day : 06/03/2009 14 results

Update: Rite-Aid robbery suspect at large, but SWAT situation over

(Toplines: Rite-Aid pharmacy robbed 8:35ish pm, robber thought to have fled into nearby apt., SWAT team called out, determined after 11 pm he wasn’t there and is still at large)

(photo added 9:48 pm)
ORIGINAL 9:10 PM REPORT: Thanks to Manuel for the first tip – and the phone’s just started ringing too – we’re en route to check out the “heavy police presence” around Rite-Aid south of The Junction (map). One report says it’s a search for a robbery suspect, and police may soon be stopping traffic in the area. A “command post” is being set up in the area to manage the operation – scanner says police are going to route traffic “around the Rite-Aid.” 9:17 PM UPDATE: 42nd SW also is blocked at Dawson, a block east of Rite-Aid. 9:21 PM UPDATE: Talked to police at the scene – they confirm a robbery attempt at the Rite-Aid pharmacy, and the robber may be holed up in a nearby apartment building – that’s why police are bringing in reinforcements. Again, avoid the area. Just received a note from Nick, who was there just after it happened:

I just got back from filling a prescription at Rite Aid on Calif. The place had been held up just seconds before I got there. Probably around 845 pm. I first heard the store manager on the phone with 911 telling the police about the robbery, saying the suspect had ducked into some apartment buildings across the street.. When I went into the back to the pharmacy, the young pharmacist was on the phone talking to 911, clearly shaken up. When she got off, she told me a man had jumped over the counter, surprising her. “you can’t be back here,” she said she told him. He then brandished a gun, took some medicine and fled. I heard the store manager then say that he had given chase, thinking the guy was a garden variety shoplifter and not knowing he had a weapon. i walked out of the riteaid to see about 4 or five police cars. the cops were putting on their flack jackets, all carrying shotguns or semiautos. one guy in assault gear (helmet, etc) was walking around an apartment building with his weapon drawn. scary stuff.

The SWAT team has arrived. Photos shortly. Information as it develops. Again, California and 42nd are both blocked at Dawson – don’t know about points west (let us know if you are seeing anything over there). (short video clip added 9:53 pm, SWAT team members gearing up)

9:39 PM UPDATE: We just checked the extent of where traffic is blocked off. California/Brandon on the south (by West Seattle Nursery) – over to 45th on the west, 42nd on the east, and then up to Dawson on the north. So if you need to get between north and south West Seattle, you’re going to have to veer either all the way west toward the water or east toward 35th or Delridge.

10:01 PM UPDATE: Police have moved the roadblock another block north, to Hudson, so that’s the new northern edge. Here are the boundaries, roughly (the red triangle marks the Rite-Aid):

View Larger Map

10:21 PM: No play-by-play to report because what we’re hearing on the scanner is all tactical stuff that “live” media don’t report in case it gives something away to the person who’s being sought. But it’s still a very “active” scene, and co-publisher Patrick is there with the rest of the media while your editor here monitors the scanner and posts updates as they are heard, or called in by P., or e-mailed by WSB’ers.

10:33 PM UPDATE: There’s activity at the scene – a chopper was there for a while – and police are coming out of the apartment building, heading toward the Rite-Aid across the street. Patrick is with the TV crews at the scene and there’s no clear information yet exactly what has happened. He’s seen two women in handcuffs – the robber was reported to have been a man, but there also was scanner traffic at one point an hour or so ago indicating a “separate incident” that police were handling inside the building.

10:55 PM UPDATE:
There’s reportedly been an arrest — Patrick is trying to confirm the circumstances and that this is believed to be the robbery suspect — and California should reopen shortly.

11:01 PM UPDATE:
Traffic back to normal and police leaving. Still working on confirmation of exactly who they have and whether nobody else is believed to be at large.

11:06 PM UPDATE: A captain at the scene tells us the robber IS NOT in custody. Two people who were detained have been released. This may explain why we heard scanner traffic earlier asking how much of a lag there had been between the actual robbery and the call to police. Have seen this happen before, where a suspect is believed to be holed up somewhere – then turns out not to be. We have a call out to the on-call media officer to try to double-verify this, given that it conflicts with what one other media organization reported.

11:17 PM UPDATE:
SPD media unit Officer Renee Witt just called. She confirms: The suspect IS NOT IN CUSTODY – so he was not in the apartment after all. We don’t have a description to share, at this point.

