West Seattle, Washington
With less than one month left to reach its latest fundraising goal – required for a city matching grant – the playground-improvement project at West Seattle’s most populous elementary school is in a new phase: Lafayette Elementary has made it into the latest monthly Pepsi Refresh grant competition. In order to have a chance at one of this month’s $50,000 grants, they need a lot of votes between now and January 31st, and you can vote daily. There are two ways to vote: Online, by going here (which requires registration), or texting, which doesn’t: Text 105273 to Pepsi (73774).
For background on the project – here’s our story from November about the push to match the $100,000 city grant by the end of this month, or lose it. We checked in this morning with Deborah Hazlegrove, one of the project co-chairs, who says the fundraising total is getting close to the goal, but it’s still coming down to the January 31st wire. The project’s “Play It Forward” website has more information about other ways they’re raising money, including a current anonymous offer to match all cash up to $5,000 donated between now and January 15th.
(Anchor/Luna Park photo by Flickr member Nakean, from the WSB Flickr photo pool)
Part of today’s look ahead is warmer, if cloudier, weather – last night was the last subfreezing night expected for a while. Also, one more road reminder, if you haven’t already been through it, today is the day 1st Avenue South is down to one lane each way by the stadiums until April, because of Alaskan Way Viaduct south-end replacement work, which also brought southbound changes to some Metro routes that previously used 1st Ave. S. in that area, including a few serving West Seattle. Besides that reminder, the schedule’s light today; folk-rocker Abi Grace is onstage at Skylark Café and Club (WSB sponsor) tonight at 9 (heard about their menu changes yet?), and it’s trivia night at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor).
NON-WEST SEATTLE P.S. In case you are interested in seeing this: The Seattle Fire Department has sent word that the traveling Patriot Flag, a 9/11 memorial, will hang between two 100-foot ladder trucks at Seattle Center between 2 and 2:30 this afternoon, south side of the International Fountain. It’s traveling between fire departments across America (previous stop: Olympia), final destination New York City for the 10th anniversary this September.
(Photo of orchard-to-be site at SSCC, courtesy Aviva Furman)
From Community Harvest of Southwest Seattle‘s Aviva Furman, two announcements tonight: First, she confirms the deal is finally official for creating the Community Orchard of West Seattle on the south end of the South Seattle Community College campus, and COWS needs your help at a work party to really launch the effort:
Come be a part of an exciting new urban agriculture project here in West Seattle: The *Community Orchard*! With a generous grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, and the contract with South Seattle Community College finalized, we are ready to begin.
The orchard will be a demonstration site for growing fruit sustainably in our climate. COWS will hold the 1st design session and work-party on Saturday, January 15th. We will be learning from permaculturist, Laura Sweany, about the elements of site analysis. In the afternoon, we will be sheet mulching the garden beds and creating wood chip paths. Come see how quickly a site can be transformed! Future classes in February will focus on plant selection.
10-12:15 Design Workshop (FREE)
1:00-3:30 Sheet Mulch Work Party
Please RSVP [here’s the link]. All are welcome to the afternoon session, but space in the morning session is limited.
Second announcement – imagine being able to trade produce with neighbors/friends/community members so you’re not, oh, say, eating zucchini cookies, zucchini soup, stuffed zucchini, etc., all summer. Aviva says an online system is on the drawing boards and they’d like your input:
*Got kale…want carrots…*
While plants are dormant in these short days of winter, Community Harvest is busy germinating ideas. Have you ever had a bumper crop of zucchini? Lettuce bolting faster than you can eat it? Maybe you are one of those lucky ones with an Italian Plum tree in your yard. We are planning an online system for people to trade or sell their surplus produce with their neighbors, as well as a simple way to donate to food banks. We need your input. If you are a food gardener, or someone who enjoys eating locally grown produce, please take a few minutes and fill out this survey. Help shape Veg-eBay. Create a P-Pod in your neighborhood.
