month : 05/2010 347 results

West Seattle Whale Watch: Transient orcas seen off WS

Orca Network is quoted by the Kitsap Sun – which has been tracking transient orcas in waterways by Bremerton and Silverdale – as saying the transients have been spotted off our shores today. No other details so far but we’re committed to sharing whale sightings, so you are now on alert! 5;31 PM UPDATE: Howard from Orca Network says the sighting in question was Tuesday, not today. The transients have been seen again in Kitsap County, but not off WS, today.

West Seattle Summer Fest: This year’s poster goes public

WSB is proud to again be among the co-sponsors of the peninsula’s biggest event of the year, West Seattle Summer Fest, coming up July 9, 10, 11 in The Junction – and we just got this copy of the newly released poster art you’ll be seeing soon all over West Seattle, as the summer’s biggest festival gets closer. (See the full-size PDF version here.) You’re probably wondering who’s on the slate of “Hot Local Bands” – the full slate is still being finalized, and you’ll see it as soon as it’s ready, but a few acts have independently announced they’re on the list (here’s a Facebook invite just tweeted by Massy Ferguson and one from Cars tribute band All Mixed Up – but don’t mark your calendar just yet, nothing’s final till it comes from the West Seattle Junction Association). Lots of newness ahead this year – features like the GreenLife sustainability/gardening expo, and also Junction Plaza Park, under construction now, to be dedicated June 29th, in plenty of time for Summer Fest.

More liquor store news: West Seattle Junction location might move

Checking out rumors is one of the best parts of our job. Often they’re unfounded, so we don’t publish anything here – just replying directly to whomever contacted us about the rumor. But sometimes, it’s a case of “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Michelle e-mailed this morning to ask about a rumor that the Junction liquor store might move. Our call to the Washington Liquor Control Board media-relations team yielded this info from spokesperson Anne Radford: “The lease (in The Junction) is coming to an end in February 2011, so we are considering other locations, along with the possibility of renewing our lease there. So at this point, we’re still looking at our options.” You’ll recall that West Seattle’s other state liquor store closed in Morgan Junction when its lease ended in fall 2008, leaving WS drinkers with one store until the replacement location opened at Westwood Village this past March.

Design Commission gets West Seattle ‘Holding Patterns’ ideas

One month ago, a reader tip led to first word of the Seattle Design Commission‘s “Holding Patterns” competition – soliciting ideas for stalled development sites around the city, with the possibility that ideas for temporary use might even become reality. (This of course instantly brought the “Hole Foods” site to mind for many.) The application period closed this past Monday, and this WSB Forums post inspired us to check with the SDC this morning to see if they’d heard from anyone regarding West Seattle sites. SDC’s Valerie Kinast says she did a quick check and sees “one for (a) Huling Brothers site, one strong one for the Alaska/Fauntleroy intersection, and one four blocks south of Delridge Community Center.” No specifics yet, but Kinast adds that, “In the week of June 7th, we’ll (decide) which ideas to move forward into an implementation workshop, probably on July 20th.”

West Seattle Thursday: “Mattress” at WSHS; plant sale; cruises…

(Photo by Jennifer Devenyns)
“ONCE UPON A MATTRESS” STARTS 2ND AND FINAL 3-PERFORMANCE RUN: You have three more chances to catch the West Seattle High School Drama/Music presentation of “Once Upon a Mattress,” tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30 pm. (And just in time for the occasion, the Drama Club’s debuted its new website!) Not only is it entertainment, it’s also a chance to help make sure the program has money to continue next year; tickets are $5/$10.

GARDEN CENTER SALE: 11 am-3 pm today and Saturday at the South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) Puget Ridge Garden Center, dozens of varieties of plants are on sale, including herbs, vegetables and fruit. Read more about the center’s plants at – and/or just go have a look on the north side of campus (6000 16th SW).

SOUTH DELRIDGE/WHITE CENTER COMMUNITY SAFETY COALITION: A popular topic these days, Block Watch, is on the agenda for this crimefighting council, along with the customary crime-trend updates from Seattle Police and King County Sheriff’s Office. The group meets at 6 pm at the White Center DSHS office, 9650 15th SW.

