month : 05/2006 70 results

Bizarre bridge death

May 31, 2006 4:44 pm
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 |   West Seattle news

Of all the deadly incidents on the West Seattle Bridge in our decade-plus of WS-hood, this one is probably the weirdest. Also weird, the way the story evolved over the day. Although this image from a local tv site gets the story quite wrong (not fixed even by 5:43 pm) …

Belated Cupcake Royale review, & Junction stroll

Used the sleepy holiday morning this past Monday as the perfect occasion to go try Cupcake Royale “for real.” As I wrote here a couple weeks ago, we dropped in on Grand Opening Night, but I didn’t actually have a cupcake — left that to one of my escorts. So this time, it was cupcakes and coffee for breakfast.

Verdict: Great frosting (mint), so-so cupcake (vanilla). Not too sweet, which is good, but not so moist (as at least one other reviewer here had mentioned), which was a little disappointing. The coffee (double-tall latte) was also just OK. I’ll give them another chance next time it’s convenient, but I’m not going to go out of my way to rush all the way to the Junction for a “fix.”

Meantime, we kept the radar up for news while down in the Junction for the CR stop. Seems like there’s more to say about what’s NOT going on than about what IS — the old Neilsen Florist shop still has papered windows, but the grease-penciled message from a glass company is gone; the new Super Supplements (ex-Urban Fitness site) doesn’t have an opening date posted yet; the former First Mutual Bank storefront shows no sign of what will move in next.

Bad news for gardeners

May 31, 2006 4:00 am
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 |   Gardening

It’s not West Seattle, but I just have to publicly lament this … I’m sure I’m far from the only person in WS with some Heronswood plants in the garden. I only discovered them two years ago, and I remember being shocked to find out they had actually sold out to a Big Corporation … now that seems to have come around to bite them (and us customers) in the you-know-where.

High Point must be high-fiving

May 30, 2006 5:44 pm
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 |   High Point | West Seattle schools | WS breaking news

The new school-closure plan is out, and HP Elementary got cut from the list (PDF document; West Seattle’s moment in the sun starts around page 16). Fairmount Park still has the Grim Reaper hanging around, though. Meantime, since High Point’s not closing, Pathfinder’s looking at a NEW new home — Boren (the current temporary home of Cleveland High, the past temporary home of Madison Middle). If the district manages its assets wisely, I see some lovely new view homes coming to Genesee Hill … they could at least honor the to-be-relocated school by calling the mini-subdivision Pathfinder Pointe, perhaps. Or — will Genesee Hill go the way of its current students’ “new” home, which according to this district info-sheet has been “closed” longer than it’s been open (yet lives on with rotating occupants)?

Good point, but maybe too late

May 30, 2006 4:18 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

The semi-final list of proposed Seattle Public Schools closures is due to change hands today from the ciitizens’ committee to the superintendent. This morning, the Times spotlights the one West Seattle proposal that seems to make no sense — “closing” High Point Elementary (but not the building, which Pathfinder K-8 would take over) even as hundreds of brand-new housing units pop up all around it. And this morning’s P-I asks the other tough question — will this plan really save much money? I can’t see how it will unless the closed buildings are sold, period. Pathfinder’s Genesee Hill land alone would make dandy townhouse turf, if zoning allowed.

My West Seattle Memorial Day tribute

May 29, 2006 2:35 pm
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 |   Holidays

A few years after we moved to West Seattle, my mom decided it sounded like a great place for her to get a midlife re-start. So she moved here too. She found a great apartment near the Morgan Junction, with a peek view of the Sound and the Olympics. Eventually she found a job with a local nonprofit and started to build a life.

Then she started losing weight. We thought she just had an appetite problem. After a few months, we convinced her to see a doctor … who discovered she had one of the nastiest forms of cancer. (Not that any form of cancer is NOT nasty, but some are curable or nearly so — this one wasn’t.) Things fell apart quite rapidly. The nonprofit cut her loose before she even had a chance to start treatment (I won’t name them here but I do hold a bit of a grudge because of the way they treated her). She accepted the incurability faster than we did — and just kind of settled in to die.