Tonight we have details on the memorial service planned this Saturday for 45-year-old Matt Durham, the West Seattle photojournalist, firefighter, and father of two who died last week after a three-month battle with melanoma. From Woodinville Fire and Rescue, the department where Matt worked for more than a decade:
A Memorial Service has been announced for Woodinville Firefighter Matthew Durham. Durham died on December 30 after a short battle with Melanoma Cancer related to his work as a firefighter. A public memorial service is planned for Saturday, January 8th, at 1:00 p.m. The service will be held at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond. The service will feature a fire service honor guard and Eastside Pipes and Drums. The public is welcome to attend the service and show their support to the Durham family and the Woodinville Fire & Rescue District.
Overlake is at 9900 Willows Road; here’s a map. If you are wondering about a procession, WFR spokesperson David Weed explains there will be a “static processional” at the church: “A static processional is where emergency vehicles are staged in the parking lot and the deceased and family arrive and drive past the vehicles as they arrive.”
(Photos by Ellen Cedergreen)
In our previous coverage of the new West Seattle restaurant Avalon, which officially opened this afternoon at 2940 Avalon Way SW in the Luna Park business district, we’ve talked about the food, and the coffee – but the art is part of the story, too. It’s all by Diann Sales:
She’s the sister of co-proprietor and head Chef Deborah Breuler – at right in this next photo with co-proprietor Mary Palmer (Deborah had answered questions about their plans in one of our earliest reports):
Diann’s work incorporated many repurposed materials found at the site (the photo above shows her in front of a collage done on an old door they turned up). More Avalon photos ahead:
Two companies hired by Seattle City Light are continuing citywide testing for potentially dangerous electrical current, ever since a dog was electrocuted on Queen Anne, and another dog’s behavior helped authorities find an “energized” pole in High Point (as reported December 8th). City Light has been publishing frequent updates on its Power Lines website, and tonight’s update brings word of three spots detected in West Seattle:
# a streetlight pole and utility hole cover near 56th Avenue SW and SW Bradford Street [map] with 103 volts. A crew repaired a connector that was touching the pole and energizing it.
# a water cap near Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Edmunds Street [map] with 97 volts. Power was cut off and crews are determining the cause to begin work on a repair.
# a utility hole cover near Marine View Drive SW and 42nd Avenue SW [map] with 84 volts. Power was cut off and crews are determining the cause to begin work on a repair.
In all, the city says it has found 12 cases of “contact voltage” around the city so far, including these three and the one in High Point, and has tested 18 percent of streetlights and “associated facilities.”
Checking court files early today for West Seattle crime cases carrying over into the new year, we discovered something that so far as we can tell, has not been reported yet, though it happened three weeks ago: One of the two suspects in last May’s Highland Park beating/hate-crime case has pleaded guilty.
Court records show that 23-year-old Ahmed Y. Mohamed pleaded guilty December 13th to both of the charges filed against him and 21-year-old co-defendant Jonathan Baquiring – one count of robbery and one count of malicious harassment. If you don’t recall the backstory – a bloodied, dazed 15-year-old found near 17th/Kenyon (map) the morning of May 25th told police he had been beaten, burned and robbed at the 14th/Holden (map) staircase by two “black and Filipino” men who repeatedly made remarks about his race (white). In his plea documents, Mohamed acknowledges that was the motive, writing:
… I maliciously and intentionally, because of my perception of his race, caused physical injury …
Mohamed also admits to robbing the victim:
… by stealing items from his pockets while threatening to cap him, whipping him with his belt, and burning him with cigarettes. We also displayed a knife with a several-inch blade, held it to his neck, and threatened to cut his throat. We targeted [the victim] because he was a different race than we are.
Police found Mohamed and Baquiring nearby that same morning and questioned but did not arrest them. They did get DNA samples, and almost four months later, after those samples were matched to other evidence in the case, charges were filed on September 20th. Baquiring was arrested the next night, as reported here; Mohamed, not until October 11th; both have been in jail ever since.
