West Seattle, Washington
The most impassioned campaign speech at tonight’s 34th District Democrats meeting came from a semi-surprise visitor – and he wasn’t even speaking on his own behalf, though he’s on the ballot for next Tuesday’s primary. Our clip includes most of what U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott had to say, mostly on behalf of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, and why McDermott believes this may be the most important election of his lifetime. Also campaigning, State Sen. Joe McDermott (no relation), making one more pre-primary pitch for his King County Council District 8 campaign (vs. three opponents). And there was a mini-fundraiser for Reps. Eileen Cody (running for re-election against Republican Ray Carter) and Sharon Nelson (running unopposed for State Senate) before the meeting. But the hottest race on the ballot – 34th District State House, Position 2 (for which the 34th DDs have endorsed Marcee Stone, one of 4 candidates) – did not come up at all, and we didn’t spot any of the candidates in attendance. That may be a different story this Friday, when the group throws its annual fundraiser Garden Party at West Seattle Nursery – Chris Porter, who’s heading the effort, got up to talk about it twice. But the heart of the evening’s program was a panel on transportation – from current projects, to future possibilities – with a trio of panelists, including WS-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the council’s Transportation Committee. In addition to the Spokane Street Viaduct offramp-opening announcement we published as a separate bulletin earlier, they talked tolls, taxes, transit, and more – read on:Read More
At the 34th District Democrats‘ meeting (The Hall at Fauntleroy): At the start of a transportation-issues discussion, with panelists including Councilmember Tom Rasmussen (who chairs the Transportation Committee), SDOT‘s Tracy Burrows just announced that the new 4th Avenue S. offramp from the eastbound Spokane Street Viaduct (the ramp some have nicknamed “the Costco offramp”) will open MONDAY. (SDOT had told WSB earlier this week that an opening next week was possible – but this is the first official announcement of the date; this means that stretch of the SSV will return to 2 lanes.) More from this meeting later, in a separate story.
(WSB photo from December 2009)
That’s the family-suggested heading for the obituary that will appear in the Seattle Times this weekend and was shared with us for publication today by Dave Townsend, nephew of Ken Wise, the longtime entrepreneur, Rotarian, and totem-pole sleuth – the only photo in our files is the one above, with Mr. Wise at left, the day he and fellow Rotarian Duane Ruud (right) went out to Lake Sawyer to try to track down the then-missing pole, later recovered, and then reinstalled four days before his death (as Rotary past president Amy Lee Derenthal noted at last night’s rededication). Hours before that sleuthing expedition (which WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand tagged along for, taking the above photo), Mr. Wise had joined in the annual Rotary Shopping Spree at SODO Sears – an event he founded, according to his obituary. His service is one week from tomorrow, as you’ll read, ahead:
Born and raised in West Seattle, Kenny Wise was a local institution:
From leading the West Seattle Rotary Kiddies Parade at Hi-Yu, to being Santa for years at the Rotary Christmas shopping day at Sears for needy children, which he initiated in 1974, and most recently leading the hunt for the stolen Rotary Totem Pole, he was everywhere in West Seattle.
If you will be heading home southbound/westbound on Fauntleroy Way past Morgan Junction en route toward Lincoln Park, note that ferry backups are worse than usual this afternoon because of what Washington State Ferries describes as earlier fog delays – the biggest boat on the run, Issaquah, is still running late. All this backed up southbound Fauntleroy, the main travel lane, way past even Gatewood Elementary up till just a few minutes ago (we are near there now and can see it’s cleared a bit). Thanks to Anne from longtime WSB sponsor Ventana Construction for the tip!
In case you missed it, BIG CRIME WATCH NEWS EARLIER: SMASH-GRAB ARREST. (Even if you read it earlier – note that we have updated it three times since original 9:56 am publication, with additional info.)
Meantime – four other cases to report, all from the WSB inbox – first, what sparked a police search in Lincoln Park today; second, a flasher – but not from a distance – at the Madison Middle School track; and two auto-theft cases, with the vehicles’ owners hoping you will keep an eye out:Read More
As first reported three days ago, courtesy of Robin Lindsey from Seal Sitters, Alki has been playing host to West Seattle’s first seal pup of the season. And now, the story of Primo has taken a dramatic – and high-flying turn – here’s an update from Robin:
With the authorization of NOAA, Seal Sitters removed our very emaciated seal pup Primo from the beach about 6:45 this morning. It was believed she would have to be euthanized. However, upon arrival at PAWS in Lynnwood, Primo exhibited some rather feisty behavior that led to her being fluidated and stabilized. As PAWS was currently unable to keep her at their facility, Wolf Hollow in the San Juans agreed to take her. Kenmore Air generously donated a free flight for our little pup!
