West Seattle, Washington
Those are two of the photos West Seattle Food Bank board member Keri Detore kindly sent us from tonight’s WSFB Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at The Hall at Fauntleroy. Read on for more on tonight’s event, and how you can help:Read More
Tonight we’re pointing to last night’s Beach Drive Blog featured home. The tree is just too gorgeous. (BDB says the house is just south of Jacobsen; here’s a map.) Meantime, thanks for the address tips that are starting to come in — a few were described as works in progress so we’re going to give them a few days till we come by! We did get one photo that doesn’t qualify as lights – but it can’t go unnoted:
(file photo of Puget Sound resident orcas, from NOAA)
In our morning report about nearby orca sightings, we mentioned the Orca Network‘s daily “sightings” e-mail (subscribe to it here). The latest one just arrived, and it tells the story of today’s sightings – we’ll paraphrase:
*8:15 am, six orcas reported by captain of ferry Tacoma on Seattle-Bainbridge run
*9 am, orcas reported off Alki Point by captain of ferry Hyak on Seattle-Bremerton run
*9:09 am, orcas reported “at the mouth of Elliott Bay” by captain of ferry Kalama (Seattle-Vashon)
*9:30 am, five whales seen from Alki Point identified as: J1 (Ruffles), J27 (Blackberry), J2 (Granny), J8 (Speiden) and J30 (Riptide) [find out more on individual whales here]
*9:45 am, report of three orcas “traveling southwest from Alki Beach”
*9:45 am, report from a vessel that saw “about 4 whales just south of West Seattle and east of Blake Island”
*10:20 am Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry run, passenger reported the captain announcing a pod of orcas, one male and four females: “They appear very active and look to be feeding. … The male appeared to be herding salmon down to the others.”
*10:43 am, captain of the ferry Issaquah reported orcas “milling near the Fauntleroy dock”
*10:50 am, sighting between Vashon and West Seattle
*11:40 am, two orcas spotted heading from Alki Point toward West Point (Magnolia)
*11:41 am, captain of the ferry Wenatchee spotted orcas near Bainbridge
*Noon, chief mate of the ferry Tacoma spotted orcas near Bainbridge
Last report says a Vashon spotter saw the whales heading north around 5 pm “after spending at least 8 hours in south Puget Sound.” Tomorrow, perhaps? Thanks to the tipsters who sounded the alert this morning for WSB-land!
Remember the brief battle over beach fires earlier this year? To recap: Parks Department staff prepared a briefing document in June suggesting a ban (WSB coverage here), public outcry ensued, the Parks Board turned a hose on it? The agenda for next week’s Parks Board meeting is out, and the “written status report” requested by the board will be part of the meeting. The agenda also includes (as we mentioned yesterday) the park-naming policy review, an update on fees, and the latest on reservoir-lidding (WS has two such projects — Myrtle, which is done except for the park component, and West Seattle next to Westcrest, which is well under way). The Parks Board meets at 7 pm Thursday 12/11, parks HQ at Denny Park downtown.
We’re in the cafeteria at Arbor Heights Elementary, where a community meeting is about to begin, called by the PTSA to discuss the proposal to close the AH “program” so the building can be given to the Pathfinder K-8 program. The fluorescent green T-shirts you see around the room are newly minted “Save Arbor Heights” T-shirts. PTSA leadership will speak, followed by open mike time; we’ve seen several crews here from citywide media – KOMO TV included (so something should be on their 11 pm news). 7:21 PM UPDATE: PTSA leaders say Arbor Heights parents managed to get six of the speaking slots at tomorrow night’s School Board meeting (the official agenda lists four, and one for Pathfinder); they are offering child care to any AH community members who want to go to the board meeting to show support for the school. 7:48 PM UPDATE: As listed on the “fact sheet” we reported on yesterday, they are suggesting West Seattle, Cooper, and Roxhill Elementaries are better options for closure than AH. PTSA president Suzette Riley also mentioned proposing Denny as a new Pathfinder home, once its students move to the new Denny on the Sealth campus, as a longshot proposal. 8:32 PM UPDATE: The meeting has just ended and they’re signing people up for committees to help with various tasks in what could be a two-month road ahead, although they are hoping to present compelling-enough evidence to get the “close Arbor Heights program” tossed out sooner. (Full report on tonight’s meeting is in the works.)
As we’ll see at a meeting less than one hour away, the proposal to basically vaporize what is now known as Arbor Heights Elementary – except for its building – is wrenching for that close-knit school community. But the school community that district management wants to move into that building, Pathfinder K-8, isn’t exactly throwing a party. The years-old Pathfinder building dilemma (shown above, the portables they repainted this summer) has thrust them into myriad difficult situations. Knowing that, and knowing how hard they too have worked on their school community, we asked: “What’s your position about the new proposal?” starting even as unofficial word leaked out before Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson‘s formal presentation a week ago tonight. They thought a while before crafting this statement, and we wanted to bring it to you in its entirety, sent to us by Pathfinder PTSA leadership:
The question has been repeatedly asked: “What does Pathfinder K-8 think of the preliminary recommendation to move its program into the Arbor Heights Elementary building?”
