West Seattle, Washington
One month ago, we broke the news of a new development plan for the northeast corner of 35th/Graham (map), site of a recent cleanup/excavation project. Seattle Housing Authority confirmed they were pursuing a townhome/live-work development rather than the large mixed-use building, with apartments and ground-level retail, proposed back in 2008. At the time, SHA told us they would have more information this month – and that additional information has just beenmade public. It’s in a news release on the SHA website, which overall addresses two different High Point developers. The portion explaining 35th/Graham identifies the prospective buyer:
… Intracorp is in the final stages of negotiating an agreement with Seattle Housing to purchase the vacant lot at 35th Ave. and (SW) Graham St. Over the next three years, Intracorp expects to build up to 90 townhomes along with some neighborhood retail.
Thanks to everybody who called/texted/e-mailed to ask about a police response earlier this afternoon in the Lafayette Elementary/West Seattle High School area. It’s taken a while to assemble the information from multiple sources, but now the Southwest Precinct has filled in the blanks. From Lt. Ron Smith: The original call went out as “man with a gun” in the WSHS vicinity just after 12:30 pm. The accompanying description matched someone officers saw walking with others on SW Lander (near Lafayette). They saw one person putting something behind a recycling bin; police stopped the group and found what appeared to be a black handgun behind the bin. Lt. Smith says, “The handgun was a pellet gun painted black to appear like a handgun. When questioned, the suspect observed placing the weapon admitted to hiding the weapon.” The investigation didn’t stop there – police discovered that suspect and “another male” were believed to have robbed someone at a nearby bus stop, asking for a cell phone and a wallet, and taking a pack of cigarettes from a victim’s pockets. Lt. Smith says they found evidence of more victims – and now they are investigating to see if this has anything to do with car prowls and a stolen vehicle that was foundin the same general area. For now, two male juveniles are in custody, for investigation of robbery.
P.S. Here’s the SPD Blotter version of all this, published a few hours after our story.
In the middle of a day full of very-serious stories, and before the impending sunset (looks promising!) renders these photos REALLY old news, we wanted to share two pictures of the amazing sunrise. Thanks to Cormac M (top photo) and Susan R (next photo) for sharing!
More news to come …
(WSB photo of the view yesterday from behind the “ecology blocks” at the bottom of the sliding Beach Drive slope)
A few followup notes since our report yesterday on the City Council Transportation Committee‘s briefing about the repeat slides in the 6000-6200 block of Beach Drive SW: We have obtained from the City Attorney’s Office a copy of the lawsuit that was filed in 2009, after, they allege, the upslope property owner was failing to comply with city code. We couldn’t find it online, but they responded to our request by sending a scanned copy; see it here. Meantime, we have learned that the meeting with neighbors and city officials tonight, mentioned during yesterday’s hearing, is closed to the media, but at least one participant is promising a summary. The other “next step” mentioned at the council committee hearing, a closed “executive session” to discuss where the legal fight stands, is tentatively scheduled for February 22nd.
(added 12:56 pm, :30 from this morning’s hearing; this courtroom has glass between defendants and spectators/media)
We are at the King County Jail, where 46-year-old Duane Starkenburg has just pleaded not guilty to an assault charge stemming from the Lincoln Park jogger attack first reported here yesterday afternoon. Because of his criminal history, as noted in our story from last night, the judge agreed with the city’s request to set his bail at $25,000. His lawyer says Starkenburg just accidentally tripped the victim and tried to apologize, “but she sprinted off.” Also defending him, in a brief interview outside the courtroom with us and multiple TV news crews, his mother Lois Starkenburg, who said her Army-veteran son, currently unemployed, wouldn’t do something like that. His next hearing is set for early February; if he does post bond, he is under orders to stay away from the victim – “I don’t know her,” he assured the judge – and out of Lincoln Park. As for other charges, that will be up to city and county lawyers to review; right now, he is charged only in connection with what happened yesterday, though a similar recent incident was mentioned briefly when the city was arguing for the $25,000 bail.
