West Seattle, Washington
Story and photos by Christopher Boffoli
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
About a dozen Junction-area residents turned out at Ginomai tonight for an information-packed meeting of the Junction Neighborhood Organization. Much of the meeting centered around the guest speaker, SPD Officer Tom Burns, who talked about neighborhood crime trends and a range of issues relating to SPD activity in the Junction retail district and surrounding neighborhoods. In particular, Burns touched on some growing gang activity, homeless people living in cars on neighborhood streets, recent bank robberies, and ongoing challenges SPD officers face in dealing with crime.
JuNO President Erica Karlovits opened the meeting and introduced Officer Burns, who told the group that he grew up in West Seattle and knows its neighborhoods very well. He began by assuring the attendees that the community is safe. He said that most of the crimes SPD deals with in the Junction area are non-violent property crimes, though he admitted that lately there has been a group of about troubled teens that the SPD has been watching. They are roughly a dozen members who have been promoting themselves as the “Junction Bloods.” The group is led by a couple of young men who are actually gang members, and the rest are just aspirational teens who aren’t in school. Burns said their activity has largely been a nuisance thus far but that their activity has been escalating from petty crime and vandalism to dealing an increasing amount of marijuana and, lately, organized street robberies where the gang members work in concert by creating distractions.
Seattle Interim Police Chief John Diaz is the only local candidate among the 3 finalists for the permanent job, as chosen tonight by the search committee (whose members include Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Joe Kessler). In addition to Chief Diaz, the police chiefs of Sacramento and East Palo Alto are on the short list. Read on for the announcement from the mayor’s office:Read More
(Clip added Wednesday morning – Pearl Django, part of the just-announced Admiral concert lineup)
We’re at the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s monthly meeting at Admiral Congregational Church – busy meeting, headlined by the announcement of the lineup for the second Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series. So for starters, as announced by ANA president Katy Walum tonight, here it is:
July 29 – The Starlings
August 5 – Back Burner
August 26 – Camille Bloom
September 2 – West Seattle Big Band
The series has more than a dozen businesses signed on as co-sponsors (including WSB), and there’s room for more – e-mail email@example.com if you’re interested. Meantime, lots more discussed tonight, and there were guest appearances including two candidates. ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: The rest of the ANA meeting’s toplines – click ahead, including a sneak peek at the forthcoming Admiral T-shirts:Read More
No official statement from the district so far but we have just been forwarded this letter from West Seattle High School principal Bruce Bivins, announcing he’s leaving:
It is with bittersweet emotions that I am writing to let you know that I have accepted a small school principal position Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles collaborating in a joint venture with the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.
When I came to West Seattle in 2007, I quickly realized that there was an amazing community of support for our school. West Seattle High School is and will continue to be the school of choice for the West Seattle community. My family and I have enjoyed being a part of this community, and I have enjoyed serving this school. I am proud of the work we have done together, and absent of this truly personal and extraordinary opportunity, I would have been happy as principal continuing for many years to come.
To all of West Seattle High School families, I offer a special word of thanks and appreciation. It has been my honor to serve you and I am proud of what we have accomplished and persevered through together over these past three years. Our school is a special place because of all of you and I cannot thank you enough for your dedication to achievement, and your determination to do what is best for our students.
It is never a good time to leave one great job for another but I relish the challenges at the Partnership and I will always love my time spent here in Seattle. Over these remaining 6 weeks, let’s work together in defining the strengths and assets you will need in your next leader.
West Seattle High School
More info as we get it. The WSHS parent who provided us with this letter says the district phone system called families with the message as well.
As noted in our Sunday report on overflowing trash cans at Alki (David Hutchinson photo at left), it happened between Parks Department furlough days – and as discussed since, it didn’t just happen at Alki. With the furlough days now past for this month, we checked with Parks today to see if they had an official response – Joelle Hammerstad e-mailed back that it was “the result of a perfect storm” but that it has resulted in a change of plans for the future:
Overflowing trashcans at Alki Beach this weekend were the result of a perfect storm of three different events: 1) furloughs; 2) peak-season employees not having started yet; and 3) great weather. In fact, overflowing trashcans were a problem all over the city.
