West Seattle, Washington
(WSB photo of Tony, from January 2010, as he prepared to reopen the market post-holidays)
We have just received word that Tony Genzale, longtime operator of Tony’s Market in Westwood, has died. He had fought a long battle against cancer. From his niece Renee Vacca:
As a former West Seattle resident myself, I know how many people loved to shop from him and have known of his battle with cancer this past couple of years. We are so sorry to inform them that he passed last night at his home of many years in Burien. I’m sure they would want to know that he passed peacefully with his wife in his arms and both of his children at his side. He was doing so well until the last couple of months and then his cancer took a dramatic turn and his condition worsened rapidly. Needless to say, we are still a bit in shock but please know that he was ready to go and his family had come to terms with this before he passed.
Arrangements are currently being made and the family will post service announcements on the website we set up for him with caringbridge.org. At their website, enter “anthonygenzale” in the “visiting” section of the homepage and read the updates. For anyone that would like to help, please post a comment for the family and share your feelings for uncle Tony as I know how loved he was. Don’t forget that his son Joey is running the tree lot and would love to hear your kind words about his dad. He has been there every day and even worked there all day today.
I know that he got up every day and put his work boots on to go see the customers that he loved so much! You all gave him a purpose and he told me many times, “Renee’, West Seattle is the best!! and he meant it with all his heart. I always said, “told ya so!” Please tell all your friends that this would be a great place to buy a tree in uncle Tony’s honor and display it proudly! He loved those selling Christmas trees every year!
Tony Genzale was 61. Here’s a direct link to the webpage that Reneé mentioned.
That’s the official lighting of the newest West Seattle Junction Christmas Tree about half an hour ago at brand-new Junction Plaza Park, with a countdown from local online/on-air personality Marty Riemer (see his event-opening mini-monologue here) and his tree-lighting assistant Ruby, chosen from a clamoring crowd of kids by the stage:
The lights went on after a 40-minute program including the Endolyne Children’s Choir:
Speakers included Todd Carden of Elliott Bay Brewery (West Seattle Junction Association board president):
The crowd also heard from Erica Karlovits, president of the Junction Neighborhood Organization, who helped shepherd the park to completion:
Also speaking: West Seattle Christian Church pastor Dan Jacobs, with reflections on the warmth of community, and newly elected King County Councilmember Joe McDermott (introduced humorously by Riemer):
(His appearance reminded us that the last West Seattleite to hold that council seat – now-County Executive Dow Constantine – was the emcee the last time the tree-lighting ceremony was held at the site of the now-park, back in 2006 [WSB coverage here].) There were many goodnatured jokes about the tree’s newness – it was planted in the park just a few months ago – but you have to admit, it looks lovely with lights.
More video to come. Whether you were there tonight or not – hundreds of people filled the park! – come back to The Junction tomorrow for the first Hometown Holidays (co-sponsored by WSB) Sunday, 11 am-3 pm, with mule-carriage rides, Santa photos at Donna Ryan Photography next to Cupcake Royale ($15 donation for WestSide Baby), and great shopping at Junction stores (check our guide!).
P.S. Our Lady of Guadalupe lights its tree – highest spot in Seattle! 35th/Myrtle – 7 pm Friday.
(WSB photos by Ellen Cedergreen)
This might have been West Seattle’s hottest (free!) ticket today – the long-awaited community open house at brand-new Fire Station 37 in Sunrise Heights, two months after crews moved in. Outside, visitors got to check out various SFD vehicles; inside, there was face painting, coloring, stickers, beverages, and treats. The next view is from the workout room on the second floor (living quarters are on the ground floor):
One of the big attractions – the sculpture “Lifter” outside the station (discussed here extensively, with a photo of the entire sculpture, in case you haven’t seen it), whose artist Pete Beeman came up from Portland for the occasion:
He helped kids figure out how to turn its crank – and offered prizes to everybody who gave it a try:
Visitors got to meet firefighters from all over the city:
In a nod to history, the Last Resort Fire Department (famous for appearances in parades including the West Seattle American Legion Post 160 Grand Parade) had an engine on hand too. Bob Carson told WSB he thinks historic engines like this will probably outlast the new ones!
And as much as everyone enjoys meeting firefighters, the goal is to not ever meet them in more urgent circumstances – so educational displays were part of today’s event as well, as were free batteries for smoke detectors (change yours every year!):
Fire Station 37 is at the corner of 35th and Holden, a few blocks south of its predecessor, whose fate hasn’t been determined yet – the city intends to sell it, but since it’s a landmark, tearing it down is not an option.
