West Seattle, Washington
West Seattle has a new centenarian today: Wes Jensen. The announcement is from his family:
Family & friends are celebrating the 100th birthday of Wes Jensen. Born in Montana on February 6, 1918, one of 7 children; his family moved to Medina when he was young. He played football for Bellevue HS and basketball for Garfield HS, where he graduated. Wes served in the Army in World War II; after the war, he met and married his wife Helen, and they raised 3 children in West Seattle.
He worked for and retired from ADT. Wes is a member of the Elks and loved to fish and golf- he played into his 80s and is extremely proud of his hole-in-one! After his wife Helen passed away, Wes moved to Ballard, then to Shoreline – he moved back to West Seattle 3 years ago and now resides at Homecomings.
Wes enjoys watching the Mariners and Seahawks and usually has a thing or two to say about current politics! Above all, Wes is a kind & loving family man, and his 3 children, 6 grandchildren, and 8 (#9 is due in April) great-grandchildren are blessed beyond measure to be able to celebrate his wonderful life.
Interested in helping launch a neighborhood dinner club in West Seattle? Lee Kellett is leading a kickoff meeting tomorrow and you’re invited. Don’t bring food – this is just about talking through the idea, and signing up if you’re interested after hearing about the proposed format. 4-5:30 pm Saturday (January 27th) in the Rotary Room next to the entrance of the West Seattle YMCA (3622 SW Snoqualmie; WSB sponsor). You’re also welcome to bring ideas for the club’s name as well as “a copy of a favorite recipe that we might include in a future menu” – optional, not mandatory.
Early this morning, hundreds of volunteers were out working to find out the annual answer to the question of how many people are homeless in King County. Here’s the news release:
This morning, between 2 and 6 a.m., nearly 1,000 volunteers spanned across King County for Count Us In 2018, the annual Point in Time Count of individuals experiencing homelessness, coordinated annually by All Home. The unsheltered street count was conducted as a full canvass of all 398 census tracts in King County. Count teams included guides with current or prior experience of homelessness, who were compensated for their time and expertise with their assigned count area.
“Homelessness is a local and national emergency,” said United States Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “Walking block by block through streets booming with construction but then under the freeway in areas peppered with tents was a stark reminder of the deep inequities of wealth and income in our city. We can and must do better. The fact that we see thousands of people living unsheltered, in the streets and in cars, is a moral and institutional failure. I will do everything I can at the federal level to build the affordable housing we need, provide the support systems necessary for people to live and fix a broken tax system that benefits only the few. Solving this crisis will require all of us —government, business, nonprofits and communities — to share responsibility for real solutions. Count Us In is a crucial part of those efforts – I want to thank the dedicated volunteers who canvassed every part of King County and I am grateful to be a part of and to represent a community that cares so deeply about the vulnerable.”
Continuing with the nationally recognized methodology introduced at last year’s Count, the full range of count activities includes a street count of people living unsheltered, a count of people living in shelter or transitional housing, a qualitative survey of people experiencing homelessness, and specialized approaches to counting subpopulations, including youth/young adults, families, and those living in vehicles. Local advocates, service providers and Applied Survey Research (ASR), a Bay-area research firm contracted to help conduct the Count, have all been active and valued partners in the planning and implementation of Count Us In 2018.
“The fact that nearly one thousand volunteers joined us for tonight’s count demonstrates that our community is coming together to confront the homelessness crisis,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “It is that shared purpose and commitment that inspires the work we are doing with partners to ensure that everyone in King County has a safe, warm place to sleep at night.”
While the Count’s core purpose is to collect data on the needs of people experiencing homelessness, it also provides an excellent opportunity to increase awareness and spark action. A successful and accurate Count is an essential component to informing local strategies to address homelessness and to making homelessness rare, brief and one-time.
“The Count is a great example of what can be accomplished when our neighbors, housed and unhoused, come together,” said Kira Zylstra, Acting Director of All Home. “Achieving our vision of ending racial disparities and making homelessness rare, brief and one-time will require the whole community engaging in solutions.”
