day : 15/11/2010 13 results

West Seattle Weather Watch: Wind advisory, power outages

You’ve probably noticed the wind’s gotten even gustier – we’ve heard of gusts in the 40s, and now the National Weather Service has put out a “wind advisory” in effect till 1 am. Also have word so far of outages in Shorewood and Arbor Heights, though they’re not on the City Light tracker yet – it says 76 are out citywide but an SCL news release says 17,000. 10:51 PM UPDATE: Tracker’s working now and shows the 4,200+-out patch in Shorewood & beyond.

Another West Seattle business closes abruptly: Tonight, Alki Bakery

(scroll down for Tuesday updates until we publish a new followup story later)

Thanks to Mike, Diane, and Carol for the tip – Alki Bakery suddenly closed its flagship retail outlet at the beach tonight, after a quarter-century. The official note above reads:

Thank you Alki Neighbors and West Seattle for a great 25 years!

Our lease has run its course and it’s not viable for us to renew at a rate that works for both Alki Bakery and our landlord.

The letter indicates that their other outlets remain open in Georgetown and Kent, and that their products will still be sold at Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) and West Seattle Thriftway. In addition to the official letter on the door, a handwritten note addresses “To all the friends and family we couldn’t say goodbye to … Thanks for the good times and memories, love you all.”

(Photo courtesy Mike Jensen)
Alki Bakery was originally located on the opposite corner of 61st and Alki, where Alki Café is now; the now-closed bakery location was previously a drugstore. This is the latest of several sudden business closures in West Seattle, including the restaurants Café Revo in Luna Park (here’s our Oct. 12 report), Table 35 in The Junction (here’s our Nov. 1 report) and the Juneau Street Market north of Morgan Junction. But neither of those was a fixture like Alki Bakery; here’s how Carol expressed her surprise on the WSB Facebook page:

Walked past Alki Bakery this evening and noticed paper covering all of the windows & thought there must be a remodel happening but when I got to the front door there was a sign posted saying the bakery and the landlord could not negotiate a new lease and they are now closed for good as of today. Sad day on Alki!

TUESDAY MORNING: A bakery fan has set up a “Save the Alki Bakery” Facebook page. (added) Outside the bakery at 61st/Alki this morning, WSB’s Ellen Cedergreen found Alki Bakery employee Erin Corriston posting a note on the door to her “regulars.” She told WSB that employees were not informed of the decision to close and that she learned of the closing last night from the store manager:

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Ellen was told by someone else at the scene that the property owner, Joanne Richey, had died recently. We finally found her obituary, online in the Seattle Times, from four months ago (read it here). The pharmacy mentioned in the story is the one that was at the Alki Bakery site pre-bakery.

2 big meetings tomorrow night: School assignments; Viaduct/Tunnel

Quick reminder before Tuesday gets here: Two big one-of-a-kind meetings are scheduled in West Seattle tomorrow night. At West Seattle High School, 6:30 pm tomorrow, the next phase of the Seattle Public Schools student-assignment plan transition is up for discussion, particularly potential tweaks to how it’s affecting local schools and students – this Power Point presentation updated by the district last week includes some of what’s under discussion for West Seattle, including:

*Realign feeder patterns

*Grandfather non-attendance area students at Denny on to Chief Sealth, and non-attendance area students at Madison on to West Seattle

*Ensure more than 10% Open Choice seats at both Chief Sealth and West Seattle

*Establish a “West Seattle Preference” so Open Choice seats go first to students in West Seattle

*Make Gatewood, West Seattle Elementary, and Sanislo dual feed with transportation

*Add ALO at Lafayette to meet needs of students who can’t get into Lafayette Spectrum

*Institute multi-year waiting lists for Spectrum

*Monitor enrollment balance for future consideration of additional school bus transportation for MS grades

Meantime, the Viaduct/Tunnel meeting is at Madison Middle School, 6-8 pm tomorrow, open-house style so you can drop in any time. In addition to obtaining information about the newly released Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement focusing on the tunnel’s potential effects, you can also officially comment – either by talking to a court reporter who’ll transcribe your comment for the record, or by typing into a computer that’ll be on site (if you have had trouble commenting some other way).

