day : 24/04/2011 8 results

Giant piñata being built for South Park Bridge groundbreaking

(Photo courtesy Brandi Lane)
Construction is about to begin on the new South Park Bridge, now that the money’s been rounded up, and the contract’s been awarded. And as was the case with the closure of the old bridge last June (WSB coverage here and here), one huge party is in the works. One with a construction project of its own – a 20-foot pinata is under construction, to be suspended from a crane.

According to Brandi Lane, “This one-of-a-kind piñata is a replica of our beloved 16th Avenue Bridge and will be filled with candy and prizes – a treat for all who attend the bridge groundbreaking and community celebration on Cinco de Mayo.”

That’s the date for the official celebration of the start of construction – 1:30 pm May 5th, to be precise, as noted on King County’s official South Park Bridge project website: King County Executive Dow Constantine, King County Councilmembers and the community will gather at the south end of the 10-months-shuttered old bridge. Here’s the official flyer – but for more details on the community party, you have to dig a little deeper. Brandi says piñata master Alex Lopez (photo above; more on Facebook) is building the huge creation with community help and that there’ll be an all-day decorating party next Saturday, April 30th – everybody welcome – at the Green Compound Garage at 8120 Dallas Ave South.

If you can’t pitch in, at least mark your calendar for the May 5th celebration in South Park – Cinco de Mayo plus bridge groundbreaking.

(King County rendering of design for new South Park Bridge)

Update: Fire damages Highland Park home, no one hurt

6:33 PM: Fire crews are at a house fire in the 9400 block of 8th SW (map) in Highland Park right now. Sounds like it is under control but not completely out. We’re on the way; more shortly.

(This photo added 7:31 pm)>
6:49 PM UPDATE: On scene; adding photo. Fire damage not visible from exterior, but sounds like there’s some interior damage. Most notable other effect right now is that traffic on 8th SW – which is a major route in southern Highland Park – is closed from Roxbury to Cambridge. Some units are being cleared from the scene; we’re waiting to talk with the incident commander to make sure there are no injuries.

6:56 PM UPDATE: From Lt. Sue Stangl at the scene (clip above, added later) – nobody was home; neighbors saw smoke and called 911. Firefighters opened the door and thick smoke poured out. The cause of the fire hasn’t been traced yet; no injuries, but there’s enough damage that the residents won’t be able to go back inside tonight. The Red Cross is being called to help the 2 adults and 3 children who live there.

9:05 PM UPDATE: Lt. Stangl says investigators figured out how the fire started – accidental; “unattended food left on the stove.” Damage is estimated at $100,000 for the house, $30,000 for what was inside. And via Twitter, Jake reports that police and remaining fire units have just started clearing the scene, which means 8th SW should reopen shortly if it hasn’t already.

‘Never-ending pattern’: Alki Beach gets trashed (again)

Earlier this week, in coverage of the Alki Community Council‘s latest meeting, we mentioned ongoing volunteer cleanups. After the Saturday sunshine brought throngs to the beach, they’re needed – though it would be even better if people would clean up after themselves. David Hutchinson shares photos and this report/request:

The rain is back and the yesterday’s crowds are gone from Alki Beach, but unfortunately they left something to remember them by.

Other than a change in what seems to be basic human behavior, I’m not sure what the answer is to this never-ending pattern – Alki Beach + sunshine and warmer weather = what you see in the photos. Perhaps better scheduling of garbage pickups, more garbage cans, better enforcement of existing regulations?

This issue was brought up at the most recent meeting of the Alki Community Council. In cooperation with Seattle Parks & Recreation, the Council sponsors a small group of volunteers, “Friends of Alki Beach,” who have tried to help out in this era of budget cutbacks. We are responsible for the area of the Park from 59th Ave SW to 63rd Ave SW.

If you are interested in lending a hand, contact Larry Carpenter of the ACC at 206-938-0887. The Council is always interested in community concerns on issues impacting the Alki neighborhood.

You’ll recall the same problem came up last year – but that was before the latest round of budget cuts. We’ll be checking with Parks tomorrow.

4:43 PM MONDAY: From Parks’ Joelle Hammerstad:

We’re not staffed at full summer capacity right now. We’re close, but we’re not there yet. We’re doing the whole district with two to three people, and we just can’t get to everything at once. When we get a sunny day before we’re fully staffed, we can get behind on trash pickup. After our crews finished the ballfields and the restrooms, they headed over to Alki. By the time our crew got down there, the volunteers who have offered to help pick up litter had already taken care of a lot of trash. We can’t afford to staff it consistently and we just don’t know what the weather is going to do. In this case, it was dirty for several hours on Saturday, but with the volunteers help and our staff, we caught up with it by Sunday evening.

West Seattle schools: Gatewood givers!

