West Seattle, Washington
Quick tip tonight, as we approach the midpoint of Disaster Preparedness Month, with something new here every night to help you finish the month more prepared than you were when it started: Take five minutes to watch this video. The host shows what you could/should keep in your car in case you’re away from home – or need to leave in a hurry – when disaster strikes. (The non-freezing-fluid explanation alone is worth the investment of time.) Certainly there’s lots of advice out there about what to have in kits, but this goes a little further, and offers a few more ideas of practical items to store in your hatch or trunk. If you want to go back and review what we’ve talked about over the past two weeks, it’s all archived here (reverse chronological order). And we have to ask – have you taken the 3 to Get Ready Challenge (WSB sponsor) yet? Why not? Start here. Then make sure you’ve taken the extra steps we’re talking about here all month – know your Emergency Communications Hub (and make sure any family/friends you have in West Seattle know theirs too!) – review the rest of the West Seattle Be Prepared website – and join the WSBP group on Facebook!
Toplines from Tuesday night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting: Planning marches on for the second annual Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series. Aside from the West Seattle Big Band, the acts haven’t been chosen yet – more than 60 have applied – but right now the focus is on sponsorships to raise the money to stage the series. Some local businesses have signed on (WSB is a co-sponsor again this year), but they’re looking for more business sponsors and also inviting individual/family donations – the six-show series is free to attend but last year some individuals as well as businesses lent their support. If you’re interested in sponsoring or donating, contact Dave Weitzel at email@example.com. Also last night, the hardworking volunteers behind West Seattle Be Prepared and the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network explained those efforts to the ANA attendees (the crowd peaked around 20) – Deb Greer, Karen Berge and Cindi Barker. We’ve talked about those sites and campaigns multiple times here before, so we’ll just point you to the online spots – West Seattle Be Prepared is here (if you’re in Admiral, your hub is Hiawatha); the Blockwatch Captains Network is on Facebook here. One vote taken at the meeting: As some unfinished business from last fall’s officer elections, the group voted to drop proxy voting – if members want to vote, they have to be present.
Admiral Neighborhood Association meets the 2nd Tuesday of the month, 7 pm at Admiral UCC Church.
(Photo by Christopher Boffoli)
Though the neighbors who discovered that gray whale dying off their beach in The Arroyos (map) this afternoon were sad, some also acknowledged it was exciting in a way, such an unusual sight. And that is why Christopher Boffoli went back tonight to see what the receding tide revealed – low tide is around midnight, though not nearly as low as it will be tomorrow. One of the TV stations that went out to report on the whale after our report this afternoon, KING 5, says experts think starvation is a likely cause of the recent deaths around the region of several grays. As we noted in our earlier report, whale expert Jeff Hogan – from whom we often get first word of local whale sightings – plans to go back at tomorrow’s midday low tide, when the whale can be necropsied. After that, a decision will be made on what to do with its carcass.
ADDED 11:59 PM: Nearby resident Scott has posted video shot by his wife in what apparently were the whale’s final moments, around 4 this afternoon. The video and a few more photos are here. And via Facebook, the whale experts at Orca Network discuss starvation and its role in gray-whale deaths, which they say happen in our region several times a year, so this year may be trending ahead of the average already.
First, a followup on an arrest we reported last week: The 33-year-old man arrested at his High Point apartment one week ago and held for investigation of auto theft, robbery, assault and kidnapping is no longer in jail – he was released Monday night. That day was the deadline for him to be either charged or released, but the case was not referred to prosecutors. Police told WSB today that the investigation is still “active,” but that it’s too soon to say whether they will determine there is enough evidence to send the case to prosecutors for possible charges. Next – two new Crime Watch reports just in, a burglary and a sighting of two suspected car prowlers – read on:Read More
News tonight about “the other viaduct” – the Spokane Street Viaduct, aka the section of the West Seattle Bridge that’s between 99 and I-5. Construction of the new eastbound offramp at 4th Avenue South (SDOT photo above) is running ahead of schedule. Meantime, the closure of the 1st Avenue South onramp to the westbound WS Bridge is now just a month away. Here’s the latest from SDOT:Read More
(Photo by Christopher Boffoli, substituted at 7:11 pm for our original cameraphone photo)
ORIGINAL 4:59 PM REPORT: We are on a private beach in The Arroyos where neighbors and whale experts have gathered because of a stranded, likely dead, gray whale. More to come. 5:04 PM UPDATE: Among those here is whale expert Jeff Hogan, who’s been talking to NOAA. He thinks the whale is indeed dead, possibly just within the past hour – neighbors here tell us they saw it moving around earlier this afternoon. It is off a bulkhead in front of homes along this far southwest section of West Seattle shoreline; the whale is mostly submerged but the tide is starting to go out. 5:27 PM: Update, the tide actually is still rising – high tide is in about an hour. Then there’s a minus tide at midday tomorrow, and experts will examine the whale then if it hasn’t floated off overnight. Two TV choppers were over us a little while ago so you may see something about this on tv too. Here’s what Hogan told us a short time ago:
Again, this is happening just off a private beach (we are here by the good graces of the neighbors, one of whom called us about an hour ago to ask who to report this sort of thing to) so not a good idea to come down to try to get a glimpse. If you see a marine mammal in trouble, by the way, this is the hotline (easy to find any time on the Seal Sitters’ website) 800-853-1964. ADDED 6:52 PM: Video from a little more than an hour ago, giving you a little more perspective on where the whale is, in context with the residential shoreline (and Vashon across the way):
Hogan expects to be back in the morning where a low tide would beach the whale so it could be necropsied. We will be continuing to monitor the situation tonight.