Robin has published more details on Seal Sitters’ “blubberblog” site. You can read the earlier updates by scrolling down the “blubberblog” home page. And if you see a pup – call Seal Sitters at 206-905-SEAL. (Photo of Primo taken last weekend – via long lens – by David Hutchinson)
Meet the group working on one of West Seattle’s biggest events in the works for summer’s end: The Alki Community Council “Family Fun Day” – from left, Laura Sue Hoover, Paul Carr, Libby Carr, and Antonio Fernandez. We met at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza – for which, you’ll recall, Libby and Paul led the charge three years ago – to talk about the big event they’re planning on Sunday, September 12th, for what you might call the second anniversary of the plaza’s dedication. And with only a month to go, they’re casting a net right NOW for sponsors as well as for entrants in the youth talent show as well as the dog parade – you do need to sign up in advance! – read on for the details:Read More
With 4 weeks till school starts, big things going on at West Seattle’s Roxhill Elementary School First, Lisa sent the photo at left, part of a sign you can see while driving past the school on SW Roxbury – it points out that Roxhill is getting work done through the Building/Technology (BTA) Levy – library improvements, heating-system upgrades, new energy-efficient windows, flooring, and stage drapes. And there’s a volunteer project you can help with tomorrow: 10 am-3 pm Thursday, a garden-building party is happening at Roxhill, and the more available to pitch in, the better. Maggie Anderson, school coordinator from the King County Food and Fitness Initiative, says they’ve got the supplies to build 9 garden beds to support nutrition, science and math programs at Roxhill – they just need the people who can help. You can RSVP to Maggie at 206-205-3186. (Tools and snacks provided as well as the aforementioned supplies!)
(scroll down for updates added to original report)
ORIGINAL 9:56 AM REPORT: Just in from Seattle Police: A suspect is in custody in the smash-and-grab burglaries that we’ve been reporting on for three weeks. Southwest Precinct Lt. Norm James says that SPD and King County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested a 50-year-old man around 2:30 am “in the Burien area.” Lt. James says, “This individual is suspected of committing 40 smash and grab burglaries in the south Seattle and Burien areas. The suspect has been booked into the King County Jail.” A check of the jail register reveals a 50-year-old Burien man booked early this morning on suspicion of multiple burglaries, with status listed as “bail denied”; a crosscheck of court records shows dozens of cases, though many are from municipal courts around the region and therefore not necessarily criminal – we’re taking a look at those for which docket information is available.
10:17 AM UPDATE: The arrest has just appeared on SPD Blotter, with no additional information except to say that the 40 burglaries date back to July 1st; the first West Seattle break-in we covered was the one at the Swinery on July 16th (above, our photo from that morning). The most recent one we covered in West Seattle was at Admiral Shoe Repair on Monday morning. Police confirmed to WSB on August 2nd that the smash-and-grabs were being investigated as an official “pattern.”
11:52 AM UPDATE: King County Prosecuting Attorney Office media liaison Dan Donohoe says the suspect will not appear in court until a bail hearing tomorrow afternoon; after that we should get more background in the case. Further researching the aforementioned suspect, court records show a conviction in the 2006 theft of an ATM from a tavern, a burglary that started with glass broken by a brick; in spring 2007, he was sentenced to 55 months in prison. (The paperwork for the original charges in that case lists a history of convictions going back to at least 1991, as well as “85 warrants.”) We are checking with the state to try to find out when he got out of prison.
2:26 PM UPDATE: The sheriff’s office has added a bit of extra detail regarding where the suspect was arrested. This is from their announcement of the arrest, which we just received:
A team of detectives conducting surveillance in Burien responded to an audible burglar alarm at a motorcycle repair shop located at South 159 and 1st South. The detectives located a suspect in his vehicle and took him into custody.
