West Seattle, Washington
After the Seattle Animal Shelter confirmed on Tuesday that one of its officers rescued that coyote from the precarious Jack Block Park (map) perch where Chris Weinmann photographed it on Saturday, we had the same question you did … how did the officer pull that off? So we asked SAS boss Don Jordan if he could put us in touch with the officer, and today he did. Quite the story – read on: Read More
(added 10:35 pm, Cooper parent Raymond Williams and daughter facing the board)
We’re at district HQ in Sodo, where the School Board is about to start its last regular meeting before next week’s scheduled closure vote (agenda here). No action is scheduled tonight, but at least three of the 20 public speakers in the first hour are listed as speaking on behalf of Cooper Elementary, so we will post quick notes about their speeches and any other major developments regarding the West Seattle closure proposal (or the other programs, such as the citywide APP top-level-gifted program, affecting WS families). For the first time in a while, it’s NOT a standing-room-only crowd (so far). 6:04 PM UPDATE: Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson is sharing a few reminiscences from her (personal, board member Cheryl Chow points out) trip to DC for the inauguration – she just returned this afternoon. She also mentioned her phone chats yesterday afternoon (WSB video coverage here) with Highland Park Elementary and Gatewood Elementary students. After that, following the Pledge of Allegiance, board president Michael DeBell – who’d noted it was the first one under the new administration – said, “That feels good.” 6:12 PM UPDATE: The presentation that will be made by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson after public comment (which has just begun) is online; it includes answers to questions raised by board members as part of the closure discussions – one is “Where would Cooper students be reassigned?” See page 12 of the presentation for the full list; highlights: the largest group, 104, would be expected to go to Gatewood, with the second largest, 65, to West Seattle Elementary. The presentation also answers a question about Cooper capacity and whether Pathfinder would fit:
Cooper has 26 homerooms and 1 PCP. After additional PCPs, Special Ed Self-Contained and Resource Room, Cooper has 21 homerooms. Pathfinder requires 2 homerooms per grade for K-8 which is 18 homerooms. This leaves 3 homerooms to expand the special program to middle school as well as provide an additional PCP for middle school and accommodates some of the
Cooper students from the Cooper reference area.
6:55 PM UPDATE: Three Cooper advocates have just spoken – Raymond Williams (video atop this post), and Molly Usry (first clip below) and Brittany Abbott (second clip below).
They reiterate the point: “Cooper does not meet the criteria for closure.” It is the main theme we have heard in meetings at and about Cooper, and on the CooperSchoolWorks.com website: Cooper is doing well academically, compared to schools with similar demographics, and shouldn’t be broken up, they say. They were preceded by a speaker who got a standing ovation, a Summit K-12 student named Jacob Looke, who testified against the proposal to close his school, struggling to get through tears, after explaining that he had been a social outcast most of his life, until he started attending that alternative school. 7:18 PM UPDATE: The superintendent is now running through her presentation, which starts with a list of actions to close “education gaps.”
8:35 PM UPDATE: The closure discussion is almost done for the night; board president DeBell says that if any board member has a change to propose to the superintendent’s final recommendations, they should get it to her in writing by noon next Tuesday, then it will be posted to the district website by noon next Wednesday. (The board vote is a week from tomorrow, during a meeting at which there will be no public testimony, since the last public hearing – with 40 speakers signed up, and the list now full – is tomorrow night, as DeBell reminds all.)
(from illustrated highlights of the new proposal; see the full version here)
6 months after it was unveiled, with a West Seattle architect on hand for the occasion, the much-watched “Multi-Family Code Update“ – centered on changes to the rules regarding townhouse design – has moved from the mayor’s office to the City Council. Here’s the official announcement:Read More
Our new leadership in DC is challenging us all to reach out and help each other – and we’ve got a stack of ideas to share with you – many are already on the WSB West Seattle Events calendar, but we want to shine an extra spotlight too – for starters, Illusions Hair Design (WSB sponsor) still has appointments available for its annual “Have a Heart Day” on Sunday 2/8 — here’s what it’s all about:
Illusions Hair Design is raising money for West Seattle Helpline – benefiting many families in our community – and Pencil Me in for Kids – benefiting hundreds of local grade-school kids each year – through its annual fund raiser “Have a Heart Day.” Since 1994, Illusions has opened its doors the Sunday before Valentine’s Day, donated staff time performing haircuts at reduced cost, and donated ALL monies raised to local charities. This year’s event will be on Sunday February 8th, from 12-5. Please call (206) 938-3675 to schedule an appointment, or visit www.illusionshairdesign.com to learn more.
