month : 11/2009 343 results

West Seattle Christmas lights: A show with a soundtrack

Wise holiday decorators are getting their lights up early – who knows how many more mostly dry days you’ll see before Christmas? Putting them up early, however, is one thing – planning your display for months, another. But that’s the story behind the lights-synchronized-to-music display in that real-time video shared by Jim Winder – who worked at the home of friends to make The Helmstetler Family Holiday Spectacular happen at 3908 SW Charlestown (across from the water tower; here’s a map). The video clip is just ONE song – Jim says it’s a six-song set Sundays-Thursdays, 6-8 pm, and they’re planning between 10 and 15 on Fridays and Saturdays, 5-9 pm. Go watch the show — and listen to the soundtrack on 101.9 FM — and you’ll find out from Santa and elves just how many lights this took (Jim does reveal there’s ONE MILE of extension cords involved, with “56 individual channels controlled by my laptop”). As impressive as the video seems, Jim insists, “It is MUCH better in person. The video does not do it justice at all. I use all LED lights, and they are quite vivid.” Thanks, Jim, for sending early word of this seasonal show; we’re spotlighting Christmas lights every night – you can send your own photos/video OR let us know where to find photogenic lights to photograph ourselves (here’s all the ways to connect with WSB) – and will keep a running list of addresses on the West Seattle Holidays page.

Update: Seattle City Council passes “chronic nuisance” law

City Councilmember Tim Burgess‘s staff sends word that the “chronic nuisance” ordinance – one of two proposals that address some of the problems flagged in the Delridge problem-properties tour last April – has won unanimous approval. Here’s what Burgess wrote about it on his website; read the bill here.

Search for the Pierce County murder suspect: Where it stands

View Manhunt! in a larger map

As of this writing, Pierce County police-killing suspect Maurice Clemmons (right) isn’t in custody yet, but there’ve been more than half a dozen searches in Seattle today – as shown in this Google Map assembled by @captaingentry, circulated via Twitter (having listened to scanner activity most of today, we can confirm these are locations where police have been). So far, none of these major searches have been in West Seattle, but it’s vital for everyone citywide to be on the lookout, as he could be anywhere. If you are an instant-info fan like we are, you can watch tagged Twitter traffic by using this link – those whose tweets you’ll see include citywide and neighborhood journalists who are or have been at the various search scenes (and you don’t have to have a Twitter account to use that page). Reminder – the tip line is 866-977-2362, and here’s the link for how to help the murdered officers’ families. 5:57 PM – The family of murdered SPD Officer Tim Brenton has issued a statement expressing sympathy and asking for the same support for those families that they have received. Meantime, a new search location is unfolding right now – in Renton – few details yet.

2:51 AM UPDATE: Until there’s more information, we’ll make a quick note here – there’s been a shooting south of Beacon Hill that may be linked to the case. When something is confirmed, we’ll post a separate update.

West Seattle Holidays: Junction decorations; Thanksgiving thanks

November 30, 2009 2:20 pm
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 |   Holidays | West Seattle news
With the first Hometown Holidays weekend coming up, The Junction is getting its holiday trimmings today. (See for full details on Saturday’s tree lighting, Sunday’s HH fun – including Santa photos – and the ongoing $6,500 giveaway). Meantime, from Fauntleroy, we have a post-Thanksgiving thanks to share, from Carol at Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering:

I would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who donated pies and desserts to the Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Hall at Fauntleroy. We served over 250 people this year. The many delicious desserts were enjoyed by everyone. The room was warm, appetites were satisfied and the spirit of the season was all around. We really appreciate the community support.

Update: Truck fire on Harbor Island

If you’re seeing smoke near The Bridge – it’s a truck fire in the 3200 block of 16th SW on Harbor Island (map). Heavy black smoke, as you can see in the cameraphone photo we just received (thanks!). 11:59 AM UPDATE: Via Twitter, @brucecmoore says the smoke’s turned white, so firefighters are getting a handle on it fast. No report of injuries so far. Thanks also to everyone who’s e-mailed reports on this. 12:07 PM UPDATE: Zach sent photos from Pier 56 across the bay:

There are some traffic effects too – @romabit tweets that they’re stuck on Harbor Island. 12:57 PM UPDATE: We can confirm firsthand that at least one path off the island is still blocked by police – the fire scene is under an elevated ramp – here’s what’s left of the truck (the cab in particular was incinerated, but scanner traffic indicated the driver got out OK):

1:33 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Jesse Doerr for a clearer photo of the scene.

