day : 19/04/2011 11 results

West Seattle Crime Watch: ‘Huge spike’ in burglaries

2nd story from the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting (and we have a 3rd story to come, focusing on the 35th SW safety discussion): After something of a lull in residential burglaries, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen announced, there’s been a “huge spike” these past two weeks. How huge? The recent average has been 5 a week, he said, but suddenly “we are pushing almost 20.” Police suspect one or two people are responsible for most of the spike, he said, and they’re asking for community help in catching the culprits.

Capt. Paulsen says two “hot spots” have been the focus of most of the increase – the “William 1” sector, Genesee/Admiral, and the “Frank 3” sector (plus a bit westward), in the 35th/Thistle/Trenton/Barton area. Most of the burglaries are happening between 10 or 11 in the morning and 4 or 5 in the afternoon, he said, and the most common break-in method is kicking in the back door. They suspect “people we have arrested before” are to blame, though when we caught up with Capt. Paulsen toward meeting’s end, he stressed they do not have anyone specific identified yet, nor is there any specific description available to share with you – they just ask that you be extra-vigilant, particularly in those areas and during that time of day, and if you see/hear ANYTHING suspicious, call 911. “We’re putting as many resources as possible” toward stopping the burglary spike, added operations Lt. Pierre Davis. (Other crime trends, according to Capt. Paulsen, are more encouraging – car prowls and thefts are “trending downward,” and non-residential burglaries have ‘flat-lined.”)

West Seattle sports: Kids Bowl Free visits West Seattle Bowl

West Seattle was one of the stops today for a nationwide bus tour promoting a new program called Kids Bowl Free – which really is exactly what it seems. WS Bowl is among the bowling centers participating in the program offering kids two free bowling games every day this summer. Also along for the ride, pro bowler Mitch Beasley, who hails from Puyallup and is clearly excited about finding a way to get more kids involved with bowling:

West Seattle Bowl management tells us there’s plenty of room for hundreds more kids to sign up for the Kids Bowl Free program, beyond the 500 or so they have signed up already – just go to (According to the registration page, the age limit is 15, and bowlers will still pay “standard rental rates” if you have to borrow bowling shoes.)

West Seattle pedestrian safety: New proposal for California/Dakota

At the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, where SDOT community traffic liaison Jim Curtin is front and center: While most of the discussion so far has centered on 35th, Curtin revealed a new proposal for a California SW intersection that’s been of concern – California/Dakota. You might recall the most recent wave of concern there, sparked when a hit-and-run driver killed a dog (and narrowly missed its owner – WSB coverage here and here, and specifically regarding traffic-safety followup, here). Curtin says that the city is applying for a state grant to install a “rapid-fire beacon” (here’s what those look like) that would be pedestrian-activated. If they get the grant, the installation could happen this fall, he says.

ADDED: We asked Curtin a few follow-up questions after the meeting. He says the city will apply for the grant in May, and is fairly confident it’ll be approved; the cost of the special lights will be about $50,000 $15,000. The case of Lucy the dog is not the only reason California/Dakota is being singled out for this, he says; it’s also a busy crossing area because of the schools on the north side of The Junction – such as Tilden, Holy Rosary, Hope, Seattle Lutheran.

In case you wondered: Loud West Seattle flyover = V-22 Osprey

(Photo by Danny McMillin)
When someone texted us a half-hour or so ago saying an Osprey was headed this way, we thought maybe they meant the feathered type. Nope. It was the tilt-rotor military-aircraft V-22 Osprey type. We have already mentioned this on Twitter and on Facebook, but some FB commenters say it was window-rattling quality in parts of West Seattle (not down here in Upper Fauntleroy, though), so in case you were wondering too, we’re also making note of it here. (Boeing is apparently awaiting some news about an upcoming contract for more.)

11:26 PM: Finally a photo! Major thanks to Danny McMillin for sharing what he and his camera captured from Alki.

Traffic alert: ‘Emergency’ overnight closure for 1st Avenue S.

From SDOT:

The contractor working for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will completely close First Avenue South between Horton and S Spokane streets tonight to make emergency repairs to temporary shoring for the new Spokane Street Viaduct First Avenue S on-/off-ramp. The shoring was knocked out of alignment this morning after being struck by a truck. The closure begins at 11 p.m. with the expectation that lanes will re-open for use by 5 a.m. Wednesday, April 20. Detours will be provided for both southbound and northbound traffic.