Side note that we discovered while researching this story; the family is connected to a tragic crime that made regional news 20 years ago. Duane Starkenburg’s parents, longtime West Seattleites, are also the parents of Kimberly Starkenburg, shot dead in 1990 in a multiple-shooting case for which an already-convicted killer named Charles Corliss was found guilty. That case was NOT discussed in the courtroom – it came up while we were researching Duane Starkenburg’s background last night.
Back to this case: The judge allowed video in the courtroom and we will add ours as soon as we are back at headquarters.
We have two accounts of this incident early today in which a watchful neighbor is being lauded for alerting police to a crime in progress – first, from Southwest Precinct Lt. Ron Rasmussen:
At about 5:30 this morning a neighbor noticed a white box van parked in the driveway of a vacant house in the 5400 block of 18 SW and also saw what they thought were flashlights flickering inside the house. The neighbor call the police and our officers responded and contacted two subjects, a husband and wife from South Seattle. Officers were able to determine that the suspects didn’t live in the house and were attempting to take the woodstove from the home. The officers also noticed a large number of what appeared to be new items in the van that had Home Depot stickers on them. When the suspect’s story about the items didn’t add up, the officers were able to contact the manager of the West Seattle Home Depot. He identified the two individuals as persons who had tried to take the same items from his store yesterday. He was able to verify that the items were now missing from the store and had not been purchased. Both subjects were arrested for the burglary of the house and the theft from Home Depot.
We’d like to recognize the neighbor who noticed something out of place and called the police and encourage folks to do the same if they notice things that are out of place in their neighborhoods.
ADDED 12:07 PM: Here’s a neighbor’s account, received a bit earlier – the neighbor asked to be anonymous:
A crime report hot on the heels of your good reporting of Benjamin Kinlow and his send-off last night: (reporting this in case anyone e-mails you to ask you why there were 5 police cars at a house in the Puget Ridge neighborhood this morning:)
This morning, around 5:30 or so, 911 was called when a van backed up the driveway to the garage of a house that has been vacant for the last month. the 911 call was made when people were observed walking through the house with flashlights. after a quick description to the 911 dispatcher of what was happening, 3 police officers arrived within minutes. after a little while, 2 more police officers arrived to assist, and according to one officer, items stolen elsewhere were identified in the van. …
Obviously this is proof that reporting suspicious activity is effective and the police are responsive- thank you to SPD.
And thank you to everyone who shares crime reports – whether an arrest happened or didn’t – with WSB and therefore with tens of thousands of your peninsula neighbors. Here’s how to contact us, 24/7. (But when it’s crime, always call the police first!)
(Kate Witt in “Emilie,” opening tonight at ArtsWest, photo by Michael Brunk)
Must just be the day for new names. Highland Park Action Committee is expected to talk about theirs — and vote on new leadership – when they meet at 7 tonight, in the Highland Park Improvement Club building (12th/Holden) … Listen and, if you feel like it, read, too, during the monthly PoetryBridge gathering at C&P Coffee Co. (WSB sponsor), 5612 California Ave SW, 7-9 pm, more at www.poetrybridge.net … Got Seattle Public Schools questions/issues? West Seattle’s School Board rep Steve Sundquist has a community chat 11 am-12:15 pm at Delridge Library … It’s “Social Security 101,” free, at The Kenney, 6 pm, just RSVP to 206-937-2800 … At ArtsWest in The Junction, it’s opening night for “Emilie,” running through February 20th (tickets available online), and meet playwright Lauren Gunderson after tonight’s show … And various road closures just outside West Seattle continue tonight; see the SODO and West Seattle sections here … Much more on the WSB West Seattle Events calendar!