Jesse also reports:

Witnesses on the scene say that the truck collided with one of the supports of the overpass onto Harbor Island and caught fire. The driver got out safely and seems to only have minor injuries to his hand. Quite a big fire though, the flames were coming up under the road and visible on top shooting up around both sides.

Traffic on Harbor Island is just now loosening up, as police found a way to route around the fire-aftermath scene.

Marty Riemer, Jodi Brothers prove there’s life after unemployment

(During our interview, we asked for “a video message to your fans” – there’s the result)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two months ago, West Seattle radio personalities Marty Riemer and Jodi Brothers got axed from their long-running show without getting so much as a chance to say goodbye.

But this duo known for humor as well as music seems to be having the last laugh. Truly.

Some fans are still finding out they’re no longer on The Mountain; the short item we published about the abrupt end to their tenure there, mostly pointing to what our partners at the Seattle Times reported, is still drawing a few new comments each week – apparently thanks to a Google quirk, where the search query “what happened to Marty Riemer?” points you to our blurb first.

But hundreds of fans have long since rediscovered them on Facebook – starting with the day they got the boot, when Marty reported it with this status update:

Since then, on his page, he’s posted videos and invitations to events – including the one they plug in the video clip atop this story – a Marty Riemer Funny Festival that they’re staging wholly independent of any media sponsor. The FB page has even revealed personal news, like his wife’s pregnancy. So, of course, sent our interview request via Facebook, resulting in a rendezvous on a recent rainy afternoon (where you’ll also find Marty emceeing this Saturday’s tree lighting):Read More

Development decision published for 4532 42nd SW

From today’s city Land Use Information Bulletin: More than a year after demolition of the big old house at 4532 42nd SW (map) – just north of Capco Plaza — the official city decision is published approving the mixed-use project replacing it (July rendering above) with 35 residential units and 3,000 square feet of commercial development: Read the decision here. The documents say changes were submitted in September to address the concerns brought up at its last Southwest Design Review Board meeting in July (as covered here):

These included an irrigation component as part of the landscape plan, a widened sidewalk along the entire 42nd Avenue SW façade, extending the height of the Prairie Stone bases of the columnar design elements along the 42nd Avenue SW façade, and the insertion of Prairie Stone headers above the windows of the commercial storefronts on 42nd Avenue SW, as well as providing these Prairie Stone headers along both the north and south ground-level facades to be consistently co-extensive with the areas of brick façade. The Director finds that these changes when implemented will adequately address the concerns and meet the recommendations of the Design Review Board as expressed at the July 23, 2009, Board meeting.

Now that the decision’s been published, there’s a two-week period in which appeals can be filed – the deadline is December 14; the official city notice explains how.

This week: Help shape West Seattle playground, park projects

This final day of the month is relatively quiet — nothing major on the calendar. But the first public meetings for two West Seattle park projects – both funded by the Parks and Green Spaces Levy – are happening later this week, so here’s an early reminder: 6:30 pm Wednesday night, Fairmount Playfield playground improvements, for which $170,000 is budgeted, will be discussed at High Point Library (map). Then at 7 pm Thursday night, the new $3 million Westcrest-adjacent parkland created by the now-under-construction covering of West Seattle Reservoir (right) will be the topic at High Point Community Center (map). Lots more this week too – your next chance to get involved with neighborhood groups including the North Delridge Neighborhood Council, Highland Park Improvement Committee and Westwood Neighborhood Council (check out their remodeled website!) – it’s all on the WSB Events calendar (and all the holiday excitement – revving up for the West Seattle Christmas Tree Lighting this Saturday – is on the West Seattle Holidays page).

Update: Lakewood PD murders “person of interest” now “suspect”

ORIGINAL 6:10 PM REPORT: A new development in the search for the man who killed four Lakewood Police officers in a Pierce County coffee shop this morning: Authorities have gone public with the photo at left, saying that 37-year-old Maurice Clemmons is a “person of interest” with whom they want to speak in connection with the deadly ambush. The Seattle Times (WSB partner) has a story about his lengthy criminal history; he is reported to have been in jail until posting bond six days ago, facing charges including child rape. If you have any information about him, the official tip line is 1-866-977-2362. The four murdered officers also have just been identified – here’s the official announcement. The Lakewood Police union’s site has info on how to help their families. 9:00 PM: From left, Officer Tina Griswold, Officer Ronald Owens, Sgt. Mark Renninger, Officer Greg Richards.

