West Seattle, Washington
Sunset on Beach Drive – not nearly as chilly as it’ll be in a few days, with the forecast still mentioning “snow showers” as a possibility for the weekend (no sooner than Friday night). But first, it’s likely to be breezy – up to 25 mph in tomorrow’s forecast. And there’s analysis of last night’s windstorm, plus a brief look ahead to snow prospects, on Cliff Mass‘s site right now.
First topline from tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at the Southwest Precinct: Crime is notably down. If you’ve noticed we’ve had fewer crime reports lately, it’s not that it’s going unreported – it’s just not happening, according to Capt. Steve Paulsen. Last week, only one burglary was reported in all of West Seattle, he said – bringing the total for the month so far to 11, compared to what would usually be 27 to 30 by midmonth. (We crosschecked with the online police reports – indeed, only one listed from last Wednesday through today.) The precinct commander cited “significant recent arrests” – people suspected of burglarizing homes by day and prowling cars by night, arrested thanks to what Capt. Paulsen described as “outstanding detective work” as well as alert citizens and timely reporting by victims. West Seattle is getting a reputation among thieves as a bad place to do business, he suggested – while promptly cautioning that an uptick in theft is likely within the next month as holiday shopping begins. Time-honored advice: be aware of your surroundings; don’t leave purchases visible in your car while you go from store to store. In one unsolved case, Capt. Paulsen said there’s no arrest yet in last night’s Highland Park armed robbery. Meantime, he introduced “three-quarters of (his newly aligned) command staff”:
At right, Lt. Pierre Davis is the new operations lieutenant – second in command for the precinct – the job Capt. Paulsen had before leaving the SW Precinct early this year for a short stint at the West Precinct (where his SWP successor, Lt. Norm James, now works with former SWP commander Capt. Joe Kessler). At left, Lt. Alan Williams is third-watch commander (night shift); that’s the job from which Lt. Ron Smith, center, moved into the second-watch (day shift) role. Lts. Davis and Williams are new to the SWP. He also noted that the Community Police Team now has three officers (as reported here when one of them, Officer Ken Mazzuca, visited the Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting last week). CPT Officer Jonathan Kiehn, also at tonight’s meeting, praised citizens for providing improved info when calling 911 lately – a topic on which he spoke at the last West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network meeting. In particular, Officer Kiehn said, they’re giving better descriptions of suspects and the direction in which they’re heading.
Special guest at the meeting: Detective Suzanne Moore, who works on abuse/neglect cases, especially those with elderly victims. She shared two hotline numbers that can be used to report suspected cases – if they involve a residential facility, 800-562-6078; if they involve a private caregiver or home, 206-341-7660.
The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets the third Tuesday of the month, but they’re skipping December, so January’s the next meeting; keep an eye on www.wscpc.org.
If you come to the Madison Middle School commons before 8 tonight, you’ll find several ways to offer the Alaskan Way Viaduct project managers your opinion on the “preferred alternative” for replacing its Central Waterfront section – the bored tunnel. First thing you’ll see when you walk in is a sign-in table and an easel with 16 topics listed, asking you to place a red-dot sticker next to the one that interests you the most.
You can move around the room to more than a dozen stations offering information about different aspects of the project, and if you want to make your official comment while you’re here, your options include writing it out longhand, typing it into one of two available laptops, or saying it aloud while court reporter Linda Grotefendt types.
This is an official part of the process triggered when the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (about the tunnel project’s effects) was made public a few weeks ago; this is the only West Seattle meeting where you can come to ask questions, but there’s no presentation tonight – since it’s open-house format, you are welcome to stop in any time before the event ends at 8 pm. You may also find unofficial information about the “No Tunnel” campaign – as we walked to the top of the steps that lead to the Madison commons from the south parking lot, we were handed a flyer headed “Stop The Tunnel, It’s Not a Done Deal.”
Meantime, looked like a decent turnout in the early going – more than 20 people had signed in within the first 15 minutes. If you can’t get to the meeting – here are the other ways to comment; the deadline is December 13th.
