day : 14/12/2010 14 results

Southwest Precinct plays host to Vietnamese visitors

December 14, 2010 11:58 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle police

Five Seattle Police officers served as international goodwill ambassadors at the Southwest Precinct this morning – including the entire 3-member SWP Community Police Team. Officers Hoang, Kiehn, Mazzuca, McDaniel, and Nguyen answered questions and served as tour guides for a high-ranking 20-member visiting group from Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security. The visit began with a Q/A session in the precinct’s community room; Officer Hoang, from the downtown-headquartered West Precinct, did most of the interpreting. The questions were mostly operational: How are officers hired? What are the ranks between officer and precinct commander? What are the differences between the precincts? We wish we could report the details in those answers as well as the questions – but most of the former were given directly in Vietnamese. The ministry is accountable for not only “regular” police operations, but

The Public Security Ministry is accountable for an internal-security army as well as regular law enforcers. Before moving on to tour the precinct building, the visitors presented their hosts with gifts – art in honor of the recent celebration of the 1000th anniversary of Vietnam’s capital:

And a plaque bearing the logo of their ministry.

The capital, Hanoi, is where most of the visitors are based, according to a South Seattle Community College liaison who was touring with them. According to Officer McDaniel, their Puget Sound visit included stops at Bellevue PD, Microsoft, Washington State Patrol, SeaTac Airport Security, Kent Correctional Facility, and the Seattle Emergency Preparedness Unit. They’re scheduled to leave this area on Thursday.

City Light: No further ‘contact voltage’ found in High Point

Seattle City Light just sent a late-night news release with an update on streetlight inspections following last week’s discovery of “contact voltage” by a light in High Point (reported by HP’s Wendy Hughes-Jelen after her dog and another one behaved oddly around it, and following the Thanksgiving contact-voltage electrocution of a dog): 270 more poles were checked in High Point and Greenbridge (a similar development in White Center), and no further cases of contact voltage turned up, according to the news release. But three cases were found in neighborhoods east of downtown. SCL says it’s figuring out whether it can speed up the citywide inspections that were to be done by May.

Transportation Committee: Snow response; ‘Soundway’ finale

Two items of note from today’s meeting of the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee, chaired by West Seattle resident Councilmember Tom Rasmussen:

SNOW RESPONSE: The committee quizzed the leaders of SDOT and Metro as well as a WSDOT rep about what went wrong during last month’s snow/ice road/transit woes, and what will be done differently next time. Among the toplines:

–SDOT will change its “brine” mix (which is reported to have diluted and frozen, causing some of the icing problems on November 22nd) to magnesium chloride

–The city needs up to six more spreaders for rock salt and sand and is looking into getting them ($25,000 each)

(November 23 photo by Katie Meyer, taken just west of The Junction)
–Why did Metro keep using its articulated buses, which don’t seem to function well in such conditions? Boss Kevin Desmond says if they would have grounded them all, they would have had dramatically reduced capacity to get people around. He says articulated buses were 57% of all stalled/stuck buses that week.

–Why did some West Seattle roads including Admiral Way seem somewhat neglected, particularly the western section (photo above is from midday November 23, courtesy Vanessa Fox)? SDOT’s Peter Hahn admitted, “We were a little slow getting there,” blaming factors including the fact it was Thanksgiving week so a lot of regular drivers were off and some of the fill-ins didn’t know the area so well.

–Why was the online bus tracker turned off? Desmond said “maybe” they should leave it up in future cases, but he reiterated that it would have had no “predictive” capability, and stressed again that within a couple years, Metro buses will all have GPS. And he once again urged all bus riders to sign up for text/e-mail alerts (go here), saying the number of people signed up has doubled since they began a promotional campaign (which includes WSB advertising) in early November – from 11,000 signed up, to 22,000.