9:48 PM: The search for the person of interest has expanded to Seattle – the Leschi neighborhood (which also, you may recall, is the area where SPD Officer Tim Brenton was killed). 12:42 AM: Real-time updates continue courtesy of our fellow independent neighborhood-news service, Central District News, at We’re continuing to monitor and will update when there’s something major but otherwise, CD News is where to get the moment-by-moment. 3:10 AM: A briefing at the scene of the Leschi standoff – now in its 7th hour – has yielded new information, including Maurice Clemmons‘ description changing from “person of interest” to “suspect” – this, authorities say, because he was shot. They don’t know if he’s dead or alive. CD News is continuing to add updates to this report. 9:04 AM: He wasn’t there after all. Now the search has moved on to the U-District; here’s the latest from the Times – and the warning to people at the UW is confirmed by a WSB’er who sent us the e-mail alert that went around, saying simply, “Lakeland shooting suspect may be in University area. Police responding. Be alert.” 10 AM: That search is said to have been called off, but there’s another one under way in Beacon Hill.

West Seattle Holidays: Area’s most famous lights are going up

Along Beach Drive just before sunset, we caught this scene – West Seattle’s most famous holiday light display, in the process of being put up, all the way up to the big star on the tallest tree. If you’re new to the area – it’s the Menashe Family display; we’ve done video profiles each of the past two years (2008 here, 2007 here) and will be checking in with them this year as soon as the display is done. We’ll also feature Christmas lights from all around West Seattle, as we’ve done the past few years (here are our archives; last year was sidetracked in mid-December by snow) – we welcome your photos and/or addresses if no pix – if you’ve already shared the pix via Flickr, Facebook or somewhere else public, just let us know (and tell us it’s OK to republish) – we’ll include the list on the West Seattle Holidays page, too.

Free photos from Westside Pharmacy files – if you’re in them!

November 29, 2009 3:17 pm
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 |   West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news

Though Westside Pharmacy technically closed two and a half months ago, when the pharmacy operations and staff moved to the new QFC in time for its opening day (previous stories here and here), they’ve continued the slow process of winding down the business, selling fixtures and other inventory at the old pharmacy location. Sandy e-mailed to share news about items they’re hoping to give away to those for whom they have meaning:

Westside Pharmacy – 5401 California Ave SW [map] – is in its last days…with 12/15/09 as their last day selling product and fixtures left behind after the QFC merger.

Mike Ng, the Owner, sponsored B-Ball, T-Ball, A-Ball & PeeWee Teams for a number of years. In the process of boxing up records to move we have run across a number of team photos.

A-Ball 1994, 1998, 2000, 2001 & 2004
B-Ball 2000, 2001, 2004 & 2005
T-Ball 1994, 1997 & 2004
PeeWee 1995 & 2003 Plus 1 photo no year or Team type…….

For nostalgia or as a memento, we would like to give the photos to the team members or coaches in the photos. Come in….if you can find yourself in the photo…..the photo is yours.

Until the 15th of December 2009 we will be at the California Ave location M-Th 10am – 4pm and/or can be reached at 206-935-0117 enter 0 when the recorded message begins.

Mike would like to thank everyone in the community for their faithful support over the years!!

Need volunteer help? Here’s a chance to find it in West Seattle

November 29, 2009 2:42 pm
|    Comments Off on Need volunteer help? Here’s a chance to find it in West Seattle
 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

If you’re with a group that can use student volunteers, here’s a chance to find them:

Chief Sealth High School will be hosting a Service Learning Fair for non-profit organizations that offer Service Learning opportunities to high school youth, 14-21 years of age, on Monday, December 7, 9:00 – 11:00 AM. (Service Learning is volunteer work with learning and reflection.) Non-profit organizations that want to participate are invited to contact Chris Syrjala, Career Specialist, Chief Sealth High School, 252-8635 by Thursday, December 3.

Here’s the registration form.

Checking: Overnight police search in Seaview

November 29, 2009 12:35 pm
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 |   Crime | Seaview | West Seattle news

Several people have reported seeing/hearing this — multiple police cars and officers, reportedly including King County Sheriff’s Office as well as Seattle Police with K-9, involved in a search in Seaview overnight, between 2 and 4 am. (Phone-cam photo at left.) We’ve received reports from several spots along 49th SW (map), including this post in the WSB Forums. No official information so far but via Facebook, Deirdre – who was in the search zone, and says officers told her to stay inside – says she finally got a dispatcher to tell her that it was a case of someone running away after “a traffic stop,” and says they told her someone had been taken into custody. We may not be able to get any official details before early tomorrow morning but will update, whenever we do.

