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$419 citation looms if you’re caught on camera not stopping for a Seattle Public Schools bus

Alongside a school bus parked at Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point, Seattle Public Schools held a media briefing this morning on the new camera-enforced crackdown on drivers who don’t stop for school buses. 120 of the 379 buses the district is using are now equipped with six cameras each – five of them in the spot you see in the top photo, one in the front-facing rear-top-left spot below – and they’ll be recording video of potential lawbreakers.

School-bus driver Ty Boulanger was at the briefing and said he sees violations often:

If an apparent violation is spotted on camera, it’ll be sent to the King County Sheriff’s Office, which is contracting with SPS to review each and every possible violation. Sgt. Ryan Abbott, who’s been the point person on that for Highline Public Schools‘ version of the program, was among those at the briefing, where it was stressed that each potential violation is reviewed by a deputy who decides whether to send it on to the driver or not.

The cameras are being installed on buses by, and remain the property of, American Traffic Solutions, the same company behind the city’s school-zone-speed-enforcement cameras and red-light-enforcement cameras. It gets $69 for every potential violation sent to KCSO for review, and other cost and revenue numbers are in this page from the School Board-approved action item that created the program (see the full document here):

The 120 camera-equipped buses are “random,” SPS says, and you won’t even see a flash. The recordings include license plates and GPS information. Warning notices are going out for those caught in the next two weeks, and then the $419 citations begin. That fee cannot be reduced, SPS tells us, while noting that violators can request a payment-installment plan. Seattle is now one of about 30 school districts in the state ticketing via bus cams.

P.S. If you’re not clear on the stop=for-school-bus law – here’s the full text.

FOOTBALL: Chief Sealth defeats West Seattle to win Huling Bowl for first time since 2014

10:17 PM: Fans rushed the field moments ago as, for the first time since 2014, Chief Sealth International High School defeated West Seattle High School and won the Huling Bowl, the annual fall faceoff between the cross-peninsula rivals. Tonight’s score at Southwest Athletic Complex in Westwood: Sealth 52, West Seattle 24.

Though the rivalry has a long history, this year both teams have new head coaches – Ted Rodriguez for the Seahawks, Marcis Fennell for the Wildcats.

ADDED EARLY SATURDAY: In the first half, the game wasn’t as lopsided as the final score looked. West Seattle was in control in the early going, running up a 17-0 lead in the first eight minutes of the game.

WSHS quarterback Anthony Coats (above) did a lot of passing, but as the game went on, was repeatedly let down. Meantime, Sealth finally got onto the scoreboard with 3 minutes left in the first quarter, on a 62-yard touchdown run by Dontae McMillan.

A two-pointer followed, and the Seahawks continued their comeback, with a Diego Jackson TD bringing them to 17-14 by the last minute of the quarter. The Wildcats answered quickly with Coats throwing for a TD to #14 Lucas Bower, and the second quarter opened with WSHS up 24-14.

Those were West Seattle’s last points for the game, as Chief Sealth was in charge most of the way from there.

Midway through the second quarter, another Jackson TD brought the score to West Seattle 24, Chief Sealth 20. And with less than a minute to go in the half, another McMillan TD gave Sealth the lead for the first time, and they went into halftime ahead 28-24.

Three minutes into the second half, McMillan did it again. And toward the end of the third quarter, the Seahawks’ Jesse Brown got a TD.

That made it 40-24. And they just kept building to the final score of Sealth 52, WSHS 24, the Seahawks’ first Huling Bowl win in three years.

As always, the big game between the two local schools was about more than football – there were the fans:

And the mascots:

Merchandise sales and a pre-game barbecue, too.

This was the only time the two teams are scheduled to meet during the regular season. Next week, Sealth (2-1) plays at Lakeside, 3:30 pm Friday, September 22nd; that night, West Seattle (0-3) is home at SW Athletic Complex, 7 pm, hosting Cleveland.

UPDATE: Vigil at Chief Sealth IHS for murdered student Derek Juarez-Lopez

6:37 PM: Outside the auditorium at Chief Sealth International High School right now, 15-year-old Derek Juarez-Lopez – murdered the day before he was to start his sophomore year – is being remembered at a public vigil.