Illusions, by the way, is currently featuring a photography display that you are welcome to stop by and check out during regular salon hours Mondays-Fridays, through the end of February – the debut show of Marybeth Coghill (here’s some of her work on Flickr).
Earlier today, we shared the final report on the diaper drive Katy Lloyd organized; now, we have a report on the blanket-making event Linda Tepe and Nancy Ross spearheaded on Monday at Fauntleroy Church, which also benefited the local families helped through WestSide Baby:
Our event was a huge success!
Through the USAService.org website I had allowed as many as 50 people to sign up. The event was filled by last Friday. Additionally, 8 friends told me they would attend. Instructions from USAService.org told me to expect no more than 60% of those to turn out, but incredibly 57 signed in.
People brought their friends, co-workers and children. There were people of all ages from babies on up to some in their 80’s: there were high school and college students; a group of 10 from Starbucks corporate; 3 woman brought their young daughters to help; a man and woman brought their daughters; and some young women brought their boyfriends. And 2 babies did quality control, making sure the blankets were soft enough and modeling some of the creations.
We made 130 baby blankets, 107 buntings and an unknown number of adorable hats that one of the volunteers created with the leftover remnants.
Our event was very “green”: not even the smallest scraps of that fleece were thrown away because one the volunteers, who also volunteers for the Humane Society, took those little scraps to make cat toys for her feline friends.
The 40 odd bolts of fleece fabric that we used had been donated to WestSide Baby by BlueStar. BlueStar had purchased the leftover inventory from Hancock Fabrics before the groundbreaking for the Whole Foods project and then turned around and donated the goods to a number of charities, including WestSide Baby.
Thanks again to everyone who shared their stories from Day of Service (and also, yesterday, from Inauguration Day/Night). Share your stories and/or photos with your West Seattle neighbors, whether it’s breaking news or happy news, by sending whatever you have to firstname.lastname@example.org … thanks!
Desiree is not only upset about something that happened to a friend of hers, she wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to you, so she e-mailed WSB to share the story, so you know what and who to watch for – read on:Read More
You probably remember the brief but fiery controversy last year when a Parks Department briefing paper posited the possibility of dramatic changes in the rules regarding beach fires at Alki and Golden Gardens. Eventually, the idea was tabled, and the Parks Board — now chaired by Alki resident Jackie Ramels — asked for a post-summer update on how things were going. That update is finally scheduled to happen at tomorrow night’s Parks Board meeting, and the briefing paper has just been posted on the Parks Department website. In short, no changes are planned/proposed for this summer at either beach – but the department is going ahead with plans to seek a vendor to sell “clean-burning firewood” so that fire-ring users will have that option. The briefing paper also includes myriad stats on how many fires and problems occurred at both beaches last summer, and includes this overview:
Certain behaviors continue to be a challenge including parking at Golden Gardens, alcohol consumption at both parks, and burning of inappropriate material that cause hazards and illegal fires. Parks staff is effective at eliminating illegal fires when they occur and report that most people are cooperative when it is pointed out that alcohol is not permitted. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) is contacted regarding incidents such as fights and significant parking issues. Overall, the beach fire program was successful in preventing illegal fires, use of illegal burn materials and enhancing the general adherence to park rules.
The briefing paper says beach-fire “program” costs at Alki this past summer totaled more than $27,000, while Golden Gardens costs were more than triple that. (For comparison’s sake, Alki had five fire rings last summer, GG had 13.) Tomorrow night’s Parks Board meeting, by the way, is at 7 pm, parks HQ in Denny Park downtown; this is NOT an action item – just a briefing.
Photo sent to us by Marlow Harris, along with this explanation:
West Seattle resident and licensed architect Bret Wiggins has had a lifelong dream to channel the King and does so at every opportunity. He’ll get a chance to do so again this Saturday at the 2009 12th Annual Elvis Invitationals.
Bret is from West Seattle, and has a wife, Judy and 3 boys. They all know about 100 Elvis songs (they have to put up with dad singing in the shower..) Bret has been doing Elvis since he was a teenager (he’s now 47) and it has just become a very fun hobby. He does a tribute show for friends and family and occasionally for special parties or events. On several occasions he has done Elvis at auctions for fundraising, but he’s not giving up the day job, so to speak. He is a licensed architect from Seattle and has been in the design field for nearly 25 years, currently working at Callison. Bret placed 3rd in this competition 2 years ago and would love to win it this time!