4 police officers killed in Pierce County ambush

Not West Seattle news, but so soon after former West Seattleite Officer Timothy Brenton was murdered here in our city … this is the region’s biggest story today, and we’re noting here in case you had not heard: Someone went into a coffee shop in Lakewood, south of Tacoma, around 8:15 this morning, where four police officers — whose marked cars were outside — were working on their laptops, and shot them all dead. KING5 is streaming investigation coverage; our partners at the Seattle Times have just published an update, including a preliminary description from a Pierce County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson; there’s also continuing coverage online at the Tacoma-based News-Tribune site. If any official “be on the lookout” bulletin comes out at some point, we will add it here, since so far there is no word of an arrest. According to KING, this hotline’s been set up for tips: 866-977-2362. 12:46 PM UPDATE: No major new information so far. The officers have been identified only as a Lakewood Police patrol team, 3 men, one woman. Among those who have spoken to the media is Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor; a media friend shared with us this link we wanted to pass on: something wrenching and important he published on his website after attending Officer Brenton’s funeral. 1:20 PM: Pierce County’s website is posting its updates in a special box on the home page – here’s the link. 3:24 PM: The Lakewood police union has published a statement that includes information on how to assist the murdered officers’ families.

West Seattle Crime Watch: No holiday weekend for car thieves

November 29, 2009 7:06 am
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 |   Crime | West Seattle news

The most recent West Seattle crime-stat toplines included a slight rise in auto theft, and this morning we have two reports to share. First, from Meryl:

They stole my neighbor’s car (Friday) night, an old Bronco, on Holden St. between 41st and California (map).

I believe they were pros as they broke the window and no one woke up except my cats. I looked out and saw the car rolling down the hill, but it was too late.

Last year my car was broken into the same way. Didn’t hear the window break. Didn’t wake up till they opened the door and the car alarm went off.

Also, Tanya reported a car theft by commenting after a previous Crime Watch report:

My boyfriend and I live in Highland Park. We got home from a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. Got up to go to work and his car was stolen from our driveway. We live on 8100 block of 14th [map]. It’s a white Nissan 240sx with bronze wheels and a loud exhaust. Please e-mail or my cell #20677984898. Thank you so much for your time.

In The Junction today: Farmers’ Market, freebies, contest entries

November 29, 2009 6:03 am
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 |   Holidays | West Seattle businesses | West Seattle Farmers' Market

WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: 10 am-2 pm as always. New items include parsnips, pears and matsutake mushrooms, according to the new Ripe ‘n’ Ready list.

HOTWIRE FREEBIES: The first two of four new coupons from Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor) runs through tomorrow – free latte’ or americano – get the coupons here, then hop up the street while you’re in The Junction for the Farmers’ Market.

CONTEST ENTRIES: Hotwire’s among the more than three dozen places you can enter (no purchase necessary) the $6,500 Junction holiday giveaway. First drawing’s at the tree lighting next Saturday night!

Music is the key for West Seattle guitar teacher Richie Jenkin

Richie Jenkin says there’s two things in the back of everybody’s closet – a guitar and a set of weights. He says that people want to find a way to make the instrument part of their lives and he said that’s why he’s in the business of teaching guitar. Teaching guitar is not his first line of work, but lately it’s his chosen one. As noted here when Richie first joined WSB as a sponsor in August 2008, he’s a trained counselor and has worked with people in recovery from substance abuse. Now, Richie’s at a point in his life where he’d like to put his energy into helping people learn the guitar and improve their understanding of music. While he works with kids as young as six, Richie says more than two-thirds of his students are adults. His average student is someone who has owned a guitar for some time, but needs someone to work with, to get some structure on how to play. As he points out, it’s structure that’s personalized to each student: “I take my teaching seriously. By that I mean that I take the time to prepare for each lesson. I look at what we¹ve been doing; the pace of things; what you want to be learning; your particular way of learning; and what I think is best for a particular lesson to make sure your playing is coming along in a way you can be confident and enthusiastic about. So it¹s not just about showing you something new every week and then out the door. If the music is going to be rewarding, exhilarating and fun, then I better be doing my part to make it so.” Richie’s been teaching guitar for 25 years and he specializes in beginners and intermediate students. He works out of offices at 3618 California SW; best way to reach him is (206) 799-7432.