As has been mentioned in many a press release, all Parks employees will take 10 days of unpaid leave this year. We have intentionally skipped July and August as those are our busiest months. These furloughs save Seattle Parks and Recreation almost $2.1 million a year, and save jobs. None of us wants to take furlough days, but when we do, there are inevitable impacts.
Between late September and early May, Seattle Parks and Recreation has a skeleton crew working on the weekends. We begin what we call our “seasonal” shifts in mid-May. This year, those shifts actually begin this week, and continue until Sept. 28. This gives us maintenance coverage at Alki Beach from 6 a.m. to sunset 7 days a week, and until 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday nights for beach fires. Our off-peak coverage is just two employees on both Saturday and Sunday to cover all the maintenance needs of West Seattle parks. Most of the time, that amount of coverage works just fine. Obviously, this past weekend, it didn’t.
And, of course, the weather was beautiful. As the weather desks at the tv stations reported, it had been more than 2 months since we’d had what can technically be termed as a “mostly sunny” day. People were itching to get outside and enjoy their parks, which is great. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the maintenance staff to support that level of park use.
There are 4 in-ground cans around the bathhouse part of Alki and 4 more down at Don Armeni. These go deep into the ground, 16 feet. The in-ground cans at the bathhouse (west area) have actually been in place for quite a while (at least 5 years). We recently installed new ones in the Don Armeni area, and I think those are the ones folks feel have difficult doors. They cans are brand new; we believe that the doors will loosen up and become more flexible as they are broken in.
This past weekend, we had 88 trash cans along the Alki strip, not including the ones at Seacrest and Don Armeni. We have Dumpsters at the bathhouse – 1 regular and 1 for recycling, and usually have another at the picnic shelter.
We take full responsibility for our part of the state of the parks this weekend. Plans are in place to ensure that another situation like the one this past weekend does not repeat itself. As soon as our crews came in on Monday morning, attending to overflowing trash cans was priority #1.
However, as many posters noted, we need the community’s help to ensure that our parks are clean, safe and habitable for everyone. Packing it out when you see that a trash can is full is a great idea. Bringing along a trash bag, and picking up trash as you see it, is another great one.
P.S. Our friends at Capitol Hill Seattle got a version of the same response.
With the West Seattle Hi-Yu Festival events gearing up this weekend – 8-11 am Saturday is the West Seattle Sportsmen‘s Kids’ Fishing Derby at Seacrest – Hi-Yu has just announced this year’s candidates for the Miss Hi-Yu scholarship program:
Holy Names Academy junior Victoria Ferrulli, sponsored by American Legion Post 160
West Seattle High School senior Melanie Frey, sponsored by West Seattle Rotary
Kennedy High School senior Kelsey Porter, sponsored by West Seattle Kiwanis
University of Puget Sound (Tacoma) student Kelsey Bills, sponsored by the West Seattle Lions
University of Washington student Rosemarie Anne Ko Unite, sponsored by the West Seattle Eagles
1:19 PM: We’re at South Seattle Community College, where chancellor Dr. Jill Wakefield has just announced that the interim president of Seattle Central Community College, Gary Oertli, will be the new SSCC president – succeeding her. According to the news release we were just handed (we’ll have it in digital format to add here shortly), he’ll officially take over by the fall quarter. 1:38 PM: We interviewed Dr. Wakefield immediately after she announced the appointment to SSCC staffers (added 4:43 pm, we asked her on camera what she told them):
As for how they reacted, she smiled, “I’m not sure I’ve ever made a decision that’s been received so positively!”
(back to original report) Meantime, click ahead for the full news release:Read More
(12/14/09 WSB photo after the stolen Rotary Viewpoint Park totem pole was brought back to Seattle)
We are at the regular weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of West Seattle, where an agreement has just been announced regarding the theft of the totem pole last November 30th (as first reported here a few days later) from Rotary Viewpoint Park (on 35th south of the stadium).
