West Seattle, Washington
As Rick R. put it, tonight’s sunset was simply golden — that’s the view from Fauntleroy. (Probably no encore tomorrow — the forecast looks wet and breezy.) A couple miles east, and a few hours earlier, it was Day 2 of Spring Break Camp at Denny Middle School in Westwood:
Denny principal Jeff Clark sent those photos with word that this camp is recordbreaking:
Yesterday and today, we have had 225 kids at school increasing their skills in reading, math, writing, science, and music. Our break camp programs are designed to create learning opportunities for our students beyond the regular school year calendar. The previous attendance record for a break camp at Denny was approximately 100 students, so this week’s daily total of 225 is amazing. I would like to congratulate our outstanding students for their efforts and thank our terrific staff for making this opportunity possible–go, Denny Dolphins!
Got news about your school, group, or ? — please let us know — the various ways to reach us are all listed here.
First, from Matt Schlede at the West Seattle Family YMCA (WSB sponsor):
The West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA are now registering for youth t-ball/baseball, ages 4-10 year olds. Registration ends April 9th. One practice during the week, and one game one Saturdays at EC Hughes Park. Season starts April 27th. Financial assistance available. Register online at westseattleymca.org or in person at either YMCA; questions to email@example.com
This announcement’s from Darin Smith:
The Hiawatha Tae Kwon Do Club is looking for new members for its ongoing classes at the Hiawatha Community Center in West Seattle. Adults (18 and older) can sign up to learn Tae Kwon Do, a Korean martial art known for its fast sparring techniques, dynamic forms, and strong kicks. The classes involve an International Tae Kwon Do (ITF) based style with emphasis on proper technique, physical fitness, and mental discipline. The club is focused on self-improvement in a non-competitive atmosphere that promotes unity, respect, and indomitable spirit. Classes cost $30/month and meet Mondays & Thursdays 7-8:30pm and Saturdays 11:15am-1:15pm. Beginners are definitely welcome and preferred; new students can join at any time! Please call (206) 684-7441 for questions or registration information.
Twitter user “seakobi“ sent that via TwitPic, taken from Alki about half an hour ago – and we got notes from Barb and Robin wondering about the helicopter. Clearly a Coast Guard chopper, but we aren’t having any luck getting the CG on the phone; no rescue calls on 911, so perhaps training? May not be able to verify till tomorrow, but if you happen to know, please chime in. And thanks to “seakobi” for the photo. ADDED 8:34 PM: And this one too:
ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: From comments, official confirmation (and yes, the IP address checks out):
The crews from Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., and Station Seattle were doing their weekly helicopter operations training March 31. Nice photos from your reader.
Paul Roszkowski, Chief Public Affairs Specialist, U. S. Coast Guard
This scene should be cleared soon but for the moment, it’s a little slow-going at 44th/Alaska, either westbound on Alaska or northbound on 44th, because a van went up on the sidewalk on the corner at Wells Fargo (background of photo above). It’s about to be towed away – not sure if the building is damaged till we see what happened when the van’s gone; no word of any injuries. (Thanks to everybody who called about this one – 206-293-6302 if news breaks and you’re away from your computer.) 6:16 PM UPDATE: An SDOT worker’s here now; the damage appears to include a knocked-down street sign and fire hydrant, as well as some lost shrubbery.
Earlier this month, Seattle Public Schools lawyers noted during a School Board meeting that a hearing was set April 1st on a court challenge to the district’s planned $1.8 million sale of the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse (and part of its surrounding property) to the Fauntleroy Community Services Agency. Checking with the district this afternoon, we learned there’s no hearing tomorrow after all, because there’s been a preliminary ruling in the case: The district was told it indeed has the authority to sell the property, according to SPS spokesperson David Tucker, but they expect the case to move on to the Court of Appeals, which means it may not be settled till next year. We checked next with FCSA’s Kevin Wooley, who tells WSB that the group is now trying to decide “how to go forth” — if they close on the deal as planned, they could wind up in the middle of potentially costly litigation; if they don’t close on the deal as planned, some of the money they’ve secured from the city, state, and other sources could be in jeopardy. For now, Wooley says, they are going ahead as planned, and he says there’s no particular date right now by which they need to make a decision, but he says the court situation is “kind of disappointing” and ultimately “could mess up the whole sale.” The group that’s been suing to challenge district sales of property like the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse has contended that the district should keep the property for future school use; Wooley’s contention is that “we’ve been leasing the building for more than 20 years and there’s no way it’s ever going to be used again as a public school.”