Tonight’s marquee event in West Seattle – the 34th District Democrats‘ monthly gathering (7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy). And a timely topic, too – transportation, from the Alaskan Way Viaduct to the city’s future vision (which could include more taxes to pay for improvements). Here’s the full agenda, which includes West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the council’s Transportation Committee. (You’re also bound to hear an update on the 34th DDs’ biggest annual event, the Garden Party dinner/auction, coming up this Friday.)
One week from today, the proposal to “upzone” a block-plus of California SW (map) makes its final stop before City Council consideration: A public hearing before city Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner, in her chambers downtown. Also to be heard that same day – Wednesday, August 18th – is the appeal filed against an environmental “nonsignificance” ruling issued in connection with the city’s recommendation that the rezoning proposal be approved. How will that day play out? We have an outline, after covering a pre-hearing conference on Tuesday with Tanner presiding, mostly focused on the appeal – read on:Read More
(Our first report on the totem-pole rededication event can be found here)
Along the 8-month-plus journey between the brazen theft of the West Seattle Rotary Viewpoint Park totem pole on a fall evening and its rededication in summer sunshine, there have been lessons learned by many – among them, the long and sometimes surprising path that justice can take.
One lesson provided at Tuesday night’s event, attended by more than 100 people gathered mostly in a semi-circle facing the front of the pole (and therefore the downtown Seattle skyline in the distance behind it), was that of grace, provided by someone who had not figured directly into the story before: Haida master carver Ralph Bennett. In the top video, you hear his drumming – and his words of honor for some of those on hand, including a request for the permission of in-attendance Duwamish Tribe leader Cecile Hansen, before he drummed on her historic territory. (The Haida people are from further north – coastal British Columbia and Alaska.) He also told a story – but first, one told by a Rotary leader, past president Amy Lee Derenthal. She led the club last fall, and so, as she noted Tuesday, the pole “was stolen on my watch!” Perhaps mostly for those who questioned why the club (and the Parks Department) chose to accept restitution from the man believed to be responsible for the theft, rather than pursuing prosecution, she spoke of how they believed the decision met the club’s “Four-Way Test” ethics code:
Back now to Ralph Bennett, who followed his drum song with a story relating specifically to the tale he says is told by the totem pole itself, particularly the thunderbird and whale that comprise its top sections.
His words about community rang close to home, as those who attended lingered after the ceremony’s end, either mingling by the pole, or moving on to a Rotary-organized celebration at the Golf Course clubhouse a short walk down the hill. And the event brought people from afar – not just carver Robin Young (shown in our first report), but even the woman who was Miss West Seattle Hi-Yu the year the pole was dedicated along with the park:
Debby Freeman Peterson was introduced toward the end of the event, when it was pointed out she came from the Midwest to be there. So what now? As noted in our previous coverage of the pole-restoration process, it will need a little TLC now and then – a coat of oil at least once a year:
As for the 34-year-old park itself, donated by the Rotarians in the bicentennial year of 1976, what you make of it now, is up to you, even if just – as Ralph Bennett put it – driving by and seeing it “alive.”
The RapidRide bus-stop plans for the Fauntleroy ferry terminal remained the top topic for the Fauntleroy Community Association as its board met Tuesday night. While board members continue to meet with Metro rep Paul Roybal – who also is scheduled to attend the next meeting (Sept. 14) – they don’t believe their concerns about a potential traffic bottleneck are being addressed. As reiterated at last month’s meeting, they’re worried that will be a result of the current design, which brings traffic past the terminal down to one lane each way. And they’re concerned that many people don’t realize that – nor the potential for more traffic to divert onto 45th SW to avoid it – so time was spent Tuesday night discussing how to raise awareness – possibly via a mailing or door-to-door campaign. FCA also believes Metro is working with inaccurate traffic-flow numbers; while they say the county numbers show 400 cars an hour in the area during peak ferry-traffic hours, FCA’s Susan Lantz-Dey did a car count the past two days, and said she counted at least twice that – even without school in session (there’s dock traffic from West Seattle parents picking up Vashon-school-attending kids). She and FCA president Bruce Butterfield plan to push for a new traffic study. Also discussed: The ongoing discussions about how the county will control Combined Sewer Overflows from the basins that feed Barton (Fauntleroy) and Murray (Lowman Beach) pump stations, with the Barton “green stormwater” meeting last week and ongoing Murray citizens advisory group meetings (FCA board member Vlad Oustimovitch is a Murray group member).