More ‘how fast you’re going’ speed-radar signs on the way to West Seattle

That sign, which informed us we were speeding on northbound West Marginal Way SW this evening, is one of several that SDOT has added to West Seattle streets since the high bridge closed almost a year ago. More are on the way in the weeks ahead – here’s the list provided by SDOT’s Ethan Bergerson:

New speed radar sign locations:

1 on Dumar Way SW (northbound)
2 on Avalon Way (between SW Spokane St and SW Yancy/SW Andover)
4 on Fauntleroy (1 on each side of the road near the Ferry terminal parking lots; 1 northbound side at Fauntleroy/Raymond; 1 southbound side at Fauntleroy/Brandon)
2 on SW Barton St (1 on northbound side at Barton/26th; 1 on southbound at Barton/30th)

These are NOT enforcement-camera signs – just signs to tell you how fast (or slow) you’re going. Each of these signs costs $25,000, according to the SDOT website.

BIZNOTE: Jet City Labs flying into The Junction

(Photos courtesy Derek Moon)

That’s Derek Moon, and if you don’t know him already, you will soon, as he embarks on a new adventure to enhance community/cultural life in West Seattle. He’s opening Jet City Labs in the West Seattle Junction space just vacated by 8 Limbs Yoga.

Via email, we asked what he has planned – here’s his reply:

In a nutshell, we fancy ourselves “a creative space for creative people doing creative things”. Jet City Labs is the creative branch of ABCompany (a digital services consultancy). Jet City Labs will offer hourly rentable workspace to creative professionals, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and the community-at-large. We also provide training, workshops, production & marketing services for anyone looking to expand their digital presence and reach. Once things open back up, we will also host small arts productions featuring local and international artists with the goal of providing opportunities for artistic collaboration, and to bring increased visibility on West Seattle as a cultural destination.

And here’s why you might already know him:

I moved here to Seattle in 2014. I’m the guy DJing during the Sunday farmers market, the West Seattle Beerfest, The Summerfest, at Supreme (and the old Red Cup) — The BLM march this summer, and that spontaneous 2020 Election Day party…that was me DJing too. I’m the host of WW Seattle on Worldwide FM (one of the largest online radio stations in the world). Most recently I served as the community manager & web guy at Easy Street Records. I’ve been working in technology, arts & music for over 20 years in places like Chicago, Atlanta, West Africa, and Washington D.C. I’m passionate about building the connections between the arts and small business, and firmly believe in the importance of a community having spaces to nurture and participate with the arts. Looking forward to getting to work!

He’s hoping to get Jet City Labs off the runway in April.

COUNTDOWN: 2 weeks to West Seattle recycling/shredding event

The first day of spring – March 20th – is also the next big recycling/shredding event in West Seattle. This was announced a month ago; we’re reminding you about it now that it’s just two weeks away. The location has changed this year, to the north parking lot of South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor) – look for the sign in the photo at right. Here’s what the event, with sponsors including the West Seattle Junction Association and WS Chamber of Commerce, will and won’t take:

ACCEPTED ITEMS INCLUDE:
Styrofoam
Household batteries
Fluorescent tubes and bulbs
Small electronics
Paper for shredding (limit 4 boxes) – you CAN bring confidential documents

NOT-ACCEPTED ITEMS INCLUDE:
Automotive waste
Furniture
Broken household goods
Construction waste
Latex paint
Large appliances
Garbage or yard waste
Hazardous waste
Car seats
Non-recyclable or non-reusable items
Commercial loads
NO Clothing & linens (NEW in 2021 due to capacity)
NO Household goods (NEW in 2021 due to capacity)

Distancing protocol and other info is all on the WSJA’s preview page. One more thing: Want to volunteer to help the event go smoothly? Sign up here.

P.S. The event is scheduled for 9 am to noon.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Pole problem on Genesee Hill

Thanks to Aaron for the tip. On Genesee Hill, SW Dakota is taped off just east of 55th SW [map] because of that pole. Police at the scene told us it was reported that a truck hit the pole and left the scene.

A local election you can vote in – right now!

Though the rest of the election cycle is still months away, there’s one local election happening right now, with online voting. You might even have received a postcard about it. Here’s the announcement:

King Conservation District (KCD) is holding its annual Board Supervisor election in March to fill an open Board of Supervisors seat. The 2021 election has attracted an unprecedented eight candidates for the position. Brittany Bush Bollay, Kali Clark, John Comerford, Wayne Gullstad, Doug Hennick, Natalie Reber, Melissa Tatro, and David Toledo are all vying for the open seat. Candidate statements can be read at kingcd.org/elections.