The plea agreement document in Mohamed’s case notes that all parties agree there was “different criminal intent” between the two crimes – robbery with use of a deadly weapon (the knife) and malicious harassment (hate crime). Mohamed, who has no felony record, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. But according to the plea-agreement documents, prosecutors plan to recommend 4 years in prison for the robbery count and 1 year for malicious harassment, to be served concurrently (update: plus 24 months for the weapons enhancement – because of the knife – on the robbery count; see comments). His sentencing hearing is set for January 21st. Court records for co-defendant Baquiring indicate that so far, he is proceeding toward trial one month after that, in late February.
1:47 PM: As first reported here this morning, a winter-break water break left West Seattle’s Sanislo Elementary School with a big problem to deal with today – so big, they wound up canceling school for the day. WSB photojournalist Christopher Boffoli has just been to Sanislo for a look at the problem and the cleanup – and principal Ernie Seevers told him about the heroes – the teachers who are spending this day managing an unexpected cleanup:
That’s Marilyn Tsuboi, one of two teachers, along with Saadia Ayoubi, in a big classroom used by 1st and 2nd graders. She told Christopher she’s heartbroken that books she had collected over the years were water-logged. But crews have been working to pack up everything that got wet:
Christopher says student desks are being moved to a large arts space that will serve as a temporary classroom for students while the damaged room is repaired.
One concern is that the damaged room’s wallboard seems to have wicked up some water. That means carpeting will have to be pulled out and everything will have to be dry before new flooring can be put down so students can move back into the room; no word yet how long that will take.
Principal Seevers said the school custodian – usually the first person who arrives to warm up the school before students and staff show up – discovered the damage. The district is hoping to reopen Sanislo tomorrow, but we’re still awaiting official word. 2:07 PM UPDATE: Just got that official word – district spokesperson Tom Redman says the school will reopen tomorrow, normal schedule, but the two classes displaced by water damage will meet temporarily in the aforementioned arts room.
We covered the actual opening last week, but the grand-opening news didn’t arrive till today: The new 35th/Barton 7-11 plans a grand-opening party 11 am-1 pm** this Friday (January 7th) with freebies, says the announcement: “…complimentary sandwiches, grill items, drinks, chips, and dessert, to name just some of the items. 7-Eleven will be giving away prizes for all visitors as well.” (We asked – the free drinks will include Slurpees.)
**Time changed since original publication.
In addition to the pothole-repair crews that have been out in West Seattle this morning (see our update here), SDOT tells us deicing work is under way on three major trouble spots from this morning. First, Highland Park Way – SDOT’s Marybeth Turner says they’re using brine and salt to work on ice that she says resulted from water that flowed down the hill when a nearby business’s sump pump broke. They’re hoping to reopen the lane as soon as possible. De-icing crews also have hit the dangerous patches on West Marginal Way. And they’re tackling the ugly patch on Beach Drive SW that we showed here yesterday – Turner says, “It will take several applications.” P.S. If you encounter a serious road hazard, whether it’s major ice, deep pothole, or something else, the city hotline is 206-684-ROAD.
Three months after she faced the Southwest District Council (October photo at left) to explain a proposed budget cut that would have had a major effect on West Seattle, city Department of Neighborhoods director Stella Chao will be back before SWDC members this Wednesday.
This time, they’ll be waiting to hear why, even though that budget cut was canceled, a significant change has been made anyway (as first reported here last week). The original proposal was to close the Neighborhood Service Center in The Junction that serves the district – in essence, western West Seattle — and to eliminate the position held by its Neighborhood District Coordinator, Stan Lock. The council protested mightily – not just against losing the person who is a city liaison for them and for the neighborhood organizations and institutions they represent, but also against having the center shut down, since potential development does not seem imminent for the site it’s on. The City Council canceled the cut.