This is a tough question to answer. The Pathfinder K-8 community is extremely grateful that in these challenging times the District supports keeping our program open and intact. This is clearly the most important thing to us. That stated, the community is more than disheartened, once again, to be put in the position where advocating for our program directly puts other schools and programs at risk.
Pathfinder K-8 is a vital part of public education in West Seattle. It is the only Alternative School and only K-8 in the region. It provides an important and necessary option for the many non-traditional learners in our community as well as a unique, quality education for families and kids seeking a more exploratory and holistic public education experience.
For the last 4 years we have surveyed prospective parents during enrollment tours to discover their thoughts about what we offer. Overwhelmingly, the majority of survey respondents rate our programs, curriculum, and teachers highly and rate our building very low. Our facility poses a large obstacle for families to overcome when choosing Pathfinder K-8 for their children. In a building with a sound structure that is appropriate for our program, our ability to better serve all of West Seattle increases dramatically.
As a bit of history, Pathfinder K-8 has now been on the receiving end of 5 preliminary recommendations, in the last four years, to move our program to a different building. This comes after a district-mandated change from a K-5 to a K-8 school in 1999, with little additional funding to provide for an upgrade in facilities. Our upper grades, 6th through 8th, have been in portables ever since. Despite this challenging situation, the staff and community persevered and today we have strong and cherished upper grades.
There is a detailed timeline and background information on Pathfinder’s facilities issues available on our website (here’s that link). Please take a look at it so you can understand the situation in detail. Suffice it to say that Pathfinder K-8 has a history of receiving preliminary recommendations that are reasonable for its program and address its facility issue, but come with the heavy burden of causing pain to other parts of our shared community. It has always been an extremely difficult, painful and energy-draining situation to be placed in. It is also true in the last 4 years that reasonable preliminary recommendations have turned into less desirable final recommendations that our community could not support.
Last spring and summer, questioning that a suitable building for our program would be found, built or otherwise manifested and, not willing to wait for another BEX levy, the Pathfinder K-8 community rolled up its sleeves to do what it could for its kids and community. Volunteers spent over 1,000 hours in 5 months, weekends and summer break with brushes and ladders, painting its 6 double portables. Thousands of dollars of paint and supplies were donated by the community. The staff hand-painted a new sign for the portables and the eighth grade students began the work of reclaiming planting beds.
So, what is Pathfinder K-8’s response to the recommendation that our program move into the Arbor Heights building? We struggle with what it should be. We ask the community to understand how difficult it is to answer this. In light of our past experience, how can we ensure the safety and integrity of our program, defend the need for high quality schools for all children in West Seattle, and still meet the goals and constraints set forth by the Seattle School District?
While there are certainly many possibilities, the ones that meet everyone’s needs are not as easy to find. The School Board has indicated that they are interested in hearing ideas and creative approaches, as are we. It is unfortunate that, due to the current state of our School District, none of the likely scenarios are easy or painless for any of the schools involved. Still, we are committed to enduring this process and working through the appropriate channels to find resolution.
The link detailing Pathfinder’s history also is new (here it is again); we had inquired about that as well, wondering how long they had been in this “temporary” building. A week from tonight, 6:45 pm December 9th, the Pathfinder community plans to meet and talk about the relocation proposal; a week after that, 6:30 pm December 16th, the district will have its legally mandated public hearing at the Pathfinder building (Genesee Hill). But before all that, the School Board meets downtown tomorrow night for the first time since the special meeting last week, 6 pm, district HQ in Sodo.
This, we had to share the second we read it. Shelley sent it with the photo you see above:
I had to share this. Today my 13-month-old daughter and I were playing in Lincoln Park when she ran over to a bench that had a little toy sitting on it. She picked it up and under the toy said ‘A Gift: For You’. There was no one on the playground or in our vicinity and it wasn’t a lost toy. I was touched and thought it was an adorable sentiment. My daughter was appreciative too and tucked the little bicycling man under her arm and walked with him toward the swings. My heart is warm from the intentional random act of kindness and will work to pass it on.
First – this Saturday’s tree lighting in The Junction. We are pleased to announce that your WSB co-publishers have the honor of helping emcee the hourlong extravaganza, which will feature live holiday music, live holiday theater (a sample of ArtsWest‘s “Plaid Tidings”), and the first drawings as part of the West Seattle Junction Association (WSB sponsor)’s $5,000 holiday giveaway (enter FREE at any participating store!). 5 pm in the Farmers’ Market parking lot (44th/Alaska). WSB marks its third birthday this holiday season (first post 12/24/05) and we’d love to celebrate a West Seattle holiday tradition with YOU. Second event – the day after that, noon-4 pm this Sunday, it’s the first of three Junction Hometown Holidays Sundays, with draft-mule carriage rides, special in-store events, and Santa photos at Cupcake Royale (donation suggested for local charities) taken by a professional photographer. Speaking of great photography – we are thrilled to learn that WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli will be one of the artists participating in the holiday edition of the West Seattle Second Thursday Art Walk next week (6-9 pm December 11th) — Christopher’s work will be displayed on the big screens at Ama-Ama (which also happens to be a brand-new WSB sponsor – story to come tomorrow!), northeast corner of California/Edmunds. This Art Walk also has a special bonus to help holiday shoppers – free child care for ages 3-11, provided by West Seattle Christian Church (space limited; call Dan at 932-2098, x. 102, ASAP).