SOUNDWAY RIGHT-OF-WAY ‘VACATION’: This has been six years in the making, as Seattle ParksDonald Harris noted when the committee got to this item (with a big community backstory, explained here, also as noted in comments on one of our earliest stories a couple years ago; here’s a media-coverage archive). It involves 33 acres of the West Duwamish Greenbelt near South Seattle Community College that technically is on the books as city right-of-way, even though it was never turned into streets (except for one service road, seen in city photo at left) – or housing, as was discussed before community leaders put up a fight. The acreage known as the “Soundway Property” will be transferred to the Parks Department, and West Seattle-based Nature Consortium will have a major role in overseeing it as part of the city’s largest greenbelt. NC leader Nancy Whitlock was at the committee table for today’s pre-vote discussion, pointing out that her organization has already planted 10,000 native conifers and 13,000 other native plants in the WDG. As noted earlier, a $500,000 state grant, which will help provide for stewardship of the site, is also linked to this. “This has been a long road,” smiled Whitlock just before the committee’s unanimous vote to “vacate” the longstanding right of way. Here’s the ordinance, which won’t be finalized until a vote by the full council next month. Want to get a closer look? It’s usually part of the NC’s monthly eco-hike route, and their next one is scheduled for 1 pm this Friday (e-mail to RSVP).

Holiday help for West Seattle Food Bank, from Nucor, local families

(WSB photos by Ellen Cedergreen)
Two special holiday donation visits to the West Seattle Food Bank today. First, the annual Nucor Steel tradition – the company and its employees donated more than $17,000 cash and more than 2,400 pounds of food, some of which you see being unloaded above. The Administrative Department won the internal competition to see which department could gather the most donated food, we’re told. Here’s the team from Nucor:

From left, Bart Kale, Winky Lai, Trish Sweat, Larry Dalke, and Don Wood. Bart is the safety/environmental manager and told us this year’s donation means more than ever because times are tough for donors, too, and they had to dig a lot to make such a generous gift. (Earlier today, we reported on another major Nucor donation, for Southwest Youth and Family Services.) Here’s part of the WS Food Bank team:

From left, that’s Mike, Fran, John, Eve, and Jack. A few hours earlier, a different type of donations arrived – more than 50 special bags for toddlers, made from items donated by local families who have toddlers or preschoolers themselves and are involved with groups such as co-operative preschools, PEPS, and West Seattle Teeter Tots.

We heard about this from Jennifer Hedge, who came up with the idea last year, and is in the photo above with Food Bank operations assistant Mike Tinker. She explains that the bags are meant to be given along with regular monthly Toddler Food Bags that are part of the Toddler Feeding Program, and that they contain useful items not covered by that program, as well as some “treats”:

The Toddler Feeding Program provides a little something extra for toddler-age kids whose families use six local Food Banks including West Seattle – graham crackers, Cheerios, juice, peanut butter, fruit, veggies. The “toddler bags” were assembled with a checklist including hats, toothbrushes, toothpaste, a small toy, small book, stickers, goldfish crackers, and more. We asked Jennifer if they needed anything more – she said no, but she would love to see other community groups get involved in this – maybe for their own age, seniors making Senior Bags, etc. We asked Food Bank director Fran the same thing; she said they’re OK for this season, but the most important thing to remember is, please donate at other times of the year too. (Here’s how to give money online.)

West Seattle business news: Locöl hopes to open within the month

Almost a year has gone by since we first reported on the plan to turn the former tanning salon next to Kenyon Hall into Locöl. But the waiting is almost over, co-owner Kyle Duce told WSB at his almost-open establishment (7902 35th SW) two nights ago. They hope to be in business by month’s end.

A lot’s changed in that year. He and wife Kristi are now parents. They’re about to have to renew their liquor license – granted so early in the process, they’ve had it almost a year without even being open! And with painstaking work from floor to ceiling to siding, they have lovingly transformed the space – once a market, as evidenced by the sign atop this story, found buried on the site along with other items such as old bottles. While Kyle didn’t want it extensively photographed, saying he’s hoping to surprise patrons with the “wow factor” when they enter for the first time, we can tell you the decor is warm, rustic, cozy – lots of wood, for example, like this crosssection on the wall behind the bar:

Locöl’s capacity will be 44 (in an 800 square-foot space, but it doesn’t look crowded), including several spots to stand along a ledge-like bar toward the back; a patio’s in the works out back, too. Every interior touch is deliberately Northwest, as are the beverages and food they will offer, the art they plan to display, and even the scenes from West Seattle history they plan to project onto the southwest interior wall (from a disc copy of the definitive West Seattle history book West Side Story)

Kyle, who has long worked in the restaurant/bar business, says the menu has turned out to be more extensive than they first planned, though nothing requiring a range hood. A few dishes visible on a sample menu – and mentioned by Kyle – include butternut-squash soup, crostini, a shaved-fennel salad, chard chips, roasted chickpeas. He says soups, sandwiches, and desserts will be among the mainstays. In the harvest season, much of the produce will come, Kyle hopes, from the High Point Market Garden, not far from where he and his family live.

