West Seattle, Washington
(WSB photos by Christopher Boffoli)
It was a sweet way to start the winter: Before the solstice-sunset-viewing event we had been telling you about, there was a solstice-welcoming event at Fauntleroy’s Solstice Park. Though the sun didn’t make an appearance, there were chocolates courtesy of Chef Tiberio Simone from La Figa Catering and Specialty Desserts. He identified himself as a solstice aficionado. And what a place to await the moment itself, 3:38 pm Tuesday:
In addition to Chef Simone and other aficionados, the media turnout included a crew working on a documentary about solstice events. The celebration included a countdown to the solstice moment, as participants gathered in a circle, hugged, and clapped.
About 40 minutes later, more than 30 people were at the park to watch the solstice sunset – or what they knew was the solstice sunset somewhere behind the clouds – with astro-expert Alice Enevoldsen; our partners at the Seattle Times have the full story on that. (added) Here’s Alice in action (photo by Jason Gift Enevoldsen):
(WSB photo by Katie Meyer)
If you remained skeptical even after our story last week about the official permit paperwork progressing for the future West Seattle Trader Joe’s – here’s new proof it’s advancing. Property owner Steve Huling called WSB tonight to let us (and you!) know that the official city sign has gone up to tell all interested parties that the site is under environmental review for a land-use permit (as you can see here), and we just procured our own photographic proof. As noted in our earlier coverage, and in the permit applications, they are not demolishing any buildings, so this isn’t expected to be a long construction process; most recent estimated opening date was sometime in the spring. (P.S. As discussed in comments on our previous story, the “environmentally critical area” on the site involves a steep slope. The sign posting opens a comment period for this review of the project; here’s official city info on how to comment.)
We finally have key details on a Fauntleroy/California car-vs.-pedestrian crash this afternoon that several people e-mailed to ask about, almost all worrying that “it looked bad.” Seattle Fire had told us they didn’t take anyone to the hospital – but their records didn’t indicate whether that meant “nobody went to the hospital” or “private ambulance took someone to the hospital.” Tonight, Southwest Precinct Lt. Alan Williams just found that information for us: He says a private ambulance did take the pedestrian to the hospital (which usually means the injuries were *not* life-threatening). He also says the driver who hit the pedestrian was “cited for right-of-way at crosswalk.”
Three West Seattle wildlife notes tonight: First, that photo from Creighton came with this explanation: “Found a red-tail hawk in my Genesee Hill backyard today, finishing up his breakfast of one very unlucky starling.” (9:04 pm update from comments – apparently a sharp-shinned hawk!)
Second, Guy Smith has just provided his second annual report on the arrival of brant – the small, white-ringed-neck geese – on West Seattle shores:
Our brant showed up just after noon today on winter solstice; nearly a month later than normal. Was their late arrival weather-related? Probably, but we don’t know for sure. This is only the second time in the last 17 years they have been this late. But to paraphrase from the brant story published last (November); “On this chilly, shortest day of 2010, our brant and their young winged into the shore north of Alki Point, made a pass, then banked south around the point to the waters along West Seattle, where they will winter and start their annual cycle again.”
Last but not least, a coyote report from Wendy:
I was on my way home on Tuesday night around 10 pm, driving up Marine View Drive. Just past the intersection of SW 106th I realized I was following a coyote that was on a dead run down the middle of the Drive. It turned down into the Arroyos on 42nd Ave SW, flew down the hill, and turned left onto SW 109th St, where I lost track of it. It looked healthy and well fed. There are quite a few cats in our neighborhood; I hope people keep them in at night!
SPD Blotter reported this afternoon that police have arrested a man suspected in three pharmacy robberies, including one in West Seattle. The arrest happened today, with the help of citizens:
Since early October, a lone white male was believed to be responsible for three pharmacy robberies. The first two occurred at a chain pharmacy at locations in West Seattle and on Capitol Hill. The most recent occurred downtown on December 14th, in the 800 Block of 3rd Avenue. The suspect would usually imply a weapon and demand prescription drugs.
Today, December 21st, at approximately 11:40 AM, a white male armed with a knife attempted to rob a pharmacy located in the 900 Block of 4th Avenue. The suspect approached the pharmacist and demanded the drugs. Several employees and customers jumped on the suspect and held him until police arrived. He was immediately taken into custody. Robbery detectives responded and processed the scene. The 33 year old male was interviewed by detectives and admitted to the robberies. He was booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Robbery. The Robbery detectives will continue with the followup investigation.