In 2020, KCD made international headlines by offering electronic ballot access for their Board Supervisor election. Those changes increased the visibility, and accessibility, of the election and doubled voter turnout from the prior year. To increase awareness of the election in 2021, KCD will be mailing out over 800,000 postcards to eligible voter households in the district with information on how to vote in our board election. …

KCD is a natural-resources-assistance agency authorized by Washington State and guided by the Washington State Conservation Commission (WSCC). Its mission is to help people in King County steward their natural resources and offers services to assist people with forestry management, streamside and shoreline restoration, farm conservation planning, and other environmental efforts. KCD promotes conservation through demonstration projects, educational events, technical assistance and, in some cases, providing or pointing the way to funds which may be available for projects. KCD has no regulatory or enforcement authority and only works with those who choose to work with KCD.

An all-volunteer, five-member Board of Supervisors is responsible for overseeing all KCD programs and activities. Three of the members are elected while the other two are appointed by the WSCC, an agency created to assist and guide conservation district activities in Washington State. Supervisors serve a three-year term and oversee the operations of KCD. Board members contribute local perspectives on important natural resource management and conservation issues, seek feedback about conservation programs from district residents, set KCD policy, and direct KCD’s work plan and budget.

KCD’s district includes all eligible voters in King County (but does not include City of Enumclaw, City of Federal Way, City of Milton, City of Pacific, and City of Skykomish that are not within our service area). Voters will have the option of voting through electronic ballot access, print and mail, or picking up a ballot at the KCD Office at 800 SW 39th St Suite #150, Renton, WA 98057.

Ballots are available to eligible voters online and at the KCD Office (800 SW 39th St Suite #150, Renton, WA 98057). Voters may return ballots electronically through the electronic ballot marking system by 5:00 p.m. on March 23, 2021, or print and mail the ballots with a postmark of March 23, 2021. Ballots postmarked March 23, 2021 and mailed to King County Elections, 919 SW Grady Way, Suite 200, Renton WA 98057 will be counted and accepted through March 26, 2021.

Side note – Current KCD supervisors include West Seattleite Chris Porter.

Duwamish Tribe launches petition drive in continuing campaign for federal recognition

The Duwamish Tribe has a new bid for public support in its far-from-new fight for federal recognition. They’re seeking signatures on an online petition, with this request via email:

We need 150,000 signatures to get the attention of our Washington State legislators and Senators

Please share and send this email to all your friends, family and colleagues.

Our goal is to affect positive results to rectify this injustice once and for all in 2021.

For you the citizens, residents of Washington State, the City of Seattle, King County and the United States that believe a ‘Treaty” Tribe should not have to be put on hold for 45 years to prove that they are the original Duwamish Tribe that signed the Treaty of Point Elliott.

The Duwamish deserve justice now!

Here’s background on the treaty – and the denial of rights that goes back more than a century and a half.

More recently, the Clinton Administration moved to grant recognition in its final days in early 2001; the incoming Bush Administration canceled it. But having a Democratic president now is no guarantee of change – the Obama Administration kept the status quo for its two terms. Six years ago, we were there as Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen and supporters confronted then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell outside Jewell’s North Admiral home; two months earlier, Interior had denied federal recognition to the Duwamish, again.

(2015 WSB photo)

Some of what’s at stake was discussed during this 2017 event at the Duwamish Longhouse. Meantime, in addition to the online petition drive, the tribe also is asking for support in a letter-writing campaign – here’s the list.

WEST SEATTLE SATURDAY: March’s first weekend begins

(Thursday sunrise, photographed by Theresa Arbow-O’Connor)

Welcome to the first weekend of March!

TRAFFIC ALERT – 1ST AVE. S. BRIDGE: The first overnight closure should be over by now, but again tonight, the southbound 1st Avenue South Bridge is supposed to close 9 pm-6 am. The West Seattle low bridge will be all-access for all those hours.

SCHOOL BOARD RETREAT: The Seattle Public Schools board has a five-hour online “retreat” today to talk about in-person learning, 8:30 am-1:30 pm. The agenda packet has information on how to watch/listen.

ROSS OPENS: Grand-opening day for the new store at Westwood Village, 9 am-11 pm.