PARKS BOARD: This citywide advisory group (whose chair and vice chair are both from West Seattle) meets at 7 at Parks HQ downtown. The agenda this time around includes briefings on tree-trimming permits, Parks’ special programs for people with disabilities, and the department’s relationship to the city’s community-gardening program – the “briefing papers” are all linked here.

Even more on the WSB West Seattle Events calendar!

Highland Park Action Committee celebrates ‘a big turning point’

(All photos in this report are by Dina Johnson unless otherwise credited)
Billy Stauffer said he’d chain himself to a bulldozer before he let a jail get built anywhere near his Highland Park home. That was an oft-cited memory as the Highland Park Action Committee honored Stauffer and many others Wednesday night, while using part of its regular meeting to formally celebrate the end of a two-year fight against the possibility a new city jail would be built near their neighborhood – or anywhere else in the city. (If you missed the news, city and county leaders announced two weeks ago that various factors would eliminate the need for a new jail for at least 10 years, so the site-selection process was ending.) Every person singled out had a special contribution. One of those who shared the memory of Stauffer’s vow was Eddie Sherman of Pacific Plumbing Supply (close to the Highland Park Way/West Marginal Way site that was still on the jail-location list when the process shut down):

Sherman lauded HPAC for being a true “action committee,” persistently pursuing their goal. “If this fight hadn’t been taken up by your group,” he told chair Dan Mullins, “it never would have gone anywhere – I felt like I wasn’t alone. It was just a small group, able to make a big punch to stop this entire thing.” The 2008 forums at which Sherman and others spoke so passionately were recalled during the semi-ceremony. One of the honorees, local teacher Laura Drake, was ribbed a bit for the nationwide fame she gained because we and others put her fiery June 26, 2008, speech on video, where it was widely linked:

(video no longer available due to closure)

Drake’s outrage drew cheers and tears. But at Wednesday night’s meeting …Read More

West Seattle Crime Watch: Wire theft, metal thieves, & Burglary #3

Three alerts to share in this West Seattle Crime Watch roundup tonight. First, Lee reports that his neighborhood e-mail group has word of grounding-wire theft on utility poles in an alley near 39th/Stevens (map). This isn’t just costly to utilities, but also a serious risk to worker safety, so they were expected to get fast repairs, but neighbors say they were told West Seattle has seen a lot of this lately. Second, metal thieves in action again in Seaview; from 44th/Raymond (map), Alison reports the neighborhood e-mail group has shared word of a “dirty, dark blue, older-model Toyota sedan” traveling an alley with someone walking alongside throwing items including bicycles and scrap metal into the trunk. The neighbor who spotted them called 911 and gave chase, but finally called it off at a dispatcher’s advice when high speed and wet streets made it unsafe – not before providing police with the plate and description, though. They’re suggesting area residents check their backyard to see if anything’s missing. Finally, from Greta in Gatewood:

I live on Sw. Rose St. between 35th & 37th [map]. We had a flyer left on our front porch today alerting us to a 3rd burglary on our block. I haven’t talked to our neighbors yet, so I’m not sure the details. Thought I’d share this with others in the neigborhood.

Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Benjamin Kinlow has explained at various public forums that these flyers are left if repeat burglaries happen in neighborhoods without a Block Watch – if you want to set one up, check out the info here, and be sure to join up with the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network.

More politics: State House candidates answer education Q’s at SSCC

Sharp differences, and occasionally sharp words, between three of the candidates running for 34th District State House Position 2 – Joe Fitzgibbon, “Mac” McElroy, and Marcee Stone – at a midday campaign forum on the South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) forum today. Fitzgibbon made a repeated point that he’s young; Stone countered that age doesn’t matter, but made a point of her gender; McElroy’s main point was that he’s not “the status quo.” The fourth candidate in the race, Mike Heavey, sent his campaign manager to read a statement and to apologize that Heavey couldn’t make it because he was prohibited from campaigning while on the clock for his King County job (assisting Councilmember Jan Drago). Even if higher education isn’t at the top of your interest list in deciding who to vote for as successor to State Rep. Sharon Nelson (who’s running thus-far-unopposed for State Senate), some of the discussion might prove instructive – read on for details:Read More

