day : 06/12/2009 12 results

Update: Latest turn in search for West Seattle’s missing totem pole

We’ve got a lot of checking to do when our Parks and Police contacts are back in the office tomorrow, but in the meantime, for late-night news checkers, a short update on this weekend’s developments in the case of the missing totem pole.

Background: After a WSB’er e-mailed us Wednesday morning to ask where the West Seattle Rotary Viewpoint Park totem pole (photo at left used with Rotary’s permission) had gone, we quickly put in an inquiry with the Parks Department, then went over to check the scene (35th/Alaska, overlooking the West Seattle Golf Course), taking the photos you see in this story we published Thursday morning, after Parks spokesperson Dewey Potter confirmed to WSB that they hadn’t authorized anyone to remove it and would report it as stolen. After reading our story, WSB commenters reported seeing trucks at the scene Monday evening – a tow truck assisting a stuck crane truck. A few longtime Rotary Club of West Seattle members also have been investigating, as we mentioned in our Friday followup – the club donated the park and pole in 1976 and isn’t taking this lightly. On Saturday, we followed along as they tried to track the trail. Read on:Read More

Update: Delridge ramp to West Seattle Bridge sanded, reopened

ORIGINAL 7:52 PM REPORT ON DELRIDGE ONRAMP BEING BLOCKED OFF: Thanks to those who’ve texted and e-mailed. According to the area’s Adopt-A-Drain steward Rose Feliciano, it’s a flooding situation involving a fire hydrant having been hit at 22nd SW/Andover [map], and 22nd has some flooding too. We’ll be heading out shortly to investigate – in the meantime, a good area to avoid, and we’ll be watching for morning effects given, as Rose points out, the road hazards related to below-freezing temperatures. Rose adds that a de-icing truck is expected – and also shared the photos we’ve added to this story.

9:22 PM UPDATE: Just back from the scene. A sanding truck went over it several times, and police have reopened the ramp. We have heard via e-mail that some Pigeon Point residents lost water service because of this; we didn’t see any Seattle Public Utilities crews while looking around the area, but will check to see if we can find out anything more.

Next big holiday concert: Westside Symphonette, Tuesday night

December 6, 2009 7:50 pm
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 |   Holidays | West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

That’s a short behind-the-scenes peek at the Westside Symphonette, as one of the West Seattle community orchestra’s newest co-conductors, Rob Duisberg, showed the musicians how he’d like them to handle a Beethoven piece that’s on the program for their holiday concert. We caught up with them at last week’s rehearsal, and now it’s almost concert time – this Tuesday night at West Seattle High School Theater – strings and junior orchestra at 6:30, senior orchestra at 7:30. In addition to classics by Beethoven, Bizet, Holst, Schubert and Ravel, there’ll also be a traditional holiday singalong, from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” to “Hallelujah Chorus.” – Admission is just $1 (though they’ll be thrilled to accept donations above and beyond that). (Yet more West Seattle holiday highlights – music, plays, bazaars, trees, etc. – here.)

Happening now: St. Nicholas Faire – with wine! – at 1st Lutheran

December 6, 2009 5:49 pm
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 |   Fun stuff to do | Holidays | West Seattle news

The lights are low, the holiday music is low-key, and – there’s wine! at the St. Nicholas Faire under way now at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle (just north of The Junction at 4105 California SW), till 8 tonight. The state’s Winery of the Year (per WinePress NW), Maryhill Winery, is represented by Rich Marshall – brother of the church’s Pastor Ron Marshall. (Next to his wine-tasting table, there’s also a “wine toss” – think “ring toss.”) Also at the Faire – unique crafts, like these icons by Bert Apman, based on centuries-old images:

We also noted pottery, baked goods, and of course Christmas items – like these “Fidget Trees”:

There’s an admission charge for the St. Nicholas Faire (details here) – reduced if you bring nonperishable food for the West Seattle Food Bank, which along with West Seattle Helpline benefits from the Faire’s proceeds.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Burglary interrupted by dog?