This wasn’t really like her. She was always a bon vivant. But she decided she’d lived a good life (even though she was ridiculously young, still). She had an interesting take on it — “Doesn’t make any sense to say ‘why me.’ If you say ‘why me’ in the bad times, why wouldn’t you say ‘why me’ in the good times?”

She didn’t want to move in with us. She wanted to stay in that cozy apartment, with its peek view, and her stack of movie tapes, till the end was truly in sight, and then she’d think about her HMO’s inpatient hospice.

So we visited her every day. A hospice nurse came in a couple times a week. I could see my mom’s apartment from my road to work early each morning, and was haunted by the thought, “Wow, until I call and check in with her later, she could be dead in there, for all I know.” Strange, but maybe if you’ve lived through a loved one’s slow death, you understand.

The cancer that kills most people within six months of diagnosis didn’t get her till she was into month 9. The hospice nurse who admitted her to the inpatient facility when it seemed clear she had “days to go” was shocked that she didn’t move on to the next plane of existence till she’d been there six weeks.

My mom’s death wound up teaching me a lot about life. So I pay tribute to her here on Memorial Day. Especially because she died this time of year — and the bush that yielded the rose I took from her hospice bedside vase, to lay on her chest, not long after her last breath, still blooms bright this time every year, right next to our front door.

Memorial Day, a few weeks late

May 29, 2006 8:21 am
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 |   Westwood | WS miscellaneous

This should be interesting:

Check out the West Seattle anti-war coalition’s Web site. In about three weeks, according to the site, Roxhill Park (across from Westwood Village) will be the site of a visually dramatic protest installation.

According to the sponsoring group’s site, it’s already been at other parks, including Green Lake, and further investigation reveals this isn’t even its first year — but it does seem to be the first stop in West Seattle.

Mark your calendar for next Sunday

May 28, 2006 7:23 pm
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 |   How to help | WS miscellaneous

The following arrived in the WSB inbox. I didn’t recognize the name, but I know I’ve seen some of her work. (Organizers are also looking for auction donations; if you want to contact them, e-mail me from the WSB “About” page and I will forward you the entire original e-mail.)

You may be fortunate enough to know Kelly McLain as a
longtime West Seattle resident.

You may have taken a class from her at Pilchuck Glass School.

You may have sampled her culinary creations at Coffee to a Tea,
West 5, or Capers.

You may have seen her artwork exhibited at Seattle's
William Traver Gallery, Seattle Children's Museum, Issaquah
Public Library, SeaTac International Airport, Boise Airport,
Scottsdale, Arizona's Victoria Boyce Gallery, or pictured
in Metropolitan Home.

Kelly McLain has suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm and has
been in Harborview Hospital's ICU since early May.

Starting at 5:00 pm, Sunday, June 4, 2006, Coffee to a Tea
and West 5 will be hosting a special evening
to raise funds to support our dear
friend and colleague.

Join us for music, food & drink, and an auction to help the
McLain Family during this time of need.

If you would like to contribute but cannot attend
the fundraiser, the Kelly McLain fund has been established
at Wells Fargo Bank's West Seattle (Alaska Junction) Branch.

Eyesore no more?

May 28, 2006 7:59 am
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 |   WS miscellaneous

We’ve been wondering why it’s taken so long for somebody to do something about the burned-out, fenced-off ex-Schuck’s store in the 3700 block of California. Meandering around the land-use-application database, we discovered evidence that something is in the works, finally. (And shockingly, given recent development trends, NOT A RESTAURANT … well, at least at this stage.)

Junction trouble?

May 27, 2006 7:32 pm
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 |   Crime | West Seattle news

Trying to find out more about a report I heard on radio news while we drove home tonight after spending the day out of town. Something about a shooting early this morning in the Junction. As of right now, not a shred posted on any local-news site I can find, even the one for the station where I heard the blurb (I suppose their Web producers all have the holiday weekend off) … but the Seattle 911 log does have an “assault with weapons” at California and Alaska at 12:53 am today.

(Monday update: Discovered a small eyewitness account on chasBlog … scroll down to the photo of flashing police-car lights.)

