day : 19/02/2010 14 results

West Seattle Crime Watch: Shots (but no one hit); possible prowler

First: We’re checking for official police information on this, but so far, what we have from a neighborhood source is that shots were fired earlier this evening in the 18th/Barton (map) vicinity. No one was hit but casings were found at the scene, we’re told. Our source says one of the possibly two vehicles involved was stopped; we won’t know about any arrests till we hear back from police. This would be just a few blocks east of the 21st/Barton shots-fired (also no one hit) situation we wrote about last week. ADDED 10:42 PM: Heard back from Lt. Ron Smith at the Southwest Precinct:

Initial call of a drive-by shooting in the 9000 block of 18th Ave SW. The call indicated 5 shots were fired up in the air from a dark-colored pickup truck. The truck was located and was occupied by a male. Another male standing on the corner approached the officer, was hostile toward him and diverted his attention away from the suspect vehicle. Search of vehicle was conducted and no weapon was recovered. ). No known victims or property damage at the time of the report, .22 caliber shell casings were recovered from the street. 3 suspects were taken to the precinct for further investigation.

(back to original report) Second: From our Facebook wall, an alert about a possible car prowler in Arbor Heights, a “guy checking out cars on 42nd Ave SW south from 100th [map] … yellow jacket with black/gray backpack, black pants/saggy, with black hat … checking through windows …” Police have been alerted.

West Seattle street safety: Crosswalk flags added in The Junction

Previously, the nearest crosswalk flags were at Dakota to the north and Dawson to the south. Now, according to this update on the West Seattle Junction Association website, baskets of flags are in place at the two midblock crosswalks in the heart of the business district. (They’re privately placed, not from the city, which has yet to expand the pilot program that put the baskets at California/Dakota, California/Dawson, and Avalon/Yancy in June 2008 [WSB coverage here].)

High-school basketball: Chief Sealth loses title game, but moves on

February 19, 2010 7:58 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

From Seattle Pacific University, where we covered the game via Twitter (@wsblive), the boys’ varsity basketball Metro League title game final score: Rainier Beach 51, Chief Sealth 34. But the Seahawks are still in the district playoffs, which start next week. We’ll add the recap and video here soon.

SUMMARY AND VIDEO ADDED 8:55 PM: Friday night, Chief Sealth found out that it’s not easy to hang onto the ball when you play Rainier Beach. Beach pulled away from Sealth early on in the second quarter and never looked back as the Vikings beat Sealth 51-34 to take the Metro League championship.

While the Seahawks managed to rebound the ball fairly well in the first half, they had a great deal of trouble shooting throughout the game. None of their players managed to make it into double digits on the night. The only player who got close was Tomas Ogbaslassie, with nine points. Also the teams’ foul-shooting percentage, which had been a strong point for them against Prep last Wednesday, fell off dramatically against Rainier Beach. Sealth converted fewer than half their free throws.

One of the high points for Sealth came in the second Quarter when senior Daniel Davis put up a three-point shot.

We’re checking for word on Sealth’s first game in the district playoffs. SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE: Sealth athletic director Sam Reed says that since the Seahawks have a first-round bye at districts, they’re scheduled to play at 4:45 pm next Friday at Bellevue Community College – vs. either Sammamish, Bainbridge, or O’Dea (depending on the outcome of two games between now and then).

Update: “Jason McKissack bill” gets a State Senate hearing Monday

February 19, 2010 5:15 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle police | West Seattle politics

More than two weeks have passed since the State House of Representatives approved SHB 1679, known as the Jason McKissack Bill, after the now-former Seattle Police officer who has been unable to work since a vicious attack while on the job in West Seattle a year and a half ago, and is losing insurance coverage as a result. We just got word from law-enforcement advocate Renee Maher that they’re hoping for another show of support – like the one that turned out for the bill’s first major hearing on January 25 (photo right) – when the bill gets a public hearing next Monday in the State Senate Ways and Means Committee. She says the hearing’s set for 3:30 pm Monday, Room 4 in the Cherberg Building, and: “We’d love to have everyone down there supporting Jason and his family!” (The Senate is where last year’s version of this bill stalled, so support there could be even more important than the support showed while it was going through the House. It’s one of the topics likely to come up when 34th District legislators – State Sen. Joe McDermott and State Reps. Eileen Cody and Sharon Nelson – hold a Town Hall at High Point Community Center tomorrow, Saturday 2/20, 11 am.)

Alki pump-station site update: Path opens as promised

That photo was just tweeted by Mike Heavey (@mjheavey) – who says the barricades have just been moved at the 53rd Avenue Pump Station Project site on Alki, and the path’s open. So the promise made at last night’s Alki Community Council meeting by King County’s Martha Tuttle – that the path would open today – has been kept. Next up, as reported in our story – about a month of road work to rebuild the outside lane.