Last call: Nominees for West Seattle Volunteer Recognition Awards

November 15, 2010 7:16 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle people

10 pm TONIGHT is the deadline for nominating a person or group for the next round of West Seattle Volunteer Recognition Awards, with winners honored during the first West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays Sunday, December 5th – 1 honoree each in the environmental, community, and youth categories, 1 honoree for volunteer group. It’s a quick all-online process – go here for the details and the form!

West Seattle Crime Watch: Armed robbery in Highland Park

We’re on the way to check out a reported armed store robbery in Highland Park, in the 7700 block of Highland Park Way SW (map). Scanner ace Katie says the robber is described as a dark-skinned man about 25 years old wearing a black parka, hood up, gun was shown, last seen headed westbound on SW Kenyon. 7 PM: We’re in the vicinity; police are combing the area and, according to the scanner, bringing in a K-9. The store is still open. No other details so far. TUESDAY NOTE: This was written up for SPD Blotter, but the short item isn’t much more than we reported here.

West Seattle Weather Watch: Blustery night; looking ahead

Right around sunset – if sunset had been visible – wave-watchers dotted the guardrail south of Alki Point, including one man so exhilarated, he exclaimed repeatedly, “I love it!” The tide wasn’t high enough for the waves to crash against the seawall, but the wind was gusting in the 30s. And it’ll be that way through tonight, according to the newest forecast – which still mentions “a chance of snow showers” late in the weekend, by the way. One more note: No power outages right now in West Seattle (here’s where you’d find the information if there were). 9:25 PM UPDATE: As noted by William in comments, a few people are out of power in north West Seattle, according to City Light’s tracker – and there have been flickers many other places.

West Seattle Weather Watch: On a slope? Be landslide-aware

(WSB photos by Ellen Cedergreen)
With November so far being rainier than average – never mind that still-out-there possibility of snow showers this weekend! – the city wants people in landslide-prone areas to be on high alert (here’s one way the risk is tracked). This morning, they invited the media to an Admiral home for a demonstration of landslide-preparedness do’s and don’ts. Ellen Cedergreen was there for WSB; she reports that, in the top photo, Seattle Public Utilities landslide expert Bill Benzer is demonstrating the importance of keeping drains cleared – stormwater that has no place to go can run down slopes, adding to the landslide risk. Clearing drains tops this list of what to do:

1. Maintain drainage system (pipes, ditches, etc., on your property and keep street drains free of leaves and debris.
2. Direct stormwater away from steep slopes, if possible.
3. Perform periodic inspections of property before winter and during storms, keeping safety as the #1 concern.
4. Check weep holes on walls and keep them open.
5. Be alert during and following storms.
6. If you have an irrigation system, shut if off and check it out seasonally.
7. Keep fill and yard waste off slopes.
8. Leave stumps in ground on slopes
9. Call a professional if you have questions or a problem.

Part of the drainage check – annually checking downspouts for blockages:

Meantime, the landslide “don’ts”:

1) Don’t direct storm or other water onto a slope
2) Don’t denude vegetation on slope without a re-vegetation plan
3) Don’t cut into the toe (or bottom) of a slope.
4) Don’t remove tree stumps from slopes.
5) Don’t install a permanent irrigation system in landslide-prone areas
6) Don’t put fill or yard debris on a steep slope.

According to a study discussed at today’s event, 86 percent of landslides have some human involvement: broken pipes, uncontrolled storm water, excavating and filling holes. The city is taking a more active role in prevention since 1996-1997, when more than 300 landslides were reported, and no matter what kind of winter weather you’re facing, be ready! From the “Take Winter by Storm” campaign, Cornell Amaya showed off his emergency-preparedness backpack:

What should be in your kit? Here are some ideas (and don’t forget all the great resources at West Seattle Be Prepared). And you can get more tips about landslide awareness and prevention by going to a free city-sponsored workshop (previously mentioned here) that’s coming up on December 4th at South Seattle Community College‘s Judge Warren and Nobie Chan Education Center (across from the north parking lot), 10 am-noon.

