day : 28/01/2011 17 results

High Point showdown: Housing Authority boss apologizes

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

High Point homeowners got a high-level apology last night.

Tom Tierney, executive director of the Seattle Housing Authority, faced a meeting of the HP Homeowners’ Association “with some apology and a little embarrassment that I let stress grow in this community to a point where you all feel like you need to come out on a Thursday night.”

That stress had spawned a list of concerns that frustrated homeowners wanted to see addressed. It also clearly had sparked some changes already, with new faces in on-site management, such as property manager Terry Hirata, who took over a few months ago.

Top of last night’s list was a change in plan for a prominently vacant High Point corner, a change first made public in a story here on WSB exactly one month ago: The new plan for about 90 townhouse units at 35th and Graham instead of the mixed-use apartment/retail building that had been under review in 2008.

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Denny video going viral: ‘Teach Me How to Study’

(Updated Saturday and Sunday with comments from filmmaker, principal)

This just landed in the WSB inbox. We don’t know the backstory (yet) but we recognize the team at Denny International Middle School (even principal Jeff Clark), and this one’s going viral – it’s been on YouTube for a day and already has 1,000+ views. (P.S. The end credit attributes the lyrics to math teacher Gary Lai, who’s prominent in the video – note the scooter; we looked him up in WSB archives and found our story on the extra studying getting done at Denny during midwinter break back in 2008.)

ADDED SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Will Braden, who produced the video, answered our note asking for a little backstory:

The video was shot a couple weeks ago; it only took us one four-hour session and one follow up hour long session to get all the shots.

Gary Lai, who is a math and science teacher at Denny, wrote the lyrics. He and I went to high school together (at Garfield) and are old friends. I do videography and filmmaking, and he asked me to shoot it for him. We came up with a lot of the ideas and settings on the fly, just using whatever we could find. I’ve done some video stuff before as a favor, just to support Denny (and Gary) but this was definitely a more ambitious undertaking!

Gary has a real passion for teaching, and I know he relishes being the “cool” teacher, so I knew this was right up his alley.

We’re hoping to do more of these, since people seem to be responding positively to this one!

ADDED SUNDAY AFTERNOON: A comment from Denny principal Jeff Clark, among those featured in the video:

Thanks to the efforts of Denny staff and an outstanding volunteer, Will Braden, Denny International has our second motivational video filmed and posted online. The goal is to continue to connect our students to their studies and the plan of college graduation in ways that are relevant to them. I would like to thank Mr. Lai, Mr. Braden, Ms. Oatis, Ms. Whited, Mr. Kimball, all of our dancers and everyone else who helped – thank you!

Go Dolphins!

Another court hearing of West Seattle note this afternoon

Before the Lincoln Park jogger-attacks case even came to light earlier this week, we had already been planning to visit the King County Jail courtrooms this afternoon. On the docket, a “sentence-revocation hearing” for 20-year-old Skyelar Hailey, the repeat offender sentenced to prison for burglary and theft in fall 2009 (WSB coverage here). He had been in jail since police picked him up in West Seattle on a warrant January 20th. Read More

West Seattle scene: ‘Blooming’ on the beach

Thanks to Lisa for sharing that photo of what she saw on the beach – almost looks like a flower! – near Alki Point Lighthouse during a spot of sunshine and low tide this week. Carries the promise of more beach-walking weather to come!

Child-care reminder from High Point Community Center

On this day when many kids aren’t in school, a reminder about a before- and after-school program at one of West Seattle’s city-run community centers. From Brian Judd at High Point Community Center:

Through a partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Associated Recreation Council, High Point Community Center provides a licensed School Age Care Program for our neighborhood children. The program offers a caring and creative learning environment for children ages 5-12. We provide care in the morning from 7:00 am-9:00 am and from 3:00-6:00 pm in the afternoon. During the Breaks and Holidays we also provide camps as well as a summer program! Our daily schedule offers various projects and activities that range from cooking to jewelry making, homework time, games and snacks. The staff is energetic, encouraging and are looking forward to working with your children!