COMPOST GIVEAWAY: 9 am-3 pm (while it lasts), compost will be given away for free, up to half a yard per household, bring your own container and shovel, and wear a mask. North lot at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), 6000 16th SW.

VISCON CELLARS TASTING ROOM: 1-5 pm, stop by the tasting room (5910 California SW) to sip, and/or buy, Viscon Cellars (WSB sponsor) wine.

HIGH-SCHOOL FOOTBALL: No fans allowed, but FYI – Chief Sealth International High School hosts Roosevelt at Southwest Athletic Complex at 4 pm, and West Seattle High School plays Cleveland at Memorial Stadium downtown at 5 pm. You can see the West Seattle-Cleveland game online, as Rainier Avenue Radio plans play-by-play, video and audio – here’s where to watch at gametime.

CORONAVIRUS: Friday 3/5/2021 roundup

We have vaccination news as usual, but let’s start with the numbers:

KING COUNTY NUMBERS: Here are the latest stats from the Public Health daily-summary page, cumulative totals:

*82,818 people have tested positive, 102 more than yesterday’s total

*1,412 people have died, 1 more than yesterday’s total

*5,125 people have been hospitalized, 12 more than yesterday’s total

*913,804 people have been tested, 1,776 more than yesterday’s total

Now, our weekly check of key numbers on the COVID Vaccination Among King County Residents dashboard:

*393.154 people have received one dose

*218,184 people have received both doses

*622,155 doses have been allocated to King County

One week ago, the first four totals were 81,918/1,380/5,084/900,647, and the vaccination totals were 327,087/166,236/546,035.

STATEWIDE NUMBERS: See them here.

WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 116 million cases, 2,580,000+ deaths – see the nation-by-nation numbers here.

COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER’S BRIEFING: In his weekly briefing, Dr. Jeff Duchin said trends are still “better” than a few months ago, but warned that the case drop has plateaued, so precautions remain important to hold off a “fourth wave.” He said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that we can be “much closer to normal” by summer’s end. He also noted that variants are still active in the county; while very little genome sequencing is done, 43 cases of the UK variant have been found, and 5 of the South Africa variant.

VACCINATION SITUATION: The state says the short-term goal of 45,000 shots a day has been achieved. Some other numbers:

Due to an increase in weekly allocations, DOH has been able to provide more and more vaccine to our partners across the state. Washington’s 3-week forecast from the federal government helps DOH develop a multi-week strategy that supports consistency and predictability. The forecast is subject to change as vaccine availability from the federal government may change.

Week of March 7: 309,770 total doses (163,660 first doses, 146,110 second doses)
Week of March 14: 320,300 total doses (163,660 first doses, 156,640 second doses)
Week of March 21: 327,320 total doses (163,660 first doses, 163,660 second doses)

Although we are moving in the right direction, we still are not able to provide all the doses our providers request. Next week’s allocation is about 100,000 fewer doses than our providers requested.

WEST SEATTLE VACCINATIONS: No open public process announced for the week ahead at the new West Seattle site alongside the testing site at Southwest Athletic Complex‘s parking lot (2801 SW Thistle), but a reader forwarded an announcement about the plan for Thursdays, from the Equity in Education Coalition, which is signing people up for those days:

This site is prioritizing Black/Indigenous/People of Color who are:

– 65 years of age or older
– 50 years of age or older AND who live in a multigenerational household (with a grandparent or a grandchild)
– childcare providers over the age of 18
– live-in homecare providers over the age of 18
– paid or unpaid caretakers

We are currently not prioritizing teachers, as Seattle Public Schools is developing a plan for vaccinating SPS staff. We also encourage teachers to access the vaccine through their primary care providers or through their local neighborhood pharmacy/drug store.

* Folks will not be asked for your Social Security Number,
* Folks will not be asked about your immigration status,
* This is not zip-code locked (you can be from any zip code to get an appt slot)

For those who qualify, here is the link to sign up.

ALSO FOR VACCINE-SEEKERS … other places to check, as previously featured:
*Volunteer-compiled covidwa.com
*Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy in The Junction – check here for appointments
*Local Safeway pharmacies – check here
*Local Rite Aid pharmacies – check here
*Local QFC pharmacies – check here
*Sea Mar‘s walk-in availabilities (White Center and South Park are their nearest locations)
*Veterans of any age who get health care from the VA can check for appointments
*The city’s standby list for people 65+ who would be able to drop everything and go to a city-run clinic if there are leftover doses at day’s end – the registration page explains
*City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s weekly newsletter again focuses on vaccine info

SCHOOL STANDOFF: Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association remain at loggerheads over the former’s unilateral announcement that staff for Special Education “intensive pathways” and preschool students must return to schools next week. SEA is urging members to “stay the course”; the district says it’s ready to resume some in-person learning.