Three meetings in West Seattle tonight that we wanted to remind you about before the day got too old:
STATE FERRIES’ FUTURE, AND WEST SEATTLE TRAFFIC EFFECTS: 6 pm tonight, The Hall at Fauntleroy, reps from Washington State Ferries are here to hear what you think about the system’s Draft Long-Range Plan, which could mean more ferry-related traffic on West Seattle roads, among other changes.
METRO OPEN HOUSE ABOUT ROUTE 50: This is the new route we’ve been telling you about which includes a Delridge-to-The-Junction leg. Tonight you can find out more, directly from Metro, by visiting Youngstown Arts Center between 6:30 and 8:30.
DELRIDGE NEIGHBORHOODS DISTRICT COUNCIL: Reps from neighborhood and community groups in the neighborhoods that the city considers the “Delridge District” will gather as they do every month for updates and discussions, and you’re more than welcome – 7 pm, Southwest Precinct.
More of what’s happening today and tonight can be found on the WSB West Seattle Events calendar.
We’re at Coffee to a Tea in The Junction, with West Seattle’s School Board rep Steve Sundquist and more than a dozen people who are listening – and talking to – him about the school-closure process that will culminate in a vote a week from tomorrow. While Sundquist opened the meeting by saying he has not made up his mind yet on the closure proposal that’s on the table now, and won’t till late next week, he also has reiterated, he believes “we need to close schools.” He also says, “We are in a financial situation where we have not yet found the bottom.” More to come.
9:28 AM UPDATE: So far, Sundquist has been asked multiple questions about the proposed breakup of APP – the district’s top-level accelerated program – no questions yet about the proposed program closure at Cooper Elementary.
9:51 AM UPDATE: Sundquist has just finished the first discussion about Cooper. He acknowledges district staff and board members are struggling with the fact that closing its program would disperse a program that appears to be doing a good job serving children of color (and those facing economic challenges). He says Boren would not work as a home for Pathfinder K-8 because, for one, it’s not available next year – and the district’s financial challenges are immediate, so they have to have a solution they could implement NOW.
10:57 AM UPDATE: The event wrapped up just after 10:30 am as planned. We’ll add more to this shortly – including a video clip of Sundquist laying out where he believes the “West Seattle situation” stands — one thing to pass around now: Sundquist said he expects the district to do an audit on alternative education soon, like the ones that have been done for APP and other district-wide programs.
ADDED 11:52 AM: Video of Sundquist giving an overview summarizing the “West Seattle situation” — why Cooper is a candidate for closure, why Pathfinder needs a new home, and why the district/board are (as mentioned above) concerned about breaking up a good program at Cooper, plus his view on where the district assignment plan is going, all in about eight unedited minutes:
Tonight is the final regular School Board meeting before next week’s closure vote, 6 pm, district HQ in Sodo, with at least three people scheduled to speak to the board about Cooper; we will be there to cover it (and you can watch live on cable).
On Monday, we showed you Katy Lloyd and her daughters at Jefferson Square Safeway, kicking off a 10-hour diaper drive for WestSide Baby that Katy organized as part of National Day of Service, with other volunteers taking the baton later in the day. Late last night, she sent us word of final results (and gratitude):
Well, after a day that has been just unbelievably good in so many ways, I can add one more thing: the final count from our Westside Baby Diaper Drive on Monday brought in a grand total of 10,000 diapers! Executive Director Nancy Woodland tells me this was one of the best diaper drives they’ve ever had aside from their huge Stuff the Bus event in July. Thanks to the Diaper Drive they will be able to serve the needs of 400 children. I can’t tell you how many people told me they came by after seeing it posted on the blog.
Thank you for providing a way for our community to do what communities do best-helping one another. Thanks to Safeway Manager Dave Dupuy for supporting the drive, making announcements in the store all day long, and for being so helpful. Thanks to Liberty Bell Printing for providing free services for our effort. Thanks to the volunteers (the big ones and the little ones) who stood in the cold, handed out fliers to shoppers, and carted loads of diapers here and there. Most of all, thanks to the generous people of West Seattle, who on Martin Luther King Day helped make his vision of a just world more real by putting a smile on a baby’s face.
A diaper can’t change the world, but it can change a sad baby into a happy baby, and for families stressed by lack of affordable housing, health care, and low incomes, a happy baby can make a world of difference. So, maybe a diaper can change the world after all.
You of course don’t have to wait for the next diaper drive to help WestSide Baby; its website offers lots of suggestions for how to do that any time. And we’ll continue to share news of opportunities to help your West Seattle neighbors and the organizations working hard to make lives better.