2 updates on upcoming 23rd SW (etc.) closure

9:04 PM: Pigeon Point residents say the “no parking” warning signs are up but are stretching beyond the areas described in previous communication from SDOT. Neighborhood leaders are working to sort this out, and also hope to talk with city crew members expected to be in the area to check on the situation Monday morning.

EARLIER (ORIGINALLY POSTED 3:18 PM): We’ve been covering this for a week now, but in case you missed it, here’s the official reminder from SDOT of the North Delridge/Pigeon Point/Puget Ridge road closure/detour situation starting Monday – read on:Read More

Sneak peek aboard West Seattle’s new Water Taxi, the Rachel Marie

When you step on board the 77-foot catamaran Rachel Marie – which will make the West Seattle-Downtown Seattle run of the King County Water Taxi when this year’s service starts April 5 (new date) – you may feel a little smarter. That’s because the boat used to carry rocket scientists. True! As explained by Robert Patronsky of Four Seasons Marine, which owns the RM and its sister ship Melissa Ann – the Water Taxi for the Vashon-Downtown Seattle run – this one made shuttle runs in the Western Pacific for many years, to a US military missile-testing site. A photo inside the vessel is testimony to this:

So are signs in English and the Marshall Islands’ language, Marshallese.

More recently, the RM was on a foot-ferry passenger project in Honolulu. But we digress. The reason we asked the King County Ferry District for a sneak peek on board the Rachel Marie, which is currently at a Ballard shipyard, is because many WSB’ers asked for more details when we first reported on the Rachel Marie (with photos) last month. Ask, and we’ll do our best to make sure you receive. “Is there an outside deck?” some asked. Here it is – room for about 40 people topside, stern – a one-minute tour of where you can sit/stand outside:

There’s an inside deck upstairs, too – keep in mind, this eventually is meant to run year-round – and then, the main deck:

While the Rachel Marie is capable of carrying more than 200, Susan Whitmore with King County says it will be certified for up to 150 – any more, and they have different crewing and security requirements. Right now, they’re finishing hiring the crew – they’ve got their captains, who will be in a wheelhouse you can watch through windows at the front of the top interior deck:

Some other notes: No concessions; the county might look at that later as a revenue measure, says Whitmore, but nothing’s planned when the season starts. You can bring your own food/drink, though, and there are some tables in the main-deck seating.

(A few power outlets, too, if you just can’t stay off your laptop during the trip across the bay.) And as you probably noticed in the video clip, interior bike racks – enough to hold 18 total, no extra charge. Though the Rachel Marie has the ability to run faster than its predecessors, they’re keeping the same schedule for now – while looking for the “sweet spot” between fuel efficiency and speed. The basic fare is higher if you’re paying cash, as reported previously; Whitmore says they’ll keep taking cash “for a while,” but the farebox will be at the dock, along with an ORCA transit-card reader, and they hope eventually to install credit-card-capable ticket machines at the docks (remember, on the downtown side, they’ll be switching to Pier 50, just south of Colman Dock). Again, the new Water Taxi season starts April 5; that’s a Monday, so Whitmore says they’re not planning the kind of festivities with which they kicked off the season in past years, but might have an open house at some point. Meantime, the new dock at Seacrest needs to be finished – and then this summer, county leaders have to figure out the funding that’s needed for the service to run year-round as hoped.

West Seattle scene: USS John C Stennis on the move again

February 19, 2010 12:53 pm
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 |   Seen at sea | West Seattle news

On a picture-perfect morning, the USS John C. Stennis, CVN-74, was spotted from West Seattle shores, headed toward Bremerton (WesCAddle mentioned it in the WSB Forums). Thanks to Kevin for this carrier-and-mountain view!

Update: Media “brown bag lunch” with the mayor

We’re among a dozen-plus journalists at City Hall (7th floor conference room) in a “brown-bag” Q/A session with Mayor Mike McGinn. Not that anybody’s actually lunching, of course. So far, he’s fielded questions on everything from municipal broadband to Highway 520 to funding the bicycle plan to the new Youth/Families Initiative; we asked about library funding, given that two West Seattle libraries have been cut back to five-day-a-week operation. He said it’s too soon to say but he’s hoping not to have to cut libraries further. 12:10 PM UPDATE: The Q/A session is now over. Look for coverage in a variety of places in addition to here – PubliCola,, The Sable Verity (whose author/editor we just met for the first time), Crosscut, Q13. We got in the last question – why is he pursuing White Center (etc.) annexation now? The answer seemed to boil down to it being an exploratory matter more than anything, and might not ultimately make budget sense, but they’re pushing forward with finding out what the people who live in the prospective annexation area think. We got most of the session on video and will post some excerpts later. (Thanks to Diane for noting on Twitter that mayoral staffer Aaron Pickus had tweeted a photo of some of us – that’s your editor with the glasses and the MacBook.) ADDED 1:53 PM: Video of the mayor’s answer to our library-funding question:

A few more clips later.

