West Seattle, Washington
The last day of school was also the last day at Highland Park Elementary School for principal Ann Gray. An HP parent e-mailed to let us know about the letter from Gray, dated today, posted on the school’s website. She says she’s taken a new job as a principal in the Federal Way district, closer to her home, but describes her six years at HP as “amazing.” Read her letter here.
(Photo by David Hutchinson)
ORIGINAL 8:31 PM REPORT: We are on Alki checking into a sizable police presence, after tips came in about cruisers heading this way. One tipster says a fight had broken out, but right now there’s no sign of that – the police presence appears to be more a show of preventive force, including a double-digit Gang Unit contingent. We would recommend avoiding driving this way – some traffic was being diverted a block inland, past Whale Tail. 8:38 PM: We just talked to police. A series of relatively small fights brought them out in force to make sure nothing worse happens, since there are many people here celebrating the 1st night of summer vacation. 9:25 PM: We’re back at HQ and adding photos. David Hutchinson‘s image of the gang-unit presence (which had broken up by the time we left shortly after 9) is the most dramatic scene we saw. Before our arrival, he says, a young woman had been cuffed and placed in a police car; we have not confirmed any arrests but will follow up on this tomorrow. 9:45 PM: Adding one more photo, this one from Benjamin Hutchinson, with a little more of an overview of the crowd that was out earlier – about the same density we saw when arriving around 8:15:
At least one of tonight’s fights, according to David Hutchinson, happened near Pepperdock – which, you may recall, was where last year’s most serious Alki incident happened, the shooting on May 1, 2009 (WSB coverage here). 10:39 PM: Worth noting – one commenter points out the mayor’s announcement today of a “Late-Night Safety Initiative.” Here’s the official SPD announcement. While its focus is on Friday and Saturday nights, and primarily neighborhoods near downtown, it’s noted “this model will work in any neighborhood” and the announcement’s concluding line certainly resonates given what happened tonight:
The hope is that the additional uniformed patrols will encourage citizens from all over Puget Sound to visit popular Seattle destination points and do so without fear of harm.
With the school year over, hundreds of local students will be moving on to college this fall. Six of them are receiving scholarships from the Rotary Club of West Seattle. Irene Stewart shares the news from today’s Rotary meeting:
The Rotary Club of West Seattle awarded six scholarships at its meeting today — four Students of the Year, and two Vern Gambriell Scholars. Each Student of the Year was previously identified as a Student of the Month by their high school guidance counselor, based on involvement in school and in the community. In addition, two students were selected as recipients of endowed Vern Gambriell Scholarships for study at South Seattle Community College, based on academic success and need. The year’s scholarship winners are:
Students of the Year
West Seattle High School — Karen Chen Lowe
Chief Sealth High School — Carolyn Smith
Seattle Lutheran High School — Jessica Bartel
Career Link — Gracie Roberson
Vern Gambriell Scholars
For more information about Rotary scholarships, contact scholarship committee chair Cathy Rouyer.
Longtime WSB sponsor Ventana Construction is celebrating three big remodeling-industry awards – and also getting ready for its next free monthly workshop (6 pm tomorrow at its offices between The Junction and Morgan Junction) – First, the awards. Ventana has won a Western Region Chrysalis Award and Master Builders Association Remodeling Excellence award for the West Seattle addition project shown above and at right, as well as another Remodeling Excellence award for a Mount Baker bathroom remodel. Architect for the West Seattle project was Sheri Newbold; for the Mount Baker project, Kim Goforth, who partners with Ventana on their monthly workshops (and will be part of the one tomorrow night). “This was the first year they have entered the awards, and to take home top honors on the first attempt is impressive,” said Ken Kanline, Chrysalis Awards director. “We knew the home would be worthy of this kind of recognition when we first started. The focus on green building practices coupled with beautiful finishes and clients who brought unique talents to the project combined to create a really exceptional project, said Clarence and Anne Higuera, CGR, Ventana’s proprietors. Again, you can take advantage of their award-winning experience in a free workshop tomorrow night – info on remodeling and custom homebuilding, no obligation – RSVP by calling 206-932-3009.
How to entice neighbors to attend their community council meeting in summer? Highland Park Action Committee‘s preview for tomorrow night just arrived, and they’re offering prizes – chair Dan Mullins says the first 25 attendees get a free gift from the spotlighted local business (a regular feature of HPAC meetings), plus there’ll be the traditional raffle. Meeting guests include a mayor’s office rep to talk about Walk/Bike/Ride (discussed in Delridge last week), an HPAC history lesson from a founding member, plus more on the Highland Park Sunday Market debuting this weekend (here’s our earlier report). Tomorrow night’s meeting is at 7 at Highland Park Improvement Club, 1116 SW Holden (map).