Funny but not factual

May 27, 2006 8:36 am
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 |   Transportation

OK, I have to mention this here because I haven’t seen anyone else point it out yet.

Two little factual/timeline inaccuracies in the mayor’s viaduct/tunnel spoof video

Narration says “The Blob” came down in the ’80s and the Kingdome in the ’90s.

Actually, “The Blob” was demolished in 1997, and The Dome in 2000.

OK, I feel better now.

Opening day

May 27, 2006 8:14 am
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 |   WS miscellaneous

Sun or no sun, it’s opening day for West Seattle’s coolest pool.

Most people get there by parking in Lincoln Park’s south lot and walking north on the paved waterfront path. We prefer the other way — find a spot by Lowman Beach, walk down the end stub of Beach Drive to the start of Lincoln Park’s unpaved path — so much more beautiful and peaceful.

But whatever you do, our advice is, just go! We won’t get there today; something else is on the calendar … but before the holiday weekend’s over, we’ll definitely make our start-of-season pilgrimage.

Wildlife watch

May 26, 2006 5:09 pm
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 |   Wildlife

-Falcons at the WS Bridge? Had no idea till today. Wish I could invite them over to dine on the backyard rat.

-Elliott Bay has one more crab tonight. I was lurking down at Pier 66 when up walked a young gothy couple with a bag from Uwajimaya. A tweaker transient made a huge point of asking them what was in the bag and then announcing to the rest of us bystanders … “A live crab? And you’re gonna release it? Cool!” The ceremonial release followed. Maybe they got the idea from watching the young-couple-in-love-before-nuclear-annihilation lobster toss in “Miracle Mile.”

Want some whiskey in your water, sugar in your tea …

(from a Three Dog Night hit in the sixties)

With the latest 21-and-over-only additions, we’ve got plenty of “whiskey in (our) water” options over here. As for the “sugar in (our) tea,” looks like one more is on the way …. West Seattle Blogger Spouse reports sighting a banner along the lines of “My Tea Place, Coming Soon” just south of the Admiral Junction mailing depot/travel agency/etc.

Revenge of the Big Ugly Thing, sort of

Downtown was so murderously jammed this afternoon, I couldn’t even get NEAR the viaduct before the Columbia on-ramp … took me 1 hour and 44 minutes to get from the north end of downtown to the south end of West Seattle. I’ll blame the Mariners (afternoon game) … I highly doubt all that traffic was for SIFF.

P.S. One more word on the mayor’s viaduct video … didn’t know till I Googled him that “Matt Smith” is a real person. Who actually DID have a small recurring part on “Almost Live” — so Cami’s observation that the video was “Almost Live”-esque was right on the mark.

Thursday morning miscellaneous

-It’s not just Alki. I see urban tree protests are becoming the hot new thing.

-The new First Mutual Bank branch north of the Junction is finally open. Huge “GRAND OPENING” banner. That site was home to a “COMING SOON” sign for what seemed like years.

-The new Safeway gas station on Admiral (east of the Jack in the Box) looks close to opening. As we drove past, West Seattle Blogger Spouse exclaimed, “Good God, the site is even LANDSCAPED!” (But do a couple cents a gallon really matter when gas prices are this high? Just asking.)

-Driving almost the full length of California, I was a bit astounded at the number of new teardown-to-condo projects under way. It’s grown exponentially. One project even shows the transformation on its Web site. (And some of those condos are going for ALMOST A MILLION BUCKS!)

Hizzoner turns humorist

OMG, this is just too rich.

But you know, it does reveal that somebody in Hizzoner’s office has become mighty PR-savvy. This is going to get one orca of a lot of attention, vastly more than yet another dry Power Point presentation.

(For the record, my favorite option, the “just-tear-it-down” option, would not go over with the “Committee to Save Big Ugly Things” any better than the money-hole tunnel. And another side note … don’t know who the guy in the video is, but he looks something like the actor who played Christopher Henderson in the just-concluded season of “24.)

The other side of the tree-protest story

May 24, 2006 3:19 pm
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 |   Environment

From today’s Herald.