Bowling benefit: Celebrities roll in “Turkey Bowl” in West Seattle

For the second consecutive Saturday, West Seattle Bowl played host to a “Turkey Bowl” fundraiser – this one, including the group of local celebs you see above. (Recognize ’em? Lots of media and/or sports links.) They bowled today to help out St. Martin de Porres shelter (which assists homeless men 50+) and the cat shelter Whisker City. We talked to two of the celebs, who also happen to be West Seattleites – Gregg Hersholt and New York Vinnie; after we asked how they prepared for the big event, they managed to name-drop a multitude of West Seattle establishments:

A silent auction was part of Turkey Bowl too – organizer Mike Brown wrangled guitars with autographs from rock superstars Eddie Vedder and Dave Matthews.

The 2nd West Seattleite seeking the County Councilmember job

On the same day King County Executive Dow Constantine was sworn in, the list of 11 applicants for his now-empty County Council seat was made public. Two are from West Seattle. State Sen. Joe McDermott‘s candidacy already has been covered here – including video of what he told the 34th District Democrats‘ last meeting (see it here), when they voted to support his quest for the job. The other: Vlad Oustimovitch, an architect and planner who runs a West Seattle-based project-management firm and has served on numerous boards and committees including the Southwest Design Review Board, Alaskan Way Viaduct Stakeholders’ Committee, Southwest District Council, Monorail Board, Fauntleroy Community Association Board. Oustimovitch e-mailed WSB a copy of his application for the position, saying he intends it to be a public document but hasn’t seen King County post the applications yet. You can read it here. We followed up by asking him, so why do you want to be a County Councilmember? Read on for his reply:Read More

Amanda Knox case: Parents say they’re under investigation

The murder trial of Amanda Knox, whose mother Edda Mellas lives in West Seattle, could be over by this time next week. Mellas and Knox’s father Curt Knox are back in Italy now to await the verdict, but today they got unexpected news: They’ve received notice that Italian authorities are investigating them — allegedly for defamation because of their claim last year that their daughter said police had treated her roughly. This news broke after their live TV interview earlier today with CBS, in which they discussed evidence in the case and what happens if the verdict isn’t what they hope it will be:

Knox has been in custody for more than two years, since her arrest a few days after the November 2007 murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. Her parents told citywide media that they bought her ticket home before flying to Italy for the remainder of the trial.

Santa at Westwood Village, day 1: Bring food & diaper donations

Note the barrel in the foreground of our shot from Santa’s House in Westwood Village – it’s not just a place for the little ones to share their holiday wishes, it’s also a place for you to help make somebody else’s holiday dreams come true – Santa photos are free with a nonperishable food donation; there’s also a diaper drive for WestSide Baby, and giving trees large and small:

Noon-4 pm, Saturdays and Sundays till Christmas, you’ll find Santa in his own storefront on the Westwood Village breezeway across from 24 Hour Fitness. (Santa photo opportunities start in The Junction next weekend; info on that, and lots more holiday happenings, abounds here.)

West Seattle scene: Have some Apple Cup with your apples

Thanks to Kate K for the tip about the Apple Cup-apropos flag flying over Metropolitan Market. WSU’s won the last two; will UW break the streak? Big game’s at 3:30 pm, Husky Stadium (here’s a preview from our partners at the Seattle Times) – via Twitter, just caught a little Husky spirit video from @despeaux – best Coug spirit image we’ve seen on Twitter so far is this one. Game time: 3:30. 7:55 PM UPDATE: If somehow you missed it elsewhere – final score UW 30, WSU 0.

Happening now: Holy Rosary School Tree Lot, day 1

The gate swung open at noon, though the final touches are still in progress, for the Holy Rosary School Christmas Tree Lot behind Admiral Safeway (map). Through December 20th, it’s open 9 am-9 pm Saturdays and Sundays, 3 pm-9 pm Mondays-Fridays. Holy Rosary’s official announcement notes, “As in years past, 15% of the proceeds support local charities including the West Seattle Food Bank, West Seattle Helpline and Hickman House of West Seattle.” For your full range of options, we’ve listed all the local treesellers we know of on the WSB West Seattle Holidays page, plus a link to U-Cut tree info (outside the area), which came up in the WSB Forums. Plus lots of new listings for other holiday events – tree lightings, Santa, Hometown Holidays in The Junction (co-sponsored by WSB), concerts, plays, bazaars, more – have been added too. (Click “Holidays” in the tabs atop any WSB page, any time.)