When a commenter wondered earlier today when the Wing Dome is opening in The Junction, since it plans to participate in the upcoming Taste of West Seattle on May 20th, we realized we hadn’t checked in with spokesperson Colleen O’Leary for a while – so we did just that. She had said in February that they were awaiting their construction schedule for their section of what used to be part of CAPERS, before estimating a date. They have that now, and work is under way, as you can see in the photo she shared; she says they’re aiming for late June/early July.
A week ago, Chief Sealth High School basketball coach Colin Slingsby accepted the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce “Westsider of the Year” award (WSB coverage here); he’d already been honored as the Seattle Times (WSB partner) “Star Times Coach of the Year.” If you’ve got a 4th-8th grader interested in basketball, here’s a chance for them to work with Coach Slingsby for free this Saturday – the announcement just came in:
Free Youth Basketball Clinic
Hosted by the Chief Sealth Boys Basketball Program
When: Saturday April 17th, 2010
Where: Chief Sealth High School at Boren, 5950 Delridge Way
Time: 10 am-12 pm
(Clinic will run from 10-11:30 and pizza will be served from 11:30-12)
Age: 4th grade through 8th grade
• Pizza and Gatorade will be provided at the conclusion of the clinic for those who attend.
• The clinic will be directed by Sealth Boys Head Coach Colin Slingsby and several current players at Chief Sealth.
Questions? Contact Coach Colin Slingsby at (206) 854-8142 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sealth athletic director Sam Reed points out it’s also a good chance to preview what your student might get out of the Sealth basketball/life-skills camp this summer, same age range (brochure here).
(WSB photos and video by Cliff DesPeaux)
That site near the SODO stadiums is a dirt lot now, but it’ll be transformed into a detour route during the heart of the southern Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project is under way. WSDOT just opened bids today for the south-end project and says all six bids were below the agency’s $152 million estimate – the apparent low bidder (a verification/review process is still ahead) is Skanska USA Civil from Riverside, California, at $114 million. (Next lowest, two bids at $127 million; highest was $142 million, still $10 million below the estimate.)
The work starts this summer – here’s what you’ll see first – and is expected to employ more than 600 people.
Photojournalist Cliff DesPeaux covered the WSDOT announcement event for WSB; Viaduct project leader Ron Paananen and state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond showed off an orange-painted column marking the northern end of the southern replacement zone:
ADDED 4:22 PM: Here’s what Hammond told reporters at the scene (note that despite what’s on the video, the low bid was actually $114 million as noted above):
Three weeks ago, we covered the South Portal Working Group meeting at which Viaduct project managers reviewed the construction schedule five years into the future – until even the central part of the structure is to be demolished – if you missed that story, see it here.
(WSB photos and video by Cliff DesPeaux)
Under one of the LED streetlights that are being tested on a few blocks in the Genesee-Schmitz area, that’s City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, leading a tour last night to talk about the new lights, as the city moves ahead with plans to swap out all streetlights for energy-/money-saving LEDs within 5 years. Click ahead for more details, including a quick video demonstration of the difference between the new lights and the “old” ones, plus information on when they’ll be shining along your street:Read More
Some call the 35th SW straightaway “I-35” because there are times it feels like a freeway. MAS noticed that somebody has put up a sign in hopes of reminding drivers it’s not. (This is by the northbound bus stop, 35th/Webster, Sunrise Heights.)
2 months ago, West Seattle Helpline put out the call for local restaurants to make this year’s Taste of West Seattle (co-sponsored by WSB) bigger than ever – and as of this morning, 29 have answered that call. They’re all listed here, and organizers say they “still have a couple of restaurant openings” – call Helpline’s Anna Fern, 206-932-2746, if you’re interested. The Taste is 6-8:30 pm May 20th at The Hall at Fauntleroy; you can buy tickets online, or at Hotwire Coffee and Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsors) as well as at Husky Deli and CAPERS.
(West Seattle Bridge photo by Long Bach Nguyen; go here for larger version)
WEST SEATTLE TRIANGLE ADVISORY GROUP: Tonight marks Meeting #2 for the local business and community leaders convened by city planners to consider the future of West Seattle’s next redevelopment frontier. (Here’s our report on #1.) 6 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle (upstairs meeting room).
CANDIDATES’ FORUM AT 34TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS: Your next chance to hear from candidates in our area’s main contested, open race is tonight during the 34th District Democrats‘ monthly meeting at The Hall at Fauntleroy. The agenda also includes proposed changes to endorsement rules (full agenda here)
GOT ANSWERS? SKYLARK HAS QUESTIONS! Wednesdays are Trivia Nights at Skylark Café and Club (WSB sponsor), 6:45 pm (followed by Open Mike time at 9).
WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE DAY SIGNUPS: Day 14 of registration for the 6th annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day, coming up on Saturday, May 8, 9 am-3 pm. The list just passed 80 sales, big and small, all over the peninsula – eight days left to register yours (start here)!