Holiday help: White Center Food Bank’s volunteer needs

November 15, 2010 2:11 pm
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 |   How to help | West Seattle news | White Center

With a week and a half till Thanksgiving, it’s time to start thinking how to offer extra help for the holidays. For Thanksgiving, we’re checking with our local food banks regarding their needs for food donations – particularly turkeys – look for that info soon; for starters, we’ve received this volunteer-help request from volunteer/resource coordinator Audrey Zemke at the White Center Food Bank, which serves southern West Seattle as well as WC (and north Burien):

The White Center Food Bank needs volunteers to help hand out holiday food the following shifts

Mon., November 22 – 12:30 to 3:30 and possibly 3:30 to 6:30
Tue., November 23 – 9:00 to 12:30, 12:30 to 3:30, and possibly 3:30 to 6:30
Wed., November 24 – 12:30 to 3:30, 4:30 to 8:30

Mon., December 20 – 12:30 to 3:30 and 3:30 to 6:30
Tue., December 21 – 9:00 to 12:30, 12:30 to 3:30, 3:30 to 6:30
Wed., December 22 – 12:30 to 3:30

Families, individuals or groups are welcome to contact me at audrey@whitecenterfoodbank.org or 206-762-2848.

West Seattle Montessori students meet ‘presidential turkeys’

Today was the big day that West Seattle Montessori School (WSB sponsor) students got up close and personal (as previewed here 2 weeks ago) with two turkeys from a flock that’s about to gain nationwide fame: They’ll be officially pardoned by President Obama in the traditional pre-Thanksgiving White House event (a ceremony initiated by the first President Bush in 1989). The turkeys’ role here: Educating kids about agriculture.

West Seattle Montessori was the only Seattle-area school chosen for the turkey talk; it was held at Delridge Community Center since the WSMS campus didn’t have quite enough room for the entire student body plus the turkeys and their entourage.

The “presidential turkeys” – a flock of more than 20 Nicholas Strain toms – were raised by Foster Farms in the Central California town of Modesto. The touring turkeys are making a stop up north this afternoon, in Arlington, the other destination on their whirlwind Western Washington stopover. We’ll be adding video from their West Seattle visit a bit later.

Judge makes her decision in the first trial over ‘The Hole’

(Aerial view of The Hole, September 2009)
We’re in King County Superior Court Judge Susan Craighead‘s courtroom downtown, where she has just announced her findings in the first trial over the two-years-stalled West Seattle project known as “The Hole” (or “Hole Foods,” before Whole Foods Market announced in July it was no longer part of the project). Among Judge Craighead’s opening remarks this morning: “This case has been my window on the collapse of the financial system and the real estate market. … It seems that all the ‘suits’ were to varying degrees in complicity in a sort of a game that constituted construction financing during this period.” What she was deciding here is whose lien has priority – and she has decided it’s the general contractor, Ledcor Construction, and their subcontractor, Aero Construction (which dug The Hole).

backhoe.jpg

(Photo published on WSB April 30, 2008, courtesy John Cashill)
Various parties argued that what had been done to the site before a certain key point in summer 2008 – including the April ’08 hole-digging to which the above photo is related – did not amount to “work” and therefore Ledcor and Aero were not first in line with their liens – but the judge disagreed with that. She said that former financier Seattle Capital, when trying to make the claim during a potential sale of the site that no work had been done, “should have known and did know (that contention) was false.”

One big loser in her ruling: 3922 SW Alaska LLC, the company related to Madison Development that agreed to buy the note for what remained of the project and its excavated site, then (to boil it way, way down) sought “judicial foreclosure” more than a year ago in hopes of moving on with the site without the burden of millions of dollars in liens to be fulfilled. We are now reading our copy of the 53-page ruling (while about 10 lawyers in the courtroom do the same thing – they have a short window here to ask the judge for clarification before she moves on to an unrelated criminal trial at 10 am) and are going through it – though we didn’t cover the entirety of the 2-plus weeks of testimony in the trial, they are summarized in the ruling, and it affords quite the view into never-before-publicized specifics of how the whole project fell apart. So, what does this all mean for the future of “The Hole”? Depends first on whether the decision is appealed, and what happens with other pending legal action. More to come.