According to a statement provided by the club, the suspected thief “has agreed to pay approximately $3,200 in restitution to the Parks Department for the cost of recovering the stolen pole. He has also made payment of $17,745 to the Rotary Club of West Seattle Service Foundation. These funds will afford professional restoration to be completed on the pole, work that was needed at the time of its removal. Because Rotary has been put in a position where it can now fund restoration of the totem pole we do not wish to pursue a criminal charge against the man responsible for its disappearance. We have informed the Prosecutor’s Office of our inclination. We are currently working with Seattle Parks on a stewardship agreement so that the Pole can be restored by skilled artisans in a timely manner. We look forward to updating the community as this progresses so we can set a date for the Pole and Park’s re-dedication. Our thanks go to the Prosecutor’s Office and Parks Department for their continued commitment to resolving this issue.” As we reported last week, there is particular urgency for the Rotary – one of the men who sleuthed the case, Ken Wise, is terminally ill and hopes to see the pole reinstalled before he dies.
(Video added 4:11 pm, Josh Sutton making the announcement at today’s Rotary meeting)
12:45 PM UPDATE: Josh Sutton has just made the announcement at the Rotary meeting and showed the $17K check. He is making a special thanks to Ken, who just got a special announcement. Sutton said, “For us it’s not about who’s responsible, but about moving forward. This isn’t about people who take things – this is about people who give things. Our task is now to get this pole back … put this baby back where she belongs … when Ken can see it. So that’s our next step.” Sutton says there also is an opportunity for the community to give, for the re-dedication. More details ahead on that. We also will be checking with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for their side of this, as well as to see if the suspect will be charged in the theft of the Renton pole found along with the West Seattle pole.
2:23 PM: Dan Donohoe, media liaison for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, has responded to our two questions:
We take into consideration input from the victim. In this case, the Rotary did not want to pursue criminal charges since the responsible party has now agreed to pay for a complete restoration of the totem pole. Regarding the Renton case, it is still under review. However, it is unlikely that we would be able to file any charges in the Renton case due to evidentiary issues.
The Renton pole was stolen from a Fred Meyer store that didn’t know it was stolen until it was found with the West Seattle pole in Oregon (here’s our story from last December).
(Photo courtesy King County Department of Transportation)
Midway between two major community meetings on the South Park Bridge closure plan, a smaller “inter-agency” group is just wrapping up a meeting this morning. Some new information has emerged, inspired, those on hand say, by feedback they’ve received at previous meetings as well as via e-mail and other channels. That information includes changes to planned bus reroutes, as well as one major new element for the road that will become a dead end of sorts when the bridge closes at 7 pm June 30 – read on:Read More
The school year has a month and a half left to go, and we are getting a look at how the new Seattle Public Schools assignment plan, moving away from “choice” and toward “neighborhood schools,” is likely to affect West Seattle. First, thanks to Oliver for the tip (in this comment) that – for those who are still waiting, recent district arrivals, or those applied for something besides their “neighborhood school” – the district website says the district expects to send assignment letters this Friday. Next, the district has made enrollment projections for next fall. We’ve broken out the West Seattle numbers – here’s how to read them: The first number after each school is what the district says the school had enrolled as of last October; the second two numbers start with “number assigned” followed by “how many expected to be enrolled on October 1st.” Note that three elementaries are expecting higher enrollment: Gatewood, Lafayette, Schmitz Park.
