For anyone and everyone whose holiday presents included an “e-reader,” the Seattle Public Library‘s Southwest Branch in West Seattle (35th/Henderson) is offering special clinics each of the next four afternoons, 1-3 pm. (Yes, the libraries ARE open today!)
Southwest Precinct Officer Scott Luckie admits he wasn’t using Twitter till he was “volunteered” for today’s “tweetalong,” the latest in a series that Seattle Police have done around the city – first one in West Seattle. Until 8 pm, he is “tweeting” what happens during his shift patrolling eastern West Seattle and South Park, starting with the routine – a mention of roll call (11 am, just before we stopped by the precinct to talk with him – the photo at right is the one WE took for Twitter), followed by this:
What will the rest of the day bring? You can follow along at twitter.com/seattlepd. Officer Luckie told us calls he answered in the past few days including a man trying to break into a house by using a chain saw. (We’re looking for the report on that one.) He has some ground rules to follow, including no photos of suspects’ faces, but otherwise, he’s the one doing the tweeting (which surprised us – we figured he might have someone from downtown along for the ride, helping out).
Just got an e-mail pretending to be from “King County Ecommerce” regarding property taxes. We are 100 percent sure – even before we check – that it’s bogus. So we wanted to warn you not to open it, if you get it too! The telltale flaw: It is formatted just like an e-mail we received yesterday pretending to be from “Puget Sound Energy,” which definitely wasn’t, and led to a warning from PSE itself. The dangerous part about these e-mails is the attached zip file. DON’T OPEN IT. Ahead, read the alert that PSE sent out late yesterday (and, ADDED 2:52 PM, a warning from King County about the new one): Click to read the rest of Scam alert: E-mails that look local and legit, but aren’t – PSE, and now King County…
Two West Seattleites have just developed and released a new iPad/iPhone game for children, and are inviting families to drop by Cupcake Royale in The Junction this afternoon to give it a try – with free cupcakes and book giveaways for the kids. The game is called Tiny Tiger and Friends; its developers are Aaron Hedquist (left) and Steven D’Amico (right). According to the online notes, Hedquist’s firm The Curio Dept. developed it with the intent of not talking down to kids – “Children are way smarter than we adults give them credit for!” Here’s a kid-presented trailer for the game:
The game’s developers have serious pedigrees: Hedquist has been an interactive designer for a decade, with past projects for clients from the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum to the BBC. He is a partner at Curio Dept. with Fremont resident and software-industry veteran Scott Dierdorf. D’Amico is the illustrator of the “Ella The Elephant” picture-book series, for which he says a TV series is now in development. He’s also produced illustrations and designs you might have seen on websites for PBS Kids, Nick Jr., and the Disney Channel. Just bring your would-be game-tester to Cupcake Royale between 3 and 6 pm today (during CR’s regular “DIY” decorating party) to give Tiny Tiger a try.
If you use Washington State Ferries, from Fauntleroy or anyplace else, you probably know about Vessel Watch – the GPS-enabled online feature that shows you where any given ferry is at any time. WSF just announced it’s added a feature to Vessel Watch: The estimated time of arrival (ETA) for whatever ferry you’re keeping an eye on. Read on for the details: Click to read the rest of Where’s the ferry? WSF offers new ETA feature online…
Wisdom, humor, history … our elders have a lot to offer. But you don’t get to see/hear/read much of it online, at least not from the very oldest among us. West Seattleite Shanna Christie noticed this, particularly in regards to her own grandma, and decided to address it with UploadYourGrandma.com. She announced it on the WSB Facebook wall last night:
I’ve started a blog for my Grandmother, a 96 year old West Seattle resident, so that I can share the thoughts of someone who is not online, with the rest of the world. … As part of this project, if anyone else has elderly relatives who has ideas, opinions or perspectives too good not to share, I invite you to “upload” them to this site! It’s been a fun experiment so far and it is great to hear from a generation who is often left out of the digital world.