Beverages will be – as planned, since “barley and vine” has been part of their name – beer and wine, with a local emphasis there too: The half-dozen or so draft beers will include locals like Schooner Exact and Big Al; wines will be mostly from Washington. (They’re planning beer-and-wine dinners, too; the tables in their seating area can be pushed together to create one big table seating 10-12 for the occasion.) Hours will likely be noon to midnight. And it’s a 21+ establishment.

The only thing between Locöl and its future clients, Kyle says, is the final round of inspections, and he’s not foreseeing trouble.

He’s also vowing that he and his staff will be ready – though he knows some slack can be cut for the early days of a new establishment, he doesn’t plan to count on that: “You’ve got one chance to get it right.”

Mass for Tony Genzale tomorrow; hundreds at Rosary last night

Tomorrow morning is the Funeral Mass for Anthony Genzale of Tony’s Market fame (10:30 am, St. Francis of Assisi in Burien); last night, hundreds gathered for the Rosary in his memory, covered by Seattle Weekly managing editor Mike Seely (a West Seattleite). In his report, Mike writes that the tributes shared to remember Tony during that first service included excerpts from the 60+ WSB comments regarding his untimely death (just 61; here’s his official obituary).

Memorial, fund for West Seattle man who died after Christmas-lights accident

Family and friends are mourning West Seattle business owner Brian Teachout, who died last Friday, after surgery for an injury suffered while putting up Christmas lights. They also have set up a fund to help his wife – laid off by the former Washington Mutual – and children. Here’s the story, and a photo, shared by family friend Candace:

Just over a week ago, Brian Teachout, owner of Alki Home and Garden, was doing what he loved to do during the holidays… helping clients hang Christmas lights. Unfortunately, while in the process of hanging lights, the ladder Brian was using slipped out from under him. He fell, shattering his left shoulder. Surgery was scheduled and took place Wednesday, December 8th. Two days after going through reconstructive shoulder surgery, and while recovering at home, Brian suddenly died.

Brian was just 46 years old. He and his wife Tammy were blessed with a son, Owen. Then a few years ago they opened their hearts and home, and made room in their lives to adopt a niece, McKenna, and nephew, Levi, after the children’s mother died unexpectedly.

When the three children came home from school last Friday, just two weeks before Christmas, their mother and family had to give them the hard news of their father’s passing. This would be a tragedy at any time of the year, but with the holidays and three children excited about Christmas, it presented a severe challenge to Tammy, as she recently lost her job at Washington Mutual after 20 years, and with it a significant change in her health insurance.

Brian had a heart of gold and devoted his time to his wife, three children, family and many friends. He was a longtime West Seattle resident and delightful character; you might have crossed paths with Brian. Dependable and delightful, for many years he was always there to help so many West Seattle residents maintain our homes, yards and put up our lights. Brian loved to be in the garden … and we will all miss seeing him in it!

It is a tough economy and we are all facing tighter budgets this holiday season. However, if you are looking for a family to assist in some way .. or if you are part of an organization that can help … please keep Tammy and the Teachout children in mind.

Individual donations can be made to the ‘Brian Teachout Memorial Fund’ established to benefit his children – deposits can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank branch.

For organizations or individuals who wish to make a tax-deductible donation in excess of $500, the 501(c)3) Sharing Foundation has generously offered to manage your contributions. For details on donating to the Teachout Family Fund through the Sharing Foundation, please contact Andy at 206-679-8909.

A memorial service will be held Friday 12/17/10 at Noon at The Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California Ave SW in West Seattle. A gathering and refreshments will follow.

West Seattle storm: Explosion; trees; wires; aircraft carrier

Today there’s so much going on that we are going to have to present storm-related news in multiple stories interspersed with non-storm stories, rather than one long-running narrative. (Our overnight report is here; earlier coverage of a tree on a Westwood home is here.) A WSB’er (who didn’t want credit) shared that phone video of a transformer explosion in North Delridge near Longfellow Creek; he says, “Actually the transformer caught on fire and burned with a very intense white and blue light – we first thought it was the Police at the scene, but the light was too bright for that. It kept on burning and blowing every 2-3 minutes until it stopped. It blew up at least 2-3 times.” Meantime, the bursts of rain and wind keep taking out trees – we were at the Southwest Precinct along Delridge for a non-storm-related event when we got word of tree trouble nearby – here’s all that was left by the time we got out:

That’s on the west side of Delridge, south of Webster, across from the precinct. Thanks for the ongoing updates that are being shared in multiple ways – we’re seeing another wave of rain and wind now, after some sunshine, so it’s not over yet.