We’ve received a couple of reports lately of parking rules being enforced in West Seattle neighborhoods where residents swear they’ve never seen a Parking Enforcement Officer before. As of a short time ago, that includes ours; we bolted out the front door upon spotting a PEO checking our license plates. COMPLETELY guilty of parking with our wheels touching the sidewalk, which is not raised on our miniblock, but that’s no excuse; she let us off with a warning, provided we moved the cars to comply. But given the reports we’ve had recently, we are publishing this note as a public service advising you to bone up on the parking rules if you also park on the street; you can read many of them here. If you’ve routinely parked closer to a stop sign than the signs say you’re supposed to, DON’T. Wheels on the sidewalk, like us? DON’T. Car pointed the wrong way? DON’T. Precinct leaders mentioned recently that another parking-enforcement officer was going to be headquartered at their facility soon and we’re checking to see if perhaps this officer has arrived, concurrent with this stepped-up activity. Meantime, besides the link mentioned earlier, here’s the complete Seattle Municipal Code parking section; we see the sidewalk rule we broke is here; the stop-sign rule we’ve undoubtedly broken before is here; the rule about pointing in the correct direction is here.
ADDENDUM: Southwest Precinct Lt. Steve Paulsen‘s reply to our question: The third PEO is NOT here in West Seattle yet; he adds, “We don’t direct our Parking Enforcement into the residential neighborhoods unless there are complaints coming in to 911 or parking enforcement. The priorities are business districts for the turnover of parking. We also provide priority to RPZ enforcement as well.”
We’ve seen eagles more than a few times in our 18 years of living in West Seattle, but can’t quite recall HEARING them – so thanks to Gary Jones for getting close enough to capture audio as well as video from Alki Point this morning, and sharing the results. At one point, he spotted four eagles in the same tree, and got still photos too:
Thanks again to Gary for sharing the video and photos – if you capture wildlife, breaking news, memorable scenes, firstname.lastname@example.org – any time!
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“One in five sixth graders in our state is drinking alcohol now. But only five percent of sixth grade parents think their kid is drinking.”
Sixth graders – drinking? A startling thought — maybe not in the abstract, but it is if you know a kid that age. They’re on the edge of teenhood, and yet they still have frequent moments sparking the thought, “Really, they’re still just kids.”
The quote is from Chris Volkmann, an Olympia mom who will be speaking at Madison Middle School in West Seattle on April 8 with her son Toren Volkmann; the two have written a book together, “Binge to Blackout.” Before you switch off into “oh, just more preachy stuff” mode, listen to Chris’s invitation: “Just come out and talk with us.”
Toren is 26 now but truly lucky to be alive. I hoped to talk with him before writing this story but missed a connection; nonetheless, Chris’s side of the story is no less compelling – and if you have a child of any age, her suggestions for a non-typical way of discussing drinking with your kid(s) are priceless.
First: A reminder that Conner Homes‘ two-building project in The Junction goes back for what could be its final round of Design Review (process explained here) this Thursday night, 6:30 pm, West Seattle Christian Church. After the March 12 review, all involved agreed to schedule this meeting as quickly as possible, including the two board members who technically were supposed to end their terms after the 3/12 meeting, but agreed to stay on till it was finalized, for continuity’s sake.
Speaking of board members, here are the two new ones who will join as of the following meeting (April 9th, Madison Middle School, 2988 SW Avalon and 4532 42nd SW): Norma Tompkins and Robin Murphy (screenshots from their appearance at the Planning, Land Use, and Neighborhoods Committee meeting earlier this month). While Tompkins is appointed as the “local residential representative” on the board and Murphy is appointed as “design professional representative,” both are trained architects, according to the biographical info in this month’s edition of city planners’ dpdInfo newsletter (see it here); Tompkins works as a production designer at Starbucks, Murphy works for the architecture firm Stricker Cato Murphy; both are West Seattleites.
One other note – Followed up on a WSB’er note asking what’s up now that more than two months have gone by since the last Design Review meeting for the redevelopment proposal at The Kenney (previous coverage of the project archived here).