A comprehensive report of Count Us In findings, including data on youth, vehicle residents, chronic homelessness and other specialized populations will be available in May of 2018. Point In Time counts are a requirement for communities that receive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Data collected from Point In Time counts across the nation are published on the HUD Exchange website and provided annually to Congress as part of the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR).
One week ago, we reported that Providence Mount St. Vincent was temporarily not allowing visitors, so it could be “vigilant” in keeping its vulnerable residents safe from this year’s particularly nasty flu. Today, The Mount notified families and others that it will be open to visitors again starting tomorrow. Spokesperson Susan Clark shared a copy of the announcement sent by administrator Charlene Boyd:
We are delighted to report that The Mount will be open to visitors, effective Thursday, Jan. 25th — tomorrow! Thank you so much for your patience during this challenging time.
However, we continue to ask for your support and cooperation as we get back to normal operations. You may visit if you are well. You must wash or sanitize your hands upon entering and leaving The Mount. Sanitized hands are some of our best defenses for preventing flu.
You may not enter The Mount if you are ill. No fever, cough, sore throat, diarrhea, or vomiting in the last 48 hours prior to visiting The Mount.
We will be resuming house-wide activities gradually over the next few days.
Again, we thank your for your cooperation and patience, and we look forward to seeing you soon.
The Mount is an assisted-living and skilled-nursing-care facility and also home to an intergenerational preschool, which has continued operating but had suspended visits between the kids and seniors while flu concern was peaking.
In the past few days, several readers with family members at Providence Mount St. Vincent have e-mailed to let us know the center is currently barring visitors because of the flu. One wondered how this was affecting its renowned intergenerational preschool. We checked today with The Mount spokesperson Susan Clark to find out more. Her response:
Like the entire country, Providence Mount St. Vincent is experiencing flu among our residents in both our assisted living apartments and our skilled nursing neighborhoods. There have been no cases of the flu among the children from our Intergenerational Learning Center.
Because the average age of our residents is 94 years, we have a vigilant approach when it comes to protecting this vulnerable population. At this time, we are not allowing visitors, including our volunteers, unless it is an emergency. We are taking additional infection control measures to prevent the spread of flu at The Mount, such as canceling social activities including visits with the children.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Consider last Monday: She read two poems at the inauguration ceremony for four citywide elected officials, including West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Lorena González (click the image to see and hear via YouTube):
That same day, she started her fourth year working at Denny International Middle School, teaching poetry to Spanish-immersion students, a four-week series in conjunction with the Jack Straw Cultural Center, where the students will record their poems at the end of the series. Some will be set to music this year, with the help of a guitarist.
The next day – this past Tuesday – she was at Seattle University, teaching a composition class.
Next Wednesday (January 20th), she’ll be at Elliott Bay Book Company, for a reading from her new book “Killing Marias: A Poem for Multiple Voices,” with a classical guitarist who has set eight of her poems to music: “I was floored by what she did – it’s incredible.”
But of all the events on her busy schedule, the biggest will be at 7 pm January 31st, when she officially becomes our state’s new Poet Laureate, succeeding Tod Marshall (who himself followed West Seattleite Elizabeth Austen), in a “passing of the laurels” ceremony during a reading event at the Central Library downtown.
This comes close behind the conclusion of her term as Seattle’s first Civic Poet.
That’s Murphy. He was on the loose for a while today until some helpful people rescued him, and his person Gina wanted to go wide with the words of thanks:
We would just like to thank everyone in the Junction and those on the West Seattle Bridge around 2 pm today who helped catch our dog, Murphy. He was spooked by another dog and got away.
I’m so thankful for everyone who assisted in some way.
Gina explained in response to our followup question that Murphy ran all the way from the Junction Starbucks to the bridge!
If you are still planning your Monday – we’ve learned of West Seattle involvement in the 36th annual official daylong Seattle celebration in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The official overview:
Celebration starts at Garfield High School, 400 23rd Ave at E Jefferson, Seattle
Opportunity fair in the Commons 8:30-11:30 a.m.
Workshops in classrooms 9:30-10:50 a.m.
Morning rally in gymnasium 10:40-12:20
March 12:30 p.m.