High school basketball: Chief Sealth in league-finals game tonight

Tonight at 6, Chief Sealth High School‘s boys’ varsity basketball team plays Rainier Beach for the Metro League title. After Sealth’s Thursday afternoon practice, we talked with coach Colin Slingsby:

Sealth has a challenge tonight – they lost to Rainier Beach twice this year, once by 9 points, once by 10, and RB is undefeated in the Metro League, #2 statewide in 3A. No matter what happens tonight though, Sealth still moves on to the district playoffs next week. You can cheer them on tonight at 6 at Seattle Pacific University (map); we’ll tweet live from the game on our “live events” Twitter account (which you can check on the Web even if you are not a Twitter member), @wsblive (

Followup: City councilmembers request graffiti/litter audit

Followup to our story late Wednesday night about three graffiti-vandalism arrests in West Seattle and our request for your thoughts on this particular category of crime: We’ve learned that West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and his colleague Councilmember Tim Burgess – respective chairs of the Transportation and Public Safety (etc.) Committees – have asked for an audit of how the city handles graffiti and litter, which they describe as “street disorder.” Specifically, they asked the City Auditor earlier this month to review 7 points, including the city’s graffiti and litter laws, the rate of arrest/prosecution of offenders, intradepartmental coordination of city cleanup efforts in both areas, and “innovative efforts other cities have implemented that Seattle might replicate.” Rasmussen and Burgess asked auditor David Jones to get this done by June 1. We received their letter to the auditor from Rasmussen’s office after they saw our Wednesday night story; read the entire 2-page document here.

U.S. Rep. McDermott in West Seattle: Health reform WILL pass

More than 60 people were at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center last night for U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott‘s “winter 2010 community meeting.” The big topic was the same as it’s been for months – health-care reform (McDermott, you may recall, also happens to be a doctor) – which he’s been involved with for years.

He said he remains optimistic a health-care-reform bill will be passed, but whatever is finally approved, won’t necessarily be “final” – his example was Medicare, first passed in 1965, worked on every year since then. McDermott said he would like to see the 1945 act creating state insurance commissioners repealed; his view is that one central set of controls would represent a more efficient system. Asked about voter anger, McDermott suggested that the most infuriating thing for a voter is to see her/his representatives do nothing – those are the people, he says, who will get voted out. On another hot topic, he said he supports ending the filibuster rules in the U.S. Senate that so often slow progress there to a standstill. Last but by no means least, he believes legislation will be introduced within a few months to negate the U.S. Supreme Court‘s ruling on “corporate personhood.” Got something to say to Rep. McDermott? His contact info is here. Meantime, three more elected officials who represent you are having a Town Hall meeting tomorrow – the 34th District legislative trio, State Sen. Joe McDermott (no relation to Jim), Rep. Eileen Cody, and Rep. Sharon Nelson. They’ll be at High Point Community Center, 11 am tomorrow (Saturday).

Another month or so for pump-station project, Alki council told

(Tuesday photo of 53rd Avenue project site, by Chas Redmond)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“This project has been a long haul,” King County Wastewater Treatment rep Martha Tuttle told Thursday night’s Alki Community Council meeting, referring to the 2-years-and-not-done-yet 53rd Avenue Pump Station Project.

Uneasy laughter flowed through the room.

“It has been two years that we’ve been in construction and the fatigue the community feels is strong. We do apologize for that,” she continued. But she had some good news.

Read More

West Seattle nightlife: The return of “Corner Inn Lynne”

This June, it’ll be two years since the Corner Inn closed its doors at Fauntleroy/California, the space now transformed into Zeeks Pizza. But the spirit of the Corner Inn has lived on here and there around West Seattle – and here’s the latest incarnation: We got a note from “Johnny Roadkill” about a new Ladies Night starting up at The Bohemian this Sunday night, with the bartender known best as “Corner Inn Lynne” mixing the drinks Sunday nights, hoping to create a new tradition. Click the image at left to see the flyer full-size; Johnny says, “There will be music, ladies’ drink specials and fun times.” But everyone’s welcome – guys too. (Lynne got mentions in the comments when we covered the Corner Inn’s shutdown in June 2008.)