Some of his poems have been read (video added):

And his sister is speaking.

(Derek’s mother and sister)

It’s also been announced that there will be a moment of silence during the upcoming Sealth-West Seattle HS football game that starts across the street at Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle) at 7 pm. Police are continuing to investigate the murder, which happened at Westcrest Park a week and a half ago; no one’s been arrested yet. The SPD tip line is 206-233-5000.

7:24 PM: More photos added. We are at the game now, and have learned that the moment of silence was actually held before the game. As announced by Sealth’s principal on Thursday, Derek’s memorial service is at 4 pm Sunday

VIDEO: 13th Year Promise students get ready to go at South Seattle College

The future looks as bright as the weather that graced today’s celebration of the newest 13th Year Promise class at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor). That’s the program offering a free year at SSC for graduates of certain Seattle Public Schools high schools, including Chief Sealth International High School, and starting in a year, West Seattle High School. Today marked the end of orientation for the students, as they look ahead to fall-quarter classes a week from Monday. Their guest speaker in Olympic Hall was City Councilmember M. Lorena González, who found herself suddenly acting City Council President as of yesterday, and had a few words about the city leadership changes at the start of her speech:

But she spent much more of her time explaining how she fought to prove wrong those who had told her “people like me don’t go to college”:

The students also got inspiration from the 13th Year program’s leader Julius Moss:

And they heard from the college’s new interim president Peter Lortz:

(If you missed it – here’s our report on our conversation with the new president.) This year’s class is the largest in the 10-year history of the 13th Year Promise program – 150 students.

A year of change ahead for South Seattle College and its interim president Peter Lortz

(SSC interim president Peter Lortz, photographed by WSB’s Patrick Sand)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Tomorrow (Thursday), new South Seattle College interim president Peter Lortz will celebrate the 150 students who comprise the school’s tenth 13th-Year Promise class, the biggest-ever group to take advantage of a free “13th year” of education.

13 is a significant number for the school’s new leader for another reason, too.

That’s how old Lortz was when he realized what career he wanted to pursue.

The story emerged while we were talking with him in his new office – steps from his previous office as vice president of instruction – on campus a few days ago.

He was talking with his mom and declared that he wanted to teach college biology.

Exactly why, he doesn’t quite recall. But it wasn’t a big surprise. Both of his parents went to college; his mom was a teacher, his dad an engineer. “I knew what I wanted to do and my parents knew how” to help him get there.

His pathway was clear – and he has spent most of his subsequent years helping students find their own pathways.

At least – the first part of his pathway. While it wasn’t immediately clear that community colleges were where he would find his education calling, since Cincinnati wasn’t a hotbed of such schools, he started turning that way while in graduate school at Miami University (Ohio).

“I was talking to my adviser about master’s versus Ph.D.,” Lortz recalled, and the adviser asked what specifically he wanted to do. The answer was the same one he had at age 13: Teach college biology.

If he wanted to teach at a university, the adviser explained, he would need a doctorate, and he would likely spend a lot of time pursuing grants, doing research, “peek(ing) in the lab every so often.”

Is that what you want to do? asked the adviser.

“No,” Lortz recalled answering. “I want to teach biology.” With a master’s degree, he was told, you can teach at community college.

After some time in Utah and Colorado, he ended up back in Cincinnati, teaching anatomy and physiology at what was Cincinnati Tech College. He took an interest in the Pacific Northwest, sent out resumes, got one nibble that was “not a good fit,” so he just headed out to Seattle to take a chance. He got teaching work at North Seattle College right away, “and I was hooked.”

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SOCCER: Chief Sealth IHS girls host West Seattle HS

A week of crosstown competition between Chief Sealth International High School and West Seattle High School teams continued this afternoon with soccer at Walt Hundley Playfield in High Point. The Seahawks were the home team.

The visitors dominated the game, and the Wildcats went away with their first win (after two draws), 8-1.