But three other district coordinator jobs were cut, meaning there are now 10 coordinators to serve 13 districts around the city, and Chao’s “interim” plan is to organize them into three teams serving regions of districts. Lock is being moved to a team that does not serve West Seattle; the Southwest District will be part of the region served by a team including Delridge District Coordinator Ron Angeles, and that entire team will be based out of the Delridge Neighborhood Service Center. How is that supposed to work? That’s what the council will be asking Chao on Wednesday; their meeting starts at 7 and she’s expected around 7:45, board room at South Seattle Community College (6000 16th SW), all welcome.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 8:19 AM: Thanks to Lori for the tip via Facebook: Sanislo Elementary is running three hours late today because of a pipe problem. Lori said she arrived at the school and saw a note that they’re not opening till 12:20 pm; we called the office and they confirm the three-hour delay.
8:45 AM UPDATE: Sanislo has now closed for the day, according to multiple sources, because of the mechanical problem.
9:36 AM UPDATE: Just talked to Tom Redman with Seattle Public Schools. He says a few rooms at Sanislo have water trouble from the broken pipe; it’s being cleaned up now and they will make the decision this afternoon whether they’re able to reopen tomorrow.
BACK TO SCHOOL: Two weeks of winter break are over, and most if not all local students are back in class today.
ALKI COMMUNITY CENTER CHANGES: Big changes in hours and staffing, as mandated by the final city budget, begin today; we previewed them here when the center’s Advisory Council got official word a month ago, and they’re detailed in a flyer linked from the ACC home page.
VIADUCT-CONSTRUCTION CHANGES FOR DRIVERS AND RIDERS ON 1ST AVENUE SOUTH: Tonight’s the night those changes start taking effect – first with an overnight closure, then longterm lane closures – on 1st Avenue South in the stadium zone; here’s our original story with details. The changes also will affect some Metro routes, southbound direction only; those details are here.
METRO, FERRY FARE CHANGES: Both Metro and Washington State Ferries changed fares over the weekend – Metro changes here, with full details here (thanks to Bob for pointing out the detailed link), and ferry changes here (PDF).
SOUNDWAY VOTE BY FULL COUNCIL: This afternoon at 2 pm, the Seattle City Council (agenda here) is expected to take the final vote approving transfer of part of the West Duwamish Greenbelt from SDOT to Seattle Parks – ending its longstanding designation as right-of-way for potential roads, and paving the way for all-out restoration work by the Nature Consortium.
OPENING DAY FOR AVALON: Just two months after first word of the new restaurant Avalon, it’s officially opening today for happy hour and dinner. (Here’s our coverage of its preview night last Wednesday.)
FREE COFFEE AT JOJO’S: After shuttering her 16th/Holden coffee stand last week amid a mess involving back rent and the foreclosure that closed her landlord’s neighboring store, JoJo’s Fine Espresso owner Jodi Robbins said in a WSB comment that she’d be there this morning (as of about an hour ago) giving out free coffee drinks until her remaining supplies ran out.
ORIGINAL 5:59 AM REPORT: With another clear, cold night following a day in which temperatures weren’t warm enough to melt persistent ice patches on some area roads – like this one – you’ll want to be very careful this morning (and if you park on the street, allow for windshield-scraping time). We already have one West Seattle alert just in from SDOT via Twitter:
A lane of Highland Park Wy SW is closed due to ice. It’s the eastbound, right hand lane coming down the hill toward West Marginal Way SW.
We’ll add any other alerts that come in.
6:43 AM: Another potential traffic alert – rescue crews just arrived at a truck rollover on southbound Highway 509 at Cloverdale, which is right around where you get onto 509 if you’re heading east from White Center/West Seattle. One person was in the truck and got out of the wreckage before crews arrived.