Here’s a weather-appropriate sample of what Shanna’s grandma has to say – screengrab from a recent post:
Of course there are some 90-plus’ers online, and Shanna speaks to that point today. But if the one(s) you know and love isn’t – go upload her/him, while you still can! (P.S. You can find Shanna’s site, and The Grandma, on Twitter, too.)
Today we welcome a new sponsor, Hood Web Management, an Arbor Heights-based business that specializes in website design, website management, site maintenance for existing websites, search-engine optimization, and online marketing services. Owner Kane Jamison says he’s committed to helping local businesses: “We offer effective online marketing solutions for local businesses, and we’re great at what we do! We have years of experience in building and managing websites and that experience is what makes us such a great value to our clients. We offer a full spectrum of web solutions for business owners including website design, website management and maintenance for existing websites, search engine optimization, online marketing services, and more. We support our community and do our best to support local businesses and keep our dollars in the community.”
Kane says there’s some real advantages of having someone manage your website. “The majority of our clients come to Hood Web Management because they recognize that we can save them time, money, and headaches. Instead of spending four hours trying to figure out how to make a change to their site, we can do it in an hour or less, and more importantly, we know the best way to complete the task. Our clients are frequently delighted to find out that we can take their existing website and improve it by making it faster, by reducing website errors and other issues that cause visitors to leave the site, making small site changes that increase their search traffic, and a number of other similarly beneficial changes. We have yet to run across a client site that couldn’t be improved, and it’s typically something the website owner just isn’t aware of.”
Hood Web Management has done pro-bono work for such community organizations as the Environmental Science Center, Sustainable Burien, and Ballard-based SeaChar. He’s also a member of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
DEAL: For a limited time, West Seattle Blog readers can get 25% off their first invoice with Hood Web Management! Start here.
We thank Hood Web Management for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news on WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Before the first day of November ends … we wanted to say thank you for October.
For one … it was the first time ever that WSB registered at least one million pageviews in a single calendar month. Certainly, there was a lot of news this month … October started with the Amanda Knox decision and ended with a week of “Viadoom” traffic-tracking, with a sunken vessel and fuel slick at midmonth. By the last moment of Halloween night, the counter (per Google Analytics) hit 1,081,362 pageviews, more than 100,000 past the previous record back in August.
For two … we wanted to thank you for the votes that topped the “Best of Western Washington” category for the second consecutive year. We aren’t much for campaigning, so hearing that so many people still found the contest and took the time to vote for WSB was heartening.
For three … this marks the start of our fifth year as a business, a milestone many small family businesses aren’t lucky enough to reach. WSB is what some call “bootstrapped” – no investors, no grants, no co-owners, no rich relatives/friends, no day jobs. The 24/7 community-collaborative news, information, and discussion you find here is made possible by the local businesses that choose to gain exposure to more than 100,000 people each month by sponsoring WSB; we thank them for their support.
Your newstips, your reader reports, your comments, your photos, your presence are the indispensable ingredients. Thank you so much for choosing to be here (same goes for those in the WSB communities on Facebook and on Twitter) and to share information with your community – whether it’s a crime report, a crash, a lost/found pet, or a breathtaking sunset photo – via WSB. We could go on with more gratitude … including a huge thanks to the reporters/photographers who work with us … but there’s a story waiting to be written!
– Tracy (WSB editor/co-publisher, on behalf also of co-publisher Patrick)
If you kept checking the WSB home page earlier today and wondered why we hadn’t seemed to update anything after 7-something am – no, we were NOT slacking off! Some people were stuck with a “cached” version of the home page that refused to show the newest information, even though we had continued to update the morning commute story and then followed it up with several new stories. One browser seemed to be immune to this problem, Chrome, and since that happens to be the browser we use for most of our work, we weren’t aware of the problem until a few hours had gone by and a few people finally sent notes asking what was going on. Then it took a while longer to fix. Thanks to expert tech help, we finally know what was wrong (though not WHY it went awry), and all should be well now. As soon as we realized some people couldn’t see the updated home page, though direct story links worked just fine, we did get the word out via Facebook and Twitter, so if you use either of those services, please make note of where to find us, and consider “liking” or “following” WSB there, even if just to get updates in situations (rare as they are) like this. Sorry again – we try to make sure WSB hums along relatively trouble-free!
