1,165,345 pageviews for January 2012)
*First month ever with more than half a million visits (final total: 500,844 visits for January 2012)
The previous WSB records were set last October, the first month ever with more than a million WSB pageviews, part of a big 2011 that we never just stopped down for a second to mention either: Click to read the rest of Speaking of telling people you appreciate them … THANK YOU!…
The City of Seattle’s online map lineup has a new addition. Not only can you find development projects, traffic times, and 911 calls on city maps, you can now look up street trees. For example, if you zoom to 35th SW, you can click on the dark-green tree cluster and find out about the famous European Hornbeams (the trees, shown in our 2009 photo above, just before getting special attention a couple years back from a group of professional arborists who donated their time and talents). The new map (explained here) comes just as the city gets ready to consider a new street-tree ordinance (find it here), as we reported here and here.
Some Decembers have been too busy for the traditional “Year In Review,” but we’re bringing it back for 2011, in installments that will roll out, topic by topic, between now and, well, the end of the year (11:59 pm Saturday), at least one per day. Today, we’re beginning the rollout with a site-specific topic – most-commented stories of the year. (Obviously, with five and a half days to go, there’s always a chance this list – and/or any other one published before Saturday night – will have to be updated …) A few of these stories will of course also appear in our subsequent 2011-in-review roundups later this week. Here goes:
#10 – 125 COMMENTS
West Seattle traffic: ‘Worst morning in 5 years’ – but why? (May 11)
#9 – 126 COMMENTS
Close Junction streets for trick-or-treating? Mom’s campaign (November 6)
#8 – 127 COMMENTS
Zippy’s Giant Burgers moving from Highland Park to White Center (February 3)
#7 – 136 COMMENTS
West Seattle speeders: SPD stops a 42 mph bicyclist (July 27)
#6 – 137 COMMENTS
West Seattle traffic: 1st morning of Viaduct-closure workweek (October 24)
All contents copyright 2013, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^