So far, it’s $30 million from King County, $15 million pledged by the Seattle City Council, and now comes word that the Port of Seattle is chipping in $5 million toward the cost of replacing the South Park Bridge, which closes permanently one week from tomorrow. The port’s announcement notes that it’s already contributed $500,000 worth of land for the bridge’s footings. So what will the state commit? We expect to find out tomorrow afternoon, as Governor Gregoire is expected to participate in an announcement at the bridge, discussing where things stand in the quest for the $120 million-plus that’s needed for a new SP Bridge.
REMINDER, COMMUNITY CAR WASH THIS FRIDAY: Top-down weather today (we took that photo on Beach Drive) … here’s hoping for car-wash weather on Friday! As noted here a few weeks back, that’s the day for the West Seattle Community Car Wash at three locations – Keller Williams Realty (4452 California SW), State Farm Insurance (4727 44th SW), and John L. Scott Realty (5242 California SW). Proceeds go to West Seattle Food Bank or World Vision for Haiti; you can buy tickets in advance right now at any of those locations – and when you come to get your car washed on Friday (10 am-4 pm), be sure to bring nonperishable food donations for the WS Food Bank, too. Organizers are also still looking for volunteers – call Terry Gangon at State Farm, 935-9955, or Jerry Howard at John L. Scott, 935-7700. (Among those who’ve signed up to help so far, the West Seattle High School cheer team.)
SWINERY PARTY: Just got word of this one, in e-mail from Liza: Now that The Swinery‘s patio is open, they’re having a “Grand Re-Opening” party, 4-7 pm Friday. All welcome, we’re told. They’re giving tours every half-hour and featuring specials and a raffle.
Taking the long way home from the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce transportation briefing, we almost stopped for the classic crowded-on-Alki shot. But after all, West Seattle has many more beaches. So we continued on west and southwestward, and found this scene at uncrowded (only one person in sight) Weather Watch Park along Beach Drive (across from La Rustica). In the foreground, the roof of a makeshift driftwood structure – in the background, a ready-for-summer condo-building patio. Should still be nice when you get home from work – but then the “forecast discussion” suggests that may be it for a while!
(Photo courtesy Greg Whittaker)
(ADDED 3:17 PM: One activity along the West Seattle shore tonight – Alki Kayak Tours is hosting another Tuesday night standup-paddleboard demo/race event presented by sister business Mountain to Sound Outfitters. 6-8 pm, at Seacrest.)
(WSDOT’s “South Portal Design Concept” showing where South End Replacement would meet the tunnel)
Though ceremonial groundbreaking for the South End Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement is a week away, the project contract is actually on Day 8, according to WSDOT’s Matt Preedy, who is briefing the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce right now on what’s ahead for this major project. We’re at the briefing at the Senior Center of West Seattle, and are also expecting a city briefing afterward on the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project. Preedy says that on The Viaduct itself, you won’t see traffic effects this year – the first phases of work will be on the surface alongside, with street work in the Terminal 46 area, then the new bike/pedestrian path. One major note: On July 6, he says, the 150+ parking spaces under The Viaduct between Royal Brougham and Railroad will be fenced off and gone forever – that’ll be part of the construction zone. 1:07 PM UPDATE: Briefing over. Other key dates: From SDOT’s Paul Elliott, the new 4th Avenue offramp (aka “The Costco Offramp”) from the Spokane Street Viaduct is still on track to open in late summer, and there’s a tentative start date for the work to fuse it to the existing structure – which will close one eastbound lane for up to six weeks – July 7. Elliott also says the new westbound 1st Avenue on/offramp may open as soon as next summer. And he indicated the “voluntary” program for advance notice of “low bridge” vessel openings isn’t making much of a difference – they’re not getting much advance notice, and the number of openings seems to be only slightly reduced, if at all.
(Also a reminder, the Alaskan Way Viaduct will be closed this Saturday for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon – WSDOT now says the closure starts both ways at 4 am, reopening southbound by 1:15 pm, northbound by 4 pm.)
That’s a clip from a performance last December by the Ugandan Orphans’ Choir, which has been traveling the U.S. – and will be in West Seattle tomorrow night, to sing and dance at Fauntleroy Church. Ticket info is on the Fauntleroy Church home page; you can find out more about the choir here. (Also at Fauntleroy Church, the remodeling project continues – here’s the latest online update.)
