day : 15/08/2011 11 results

Update: Police search after robbery at Baskin-Robbins

10:27 PM: Police are at the Baskin-Robbins ice-cream shop on Admiral Way, where an armed robbery was reported. Nobody hurt. No description(s) so far. We have a crew there; more as we get it.

11:30 PM: Officers have been talking with employees and checking for prints; they told us they’re still “sorting out” what happened. WSB contributor Katie Meyer says the original scanner call mentioned three suspects.

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE: We have just spoken with SPD and will put details in a separate update – bottom line, no one arrested so far.

Sustainable West Seattle picnics, honors ‘Sustainability Hero’

Golden pre-sunset light filled the LIncoln Park shelter where Sustainable West Seattle members and friends gathered for the group’s summer picnic tonight. They ate and talked and relaxed – and stopped for a few minutes to honor a hero:

With SWS’s Patrick Dunn (left), that’s South Seattle Community College‘s Michael Ryan (right), the college’s Dean of Culinary, Pastry, Wine, and Landscape/Horticulture, among other things. “All the good stuff,” he smiled. “My worst day at work is better than most people’s best day!” As SWS announced last week, Ryan was chosen the group’s 2011 “Sustainability Hero,” for championing so many sustainability-related projects, including the West Seattle Tool Library and Community Orchard of West Seattle. (Added: Video of his acceptance, and Dunn’s introduction:)

After speeches and applause, it was back to celebrating a perfect summer night, and even enjoying Puget Sound:

That’s Greg Whittaker from Alki Kayak Tours and Mountain to Sound Outfitters (WSB sponsor), who brought paddlecraft for picnickers to try out. (Tomorrow night, by the way, is the big event his businesses are co-sponsoring with Alki Crab and Fish at Seacrest – a standup-paddleboarding movie’s local premiere following the Tuesday night SUP races; details here.) Meantime, watch Sustainable West Seattle’s website for details soon on their September program; the third Monday of the month is their usual night for community forums/gatherings.

After 11th-hour(s) drama, County Council OKs ‘save Metro’ fee

By a vote of 7 to 2, King County Councilmembers have just approved the $20-a-year-for-two-years car-tab fee that is supposed to save Metro from drastic bus-service cuts. “We have made a giant step toward saving our Metro,” declared council chair Larry Gossett, right after the vote.

If you’ve been offline for a few hours, you might say, “well, isn’t that what was expected to happen, after the big deal announced last week?” Yes – until some multi-hour, last-minute drama: Preceding the vote, the council convened in early afternoon as scheduled – and then went into more than four hours of closed-door caucusing, according to multiple updates from citywide news organizations (including Slog and PubliCola) that also reported rumors the two Republican (officially nonpartisan) councilmembers who supported the fee last week, Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert, might change their minds. But before tonight’s vote, both spoke publicly to reiterate their support for it. Six “yes” votes were required to finalize the fee. All five Democratic (officially nonpartisan) councilmembers, including West Seattle’s Joe McDermott, voted for it too; McDermott acknowledged it’s a “regressive” tax, but pointed out it’s the only option the State Legislature gave them for raising money to cover the budget gap.

P.S. Another, separate car-tab-fee vote is ahead tomorrow – this one **for the city only**. Seattle City Councilmembers, sitting as the Transportation Benefit District Board, will vote on whether to send to voters in November a car-tab fee to fund transportation projects. They’re expected to vote at 11 tomorrow morning, and then they’re planning a news conference on Delridge to talk about it. The fee could be up to $80/year.

ADDED 9:04 PM – MORE ON TONIGHT’S COUNTY COUNCIL VOTE: The council’s official news release, after the jump:Read More

Noticed West Seattle ‘motorcades’ these past few days?

August 15, 2011 5:38 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle police

After receiving notes about what appeared to be motorcades – law-enforcement motorcycle escorts and all – traveling on the West Seattle Bridge, we checked with the Southwest Precinct. As suspected, it’s multi-agency training, as has happened here in years past.

New Chief Sealth principal to guest at safety-coalition meeting

August 15, 2011 5:07 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Unless the district announces a community meeting before then, looks like one of the first public opportunities to see Chief Sealth International High School‘s new principal Chris Kinsey in action will be at next week’s South Delridge/White Center Community Safety Coalition meeting. That’s according to an announcement from the group, which meets at 6 pm Thursday, August 25th, at the former St. James Church-turned-community center (9421 18th SW). Here’s our recent interview with Kinsey, who comes to Sealth from an assistant-principal role at Cleveland High School; he succeeds John Boyd, who is moving to an executive position with Highline Public Schools, focused on that district’s northern area, which includes White Center.

Update: This weekend’s partial Viaduct closure officially announced

August 15, 2011 2:52 pm
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 |   Alaskan Way Viaduct | West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

As noted here eight days ago, the southbound Alaskan Way Viaduct will be closed this weekend, scheduled for 11 pm Friday-5 am Monday. ONLY the southbound side. The official announcement, with a reminder about the looming nine-day October closure, is out this afternoon – read on:Read More

‘Kids Helping Kids’ offers unique incentive from West Seattle’s Caspar Babypants

That video from Wellspring Family Services features West Seattle-residing rocker Chris Ballew, who in his Caspar Babypants kindie-rock mode is once again offering a once-in-a-lifetime prize as part of a fundraising contest that has two weeks to go. It’s the annual “Kids Helping Kids” coin-collecting drive. Wellspring helps homeless kids and families around King County; everybody who turns in donations via “Kids Helping Kids” gets entered in the drawing for Caspar B to write a custom song about them. (In the video, you’ll hear part of “Happy Heart,” inspired by 7-year-old Rena Mateja, who collected more than $500 for Wellspring.) Deadline is September 1st; donations can be turned in to Wellspring directly or via CoinStar machines. Information on how to sign up and how to donate is in the links on the right sidebar of this page.