Something new turned up on the city’s Travelers Information traffic-info map: Links to live video from the two main cameras on the West Seattle Bridge. There’s no direct link so far as we can tell, so here’s how to get to them: Go to the map, scroll till you see “Live Traffic Video” on the lower right, click that, and it opens a list of 12 cameras around the city, including the two on the bridge. The video seems to stop after 30 seconds, though, requiring another click to resume. We’ll be checking with SDOT later this morning to find out more about this new addition.
Not a new scam, but in case you or someone you know hasn’t heard about it – Maria wants to make sure you’re aware the scammers/”phishers” are out there again right now, trying to get you on the line. Read ahead for her report: Click to read the rest of Phone-scam alert: West Seattleite gets the ‘Windows’ call…
Vicky sends word this morning of two open houses tomorrow at public West Seattle computer centers you might not even know about, part of the city’s Get Online Week, which starts tomorrow:
Did you know you can attend classes for free or low-cost at computer learning centers in your own neighborhood? Come in, have a snack, learn about our labs and the workshops and classes offered for teens, adults and seniors. Stop by one of these centers and GET ONLINE!
October 3, 3:00-6:00 PM
High Point Mobile Lab
6400 Sylvan Way SW
October 3, 6:00-8:00 PM
RecTech Delridge Computer Lab
4501 Delridge Way SW
WSB has been on Facebook and Twitter for nearly four years – long before most other news organizations (among others) hopped on. We’ve rolled through their changes, and hey, the services are free; they have the right to experiment. We made one big mistake ourselves, starting out on FB as “WS Blog” with a personal profile and maxing out on “friends” before realizing several months ago we really were supposed to be “West Seattle Blog” with a no-”fan”-limit page.
But Facebook’s latest change seems to be putting a roadblock in front of people who are just trying to find out “hey, what’s the latest?” …
Two more notes from last night’s Southwest District Council meeting (the Fauntleroy Expressway Seismic Retrofit update, reported here earlier, was the first).
That’s a screenshot from seattle.changeby.us, which has just gone “live,” as Code for America‘s Anna Bloom told SWDC reps. She and other Code for America fellows have been working on projects for Seattle (among other cities) off and on for months, as local community groups (with whom they’ve met, while listening to needs and vetting ideas) are well aware. The site is meant to be collaborative – if you have an idea, you can type it in the Post-It Note-like space on the Change By Us home page, and then it’ll take you into the site, where you have the option to hook up with any similar proposals already in the system, or to just go ahead and launch yours. Bloom explained that it offers options for sharing your idea, in order to get others involved, and other ways to get traction. Now that it’s live, in “beta” mode, you’re invited to give it a try.
Second note: Waste Management Northwest, which handles much of the trash/recycling pickup around here, came to SWDC because it’s in the final stages of planning “Neighborhood Recycling Rewards.” It’s a contest aimed at helping Seattle boost its recycling rate (relatively high as it is, there’s room for it to rise), and it’s going to be in the “neighborhood vs. neighborhood” mode. Whichever WM-served neighborhood “reduces the most waste through increased recycling and composting” during the six-month contest will get $50,000 to use for some kind of community improvement project.
WMNW came to the council with a couple of questions – whether SWDC could be the official WS community partner, including helping decide what the “prize” might be if this area wins. Also to be decided: How to define a neighborhood for this competition, since West Seattle includes three different pickup-day zones. Will the entire peninsula be counted as one neighborhood? Just so happened that Delridge Neighborhoods District Council chair Mat McBride was at the meeting, and invited WM to to DNDC’s next gathering (7 pm September 21st, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center) to pitch there too. Once the contest is under way on September 30th, WM promises weekly online updates on neighborhood performance, and then an award ceremony next March.
(2010 photo of ex-Fire Station 37, at 35th/Othello)
It’s likely to be a quick, routine vote of approval, but nonetheless, it should be noted that the authorization to sell historic former Fire Station 37 is on the agenda tomorrow during the City Council‘s afternoon meeting. Here’s the full version of what they’ll be voting on. The new Station 37, a few blocks south of the old one, opened last fall; the city had been taking comments on the old station’s future since last summer, and concluded it’s most likely to become a “private residence.” Ex-FS 37 was built in 1925.