Many years, a December Saturday spent sampling holiday bazaars might have meant soggy – or even snowy – walks between your car and the front door of the school or church. Not today. The bright smiles inside reflected the bright sunshine outside as we stopped at two of the many West Seattle venues with holiday bazaars/sales today. Above, the Highland Park Elementary PTA presented a bake sale and bazaar to raise money for all the things PTA fundraising covers these days – right now, a big concern at HPE is the playground. Among the participants, a Girl Scout troop that came from outside West Seattle:
They’re raising money for a trip to Japan – in 2013. Their leader says she found an online listing for the bazaar, seeking vendors, so they decided it was the place to be. And in the hallway, a rummage sale to raise money for Highland Park students to go to camp:
HP dad Ryan said they’d already sold an entire table of merchandise earlier in the day and they’ve raised enough for three kids to go to camp – though they have more in need (here’s how to help). Also selling their wares today, artists and craftspeople we found in the social hall at the newly dedicated Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation church in Gatewood:
That’s Rose Sheppard, selling some of the pottery she’s made. And Laura Matson told us sales were going great for her handmade shibori cloth works:
Since WSUU just moved into the onetime Gatewood Baptist Church this fall, this is their first holiday bazaar (if you see this shortly after we publish it, they’re there till 4; enter from the church’s north parking lot along California north of Othello). As listed in the morning preview, today had many events like these – but there are still more to come, so keep your eyes on the bazaars/sales/tastings list toward the top of the WSB West Seattle Holidays page.
Thanks to WSB contributing photographer Ellen Cedergreen for this shot of final preparations under way in Junction Plaza Park (42nd/Alaska) for tonight’s tree lighting, coming up at 5 pm – the biggest of the many events today on the ever-growing West Seattle Holidays list. Not only is the location different this year, so is the program – it’ll be shorter, but no less festive, with music from West Seattle’s own Endolyne Children’s Choir. Local Web/radio personality Marty Riemer emcees, and we’re told a child will be chosen from the crowd to throw the switch on the lights on West Seattle’s newest community Christmas tree (brand-new park, so new tree, and as the Junction Association’s Susan Melrose puts it, we’ll get to watch it grow over the years). See you there at 5 – and if you’re going early to shop, note that more than a few Junction businesses have deals in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Shopping/Business Guide.
Before the rest of today’s news starts rolling in, an update from Scott Jones about the “adult/big kid soccer pickup game” mentioned here recently: It’s now moved to Hiawatha Playfield, at least for the next few months, since Fairmount has become what they describe as a “muddy mess.” It’s at 10:30 am Sundays, “all skill levels and levels of fitness welcome … it is just a fun time to get out and play some soccer once a week.”
It’s a gorgeous morning – blue sky, not THAT cold – no reason not to head for the Alki Masonic Hall (40th/Edmunds, a block east of Jefferson Square) to enjoy pancakes cooked up by the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle. The pancakes are flying off the griddle – batter up!
And more big fun is still to come – Santa Claus will be here soon, we’re told, and at 9 am, West Seattle Hi-Yu royalty will be on stage. Right next to the stage, a stack of unwrapped toys is growing:
Yes, the Marines have landed, since Toys for Tots is their operation. You’ve got other chances to do a good deed here too – note the sign in the background; Pathfinder K-8 is selling their famous handmade wreaths, local Scouts (who are helping serve, as usual) are selling T-shirts, and there’s a raffle. It’s all continuing till 11 am, and even out here in the parking lot, where we’re online to publish the story, it smells great. Breakfast is $6/adults, $3/kids (who get free Santa photos). ADDED 3:41 PM: We went back to check in on Santa and friends later in the morning:
We can also report that midway through the event, the hall was packed with pancake fans!
FIRST REPORT, 7:03 AM: The sun’s not up yet and 200 volunteers, teens and adults, have been hard at work for a while at Sears SODO, preparing for the 37th annual Rotary Club of West Seattle Children’s Holiday Shopping Spree. Busloads carrying about 100 kids from four West Seattle elementary schools have just started to arrive for the spree – which will net each one a holiday haul including coats, socks, new clothes, and a few other surprises. In addition to Rotary members, the volunteers who are standing ready to help the kids – as well as joining them for breakfast before shopping and lunch afterward – are members of the affiliated InterAct clubs from several metro-area high schools. Besides being an en-masse event for holiday giving, this is quite the logistical challenge too, with both donated and purchased items to be set out in a way that’ll allow each child and her/his designated volunteer “buddy” to move along without too much chaos:
(video added) WS Rotary past president Josh Sutton delivered the marching orders (and helpful hints) to volunteers:
The shopping has just begun:
As you might have noticed in today’s morning preview, this is the start of an action-packed Saturday … we’ll have more on this (and other events) later! ADDED 3:48 PM: Santa and friends:
The kids, by the way, were from Arbor Heights, Sanislo, West Seattle, and Schmitz Park Elementary Schools. We spoke post-shopping with volunteer Anita MacPherson and “her” student, Uriel; Anita says this volunteer work is a family tradition:
You can help the Rotary pay for future shopping sprees by donating here.