The only “chain pharmacy” robbery we’ve covered since early October is a holdup at Bartell Drugs in Jefferson Square on October 9th. We’ve got a message out to SPD to ask if that’s the one to which they say this suspect has confessed.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
In most communities, an announcement about renovations in the works for a motel would be greeted with a shrug, if that.
But when your community has only *one* motel, as is the case in West Seattle, it’s big news. So that’s why, after publishing the news release sent last week on behalf of the Seattle West Inn‘s new owners/management, we pursued more information about what’s in the works.
Read on to see what we found out from the two key players with whom we spoke:Read More
(WSB photos by Christopher Boffoli)
Thanks go to Lynda and Nancy for alerting us to this sad sight: Two young trees destroyed in front of Madison Middle School (north of the main entrance path, as the top photo shows). When we heard about it, we wondered if it was related to our recent bouts of wind, but Christopher Boffoli went over for photos and reports it’s clear they were taken down by a hatchet or pick-axe. (Note the debris in the next photo.)
We have a message out to police to ask if this has been reported and whether any other vandalism’s been reported in the area; no reply yet, but we’ll add any more information we get. (If you’re wondering when it happened – sometime before midnight, which is when Lynda’s note came in.)
The exact moment is 3:38 pm our time today – and from here on out, the days keep getting longer; spring and summer are in view! In addition to the winter-solstice-sunset viewing event we’ve been mentioning with West Seattle-residing NASA Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen at Solstice Park (sunset’s around 4:20 pm; if it’s not rainy, you’ll see Alice there by 3:30), two more events from the WSB West Seattle Holidays page, both presented by WSB sponsors: From the Christmastime-services list, Tibbetts United Methodist Church (3940 41st SW) invites you to tonight’s 7 pm Blue Christmas/Longest Night service, “a service for folks for whom this is not the most wonderful time of the year. … Join us for this service of reflection with music, readings and candle lighting to acknowledge the grief and pain and find a ray of hope.” … And at Merrill Gardens at West Seattle (4611 35th SW), the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” (trailer above) plays in the theater at 1 pm, free admission and snacks.
If you were among the hundreds at the West Seattle Junction Tree Lighting earlier this month, you’ll remember the Endolyne Children’s Choir. When they resume their Tuesday practices post-holidays, they’ll be welcoming new members – here’s the invitation from L. Medina:
The Endolyne Children’s Choir is wrapping up a busy Fall Session where we were able to perform for the West Seattle community at the Fauntleroy Fall Festival, Mt. St. Vincent’s, Park West, the December 4th Christmas Tree Lighting, and our annual holiday concert @ St. John’s Church. We are a non-audition choir, led by music director Maria Johnson, and we are pleased to welcome our new Encore and Debut choir director; Amy Stagno for the winter Session which starts January 4th. Our Debut Choir (grades K-2), Encore Choir (grades 3-5), and Advanced Ensemble Choir (grades 6-8) all practice Tuesday nights at St. John’s Church next to the West Seattle High School. Our purpose is to teach the joy of singing in a community setting that fosters self confidence, teamwork, and a lifelong appreciation for music. To learn more or sign your child up for our next session visit us at: www.endolynechoir.org
We’re midway through – more or less – the first lunar eclipse/winter solstice combo in 362 years (and the last one till 2094). Many around West Seattle got at least a glimpse of the disappearing moon, thanks to shifting clouds. Christopher Boffoli got the image above from The Junction within the past hour. As you might imagine, America’s space agency had its pick of angles …
NASA’s Bill Ingalls took that from Arlington, Virginia. Anything else comes in later, we’ll add – we’ve seen a lot go by on Twitter (like this one), and various galleries like this one. Coming up, there’s the winter solstice itself: West Seattle’s NASA Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen plans a sunset-viewing event tonight (Tuesday) at Solstice Park (map); 4:20 pm’s the sunset, she’s planning to be there around 3:30, unless it’s rainy (but clouds do NOT cancel – just like tonight, you never know when you’ll get a peek).
ADDED MIDDAY TUESDAY: This eclipse photo is by DLC (thanks!):