Though that’s some distance south of the stadiums, it’s still worth noting there’s a Mariners night game at Safeco Field (which will be over by then unless it runs extra-long) .

6:04 PM UPDATE: Also note that, apparently unrelated to this, there currently is a traffic problem right at 1st/Spokane, northbound, affecting people coming off the eastbound West Seattle Bridge, related to a crash: SDOT says, “Traffic inbound from West Seattle must either continue on S Spokane St eastbound to I-5 or take a right turn and head south on 1st Ave S. Traffic northbound on 1st Ave S is being diverted to E Marginal Way S.” We’ll update here when we get word this has cleared.

You asked for it, you got it: Seattle Police out today on ‘I-35’

Somehow, we had expected to see this happen in advance of tonight’s traffic-safety discussion at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, since SDOT’s Jim Curtin (who will address WSCPC) had told us “more enforcement” was a possibility after last week’s deadly crash: The Seattle Police Aggressive Drivers Response Team was out on 35th SW earlier this afternoon. (Thanks to the WSB’er who texted us after spotting them!) We photographed one of the Chargers at 35th/Henderson – after first spotting them just north of 35th/Webster (and as we got the camera out, off they went, lights flashing):

This comes six days after the deadly motorcycle-car collision at 35th/Juneau, where this afternoon, as police patrolled, we found a roadside tribute to the motorcyclist, Andrew Seffernick (whose 25th birthday would have been today):

Though there have been other 35th SW deaths in the years between, that stirred memories of the tribute a few blocks away at 35th/Graham after the death of bicyclist Susanne Scaringi (also in her mid-20s when a collision killed her in 2006 – also a 2-wheeled vehicle hitting a turning 4-wheeled vehicle broadside). Meantime, we spotted two TV crews out in the area this afternoon, so you may see regional-media stories tonight about 35th SW; the Crime Prevention Council meeting is at 7 pm, Southwest Precinct.

7:48 PM UPDATE: We’re at the WSCPC meeting. SW Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen says 21 tickets were written today, average speed 50 mph (in a 35 zone), highest one, he believes, was for 60 mph.

No, the Argosy boat off Alki was *not* ‘stuck at low tide’

(March photo by Kevin McClintic)
A note we received this afternoon said it looked like an Argosy Cruises boat was stuck during today’s very-low tide off Alki. Turns out, it wasn’t stuck, though Argosy gets that question about this boat all the time, and we had in fact asked them about it recently, intending to eventually write a story, so here it is: The one that’s seen off Alki frequently – anchored for hours at midday/early afternoon – is the Goodtime II, and Argosy’s Maureen Black explained that it’s used by Pacific Marine Research: “PMR is an educational organization that arranges marine science field trips in Puget Sound for local schoolchildren to help them understand Puget Sound and the watershed. Since 1972, Argosy Cruises has been providing boats and crew for the approximately 80 field trips held yearly from March to September. ” This promotional video shows what it is they’re up to during their field trips:

You can find out more at Pacific Marine Research’s website.

West Seattle Chamber’s question for you: What’s our #1 transportation problem?

(Photo by Long Bach Nguyen; click the image to see a larger version on his website)
From the distance at which that West Seattle overview was photographed, it’s easy to forget what it’s like down in the trenches, on the roads and the sidewalks, in the cars and the buses and the trucks and the ferries, on the bikes and the motorcycles. We talk about individual challenges and concerns here all the time. But take a moment if you will for the big picture. Right now, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce is doing that – in hopes of angling for a share of another city pie related to transportation needs.

Chamber CEO Patti Mullen has convened a group to brainstorm a potential “wish list” for the Citizen Transportation Advisory Council, CTAC III for short, as it drafts recommendations on spending about $7 million around the city (partly related to the new $20 license tax, as explained here). No one on that council represents West Seattle, so the Chamber is trying to make sure our peninsula has a loud, unified voice, by presenting some strong requests/recommendations. We sat in on the Chamber-convened group’s first conversation last week and agreed to run a list of questions by you – for your seat at the table, so to speak, if you’d like to post a comment with your answers to these questions:

*Identify ONE transportation improvement or project you believe is essential? (for example improved bus service to Delridge, more bike lanes or paved streets)

*What ONE street needs the most improvement? What specific improvements (new sidewalks, paving, crosswalks, signals) need to be made?