Afternoon rally downtown, Westlake Park [~1:30 pm] shared meal back at Garfield High School, Commons
The afternoon rally at Westlake will be co-emceed/moderated by West Seattle High School freshman Noah A. Charleston (right), whose proud dad Lemuel Charleston e-mailed us to be sure that West Seattle Blog readers are aware. He says Noah is co-emceeing after being “voted in by the MLK Jr. Celebrations committee.” (Here’s the program.)
Noah has long been active in the community, he explains: “My family, my wife, and many of our friends and I have been involved with the Seattle community in the way of ministry, feeding the homeless, advocating for civil rights, and seeking to do our small part in making Seattle the best place in the world to live. We have involved our children in as many of these aspects as we can.”
The morning gathering at Garfield High School, meantime, includes 28 workshops, all free and open to the public. At least four include West Seattleites. There will be a session of Bystander Intervention Training, with Admiral UCC pastor Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom and leaders from Anti-Hate Alaska Junction, Susan Oatis and Jane Westergaard-Nimocks. (They’ve done local workshops, as featured here on WSB.) Also, a workshop preparing for the launch of a new anti-racist coalition will include Chief Sealth International High School student Khaim Vassar-Fontenot and WSHS student Makhari Dysart. And there is local involvement in two other youth-led workshops – one on intersectionality, with Chief Sealth student Maya Garzelli presenting, and another about activism features Olivia Goss, a West Seattle resident who is a Garfield student.
More info about the MLK Day events is here.
Back in September, we published an invitation for entries in a student essay contest presented by the VFW. Among the local students who responded and participated, there are winners in subsequent rounds of judging, and two going on to state competition! VFW Post 2713 in The Triangle shares the news:
Congratulations to the 22 student winners of the Youth Essay contests from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2713 in West Seattle. The student winners came from Arbor Heights Elementary School, Holy Family School, Madison Middle School, and Our Lady of Guadalupe School. A total of $770 was given to the winners, according to Bill Dwyer, Post 2713 Senior Vice Commander and Chairman of the Youth Essay Scholarship program.
Five of the 22 student winners from VFW Post 2713 also went on to the District 2 competition. On January 6, the District 2 meeting was held at VFW Rainier Post. Here are the results of the competition:
–Liam Stampe won 2nd place for 4th grade from Our Lady of Guadalupe School.
–Malik Dawson won 1st place for 5th grade from Holy Family School. Malik now competes at State Level.
–Danika Ronda won 1st place for 6th grade from Madison Middle School. Danika now competes at State level.
–Roxanne Elder won 3rd place for 7th grade from Madison Middle School.
–Miles Dawson won 3rd place for 8th grade from Holy Family School.
Congratulations to the District 2 winners (there are 15 Districts in the state). The State winners will be awarded January 20.
As previewed in our West Seattle Monday highlights list: You’re invited to stop by Tap Station (southeast corner of 35th/Kenyon) before 8 pm for an open house/celebration of new beginnings for the founders and new owners of Swedish Automotive across the street and West Seattle Autoworks a few blocks north on 35th (both WSB sponsors). As we reported the week after Christmas, Swedish Automotive founders Dave Winters and Sandra Wanstall are retiring:
They have sold their business to Todd Ainsworth and Chris Christensen, who founded WS Autoworks in 2010 in the space Swedish vacated to move to its then-new, bigger, greener location (right across 35th from the site of tonight’s celebration). Chris will continue to co-own WS Autoworks, but now with its lead tech Nathen Huie, who has long worked with Chris and Todd. Everyone’s welcome to stop by and join tonight’s open-house-style celebration.
“Jeff Ament is known for being the bassist for Pearl Jam, but his story goes much deeper than that. He doesn’t do many interviews, and none go this deep.” That’s how podcaster Mike Powell introduces his brand-new audio interview with fellow West Seattleite Ament. As noted when we featured Powell’s podcast with another well-known West Seattleite last Labor Day, he usually focuses on action sports, but on occasion there’s synergy with people best known as leaders in other industries, and so it went in this case – though their conversation turned to skiing and snowboarding among other things. You can listen via the embedded player above, or by going to this page on Powell’s website.