(Photo courtesy Donna Ryan)
When West Seattle Junction-based photographer Donna Ryan decided her 4218 SW Alaska kids’ store/natural-light-portrait studio space needed a name, she launched a contest. More than 400 entries came in, according to Donna, who has just chosen the new name and is announcing it today. However, it wasn’t from among those 400, though she says they inspired her “to think about my own childhood and favorite stories … and I just could not let go of my favorite story ‘The City Mouse and the Country Mouse’. Of course, growing up in the city and without a car, I literally had the world at my feet and definitely identified with that city mouse. I have a fresh, urban take on fashion and portraiture and I take great joy in watching all the little toddlers scuttling around the Junction, but more importantly, I really love the meaning on another level – the resourcefulness of the city mouse …” And so, her business becomes … City Mouse Studio and Store! Since nobody won, Donna says she’s donating the prize to WestSide Baby on behalf of everyone who entered. P.S. Besides the new name, she says City Mouse has new merchandise too – edible finger paints from Wee Can Too just came in, and Baby Soy (half-soy/half-cotton) clothing arrives next week.
As Seattle Public Schools gets ready to revise its transportation plan for next school year, it’s launching a new round of meetings, and there will be one in West Seattle. It’s set for 6:30-8 pm Wednesday, February 8, at Denny International Middle School (8402 30th SW). You can see what’s being proposed by following the links from this page on the district website.
12:11 PM UPDATE: The district just sent word they have to move the location of this meeting – it will be at Chief Sealth International High School instead.
Since the now-pre-leasing Link in The Triangle is among our newest sponsors, we’ve received/reported plenty about its attributes. But this glowing attention-getter is something we just happened onto without warning – spotted it peripherally while driving Fauntleroy Way the other night, then before we could even investigate, we got a tip from Kevin, and photos from Christopher Boffoli (who found the lighting reminiscent of the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History).
Link is along 38th between Fauntleroy and Alaska, in the final construction phase and expecting move-ins to start in March.
In case you missed Tuesday night’s special safety presentation at Denny International Middle School, our video has the main event in its unedited entirety – 35 minutes on cybersafety, presented by a local expert: Stefanie Thomas from the Seattle Police Department, where she is a victim advocate with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Think you know everything about the online do’s, don’ts, and dangers? You might want to watch, just to be sure. (As noted here in our preview, the event was presented by the Denny PTSA.)
The Southwest Precinct‘s retiring Crime Prevention Coordinator Benjamin Kinlow got quite a sendoff from the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains’ Network, as about 40 people came to its first meeting in three months to hear his parting words. The group itself was a prescient creation of local volunteers – since now that the city will have fewer crime-prevention coordinators, volunteer efforts matter more than ever.
Deb Greer, one of the group’s trio of leaders (with Karen Berge and Deanie Schwarz), put together a retrospective of Block Watch’s beginnings in Seattle, to tee off Kinlow’s memories, and tributes from a few of the attendees around the table.
But before we get to that – the crime tip of the month from the uniformed SPD rep on hand, Community Police Team Officer Jon Kiehn:Read More
ORIGINAL 5:43 PM REPORT: A suspect arrested this afternoon after an attack in Lincoln Park may be responsible for other attacks, according to Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen. He says the female jogger assaulted this afternoon was not physically hurt. After police set up containment, they caught a suspect, and Capt. Paulsen says detectives will be following up for possible ties to other incidents – including previous cases at Lincoln Park. The arrest happened around 4 pm, according to a WSB’er who says his son saw police “tackling someone” at the park around that time. (Checking our archives, an incident last August is the most recent one we’d heard about.)
6:55 PM UPDATE: There’s now a short summary on SPDBlotter, with a few more details:
On January 25th at approximately 3:50 p.m. a 27-year-old female was jogging on the waterfront trail in Lincoln Park (8000 block of Fauntleroy Way SW) when an unknown male suspect ran up behind her and attempted to tackle her by throwing his arms around her legs. The victim was able to break free and get away. The suspect fled eastbound through the park toward Fauntleroy. The suspect was apprehended by responding officers as he attempted to cross Fauntleroy. The victim positively identified the 46-year-old male suspect, who was subsequently booked into the King County Jail for misdemeanor assault.
Sexual Assault Unit detectives are handling the follow up investigation. It it unknown at this time if this suspect is responsible for any other attacks.
According to the jail register, the suspect was booked just before 6 pm; public records list him at a Gatewood address, less than a mile from Lincoln Park. We’re checking on his record.