If we had to count how many times a day we turn to Seattle.gov while working on WSB stories/event listings/etc., we would run out of fingers, toes, and probably grains of sand on Alki. The place to go for everything from police/fire updates to development-site status reports to historic city photos (and way beyond) has just won a big national award: “Best City Portal” in the 2011 Best of the Web Awards from the Center for Digital Government. Those you’ll want to high-five, at least virtually, include at least two West Seattleites – city tech kahuna Bill Schrier and Seattle.gov web manager Bruce Blood, who commented on the WSB Facebook page, “Pleased as punch can’t begin to describe our glee! Seattle.gov has hundreds of contributors (web managers, content creators, server and network admins, to name a few) throughout the City. Every last one of them shares in the award!”
When the city sent around a survey link, explaining it was about the “Comprehensive Plan,” we wondered if anyone would really take a survey about something so generic-sounding, as important as it is. But the fine city folks working to drum up participation for the survey explain that it boils down to nothing less than “what do you want to see in Seattle in the next 20 years?” And they share a few of the suggestions West Seattle participants have offered so far:
*Walkable. When neighborhoods are walkable: people recognize their neighbors, can get to services – even when weather shuts down the City, cars stay home and pollute less, household finances are improved with lower transportation costs, local businesses thrive because they are neighbors and tax dollars stay in the City, life is simpler.
*For neighborhoods and businesses to be more diverse voluntarily, and have more/better housing choices for all citizens. Work on ways to create jobs even if they are just entry level. Assist those getting off of welfare and out of prisons with real job skills so they won’t have to go back to welfare or jail, but will be able to support themselves and exist and contribute in society.
*Install a sea organ along the waterfront.
Remember the July 5 saga of Patrick Abdo rescuing a baby raccoon stuck in his Morgan Junction-area fence? That was the 2nd-most-popular WSB story in July, which we are proud to announce was a record-setting month- 974,110 pageviews, up from the 961K+ record set in June, and a 25 percent increase over July of last year. This summertime readership jump is a new trend, as previous WSB records tended to result from snow!
Since most WSB stories can be seen without clicking away to another page, gauging story popularity from our Google Analytics stats is more art than science – but stories like the raccoon rescue, viewed on a standalone page as people add and read comments, or shared via Facebook, break away from the pack. The month’s #1 story appeared here just last week, inspired by an unexpected line in one of the SPD Blotter‘s relatively routine roundups of traffic patrols: A bicyclist stopped on the Admiral Way hill for going 42 mph. After we noticed it and followed up on it, citywide media picked it up too. Other July highlights: We were first to report on the plan for the now-iconic SBX (right) to take a short jaunt out into Elliott Bay so the drillship Kulluk could join it at Vigor Shipyards on Harbor Island; its trip drew scores of photographers to the shore, and some shared their work here.
July brought another set of numbers that we’re proud of: Community-event sponsorships! WSB co-sponsored as well as covered West Seattle Summer Fest, the West Seattle Grand Parade, the West Seattle Garden Tour, the Alki Art Fair (photo at left), WestSide Baby‘s Stuff the Bus diaper drive, plus the ongoing West Seattle Outdoor Movies (“Despicable Me” this week!) and Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series (Massy Ferguson this week!), and the West Seattle In Motion campaign.
Finally, thank you so much for your support of OUR sponsors – the local businesses and organizations who advertise on WSB because they want to make sure you know who they are, where they are, what they offer. Please let them know you appreciate their support for 24/7 community-collaborative news/information on WSB. Besides their ads in the sidebar, you’ll find them all listed, categorized by type of business, with web/Facebook links and other info, on our SPONSORS! page. Here’s to a great August!
“You need a great principal, you’re deserving of that.”
