day : 10/01/2009 9 results

Update: “Gunshot”-type sounds confirmed as fireworks (whew)

ORIGINAL 11:37 PM POST: We don’t have anything official on this but since we’ve received multiple e-mail from various locations, we’re throwing it out for starters in case anyone happens to be close to the epicenter of whatever happened – the notes we have so far report something within the past hour or so that sounded like gunshots. Nothing obvious on the scanner right this moment, and no “assault with weapons” or major aid calls. The locations from which people have e-mailed us with reports of hearing this include 41st/Alaska, 40th/Edmunds, and 41st/Edmunds – the latter note is from someone certain that it happened within a block of their location, but they haven’t heard sirens or anything else tell-tale. ADDED 11:58 PM: Just to reiterate, there is absolutely no proof this was (or wasn’t) shots – some in comments speculated fireworks. We are unlikely to get any official information tonight. ADDED 12:10 AM: Alice, who’s a reliable source, says she lives in the area and confirmed visually it was fireworks. Thanks; that’s the value of this type of post when multiple reports of concern come in – usually someone DOES know something more concrete that we have no way of finding out otherwise, so thanks for the info-sharing.

Another sign of paper-to-pixels change? Mailbox’s days numbered

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From Beach Drive Blog (spotted via the WSB Blogs page): The US Postal Service mailbox at Jacobsen/Beach Drive (which is technically Alaska/Beach, per Google Street View as seen above, or this regular G-map) goes away later this month. A few more details here. SUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Alkiguy says the mailbox at 55th/Alki is also posted for removal this month. We’ll check with USPS to see if there are others.

Update: More details on TV show shooting at Seacrest tomorrow

ORIGINAL 4:13 PM POST: Thanks to JBC for the first tip on this — the Seacrest parking lot will be off-limits tomorrow as will a lot of parking in the area along the east side of Harbor Avenue, 6 am-6 pm, because a film/video crew will be in action. Someone we asked at Seacrest would only say “film” but Adam says his building nearby has been notified it’s a “TV pilot.” (We saw one obvious prop – a makeshift A-board sign for a nameless “Water Taxi” with three tiers of ticket prices that bear no relation to the pricing of the real Water Taxi, which of course is out of service till spring.) We’re off to do more online research in hopes of securing details, but wanted to get word out ASAP about the parking restrictions for tomorrow. 4:41 PM UPDATE: Just got a photo of the notice (thanks again to Adam). Will retype the text here momentarily. Two things of note: Alki Crab and Fish WILL be open during the shoot (which the notice says will last about six hours), and one part of the production will include “the detonation of a charge which will simulate a car explosion.” 4:57 PM UPDATE: To read the entire text of the notice with details about what they’re doing tomorrow, including that “detonation,” and why there may be some intermittent traffic control in the area tomorrow too — plus which show is apparently involved — click ahead:Read More

Update: Alki harbor seal gets a name, and is doing OK

ORIGINAL 3:29 PM POST: Thanks to Colby for the tip and the photos – a baby seal is up on the landing between two waterfront staircases on Alki, across from Pegasus. The area is taped off and under Seal Sitters guard. (4:16 PM P.S.: A commenter asked if it’s alive – Colby’s note included this: “Aside from a little blood on his nose, he (or she?) appears to be resting. Every so often, one might catch a peek of him taking a nice restful breath.”)

7:42 PM UPDATE: Lots of great updates in the comments – thank you all! – most recently, this, from Lynn:

Update from the Seal Sitters: the NOAA biologist discerned from our photos of the Alki pup, which we named Forte which means strong in Spanish, that the wound on his nose is a superficial and not life threatening. Forte is underweight for this time of year but all other signs suggest good health (I.e. Stretching in the banana pose, alertness, steady and calm breathing, no coughing and no discharge from mouth, nose or eyes.) It is natural for a seal to haul out on our beach to rest after foraging and these big storms. Thanks to eveyone for keeping their distance and allowing the pup for sharing our shores. We are grateful to NOAA for their guidance and we will keep the WSB updated. If you want to volunteer for watching over Forte, call 905-SEAL (7325).

West Seattle Crime Watch: Maps of what’s happening where

That is one of four Seattle Police-created maps, each tracking a certain category of crime in the area covered by the Southwest Precinct — West Seattle and South Park — over the Dec. 8-Jan. 4 period, just received and circulated by Pete Spalding via the Pigeon Point Council e-mail list. (The letter/number designations are the official names of the patrol sectors in the precinct’s coverage area.) As far as we know, these aren’t available online, but Pete confirmed he was encouraged to share them with neighbors, and certainly you’re a neighbor. Read on to see the other three:Read More

Pothole problems: New warning, plus an alley concern

(photo added 4:26 pm)
First, the warning: Just out of the WSB inbox from Terry:

There is a huge pothole on California Ave @ California Ln in the Northbound Lane. ( Across from Hamilton Viewpoint; map) It is very dangerous as it is on the bend in the road and hard to see from your car. The hole is approx 3 ft deep and 2 ft across and big enough to damage a car or kill a motorcyclist.