West Seattle’s next match is 4:30 pm Thursday at Ingraham; Sealth’s next match is at home, also 4:30 pm Thursday, against Cleveland.

VOLLEYBALL: West Seattle HS hosts Chief Sealth IHS

This is a big week for crosstown matchups between West Seattle High School and Chief Sealth International High School, and it started tonight with WSHS hosting CSIHS in volleyball.

Coach Staci Stringer‘s Wildcats opened double-digit leads in each game and won the best-of-five set in three straight.

The scores were 25-7, 25-11, and 25-8. Once WSHS (2-0) got the serve, they hung onto it long into each game; Coach Lorna Considine‘s Seahawks (0-2) had some rallies, but that wasn’t enough. The two teams will meet again, next time at Sealth, on October 4th.

LATER THIS WEEK: CSIHS will host WSHS in girls’ soccer Tuesday at 4 pm at Walt Hundley Playfield, and WSHS hosts CSIHS in football at Southwest Athletic Conference at 7 pm Friday.

CELEBRATION: Sendoff set for retiring West Seattle HS baseball coach Velko Vitalich

(Coach Velko Vitalich, photographed in June by WSB’s Patrick Sand)

Three months ago, we talked with longtime West Seattle High School baseball coach Velko Vitalich about his decision to retire from that role after more than 30 years. Now, a public celebration for the coach has been announced, and you’re invited. The announcement is from Bret Meaker:

It takes a dedicated person to give up their free time in order to teach and mentor kids. One man has faithfully and tirelessly spent three decades looking after the youth of West Seattle and we would like to recognize and honor him for it.

After 30 years of coaching generations of youth at West Seattle High School, Coach Velko Vitalich is retiring. Please come help us send him off in style. We will be having a celebration at the West Seattle Golf Course on Saturday, September 23rd, at 5 pm. Players, parents, teachers and students are encouraged to attend. We will be serving a BBQ dinner and a no-host bar is available. Attendees are encouraged to bring pictures, stories, and memories to share.

There will be a $20 charge per person to cover the cost of the food and rental. All RSVPs needs to be made by 9/18 at RSVP4Velko@gmail.com

If you are unable to attend, but would like to share a memory about the coach, please send the stories to RSVP4Velko@gmail.com and we will make sure he gets it.

SOCCER: West Seattle HS girls’ home opener vs. Marysville Getchell

(WSB photos)

Tonight at Southwest Athletic Complex, the West Seattle High School girls’ soccer team had their first home match of the season, vs. Marysville Getchell HS. Final score, 1-1, which means the Wildcats are 0-2-0 on the season after tying Eastside Catholic 2-2 on Thursday.

You’ll recall that WSHS has a new head coach, Todd Veenhuizen, announced back in June. The team’s next match is Tuesday afternoon vs. crosstown rivals Chief Sealth International High School (0-1), 4 pm at Walt Hundley Playfield in High Point (34th/Myrtle).

FOOTBALL: Chief Sealth IHS home opener vs. Decatur

(UPDATED MONDAY with information on injured players)

ORIGINAL FRIDAY NIGHT REPORT: A somber end to tonight’s Southwest Athletic Complex football game between Chief Sealth International High School and Decatur HS (visiting from Federal Way) – two Sealth players were taken away by ambulance. While several players were down for several minutes at a time at various points in the game, including one toward the end, emergency responders weren’t brought in until the game was over; we were driving out of the stadium lot when we noticed SFD units arriving, so we turned around and went back to see what we could find out. All we know so far is that the two players were transported by private (AMR) ambulance rather than SFD medic unit because both were conscious, indicating their injuries were not believed to be major. We hope to be able to find out later how they are doing.

Meantime, the rest of the game story is after the jump:

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FOOTBALL: West Seattle High School on the road vs. Ingraham

Both of tonight’s varsity football games are over. West Seattle High School reports a loss on the road to Ingraham HS, 36-14. WSHS is now 0-2. Next week at Southwest Athletic ComplexFriday, September 15th, 7 pm – it’s the annual Huling Bowl clash between the Wildcats and crosstown rivals Chief Sealth International High School (whose game we’re reporting on next).

