day : 16/03/2010 12 results

Birth announcement: The Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council

At the front of the room, that’s Chas Redmond, co-chair of the Southwest District Council, with more than two dozen people who answered the council’s call to organize. They came to PCC West Seattle (WSB sponsor) tonight to form what they decided to call the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council. The SWDC’s goals for the year included helping West Seattle residents organize in areas that don’t currently have community councils – and this is the first. In addition to discussing procedural points – the need for regular meetings, boundary-drawing, and officer elections – they talked about hot issues in their area, with the fate of the former Genesee Hill Elementary School atop the list. The school housed Pathfinder K-8 for more than a decade till the Pathfinder move to the former Cooper Elementary in Pigeon Point. Genesee resident and realtor Alan Krell said that if the site were ever turned into a housing development, up to 60 homes could be built. So the new council hopes to have a Seattle Public Schools rep come to a meeting to talk about the building and the district’s longterm plans. Other concerns: The Genesee-Schmitz area’s lack of public meeting spaces and playgrounds. Before this kickoff meeting concluded, Dick Miller volunteered to serve as temporary chair, and a smaller group organized to work on nuts-and-bolts tasks such as mailing lists, meeting times, organizational structure, and publicity. If you’re interested in getting involved but couldn’t attend tonight’s meeting – e-mail to get on hte list.

Hiawatha debut for West Seattle High School boys’ varsity soccer

Thanks to Tim McMonigle for sharing photo and summarizing the latest milestone for newly renovated Hiawatha Playfield and the players who have been waiting a long time for it:

West Seattle High School (in blue) had their first varsity soccer game of the season today and played on the beautiful new turf at Hiawatha in front of local students and fans, beating Franklin HS 3-0. This is a great improvement over playing their home games at Memorial Stadium the last several years where many fans could not see them. The weather cooperated and the boys played their hearts out. Their next game is Thursday afternoon at Ingraham HS and Friday evening against Sammamish HS, hopefully at a local venue. Come on out and support your local WSHS Wildcat soccer team!

West Seattle business news: Wax Bar opens in Triangle tomorrow

(Photo by Christopher Boffoli)
Tonight, another one of the new West Seattle businesses we’ve been tracking is just hours from opening … The Wax Bar opens tomorrow morning at 37th/Fauntleroy, between the shoe repair and brake-service stores. Founder Karen says they’re planning to open the doors at 9 am. We first confirmed in December that The Wax Bar – which is expanding from Ballard – was coming to West Seattle. We got the original heads-up when they applied for a liquor license – which, as they told us, is needed because their twist is that they serve beer: Waxing, skin care, and beer. They’re online at and opening tomorrow morning at 4450 37th SW (map).

West Seattle power outage: Westside Symphonette still a go

Since Gatewood Elementary School lost its power along with almost 2,800 other homes/businesses/facilities this afternoon, there’s been some question about whether the Westside Symphonette concert set for 7:30 tonight would still go on. Just talked to the orchestra’s leader Toni Reineke, and while she says they haven’t confirmed yet whether the power is back, they’re proceeding under the assumption it will be. If they have to call it off at the last minute, she’ll give us a call and let us know, so if you’re planning to go, you can check back here for any updates before you leave.

West Seattle power outage: Lowman Beach sewage overflow

(Cameraphone added 5:23 pm, generator truck at Lowman Beach)
Just got word from King County Wastewater Treatment that, as often happens in power outage situations, this one triggered an overflow at the Murray Avenue pump station by Lowman Beach. The county estimates 40,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed for about 15 minutes before they got a portable generator going so the normal pumping could continue. They’ve posted signs on the shore, however, warning of possible contamination. (Added: We talked with Annie Kolb-Nelson at the county; she confirms Lowman still doesn’t have an emergency generator – that’s part of the CSO projects, with a meeting coming up March 29.) Read on for the full news release:Read More

Traffic alert: Crash at 41st/Admiral

March 16, 2010 4:11 pm
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 |   West Seattle news

No indication of serious injuries but Mike and Wendy both have sent us word via Facebook of the crash at 41st/Admiral, affecting westbound traffic on Admiral – Wendy says it looks like cars are being rerouted down 41st, so if you’re heading back into West Seattle that way, heads up. 4:19 PM UPDATE: Traffic’s moving westbound on Admiral, one lane, slowly.

