West Seattle, Washington
You saw it here first more than a month ago — word from Admiral Neighborhood Association president Mark Wainwright that Admiral Safeway was ready to “start the process of redeveloping the store.” Mark’s just sent out the reminder for tomorrow night’s ANA meeting with confirmation that the store site’s future is indeed on the agenda: “… some Safeway representatives and their design folks will join us to have a fairly informal discussion about the redevelopment of the Admiral store location. We won’t see any new design work at this point.The goal is to have a discussion about what people would like to see happen with the new development.” By the way, West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen will be a guest at the meeting, too. All are welcome, 7 pm tomorrow, Admiral Congregational church, California & Hill (map).
When we heard about the Starbucks coffee giveaway @ 9 am tomorrow, it brewed memories of a giveaway around this time last year. Sure enough, WSB archives yield a post from mid-March ’07; on that occasion, SBUX gave out 12-ounce cups of coffee for two hours, while this event offers 8-ounce freebies for about half an hour. (One more difference: West Seattle has one more Starbucks store this year, with the new addition @ Jefferson Square.)
Carol Viger, one of the parents who helped organize this weekend’s successful West Seattle High School Grad Night car wash fundraiser (WSB coverage here), sent this to us today to share — a heartfelt tale she titled “Miracle on California Avenue.” For the thousands of volunteers who make the wheels of West Seattle (and so many other communities) turn — this one’s for you … and for everyone who doubted whether joining the volunteer ranks would truly make a difference:
In a secular (public) school miracles happen. Maybe it was the recent Christmas-like snowfall that spurred this realization.
Iâ€™m talking about genuine acts of faith and spirituality, and they have for years. We might think that public school is fueled by public servants and funds; a non-religious environment where overt acts of faith are scorned. However, when you stop to think about the acts of faith that happen every day in public school, it is encouraging and heartwarming, and this article intends to acknowledge what is amazing about our community, and especially about our public West Seattle High School, which we should be proud of.
It is a miracle that parents step forward to volunteer in public school. As parents, our kids, and circumstances wear us out often, and yet some of us volunteer for activities that require more energy. Is this insanity? It is not, contrary to one’s first thought. What happens when parents step out the door to volunteer, in this case in public school, is that they discover that their efforts towards the greater good catch fire. It can take a daunting amount of starter fluid and in the beginning a disappointing amount of matches, but when the fire takes hold everyone enjoys the flame and the satisfaction is multiplied due to the mutual benefit reaped by everyone. Along the way, others learn how to build the fire. It is perhaps relevant that the current â€œSeeds of Compassionâ€ event is being planned in Seattle. We can learn to be good volunteers, to enjoy it and to teach it to our children, much as the current research regarding compassion is proving that the brain is plastic and we can continue to develop and optimize our abilities throughout our life.
The miracles at WSHS are numerous; it is a miracle that any auction happens at a public school. In the last several years I have lost count how many I have attended, but the last few at WSHS have been impressive. The amount of work that goes into them, not to mention the commitment of the people who attend, is inexplicable from the standpoint of a consumer. How does it all comes together seemingly flawlessly, year after year, not to mention the Staff Appreciation Day? The countless hours the numerous good staff basically donate as volunteers outside of their contract, simply because they believe in kids (God Bless Ms Jewell, Ms. Sugden, Ms. Berenter, and so many others!) And then there is Grad Nightâ€¦yet another miracle.
Many years ago, an individual organized a celebration that would be safe and sane for high school seniors on graduation night. His volunteer effort caught fire and became an occupation, and is now a popular professionally planned and common occurrence among high schools. However, the volunteer flame is still being nurtured, as to make the event affordable for all public school students requires much volunteer and financial support in a public school.
In the case of West Seattle High School, four years ago a group of parents embarked on the first organized â€œGrad Night,â€ and bravely plunged forward. This being the fourth year, again a (new) group of parents signed the contracts, proceeding on faith that somehow, some way, they would figure out how to organize for more than 100 kids, the funds would be raised, the students would come, parents would volunteer as well as the students, lives might be saved and memories made. Lending proof to the â€œBuild It and They Will Comeâ€ tenant of faith, the amazing WSHS PTSA once again stood behind them, on a limb albeit, but with smiling faces and encouragement. Talk about faithâ€¦the PTSA runs the church.
So, the Grad Night Committee just held their second car wash fundraiser April 5th. Again, proceeding on faith that the endeavor would get volunteers (they did! The students were amazing; single working moms, and dads were out there for all they were worth!), and that they would get support (they did! Starbucks‘ 35th drive-through provided coffee and cocoa, and generous bakery donations were given with goodwill from The Original Bakery, Little Raeâ€™s, Salvadorean Bakery, and PCC, which kept the volunteers going and helped us raise probably an additional $350). The community at large was present in the 34th Democratic Caucus and was promising heartily to support Grad Night at Barnes and Noble on the coming weekendâ€™s book fair. At the end of the event, exhausted, one mom volunteerâ€™s last patrons drove up and were about to be informed the car wash ended long ago, when the patrons donated handsomely, committed to chaperoning at the event, and even promising a sponsorship to Grad Night..
