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Alki Polar Plunge, report #2: Splash-level video (and more)

January 29, 2011 10:08 pm
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Most of what we showed you in our earlier reports from today’s Special Olympics/Washington-benefiting Polar Plunge (co-sponsored by WSB) was from the sands of Alki Beach – or the festivities atop the pavement and grass by Alki Bathhouse. Above, shot and edited by photojournalist Cliff DesPeaux for WSB, are highlights including the water-level spirit of the Polar Plunge, in two and a half minutes – also including City Councilmember Bruce Harrell‘s early running dive into Puget Sound, an interview with Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen and his boss, a West Seattleite whose friend came all the way from Snohomish County for this, and watch for the Special Olympics board members in pink-tutu “swimsuits” (as previewed here). P.S. Even if you weren’t at the plunge, you can donate to Special Olympics/Washington by going here.

West Seattle wildlife: Another owl-attack report

Remember the saga of the attacking owl on Bonair, in upper Alki, last month? Henry e-mailed to say it’s also happened to him:

I’ve been attacked by an owl on Bonair 4 times over the past few weeks. The first time was a flyover; the next time he took my wool hat off my head; the next time I wore a construction hard hat and heard a thunk. The owl was stunned after the collision and flew off. The next day, Friday the 28th, I wore the hard hat and brought a flash light. The owl came from his usual perch and I happened to turn and shine the light on him. He put on the brakes and flew away; it’s a pretty big owl. All the attacks occur at dawn on my way to work out on the Alki stairs. Is this a crazy owl or what! I see I’m not alone. This could get serious so what should be done?

We’ve also heard a couple other scattered reports since the last one published here in December. For information about Seattle’s owl population, check out this Audubon website.

West Seattle Weather Watch: A bit of snow, perhaps

You might have heard those rumblings about a bit of snow possibly on the way. The National Weather Service has escalated the rumbling to “Special Weather Statement” status (see the brand-new version here). But they caution it isn’t likely to be much, and isn’t expected to arrive before very late tonight/early tomorrow.

7:20 AM SUNDAY: The chance appears to have evaporated – the “special weather statement” is no longer in effect.

Sustainable West Seattle, CoolMom in Seattle Channel spotlight

The latest edition of the Seattle Channel show “CityStream” (which you can watch above in its entirety) showcases a whole lot of sustainability-minded West Seattleites – the first story is about Sustainable West Seattle (including the West Seattle Tool Library) and the final one is about “green cleaning,” with the spotlight on CoolMom. (By the way, have you seen their new website at

Alki Polar Plunge 2011 for Special Olympics, report #1

(Our preview report with pre-Plunge photos can be seen here)

(Photo courtesy Shauna Causey)
Today’s Polar Plunge at Alki wasn’t just any old “jump in the water in the winter” event. It raised money for Special Olympics/Washington – and drew special law-enforcement attention and participation, because of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Seattle Police personnel in the water (announced temperature: 46 degrees) the longest today were the divers – like the one in the top photo – who held an uncrossable line offshore to keep participants safe. Once it was time to get in the water, law enforcers were the first group in – here’s our video tracking Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen and Lt. Pierre Davis:

(video no longer available due to shutdown)

Pre-Plunge, Capt. Paulsen posed with his pooch (her name is Lola):

SPD Chief John Diaz was there again this year too, as were representatives from other departments – and former King County Sheriff turned Congressmember Dave Reichert even showed up. Another politician went in a bit early:

City Councilmember Bruce Harrell had to get over to the City Hall open house, which started at 11. Military presence at the Polar Plunge too – from the U.S. Marine Corps:

No, they’re not from the Jefferson Square Marine-recruiting office – rather, the one in Tukwila. The nearly 200 preregistered participants also included, again this year, the Chief Sealth International High School delegation – here’s their pre-Plunge pose, followed by video of the big moment:

(video no longer available due to shutdown)

And to get the blood pumping before the chilly jump, the Seahawks’ Blue Thunder drum line:

(video no longer available due to shutdown)

Emceeing today’s event, anchor David Rose from KCPQ-TV:

KCPQ was among the co-sponsors of today’s event, as was WSB (for the 2nd consecutive year). We have a second report coming up later today, including a comprehensive video report on today’s Polar Plunge, the fourth of seven that SOWA is presenting around the state this winter. If you weren’t there but want to donate to Special Olympics, here’s how to do it online. And if you’re looking for info on Special Olympics events – this year’s calendar is here.