8:29 AM: West Marginal Way is also reported as very icy, particularly between the Duwamish Longhouse and the LaFarge plant – and spinouts by the Puget intersection in that same area. And we’re also hearing of a crash in Gatewood, around California and Orchard. (Photo added above – no serious injuries, but as of 8:54 am, per the scanner, police are suggesting this stretch may need de-icer, “very icy.”)
(UPDATED 11:56 AM – scroll down for photos of pothole crew in the area)
If you’ll be driving Sylvan Way/Orchard between High Point and Delridge today – Gary sent that photo to warn you about the potholes by Home Depot‘s north entrance: “Watch out as this caused damage to my vehicle over the weekend.” That area’s apparently been rut city for awhile; this WSB Forums thread started by mentioning it two weeks ago. As noted here in storm last month, many West Seattle potholes lost their fill in the recordsetting mid-December rainfall; driving many major West Seattle streets this morning, we noticed that Alki/Harbor Avenue shows signs of recent repairs. But more may be on the way, according to this story by Mike Lindblom of the Seattle Times (WSB partner) – he reports the city’s adding pothole-repair crews starting today to deal with a major backlog resulting from more than a thousand December reports!
11:56 AM UPDATE: WSB contributor Deanie Schwarz says the “Pothole Rangers” went this morning to the area shown above – she caught up with them along another spot of Sylvan Way:
She says it looks like they filled most of the holes along a significant stretch from Home Depot westward. Reminder – to report a pothole or other serious road hazard, the city hotline is 206-684-ROAD. You can also make a report online.
By now, you may be thoroughly tired of “2010 in review,” since 2011 is in its third day. We weren’t able to finish it sooner – new news always comes first – but just in case you’re still interested, after the jump, our decidedly nonscientific, maybe even highly disputable picks for WSB’s top stories of 2010:Read More
99+ percent of the hundreds of people who crowded West Seattle’s downtown-facing shore on New Year’s Eve were there to watch the fireworks. And then – there was the Marker Buoy Dive Club. For the first time in a few years, club members arranged an underwater champagne toast in the popular diving spot Cove 2 off Seacrest Park. As a former club president, Paul Riggs, explained, “We have done this in the past, but not the last couple of years as the tides have not been favorable for the event, entering at Seacrest Park at extreme low tide at night with 80+ pounds of gear is tricky.” The club set up a tent outside Alki Crab and Fish at the pier and arranged a video feed into the tent so the celebration could be viewed without going underwater. They also planned to put it all together as a video for YouTube – and the results, above, have just been published. The underwater action starts in the fourth minute; it’s interspersed with the Space Needle fireworks a bit later in the video. If you don’t make it to the credits at the end – Jim McGauhey put together the video; he and Randy Williams were also the underwater photographers. Meantime, Paul tells us the next big event at Cove 2 is on January 15th, as part of the Seattle Aquarium‘s octopus census.
Stopping by the Sustainable West Seattle table at West Seattle Farmers’ Market today, we got the word on the program that will start the group’s new film series: “The End of the Line” (trailer above), exploring the effects of overfishing, with a bonus guest speaker: Chef Hajime Sato, proprietor of Mashiko, the West Seattle restaurant that now serves only sustainably caught seafood. The screening is set for 7 pm March 21st at the Admiral Theater. SWS’s Chas Redmond says they’re hoping to offer film screenings quarterly. Before then, you can catch up with SWS at its January and February community forums – at 7 pm January 18th, it’s an update on the West Seattle Wildlife Habitat Project, a local tourism initiative, and volunteer opportunities; at 7 pm February 22nd, the focus is on an ever-hot topic, “West Seattle’s Transportation Future.” (Those two community forums will be at the Senior Center of West Seattle, California/Oregon.)
From West Seattle Association of Pee Wee Baseball president Eric Olson:
Registration for Spring Baseball through the West Seattle Association of Pee Wee Baseball opened January 2nd and will continue through February 17th.