Before School Care: $175
After School Care: $275
(Addition child Discount: $10)

Please contact us at: to learn more about our program.

High Point Community Center
6920 34th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98126
(206) 684-7422

City budget shockwaves: Youth-sports leagues fight fee hikes

(Panorama of Bar-S fields; photo courtesy West Seattle Little League)
Some sunny Saturday, not that far away, the West Seattle Little League will take the field at Bar-S Playfield. Right now, in addition to dealing with their ongoing Snack Shack project at the field, they are signing up players – and dealing with what WSLL president Mark Terao calls “shocking news”: They’re being asked to pay almost $13,000 in fees to the city this year, up from $5,000 last year, to help balance the city budget.

In a reply to Terao, circulated in a league-wide e-mail, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who chairs the Parks Committee, says the fee increases – for adult sports as well as youth sports, and other activities – are “unfortunate but necessary.” Tomorrow, WSLL reps are planning to bring their concerns to Bagshaw and Councilmember Sally Clark at a community-conversation event they are hosting on First Hill, and at least one other local youth-sports organization is hoping to do the same – more on that later.

For one example of how the fee increase translates, Terao explains:

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From White Center Now: New bar Company finally opens

Almost a full year after first word that Company was coming to downtown White Center, the new bar is officially open. Just up on White Center Now, WCN/WSB contributor Deanie Schwarz‘s report on opening night – see it here (including info on drinks/appetizers you’ll find on the menu).

Update: Starkenburg charged in three West Seattle attacks

Just in from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office:

Duane E. Starkenburg, 46, was charged this afternoon with assaulting three women in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park. Prosecutors charged Starkenburg with two counts of Indecent Liberties for allegedly attacking a woman in August and another in December. He is also charged with one count of Attempted Indecent Liberties for the January 25 assault. The defendant was released from jail yesterday after posting bail totaling $175,000. Starkenburg is scheduled for arraignment on February 10 at 8:30 a.m. at the King County Courthouse, courtroom 1201.

Arraignment is when he will enter pleas to the charges that have been filed against him.

ADDED 3:06 PM: We’ve just reviewed the charging papers, and the information is the same as in the “probable cause” documents from Thursday. Prosecutors asked for bail equivalent to what he had already posted – the $175,000 is the sum of the $150,000 ordered yesterday and the $25,000 ordered in Municipal Court the day before – and he remains on order to stay away from the victims and to stay out of Lincoln Park.

Suspect’s TV interview after getting out of jail Thursday night
Thursday afternoon’s court hearing (with video)
Thursday noontime report of more possible charges
Wednesday night report with police sketch related to December attack
Wednesday afternoon hearing (with video)
First report, from Tuesday evening, with info on suspect’s criminal record

Two followups on Admiral Safeway project change

(Top, a “before” view of the building that’s changing; below, an “after” view)

Two followups on our story yesterday regarding the change in the Admiral Safeway site project – not the supermarket itself, but the building to its east that was to be residential units and flex-work spaces. As reported here, it’s now slated for 78 residential units, almost double the original number, because Safeway says financing was not available for flex-work space. Safeway’s Sara Corn has followed up with two things: First, she and architect Bill Fuller will be at the next Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting to talk about the project and answer questions; that’s 7 pm Tuesday, February 8th, at Admiral Congregational Church. Second, she had mentioned there would still be some office-type space in that building, abutting Safeway’s loading dock on the north end of that building (along the east edge of the store). Answering our followup question about how much of that space would be available, she replied: “4 office units on the ground floor. Approximately 489 SF each. Could be used for office or retail (like a gallery use or something of the sort that can fit in that type of space).” P.S. If you missed yesterday’s report, it also included a link to these “before/after” renderings regarding the project change, which the city is reviewing.