West Seattle Weather Watch: Wind kicks up, power goes out

(scroll down for the latest updates)

(sailboat under tow between northern Lincoln Park and Vashon – that’s what drew the helicopters)
2:22 PM: Just went out a few minutes ago in Upper Fauntleroy. The forecast had called for wind up to 25 mph and it’s been kicking up for about the past half-hour. So far we have outage reports from Morgan Junction and Westwood (35th/Trenton), too. California/Fauntleroy intersection is out but it looks like it doesn’t go further north of the California/Graham intersection. Morgan Junction businesses appear to be out. We also have word of a sailboat that’s run aground and is getting battered by wind north of Lincoln Park, toward the south end of Beach Drive. (added 3:51, Rod’s photo of the sailboat – at left with the tug, with Coast Guard to the right)

Meantime, we’re also monitoring power reports via Facebook and Twitter – north West Seattle seems OK so far.

2:36 PM UPDATE: More than 2,700 customers affected, according to City Light (boundaries listed here, though they’re not always precise). And an update on the sailboat – it’s being towed in. We’ll have visuals in a bit. Other areas affected by the outage, according to WSB’er reports, include High Point. If you’re wondering about the helicopter(s) – they were/are checking out the sailboat situation.

2:48 PM UPDATE: Just talked to Scott Thomsen in City Light’s media department. Ours is the latest wind-related outage – some elsewhere in the city have been fixable fast, when crews determine where a wire went down or a tree went into a wire – this one hasn’t been traced to the source just yet so it’s too soon to say exactly how long it’ll take for the power to come back. (A concurrent and similarly sized outage in Greenwood was fixed within minutes, according to City Light’s latest online update.)

2:58 PM UPDATE: FYI if you’re not in West Seattle – at work off the peninsula, etc. – the wind has died way down, though the power’s still out (again, it seems to be Morgan Junction/Upper Fauntleroy/High Point/part of Westwood/Gatewood, etc. – no reports of outages on the northern half of the peninsula).

3:10 PM: Power just came back on in High Point, according to both David Ginsberg via Twitter and also what we saw while passing through 35th/Morgan. Still out here at HQ. Again, still seems that north West Seattle was relatively unscathed – a flicker here and there, and Gretchen at Square One Books (WSB sponsor) in Jefferson Square said they also lost it briefly – plus, in comments, Angel says all’s well in the Puget Ridge area. Morgan Junction business area — at least around the intersection — is BACK ON, says Angela, who’s at Tully’s (wi-fi too, she reports).

3:56 PM: Hour and a half now, for those of us still out. Gatewood/south Morgan Junction/Upper Fauntleroy/part of Westwood still the main spots – Beveridge Place (the actual street/neighborhood by the pub of the same name) says they’re still out. Also note that some intersections are still affected, like 35th/Holden, so if you come this way, drive carefully. No formal update from City Light yet but we’re about to call and check in to see if they’ve traced the longrunning part of the outage. As for the weather, Rhonda from The Mortgage Porter (WSB sponsor) points out that a wind advisory remains in effect for the city till 6 pm – though things have been quiet here for quite some time now.

4:20 PM: Two hours out now. Just checked back with City Light’s Scott Thomsen – he says 1,650 customers are still without power in the West Seattle area – crews are working along Gatewood Road and “bringing people on behind them” as they go along – no formal ETA for everybody, though. Also note that any “official” boundaries you see listed anywhere, even on the City Light site, are only approximations – that’s why the firsthand reports that you provide are so important – and we do our best to go out and verify, too. They do not have equipment enabling a precise read on exactly who is out where – that’s technology they’re working on for the future.

5:02 PM: Our power briefly flickered back on – then off. At the same time a few minutes ago, High Point went off again – then, we’re told, back on. Meantime, King County Wastewater Treatment reveals that Murray Pump Station at Lowman Beach lost power and overflowed – see that story here. And the sun’s out. We’re checking now on major intersections without power – 35th/Thistle, for starters.

5:40 PM: We’re back! How about you?

6:30 PM: City Light confirms “all but a few” are back. They’re blaming the outage on “part of a tree.”

West Seattle business news: Opening day for Bin 41

As previewed here last Sunday, today is “soft opening” day for Bin 41, the new wine shop in The Junction (between Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy [WSB sponsor] and KeyBank). We stopped by a little while ago to photograph Bin 41 proprietors T. Frick and Jon McNamara. They’re open till 7 pm today (hours are listed on their Facebook page) but “grand opening” festivities start April 1st.