*Linda Ann Cox reminds us that a great way to start next Saturday is at the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle Pancake Breakfast at the Masonic Hall, 4736 40th SW – 7 to 11 am, $6 adults/$3 kids, proceeds to Kiwanis Sponsored Youth Services, Santa will even be there. (This event is one of many listed on the Holiday Happenings page – and we’re continuing to add new ones daily, so keep an eye out; West Seattle is overflowing with holiday fun this year.)
Got word from The Kenney’s CEO Kevin McFeely that there’s an update to the FAQ addressing concerns about its $150 million redevelopment proposal – so we’ve uploaded it to share with you – read it here. McFeely says the major changes are toward the start of the document, with an added section about The Kenney’s income and executive salaries – no specific numbers, though. He also reiterates that, as the FAQ says, they’re expecting to return for the next Design Review meeting on December 18th – that’s still not on the city DR-schedule website as of this posting, so we have a call out to city planners to doublecheck. (The 12/18 Design Review Board meeting is scheduled for Madison Middle School and so far has one project on the agenda, as reported here last week, 4502 42nd SW, 6:30 pm; that still leaves room for another project to go before the board at 8.) A meeting that unquestionably IS happening: This Thursday night’s community gathering sponsored by the Fauntleroy Community Association and Morgan Community Association for an update on the project and the process – 7 pm Thursday at Fauntleroy Church (WSB sponsor) Fellowship Hall.
As we reported two weeks ago, money to build the Delridge Skatepark — announced last summer to a chorus of cheers, after controversy over a skatepark proposal at Myrtle Reservoir — was cut out of next year’s city budget. (At left, summertime photo of its future site.) Local skatepark advocates have been pursuing further clarification from the city Parks Department as to what happens now — and they have shared a reply just received from Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher. Read on for details – and information on a skatepark celebration event planned this Friday night during the Cooper Artist Housing open house at Youngstown Arts Center:Read More
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again – if you haven’t wandered The Junction lately, you may not realize just how much it has to offer. Among its one-of-a-kind businesses is the one that’s just joined the WSB sponsor team, Liberty Bell Printing. As always with new sponsors, we offer them the chance to share information about themselves with you, and here’s what Liberty Bell wants you to know: “As your local full service printer, we would like to take a moment to introduce ourselves. We are Liberty Bell Printing and we are West Seattle’s oldest and most reliable full service printing and copier shop. Founded in 1973 to serve the West Seattle business and residential community, today Liberty Bell still maintains the personalized service, welcoming atmosphere, and high quality printing that launched our shop more than 35 years ago. Still privately owned and operated, Liberty Bell offers a unique opportunity for you to experience the Old World charm of a traditional print shop interpreted through the powerful dynamics of our modern, leading-edge print capabilities. The result is a printing experience that is defined by our traditional values, sustained by our commitment to quality, and is competitively priced to compete in today’s marketplace. We are confident that once you experience the quality and care of Liberty Bell, we will be your first choice for printing in West Seattle. Liberty Bell also has the largest selection of prints and gifts by Bellingham, Washington, Artist Jody Bergsma.” Liberty Bell Printing is in the West Seattle Junction at 4736 California SW, on the east side of the street between Alaska and Edmunds (map), 206-935-1212. We welcome Liberty Bell to the WSB sponsor team and thank them for supporting West Seattle’s 24/7/365 news/information/discussion source; the current sponsor lineup is all here along with info on how to join!
(photo added 10:57 am – they’re out there SOMEWHERE)
That very quick note just in from David: “Orca pod spotted off Alki Beach at 9:45 am!!!!” We’re getting in the car now. Add comments if you see them – where, when, which way. Photos welcome. 10:52 AM UPDATE: Just back from driving the entire length of West Seattle waterfront, both directions. Got the nice sunbreak photo above (looking south from just south of Alki Point), but no whales. However, as noted in the comments, they seem to have headed southwest; this post on Beach Drive Blog says the same. So they’re out there somewhere – keep a lookout. This is the time of year when the orcas often venture into central Puget Sound. The Orca Network sends daily e-mail with the latest sightings from all around Puget Sound (including the San Juan Island waters where they’re most often seen); you can sign up for it here. 3:05 PM UPDATE: Got e-mail from Mike, who thinks he may be seeing them in Elliott Bay from downtown.
BEER: Prost West Seattle says this is opening day. 3 pm.
BOOKS: West Seattle High School students raise money through a Barnes and Noble book fair at Westwood Village. (Voucher 423228)
And that’s not all! See the WSB Events Calendar for more.
The official message about urban wildlife tends to stress coexistence – as was the case during an October presentation at Camp Long (WSB coverage here). Robin doesn’t think that’s the way to go, after what’s happened to her, her pets, and her neighbors, because of what she calls “urban super raccoons”:Read More