We checked with Kenney CEO Kevin McFeely, who replied:
Basically, what is happening is that we are exploring the recommendations and suggestions that were discussed at the last meeting in January. This involves potentially moving the Seaview building to a different location on the campus and reducing the massing on the perimeter buildings to allow for a smoother transition into the neighborhood. At this time, I don’t have a sense when the next meeting will be, my hope is that it will take place within the next 4-6 weeks.
Once that next meeting is scheduled, you’ll find it on the city’s Design Review/Upcoming page for starters, even before the official notice appears in the Land Use Information Bulletin; our fellow development-watchers may be interested to note, that page’s format and features have just been updated. Upcoming reviews can be sorted by district, among other things, and meeting announcements now include the city’s own maps (like this one showing the location of Madison MS for the 4/9 meeting).
30th Avenue SW Sidewalk Improvements to Start April 6
The Seattle Department of Transportation’s contractor plans to begin construction of 30th Avenue SW sidewalk improvements on Monday, April 6. The sidewalk will be constructed on the eastern side of 30th Avenue SW from SW Brandon Street to the existing sidewalk at the top of the hill (just north of SW Juneau Street and High Point). Some preparation work such as surveying will start later this week.
The construction is expected to take five to six weeks, depending on the weather. For the duration of construction, 30th Avenue SW between SW Findlay and Brandon Streets will be closed to through traffic. A detour route will be signed for through traffic to use 29th Avenue SW.
Parking will be restricted in the area under construction. Access to driveways will be maintained.
Work hours will typically be from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Also from the same city news release, this P.S. of what’ll happen when the sidewalk work is done:
Seattle City Light will be moving the utility poles closer to the new curb on 30th Avenue SW between SW Findlay and Brandon Streets. This work will occur after SDOT’s sidewalk project and is expected to take two months. After the new utility poles are placed and the old utility poles are removed, SDOT will return to fill in any gaps in the sidewalk that remain.
Like the Alki Point sidewalk project, the 30th SW sidewalk work is a Neighborhood Street Fund project first announced in November 2007 (WSB coverage here). The project’s official city webpage is here.
Three reasons we’re starting the weekend countdown way early:
GATHERING OF NEIGHBORS: Think you know West Seattle tip to toe, Duwamish Head to Delridge Triangle, Herring’s House Park to Weather Watch Park? We bet you’ll still find someone, something, some group, some business that’s new to you, when you drop by the Gathering of Neighbors/Biz Expo (WSB sponsor) this Saturday, 11 am-3 pm, Chief Sealth at Boren. We’ll be there, which brings us to …
WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE DAY SIGNUPS START SATURDAY: May 9th is the 5th annual WSCGSD — one day with garage sales all over West Seattle! more than 145 registered last year — and we’re starting registration earlier this year in response to suggestions made last year. First day of registration is this Saturday, and if you come sign up in person at the WSB table at the aforementioned Gathering of Neighbors, we’re offering a one-day-only, in-person-only discount from the regular fees (which are otherwise the same as last year, which in turn was a cut from the year before): That means if you sign up with us in person that day at G-o-N, it’s $10/individual sale, $15/organization-school-etc., $25/block. (Rest of the time it’s $12-$20-$30.) By the way, if you don’t have room for your own sale, we know of at least one place that will offer space for you to come set up a table – Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor), in the courtyard – more on that later this week.
WATER TAXI SEASON STARTS SUNDAY: It’s one of the best freebies of the year – the King County (formerly Elliott Bay) Water Taxi will be free all day on kickoff day this Sunday, plus Seacrest Pier will be in full celebration mode that day from noon-2 pm — music, speeches, surprises, general revelry. Water Taxi schedules and fares all await you here.
Two links of interest to share from our partner site White Center Now:
ANNEXATION: Burien’s proposal to annex part of the White Center/North Highline area is one step closer to reality tonight after a preliminary approval recommendation from the King County Boundary Review Board, following a public hearing in Tukwila. Burien’s city manager noted during the hearing that Seattle, which might annex the rest of the area – or might not – didn’t send a representative to comment. Read detailed notes from the hearing, as it happened, here.
AMANDA KNOX: Some people are so interested in the case of the young woman from West Seattle who’s on trial for murder in Italy, they could tell you the entire story in intricate detail. If you, on the other hand, feel like you came into the story in the middle, you might be interested in this WCN analysis/opinion piece retracing the case.