7:08 PM UPDATE: The suspect, who we will not name until charged, has a 2005 assault charge on his record. The charge says he attacked a woman in Highland Park in what appears to have been a road-rage incident that started on Highway 509; he followed her to her home, where he pulled over, reached inside her car and hit her in the face before grabbing the cell phone she was using to call 911, and ran off. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to 3 months in jail (with work release), according to the documents in that case, which also show he had prior convictions for assault, property destruction, and reckless driving in the mid- to late ’90s. He is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow morning.
9:32 PM UPDATE: A WSB commenter says she’s the victim from this afternoon’s incident, and writes:
West Seattle- I am the jogger who was attacked this afternoon. I was running on a trail along the upper part of the cliff. I was also surprised by the attack in broad daylight, and I had passed many people out walking their dogs. This is the only time I have ever ran with my cell phone, I recommend everyone to do this, it’s the only reason they were able to catch him. I called within seconds of it happening.
Westside School (WSB sponsor) is sharing news this afternoon about two teachers visiting from the Republic of Korea. This is the second year they’ve had a visit like this (first year at their new West Seattle campus in the former EC Hughes School). Westside’s announcement explains:
The teachers have been selected for their excellence in teaching and are currently working with the A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University. They are very interested in how Westside School uses strategies such as Project Based Learning, Investigations, and Integrated Lessons to teach the children. The Korean teachers will be observing all classes and they will have the opportunity to present lessons on Korean culture to the students.
“This is an exceptional opportunity for our community to learn about life in Korea as well as for our guests to experience the ‘Westside Way,’ remarked David Bergler, Westside School’s Director of Admission. He continued, “It is our hope that this experience will cultivate long-lasting cross cultural understanding and the building of a relationship between our school and those of our guests. We believe that through this experience our students will learn about another culture and spark interest in becoming globally-minded citizens and future world travelers.”
The teachers are halfway through a two-week visit.
If you haven’t already seen this (it’s linked from the WSB More News page) – our partners at the Seattle Times have an inspiring story today about Chief Sealth International High School‘s Tre’Von Lane, who is both varsity basketball player and freshman basketball coach. You can read Mason Kelley‘s story here.
(January 2010 WSB reader photo)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
After two slides in less than a year – most recently, last month – with a road surface crumbling, a fire hydrant buried, and nearby residents afraid for their safety, why isn’t the Beach Drive SW (map) slide situation resolved yet?
That’s the question the City Council Transportation Committee put this morning to the directors of the two city agencies that are involved – the Department of Transportation and the Department of Planning and Development. Its chair Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who lives in the Beach Drive/Alki area, expressed frustration, as did a slide-neighboring (across Beach Drive) resident, Mike Winter, speaking in the public-comment time period before the meeting:
He noted that two upslope homes have been recently “yellow-tagged,” which DPD director Diane Sugimura later explained means flagged for safety concerns – in this case, residents were warned not to use their decks, because the footings aren’t stable. Winter also told the committee about the mud-swamped fire hydrant, which SDOT director Peter Hahn said that Seattle Public Utilities is “taking care of.”
From WSB’s Katie Meyer at the King County Courthouse: Superior Court Judge Joan DuBuque has just agreed to push back the trial of the remaining defendants in the Steve Bushaw murder case to June 1st. The delay was requested given what defense lawyers characterized as dramatic changes in the case once the two people who actually shot Bushaw in The Junction in February 2009, Danny O’Neal and John Sylve, struck plea bargains (as reported here earlier this month) – plus, senior deputy prosecutor James Konat also is leading the case against South Park murder/rape defendant Isaiah Kalebu, which has caused some conflicts. More details from this morning’s court session will be added here later.
We’ve received multiple inquiries this morning about suspected shots heard early today somewhere in the Alki/Charlestown Hill area. One was from Ed, who e-mailed, “We heard about 9 distinct gunshots Monday night at about 1:30 am from the 59th & Charlestown area. Not close but easy to hear.” Before anyone else e-mails to ask, we wanted to let you know we do have an inquiry out with police – but we can also tell you nobody WAS shot; the records of that are always clear, via the 911 log, and things on that front were very quiet overnight in West Seattle. So we’re asking police if they found any evidence of shots (casings, property damage, etc.), or fireworks, which “shots?” reports sometimes turn out to be; there’s nothing so far on the maps that highlight some incidents once reports are filed. Will add whatever we hear back.