Of note, district and teachers in Highline Public Schools immediately to our south haven’t reached an agreement yet, either.

IF YOU NEED TESTING SATURDAY: The city’s West Seattle test site (2801 SW Thistle) continues to be open on Saturdays.

GOT INFO OR PHOTOS? westseattleblog@gmail.com or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!

FOLLOWUP: Swedish announces its plan for West Seattle Junction move

Four months after we first reported that Swedish was taking over the Capco Beverages space at 4100 SW Alaska, the health-care organization has announced its plan. Even after documents in city files confirmed Swedish as the new tenant, the organization didn’t answer our requests for comment, but Swedish has detailed the plan in a letter sent to local patients:

… Our team is pleased to announce two major changes taking place this year that will strengthen and expand our commitment to providing you safe, high-quality care. This summer, Swedish West Seattle Primary Care Clinic will relocate to a new West Seattle location. In addition, Swedish Medical Group will increase internal-medicine service capacity with opening of the new Swedish West Seattle Internal Medicine clinic. Both clinics are conveniently located in the Junction and are less than a block away from one another. Please note that our West Seattle Primary Care internal medicine providers will relocate to the new West Seattle Internal Medicine clinic.

Beginning June 2021, the clinics and our providers will begin operating at the following locations:

Swedish West Seattle Internal Medicine
4744 41st Ave SW

Swedish West Seattle Primary Care
4100 SW Alaska St

See the full letter, which includes affected providers’ names, here. (Thanks to the reader who forwarded it!) While the SW Alaska location is new for Swedish, it already has some providers at the 41st SW site. As for the future of its current space at 3400 California SW, where Swedish was a tenant, there’s nothing new in online files so far.

No, parking is not restricted on Stay Healthy Streets

(34th SW, looking south from SW Webster)

Though their long-term future isn’t finalized yet, West Seattle still has three stretches of what the city calls “Stay Healthy Streets” – High Point/Sunrise Heights (map), Puget Ridge/Highland Park (map), and Alki Point (map; also known as a “Keep Moving Street” due to its park proximity). When these and others were launched citywide 11 months ago, SDOT explained them as streets closed to through traffic, to increase the chances people could walk, roll, or ride while safely distancing. The chosen routes were also chosen as convenient to neighborhood businesses. What the city did not do was restrict parking. But somebody along one of the original SHS stretches seems to think otherwise, leaving notes such as this one on parked cars:

The photo was sent by Nicholas Marianetti of nearby Best of Hands Barrelhouse, who posted in the WSB Community Forums about the “annoying note-leaver” almost six months ago, then emailed us this week to say it’s still happening. He and patrons of his business at 35th and Webster, one block west of the SHS, have received them. The note-leaver contends that Stay Healthy Streets is off-limits to “apartments, businesses, bus-takers.” That would be contrary to city policy that street parking is open to everyone, not just nearby residents. And SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson verified to WSB today that the note-taker’s contention is wrong;

Stay Healthy Streets are not restricted to residential parking only. Like any residential street, cut-thru traffic is discouraged but local access is allowed. Local access includes people who live or work on the street, are visiting people or local businesses, deliveries, waste pickup and emergency vehicles.

Marianetti says, “I don’t mind if someone wants to waste their time & resources doing this, but I am concerned that it can be harmful to my business as well as other local businesses by scaring potential customers away from being able to park, especially with all the construction currently going on. And as I mentioned before, I find these notes strewn about the street, sometimes in plastic baggies, causing more litter.” 35th/Webster has more than half a dozen businesses, occupying all four corners.

WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: Possible thunderstorms

Thanks to Lorabeth for sending the photo! As she described it, we have seen some “dramatic” weather this afternoon – and it might not be over yet. The updated forecast includes a chance of thunderstorms tonight. If you’re longing for sunshine, some of that may show up tomorrow.

P.S. Almost forgot to mention – tonight is the first 6 pm sunset of the year. (And it’ll be after 7 pm soon, with Daylight Saving Time arriving at 2 am March 14th, when we’ll “spring forward” an hour.