It will be interesting to see how the membership of the famous and historically notable WS Alumni membership fares in future years in correlation to Grad Night engagement with our recent four years of graduates. And will they be volunteers? My money is on them.
If you havenâ€™t been a volunteer before, or havenâ€™t volunteered recently, maybe you should reconsider. It really is a lot more enjoyable than watching â€œAmericaâ€™s Next Top Modelâ€, and it certainly is a real slice of life. Donâ€™t underestimate yourself. Volunteerâ€¦somewhere. If itâ€™s for Grad Night, you could be saving a life. You likely will never know, but it will be good leadership on your part, appreciated and more than likely, a lot of fun satisfaction. If you donâ€™t think you are good enough, just hang around the amazing principal at WSHS, Bruce Bivins for a while. You will be convinced that you, and all of us, can do more, and be better individuals than we think we can. If you live in West Seattle you shouldnâ€™t miss out on the rare opportunity to work with a good leader, because the flame is irresistible.
FAUNTLEROY SCHOOLHOUSE: Finally got word from Seattle Public Schools about the date/time of the official public hearing on the district’s plan to sell the schoolhouse, mentioned at the community meeting 2 weeks ago (WSB coverage here): It’s not on the district website yet, but SPS spokesperson David Tucker tells WSB the hearing is set for 6:30 pm April 29, at the schoolhouse.
RESIDENTIAL PARKING ZONES: As mentioned in our coverage of the impending Junction-area parking review (most recent update here), there’s a chance RPZ’s would be considered for the residential neighborhoods around the business district, which already report major parking crunches because of “park-n-hiders” and construction workers. The city is now officially reviewing RPZ policy and inviting you to fill out this online survey.
COUNTY CHANGES: Did you know there’s a hearing in West Seattle tomorrow night on more than a dozen amendments proposed to the King County Charter? Might sound dry but on the other hand, some of ’em might affect your life (see the list here). We somehow managed not to hear about the hearing till Julie Enevoldsen (thank you!) told us about it this afternoon. 6:30 pm tomorrow, Emerald Room at The Hall at Fauntleroy.
When the e-mail came in, our eyes insisted on reading “coop” as the word that’s short for cooperative. But no, it’s coop as in chicken coop. They’re legal in the city, and Seattle Tilth is now accepting chicken coops in West Seattle (as well as Georgetown and Beacon Hill) as candidates for their City Chickens Coop Tour. The tour’s on July 12 but the deadline to apply is May 1st; e-mail Seattle Tilth “city chickens coordinator” Angelina Shell, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you (and your chickens) are interested.
That’s how one parent volunteer describes the feeling now that construction of Gatewood Elementary‘s playground project is getting closer, after 3-plus years of hard work. What you see above was part of that hard work — the well-attended “Kids for Kids” event featuring ivy-munching goats (WSB video coverage here) last October. The next step in the work comes this Wednesday night — a community meeting at 6:30 pm in the Gatewood cafeteria. White says, “The purpose of this meeting is to make final decisions on the new play structure! We are now down to picking individual elements that will make up the toy, colors, extra features, etc. so that we can get our order placed and get this project done!” He also points out that not only has this resulted from endless hours of volunteer work but also from a $90,000 grant from the city Department of Neighborhoods and a $30,000 grant from the county Parks Department. So it’s truly a community project — even if you don’t have a child at Gatewood, the playground is a neighborhood resource/attraction, so you’re welcome to be there Wednesday night and have a say. (See the Gatewood site master plan here.)
The King County Council–Seattle City Council joint meeting on The Viaduct just concluded a moment ago, lasting a little more than 2 hours. As was hinted at the Seattle Council briefing on The Viaduct that we covered downtown one month ago (read our story here), the information presented today was more about related elements such as the Urban Mobility Plan — ways that we will get around either without, or despite, The Viaduct. And it did provide some glimpses into West Seattle’s possible transportation future — near-future (another Viaduct meeting in WS was just announced for next month) and far-future:Read More
This factoid didn’t make it into our original caucus report (see it, and its dozens of followup comments, here) — it was mentioned to us briefly on Saturday that Terry McAuliffe, national Clinton campaign chair, had dropped by the West Seattle High School gathering between 9 and 10 am, before the meeting officially started. We didn’t arrive till just after 10, so missed him. But eagle-eyed Cami MacNamara (editor of the Alki News Beacon) spotted photographic proof in, of all places, this Baltimore Sun political blog post (which focuses on the fact McAuliffe was photographed posing with Obama fans). P.S. Additional caucus photos are also up at the 34th District Democrats’ site; much of the discussion about Saturday’s process has centered on the ability to affect it by getting involved with the group – its next meeting is 7 pm this Wednesday, The Hall at Fauntleroy.
This new P-I story is a good – if scary – preview of the anti-youth-drinking town-hall event tomorrow night at South Seattle Community College, coordinated by Madison Middle School‘s Renae Gaines, who says the event is an “opportunity to come together to learn more about the new research on underage drinking and its impact on both individuals and the community, and to discuss how our community can implement the recommendations in The Surgeon Generalâ€™s Call to Action to prevent underage alcohol use.” That’s 6 pm tomorrow @ SSCC. (More helpful info here at the Start Talking Before They Start Drinking site.)