From the WSB Forums: ’35 years of extra stuff’ free/cheap

As reported here last month, Liberty Bell Printing has closed its Junction storefront, while staying in business without a retail store, via online/phone orders. But they still have “35 years of extra stuff” to get rid of – and in this WSB Forums post, they’re inviting you to come down and check it out, 2-4 pm today and 1-3 pm tomorrow (Sunday), 4736 California SW.

Happening now: Getting ready for Polar Plunge 2011 at Alki

Still time to get to Alki Bathhouse and sign up for the Polar Plunge at noon, to help raise money for Special Olympics/Washington. Above, SOWA board member Norm Smith, dad of Special Olympics athlete Zach Smith, getting ready to jump in – he and the other board members decided to “take the plunge” wearing tutus. Also spotted in costume – the Polar Plunge mascot:

And even if you don’t want to jump in, you can join the Chicken Coop – contribute without getting in the water:

Back to “who’s plunging” – a couple more we just caught up with:

Lots of law enforcement here too, since the Law Enforcement Torch Run is an important part of Special Olympics/Washington – we’ve seen Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen already. More coverage to come.

Happening now: Councilmembers fielding sports-fee-hike complaints

We are at Corner Café on First Hill along with about 40 people who came for a coffee conversation with City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Sally Clark – many of them from youth-sports groups furious about the major fee increase they have to pay because of the new city budget. Among them, West Seattle Little League president Mark Terao, who sounded the alarm citywide recently and was unhappy to hear Councilmember Bagshaw tell him flat-out, there’s nothing they can do about the fee increases this year – they’re in the 2011 budget to stay, but they can certainly talk about next year’s budget, although they couldn’t guarantee cuts next year – only that there won’t be another increase for 2012. She also said that leagues having trouble paying the fees should contact her. Seattle Lutheran High School and West Seattle Soccer Club are other West Seattle concerns that have been mentioned. And youth-sports reps from all over the city have pointed out, as has WSLL, that they put major amounts of their own money and volunteer time into field prep, upkeep and improvements, which should be taken into consideration, instead of charging them the same increases as other types of organizations. Bagshaw acknowledged, and apologized, that the teams did not get clear advance notice of how things were going to change: “This did not go well, that you didn’t know.”

We’ll add video later; this isn’t the only topic of the councilmembers’ meeting, which was announced as open to all – they’ve also heard concerns about human-services cuts and the Department of Neighborhoods changes/cuts – Bagshaw described the latter as “just nuts,” but also said, it’s nuts to cut other services too, and notes “nobody wants anything cut,” so, “when things get better, we’re going back.” And what they heard included a message from one attendee: “We want to be part of the process.” (Also among the attendees from West Seattle, City Council candidate Michael Taylor-Judd.) More later.

ADDED: Video of Seattle Lutheran High School athletic director Bob Dowding explaining their concerns to the councilmembers:

West Seattle Saturday: Polar Plunge; two anniversaries …

That photo by Lisa came along with her beautiful photo of low-tide beach life shown here last night – just imagine warm sunshine as you join the Polar Plunge at Alki Beach at noon today, to raise money for Special Olympics/Washington. If you’re not already signed up, you can register any time after 9 am, at the Alki Bathhouse. WSB is proud to co-sponsor this event again this year, and we hope to see you there! Also from the WSB West Seattle Events calendar, including a few of interest off-peninsula:

DUWAMISH LONGHOUSE ANNIVERSARY: 10 am-3 pm today, the Duwamish Tribe invites you to celebrate the second anniversary of its West Seattle longhouse (4705 West Marginal Way SW).

MERRILL GARDENS-ADMIRAL HEIGHTS ANNIVERSARY: At 2:30 pm, you’re invited to 2326 California SW for music and refreshments to mark its 10th anniversary.

CITY HALL OPEN HOUSE: 11 am-2 pm, you’re invited to tour the headquarters of city government with the schedule including a performance by West Seattle’s Caspar Babypants at 12:45 pm. 5th and Cherry downtown.

CITY COUNCILMEMBERS’ COFFEE CHAT: As mentioned here last night – this isn’t in West Seattle but local youth-sports advocates are going to the Corner Café on First Hill, 9 am-11 am, to take their concerns about park/playfield fees to City Councilmembers Sally Clark and Sally Bagshaw.

LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION: The Chinatown-International District Business Association has been advertising this event here and elsewhere around the city to be sure to get the word out that everyone’s invited – 11 am-4 pm at Hing Hay Park, 423 Maynard Avenue S. (map). Full details here.