SPORTS: Pandemic-delayed high-school football season is about to start

High-school football is happening in spring this year instead of fall, and two local teams’ first games are tomorrow night. According to the Metro League schedule, Chief Sealth International High School hosts Roosevelt at Southwest Athletic Complex at 4 pm Saturday, and West Seattle High School plays Cleveland at Memorial Stadium downtown at 5 pm Saturday. One big thing to know: No spectators in the stadiums. However, you can still see the West Seattle-Cleveland game, as Rainier Avenue Radio plans online play-by-play, video and audio – here’s where to watch at gametime.

BIZNOTE: National Employee Appreciation Day @ Hotwire Coffee

Thanks to Beth for the tip on this. If you’re looking for afternoon coffee, you might consider Hotwire Coffee on the north edge of The Junction – today for National Employee Appreciation Day, they’re giving 100 percent of coffee-sales proceeds to their staff. Hotwire is open until 5 pm, at 4410 California SW. (Online ordering, too.)

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Robbery, burglary cases turn violent; hate-crime followup

In West Seattle Crime Watch:

SHOPLIFTING-TURNED-ROBBERY CASE: When a case of shoplifting – or other theft – turns violent or threatening, it becomes a robbery case. That’s what happened around 7 am today at the Westwood Village QFC. According to the preliminary police report, store security tried to stop a man who took items without paying; he punched a security guard in the face and left the store. Police found and arrested him nearby.

SUSPECT ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING OFFICERS: This happened Tuesday afternoon but it took us a while to get the report so we could follow up on the suspects’ status. Police arrested a man and woman suspected of breaking into a house in the 4100 block of 39th SW. They were both arrested nearby, reportedly after going into another house. After being detained, police say, the woman hit one officer in the face and kicked another in the groin, twice. Both suspects were taken to jail, where records show they were released one day later. Neither appears to have a record.

HATE-CRIME FOLLOWUP: We’ve answered several readers’ questions about a West Seattle case mentioned briefly in coverage of the recent police report that anti-Asian hate crimes are on the rise, so in case you wondered too: The case in which a suspect is reported to have told a woman “go back to your country” is this one, in which, as we reported in January, 35-year-old Lloyd C. Hill was charged with robbery and hate crime for a series of incidents on the east side of The Junction. Checking the case file today, we discovered that Hill was found incompetent last month and sent to Western State Hospital for up to 90 days in an attempt to restore competency so he can stand trial.

BIZNOTE: West Seattle Autoworks celebrates a first, with new apprenticeship-program graduate

(Michael at center, with Pedro at left and Reggie at right)

The photo and announcement are from West Seattle Autoworks (WSB sponsor), celebrating an achievement by both a staff member and the business itself:

The automotive repair and service industry has been facing a crisis in the shortage of skilled technicians. A return to apprenticeships started about a year ago, with a program called the Independent Technicians Automotive Committee (ITAC) Washington State Registered Automotive Apprenticeship. It gives automotive-repair students the opportunity to work with master technicians at independent automotive-repair shops and earn a fair wage while learning. The ITAC program is registered with Washington State and offers General Services Technician and Master Services Technician certifications. The students graduate from these programs with no college debt, as the independent auto-repair shops support the students’ program.

We are extremely lucky and proud at West Seattle Autoworks to have Michael Crawford, a 2018 Seattle Lutheran High School graduate, to be the first-ever graduate of the General Services Technician program! This is especially impressive as he is also attending South Seattle College, finishing his Automotive Technology associate degree – prolonged due to the pandemic. Michael finds auto repair interesting as he has to use technical and critical thinking skills and he likes working on his feet and with his hands. He took an automotive class at Seattle Lutheran with our co-owner Chris Christensen and that helped seal his interest! We thank Michael for his dedication and hard work and feel fortunate to have a local student and employee!

High-school students not sure of what to do after high school should check it out!

West Seattle Autoworks is in its 11th year at 7501 35th SW.

Remembering John Picinich, 1949-2021

Family and friends are remembering John Picinich, and sharing this with the community:

John Picinich, 71, a longtime resident of West Seattle who retired to Las Vegas, passed away on February 23, 2021.

He was born December 19, 1949 in Tacoma to John and Johanna Picinich. He found the love of his life at the age of 20 in West Seattle, when he married Carol Ewing.