WSB contributing reporter Keri DeTore asked us the seemingly harmless question: “What do you think about featuring some of West Seattle’s ‘shop cats’?” We almost fell all over ourselves yelling YES! Here’s Keri’s introduction, followed by the first profile:
Keeping the books warm and the mice away; drinking from fountains, greeting customers and saving other cat lives by being blood donors. West Seattle has a number of businesses featuring these furry co-workers who help with rodent control and even have their own fan clubs. We’ll be sharing the stories of these feline friends from time to time.
By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
West Seattle Nursery’s shop cat is Seth: “Everything’s for sale but the cat.”
(photo courtesy West Seattle Nursery)
As he lounges in his nest at the West Seattle Nursery counter, you’d be forgiven for questioning the “feisty” description many of the folks who work with Seth have given him; but reach out a hand and look what happens — you might be delicately hooked by a slender claw and brought closer for inspection:
WSB’er Joe just e-mailed to ask if we would put up a photo of, and info about, a missing Lake Stevens woman who happens to be the mom of one of his co-workers. No known West Seattle tie but since Joe asked, absolutely. You may already have heard about this from citywide media – the website set up to help the search mentions stories done by TV stations and newspapers. Joe says maybe someone from here happened to be up at Stevens Pass last weekend and might have seen her. Connie Marie Koch is 62 years old and hasn’t been seen since Thursday.
From SDOT, shared in the interest of the many West Seattleites who drive through SODO:
Royal Brougham Way is now closed east and westbound between 4th Ave S and Occidental (map). The closure will continue through to late Saturday, April 4. A signed detour will guide motorists. Pedestrian access will be provided on S Royal Brougham Way. The closure is necessary so crews can relocate utilities and prepare for bridge pier construction for the SR 519 project
Dropped by Southwest Youth and Family Services in North Delridge this afternoon to catch the moment as Sue Mariotti (right) from the Admiral Safeway BECU presented a check for $1,000 to SWYFS, officially accepted by Donna Chapman (left). The money will support the Parent Child Home Program, a SWYFS program that will provide family support this summer to 44 “very low income” Latino, African-American, Somali, and Iraqi families with 2- and/or 3-year-old children. Cara Kroenke of SWYFS explains, “Children living in poverty often miss out on active play and exploration which could enhance their development,” so toward that end, each family will get to choose up to six “field trips,” such as libraries, beaches, or environmental-education parks such as Camp Long, also receiving “developmentally appropriate toys/books reflecting the theme of the field trip.” BECU, by the way, also is a sponsor of SWYFS’s next annual fundraising event, which is now a dinner/auction rather than the traditional breakfast – the date is set for September 18th, with other details to come. Find out more about SWYFS – which is also our area’s lead agency for the city’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative — at its website, swyfs.org.
From longtime WSB’er “timeslid“:
Well, it happened to our car last night. Some really fabulous human rifled through our car last night. Nothing is missing other than the car cheese knife. It was really fun to come out to all the contents of the glove box strewn up the street. This was between Lander and Stevens on 38th (map). I thought I locked the door, but I guess I didn’t.
Also from the City Council meeting that’s under way now, 3 more items of West Seattle relevance: First, after hearing an explanation from Councilmember Tom Rasmussen regarding the significance of the Admiral Way/SW Manning parcel, the council just voted 7-1 (Richard McIver was the “no” vote) to approve the new plan to open a public discussion of the site’s fate. As first reported here earlier this month, the Parks Department is now willing to take over the site, which once was targeted for possible sale. We’ll let you know how to participate in the public discussion, once details of the process are outlined. Second, the council has just finalized appointments to the new committee that will oversee how the money’s spent from the Parks Levy approved last year; members from West Seattle are Neal Adams, Cindi Barker, and Pete Spalding. Third, councilmembers have approved rezoning for part of the High Point development (6800 31st SW is the official address) that Councilmember Sally Clark described as “correcting an oversight” from long-ago rezoning action. Details are in items 26 and 27 on the agenda.
The full City Council just made it official: You will vote August 18th on whether to approve or reject the ordinance that would require a 20-cent fee to be charged for every disposable shopping bag you use. Without discussion, councilmembers voted 8-0 to put the referendum on the ballot (approving this item).
