day : 21/01/2011 11 results

It’s all XO’s in an Arbor Heights classroom – but it’s no game!

Arbor Heights Elementary third-grade teacher Mark Ahlness is not only an online pioneer – he continuously leads his young students out onto the technological cutting edge of exploration. Latest way that’s happening: The laptops the kids are holding in our top photo are XO’s, which Ahlness describes on his website as a “unique piece of hardware that kick-started the competitive innovations leading to the netbook, the Kindle, and yes, even the iPad.” You might remember hearing about them a few years back – the idea was, you buy two and donate one – here’s a promotional video that explained them:

As soon as Ahlness let the word out that he was interested in having his students work with them, that word got around in a way that now has 28 XO’s taking up residence in his room. As he writes online, the students weren’t short on technology, but this is a wholly different kind of technology, which has sparked them into more exploration, and collaboration, since the computers are networked.

He’s not stopping at one XO laptop per student – he’s hoping to get more donations, enough to create a lending library, among other goals (listed here).

Traffic reminders for nearby construction: Tonight and beyond

One more overnight closure of the **westbound** Spokane Street Viaduct – aka the West Seattle Bridge between I-5 and 99 – tonight from 10 pm till 5-ish am, and then again Monday-Wednesday nights of next week. But additional closures are scheduled
next week – affecting buses as well as others. From the area construction lookahead, for Monday-Friday nights next week:

Jan 24-28, 1st Ave S will be closed between S King St and S Royal Brougham Way, the southbound SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct off-ramp to 1st Ave S will be closed nightly and the northbound 1st Ave S on-ramp to SR 99 will be closed.

Related to that, this afternoon’s advisory from Metro was as follows:

Construction Reroute – Rts 15, 18, 21, 22, 56 & 85. Northbound 1st Av S is closed at S Royal Brougham Way; Jan 24-28, 6:30 PM-5 AM each night. Use the stops northbound on 1st Av S just north of Edgar Martinez Dr S or just north of S Jackson St.

One thing we are still sorting out – noticed while heading downtown for this afternoon’s court hearing that the eastbound WS Bridge exit to NB 99 has a sign saying it will be closed nights next week. That is *not* listed on any of the official information we’ve received – nor the master list – we’ll be doublechecking Monday to see whether it’s really happening. Probably the best advice is … if you have to drive off the peninsula, north/eastward, late at night/early early morning, be ready for anything.

On Highland Park hate-crime attack victim’s 17th birthday, 1st attacker is sentenced

gavel.jpgThe father of hate-crime-attack victim Shane McClellan was in Judge Carol Schapira‘s courtroom downtown to hear the sentence for one of his son’s attackers. Before the hearing, Tim McClellan told WSB and TV photographers in the hallway, “Today’s his birthday.” [Afterward, he spoke to the media – part of the interview is in our clip above; we’ll upload a longer clip when we’re back at HQ.]

On Shane’s 17th birthday – eight months after he was beaten and tortured for hours on a Highland Park stairway, by two men who voiced a racist motivation – one of his attackers, 23-year-old Ahmed Y. Mohamed (photo below), has just been sentenced to 69 months in prison, three months short of what prosecutors had asked for.

(Added 4:47 pm, Seattle Times photo by Greg Gilbert, used with permission)
Judge Schapira said this case is “more than a headline. .. We are here not to judge you as a person, but there are consequences for the very serious act to which you have pleaded guilty. … The offense makes no sense to me. … You are a very young man; as negative as this experience as been, as negative as being in prison will be. We hope you will put this behind you, as we all do when making very serious mistakes.”

Prosecutors had recommended the high end of the “standard sentencing range,” which would have been six years. In court, prosecutor Erin Becker said, “This robbery and the actions that occurred during this robbery went far, far beyond (the average robbery) … The (attackers) held him for hours, burned him with lit cigarettes, urinated on him … The victim was a juvenile at the time, and it seems what they were aiming at was not simply robbery.” Tim McClellan decided at the last minute that he would speak to the judge, saying, with difficulty, he “can’t imagine the duration” of what happened to his son, who he says “is doing a lot better.” (Shane was not in court.)

The lawyer for Mohamed said his client was sorry and said alcohol had something to do with it … saying it was his client’s “first experience with alcohol” and noting Mohamed had been drinking Four Loko, the subsequently banned beverage. He also talked about Mohamed, who is a US citizen, having been born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and living in refugee camps when very young. Mohamed’s mother also spoke, apologizing to all involved for her son’s actions, and talking about how he helps care for his disabled sister; he spoke for himself too, apologizing, saying he felt peer pressure to drink, but saying he knows he can become “a better man.” Family members/supporters in the gallery cried as they spoke.

The judge opened her remarks after that by saying she felt sympathy for so many of those involved. But in the end, she pronounced a sentence just short of what prosecutors wanted. Technically, it breaks down to 45 months for the robbery charge, with 12 months concurrent for the malicious-harassment charge; after that, 24 months for the weapons enhancement (a knife was used during the robbery/attack). Mohamed already has been in jail about three months, which will count against the sentence.

WSB was first to report that Mohamed had pleaded guilty to robbery (with weapons enhancement) and malicious harassment (hate crime) – it happened in December, but no one in the news media had noticed; we turned it up while combing through court records on routine followups at the start of January. The second person arrested last fall, 21-year-old Jonathan Baquiring, is in the King County Jail, awaiting trial next month on the same charges.

ADDED 2:46 PM: Tim McClellan spoke to the media after the sentencing, saying he accepts Mohamed’s apology, and that he is generally pleased with how this turned out. He says Shane is doing OK. See part of the interview in the clip we added atop this story; more to come.