Terry reported it to police; we’ll check a bit later to see if it’s been blocked off or repaired – let us know if you see any activity sooner. (4:26 pm update – as a commenter wrote, it’s now blocked off – see photo above) After our recent report that the city was out fixing post-snowstorm potholes, we also received a note about a deeply pitted alley – and photos of the huge holes, which became lakes during this week’s rain:

That’s looking southbound in the alley “parallel to Delridge, headed from Trenton to Barton and Henderson” (map), as our anonymous tipster puts it, adding, “This entire alley was re-graded and gravel spread a couple of months ago (2 months, 3 tops) and within a week all the holes were back. … As you go down the alley they get bigger, and you can see that the last one is easily the size of a truck. Each of these large ones are a good foot deep. For size reference, the posts in the fence at the end of the alley are 5-6 feet apart.” They’ve reported these before but nothing’s been done. That led us to look up if SDOT has any specific info online about alleys; from this page, we learn:

SDOT fills potholes on paved alleys, but will only address the most urgent safety concerns on unpaved alleys, where maintenance is primarily the responsibility of the adjacent property owners.

Guess the operative question, then, is, what constitutes an “urgent safety concern,” if not a truck-size hole. We’ll ask.

2 school updates: Seattle makeup days; Cooper closure fight

MAKEUP DAYS: Just in case you haven’t heard this yet: According to the School Beat e-newsletter e-mailed Friday by Seattle Public Schools, three days have been tacked onto the end of the school year to make up for time lost in Snowstorm ’08 – June 17, 18, and 19.

COOPER CLOSURE FIGHT: As we mentioned yesterday, the Cooper Elementary meeting originally set for mid-December, canceled because of the weather, is now happening next Tuesday (7 pm, Cooper Library) — and certainly packs even more urgency now that the Cooper “program closure” is on the official list of “final recommendations.” The Cooper School Works anti-closure website has published more details about the meeting, noting that in addition to School Board rep Steve Sundquist‘s planned participation (along with district official Patrick Johnson), they have invited the rest of the board. A Cooper PTA rep has shared with us a letter detailing key points they’re making to fight the closure recommendation:

Hello, my name is Molly Gras-Usry and I am a Cooper Elementary Parent. I want to bring to your attention a very fiscally, socially and educationally irresponsible recommendation the School Board has made. The Seattle School Board recommends that the Cooper Elementary students be kicked out of their building so that the West Seattle Pathfinder K-8 Program can occupy the building come fall 2009.

This recommendation doesn’t add up. First of all we have been told all along that Pathfinder needs at least 391 seats. Cooper won’t give that many seats. The Autism Programs that have been invited to stay occupy 4 classrooms for 24 kids therefore taking away 75 of the planning capacity seats. Also, they have invited 8 of the Cooper students to stay at Cooper in the Pathfinder Program which brings the number of seats available to the Pathfinder program 378. Thirteen fewer seats than what Pathfinder needs. Also, bringing a K-8 program into a K-5 building requires the District to retrofit the school with lockers and labs costing the District more money rather than saving money.

Furthermore, Cooper doesn’t meet the criteria established by Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson for closing a program. A program must be tanking on the WASL and enrollment needs to be declining. Cooper Elementary has the strongest WASL scores compared to other schools with similar demographics and enrollment has steadily grown the past several years.

Cooper staff and students also don’t appreciate being told by a Seattle School Board member that Cooper students are “making a waste of a nice, new building”. I’m not sure what he means by that but I see the Cooper family making great use of their space. Due to Cooper’s 80% free and reduced lunch population, we don’t have extra funding for off site field trips. Cooper students enjoy on site field trips through the green belt land they occupy and incorporate their environmental exploration with art.

This isn’t excellence for all, this is excellence for SOME.

Thank you for your time.
Molly Gras-Usry, Cooper PTA

About halfway through her live online Q/A session at the Seattle Times website yesterday (see the transcript here), Superintendent Dr. Goodloe-Johnson answered a question asking how the district could expect students to succeed if a thriving program like Cooper is closed and the students dispersed to other schools: “Successful teachers that implemented the successful programs will follow students. We will duplicate successful programs in the new schools, and strengthen all academic programs. The success that students have experienced will continue.” District information on the closure process can be found here; WSB archives, newest to oldest, are here.

Happening this morning: Pitch in and clean up!

January 10, 2009 6:34 am
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 |   Delridge | Environment | Fun stuff to do | White Center

Need a map? Here you go.

Door-to-door alert, followed by a “gang drop box” sighting

This came into the inbox Friday night from a longtime WSB’er who prefers to be unidentified:

After dark tonight a young woman knocked on our door near 45th & Edmunds [map] to offer new windows and energy efficiency survey. She was polite and left when we declined. Within an hour we found a gang ‘drop box’ on our corner. While assuming the two activities are unrelated it makes me
uneasy and we will be more than usually vigilant tonight.

We hadn’t heard about “gang drop boxes,” so asked a followup:

Seems gangs ‘drop’ a cardboard box where they want to mark territory or schedule some event. Because it’s just a cardboard box most of us would ignore it. Our corner box was heavy cardboard 8x8x3ft. A gang name was painted on it. We don’t know if there is an event code on it because we don’t know about this stuff. The box would have been dropped between 6:00 and 8:00 tonight. The original shipping label was to an individual on Queen Anne.

A family member with law-enforcement ties is the one who spotted it, our e-mail correspondent explained, adding that the family member subsequently spoke with a police officer who offered this additional information: “… that the boxes (or spray paint on garages, etc.) act like a GPS system for the gangs. He said for us not to worry because the paint color on this box would say ‘keep going’ as an arrow would.” We can’t find any evidence of this phenomenon on Google, but maybe it’s known by another name – we’ll make a note to follow up with police next week to find out if this is something new and if there’s something you should do if you spot one. (Or maybe YOU have expertise to share?)