That’s how Seattle Public Schools‘ interim Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield opened tonight’s meeting at district HQ to talk about the process of getting Chief Sealth International High School a principal for the school year that’s just a month away – since longtime principal John Boyd is leaving for a new job in Highline Public Schools.
More than 60 people came to the meeting, including a dozen or so Sealth students, Seattle School Board president Steve Sundquist (father of two Sealth graduates), West Seattle’s executive director of schools Aurora Lora (at center in photo at right, taken during small-group breakouts), Sealth PTSA and faculty members, among others.
Before we get to the toplines – for anyone who wasn’t able to attend tonight, Lora will be on the Sealth campus tomorrow, 8:30 am-2:30 pm in the alumni room (near the main entrance), available to anyone who wants to talk about the principal situation.
Google Street View is still making the rounds in West Seattle. Above, we caught it on camera as it passed WSB HQ back on Tuesday; today, we’ve had reports from Alki and Admiral. If you don’t use Google Maps, the Street View car has special camera technology to capture a 360-plus view of everything it passes – which is then immortalized into the mapping system, at least until the next time they send a crew into the area (could be a few years).
When photographer/musician extraordinaire Trileigh Tucker told us she’d heard a Google Street View car was in West Seattle today, we didn’t believe it until Meredith shared the photo via Facebook (the picture’s from Pigeon Point). Trileigh’s suggestion is that we all go put “I (Heart) West Seattle” signs outside our homes/apartments/whatever just in case the GSV car drives past. (We know they’ve been here in a previous July – if you look up California/Edmunds, the view you see includes West Seattle Summer Fest tents and road-closure barricades!)
Two notes from the Admiral Neighborhood Association: First, they’re the latest neighborhood group to launch a website – it went live over the weekend; you can see it here. Previously, their main means of communication was a Yahoo! mail group. The website includes information on the Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series (co-sponsored by WSB), which previously had its own site.
Second – tomorrow night is ANA’s monthly meeting, with lots on the agenda, including the concert series and the 4th of July Kids’ Parade (previewed here earlier tonight). 7 pm at Admiral Congregational Church, lower meeting room, California/Hill – see the full agenda here.
Before the day gets crazy: First, thanks to the 500+ people who have already answered our “4 Questions for You.” In case you didn’t have time during the week but might have a few minutes now, here’s the last call, before we close the “survey” at weekend’s end. The questions are here.
Second, we’re honored that WSB has received another award: WSB is the city’s “Best News Website,” according to this year’s Seattle Weekly Web Awards (reader votes were factored in, with a panel of judges having the final say; WSB was a 2010 winner as well, though the categories differed).
Third, if you use Facebook, a warning that they seem to have reset the news feeds again – without having initiated any changes ourselves, we just wound up with the “only see pages you interact with” setting again, and had to fix it so we can see ALL the WS/related pages we have “liked.” To make sure this hasn’t happened to you, scroll down your news-feed updates to “edit options.” If you don’t have “updates from all your friends and pages” chosen, you might not see updates from pages like ours that are more frequently viewed than discussed. (What? Didn’t know WSB was on FB too? facebook.com/westseattleblog Also on Twitter – twitter.com/westseattleblog. If you don’t use the service but want to see what we’re tweeting about – an eclectic mix of observations, bulletins, and conversations – scroll to the bottom of our sidebar, which always shows the latest WSB tweets.) Have a great Saturday!
Fundraising car washes, you hear about often. Today – we have word of a fundraising dog wash. This Saturday, 3:30-6 pm at Southwest Athletic Complex, the Chief Sealth International High School Yoga Club is raising money with a dog wash. $5 minimum donation per pooch.
Can you spare a few minutes to help us evaluate the present and look to the future? We appreciate any time you can take to answer “4 Questions for You, from WSB.” Considering we buried the link’s debut at the end of a loooong story late Monday night, we’re heartened by how many people still managed to find it and use it. But in case you missed that link, here it is again. We hope you’ll consider taking a few minutes to answer those 4 questions sometime in the next few days (we’re only keeping it up for a week, figuring that most regulars will have seen it by then). Thank you!
As a blessedly safe, quiet holiday weekend closes, a few bits of WSB news to share – and a request.