We were just in The Junction at Hope Lutheran Church/School working on a followup to this weekend’s announcement of a joint operating agreement between Hope and neighboring Seattle Lutheran High School (more on that later), as well as touring Hope’s almost-finished expansion work, and happened onto this group in the church basement, assembling about 150 Easter baskets. Hope’s Human Care Ministries leader Mary Anne DeVry explained that they go to local seniors and also to new local arrivals including immigrant families working with a Lutheran program assisting refugees. The baskets contain treats and a few practical-but-fun items too, from scarves to stuffed animals. Mary Anne says the project started about a decade ago when someone offered the church a carload of discarded, empty Easter baskets and said “can you do something with them?” The answer – “we’ll figure something out.” Now, it’s a tradition. (Reminder, as mentioned yesterday, we’re collecting info now from all over West Seattle for our Easter services/brunch/egg hunts lists – email@example.com – thanks!)
THE GROUCHOS: This is at least the third year that Groucho Marx faces have appeared in the bridgeside greenery of Pigeon Point. This news comes from Mark Bourne, who chronicles the sighting here and even wrote about them for Film.com last year.
GARBAGE TRUCKS: Not only did some trash/recycling procedures and pickup dates change starting today, WSB photojournalist Christopher Boffoli noticed something else:
He says that’s the first time he’s noticed one of the new “powered by natural gas” trucks, and adds, “You can’t really tell from the video but they are noticeably quieter than the old ones. They are also the cleanest garbage trucks I have ever seen.” We found a little more information at the Waste Management Seattle website — actually an excerpt from an earlier city news release about the new solid-waste contracts: “Sixty percent of the (WM) trucks will run on a bio-diesel blend and 40 percent will run on compressed natural gas.” Remember, if you’re STILL confused about the changes, you can find more info here or call the city’s “customer service” line at 684-3000.
BONUS SIGHTING: Moments after we published this item, we received a note, with pix, re: yet another interesting sighting — Larry Nitkey wondered if this was a “bridge to nowhere”:
Still looking for complete verification but 99% sure it’s for the Hood Canal Bridge project, judging by what’s in this Sunday article. (Note that the bridge’s six-week construction shutdown is just a month away – it starts May 1st.)
This already has been pointed out on the comment thread following the Sunday story, but here’s the official announcement early this morning from the family of Payton, the West Seattle schnoodle stolen during a visit to Capitol Hill (original report here) – he’s back home safe:
I don’t even know how to describe what happened in the last 28 hours or so but my wife and I are in total disbelief. We just got our beloved Payton back. Apparently sometime around 9am this morning the thieves dropped him on a busy 4 lane road in Federal Way. 2 ladies on their way to church saw him and picked him up. They posted some ads around Federal Way but saw the clip on KOMO and called it in.
We learned a lot over the last day plus. One, as many people have suggested – don’t leave your dog in your car unattended. It’s simply not safe or worth the risk. We also learned how powerful a group of united friends and can be when called upon. We’re forever grateful to everyone who worked very hard today to help us get the word out. Within moments of getting home last night, our friends and family went to work and gave us the support we needed. Also, if it wasn’t for the West Seattle Blog I’m not sure we would have him back right now. Many thanks to you and your readers for your comments which ultimately led to KOMO reaching out to us about the story.
Lastly, the owner’s of Piecora’s were so helpful and caring and deserve a lot business their way. The owner came in (Sunday) just to get me the footage that SPD decided to ignore (as it was just a theft of “personal property”) so we could get it on air and out to people.
Thanks a million to everyone who showed their support.
TRASH/RECYCLING CHANGES: Today’s the day it all starts. If you’re like us and had Monday pickup before, they’re not supposed to show up till tomorrow. An online lookup tool is here (but it’s had a few reports of glitches). The recycling changes — more stuff can go in the bin, no more glass separation, etc. — are explained here. Remember that yard waste (including food scraps) is now picked up weekly. And if you’re confused, call 684-3000.
SPRING BREAK: Reminder that Seattle Public Schools (and others) are out this week for spring break, so you’ll see lots more kids around.
BAG FEE ELECTION VOTE: During the meeting that starts at 2 pm today (agenda here), the Seattle City Council is scheduled to take a final vote on putting the disposable-bag-fee referendum on the August 19 ballot. (If you’re new to this story, council members approved an ordinance that would charge shoppers 20 cents for each disposable shopping bag they use. A petition drive bankrolled by the American Chemistry Council [financial report here] was immediately launched to force a referendum vote on the proposal, so the fee hasn’t taken effect.)