day : 09/12/2009 10 results

West Seattle scenes: Warm welcomes on a cold night

December 9, 2009 9:57 pm
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That sign greeted visitors at Merrill Gardens-Admiral Heights (WSB sponsor) tonight, where they served dozens at a pasta dinner with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the families of the murdered Lakewood police officers. Dessert treats too – chef Lisa Thompson showed off the cupcakes-in-progress when we peeked into the kitchen:

Both West Seattle Merrill Gardens (the other one is at 35th SW/Snoqualmie) participated in tonight’s fundraiser – just got word that the two together raised almost $1,500 – it came with this photo snapped by MG (all other photos in this story are by us) at the 35th SW location:

A bit further south, Animals First Foundation rallied supporters at the Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor):

From left, that’s Jeremy, Stacy, Sara, Carina, Alysson, and Erin from AFF, which is an animal-advocacy group whose work is described here. Not far from the Feedback, we visited The Hall at Fauntleroy:

At the 34th District Democrats‘ holiday party tonight, that’s host Richard Bartlett raising a toast. We also spotted State Rep. Sharon Nelson, who finds out on Monday if she’ll get the interim County Council seat for District 8 (she sought it in case councilmembers decide to choose someone who won’t run for the permanent seat in a year, which the other 34th District legislator in the final four, State Sen. Joe McDermott, intends to do):

Other partiers included Dina Johnson, more often behind the lens, taking photos at events from Highland Park Action Committee meetings to regular 34th District Democrats gatherings:

What’s up tomorrow night? The biggest event: the West Seattle Art Walk, which includes special Shop Late festivities in The Junction. More on that coming up – and browse some of the highlighted artists on the WS Art Walk website.

BULLETIN: Police arrest suspect in West Seattle totem-pole theft

(WSB photo from December 2, the base where the totem pole used to be)
Just confirmed with Southwest Precinct Lt. Steve Paulsen: Police have arrested a suspect in the theft of the West Seattle Rotary Viewpoint Park totem pole. As first reported here Thursday morning, the pole disappeared early last week; we contacted the Parks Department on Wednesday after a WSB’er sent us a note saying her family noticed it was gone. After our inquiry, Parks did extensive checking, then verified on Thursday that no one had been authorized to take it, and so they reported the 18-foot totem pole – installed when the Rotary Club of West Seattle donated the park to the city in 1976 — as stolen. As the story unfolded, WSB commenters recalled seeing what turned out to be the actual removal Monday night of last week – the crane truck hired to take it got stuck in the grass and mud, and required help from a tow truck. We’re not identifying the suspect, a West Seattle man, as charges are not filed so far, but what we’ve been told seems to go along with the storyline reported here, after we covered Rotarians’ attempt to find out what happened. Police have not yet recovered the totem pole but are questioning the suspect and hope to be able to recover the pole soon. P.S. We had asked Parks and police earlier today if the totem pole had been assigned a dollar value, just out of curiosity – so far we don’t have a number, but Parks spokesperson Dewey Potter notes that the Belvidere story pole installed in 2006 was valued at more than $61,000. (Pre-theft totem-pole photo used with Rotary’s permission.)

West Seattle Weather Watch: More “snow” mentions in forecast

The National Weather Service is just out with a new forecast – featuring multiple mentions of the word “snow,” possibly even flurries tomorrow, after one more clear, very cold night tonight, though the major mention involves the weekend. What a coincidence – it was also Christmas ship weekend LAST year when Snowpocalypse ’08 began. (P.S. – As reported earlier, there’s a burn ban in effect, so no wood fires unless they’re your main source of heat.)

H1N1 flu vaccine: King County expands eligibility

Another news release to share – just in from Seattle-King County Public Health – the shortage of H1N1 vaccine has eased and now they say anyone 6 months or older is eligible – read on for the full announcement:Read More

Want a share of $15 million? Parks Levy Opportunity Fund reminder

We’ve reported on this multiple times before but it’s so big, the Parks Department wants to make sure you don’t miss it: It’s time to start working on applications for a share of the $15 million Opportunity Fund created by the Parks and Green Spaces Levy voters approved last year. While the levy itself contained money for a variety of specific projects, this fund is set up so that community-initiated projects can get a share of the $. Read on for a just-out news release about the fund and the round of informational meetings next month, including the one announced for West Seattle:Read More

Followup: City says it’s enforcing low-bridge no-stop rules

There’s a followup on the “low bridge” traffic problem described and discussed in this WSB report from Nov. 22, and explained on this map made by Rob. According to an alert on SDOT‘s SODO mailing list, as of this past Monday, Seattle Police were planning to “increase enforcement of rules against stopping on the low-level Spokane Street swing bridge,” including ticketing violators if necessary. We haven’t been out there during rush hour so we’re asking any low-bridge commuters: Have you seen the extra enforcement, and have the backups eased?

Mountain to Sound Outfitters: Welcoming a new WSB sponsor

Our newest sponsor says customers discovering them have been high-fiving them and saying, “It’s about time West Seattle got a full-service ski shop!” And Mountain to Sound Outfitters offers a lot more – here’s what they want you to know:

(From left: Chris Petry, Jon Steel, Ryan Basilone, Greg Whittaker)
Mountain to Sound Outfitters is a new business from the operators of Alki Kayak Tours and the Seattle Ski Shuttle. Our passion is to get people out actively enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds us. We have created customers in the ski and paddlesports world, but till now, were not able to provide the retail goods for the snow-riding and kayaking community, nor were they available to the West Seattle community or anywhere south of downtown Seattle. Now, our brand-new shop offers full-service Ski and Snowboard Service, Ski and Snowboard Rentals, and Retail Ski and Snowboard Gear.