12:06 PM UPDATE: 911 log shows a “wires down” report in the 3200 block of Alki SW, which is on Alki Point.

12:41 PM UPDATE: Speaking of Alki Point – this carrier just passed it (note the rainbow off to the right):

Thanks to JayDee for the photo. Greg D shared a somewhat-closer picture from Alki Beach, close enough to see the number and verify his belief it’s the USS John C. Stennis, currently based in Bremerton (CVN 74).

Update: Low-bridge problem reportedly fixed

SDOT says the low bridge is offlimits to vehicles right now because of an electrical problem. Electricians were sent but there is no word yet how long it will take to fix.

11:31 AM: SDOT says the problem is fixed and the bridge is OK.

Holiday helpers: Nucor, WSUU donations for SW Youth & Family Services

Tricia and Bill from West Seattle’s Nucor might not have had white beards and red/white suits, but they were definitely doing Santa’s work at Southwest Youth and Family Services on Monday afternoon. They brought the first of two groups of donated bicycles to SWYFS — boys’ bikes on Monday, girls’ bikes coming today – and there was a big stack of Nucor-donated coats at the agency too. (Nucor also is presenting a big donation to the West Seattle Food Bank this afternoon.) They explained the donation drive:

Every month employees do a set number of Safety Observations – one employee observes another doing a task and then has a discussion on what the employee did that was safe and points out anything that was done that could potentially put themselves at risk. Nucor challenged its employees – watch out for each other more frequently and Nucor will make a donation to a local charity in efforts to make a child’s holiday a little brighter. For every 5 extra observations a brand new coat would be donated, and for every 15 extra observations a brand new bike would be donated.

The employees of Nucor Seattle responded to the challenge and did 660 safety observations; 286 of which were extra. 21 Torker Bicycles & Pryme Gear Helmets were purchased from local manufacturer – Redline Bicycles in Kent (locally sold at Alki Bike & Board in W Seattle). 57 Warm Coats were purchased and distributed to 3 local charities. The Southwest Youth & Family Services (SYFS) will receive 19 bikes and 45 coats to fulfill the wish list items of 64 W Seattle children. Nucor was able to sponsor a family from the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association (DNDA) and donate coats and bikes to the family. All other coats were donated to the W Seattle Clothesline who will host 6 coat giveaways in conjunction with the Food Bank. Nucor Seattle would like to thank its employees for making the W
Seattle community a little brighter this holiday season.

And while we were at SWYFS, we met Kristina Surface from Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation, who said she’d rather be referred to as an “elf.” She’s the church’s liaison with SWYFS for donations like the ones just made by the church’s youth group:

(Pictured: WSUU adult advisor Lorelei Amato, Hawk Ehret, Logan Day, Albert Lorenzana, Irene Pemberton, Ryan Han, Mia Shaughnessy, and adult advisor Suki Kaplan)
WSUU had a Giving Tree for SWYFS – before we stopped by the agency (which is based in North Delridge but does work throughout West Seattle, White Center, and beyond), we received the photo and this report from WSUU’s Kari Kopnick:

This is a photo of the Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation’s youth group with the donations from Westside for our 2010 “Giving Tree” benefiting Southwest Youth and Family Services The congregation donated almost all of the items needed, and the youth group and their advisors decided to take some of the youth group money saved to buy things for the last 17 people on the tree. After a wild trip to Target (Sunday) night, the tree was surrounded! Just a few weeks ago our younger children decorated tags that each had a list of things that people had requested from Southwest Youth and Family Services and hung them on the tree, hoping the congregation could fill requests of 170 people. The requests this year were heartbreaking, things like; towels, comforters and even boxer shorts. We were thrilled to be able to get something for each of the people.

Among the many families helped by SWYFS is the Phan/Harm family, which lost four members in the September murder-suicide shootings; we met two members of the family while at SWYFS, and we’ll update their story – with an update on what they need – separately.