VIDEO: Highland Park Elementary library named for longtime volunteer LouAnne Rundall

That Seattle Public Schools video clip shows you what happened this past Wednesday night when the School Board took a joyful action – renaming Highland Park Elementary School’s library in honor of LouAnne Rundall. She’s been a volunteer there for 45 years, more than half her life; teacher-librarian Chris Robert and principal Chris Cronas sang her praises to the board. Hours before the board’s vote, she was honored at an assembly on the first day of school. LouAnne has actually spent close to 50 years working in the library – what she does as a volunteer was a paid position for a few years. Thanks to Chris Robert for letting us know about this – he also shared this photo of LouAnne with him in the HPES library:

She is also the subject of a tribute on the school library’s webpage.

PHOTOS: Community members keep promise to ‘Be There’ for West Seattle Elementary students’ first day

Thousands of students in our area went back to school today – but before the day began at West Seattle Elementary, staff and supporters literally rolled out the red carpet, subsequently lined with cheering fans:

This smile-inducing scene from early this morning was the second annual “Be There” rally at WSES.

Taking inspiration from an event back East, community members were invited to show their support with high-fives for the arriving students:

The West Seattle and Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) co-sponsored the event, explained in detail in the announcement we published two weeks ago.

It’s an exciting start to the year not only for WSES’s students but also for the school’s second-year principal Pamela McCowan-Conyers:

Again this year, we spotted our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold in the “Be There” crowd:

(P.S. She has a community Q&A at tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting.)

Anything cool at YOUR school, today or beyond, please let us know so we can share the news!

‘BE THERE’ TOMORROW! Cheer for West Seattle Elementary students as school starts

wsepink(September 2016 WSB photo)

One more reminder: Tomorrow morning, you’re invited to help West Seattle Elementary students get the school year off to a spirited start by being part of the “Be There” rally. Last year, the first one at WSES, more than 100 men and women showed up to cheer for the students as they arrived. WSES and rally co-sponsor West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) hope to see even more tomorrow. Full details are in our original report from two weeks ago; the basics are – be at the school (6760 34th SW) 7 am-8 am; come “dressed for success … to allow students to see mirror images of themselves and combat any internalized biases damaging to themselves.” And also consider signing up, if you can, to volunteer during the school year for the “Classic Men & Ladies of West Seattle Elementary” empowerment program (that’s explained in our original announcement too).

BACK TO SCHOOL: West Seattle High School roof project status

With Seattle Public Schools starting classes tomorrow, a reader e-mailed us, wondering about the status of the West Seattle High School re-roofing project, which was supposed to be done before summer’s end. So we went over to WSHS to ask about it. Principal Brian Vance told us the district’s new estimated completion date is “end of October.” But he also says the work isn’t expected to affect classes or other school operations – part of the courtyard is fenced off, so that means a little less space for students to gather, but the work that remains isn’t expected to be very noisy, for example; it’s tile work, not hammer-and-nail shingles. (The historic tile roof was not part of the 2002 addition/remodel project, according to district documents.)

BACK TO SCHOOL TOMORROW: Here’s where classes start Tuesday

While a few local schools started classes in late August, most get going this week. The biggest day is Wednesday, but tomorrow is busy too:






VASHON ISLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT (All students except kindergarteners, who start Thursday)






Our full when-they-start list is here.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Milestone for Louisa Boren STEM K-8

Over the next few days, we’ll be publishing a variety of back-to-school updates, since most schools will start classes next week (if they haven’t started already – here’s the list we compiled).

Tonight – we’re noting that this year brings a milestone for Louisa Boren STEM K-8: Starting with 2017-2018, it’s finally a full-fledged K-8, adding the final grade level of middle school. This Seattle Public Schools “option school” opened in fall 2012 as STEM K-5, then three years later not only formally started the roll-up to add middle school, but also added Louisa Boren to its name, after the namesake of the building at 5950 Delridge Way SW, known as Louisa Boren Junior High School when it opened in 1963. The expansion announcement we published in 2015 noted, in part:

… It’s fitting that STEM K-8 is located in the Louisa Boren building because Louisa herself loved science, particularly chemistry, botany and astronomy. “Liza” had a love of learning and a natural curiosity about the world.