You can register today or find more information at www.westseattlepeewee.com. This season marks our 54th year servicing the greater West Seattle region, providing baseball for children between the ages of 5 and 10 through our Shetland (t-ball), Pinto and Mustang Divisions. WSAPWB is a member of PONY Baseball and operates under their rules and guidelines. All WSAPWB games are played at our four diamond field adjacent to Riverview Playfield in the Highland Park area.
Last season we had over 350 kids playing in our 3 divisions. As part of the PONY organization, our goal is to teach fundamentals of baseball, instill the values of good sportsmanship and fair play, and build a sense of community amongst all those that participate in the League. Our practices start the first week of March and the season ends in mid-June.
Six months after Diane Venti and artist husband Tom Wyrick took over the space vacated by All the Best Pet Care, between Alki Urban Market and Cactus, their business Alki Arts is celebrating its first half-year right now: 10 percent off everything, till 7 tonight. Refreshments, mingling, and art admiration free:
As reported here when they opened in July, the gallery rents space to artists, as well as selling some pieces on commission. They also rent the gallery as an event space (not just arts events – a snippet of a Journalism That Matters gathering there this fall wound up on YouTube, with Diane explaining how WSB coverage and social media helped her get the word out when her business started [we weren’t at the meeting; the clip was posted by a JTM member]). Right now, they continue to sublet the space from All the Best, whose owner Susan Moss is praised by Diane for her support, including affordable rent.
If you have looked at – and/or participated in – the WSB photo pool on Flickr, you have likely admired the work of Machel Spence, whose favored subject is mushrooms, and other fungi. She e-mailed us today to share the news that her photos are now on display at Coffee to a Tea with Sugar in The Junction, today through the end of the month, and she’ll be there on January 13 to meet anyone interested in talking about them. She also says her photos are under consideration for a book, too! By the way, January 13 happens to be the first West Seattle Art Walk of the year – 6-9 pm; we’ll have the full list of venues (which changes quarter-by-quarter, and this WSAW starts a new quarter) as soon as it’s available.
People who live in the 6000-6200 block of Beach Drive (map), by the slope that’s seen two slides in the past year, put out the alert on this; we went by for a photo, and it truly is the worst icy patch we’ve seen so far – it stretches a ways, and there’s a bend to its south, so you might come hurtling along without knowing you’re about to hit a long icy patch covering the entire road. This spot is shady all day long, too, because of the slope on one side and trees on the other, so until the air warms in a big way, it may not melt much. Wherever you go, beware ice – especially on the roadsides – almost anywhere in the shade. Rain and temperatures in the 40s may return Tuesday, per the newest forecast. P.S. (added 2:45 pm) Weather-related reminder: There’s a Stage 1 burn ban right now, which means no fires in your fireplace or wood stove unless you have no other way to keep warm, and also means no outdoor fires (beach, or otherwise).
ADDED 10:34 PM: We don’t know yet if it’s been blamed on the ice, but there’s been a crash within the past half-hour on that exact stretch of Beach Drive – reported as 5900 block, with scanner traffic discussing the significant ice on the road. No serious injuries reported.
(Male Anna’s hummingbird; photo by Danny McMillin via the WSB Flickr group pool)
Happy second day of 2011! A few notes for today – Washington State Ferries‘ winter schedule starts today, which means, among other changes, fewer weekend runs for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth; the new schedule is available in various formats here – note that fares just went up too … West Seattle Farmers’ Market is open as always, 10 am-2 pm … At the beach, Alki Arts (2820 Alki SW) celebrates its half-year “anniversary” with a storewide 10%-off sale, noon-7 pm. … Two WSB sponsors have live music today/tonight: At C & P Coffee (5612 California SW), it’s Bremerton songwriter Umber Mishra, 3-5 pm, and at Skylark Café and Club (3803 Delridge Way), it’s all-ages night, with Petros, Canby, and Elliott G. Knapp, starting at 7 … P.S. (added 9 am) A Tweet reminds us that the West Seattle Tool Library is open today too, 1-5 pm (see its inventory here).