11:37 PM UPDATE: Lt. Ron Smith at Southwest Precinct also confirms the robber was NOT in the apartment, when the SWAT team finally got in. He also confirms the account published above of what happened — pharmacy was robbed, robber showed a gun. So at this point, the search hits a dead end for now — robber still on the loose.

12:12 AM: Adding a few photos before we close this out: First two are from WSB photojournalist Christopher Boffoli:

Co-publisher Patrick took this next one – the bus at right was brought in for potential use if residents had to be evacuated from the apartment building the robber was thought to be holed up in.

West Seattle snow? Metro promises it’ll get word out THIS time

(December photo courtesy Austin)
Just in from King County, Metro says it’ll use Twitter and a blog-format site to get the word out about bus trouble if that snow happens as forecast – read on:Read More

West Seattle Weather Watch: Now the snow possibility’s sooner

The National Weather Service has moved up the snow possibility to tomorrow afternoon, and from thereon out, the word “snow” isn’t out of the metro-area forecast until TUESDAY. See for yourself here.

Time set for next West Seattle Junction parking-study walking tour

(WSB photo from 2/28/08 Junction walking tour)
Last Saturday, we reported on the first SDOT Community Parking Program walking tour of The Junction, gathering information about the parking situation, not just on the main business-district blocks, but also the surrounding area, as the next step in the city review that will decide — among other things — whether pay stations and Residential Parking Zones will be installed. This afternoon, the time and date are now finalized for the next one, 11 am March 18; you can still RSVP to be part of it —

Update: Harbor Ave reopened after diver’s medical emergency

(photo added 3:14 pm)
Avoid the area – big police/fire response to a medic call, we’re on the scene and gathering info – traffic is blocked – this is near the Fairmount intersection. At least one person is being worked on by medics. 3:05 PM UPDATE: Police tell WSB that the person is a diver but they weren’t sure whether this was a diving accident or a medical problem such as a heart attack. 3:21 PM UPDATE: Traffic still blocked at Harbor/Fairmount – we’ll advise when it reopens.

3:53 PM UPDATE: Clear to traffic again. The diver was rushed to Harborview Medical Center but we don’t have condition information so far.

West Seattle Weekend Lineup: Movies on the Wall edition

March 6, 2009 2:28 pm
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 |   Fun stuff to do | WS culture/arts | WS Weekend Lineup

wswllicon3.pngBig event of the weekend, the first Winter Movies on the Wall series starts with “The Mummy,” 7 pm Saturday night – then hours later, spring forward – set your clock one hour ahead at 2 am Saturday night/Sunday morning. But you’ll never miss that hour of sleep, just too much to do: A solar job fair in The Junction, the annual Fairmount Ravine cleanup, a swap event on Saturday, a fashion show Sunday, and a jazz benefit Sunday night, all among more than 40 events listed ahead in this edition of the West Seattle Weekend Lineup (sponsored by Skylark Cafe and Club):Read More

Application time for Sustainable West Seattle’s 2nd Festival

March 6, 2009 1:46 pm
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 |   Environment | Fun stuff to do | Sustainable West Seattle | West Seattle festivals


(Westenders Scooter Club representing! Just part of the 2008 Sustainable West Seattle Festival)
Also just out of the inbox, word that Sustainable West Seattle is taking applications for vendors and sponsors through March 23 for its second annual Festival, 10 am-3 pm Sunday, May 3rd, in The Junction. Last year’s first-ever SWS festival was a huge hit. Go here to get the application and find out more. (They’re looking for volunteer help for the festival too – call Stu Hennessey at (206) 767-9366 or

West Seattle Crime Watch: Wheeled away

Just out of the WSB inbox, Shay explains why she woke up to a 3-wheeled car, and wonders if anyone else in the area got hit – read on:Read More

West Seattle Wildlife Watch: Roost like an eagle

Thanks to Gary J for sharing photos of eagles around Alki Point; it’s “eagle season,” as he put it:

Maybe the one at right is the juvenile eagle seen on Beach Drive recently (as reported here)? Anyway, thanks again to Gary J – send us your photos, news tips, stories to share, any time – – or if it’s something too urgent for e-mail (or you’re away from a keyboard), call 206-293-6302 day or night, 24/7. (More wildlife later – a new coyote concern to share.)