Owner Greg Whittaker has 15 years of experience working as a ski technician and custom boot-fitter and is stoked to provide the service to Seattle – with the technical expertise and machinery to flatten, tune, repair and wax boards, mount skis, and work on any binding. We also have one of the largest rental fleets in Puget Sound, and can offer daily or seasonal ski and board rentals. One specialty that we are really excited about is our THULE dealership. We can provide vehicle racking solutions for any vehicle – you don’t have to drive to North Seattle any more – now you can support local business and get quality service for vehicle racking.

Mountain to Sound Outfitters also hopes to support the community by facilitating a non-profit West Seattle Snowsports Council to get middle-school and high-school students up into the mountains weekly. With the connections we have created with the ski areas, we can make it an affordable endeavor for local West Seattle young adults. Overall, Greg says, “Both in the kayaking world, and the snow-riding world, we are helping people discover the natural beauty in our area and giving the technical tools, instruction, and access to the Mountains and the Sound.” (The ski shuttle is in full swing, by the way, leaving at 7:30 am Monday-Friday, returning around 6:30 pm.) You’ll find Mountain to Sound Outfitters at 3602 SW Alaska (map) and online at

We thank Mountain to Sound Outfitters for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news on WSB; find our sponsor team, and info on joining, all here.

West Seattle whale-watching: Orcas heading southbound

(Photo by Gary Jones)
ORIGINAL 10:31 AM REPORT: Just got a call from orca expert Jeff Hogan – J-Pod is headed along the West Seattle shore – from south of Alki toward Lincoln Park. Closer in than usual, he says. Off to go have a look! 11:45 AM: No luck for your editor here but Gary Jones saw them – adding his photo in a moment. He counted at least three more in addition to the one shown in the photo. We’ve also got a Twitter report from @senorfrijole that they’re now in the Three Tree Point vicinity south of West Seattle (in addition to an 11:40 comment below that they were south of the Vashon ferry dock.) Keep an eye out later – maybe they’ll head back north. (Our past orca coverage, including stories with video and photos, is archived here, newest to oldest.) 12:23 PM: Good info in the comments, including this from “Cloudbreak“:

There are WAY more than 4 whales in this group. I would say more like 10-20. They were in several large groups circling over by Vashon when I was on the 11:30 ferry headed eastbound from Vashon.

Across the Sound from West Seattle, they were spotted in Kitsap waters over the past few days – here’s coverage of that. ADDED 1:17 PM: WSB contributing journalist Mary Sheely photographed a group of whale-watchers at Lincoln Park a bit earlier:

The woman in blue is a particularly well-known whale-watcher: Donna Sandstrom, who’s been working on The Whale Trail (explained in this WSB story from June). Mary, by the way, says they DID see the orcas — too far for a photo, but not too far for binoculars. ADDED 3:49 PM: KIRO TV has put up its helicopter video of the orcas as they swam near Vashon – see it here. 5:16 PM: As the awesome folks at Orca Network note in comments, please be sure that they get official detailed reports. Let us know fast so we can get the word out to other West Seattleites that the whales are in view again; they work with official whale-trackers for the longterm record. (And if you see orcas OUTSIDE West Seattle waters, let them know too – they track them from all over – be sure to sign up for their newsletter, which is a nightly bulletin usually full of photos and info –

West Seattle Weather Watch: Burn ban expands to King County

No cozy fire in the fireplace today/tonight: The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has just expanded what was a Snohomish County-only burn ban into King County too. It’s a Stage 2 ban, which the agency says means:

* No burning is allowed in ANY wood-burning fireplaces, wood stoves or fireplace inserts (certified or uncertified) or pellet stoves, unless this is your only adequate source of heat. Residents should rely instead on their home’s other, cleaner source of heat (such as their furnace or electric baseboard heaters) for a few days until air quality improves, the public health risk diminishes and the ban is cancelled.

* Even if your fireplace, pellet stove, or wood stove is your only adequate source of heat, no visible smoke is allowed.

* No outdoor fires are allowed. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires and the use of fire pits and chimineas.

* Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.

It is OK to use natural gas and propane stoves or inserts during a Stage 2 burn ban.

Today/tonight in West Seattle: 3 ways to help, 1 way to celebrate

TWO FUNDRAISERS FOR OFFICERS’ FAMILIES: It’s the 2nd of two days for the Papa John’s Pizza “profits to the Lakewood officers’ families” fundraiser – as reported here last night (with help from many commenters), the response was massive. There’s another way to enjoy yummy food and know you’re helping the officers’ families: Pasta dinner for a $10 donation at both West Seattle Merrill Gardens (WSB sponsor) locations, 5-7 tonight – details here.

ANIMALS FIRST FOUNDATION FUN @ FEEDBACK: Fundraiser tonight at the Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) on behalf of Animals First Foundation – 7 pm, $10 donation gets you snacks, games, and a chance to hear from local animal advocates including West Seattle’s own Teri Ensley of Furry Faces Foundation.

34TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS’ HOLIDAY PARTY: No business, just celebration, says the 34th DDs’ website, capping a year in which one of their own longtime members ascended to the County Executive’s office. 6 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy. It’s a potluck, so don’t come empty-handed. P.S. Congratulations to the 34th DDs’ webmaster Bill Schrier, who’s also City of Seattle Chief Information Officer, and in that capacity has just landed on the Computerworld Top 100 list of Premier IT Leaders

For more holiday haps – the West Seattle Holidays page is chock-full (just three days till the Christmas Ship‘s big West Seattle weekend, and four days till the next Hometown Holidays Sunday in The Junction!) – and for other events, including a Stand for Children recruitment event in WS tonight, see the WSB West Seattle Events page.