Chief Sealth International – 996 last Oct; 1109 assigned for next year, expect 959 enrolled Oct. 1st
West Seattle – 1138 last Oct.; 1099 assigned for next year, expect 1006
Denny International – 704 last Oct; 764 assigned next year, 663 expected
Madison – 906 last Oct; 905 assigned next year, 842 expected
Alki – 363 (362, 349)
Arbor Heights – 343 (373, 339)
Gatewood – 418 (469, 431)
Highland Park – 415 (437, 407)
West Seattle – 332 (361, 329)
Lafayette – 522 (556, 525)
Roxhill – 312 (325, 302)
Schmitz Park – 355 (409, 394)
Sanislo – 325 (315, 295)
Pathfinder 464 (490, 452)
If you applied for a school different than your “neighborhood” assignment, you can check the charts here to see if there’s a waitlist, as pointed out by Charlie Mas at at saveseattleschools.blogspot.com (an always-excellent source for discussion of district-related issues).
Five neighborhood-council meetings of note make this “Neighborhood Night” – 6:30 pm at Ginomai (42nd/Genesee), Junction Neighborhood Organization starts the night, with an agenda including a Junction crime update from SPD; 6:30 pm is also when North Delridge Neighborhood Council has its regular monthly meeting, at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Then at 7 pm, three meetings of note – Admiral Neighborhood Association @ Admiral Congregational Church, the Fauntleroy Community Association @ Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, and South Park Neighborhood Association @ SPARC Building (10th/Southern), with City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw expected. Also, a midday highlight: The Senior Center of West Seattle hosts a Salute to Veterans luncheon at 11:45, free to all veterans, $5 suggested donation for all others, call ahead for reservations: 206-932-4044.
It’s tournament time for some local high-school teams – and West Seattle High School assistant baseball coach Scott Meaker provides the update on how things started for the Wildcats:
The Metro League tournament got off to a good start Monday with West Seattle hosting Seattle Prep. The Wildcats took a convincing win by beating the Panthers 11-5.
Season-long workhorse Brandon MacKinnon was the starting pitcher for West Seattle and he pitched into the 7th inning, giving up 4 runs, 1 of them earned, on 5 hits while striking out 2 and walking 5. He took the win. [Editor’s note: WSB photo at left was taken just before MacKinnon got Prep’s #24 to hit into a double play.]
Seniors Trevor Martin and Ryan Wiggins again led an impressive offensive attack. Martin went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI and a HR. Wiggins went 3-for-4 scoring a run. Freshman left fielder LaTray Newsome continues to impress with another hot day at the plate going 2-for-4, scoring 2 runs, and leading off with a massive HR to deep right-center field.
West Seattle will face Eastside Catholic HS on Wed. at White Center Stadium at 3:30. In other Metro League Tournament games Monday , Eastside Catholic beat Franklin HS 7-6, Bishop Blanchet beat Ingraham 11-0, and Nathan Hale beat O’Dea 3-2. Bishop Blanchet will face Nathan Hale on Thursday in a game that follows the WSHS game. The losers of Monday’s games play today in the double-elimination tournament format.
That’s the newest aerial photo from the team working on the new Denny International Middle School (left side of the photo) and renovations to Chief Sealth International High School. It comes with the latest construction update: For the new Denny, to be occupied in 2011, they’re planning to complete the roofing for the building’s north and south wings this month; for Sealth, floor leveling will be completed in the performance-arts area, and doors and carpeting will be installed in classrooms. (CSIHS student reps took a hard-hat tour of the site April 9 – here’s our report; our archived Denny-Sealth coverage is here; updates from the project team can be found here.)
Monday night, the Seattle-area businesses (and others) who chipped in to save Seattle’s last remaining 4th of July fireworks show were invited to a thank-you party. We were working, so no-go for us, but one of the other West Seattle businesses that also donated – Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor) – dropped in, and Ventana co-proprietor Anne shared photos. Above, that’s Tom Douglas, celebrity chef who helped hatch the idea of a donation challenge, signing a banner that will be displayed for the holiday; below, a slice of the crowd at the secret location:
Anne says more than 75 people were there; Douglas’s co-conspirator, radio host Dave Ross, attended too. What about next year? you might be wondering. Maybe a similar campaign, Douglas suggested. (Other donors with West Seattle ties included another WSB sponsor, Merrill Gardens, as well as CitiLights Electric.)