month : 01/2011 351 results

Fire call in 2600 block of 47th SW

January 30, 2011 2:29 am
|    Comments Off on Fire call in 2600 block of 47th SW
 |   West Seattle fires | West Seattle news

In case the sirens woke you up: Scanner traffic indicates this fire call in the 2600 block of 47th SW (map) involves an electrical problem in an appliance, and crews have not so far detected “extension” into the house itself; part of the initial full response has been canceled. A medic crew is treating one person for what was described as a problem “not believed to be related to smoke inhalation.”

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

January 29, 2011 10:08 pm
|    Comments Off on Alki Polar Plunge, report #2: Splash-level video (and more)
 |   How to help | West Seattle beaches | West Seattle news

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.

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.

Read More

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:

Read More

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.)

Read More

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!