Followup: What caused the water/gas double trouble in Seaview

March 16, 2010 12:18 pm
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 |   Seaview | Utilities | West Seattle news

Talked with Seattle Public UtilitiesAndy Ryan a little while ago to follow up on the Seaview water break that turned into a gas-line break (as chronicled here last night). First we asked about the timeline and response, since commenters had wondered about that: Ryan says they got the call at 11:05 am yesterday, “water in the street.” It was “logged as priority 8” – one step down from level 9, which requires response within an hour; in this case, he says, it took a crew two hours, and they arrived at 1:03 pm. One commenter wondered about furloughs (the city is requiring some because of budget cuts); that had nothing to do with it – it was a union crew, and they’re not affected by furloughs. As for what broke the water main – it’s a 71-year-old line, which is not old by SPU standards; it’s cast iron and they can last up to 200 years. Ryan says it appears a rock got lodged between the water line and a sewer line running right beneath it. So why did repair crews wind up rupturing a gas line? “A new gas main had been placed there but wasn’t accurately marked on the map,” Ryan says, “so our crews found the old one, but the new one wasn’t where it was supposed to be – and got ‘nicked’. Our maps are usually pretty good.” Again, as we reported at 5:30 this morning, the repairs were complete and water service restored in the early-early-morning hours. (Monday evening photo courtesy Doug B)

Census forms arrive: Need help with yours? Here’s how to get it

The official 2010 Census form just arrived at WSB HQ (that’s our unofficial mail “pile” at left). If you have any questions about yours and want to talk to someone in person, today also happens to be the first day for a special “assistance center” set up at South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) in West Seattle – 11 am-7 pm today and tomorrow, and the next two Tuesday-Wednesday pairs. Full details here.

Today/tonight: Vote; fight crime; help schools; launch Genesee

March 16, 2010 6:34 am
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 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

(Photo by Greg Wright – the unofficial WSB flagship flower, Darwin’s barberry, blooming at Don Armeni)
KING CONSERVATION DISTRICT: Today you can vote for one of five candidates (one, Kirk Prindle, is from West Seattle) to fill the open seat on the KCD’s Board of Supervisors – but you’ll have to go to one of the in-person voting spots, listed here; the closest one is downtown. (Wondering what the KCD does? It’s explained here.)

WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: Joining forces with your neighbors for a Block Watch is a big topic planned for tonight, with Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Ben Kinlow as the special guest at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council‘s monthly meeting. (And have you checked out the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains’ Network on Facebook yet?) Also be there to hear straight from police what’s up (and down) with local crime stats, and to ask them your questions. 7 pm at the precinct (Delridge/Webster).

WESTSIDE SYMPHONETTE: West Seattle’s community orchestra has a mini-concert at 7:30 tonight at Gatewood Elementary to raise money for the Gatewood and Roxhill music programs. Admission/donation $1 – they’d of course love to get more – and bring some $ for Gatewood’s bake sale, too. Here’s the full preview.

(Looking toward Mount Rainier from Genesee Hill; photo by Chas Redmond)
ORGANIZING MEETING FOR GENESEE NEIGHBORHOOD GROUP: Tonight’s the big night for Genesee Hill (and environs) residents to come help organize a neighborhood council so the area’s voice will be louder, and so that neighbors can join forces to fight problems, address concerns and celebrate successes. 7 pm at PCC West Seattle (WSB sponsor).

LOVE AND LOGIC PARENTING: A 7-week class starts tonight at Arbor Heights Community Church; call Leah at 932-5045 for registration info. And finally:

ORCAS???? Christopher Boffoli got some of the West Seattle/Vashon visitors’ spouts on video Monday – check out the clip. Will they be back today? We’ll let you know if we hear anything. Other places to watch for occasional real-time alerts: The fabulous Orca Network‘s Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Video: Mayor brings “Youth and Families Initiative” to West Seattle

March 16, 2010 2:59 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle video | Westwood

Followup to last night’s 1st report on the West Seattle workshop for Mayor McGinn‘s “Youth and Families Initiative“: The gathering was hosted by Denny International Middle School, whose music director Marcus Pimpleton led his Seattle All-City Band in a rousing warmup for the event. An estimated 300 people – which would be the largest crowd at any of these meetings so far – heard the mayor explain his inspiration and hopes for the initiative:

As happened at other gatherings, participants broke into small groups to discuss questions, particularly “What would you like to see in five years – what should Seattle look like then?” The “achievement gap” was mentioned frequently; though Seattle is considered one of the most-educated cities in America, several speakers said, our schools seem to have a tough time keeping up. Another frequent mention: More data-gathering is needed to find out which programs work and which don’t. And there were calls for helping figure out how kids who are falling behind can get a boost to catch up. Next steps: The fifth and final kickoff workshop is next Monday night at Garfield Community Center; right after that, it’s a month of Community Caucuses. The city’s not setting the times and places for these – they’re asking who wants to host them; find out more here. And a Youth Summit is planned at City Hall on April 8th; RSVP here.