Just out of the WSB inbox from Marc in Highland Park:

Neighbors’ house was broken into on Friday, they kicked the door down. I was home early and called the police when I noticed it. Their dog seems to have spooked the burglar and as a result the theft was not too bad, but this was bold. Broad daylight, front door kicked in. Other neighbors reported seeing a light green van in the area that may have been involved, but no license plate. We’re up near 13th and Trenton [map], keep your eyes open!

Junction Tree Lighting report #2: More video; Volunteer Recognition

If you couldn’t make it to last night’s Hometown Holidays Tree Lighting in The Junction (co-sponsored by WSB), our 2nd report begins with the high-definition five-and-a-half-minute video version – a little monologuing from emcee Marty Riemer, more music from the Endolyne Children’s Choir (featured briefly in our first report last night), a bit of West Seattle Christian Church Pastor Dan Jacobs‘ holiday message about light, and of course, The Tree (including the literally crowd-sourced switch-flipper).

We also wanted to make special note of the West Seattle Volunteer Recognition honorees Cindi Barker and Erica Karlovits took the stage on behalf of Southwest District Council (which co-sponsors the recognition program along with Delridge Neighborhoods District Council and WSB). With photos of the recipients, the blocked-in-blue text below shows what was read about them at last night’s event:

As noted in our earlier announcement of the WSVR honorees, Providence Mount St. Vincent has more than 200 volunteers of all ages – this group represented them onstage last night to accept the first Group award.

… there are 200 active volunteers ranging in age from 14 to 92 – this represents five generations working together under one roof to help support The Mount. In 2008, those volunteers donated over 25,000 hours of time and talent, which equates to a half a million dollars of gifted time. Over 65 volunteers have been active there for more than 5 years and several dozen have been active for over 10 years.

The majority of Mount volunteers are involved with supporting the recreation programs at The Mount, those activities include leading group recreation programs; working on teams with staff to bring residents on field trips into the community; and providing one-on-one visits to residents. Other volunteers run their own departments such as the thrift boutique; the Sewing Shop, and the Auxiliary fundraising department. Volunteers of many faiths also serve in the Spiritual Care department and there are several teen and adult volunteers who work with the children in the Intergenerational Learning Center at The Mount. Volunteers also help staff the Gift Shop, escort residents to and from the Hair Salon, assist the art teacher and other valuable services.

These volunteers are absolutely essential to the vitality, diversity and compassion that makes The Mount such an special place and to share their time with our senior citizens represents a true gift to the community. Again, the Volunteers of Providence Mt Saint Vincent.

The other six awards were for individuals:

With Erica Karlovits, that’s Chas Redmond, one of two Community honorees:

Chas is on the board of Sustainable West Seattle, the Morgan Community Association, the Southwest District Council and is a key member of Feet First. As an advocate for walking and public transportation and all things sustainable, he impacts West Seattle from so many angles, from political to social. Chas is always present and willing to help out, drawing on his many skill sets to support in virtually every way imaginable. He is opinionated, and all his opinions are in behalf of the community. The best line from the nomination form reads “I really don’t know his length of service, but if you count the number of organizations and his impact in each – its a lifetime of any normal volunteer/activist/community member.”

The other Community honoree, Pete Spalding, couldn’t be there in person, but we’ve certainly photographed him a few times – at right, one from a Viaduct meeting in West Seattle:

Pete is a tireless advocate for his community. He has a long list of past activities, but most recently been involved in the Delridge Neighborhood District Council and Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council, served on the Alaskan Way Viaduct Stakeholders Advisory Committee, worked on the 2008 Parks and Green Space Levy, and is now on the Levy Citizens Advisory Committee, is President of the board of the West Seattle Food Bank and chair of the Southwest Precinct Citizens Advisory Council. Is tireless not the right word? As a community leader and civic representative, Pete has done an outstanding job. He listens well, considers carefully, and advocates accordingly. If the world is run by the people that “show up”, then we’re lucky to have Pete on the team.