From the WSB inbox, another case of someone seeking the person who helped them after a crash during our snowy Christmas. From Mercedes:
On December 25th, we were in an accident. It was around 10:00 pm and we were crossing the intersection between SW Morgan St and 41st. I would like to find the Good Samaritan that helped us. I remember a young man going to my side and checking on us. Please, if anyone saw or knows this angel, let me know, I would like to thank him personally. If anyone else who was there reads this, please feel free to contact me so we can thank you.
If you’re the person Mercedes is looking for – or if you know him – please e-mail us at email@example.com so we can connect you.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
In the Admiral Theater‘s long and storied history, the curtain is about to fall on another episode.
This one has spanned almost a decade, including the latest incidence of West Seattle’s moviehouse being brought back from the brink. You might subtitle it “Return of the First-Runs,” though that’s just part of the story.
What’s happening is that next week will bring the departure of The Admiral’s longtime manager Dinah Brein. She says simply, “It’s time.” Her brother, Jeff Brein, is co-proprietor of Far Away Entertainment, an independent regional chain of community movie theaters including The Admiral, and Dinah’s been working for him since 2004, four years before she came to The Admiral, originally doing public-relations work for his PR firm on Bainbridge Island.
After Dinah and her husband Larry McClellan bought a house in West Seattle in 2006, that started to become a somewhat onerous commute. When her brother took over The Admiral, an opportunity arose for her to work much closer to home.
But at first, she wasn’t running the theater.
Hannah hopes someone does, so she can thank him for helping them Christmas Eve in Westwood:
We were involved in a car accident and this kind man gave us hand warmers and a warm blanket for our baby. We would love to send this man dinner to thank him for what he did for our family.
We were coming down SW Barton St and about 23rd and there were two cars in the middle of the road. In order to avoid hitting them, and we were sliding down the street we hit a pole. Baby was in the car and we are all okay. But I am hoping to thank the kind neighbor who gave us hand warmers and gave our baby a big red blanket to keep him warm. Everything was so crazy so we didn’t get a chance to thank him and I would love to bring him dinner or something. I know I probably won’t find him but it’s worth a shot.
He was wearing a light-up Seahawks Santa hat, a Seahawks jersey and had a beard. I’m assuming he lives near Barton and 23rd. if anyone hears about someone helping a family in a crash, please let me know!
By Linda Ball
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Near the southern border of Nicaragua lies Lake Nicaragua, the largest freshwater lake in Central America. Its size is formidable – the largest lake in Central America and 19th in the world. Within the lake is Ometepe [map], a peanut-shaped island that is home to around 40,000 people and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
“It’s one of those untouched places,” said Kate Zylland. “Why do we have to pick apart everything?”
She and her husband, Jeff Zylland, veteran guides, founded a nonprofit on Ometepe, Guias Unidos. She is 4,200 miles northwest right now, in West Seattle, taking care of her ailing mom. He is on Ometepe, working to ink a rental deal on a building to serve as Guias Unidos’ headquarters and resource center.
Both have other relatives in the West Seattle/White Center area. But Ometepe holds their hearts. The Zyllands first visited in 2011. They fell in love with the island because it is a place that hasn’t been destroyed. Kate said there are petroglyphs on the slopes of Maderas volcano. Not much is known about them, but the island may have been inhabited as early as 2000 BC.
The couple has led an unconventional life. Read More
The photo and report are from Sheryl Guyon:
Husky Deli has been a pillar of the community for generations. So, it’s not surprising that they attract quality employees.
What is a coincidence is that four of the young men serving ice cream have all been awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award for exceptional service to their community.
It is a nationally recognized honor which was started by President Obama. It recognizes citizens who give back to their community in a significant way, each dedicating their time for the betterment of others.
Each student logged 150 hours or more of service in the past year, including time spent serving the homeless, participating in All City Band, helping freshmen at West Seattle High School through Link Crew, volunteering to help at sporting events, promoting the Crop Walk for Hunger, and helping younger students succeed.
The holiday season is a time to give … and a time to reach out.
It is also a time to try to cope with the loss of those who are no longer with us.
Three years ago, Jenny Taylor lost her 26-year-old son Jay Taylor in a car crash.