West Seattle businesses: Juneau Street Market returns, sort of

Thanks to the WSB’ers who have e-mailed to ask what’s moving into the ex-Juneau Street Market space at California/Juneau (map), since the “for lease” signs have come down and shelving has appeared in the formerly empty space inside. We have just spoken to the new tenant, who says it’s going to be … the Juneau Street Market: “A grocery store with beer and wine, food service too.” (Cheeseburgers, chicken, wings, hot dogs, corn dogs, burritos, pizza, made off-premises, he elaborates.) He says this is his first store, though he has management experience, most recently a gas-station market in Redmond. Depending on how licensing goes, he’s hoping to be open within a few weeks. (If you forgot the backstory here – the previous market was closed for 8 months because of damage related to a September 2009 fire in the apartments above the store; they reopened in May 2010, but shut down less than 6 months later.)

Caspar Babypants goes to City Hall (but not for politics)

January 21, 2011 12:22 pm
|    Comments Off on Caspar Babypants goes to City Hall (but not for politics)
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics | WS culture/arts

Just announced by the mayor’s office, a January 29th “open house” at City Hall downtown, with street-food trucks and live music – and one well-known West Seattleite is on the bill: Rocker Chris Ballew in his alter-ego as kids-music-maker Caspar Babypants. Here’s the full schedule for the January 29th event.

From White Center Now: New welcome signs, and 2 new businesses

Lots going on with our neighbors to the south. First – the White Center Chamber of Commerce has put up its first two new multilingual “Welcome to White Center” signs. More details on our partner site White Center Now, where you also will find news of two new businesses – first, Crawfish Grill is going to “time-share” with Be’s Restaurant; second, a new wireless store is moving in. Thanks to WSB/WCN contributor Deanie Schwarz for spotting the new businesses; thanks to WCN reader Gill for sharing the sign photo (if you’re driving by Holy Family in about an hour, you’ll see the WC Chamber’s board celebrating the sign with a photo-op). P.S. You can check the latest headlines from White Center Now any time without leaving WSB – they’re fed to the page you’ll reach by clicking the top-of-page “White Center” tab.

West Seattle scene: Admiral Safeway construction, aerial view

(Click for a larger view)
Construction has been under way for the new Admiral Safeway (along with two other buildings on the site – residential and flex-work space to the southeast, a small standalone retail building on the southwest) for four months now. The ground-level progress is easy to see if you drive past, but here’s a different perspective. One of the longtime project point people, Sara Corn, shares an aerial view, photographed during that sunny day earlier this week – top of the photo is the east side of the site, left side is north, right side is south (facing Hiawatha), bottom is west (facing Lafayette Elementary). She notes that the construction webcam is currently out of service for “repositioning”; it’s been part of the project website, which you can see here. The new store is projected to open next summer; we have an inquiry out for more detailed information on the project’s progress.

1:34 PM UPDATE: Corn says the store remains “on track” for the expected August 12th opening.

West Seattle power outage affects 60+ after crash at Delridge/Willow

Thanks to Angelique for the tip – A crash at Delridge and Willow (map) has cut power to the surrounding area. This just showed up on Seattle City Light‘s status site, and they’re showing more than 60 customers (homes/businesses) affected. We’re just arriving at the scene, and the crash – which does not involve serious injuries – is also causing some traffic diversion on the southbound side of Delridge. (In the photo, added 10:15, the car on the left is the one that hit the pole.) UPDATE: Per City Light and commenter “Unknown,” the power’s back on.

West Seattle Friday! Hiking; driving help; SSV closure; WSHS music

(Paddleboarder in a West Seattle sunset, by Danny McMillin, shared via the WSB Flickr group pool)
Something about that photo just says “weekend.” But before we get there: The rain’s supposed to taper off by afternoon, which means it might be perfect in time for the Nature Consortium‘s monthly eco-hike through the West Duwamish Greenbelt (RSVP to, 1 pm @ 14th/Holly … 1st Friday of a two-Friday “defensive driving” workshop starts this morning at 9 at the Senior Center of West Seattle; call 206-932-4044 to see if there’s room …. One more late-night/early-early-am closure of the WESTBOUND Spokane Street Viaduct, meaning you can’t get onto The Bridge from I-5 or Beacon Hill (details here) … West Seattle High Schools Winter Concert is at 7:30 tonight, WSHS Theater, free but donations accepted … Feel like dancing this afternoon? Senior Dance @ Delridge Community Center, 1-3pm, $3. Betty McLain leads you through lines, mixers, and other dances to music from the 40’s to present. … And at Alki Community Center tonight, another round of Friday Night Skating, 6:45-8:45 pm, $3 person, bring your own skates or borrow them. … More on the calendar!

Video: Denny International Middle School’s winter concert

The “William Tell Overture” – by steel drums! That was just one of the highlights in a night full of music by Denny International Middle School students, performing their Winter Concert across SW Thistle Street at Chief Sealth International High School‘s remodeled auditorium – next door to the new school Denny will occupy later this year. We also have video highlights from seven more of the groups that performed Thursday night as the culmination of four months of hard work – click ahead!

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From Northern Spain to South Seattle Community College: A special day of food and wine

(WSB photos by Ellen Cedergreen)
South Seattle Community College‘s food and wine programs are famous in their own right – perhaps because they’re open to even international education, with guests like the team from Spain that came in on Thursday. Among the team that led cooking and wine classes and presentations almost all day was guest sommelier Jesús Sanguino Collado (above). The featured wines and foods were from the Castilla y León region of Spain. Click ahead to see what they tried, and how:Read More