Next, the Environment awards, starting with Judy Pickens. We’ve shown you many of her amazing activities with Fauntleroy Creek – most recently, yet another educational visit by local kids, and the annual drumming event to call the salmon home (there’s a salmon watch wrapup on the Fauntleroy Community Association website). Here’s what was read about Judy last night:

Judy Pickens has been the driving force for over 20 years for the stewardship of the Fauntleroy Watershed. She and her husband Phil donate endless time to ensuring the health of the creek ecosystem, including the salmon ladder that she successfully advocated to have built adjacent to their property. She co-founded the Fauntleroy Watershed Council and organizes events such as salmon releases by schoolchildren and restoration of the reach the beach. She uses these different opportunities to educate our community, especially the youth, about the importance of our watershed systems and how to help improve the water quality. The nominations specifically mentions the “famous dog poop study” conducted by the kids, so anyone who can invent such a creative way to grab attention of children truly is amazing.

(Editor’s note: Errors in the description of Judy’s work have been corrected since this story was originally published.)

Also honored, Jay Mirro, though he wasn’t at the ceremony (the photo at left is from a North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting this fall):

Jay Mirro is a Longfellow Creek Steward and participant in the Longfellow Creek Watershed Council and is also a co-chair of the North Delridge Neighborhood Council. The Longfellow Watershed Council organizes and facilitates creek trail, stream side habitat and water quality improvements. Jay’s commitment to the work of removing invasive plants and the planting of NW native plants at the Brandon Street Natural Area of Longfellow Creek have made this section of the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail a true pleasure to explore and wander. Jay has sought and obtained extensions to the trail network at Brandon Street and without his dedication this area would not be where it is today. West Seattle nature lovers, walkers, joggers, the creatures and even the plants themselves have all benefited from Jay’s hard work.

Next, the Youth volunteer category honorees, starting with Janet Hillier from the Chief Sealth High School PTSA:

Janet Hillier is a volunteer with the Chief Sealth PTSA, which could be a surprise to some since she doesn’t even have a child that attends Chief Sealth. But she’s a firm believer in what the PTSA does towards creating world class futures for Chief Sealth students. She created and runs the PTSA website, and this past November, she was the backbone of the their dinner and auction. She is behind many great ideas, shows up at almost every event and meeting and her planning and followup efforts are greatly appreciated by the Chief Sealth community.

And at right, the president of Southwest Seattle Pony Baseball, Paul Leonardo:

Paul Leonardo is described as the go-to guy for the Southwest Seattle PONY Baseball league. This is a youth baseball league for kids 11 to 18 years old that serves West Seattle and White Center. Paul has been president of the League for the past 4 years, and, similar to the story of Janet, Paul does this as a service to the community; he doesn’t even have a child involved in the league. Paul has a board of directors to work with, but he’s the guy doing the daily decisions, and attending to all the details that keep a league running. And while the nomination didn’t specifically say it, but we all should remember that Paul gets to deal with the parents, so our hats are off to him!

Again, this was the second group of West Seattle Volunteer Recognition honorees – the first group was honored at the West Seattle Hi-Yu Concert in the Park last July – we’ll let you know as soon as nominations open for the third round! Thanks to everyone who took the time to contribute a nomination.

One other component of last night’s event – the first drawings in the Hometown Holidays $6,500 giveaway – more drawings to come; you can enter at participating Junction merchants – listed here – no purchase necessary. Marty Riemer and West Seattle Junction Association executive director Susan Melrose announced the first round of winners:

Lots more happening in The Junction throughout the holiday season – if you see this before 4, check out our Hometown Holidays Sunday story, still time to go jump into the special events – and Thursday night, the West Seattle Art Walk (6-9 pm) is also a Shop Late event in The Junction – official Art Walk site here, official (recently remodeled) Junction site here.