His loss was also a loss to the community. Jay was a star baseball player at West Seattle High School, helping the Wildcats win the league championship. (That’s Jay in the photo at right, with recently retired WSHS baseball coach Velko Vitalich.)
He also played college baseball at multiple schools, and his potential had been recognized by pro-baseball teams. Before all that, Jay mentored many younger players.
His promising future was taken away in August of 2014, on the night before he was to return to Kansas for his final year of playing college baseball. He crashed near Lincoln Park in a summer downpour. Jenny explains that he suffered a brain injury that took his life 9 days later.
“The loss of our son is something we will never get over in my lifetime. I wake up every morning trying to remember how his hug warmed my heart and how proud I was of him and maybe someday I will be able to feel love in my heart again. It’s just horrible to lose a child of any age.”
Before WSHS, Jay went to Schmitz Park Elementary and Madison Middle School. His love for baseball started with T-ball at age 5. Along with playing in youth leagues, Jenny says, her son “played all year around on select teams that traveled around … during the summer also.”
His achievements are detailed in part in his obituary. During his senior year, in June 2006, the Colorado Rockies drafted him, and interest was shown by other teams including the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres, Jenny recalls. “He didn’t sign and accepted a full ride to Lewis-Clark in Idaho that year.” His college career took him to several other schools, finally Sterling College in Kansas, “where he met his girlfriend, the captain of the softball team, and gave her a promise ring in May.” She too was from western Washington (Renton).
Then came the crash. “The night of the accident, he had been at Lincoln Park and left his backpack and went back to get it during a downpour, and was seen by a RapidRide bus driver rounding the corner on an a oily roadway, sliding into a pole and not getting aid soon enough …” Jenny says the bus driver did not call for help, while her son remained at the scene, gravely injured. But separate from that, she is seeking closure in the form of a headstone in tribute to her son. “I feel that all of his friends and teammates need some closure and a place to grieve, to process this horrible accident. I as a mother can only now think of putting his ashes to rest here in West Seattle in the (J) section that is still open after 3 years was just meant to be. My family is starting over and can’t afford the plot and headstone that Jay deserves.”
She is asking for community help via crowdfunding, hoping that those touched by Jay’s life might be able to make the memorial happen.
“My son never gave up on his dream, and deserves a nice headstone … he brought scouts to his school for other players to follow their dreams.” She hopes to be able to fulfill this last one she has for him.
West Seattle is clearly a hotbed of poetry! For the second time in four years, a West Seattleite has been appointed to serve as Washington State Poet Laureate. The just-announced 2018-2020 Poet Laureate is Claudia Castro Luna, who made history previously as Seattle’s first Civic Poet. She succeeds Tod Marshall, whose 2016-2018 appointment followed that of West Seattleite Elizabeth Austen (2014-2016). From the full announcement of Castro Luna’s appointment:
Castro Luna fled war-torn El Salvador for the United States at the age of 14 with her family. She went on to earn an MFA in poetry and an MA in urban planning. After working as a K-12 teacher, she became Seattle’s first Civic Poet, a position appointed by the mayor. In that position, Castro Luna won acclaim for her Seattle Poetic Grid, an online interactive map of showcasing poems about different locations around the city. The grid even landed her an interview on PBS NewsHour. She is also the author of the poetry chapbook This City and the collection Killing Marías.
Her appointment officially begins on February 1st. In February of last year, we covered her speaking in West Seattle at Southwest Youth and Family Services (photo above), telling the story of her “long journey.”
ORIGINAL REPORT, 2 PM: Out of the WSB inbox, the photo and report are from Matt:
This is not breaking news, but it is an example of the kind of little things that make me love this community …
Last night, on my way home from meeting a friend for a drink at Beveridge Place, I saw a couple standing over the prone body of a cat in the middle of 48th Ave SW, at about Raymond. Their car was idling behind them, the headlights illuminating them as they tended to the cat. I can’t be sure if they were the ones who’d hit it, but it didn’t seem like they had; their car was sitting well behind where it was lying. Traffic had slowed in both directions, and as I approached I rolled down my window to offer help — what I could have done, who knows — but they seemed to be doing their best. He was holding a collar in his hand and dialing his phone while she knelt over the cat, tenderly stroking its white and brown fur. It was clear that they were genuinely concerned and trying to find the owners. I doubt that they’re looking for any acknowledgment, but it’s another reminder of what great people live in WS.