‘A long time coming’: Camp Long challenge-course meeting

(Rendering of “vertical playpen” that’s part of the challenge-course plan)
By Karen Berge
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

More than 25 people attended the community meeting at Camp Long on Thursday night to learn more about the new ropes/challenge course that is scheduled to be built there this spring.

Meeting organizers from Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Camp Long Advisory Council and WSU 4-H were on hand during the meeting, as well as before and after, to field questions. (See their full PowerPoint presentation here.)

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New Alki Homestead plan: Advocates say they’re ‘thrilled’

(WSB photo from 1/16/2011)
From the city Municipal Tower downtown, here are the toplines from the first public meeting to reveal details of the new plan for the Alki Homestead. It was brought to the Architectural Review Committee of the city Landmark Preservation Board. Though the committee does not vote, the board will have to approve a plan before any permits can be issued for work to proceed on the Alki Homestead, aka the historic Fir Lodge, closed since an accidental electrical fire two years ago.

We wrote about the restoration proposal on Monday, after reviewing new additions to the file here at the Municipal Tower.

(Alloy Design Group principals at left – Greg Squires, seated, and Mark Haizlip, standing)
Though the new architects from Alloy Design Group made it clear they were not here to discuss intricate details of how the Homestead would be “restored,” they did verify that restoring it and reopening it as a restaurant is the goal now, and that the previous proposal involving other components on the site – a spa, a bar, a “small inn” had all been mentioned in 2009 – is “water under the bridge,” declaring that they were brought in for “a fresh start.”

They asked the board to indicate support for the two-story structure they want to add on the west (rear) side of the Homestead to house its kitchen and possibly access (elevator/stairs) to what’s envisioned as an upper-level banquet facility (the building previously had upper-level apartments) – they say it will have an 890-square-foot “footprint,” not much larger than the “non-historic additions” they want to remove from the site; as for its height, they said it was not expected to reach the 30-foot maximum allowed for the zoning on part of the site.

After the presentation, representatives of the four groups that spoke to the media at the Log House Museum on the 2-year anniversary of the Homestead fire, reiterating their concern for protecting and restoring the landmark, all stood up to say they’re “thrilled” that the discussion is now about restoration rather than demolition. However, what would be involved in “restoration” is clearly up for much discussion – the architects say the building needs a new foundation, and that depending on how much of the existing logs were reusable, some “new material” will have to be brought in. Homestead owner Tom Lin was at this morning’s meeting but did not speak to the committee.

Next step – the architects are expected to return to the Architectural Review Committee on February 11th, for more discussion/review of the project before a potential future vote on whether the board will grant the required “certificate of approval.”

West Seattle restaurants: Pizzeria 22/Ventidue update

It’s been about five weeks since we first told you about Pizzeria 22/Ventidue, the wood-fired pizzeria that chef Cary Kemp plans to bring to the Admiral District. He just sent an update, saying a WSB’er had e-mailed him directly, asking what’s going on with the project and encouraging him to share the latest with everyone via WSB:

We have been able to finish most of the deconstruction inside of the space at 4213 SW College Street [map]. The building itself was built in 1908, and when I removed the lowered ceiling, it exposed the 16′ original ceiling and a total of 6 large multi-paned windows with their original finish. These windows were covered by a funky exterior in the 1970s which still exists on the outside. We are not going to open these windows to the outside, but rather highlight them on the inside to add some character to the space; the windows are about 13′ above the floor. We will also be adding some new windows and a door to the front of the space to replace the 70’s aluminum single pane door and skylights and transom window. As for a roll-up garage door, they are no longer allowed through the Building Department, as they do not meet the new Energy Code, maybe someday…

Because of the downsizing of the DPD, our permitting process will carry us into April and will most likely force us to open in May; we’ll see, there is a chance we can get on a cancellation list which would speed the process somewhat. Our oven that was built in Naples is now in a warehouse in Georgetown, ready to be delivered when we are ready to install.