West Seattle crosswalk safety: Flag basket becomes trash basket

What looks like a trash basket attached to a signpole on the east side of California at Dawson (map) is supposed to be a basket of safety flags to be used by pedestrians – at a crossing where someone was hit and killed a year and a half ago. Efram and Kim, who live nearby, e-mailed WSB to say they’ve reported to SDOT multiple times that the flags need to be replenished, but they haven’t been – and the empty basket repeatedly fills with trash. This was one of three baskets of flags placed by SDOT almost two years ago. Right after photographing the Dawson basket Tuesday afternoon, we checked on the other two:

Further north on California, the basket at Dakota (photo above; here’s a map) still had flags, as did the third of the placements, at Avalon/Yancy (photo below; here’s a map):

That intersection, by the way, has a whole separate set of safety concerns, and we’ve been working on a story about that. Back to Dawson/California – Kim says she even spoke to someone with the Walk and Bike Program, but, “More than a month later, nothing. I think the pail was even emptied of its garbage just after I called the Walk and Bike Program! I hoped that flags would soon appear but they never did and the garbage just piled back up.” We suggested to Efram and Kim that they try 684-ROAD, the general SDOT hotline, again; if that doesn’t result in replenishment, we will check with SDOT to see if perhaps there’s been a change in the program. Kim says, “It’s pretty scary crossing the street at the crosswak at California SW and SW Dawson. I thought pedestrians had the right of way at crosswalks but you wouldn’t know that at all at ours.”

Keeping kids safe: Quick survey for West Seattle parents to take

May 26, 2010 5:22 pm
|    Comments Off on Keeping kids safe: Quick survey for West Seattle parents to take
 |   Health | West Seattle news | West Seattle online

Renae Gaines of the Southwest Healthy Youth Partnership is hoping that, if you’re raising a child, you can take a few minutes to answer a survey that’ll help gauge what’s considered OK in our community, and what’s not, particularly when it comes to teens and alcohol/drugs, and how to make sure they get the info they need before they start making choices. Start the (anonymous) survey here.

PB&J Textiles: Welcome, new WSB sponsor – on the move!

This afternoon, we’re welcoming one of the newest WSB sponsors, PB&J Textiles, currently in the middle of a moving sale – more on that in a minute. Here’s what they want you to know: PB&J Textiles began as an outlet for the creative side of us and in looking at interesting options for something to do other than a corporate job. We realized that sewing and embroidery wear was a great area for the two of us to focus on. Thus began PB&J Textiles. If you want to know, PB&J stands for Paul Binder (photo right) and Junior, with Junior being David Robertson. PB&J Textiles is West Seattle’s local custom embroidery shop. We are committed to working and living in West Seattle! Our philosophy is to service the small sized business with a high quality product at an affordable cost to the small business owner, or retail customer. Our goal is to make you the customer happy with our products. We also do work for individual customers. This could be family reunions, weddings, birthdays, the list is endless! Don’t think embroidery is expensive; in many cases it’s not expensive at all! We have more than 20,000 stock designs that are ready to go. In many cases, people will bring in drawings that are quite rough and we can turn that rough drawing into a great embroidered logo. Watch for our new products that we will be introducing in the near future! PB&J Textiles belongs to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the West Seattle Champions BNI group. If you don’t remember, we also have 2 shop cats, Dakota and Murphy (profiled on WSB a year ago), who always welcome a new face and set of hands to give them some attention. PB&J Textiles will be moving soon to a space adjacent to Skylark Café and Club (also a WSB sponsor) at the far northern end of Delridge, just before the West Seattle Bridge. In preparation for our upcoming move, we have significantly marked down most of our remaining stock! Till their moving date is finalized, find them at 5962 Fauntleroy Way SW (map), and online at, or call 206-243-3053. (Note they’ll be closed next Friday-Monday, 5/28-5/31.)

We thank PB&J Textiles for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news on WSB; find our sponsor team, and info on joining, all here.