*If you had $500,000 to improve some part of the transportation system in West Seattle what would you invest it in?

The Chamber needs to compile comments by April 28th; that’s the date CTAC will convene a meeting about “neighborhood interests” (see the link above), and the Chamber plans a followup shortly thereafter. P.S. In case you’re wondering who’s in the Chamber-convened group – facilitated by consultant Josh Stepherson – those on hand for the first of two conversations last Friday were: John Huey, Viking Bank; Patrick Jablonski, Nucor; Brandon Nicholson, Nicholson Kovalchick Architects and West Seattle Junction Association; Denny Onslow, Harbor Properties; Gary Oertli, South Seattle Community College; and Chas Redmond, Feet First (and Morgan Community Association, Sustainable West Seattle, Southwest District Council, among other groups).

West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 burglaries, 1 ‘unplugged’

The two latest West Seattle Crime Watch reports are burglaries – one came in by phone because the victim’s computer was part of the loot, so she had no other way to report it here – read on for details on that, and another break-in with a puzzling “clue” – an unplugged appliance:Read More

West Seattle Tuesday: Toddlers, traffic, trivia, tide, Teepa…

(Monday rainbow photo, shared by Greg Daly)
Seen the WSB Easter page yet – egg hunts, church services, brunch notes? Find it here. The first of the egg hunts happens this morning:

TODDLER SPRING EXTRAVAGANZA: At High Point Community Center, Ages 2 – 5. A morning of fun and activities, including a very special bunny visit especially for toddlers. There will be games, crafts for the children, and an egg hunt (11 am sharp) with age-appropriate prizes and candy. Activity fee $5.

2ND-LOWEST TIDE OF THE MONTH: 12:31 pm today … not sunny but not so bad for tidewalking if you can get out! -2.4 tide; even lower tomorrow (here’s the chart).

TRAFFIC SAFETY @ WSCPC: As previewed here yesterday, the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets tonight at Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster), 7 pm, with traffic safety on the agenda – guest, Jim Curtin, the community traffic liaison for SDOT.

TEEPA SNOW AT THE MOUNT: 7-9 pm in the Chapel at Providence Mount St. Vincent (4831 35th SW), you are invited to come hear Teepa Snow, a nationally recognized expert on ways to understand and better help people living with dementia. She will lead a discussion on non-traditional stress management for the person with dementia and their caregiver – with a focus on humor and positive interactions. Free, public welcome.

KIDS BOWL FREE: If you pass West Seattle Bowl this afternoon, you might see the promotional bus for this nationwide campaign. They’re scheduled to visit around 1 pm, while making a tour of Seattle-area bowling centers (Roxbury Lanes and White Center’s Magic Lanes are on the agenda afterward). (But you don’t have to stop in to get the “bowl free” deal – WS Bowl tells is they already are signing up kids for free games all summer long, and you can register online at

WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY ORCHESTRAS Always open to new members, and Tuesday night is practice night – details here and at the WS Community Orchestras website.

COMMUNITY ACUPUNCTURE IN HIGHLAND PARK: 3rd week for the Highland Park Improvement Club-hosted Community Acupuncture Clinic, 11 am-3 pm (here’s our story from last week).

ROCK TRIVIA AT THE FEEDBACK: Rock music trivia every Tuesday night at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor), 8 pm

FAMILY STORY TIME: At the Seattle Public Library’s Delridge Branch (Delridge/Brandon) — with Amy! 7 pm.

Preparedness Month: What to do before/during/after quakes

Disaster Preparedness Month is almost two-thirds over – are you any more prepared now than you were when it started? If your answer is “no,” click “play” and at least listen to our video in the background for a while today. It’s our recording of last night’s special edition of SNAP – Seattle Neighborhoods Be Prepared – training, presented by the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network and West Seattle Be Prepared.

Trainer Debbie Goetz doesn’t just go through the rock-bottom basics; she has surprises along the way – did you know, for example, that your hot-water heater is eventually an OK source of drinking water, post-disaster? Another good reason you want to make sure it’s strapped so it doesn’t come down during a quake – preserve the supply, just in case. SNAP classes are offered around the city, including a few a year in West Seattle; you can watch this calendar for upcoming ones – including sessions focused on earthquake retrofitting (last Saturday’s WS session was a full house – about 50 people!). Next scheduled one is June 7 in High Point (details here).