Photos: West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays Sunday #1

December 6, 2009 2:14 pm
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 |   Fun stuff to do | Holidays | West Seattle news

That’s one of two sites in the heart of The Junction where you can tap into Hometown Holidays activities till 4 pm today (and again noon-4 the next two Sundays) – HH HQ at California/Alaska in front of KeyBank. There you’ll find info and items on sale including Junction T-shirts and wreaths and candy on behalf of Pathfinder K-8 – sixth graders Stella and Shea are selling “Chocolate for China” to help pay for the class trip next summer:

Also from that spot, you can hop aboard the mule-drawn carriage – the mules are getting a lot of love:

From there, venture northeast across Walk-All-Ways to the storefront east of Cupcake Royale, where you’ll find Santa – posing here with West Seattle Hi-Yu Festival Junior Court Princess Kaitlin:

There’s a suggested $10 donation for Santa pix taken by professional photographer Donna Ryan (goes to local nonprofits). They’d taken about 30 photos in the first hour today but there was no wait when we went by. If you need someplace to get out of the cold, there’s a corner with kids’ crafts:

And the business that used to inhabit the storefront, Swee Swee Paperie (alive and well online!), is hosting a gift-wrap stand there too – gorgeous gift wrap’s free with a $50+ purchase from participating Junction businesses:

Again, this is all happening in The Junction till 4 today, noon-4 pm the next two Sundays (except the mules are skipping next Sunday); many stores have special events too – at CAPERS till 3 pm today, for example, celeb chef Kathy Casey is signing her latest book “Sips and Apps.” Next Hometown Holidays event: Thursday night’s West Seattle Art Walk, 6-9 pm, is also a Shop Late event – we’ll have details as the week goes on. (The Art Walk, as always, stretches to venues all over West Seattle as well – full list here.)

West Seattle politics: Meet your state legislators Tuesday night

December 6, 2009 1:59 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

Just out of the WSB inbox:

West Seattle members of the League of Women Voters of Seattle will host a public conversation with the three 34th District legislators: Sen Joe McDermott, Rep. Sharon Nelson and Rep Eileen Cody. The event will be held at 7pm on Tuesday, Dec 8th in Fellowship Hall at Fauntleroy UCC church at 9140 California Ave. The Legislators will meet in January, so now is the time to talk to your legislators about important issues facing the people of this state. The public is welcome and coffee and cookies will be served. For more information, contact Lucy Gaskill-Gaddis at 938-3040.

January 11 is the start date of the legislative session – follow along at the state’s official site. Meantime, Sen. McDermott and Rep. Nelson are in the “final four” for the County Council seat that County Executive Dow Constantine left; council members interview all 4 tomorrow.

West Seattle Weather Watch: Get out the gloves (etc.)

(Thanks to JayDee for sharing the vivid sunrise shot from over Alki.) For the next several sunrises, it’s going to be well below freezing, according to the latest forecast. Maybe even into the teens. Weather expert Cliff Mass dives into the details here.

Admiral/California traffic-signal timing: City thinks it’s fixed

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In an update to local drivers who e-mailed SDOT with complaints about signal-timing changes leading to backups at Admiral/California (previous reports Oct. 7, Oct. 9, Nov. 14 and Nov. 17), the city says it believes the problem is fixed now, and reveals it’s looking at “removing” parking on the southwest side of the intersection. We’ll follow up with the city to find out exactly which/how many spaces they’re talking about, but for now, Laura shares this e-mail she received, signed by SDOT’s Chris Faulkner:

Thank you for your recent communication to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) regarding the timing of the traffic signal light at California Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way. We received quite a few letters and emails from concerned residents, and I want to share with all of you what has been taken place at this intersection.

Initially, new timing was put into place at this intersection and several others on the corridor. This new timing took into account current traffic volumes and provided a balance that better served all users of the intersection.