Tomorrow it’s back to school for Seattle Public Schools students, including those at West Seattle’s Gatewood Elementary, where 4th/5th-grade teacher Darren Radu shared some news and photos just before the break :

Gatewood students are completing their work on the Philanthropy Roundtable. Kids from grades K-5 came together to research organizations working for justice in the community, country, and world, in order to determine where to allocate a $1000 grant from last fall’s Penny Harvest. This year student leaders awarded Penny Harvest grants of $250 each to local organizations Nature Consortium and Southwest Boys and Girls Club, and $500 to the global relief group Save the Children Japan. Kids had some guidance from teachers, but did most of the research and made the final decisions on where to send the money themselves.

4th and 5th grade students have also been hard at work making paper cranes for Japan, supporting Students Rebuild. After a lot of patience and perseverance (it’s tougher than it looks to make those birds!), students folded 639 cranes to send, raising $1,278 in support of Japanese rebuilding efforts.

Thanks to all the families and community members for contributing to and supporting these efforts at Gatewood!

In case you’re wondering, the school year has two months left – according to the online SPS calendar, elementary and K-8 students’ last day is June 21st; for middle and high schools, it’s June 23rd.

West Seattle Easter scenes: Egg-hunters; tulips; Christmas holdover

Just before 11 am, we stopped by C & P Coffee (WSB sponsor) – and discovered they were moments away from an Easter-morning egg hunt (unadvertised to avoid a giant crowd, they explained, though if you’re a C & P regular, you would have seen the sign). So we hung around for a photo, as the littlest hunters got a head-start on the front patio. Before that, we found a little holiday brightness at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market, next best thing to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival:

(Skagit Valley, by the way, apparently is running later than usual this year – just like Easter – so if you haven’t been yet, there’s still time.) Then, further south, we happened onto an entirely unseasonal sighting:

The itinerant Christmas tree was spotted along SW Thistle, by Southwest Pool.

West Seattle Easter: Yes, there’s a Farmers’ Market today

(Photo added 11:58 am – Kate awaiting would-be egg-decorators in the Kids’ Tent)
Just in case you weren’t sure – when they say the West Seattle Farmers’ Market is year-round, they mean it, including Easter Sunday. Till 2 pm today, 44th/Alaska. Market manager Catherine Burke shared advance word this week that today’s highlights include egg-coloring for kids (hosted by West Seattle Helpline – bought your tickets for their Taste of West Seattle fundraiser yet?) and growers selling asparagus, rhubarb, early greens, and plant starts.

West Seattle wildlife: Be on the lookout for this whale

It’s gray-whale season in Puget Sound – and there may be one in our area. Kevin sent this report Saturday night:

My wife and I and several others spotted a whale just off of the shore at Lincoln Park around 8:20 pm this evening. It was in the shallow water between the park and the ferry landing and eventually went back out to the sound near Blake Island. We aren’t sure what type of whale it was, but it looked like a gray whale and was on the smaller side. Have there been any other reports of this? We were unable to get a picture.

First place we checked was the Orca Network Facebook page, where sure enough, one person had posted “I live in SW Seattle. Near Seola beach. My neighbors have seen an Orca possibly in trouble, close to shore, with irregular breathing,” and then amended, ” It turns out it may have been a gray whale, according to another neighbor. Last seen heading north towards the Fauntleroy Ferry.” No further reports so far, but again, this is the season in which a few grays are spotted in Puget Sound; it was mid-April of last year when a gray whale stranded and died in West Seattle’s Arroyos neighborhood, and that was about two weeks after a gray whale spent the day swimming close to West Seattle’s shore. (If you see a marine mammal in distress, there’s a hotline: 800-853-1964.)

ADDED 10:20 AM: Stacey shares this photo from a week ago – no way to tell if it was the same whale, but if you haven’t seen one before, that gives you an idea of what a sighting might look like:

She explains, “We saw a gray whale off of 30th Ave SW in Shorewood last Sunday. It stayed around for a while going back and forth.”

The WSBeat: Anchor’s (almost) away; fast-food fit; more…

By Megan Sheppard
On the WSBeat, for West Seattle Blog

From reports on cases handled recently by Southwest Precinct officers:

*Last Sunday afternoon, a citizen called 911 to report that three people seemed to be in the process of stealing an anchor from a park along W. Marginal Way. Officers stopped the trio nearby and they did, indeed, have an anchor on a trailer. The Parks Department confirmed that no one had permission to take it. The anchor was returned to its original location. Two of the suspects were booked into King County Jail. The third was declined for medical reasons and was, instead, taken to Harborview.

*A man was unhappy with the food and service at an Admiral fast-food restaurant. He threw the bag of food at an employee and appeared to be ready to climb over the counter. The clerk returned the his money. Officers later found the man, who voluntarily returned to apologize.

Seven more summaries after the jump:Read More