John attended West Seattle High School.He went on to become a marine pipefitter and commercial fisherman. John was a member of Local 32 Plumbers & Pipefitters Union and worked at various shipyards in Seattle for many years. He fished for salmon in Alaska and the San Juans. and was the co-owner of the F/V Joanna.

John loved spending time with his family and friends and preparing Croatian dishes for them. He was known for his sense of humor and love of music.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carol; his sons Jason, Jeff (Moran), and Cameron Picinich. His nine grandchildren: Jacob, Nicole, Molly, Madeline, Maya, Macey, Lily, Julian, and Jamesin, all of who brought him great happiness. He is also survived by his sister Joanne (Mike) Holmes, brother Dave (Wendy) Picinich, and many nieces and nephews.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

WEATHER, TRAFFIC, TRANSIT: Friday watch, with 1st Avenue South Bridge southbound closure tonight

6:03 AM: Good morning! More rain in the forecast today.

ROAD WORK

1st Avenue South BridgeIt starts tonight – here’s what’s scheduled:

*9 pm-6 am tonight into Saturday morning, southbound side of the bridge will be fully closed. Detour route is the West Seattle low bridge, which will be open to all during those hours

*9 pm-6 am Saturday night into Sunday morning, same thing, same hours

*After Sunday morning, the bridge is back to normal until noon Wednesday (March 10th), when 2 southbound lanes will close for the next phase of work. More on that later.

Delridge project – Here’s the work plan, with the next update due later today.

TRANSIT

Metro and the Water Taxi are on regular schedules.

BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES

347th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here’s how it’s looking on other bridges and routes:

Low Bridge: Eighth week for automated enforcement cameras, while restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily (6 am-9 pm this Saturday and Sunday only). Here’s a bridge view:

West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:

Highland Park Way/Holden – with a new left-turn signal for northbound HP Way, turning to westbound Holden:

The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):

The 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):

For the South Park Bridge (map), here’s the nearest camera:

To check for bridges’ marine-traffic openings, see the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed.

See all local traffic cams here; locally relevant cameras are also shown on this WSB page.

Trouble on the streets/paths/bridges/water? Please let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.

CORONAVIRUS: Thursday 3/4/2021 roundup

The vaccination situation tops pandemic headlines again tonight:

ELIGIBILITY-EXPANSION PLAN: Provided enough vaccine is available, Gov. Inslee laid out more eligibility additions, starting March 22nd, continuing April 12th and April 26th. The plan – described as “tentative” – is detailed briefly here, in more detail here. Inslee said he’s hopeful those are achievable goals, because the pace of vaccinations keeps speeding up – averaging almost 44,000 a day statewide, with two 60,000+ days in the past week – and the supply is projected to increase too.

BACK TO SCHOOL? Though the state’s biggest district, Seattle Public Schools, is in a standoff with its teachers, the governor opened and closed his briefing by saying it’s imperative that students get back in the classroom, after a year away. He insisted it can be, and is being, done safely. Asked specifically about the SPS disagreement, Inslee said he’s talked to both sides. While not specifically saying he was talking about Seattle, he expressed frustration at what he called “excuses” for not getting back to in-person learning. Next week marks one year since he ordered schools to close.

NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the Public Health daily-summary dashboard, here are today’s cumulative totals:

*82,716 people have tested positive, 209 more than yesterday’s total

*1,411 people have died, 7 more than yesterday’s total

*5,113 people have been hospitalized, 4 more than yesterday’s total

*912,028 people have been tested, 1,657 more than yesterday’s total

One week ago, the four totals we track were 81,786/1,373/5,088/899,466.

STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them, county by county, on the state Department of Health page.

WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 115.6 million cases worldwide, 28.8 million of them in the U.S. See the nation-by-nation breakout here.

IF YOU’RE STILL SEEKING VACCINE … If you’re 65+, check to see if that city clinic has any Friday spaces left … We learned from Seattle-King County Public Health reps at tonight’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting that the VA is offering vaccinations to any enrolled veteran, no matter their age; call 206-716-5716 … Your neighbors continue recommending covidwa.com – which is also now tweeting new openings at @covidwashington – as well as Sea Mar‘s walk-in clinics

NEED FOOD? All welcome at the weekly distribution of food boxes 2-5 pm tomorrow at Food Lifeline (815 S. 96th).

GOT PHOTOS/TIPS? 206-293-6302, text or voice, or westseattleblog@gmail.com – thank you!