We began receiving complaints almost immediately, mainly from motorists travelling eastbound on Admiral Way. I made several site visits to the location to see if I could determine where an adjustment needed to be made, but every time I was at the location, traffic was progressing well, as I had planned. After complaints continued to come in, I went to the site again, and this time I found what others had been experiencing – the signal was skipping phases and causing traffic backups.

When the new timing plan was implemented, a new controller was also installed at this intersection. Unfortunately, there was a compatibility issue between the new controller and the timing program, which caused problems to occur sporadically. When a problem is intermittent, it is almost impossible to diagnose what is not working unless you happen to be there at the time it happens. Once I was able to observe what was occurring, I was able to work towards correcting the problem.

The correction was made on November 17; I have been in the field many times since, at all times of day, to observe traffic conditions. I am now confident that everything is working as planned. The number of complaints received has slowed to a trickle, and the focus of these complaints is the weekend timing plan.

The timing favors east- and westbound movements because of the higher traffic volumes in these directions. On weekend timing, east- and westbound is still favored, but the green time is more closely split with the north- and southbound movement. This is due to increased north- and southbound volumes on weekends. If the north- and southbound traffic “gaps out,” the unused green time is given to the east- and westbound movement. With this timing, I believe we are providing a balance that best suits the needs of all users of the intersection.

Additionally, our Arterial Operations section is working with nearby business owners to explore removing parking eastbound on Admiral, approaching California. We believe this would help improve traffic flow.

I appreciate the patience from the community while we worked to resolve this problem. If you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at Thank you for your input.

Before the WSB reports we linked above, discussion of the problem first surfaced in this WSB Forums thread.

Also today: Big day for Santa, at Hometown Holidays and elsewhere

Forecasters say we’ll see a sunny afternoon – albeit chilly; couldn’t be more perfect for the first Hometown Holidays Sunday in The Junction, where the day will start with the weekly West Seattle Farmers’ Market 10 am-2 pm (here’s the weekly Ripe ‘n’ Ready fresh sheet), then gets mega-spirited with Santa photos and gift wrapping at HH Headquarters (4218 SW Alaska, around the corner from Cupcake Royale), plus mule-drawn carriage rides (climb on board by KeyBank at California/Alaska). While you’re in The Junction, you’re just a few blocks away from the Alki Masonic Lodge Christmas Party, all welcome, including – busy guy! – Santa photos and other all-ages fun, 2-4 pm. Outside The Junction, Santa photos also continue noon-4 pm today at Westwood Village (Santa’s House is across the breezeway from 24 Hour Fitness), and at Cafe Revo (WSB sponsor), from 1-3, kids lunching at the restaurant can get their photo taken with “Nonno (Babbo) Natale” and hear Christmas stories from Italy. Then after all those events are over – the fundraising St. Nicholas Faire (read all about it here) begins at 4 pm at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle. MUCH more – including holiday art sales continuing today – on the West Seattle Holidays page.

Continuing today: Native craft sale/fair at Duwamish Longhouse

Many talented artists/craftspeople have been showing and selling their wares around West Seattle this weekend, as holiday shopping season intensifies – but none in a location as beautiful as the almost-one-year-old Duwamish Tribe Longhouse. The native art gift fair/sale there continues today, 10 am-5 pm. Here are some of the artists we met on a brief visit late Saturday:

Ron Alphonse‘s work includes carved cedar paddles; Margie Morris, at right, incorporated tribal symbols into holiday items such as stockings, hats, and angel dolls like this one:

One common theme for what Lisa Anderson is offering – animals:

Carryable creations are available from Gin Gin Designs, crafted by Virginia Nelson:

And the creativity extends into edibles – Veronica Ramirez is selling fry bread and baking mix at the door:

The longhouse, dedicated 11 months ago, is at 4705 West Marginal Way; here’s a map. According to the tribe’s fall newsletter, 10 percent of the gift fair’s proceeds are benefiting the tribe.