West Seattle business news: Hollywood Video closer to closing

We’d been watching for this one since Hollywood Video announced it would close some of its stores (including the adjacent Game Crazy locations) as part of its restructuring. Then, a couple WSB’ers e-mailed to point out that signs are now up at the Westwood Village location, as its “closing sale” is under way. So when is it actually closing? Store staff told us they don’t know. We tried calling the “media hotline” at corporate HQ, but it has a terse recording saying you can try leaving them a message, but “as a matter of company policy” they are not responding to most media inquiries. Moot point anyway, as the system then informed us we had TWO SECONDS to leave a message, and it made good on that threat. What do you do if you’re a customer? We found a variety of links on this corporate webpage – the most specific information (what’s being honored and what’s not) appears to be here. (You may recall, Hollywood Video used to have a Junction location, but that was closed in early 2007 and demolished shortly thereafter – on the site of Capco Plaza/QFC/Altamira.)

West Seattle politics: State Referendum 52 campaign kickoff here

The headline on the “media advisory” e-mail we received was initially a little jarring: “Healthy Schools for Washington to Launch Referendum 52 Campaign at aging, run down building housing Chief Sealth High School in West Seattle” – after all, Chief Sealth International High School‘s permanent campus is currently undergoing millions of dollars in renovations. Turns out, they’re talking about the Boren building that Sealth has called home for the past 2 school years; so, if you see a bit of a media hubbub outside Boren/Sealth at 3 pm tomorrow, this is what it’s about: The campaign kickoff for R-52, described as “a November ballot measure that will create $505 million in bonding capacity to repair aging, dilapidated school buildings across Washington State”; the advisory says Boren is among them. We’ll be at the media event tomorrow; the advisory points to a website where it says more info is available, but as of right this moment, that site’s not up yet ( The state website doesn’t have info at the moment either, but via Sightline, we find that this is your chance to vote yay or nay on a bill passed by the Legislature last year. Sightline’s analysis frames it more as energy retrofitting for school buidings, rather than repairs.

Update: High Point stabbing suspect set for longer evaluation

Today was supposed to be the rescheduled arraignment date for Marcus Combs, charged a month ago with attacking a woman walking along a High Point street. Instead, his arraignment has been postponed again – King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokesperson Dan Donohoe just published this update to the office’s home-page “docket”:

This morning’s competency hearing/arraignment was postponed for Marcus Allen Combs … who is accused of beating and stabbing a woman who was walking with her 9-year-old daughter in West Seattle on April 23. The defendant just completed a 15-day mental evaluation, but will now be sent to Western State Hospital for a 90-day evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial. He will return to court for another competency hearing on August 30. The defendant is charged with first degree assault. Bail is set at $1 million.

Semi goes off-road along West Marginal Way, takes out pole

Thanks to everybody who called/e-mailed about this one – we’re checking out the scene where a semi-truck went off the road on southbound West Marginal Way, just north of the LaFarge plant, and into the greenbelt, taking out a pole along the way. Heavy police response; no evidence of a fire/aid callout on the 911 log; one lane is blocked in each direction (see the photo below) but traffic IS getting by, both ways.

Date set for Hiawatha Playfield track installation, field closure

Seattle Parks just sent word that they’ve set the date for installation of the new rubberized track at recently renovated Hiawatha Playfield: Scheduled start date is July 5th, weather permitting, and that means a three-week shutdown for the entire field. Read on for the full announcement from Parks:Read More

West Seattle Wednesday: Neighborhoods; teen-driver help; more

May 26, 2010 8:23 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Wednesday: Neighborhoods; teen-driver help; more
 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

Tonight’s highlights from the WSB West Seattle Events calendar:

HIGHLAND PARK ACTION COMMITTEE: HPAC’s regular monthly meeting tonight will include a celebration of the recent “no new jail after all” announcement (WSB coverage here), which was as sudden as the original news two years earlier that the city needed to build a new jail and had 2 eastern West Seattle sites on its original list of four. HPAC meets at 7 pm, Highland Park Improvement Club at 11th/Holden.