By the time hundreds of West Seattleites gather for the Community Tree Lighting at Junction Plaza Park (42nd/Alaska, photo above) at 5 tonight – emceed by Marty Riemer, featuring music by the Endolyne Children’s Choir – hours and hours of holiday fun, shopping, and helping will already be history. This morning, though, it’s all ahead: Two local service clubs are up VERY early this morning for signature holiday-season events – the Rotary Club of West Seattle gathers at SODO Sears at 6 to get ready to help local kids in the annual Holiday Shopping Spree (not a public event but you can help by donating here) … The Kiwanis Club of West Seattle invites you to the Alki Masonic Hall (40th/Edmunds) 7 am-11 am for its 64th annual Pancake Breakfast, with Santa Claus, West Seattle Hi-Yu royalty, and of course the famous fresh flapjacks … At 9 am, the Admiral Neighborhood Association hits the street for its quarterly Adopt-A-Street cleanup; be at Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) to enjoy complimentary coffee and treats first … 11 am-1 pm, the new Fire Station 37 (35th/Holden) opens its doors for an open house, including dedication of its curiosity-piquing artwork “Lifter” … Sidesaddle Cowboy and The Danged play Poggie Tavern tonight, 9 pm-1 am, in a benefit for West Seattle Food Bank (bring donations) … And outside West Seattle but involving locals, if you can help: Load a container of Ghana-bound bicycles, 9 am-5 pm at Ecolights NW, details and directions here< Then, there are the sales, bazaars, open houses, Santa .... See the WSB West Seattle Holidays page for full details. but in short, the long list includes: More than 30 vendors at Highland Park Elementary, 10 am-3 pm (bring a food-bank donation for a free raffle ticket), plus a fundraising rummage sale … St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church Arts & Crafts Co-Operative Holiday Sale, bring a food-bank donation, 10 am-3 pm in the parish hall (Spokane/42nd) … Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation‘s 1st annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Show in the social hall, 10 am-4 pm (California/Othello) … Affordable Art Sale at Alki Bathhouse, 10 am-2 pm … CAPERS‘ 26th annual holiday open house, noon-4 pm … Merrill Gardens at West Seattle on 35th (WSB sponsor) kicks off the holiday season 2-4 pm with fun from Santa photos to candy-making and kids’ holiday movies … West Seattle Family Zone hosts a WS Entrepreneur Show at 4502 California SW in The Junction, noon-2 pm … Holiday High Tea at Blue Willow Luncheonette, 11 am and 1 pm seatings, 206-938-0988 to see if reservations remain … Santa’s in the house at Westwood Village, noon-4 pm (bring food-bank donations, diapers are being collected for WestSide Baby, too) … South Park Arts‘ “Art Under $100,” more details here – 4-10 pm (8201 10th Avenue South) … And West Seattle’s two holiday theater productions continue tonight: “A Tuna Christmas” at ArtsWest (WSB sponsor) in The Junction, and “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” by Twelfth Night Productions (WSB sponsor) at Kenyon Hall.
High-school basketball season is under way, and a four-team, two-day regional tournament concludes today at Seattle Lutheran High School in West Seattle. In addition to SLHS, Portland Lutheran, Cedar Park Christian, and Mt. Rainier Lutheran are participating. Both Saints teams won their games against Portland Lutheran last night – above, video from the girls’ 35-29 victory; after the jump, toplines from the games, plus a clip from the boys’ 63-28 win:
Two West Seattle Bridge notes this early morning: Alia just e-mailed to report seeing a de-icer truck in action on The Bridge a little while ago. Not surprising – it’s cold out there and clear, but there’s also condensation on cars, which means you may need to scrape your windshield if you park on the street. Meantime, heads up about lane closures announced by SDOT for 7 am-4 pm today – the left (inside) lane is scheduled to be closed in both directions around the Admiral Way exit to repair barrier damage.