ADDED 11:05 AM: We will transcribe some of this later – since the document itself is not likely to be available online immediately – but one note summarizing the last few pages of the ruling: The judge says that the site should be sold at foreclosure as soon as possible, because The Hole itself was never meant to be permanent, and could either fail or be ordered by the city to be filled in, in which case millions of dollars in work, representing part of the value of the property at sale, would be lost.

ADDED 3:24 PM: The exact language from the judge’s ruling regarding that section is the first transcription we’re adding – read on:Read More

Land-use bulletin: Delridge proposal revised; Westside portables

November 15, 2010 9:06 am
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 |   Delridge | Development | Sunrise Heights | West Seattle news

2 items of note in the city’s twice-weekly Land Use Information Bulletin, both of interest to anyone who wants to comment on the proposals, since their official city publication triggers relatively short periods in which you can do that: First, a revised application has been submitted for the 7100 Delridge Way SW development (first reported here last summer, then taken through an Early Design Guidance meeting before the Southwest Design Review Board) – on first look, the main difference appears to be a smaller retail area, 1,344 square feet mentioned in the new application vs. 1,750 originally mentioned. More details, and comment links (deadline 11/28), are here.

Also in today’s bulletin, the official application for Westside School (WSB sponsor) to move 5 portables onto its new site in Sunrise Heights (and create 45 parking spaces); as reported here last week, this is part of Westside’s new Middle School expansion. More details, and comment links (deadline also 11/28), are here.

West Seattle Monday: SSCC wines; library events; ‘Open Mike’

November 15, 2010 7:42 am
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 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

(From smohundro via the WSB Flickr group)
From the WSB West Seattle Events calendar: 5-7 pm today on the South Seattle Community College campus, it’s the Autumn Wine Release and Sale event for the college’s award-winning wine program, with wine-tasting and hors d’oeuvres – six wines offered for sale (two of them newly released) this time around (campus map here – look for WWB) … 3 local library events: Baby Story Time at Southwest Library at 11:30 am, Afternoon Book Group at SW Library at 2 pm, and Family Story Time at High Point Library at 7 pm … As noted here Saturday, Nature Consortium‘s work party at College Street Ravine honors King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s birthday, 10 am-1 pm, call 206-923-0853 to RSVP/get directions … New event at the Senior Center of West Seattle: “Open Mike Monday,” 3 pm, call Carole at 206-579-4309 to sign up.

Voting starts now! Local student musicians in Battle of Bands

That’s the Chief Sealth International High School band’s entry (Jimi!) in a new online Battle of the Bands – the only Seattle contender – and starting right this moment, your vote can help them win. Director Marcus Pimpleton explains:

The Chief Sealth Band is participating in KZOK’s Battle of the Bands competition, in which the winning high school band will receive a $10,000 grand prize. The first round of the judging is based on votes texted in from listeners. We are encouraging everyone to text their vote to help the Chief Sealth Band make it into the finals. Sealth is the only Seattle Public School participating in this year’s contest, so we are encouraging all Seattle residents to rally around this band. Much of the Chief Sealth Band’s inventory is also used by the Seattle All-City Band, so a win for Sealth is a win for All-City.

To support the Sealth Band, text “rock8” to 24300. The system will accept up to 10 votes from the same number per day, so please text ten times a day every day for the next month. Voting begins (this morning) and runs to December 15th. Following the first round of judging, a panel of judges will ultimately judge the video submissions on their musicianship to choose the winning band, but we need texted votes to make it into the final round of judging.

Videos of the high school bands participating [editor’s note, including the one we embedded above] are available online at therockwfp.com/category/botb-2011 and will begin appearing on Comcast on Demand next month.