Today I drove by the same spot and saw this hastily made memorial. The inscription inside the card, written in a shaky hand, read, “I was on my way to work. Please forgive me.” It would have been really easy to assume that the driver hit the cat, took off, and didn’t think twice about it. Clearly they wasn’t the case, and that gave me a little hope.
4:10 PM: We’ve heard from the cat’s person in this comment.
Looking for inspiration? You’ve heard of TED Talks … here in West Seattle, progressive Jewish community Kol HaNeshamah is presenting a series of FRED Talks (Fresh, Relevant, Educational, Dynamic). This Saturday (November 18th), you are invited to hear “Stories From Remarkable Volunteers in Our Midst,” 12:30 pm-2 pm. Featured speakers:
*Craig Greenberg is an airplane pilot with Angel Flight, a group of volunteers who fly their own planes and pay for flight costs to help families make critical journeys. Craig will share some of these heroic stories.
*Everyone knows breastmilk is the most superior food for babies, but breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily come easy to everyone. Betsy Hoffmeister has spent more than 15 years as a volunteer leader and an on-call specialist for La Leche League, an international organization with the sole purpose of helping families and their babies.
*Henry, a clever canine and certified therapy dog lives with Lou and Janet Manuta and volunteers by bringing joy to people of all ages. He visits schoolkids, seniors, and so many others, sharing his tricks. Henry has agreed to do some tricks while Lou talks about how Henry got so good at what he does.
Refreshments will be served in the lobby prior to the FRED talks.
Suggested admission is $18, or $12 for seniors/students. Kol HaNeshamah requests that you RSVP online, by going here.
“Thank you” was said in many ways tonight as American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle hosted its annual free drop-in dinner for veterans and others connected to the armed services, along with their families. In the photo above are Cameron Foisy, Malia Geraghty, and Ana Geraghty, students at Holy Rosary School, where thank-you cards were made, along with Gatewood Elementary.
Once the first wave of guests – who ranged in age from babies to seniors – got their spaghetti and garlic bread, Post 160 Commander Keith Hughes offered a few words. He began with gratitude that Veterans Day is a holiday about celebrating those who are still with us, and gratitude for their service:
He also paid tribute to the service that so many continue to provide, even after they leave the military – a tribute that rang true, at the dinner cooked and served by volunteers, most of whom had also spent part of the day placing and removing flags in the West Seattle Junction.
Dinner guests also heard from Chelsea Clayton, a West Seattleite who works for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, who read a letter from the senator, who began it by describing herself as the daughter of a World War II veteran:
In the letter, Sen. Murray promised she would “never stop fighting for those who fought so bravely for us.”
Throughout dinner, special music this year – patriotic songs performed by Sandra Walker:
Hughes explained she was a late addition to the program – he spoke at another local Veterans Day event earlier in the day, heard her play, and invited her to be part of the Post 160 dinner. She accompanied Hughes as he sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” with guests invited to join in singing its chorus, before dinner resumed.
P.S. Post 160 – at 3618 SW Alaska – is also home to help for veterans year-round.
Earlier this week, we published Tim McConnell‘s invitation for any interested local U.S. Marine Corps veterans to join him in informally celebrating the USMC’s 242nd birthday last night. He promised to let us know how it turned out – and so today we received the photo and report:
Last night we had 5 Marines and one Marine family member whose mother was a Marine recruiter in WWII, get together to celebrate the 242nd Marine Corps birthday.
Only 2 of us knew each other beforehand, but by night’s end we all decided to make this an annual event!
Thanks to Poggie Tavern for letting us get together, swap stories, meet up with old friends (last saw each other April of 1990!), and make a few new ones.
Just happened onto a group from the Disabled American Veterans‘ local Chapter 23 (headquartered at 4857 Delridge Way SW) with blue forget-me-nots at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor). They’re only there until 1 pm today but will be at the Chelan Café 8 am-1 pm tomorrow.