(Photo by David Hutchinson, taken along Harbor Avenue)
From the WSB West Seattle Events calendar: Road-closure reminders – westbound Spokane Street Viaduct, East Marginal/S. Spokane, and a stretch of 1st Avenue South near the stadiums are all closed tonight (the first two 10 pm-5 am, the 1st stretch, a little earlier) … Learn how to keep your family safer during a special presentation, open to all, tonight at Denny International Middle School, 6 pm (details here) … West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network hears Block Watch history (and more) from retiring Crime Prevention Coordinator Benjamin Kinlow, 6:30 tonight at Southwest Precinct, all welcome even if you’re not a BW captain (Delridge/Webster) … Movie afternoon at Merrill Gardens-West Seattle (4611 35th SW; WSB sponsor), with “Singin’ in the Rain” at 1 pm (free, call 206-932-5480 to reserve your seat) … Practice night for West Seattle Community Orchestras, which welcome new members – details here … Nancy Whitlock of the Nature Consortium is the guest speaker at Rotary Club of West Seattle‘s weekly lunch meeting, noon at Salty’s, details here … “Writers and Tellers” are invited to Dubsea Coffee in Greenbridge (9910 8th SW) tonight, youth @ 5 and adults @ 6, to share your written work, all genres; then at 8 pm, it’s a 21+ writers’ open mike at Triangle Pub (9454 Delridge Way SW), both events ending with a “Big Fat Liars’ Club” storytelling competition … Or if you just want to listen, it’s Family Story Time at the Delridge Library branch with Amy, 7 pm.
(2009 WSGS photo shared by Jersey Jill
Whether you’re a champ or a contender – a player or a prospective board member – West Seattle Girls Softball has someplace for you. 2011 signups are under way:
Spring is just around the corner; that means West Seattle Girls Softball registration has begun. (Through) February 28th, you can sign your daughter up for this year’s season. More details can be found at www.westseattlegirlssoftball.com. The cost of registration includes a uniform for your daughter to keep and a trophy at the end of the season.
We are currently looking for new volunteers to be on the Board. Please contact our President, Shawn Herrera, for more information. We would love to have you as a volunteer. If you can make it to our next board meeting, please join us. It is February 9th, 7 pm, at the West Seattle Eagles Club on California Ave SW, next to the Post Office. Please enter through the back door.
For scholarship details please contact Shawn Herrera.
See you on the field!
Shawn’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg is only the third owner of his classic car, and he’s had it for more than 30 years. He decided to photograph it in front of the old and new Fire Station 37 buildings in West Seattle, and we thought the results made for nice night-ending scenery.
One of many West Seattle cases we’re tracking through the courts is that of Thomas Qualls, the 59-year-old Alki man shot September 3rd in what police say was an exchange of fire with officers at his home. He has been in jail, with bail set at $1 million, since getting out of the hospital less than a week after the incident. While downtown today, we were in King County Superior Court for Qualls’ latest appearance, even shorter than the last; it was slated to be a hearing on whether to set a trial date (or some other option, like a plea bargain) but his lawyer won a requested four-week delay, saying they are still in the middle of obtaining and studying some complex evidence. So he’s due back in court February 22nd. He’s charged with three counts of 2nd-degree assault, with firearms enhancement.
A quick note came in this afternoon from someone sad to see a lot of folks cleaning up broken glass along 32nd SW. A different note a bit earlier, from David, told the tale:
Sometime Saturday night – Sunday morning, someone blew out at least four car windows with a pellet gun on 32nd Ave SW between Thistle and Barton St. [map] Vehicles weren’t rifled through, so it appears to be target practice from some malevolent passerby. I seem to remember a WSB article on similar crime in 2010 and hope spreading the word might heighten westsiders’ awareness of their street scene to ward off similar activity.