GENESEE SCHMITZ NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL: A recent note asked what this group had been up to since its first official organizing meeting in March (WSB coverage here). They’re working toward an official membership meeting next month – and the organizing committee meets again tonight, 7 pm at PCC (WSB sponsor; 2749 California SW).

HELP YOUR TEEN BE A BETTER DRIVER: Advice for parents is promised in a special presentation tonight at the West Seattle High School Library (3000 California SW) by two reps from PEMCO Insurance. Promised topics include “the effect of teenage passengers on teenage drivers.” Teens themselves are welcome too; this is free and starts at 6 pm.

AT THE COFFEEHOUSES: C&P Coffee (5612 California SW) hosts the monthly Poetry Bridge reading at 7 pm, featuring poet Ian Hegwood as well as open-mike time … Freshy’s Coffee (2735 California SW) hosts the weekly “Fine Films at Freshy” movie series, screening “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” at 7 pm.

SELF-DEFENSE: Seattle Integrated Martial Arts (4711 42nd SW) offers its hourlong self-defense class for women again tonight, 7:15 pm.

5 weeks till South Park Bridge closure: “This is challenging”

(County rendering of what the South Park end of the SP Bridge will look like, right after 6/30 shutdown)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“This is challenging.”

That declaration repeated a few times Tuesday night by King County Transportation Director Harold Taniguchi summed up not only the logistics of closing the South Park Bridge forever and getting people around after the June 30th closure, but also the logistics of trying to round up money to replace it.

He spoke at the Machinists’ Union Hall in South Park, during the final public meeting on the official closure plan, now considered final – what’s happening before, during and after the closure of the deteriorating bridge, scheduled for 7 pm June 30th.

For the first time in the most recent series of public meetings about the impending bridge closure, elected officials appeared and spoke – first King County Executive Dow Constantine, who represented this area as a county councilmember before moving up to the top job last year, second State Sen. Joe McDermott, who doesn’t represent South Park in the Legislature, but is seeking to represent the area as its next county councilmember. Here’s our video of Constantine’s entire 8-minute speech:

And Sen. McDermott, whose remarks were much shorter, but drew a pointed challenge fairly quickly:

Aside from Constantine’s extensive recap of how we got to this point – past funding attempts, the defeat of the bridge-money-containing Roads and Transit ballot measure, etc. – their appearances, and much of the first two-thirds of the meeting, looked to the future: Will there really be money at some point for a new South Park Bridge (which is at least 3 years away, even if money were found today, those on hand were warned repeatedly)?Read More

Workshops added to West Seattle Tool Library’s grand opening

May 25, 2010 10:48 pm
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 |   Sustainable West Seattle | West Seattle news

(West Seattle Tool Library donations collected on WS Community Garage Sale Day back on May 8th)
Months in the making, the West Seattle Tool Library‘s now just two weeks from opening – and tonight we have a few more details of the grand-opening event, planned for 9 am-2 pm June 12th in the Garden Center area on the north side of South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor). Patrick Dunn from Sustainable West Seattle, which has been working on the Tool Library with the help of a city Neighborhood Matching Fund grant as well as hundreds of tool donations, says there’ll be free workshops – SeaChar and Second Use will offer them throughout the event, “on topics from biochar stoves to window replacement techniques.” And if you’ve got usable, non-gas-powered tools to donate, you can drop them off at the West Seattle Farmers Market on Sundays TFN (10 am-2 pm) as well as at the ReFRESH Southwest festival on June 5th – and then, once it opens, at the Tool Library site itself. Yet more details to come as grand opening gets closer!