Thanks to Tracy T for sharing this news via Facebook – Clarian Energy, run by West Seattle energy entrepreneur Chad Maglaque, is celebrating a big win – a Consumer Innovation award in the GE Ecomagination Challenge. It’s for Clarian’s SmartBox Solar Module, which will make it possible to tap into solar power via existing home outlets. Xconomy has the story here; you can also read about it on TechFlash (where we found the video embedded above).
When Thanksgiving approaches, we usually get questions from people wondering what the local food banks need, so we’re checking in with both of the food banks that serve West Seattle. We’ve already published a volunteer request from the White Center Food Bank; today, we have information from the West Seattle Food Bank:
The West Seattle Food Bank sends sincere thanks to all who are helping neighbors in need by holding food drives and making donations this holiday season
“If you are interested in helping specifically for the Thanksgiving season,” said Executive Director Fran Yeatts, “the best times to drop off food are Friday November 19th between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM and Monday November 22nd between 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM. For Thanksgiving the items that are especially appreciated are frozen turkeys less than 12 pounds and desserts like pie. The store-bought pies in the box are the best for storage and distribution by the Food Bank. “
For West Seattleites needing assistance, distribution hours are different during the week of Thanksgiving. The West Seattle Food Bank will be distributing food:
Monday, November 22nd, 9:15 AM – 11:00 AM for seniors only.
Monday, November 22nd, 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM for the general public.
Tuesday, November 23rd, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM for the general public
“We will also be distributing over 150 home deliveries on Wednesday, November 24th. “ said Yeatts.
The West Seattle Food Bank will close at 3:00 PM on the 24th and will be closed Thursday, November 25th and Friday, November 26th.
We know there will be MUCH more to add to it – but for starters, here’s the first draft of our compiled list of holiday events and activities in West Seattle, grouped by type, on the newly launched Holidays page (you can also find it from the row of tabs atop all WSB pages). If there’s anything you’d like to add to the page, please share the information (and photos/logos/flyers if available) – we’ll be updating it at least once a day.
Will the City Council approve property owners’ request to “upzone” the block of California SW between Hanford and Hinds (city map at left)? The next step in the three-years-so-far process is a City Council committee hearing and possible vote tomorrow. In fall 2007 (1st report here), area property owners Mike Gain and Roger Cayce filed a request to change the zoning from NC1-30 to NC2-40, enabling taller buildings with larger commercial spaces – there has not been a specific development proposed for the area so far. Neighbors mobilized opposition, and a contentious public meeting ensued on November 30, 2007 (story here).
2+ years later, the city Department of Planning and Development finally issued its recommendation this past June, supporting approval of the change (WSB coverage here); area residents subsequently challenged the accompanying “determination of (environmental) nonsignificance.” Two months ago, city Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner ruled against that challenge (WSB coverage here), and recommended council approval of the zoning change. That in turn was appealed by dozens of area residents; the City Council now will decide the fate of their appeal as well as the proposal itself. All this sets the stage for a hearing tomorrow before the City Council Committee on the Built Environment, 9:30 am at City Hall (here’s the agenda, and here’s the council staff’s memo summarizing the proposal and its status; if you can’t be at City Hall, it should be live online at seattlechannel.org and on cable channel 21). According to the council’s briefing memo, this committee will have to meet at least once more on this matter, before the full council can take a final vote, and all that has to be done before the end of the year.
(Added 10:17 pm, KING 5 aerial of the orcas between Fauntleroy and Vashon today)
ORIGINAL 10:35 REPORT: We’ve received a couple reports of orcas in the West Seattle/Vashon vicinity, including the Orca Network‘s e-mail report that a Washington State Ferries vessel spotted some around 9 am between Bainbridge Island and Alki Point, headed south. We just checked from Lowman Beach and didn’t see any signs, but wanted to share the word to be on the lookout today. 10:53 AM UPDATE: Adding the first of several photos shared by Gary Jones, who caught the images off Alki Point.