California Place Park controversy: The “no change” documents

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Just under 24 hours from now — at 10:30 Saturday morning — three potential designs for possible changes at California Place Park in North Admiral will be made public.

The group that obtained a $15,000 city grant to pay for those designs to be created, Friends and Neighbors of North Admiral (FANNA), says the format of tomorrow morning’s workshop will be similar to the last one — a presentation by landscape architect Karen Kiest, followed by small-group discussions at tables around the room.

The design workshops under way now follow a series of public meetings in various formats and under various auspices, dating all the way back to the first word of potential changes, presented at the Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting last June.

FANNA created a website several months ago to make its case. Opponents of park changes do not have an organized online presence, but have mounted a major in-person campaign in the neighborhood, including a seven-page handout.

In comments after our report on the first design workshop in February, Lance wrote:

I was given the packet for the “no change to park” and they make some very valid arguments. Also some of the facts in it seem legit. I’d like to see some actual evidence that this information is false. Seems like there’s a bunch of people so polarized to either side as to not see whats real or not. I’ve already shown my opinion from a cost standpoint but if these “facts” are true, how can this park project even be moving forward? If I were a city parks representative I’d want to investigate both sides and see what really went on. To make a genuine opinion I’d like to know what’s real and what’s made up. Real info folks not just something you heard or whatnot.

We hadn’t seen the “packet” and said so. Lance in turn offered to scan and e-mail it, which he did. It has not appeared anywhere online that we know of. Here’s a screengrab of the cover:

You can see the 7-page document here, as provided to us by Lance.

Not long after he provided it to us, park-change opponent Jan Bailey provided us with printed copies of supplementary documents, even before we asked for them – she gave them to us at the last ANA meeting.

So, looking at all those, here’s a breakdown, with information from our past coverage, online research, and/or responses from FANNA, received from Matthew Slye. We will say in advance, if there is a point you think we missed, that interests you, please leave a comment and we will follow up.

Read More

Chief Sealth “groundbreaking”: No ceremony after all

First, Seattle Public Schools announced a March 12 groundbreaking ceremony for the next phase of the Sealth/Denny construction project; then they announced last week it would be postponed till they had the permits all in hand; now, Tom Redman from the district tells WSB they’ve just decided to save the money and not have a groundbreaking event after all, in favor of spending the $ on “two big community celebrations” when Chief Sealth reopens in 2010 and when the new Denny Middle School on the Sealth campus opens in 2011.

West Seattle Weather Watch: Latest on the snow chance

From the official National Weather Service forecast issued for the metro area early this morning:


As for today – mostly sunny! By the way, Scott C noted that the city put what appeared to be a “thick” layer of deicer on the West Seattle Bridge overnight.

Go wild! Backyard Habitat Workshop just days away at Camp Long


Don’t just have a garden – much less a yard – how about a “backyard wildlife habitat”? A unique four-part workshop to show you how is just days away, so here are the details one more time:

Backyard Habitat Workshop at Camp Long

Join Woodland Park Zoo, National Wildlife Federation, Seattle Audubon, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Native Plant Society at Camp Long for this informative workshop on creating a backyard wildlife habitat. Meet experts and get hands-on experience that will show how to attract birds and other wildlife to your backyard, select and care for native plants, recognize and remove invasive plants species, conserve water, manage your backyard without the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides, place feeders and bird houses, get your backyard, schoolyard or community garden certified as a Backyard Habitat.

This is a four-part workshop:
– Tuesday, March 10, 2009 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
– Tuesday, March 17, 2009 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
– Tuesday, March 24, 2009 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
– Saturday, March 28, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Cost: $75 (or $140 for couples); scholarships available for members of West Seattle Garden Club and local neighborhood associations

To register, please see the zoo’s website:

“Character counts”: Ex-coach honors “Champions of Character”

(Pictured from left are: Meredith Lang, Hope Lutheran 8th grader; Tori Hammond, 7th grader; Erin Salle, 8th grader; Anika Lidstrom, 8th grader; Meghan Espinoza, 6th grader; Olivia Wake, 7th grader. They were coached by teachers Kristin Tarabochia, and Kim Hood)
We received that photo of Hope Lutheran basketball-team members from Bob Matthews, along with a tribute he wrote in honor of their recent effort. Read on to see what he wants you to know about them, and the lesson they taught:Read More