WEST SEATTLE ART: Skyline in the sand

Thanks to Keri for the photo, taken Wednesday evening: “Out rollerblading with my 13-year-old and was so lucky to see this at the viewpoint on Alki Ave. Had I not been on rollerblades, I would have climbed down to try to include the living city with the sand drawing. Love the fleeting works of art in our community. Bravo to the artist.” (If you’re reading on desktop/laptop, click the pic for a larger view.)

CONGRATULATIONS! Statewide award for West Seattleite Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales

Along with direct action to save endangered orcas, education is key. A West Seattle resident who specializes in that – as well as research – has just been honored with a statewide award. Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales has received the Outreach Award from the Washington chapter of The Wildlife Society. From the organization’s announcement, prepared for an upcoming edition of its newsletter:

Since 2000, Jeff Hogan has dedicated himself to Killer Whale Tales. Jeff had an idea that would pull together his Orca research experience with theatrical storytelling, science, and childhood education. His decision to put everything on the line to start a nonprofit is indicative of just how committed he is to ensure that the next generation understands the way consumer behaviors impact the environment, and also that science is cool!

For the first 10 years of the program’s existence, Jeff ran the program, creating and updating the program materials, delivering the program, fundraising, analyzing data, accounting, marketing, and scheduling almost entirely by himself. More recently, as the program has evolved to include more-robust data reporting and communications, Jeff has been able to rely on board members to help with some of the back-end functions, but the program materials, delivery, relationship building with teachers / researchers / major funders / other similar organizations still falls mainly on Jeff’s shoulders.

He has brought engaging environmental education to 125,000 elementary school students throughout the West Coast and Canada, and over 60,000 students have completed and returned “Kids Making a Difference Now” conservation worksheets, meaning they have taken action at home to reduce their family’s environmental footprint and help the whales. Jeff has continuously been the driving force in this nonprofit and has sacrificed personally to keep it going.

Jeff has some kind of a magical presence that inspires everyone he meets to take interest in the Southern Resident killer whales, science, and/or the environment. It is truly a remarkable talent that very few others possess. Killer Whale Tales have now converted over to online learning due to the pandemic and as odd as it may sound, it has opened up a whole new set of opportunities. Jeff is now working with children and families across the globe – from India, to the UK, and up and down the eastern seaboard of the U.S., he has “pods” of young future scientists sprouting up all across the planet!

Jeff also is a researcher. He co-authored recently published research showing that vessel noise interrupts Southern Resident Killer Whales’ feeding, especially females. Vessel noise is a major focus for advocates trying to increase the chances of saving the endangered orcas from extinction.

P.S. Killer Whale Tales is a nonprofit; here’s how to support its work.

BIZNOTE: 2 days to Ross Dress for Less grand opening at Westwood Village

5:03 PM: Back in January, Ross Dress for Less told us the company’s new Westwood Village store was expected to open March 6th. With that date just two days away, we checked back – Saturday is indeed the planned “grand opening” day; Ross is also opening stores in Florida, Missouri, and Texas that day. The Westwood Village store hours will be 8 am-11 pm Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays; 9 am-11 pm Saturdays; closed Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. More than a year and a half has passed since we first reported on Ross’s plan to move into the ex-Barnes & Noble space at the center.

7:47 PM: As pointed out in comments, since we published this story, Ross has updated the linked page to say the store will be open on Wednesdays too, 8 am-11 pm, so closed only Thursdays and Fridays.

ADDED EARLY SATURDAY: Checking their website again, now the store is listed as being open every day but Friday.

VACCINATION: Tentative dates set for expanding eligibility

3:15 PM: Governor Inslee has just announced tentative dates for expanding COVID-19 vaccination eligibility in our state. They’re tentative, he said, because it depends on vaccine supply meeting (or beating) current projections. They include (but are not limited to):

*March 22nd – second tier of Phase 1B, also to include “critical” workers including grocery, farm, food processing, public transit, law enforcement, firefighters

*April 12th – ages 50+ with two or more co-morbidities

*April 26th – ages 16+ with (CORRECTED) two or more co-morbidities

More details to come – we’ll link and update as soon as it’s available in writing. The governor also spent part of his briefing (update: archived video will be here soon) urging that schools get back to in-person learning, insisting that it can be done safely; we’ll have a separate update on the Seattle Public Schools situation later.

ADDED 4:08 PM: Here’s the governor’s graphic with the key points we noted above:

ADDED 6:03 PM: Here’s the state document with full details about current and future (tentative) expansion.