Our eight-legged friends

May 24, 2006 2:22 am
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 |   Wildlife

If your West Seattle dwelling happens to be one of those older houses, as is mine, you may also be getting visits from the spring crop of spiders. (Ours favor the bathroom and can often be seen dropping from the ceiling on a single strand, like a mini-bungee jumper, then scampering back up when we get too close.) In support of my first annual plea to “let them be,” here’s a simple, non-arachnophobia-inducing local list of house-spider myths debunked.

What Humpty Dumpty and Lincoln Park don’t have in common

May 23, 2006 5:48 pm
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 |   Environment

All the contractor’s backhoes, and all the contractor’s men, DID manage to put Lincoln Park back together again.

Just back from a tour to verify that for ourselves, since Colman Pool is about to open for the season and that means fairly frequent walks along the Lincoln Park paths. We were amazed to see just how close to “normal” the park looks, despite the major pipeline project — for most of the major (south half) part of the waterfront path, the only clues are asphalt patching and new pea gravel atop the filled-in area where the pipeline went.

Things are a bit more ragged beyond Colman Pool, to the north — the big grassy meadow by the pool buildings is nothing but dirt, and a few pieces of construction equipment are still around. Otherwise, nothing really disturbed the eye — except a huge infestation of ivy all along the north path — and I don’t think we can blame the pipeline project for that.

Even the wildlife is returning; toward the Beach Drive end of the path, we paused to watch a frolicking otter and jumping fish.

The south parking lot, by the way, has reopened too; looks like the north lot is close — some construction vehicles were still staged there when we passed by in early evening.

The next WS “grand opening”

Thanks to the Metroblogging folks for reminding me about Skylark Cafe, opening in a week and a half at the Delridge spot that used to be Madison’s. We’re not much for live music but we might go for the food, if the report here (second-to-last paragraph) is true about an ex-Easy Street Cafe person being involved.

The only thing constant is change

May 23, 2006 2:27 am
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 |   WS miscellaneous

I’ve been a devoted voter since the first election after my 18th birthday — some tiny special election, sewer district board or something like that. Haven’t missed an election since. Every election day, the entire West Seattle Blog delegation walks to the small semi-public facility where workers for our precinct and several others are headquartered, and we cast our votes.

Apparently those days are ending. This may be good news for a lot of people, but not me. Voting always felt like a precious ritual. Trust me, I know it can be inconvenient — I’ve worked a lot of jobs with crazy, long hours, and sometimes it was tough to carve out that time to walk over to the polling place and do the deed. But it was, and is, important. Now it’ll be just something else to do at the cluttered dining table. I’ll miss those little old precinct workers.

Bridge over underfunded waters

May 22, 2006 3:34 pm
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 |   Transportation

So now I know why a guy in a suit was standing up on the Fauntleroy pedestrian overpass (aka home to “HAPPY 1/2 CENTURY, LYLE” and “WILL YOU MARRY ME, MARINA”) when it’s not an election day.

Well, actually, this did have something to do with an election. The city transportation department was leading tours of sites slated to get some of your money and mine if we vote for the latest of 3,478 (give or take a few) transportation/money measures proposed for the local ballot this fall, “Bridging the Gap,” unveiled today by Hizzoner.

The handy-dandy map of “Bridging the Gap” projects contains a big dot right around the site of “HAPPY 1/2 CENTURY, LYLE,” so that explains the guy in the suit, the guy in the shirt, and the guy in the hard hat and big bright city-issue orange/yellow vest, peering down on us hapless drivers fleeing back into West Seattle, apparently right over pavement likely to dissolve into chalk-dust at any moment.

Please forgive me for being grumpy. I’m usually a good self-taxing citizen. I voted for the Monorail. I voted against $30 car-tab taxes. Yup, you can blame me. But now I’m going over the falls. I fully expect to eventually see the “Replace Stop Signs Knocked Down by Idiot Drivers Initiative,” the “So You Want to See Burned-Out Bulbs Replaced in Your Local Traffic Signals Initiative,” and the “Your Local Politicians Are Taking the Summer Off Because We Ran Out of Money for Our Salaries Initiative,” at this rate. The Ron Sims Bus Tax sounded goofy enough … wait … noooo … help, I’m starting to sound like Dori Monson.