One month after Tiffany Silver-Brace put out the call to gauge interest in a Sunday market in the Highland Park Improvement Club parking lot – it’s come together and will debut this Sunday. We asked Tiffany what the Highland Park Sunday Market has lined up so far:
The market will offer fresh eggs (laid by Highland Park hens), fresh sourdough bread and sourdough starter, fresh herbs, hand-made clothing, art, photography, hand-etched pint glasses, hand-made jewelry, locally silk-screened pillows, napkins, tote bags, onesies, hand-dyed yarn … It’s rumored that we may also have fresh kettle corn. And that’s just the first week. Additions to the next market (7/11) include homemade pickles, soaps, and hand-blown glass.
The market is set for 9 am-1 pm Sunday; HPIC is at 1116 SW Holden (map). Tiffany also says a few more participants are still pending confirmation for this Sunday – and if you’re interested in selling something, some vending spaces are still available – e-mail her at email@example.com.
In a letter to the West Seattle High School community, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson announced an interim principal for WSHS, whose current principal and assistant principals are all leaving: Ruth Medsker, a former principal at Beacon Hill’s Mercer Middle School, will take over on July 1st, after five years in district administration as an education director, supervising middle schools and K-8s. Here’s the letter from the superintendent.
Speaking of the last day of school … it’s not just a momentous occasion for formal “graduates” moving from high school to college, or from college to the next chapter of their lives, but also for 8th graders moving into high school. Denny International Middle School principal Jeff Clark sent photos this morning, reporting, “Last night … we had a terrific promotion ceremony as we celebrated the accomplishments of our eighth-graders. They are an amazing group of kids who are now ready for high school – the next stop on the road to their college graduation.”
(Any other schools’ 8th-grade ceremony photos, we’d be happy to share those too – send ’em along!) Congratulations to ALL of West Seattle’s students – and educators! – for their 2009-2010 accomplishments!
(Port photo, looking across from Salty’s, contributed to the WSB Flickr group by Hanards)
Forecast says mostly sunny later today! Just in time for the last day of classes for Seattle Public Schools students – out an hour early, back Sept. 8 (except for West Seattle Elementary, which starts Aug. 31). This afternoon at 2 pm, it’s the City Council committee item noted here yesterday about how to reduce waste from junk mail and phone books. Otherwise, not much on the calendar for today/tonight – except for some of the regular items on the calendar, like rock ‘n’ roll trivia night at Feedback Lounge (see and buy the new South Park Bridge Memorial T-shirts – and open-turntable night at Skylark Café and Club – bring your records! (Feedback and Skylark are WSB sponsors).
It’s been a big month for Sustainable West Seattle. First, the group’s third annual festival brought out hundreds as part of ReFRESH Southwest at Delridge Community Center on June 5; a week later, the long-planned West Seattle Tool Library celebrated its grand opening; and Monday night, nine days after that milestone, SWS had more news: Announced at their monthly Community Forum at the Senior Center of West Seattle, they’ve gotten their official nonprofit status, which means your donations are tax-deductible. Speaking of donations, the Tool Library is now up to 500 tools (here are its hours) and starting July 4th, SWS will table at the West Seattle Farmers Market every other Sunday, which means another chance for you to drop off tool donations. They STILL need that electric pressure washer, by the way! (And before next month’s meeting, they’ll be co-presenting GreenLife during West Seattle Summer Fest, July 9-10-11 in The Junction.)
Monday night’s featured topic was public campaign financing and its role in sustainability. At right is Craig Salins, executive director of Washington Public Campaigns, which just celebrated its biggest awards banquet yet, more than 300 people at South Seattle Community College‘s Brockey Center on Saturday night. His group contends that public financing of political campaigns would enable more voices to be heard – particularly by the elected officials who should be paying more attention to their constituents’ needs, instead of spending their time in endless pursuit of the big money that is usually required to pay for a winning campaign these days. The group has worked in particular to advance legislation to publicly fund state Supreme Court campaigns; Salins told SWS that the bill had support, but the Legislature ran out of time to deal with it while trying to pass a budget, so WPC will try again next session. He also said the group’s working on a Town Hall meeting about public financing next month. Side note: 34th District State House Position 2 candidate Marcee Stone is past president of WPC and a longtime public-financing advocate; one of her opponents, Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy, was the lone candidate in the audience at the SWS meeting..
Sustainable West Seattle’s community forums are usually at 7 pm on the third Monday of the month; on July 19, the spotlight’s on beekeeping. In the meantime, this Thursday, anyone interested in permaculture is invited to join that SWS subcommittee at Uptown Espresso to talk about a rainwater project on the Pathfinder K-8 campus.