Lastly, I have contacted the West Seattle Farmers Market to see if they have space for my mobile oven. I am hoping to sell my pizza there on Sundays and start giving the community an opportunity to try our pizza and learn of our future business in West Seattle. As I have been working at the new space, I have been approached by many neighbors and welcomed by local businesses who are excited and ready for our arrival; what a great feeling to be welcomed.

His “mobile oven” is what he uses for the business he’s already been running, Inferno Catering.

West Seattle Crime Watch: ‘Well-known’ suspects arrested

Southwest Precinct leadership has said repeatedly that car prowling is the most persistent crime problem they keep working to reduce. According to precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen, one more dent’s just been made in that problem:

Last night we arrested two suspects for car prowling in the 4400 blk of SW Genesee (map) – this is an area that has been impacted by car prowls. Earlier that evening, we contacted the subjects in a vehicle for suspicious behavior. Thanks to our citizen who called 911 to report. We arrested the subjects after we were able to link them to a car prowl. Both suspects are well-known to us for this activity. Again…our West Seattle folks are helping out big time in catching bad guys!

One day to go till Alki Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

(WSB photo from Alki Polar Plunge 2010)
Can you “bear” to jump into the 40-something-degree water off West Seattle’s most popular beach? Looks a wee bit gray tomorrow for the Special Olympics/Washington-benefiting Polar Plunge at Alki (which WSB is proud to co-sponsor again this year). But the spirits will doubtlessly be bright – just look at some of the scenes from last year, when more than 350 people showed up to brave the chilly waters of Puget Sound, including law-enforcement leaders from all over the region. They’ll be back, as will last year’s Spirit Award winners, the Chief Sealth International High School delegation. How about you? It’s quite the scene – with the Seahawks’ Blue Thunder drum line performing ahead of time, among other pre-Plunge excitement. The Polar Plunge itself is at noon, with festivities in the hour or so ahead of time. Here’s where to go to sign up online; you can also show up after 9 am to sign up by the Alki Bathhouse. See you there!

West Seattle traffic alert: Harbor Avenue crash cleared

(Crash site after the car was moved)
7:37 AM: Caveat that this isn’t on the 911 log and we haven’t gotten there yet to verify, but a caller says that a car has crashed into/onto the median on Harbor Avenue north of The Bridge, and that it’s affecting bridge-bound access on Harbor. 8:07 AM UPDATE: It was closer to the businesses south of the Harbor Avenue 7-11, and it’s just cleared. Appears to have been a vehicle vs. pole, and City Light crews have just wrapped up too. No official word on injuries, but there were no medic crews called.

Late-night crash lands van in West Seattle Rotary Viewpoint Park

(Photo by Katie Meyer for WSB)
There are a number of ways you could look at this crash. It struck us as “close call for the West Seattle Rotary Viewpoint Park totem pole.” Skid marks on SW Alaska across 35th SW (map) just west of the park suggest the van had trouble stopping until the westernmost raised planter in the little park, just past the sidewalk, managed to do the job, with the van ending up straddling the planter. The driver didn’t need medical attention, but could be heard with slurred speech as police questioned him before eventually driving off with him still in the back seat.

(Photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
A driver from ABC Towing spent about 45 minutes engaged in an intricate operation to lift, shift, push, and pull the van this way and that, to get it off the planter without further damage. He explained he lives in West Seattle and “it’s my park too.” It was a little too late at night for too many looky-loos, but one woman came downstairs from a nearby residential meeting, saying she was worried about the totem pole and wanted to make sure it hadn’t been hit. It hadn’t – thanks to that planter.

West Seattle’s Paul Schmid launches his book ‘A Pet for Petunia’

Thanks to Susan Eng for sharing the photo of West Seattle author Paul Schmid signing his new children’s book “A Pet for Petunia” as it launched Thursday night at Secret Garden Books in Ballard. She says he cited daughter Anna as inspiration for, and consultant on, the book, which he wrote and illustrated. (Previously, he was published as illustrator of “The Wonder Book” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.)