West Seattle storms: Tree vs. house; Admiral mud; rainbow

It seemed inevitable in the heart of the crazy early-morning storm burst (here’s our original coverage) that trees had come down somewhere – and here’s our first report. Just received the photo from Jacque and Zack in Westwood, who e-mailed, “We had part of a tree come down onto our neighbor’s house after the windstorm. We’re on the phone with insurance and scouting the forums to get recommendations for arborists.” (If you have anyone to recommend, please post a comment!) Also just got word from Tiffany of slide activity spotted alongside Admiral: “Heading 1/2 to 2/3 the way down Admiral Way you’ll see up the hill, looks like recent slide activity and even fresh dirt over the wall and bulges of mud at the top!!!”

ADDED 9:18 AM: The stormy weather has its beautiful moments too –

Taken within the hour, before everything clouded up again, by someone in Gatewood who asked to be anonymous. (Looks like the “pot of gold” would be on Blake Island for this one …) Thanks!

West Seattle Tuesday: Snow review; holiday shows; Admiral meeting

(November 2010 photo by Long B. Nguyen, looking north on California SW from Gatewood to Morgan Junction)
With all the weather wildness we’ve had these past few days, why are we showing a photo from last month’s snow/ice trouble, you ask? At 9:30 this morning, the Seattle City Council‘s Transportation Committee – chaired by West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – hears from the people who run Metro and SDOT, among others, regarding what didn’t go so well during the big “Snowvember” days. Here’s the agenda; you can watch live via Seattle Channel, online or on cable channel 21. … Tonight, a couple of holiday entertainment highlights: The Westside Symphony/West Seattle Big Band concert at the Chief Sealth International High School auditorium (2600 SW Thistle), 7 pm, as previewed here last night; also, “A Tuna Christmas” starts its second-to-last week at ArtsWest (WSB sponsor) with a performance at 7:30 tonight (tickets available online here) … One more event from the WSB West Seattle Holidays page – the 1954 classic “White Christmas” screens this afternoon at Merrill Gardens at West Seattle (WSB sponsor), 4611 35th SW (map), free admission/snacks, (206) 932-5480 if you have questions. … One community meeting tonight: Admiral Neighborhood Association, 7 pm, Admiral Congregational Church (California/Hill).

West Seattle Weather Watch: Lightning-fast, ferocious storm

ORIGINAL 12:31 AM REPORT: Both for those who are awake, and for those sleeping through this who might wonder in the morning “what happened?” – after several bouts of thunder, there’s a massive downpour and strong wind right now. And power flickers.

12:43 AM: 911 log says there’s a transformer fire at 26th/Juneau in North Delridge. Meantime, just added video we got by stepping out the door- under the eaves, sheltered by a big shrub – during that huge rain/wind gust. You can only see a peek of it through the shrub but at least we captured a bit of what it was like, for those who somehow slept through it. The National Weather Service has a “short-term forecast” alert about this – apparently will NOT be an encore:


12:58 AM: Added that photo, taken by Mike Heavey from Alki, and shared via Twitter. Our power’s still flickering. One commenter says there’s an outage near Westwood Village. 911 log shows a transformer fire at 26th/Juneau in North Delridge. Via Twitter, we’re also told of a Harbor Avenue outage. The City Light outage tracker hasn’t caught up to those yet – it’s showing more than 6,000 without power from White Center southward, nothing up here yet.

1:31 AM UPDATE: No major reports of trouble – although if the Big Burst brought down any more trees/mud, we may not hear about it for a few hours. The transformer-fire call at 26th/Juneau is closed.

6:57 AM: City Light shows no major outages left in West Seattle right now – though more than 700 are out in other areas of the city. No reports of any new road trouble; Christopher Boffoli drove around potential trouble spots and major local roads after things calmed down a bit overnight and didn’t see anything likely to get in the way of drivers.

Followup: Closer look at West Seattle Golf Course storm damage

Look what the weekend rainstorm washed up at West Seattle Golf Course. The storm also left its mark in several places around the course, through which Longfellow Creek runs. After a one-day closure on Sunday, on Monday (as first reported here), golfers were barred from using carts, because of path damage:

One person with an exemption: course superintendent John Price, who drove WSB’s Christopher Boffoli around the course Monday afternoon on a tour of the storm-damaged spots.

See some of what else they saw, after the jump:

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