Louisa Boren’s legacy continues today. Not only in the city of Seattle and the brave pioneering spirit she engendered, but also in her hard work supporting the women’s suffrage movement and her advocacy for Chinese workers settling in the area. …

Speaking of the building, one issue remains unresolved as the new school year begins Wednesday: The district raised the spectre before the end of last year that the school might be moved so that SPS could return the Boren building to its previous use as an “interim site.” That was the subject of a raucous meeting three months ago; we asked school district spokesperson Tom Redman about a month ago where that stood, and he replied, “We told the June community meeting attendees we would report back with an update in either August or September.” Since August has come and gone without an update, looks like that means we’ll hear something this month.

P.S. The SPS change to a two-tier schedule means a big change for STEM K-8 this year; they were one of the few left on the now-abolished third tier, so the 8:55 am start time this year is significantly earlier than last year. School will be out 3:25 pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays; district-wide, Wednesdays are early-release days, and STEM K-8 will be out at 2:10 pm those days (except for the first day of school).

P.P.S. Anything major/new at YOUR school this year? We’d love to hear about it – editor@westseattleblog.com – thank you!

HIGH-SCHOOL SPORTS: Seattle Lutheran HS fundraising dinner

As we’ve been reporting, fall high-school sports season has begun. Along with attending games, you have other opportunities to support local student-athletes – like this one coming up at Seattle Lutheran High School:


Guest Speaker is former Seattle SuperSonic and Legend Donald “Slick” Watts! Mr. Watts is an icon and legend in the city of Seattle as a former member of the SuperSonics from 1973-78. After retiring from basketball, he became a physical education teacher and coach in the Seattle area. Join us in the gym for dinner, dessert, and community! It’s a great way to support our student athletes and to kick off the 2017-18 season. Tickets are $15, children $5, SLHS students are free. Dinner will be in the gym, hosted by the Seattle Lutheran Booster Club. You can purchase tickets for $15 in advance or at the door.

Order online here. Please RSVP no later than Tuesday, September 5.

SLHS is at 4100 SW Genesee.

FOOTBALL: West Seattle High School opens season at home vs. Washougal

(WSB photos. Above, #11 Cyrus Storlie with the ball)

School doesn’t start until Wednesday, but high-school football season got going tonight. West Seattle High School hosted Washougal, from Clark County, at Southwest Athletic Complex. It was the first game for new head coach Marcis Fennell:

The visitors went home with the win, 54-0. That was also the halftime score; the Wildcats held the Panthers scoreless for the entire second half. Long before the season started, parents and administrators worked to make this a year of revitalization, raising money through gear:

That’s athletic director Corey Sorenson modeling some of what was available. Also seen at the stadium, new WSHS principal Brian Vance, and new girls-soccer coach Todd Veenhuizen:

In the stands, fans found reasons to cheer:

Next Friday, WSHS is on the road.

(#22 Rylee Farrison, #76 Roman Saladino, #28 Quinn Sadow)

The Wildcats will play Ingraham at 7 pm Friday (September 8th) at Northwest Athletic Complex.

FOOTBALL: Chief Sealth starts season with on-the-road win over Evergreen

Thanks to Jon Anderson for the report from Highline Memorial Stadium in Burien, where Chief Sealth International High School opened football season with a big win:

Chief Sealth Seahawks dominated both sides of the ball tonight in a landslide victory over Evergreen.

The game was called by Evergreen after 68 points were put on the scoreboard for Sealth.

Final tonight at Highline Stadium, 68-0.

Way to go, Seahawks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Head coach Ted Rodgriguez‘s team will be home next Friday night (September 8th) at Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle), 7 pm, vs. Decatur.

BACK TO SCHOOL 2017: Here’s when classes start(ed)

With Labor Day weekend nearing, we’ve made a list of when local schools resume classes – a few already have!


SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Wednesday, September 6th, for all except kindergarteners, who start September 11th

HIGHLINE PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Wednesday, September 6th, for all except kindergarteners, who start September 11th

VASHON ISLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT: Tuesday, September 5th, for all except kindergarteners, whose students start September 7th







TILDEN SCHOOL: September 6th


WESTSIDE SCHOOL: September 6th




HOLY FAMILY SCHOOL: Started August 28th



SOUTH SEATTLE COLLEGE: Fall quarter starts September 25th

Did we miss anyone? Please comment or e-mail us!

SOUTH SEATTLE COLLEGE CHANGE: President Gary Oertli retiring

(WSB file photo)

Just announced by South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), a change at the top. Here’s the news release we just received:

After a 45-year career in higher education and nearly a decade at South Seattle College, President Gary Oertli will retire on August 31, 2017. South’s current Vice President of Instruction Peter Lortz has been appointed interim president, starting Sept. 1.

“My nearly ten years at South Seattle College has truly been the highlight of my career,” President Oertli said. “This college has such a strong culture focused on student success and a commitment to creating an environment that honors equity, inclusion and multiculturalism. That culture exists because of our dedicated faculty and staff, and amazing students.”

Oertli became president of South Seattle College in August of 2010, and had served as interim president prior to his permanent appointment. As South’s leader, Oertli encourages staff and faculty members to ask, “What is best for our students?” as the most important factor in any challenging decision. He also advocates for great customer service and creating a family atmosphere at the college, where students know they are supported, appreciated and can ask anyone for help.

During his tenure, the college was recognized for having the largest increase in full-time diverse faculty in the state, saw students recognized nationally for their achievements, and became a U.S. community college leader in implementing a “guided pathways” model for increasing student success. He also worked closely with the South Seattle College Foundation, and through their partnership the 13th Year Promise Scholarship program (providing one year of tuition-free college to high school graduates in surrounding communities) expanded from one high school to four and gave hundreds of students the opportunity to attend college.

“One of my greatest hopes is to see the 13th Year Promise Scholarship expand to all high schools in the Seattle Public Schools system,” Oertli said. “We are striving to create a college-going culture where every first grader in our city will raise their hand with confidence when asked, ‘Who here is going to college?’ ”

A West Seattle native, Oertli is a graduate of Chief Sealth High School who went on to earn his Master of Education degree at the University of Washington, where he later served as Alumni Association president. His higher education career began at Edmonds Community College, where he worked his way up from part-time instructor to interim president. He then became president and CEO of Shoreline Community College before transitioning to the Seattle Colleges District, where he held leadership positions at Seattle Central, North Seattle and South Seattle College.

Peter Lortz, who will serve as interim president from Sept. 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, was appointed by Seattle Colleges Chancellor Shouan Pan. Lortz has served as vice president of instruction at South since January of 2015. Prior to that, he served as interim vice president of instruction, dean of the Math and Sciences Division and as a full- and part-time faculty member at North Seattle College. He obtained a Master of Science degree in Zoology and a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences. Additionally, he is a graduate of the Washington Executive Leadership Academy and Powers of Leadership Retreat Series.

“I am extremely honored and excited to be taking on this role,” Lortz said. “I am particularly honored to follow in the great path that Gary Oertli has laid before South Seattle College.”

A national search will be conducted in the upcoming academic year to select South Seattle College’s next president.

The fall semester at SSC starts on September 25th.

Wondering what to do with eclipse glasses?

(Photo by Scott Scowcroft in Gatewood, post-eclipse)

Much-sought-after, and now … well, what do you do with a pair of eclipse glasses, post-eclipse, anyway? We’re not sure if the materials with which they were made will still be fully functional by the 2023 partial solar eclipse, much less beyond, so here’s an option: Louisa Boren STEM K-8 is collecting them for Astronomers Without Borders. Robin Graham from the STEM PTA says you can drop yours off at the school through October 1st. There’s a box in the hallway, Robin says, and the school’s open 10 am-3 pm “ish” weekdays until the Labor Day holiday, then 8 am-4 pm as of the first day of school (September 6th). The campus is at 5950 Delridge Way SW.

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