Crime Watch court updates: Gatewood arson, Junction threat cases

Two updates for the court files (speaking of which, if you are following the Steve Bushaw murder trial, it’s in recess till Wednesday):

(June 28th photo courtesy Kathryn)
GATEWOOD ARSON: September 7th is now set as the trial date for 40-year-old John C. Siegel, arrested at the scene of the June 28th arson at a home he co-owned near Orchard Street Ravine and charged days later with setting it as an act of domestic violence, as well as with violating a court order. Court documents indicate that Siegel, who is a lawyer, is now representing himself in the case (though he has requested “standby backup counsel”). He’s due in court this Friday morning for a hearing to determine if everyone involved is indeed ready to go to trial. Siegel also has filed a handwritten motion seeking a separate jury proceeding on the “aggravating factor” that is alleged in the crime – that he committed it shortly after being released from jail (as reported here previously, he got out May 20th after a plea bargain on charges involving domestic violence and threatening a judge). Siegel contends that having the “rapid recidivism” aspect brought up in the main case would be prejudicial to that jury; prosecutors have responded that they believe the issue should be “reserved for the trial court” to decide. Siegel remains in jail, in lieu of $1 million bail.

Another case we’ve been following is now closed – plea made, time served:

(June 17th photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
JUNCTION THREAT: 20-year-old Chriss Arce, arrested on June 17th for an incident that started in West Seattle Computers in The Junction and ended with him allegedly pulling a gun on the store’s owner, was sentenced last Friday, after a plea bargain in July. Arce was originally charged with assault; according to court records, he pleaded guilty July 20th to a reduced charge of harassment. The sentence ordered by Judge Patrick Oishi on Friday: 34 days in jail, which is equal to the time he served between his June arrest and being released on July 22nd.

West Seattle schools: Lafayette playground-project milestone

August 15, 2011 10:58 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

A truckload of excitement arrived at Lafayette Elementary over the weekend. Luckie shared the photo (thank you!) and explained that on Sunday, “a small group of Lafayette volunteers unloaded all the disassembled parts of the new playground structure, moving it from the delivery truck to the onsite storage container. It was exciting to finally have our hands on the ladders, spinners, slides, and everything else that will come together to make this fabulous play area! There’s a community work party on August 27 for anyone who wishes to have a hand in building it.” (Here’s our coverage of the last one on June 25th; the work is the latest in a multi-phase, multi-year project to renovate the playground of West Seattle’s most populous elementary school.) The school building itself has had some work done over the summer:

The new metal cafeteria doors are on the south (SW Lander) side of Lafayette – Luckie shared that photo too. They’re part of a $705,000 levy-funded project, replacing windows and doors at the school with newer, stronger, energy-conserving versions. P.S. The first day of school for Seattle Public Schools is September 7 (three weeks from Wednesday).

Free heart screenings in West Seattle next week for ages 14-24

It’s happening in nine days – on Wednesday, August 24th – at Chief Sealth International High School, but it’s an offer for EVERY student in this area, no matter where they’re enrolled: Get a free heart screening, a painless 25-minute test that is especially recommended for athletes. It’s a life-saving test that could detect the kind of previously undetected problem that, without warning, killed 16-year-old Nick Varrenti, the namesake of Nick of Time Foundation, which is offering the free screenings in conjunction with Seattle Public Schools. The screenings will be offered 7:30 am-3 pm on August 24th. E-mail now to get an appointment time,, and read on for the full announcement, including what info to provide :Read More

West Seattle Monday: Welcome to the third week of Aug-tober

Skateboarding or snowboarding? The Delridge Skatepark photo shared by Mike captures the sentiment of our not-very-warm-or-sunny summer. On the bright side, you’ll have something to talk about for years, provided this isn’t the “new norm.” Anyway, here’s some of what’s up on this third Monday in Aug-tober – from the WSB West Seattle Events calendar (send YOUR event to

YOUR VOTE! Already sent your ballot in? Tomorrow’s the deadline. You can mail it as long as it’s postmarked by then – or, get it to a dropbox (none in West Seattle or White Center, still, but here’s the list – downtown is closest).

COUNTY COUNCIL’S “$20 FOR METRO” VOTE: The agreement announced last week will come up for a vote today, 1:30 pm at council chambers in the county courthouse at 516 3rd Avenue downtown. The actual proposal starts on page 89 of this document.

AT THE LIBRARIES: Afternoon Book Group at the Southwest Branch (35th/Henderson), 2 pm – this month’s title is “The Amateur Marriage” by Anne TylerHigh Point Library (35th/Raymond) has a Family Story Time at 7 pm.

WEST SEATTLE COOKING CLUB: West Seattle Cooking Club meets, 2 pm at Beveridge Place Pub. This week’s theme: Sandwiches.

PICNIC IN THE PARK: Sustainable West Seattle Annual Community Picnic, Lincoln Park. 7-9 pm, details here.