We’re at Stellar Pizza in Georgetown along with West Seattle Junction Association director Susan Melrose, Clementine proprietor Linda Walsh, and various Seattle independent businesspeople as well as city staffers, for the launch of a new five-neighborhoods-for-starters (including West Seattle), city-supported “buy local” campaign called Only In Seattle (explained here). (Photo added – Walsh at left and Melrose at right, with City Councilmember Sally Clark:)
Check out the website for starters. The West Seattle businesses highlighted as “hidden gems” are Husky Deli, Easy Street Records, Spring Hill, and knows perfume – as you can see here. Walsh said that other businesses like hers, even if not specifically highlighted, will benefit:
(The other featured neighborhoods – with more to be added in later phases, we’re told – are Ballard, Columbia City, Georgetown, and Rainier Valley.)
(Promotional video for new Only In Seattle campaign)
From the WSB West Seattle Events calendar: Something to say about the potential effects of a tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct? Tonight’s your official chance to say it to the state, 6-8 pm (open-house format so drop in any time), Madison Middle School (3429 45th SW) … What’s next for Seattle Public Schools‘ new-this-year Student Assignment Plan, as the district looks ahead to the second year of the transition? What changes would address West Seattle concerns and challenges? District officials host a meeting at West Seattle High School (3000 California SW) tonight, 6:30 pm … Also on the school front: Endolyne Joe’s (9261 45th SW) donates 20 percent of today’s proceeds to Gatewood Elementary (same thing tomorrow for Pathfinder K-8) … West Seattle Crime Prevention Council‘s monthly meeting is at the Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster), 7 pm, featuring a guest talking about protecting elders from abuse … Tonight at the Senior Center of West Seattle, it’s a Big Band Bash with Center Music Northwest, 7 pm, 206-932-4044 for reservations … At Skylark Café and Club (WSB sponsor), it’s the monthly Alauda belly-dance showcase … Storytellers from Mexico and El Salvador are at the South Park Library for Spanish Storytime, ages 3 and up, 6:30 pm (8th Ave. South and South Cloverdale).
(Photo by, and used with permission of, Robin Lindsey)
Seal Sitters volunteers call that harbor seal Queen Latifah; she is the latest West Seattle shoreline visitor to merit their protection and win their hearts. But others are getting too close for comfort, explains Seal Sitters’ Robin Lindsey: “Over the last few days I have observed an increasing number of people intentionally going under (or over) the yellow tape perimeter of the area near Queen Latifah … those people are truly breaking a federal law and (it’s important) that the pups rest undisturbed.” To underscore that point, Robin has written a new entry for the Seal Sitters’ blubberblog, and asked if we would share the link with you – you’ll find it here. (If you don’t recall hearing so much about seals on our beaches this time of year, you’re right – Seal Sitters are having a surprisingly busy November, and as a result will soon be scheduling a December training session for prospective new volunteers – we’ll let you know when the date’s set.)
Two court-case updates with local links: First, the West Seattle woman accused of drunkenly running her car into people outside Showbox SODO on October 28th has pleaded not guilty. Juanita Wright was in court Monday to answer four charges of vehicular assault; prosecutors say her blood-alcohol level was .29. Wright remains jailed in lieu of a quarter-million dollars bail, and is scheduled to return to court on December 13th.
Meantime, court documents reveal a West Seattle link in the case against two men who prosecutors say “allegedly plac(ed) skimming devices on local bank ATMs to steal data from the magnetic strips of customer debit and credit cards.” While no West Seattle skimming is alleged in the current charges against Claudiu Tudor and Mihai Podaru, the charges say Tudor used a stolen card number (after trying unsuccessfully to use another) to withdraw cash from the BECU ATM at Roxbury Safeway – not far from where he lives in White Center. Prosecutors say the numbers were skimmed from a machine in Renton, where the two men are suspected of skimming more than 50 cards, using them for more than $170,000 worth of fraud. They are charged with 1st-degree theft, identity theft, and improperly obtaining financial information; both remain jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail, awaiting arraignment one week from today, and prosecutors say a third suspect is still under investigation, as are possible crimes that the documents say may result in “hundreds of additional counts of identity theft.”