West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network, meeting #2

May 25, 2010 10:05 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network, meeting #2
 |   Crime | Safety | West Seattle news

A few notes from tonight’s second meeting of the newly formed West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network, a community effort to bring together people who are (or want to be) leading Block Watch efforts: About 20 people attended the gathering, held this time at the Southwest Precinct, six weeks after meeting #1. The group is still in its formative stages, and working toward goals such as getting Block Watches in as many West Seattle neighborhoods as possible, so they’re working to figure out which areas have them and which don’t. The more neighborhoods that have Block Watches, the more neighborhoods are available to network and communicate effectively, block to block to block. As for how to efficiently get those groups formed – one idea that gained traction tonight involved organizing a central meeting for those interested in setting up Block Watches, rather than the precinct’s Crime Prevention Coordinator Benjamin Kinlow just going out to individual neighborhoods one at a time. He told the group that’s certainly a possibility. In addition to logistics and outreach, participants also discussed neighborhood concerns such as what to do about alley lighting. If you’re interested in joining the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains’ Network, best thing to do is to start with the group’s Facebook page, where you can network with others and help the group’s efforts move ahead.

(P.S. A Q13 tv crew was there to do a story on the new group; don’t know yet if it’s airing tonight or at a future date.)

Burning for learning, at South Seattle CC’s ‘College Night’

May 25, 2010 9:20 pm
|    Comments Off on Burning for learning, at South Seattle CC’s ‘College Night’
 |   Puget Ridge | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) has gained fame for a variety of academic and vocational programs – and they were all on display to prospective students tonight during “College Night.” The most visual, of course, were from the Culinary programs – flambé above, spun sugar below:

Also showcased, a variety of programs including options for transferring to four-year schools, and options for completing a four-year degree at SSCC. If you’re thinking of enrolling at SSCC, enrollment just opened yesterday for the summer and fall quarters – here’s the calendar, and links to more info. P.S. Earlier today, we interviewed SSCC’s newly announced (2 weeks ago) president Gary Oertli, who’ll be on the job by fall – look for that story tomorrow.

Strong showing: Southwest Youth/Family Services group scores big

Joseph Seia, Pacific Islander Family Advocate at West Seattle’s Southwest Youth and Family Services, shares that photo, with news of the big achievement just scored by the kids who posed for it:

I just wanted to pass on this awesome piece of news! At the “Washington’s Strongest School” competition held last Saturday at Memorial Stadium, the kids from Southwest Youth and Family Services placed second!

This group of South Pacific Islander kids has been working for about a year now in becoming more active, and this illustrates how far they’ve come. It was exciting for them to be competing against schools like Juanita, Garfield and O’dea, and they were really proud of themselves for doing so well.

A little online research about this first-ever competition reveals that West Seattle High School had a team there too. They and SWYFS are among the schools featured in a photo report on the Bulky Boy Clothing Company’s website.

á vie massage: Welcome, new West Seattle Blog sponsor

Today we’re welcoming another of our newest WSB sponsors, á vie massage. It’s WSB tradition to offer new sponsors the chance to tell you about their business. Jennifer Giuntini from á vie massage says she became a therapist because, “I like to say that life experience gently guided me to my purpose. I didn’t embrace the path of healing until after the sudden death of my father. My father was a chiropractor. In my eyes, he contributed to society in a big way. He helped heal people and improved their quality of life and I really admired him for that. As a result of his influence and teachings of natural medicine, I developed a strong appreciation for holistic healing and a profound understanding and respect for the human body. My view on life and my feelings about the world around me shifted after he passed away. It was a defining moment in my life; an awakening of spirit. I realized in the months following his death that I wasn’t fulfilled and that I wanted to contribute to society in a much bigger way. I wanted to follow in his footpath of healing people, so I enrolled in massage school.” About her work, Jennifer says: “My massage style integrates a variety of techniques that promote a greater sense of relaxation, healing and body awareness. I work with active and athletic individuals to help bring an end to the chronic health concerns or injuries they’ve been dealing with, so they can feel good again and continue with the activities they enjoy! I provide a massage that is specifically tailored to their needs in order to release muscular and fascial holding patterns and adhesions, thereby relieving pain and healing injury. I also have a growing specialty in belly massage for individuals struggling with chronic digestive issues.” You can read client testimonials at On the WSB Coupons page, you will find a “New Client Special” for á vie massage – $20 off your first visit. “á vie massage. The care you need. The results you want.” 2255 Harbor Avenue SW #205, 206-371-7115,

We thank á vie massage for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news on WSB; find our sponsor team, and info on joining, all here.