First, if you didn’t see our note in the WSB Forums: We are proud to announce the latest award for WSB, because this one, like the national award last fall from the Online News Association, is much more about you than about us. When the Society of Professional Journalists announced its Regional Awards last weekend, WSB was honored for Best Online Community Engagement. (We’d drop that last word and simply say, Best Online Community … or maybe drop the “online” too!) Tough competition – our friends at KING 5 came in 2nd; 3rd-place honors went to Amy Duncan for MyGreenLake.com, who presents news and information earnestly and thoroughly to, and with, her neighborhood. What was taken into account for this award was your participation and how we work together – comment threads that so often yield new information about stories; news that is a collaboration between your notes/tips and our research; user-to-user WSB Forums; the neighbor-alerting-neighbor heart of West Seattle Crime Watch coverage. Your daily involvement and caring is often breathtaking. (P.S. The SPJ awards also included one for our partners at the Seattle Times on behalf of a project with which we were involved, special coverage of the graffiti-vandalism problem – celebrated with an Innovation Award.)
Second – We are overdue in telling you about a nationwide grassroots campaign we have helped found, Authentically Local. We are founders along with more than two dozen other independent, community-collaborative, local online-news publishers around the country. We all decided to start it because our “industry” is currently under siege from megacorporations that are moving into communities with one-size-fits-all operations to try to templatize and commoditize neighborhood news/information. The attraction for them is twofold: Once they have hundreds of sites, they can sell space to the highest-bidding national advertiser, and/or try to save their own failing old-media businesses through amassing small-business ads. But Authentically Local isn’t just an awareness campaign for those of us who do news; our counterparts in New Jersey at the nation’s first successful grass-roots independent online-news site, Baristanet, who hatched the idea, have suggested it might be appropriate for other types of businesses too. Check it out here.
To the localism point, two links that might be of interest. Your editor here offered perhaps-radical thoughts in a recent interview with Street Fight Magazine, a new national online publication looking at the “business of hyperlocal” (the latter is the shop-talk term for “neighborhood”; we don’t like it, so we don’t use it). And the inherent localism of WSB has drawn attention across the Atlantic: Gretchen sent a note pointing to this Financial Times (London) article about a wave of “localism” sweeping Britain – it seems some aspects of what we take for granted in civic life are wholly new ideas there. The sidebar story to the right of the main text column leads off, for some reason, with a quick summary of “Localism, Seattle style,” with WSB as exhibit A – noting recent WSB discussions on schools and transportation, and commenters’ tendency to question authority.
NOW, OUR REQUEST FOR YOU: Four questions we’d love to have you answer, if you can spare a few minutes, as we look to the future. Your answers can be short, long, or somewhere inbetween – just go here. Thanks in advance!
When you think of children, and mentors, your first thought may be of adults mentoring the kids. But for groups such as Girl Scouts, it means youth mentoring younger kids – as was the case on Saturday at Camp Long, for West Seattle’s Junior Girl Scout Troop 41504. Troop leader Patricia Hahler is so proud of her Scouts (6th graders) for earning their Bronze Awards, she invited the media to cover the crowning event – a Fun Day her Scouts hosted for younger Scouts (three Brownie troops – 2nd/3rd graders – and one Daisy troop – kindergarteners/first graders). The Junior Scouts set up three “stations” around the park for the younger Scouts to visit, in rotation (above, First Aid; next, Improv):
Other stations included Hiking/Compass and Games/Sensory – which is where we found this activity:
Patricia explains that Bronze is the first of three levels of awards that older Girl Scouts earn – at the next level, Cadettes, they earn Silver Awards; then as Senior Girl Scouts, Gold Awards. And it’s not easy; she explained, “There are many requirements within the Bronze Award requirements to satisfy before reaching the service project.” (They are explained on the Girl Scouts’ national website, here.) Congratulations to the Troop 41504 Girl Scouts earning their Bronze Award: Penny Dierich, Corinne Manley, Jane Miller, Kaitlin Morgan, Regan Nagle, Haley Pyscher and Hana Kurahara Sisk!
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