day : 25/10/2011 15 results

Viaduct-less commuting: ‘Bike Train’ again Wednesday

While they’re not as easy to count as West Seattle Water Taxi or bus passengers, there’s no question that bicyclists have also helped keep this from becoming a total Via-crunch work week, so far. On Monday, there were special bike rides for anyone interested in teaming up to ride out of West Seattle, and another one is planned Wednesday – the Cascade Bike Club site says reps will again be on the trail on the west side of the “low bridge” from 6:45 am to 9 am, and at 7:30 am, there’ll be an officially led “Bike Train” ride toward downtown. Full details here.

Suspected serial bank robbers arrested; 1 heist in West Seattle

ORIGINAL TUESDAY NIGHT REPORT: Two suspected serial bank robbers are in custody tonight, and we’re working to find out if they are the suspects from last week’s Washington Federal Savings holdup in Morgan Junction. The arrests were announced tonight by King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. John Urquhart, who said KCSO detectives arrested the two men, 64 and 65 years old, late today in the Mukilteo area. Sgt. Urquhart’s announcement says the two are wanted for five robberies since July, three in Shoreline and two in Seattle. In two of the three Shoreline stickups, the robbers were described as wearing masks – “Halloween masks” in one, a “Bill Clinton mask” in the other. You might recall that police told us last week that the Washington Federal robbers wore “Halloween masks,” at least one of which was described as the likeness of another former president, George W. Bush. We had just asked the FBI late today if any surveillance photos from that holdup would be made available, and a spokesperson told us they didn’t anticipate doing so; now, comes word of these arrests. Sgt. Urquhart replied to our followup inquiry by saying he doesn’t have specifics of the Seattle cases – but confirmed one of them was in West Seattle. (If we can’t get further confirmation tonight, we certainly will tomorrow.)

9:20 AM WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Det. Mark Jamieson with Seattle Police’s media unit confirms the two suspects are indeed believed to be the robbers who hit Washington Federal last Thursday. They’re both in the King County Jail. (Thursday photo above left, by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)

High-school sports: Soccer playoff game tonight @ Sealth

October 25, 2011 9:49 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

Fall sports at local high schools have moved into post-season play, and there was a game tonight at Southwest Athletic Complex in West Seattle – Chief Sealth International High Schools girls-varsity soccer team faced Bishop Blanchet. The Seahawks came out on the short end, 4-0. (Next on deck: Volleyball playoffs, with Sealth hosting a game against a TBA opponent this Thursday night, and West Seattle High School doing the same on Saturday.)

West Seattle scene: Piano students’ costumed concert

Halloween season seems to have started extra-early this year – with two weekends full of fun. Last Sunday, a macabre musical event spooked spectators at Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor) – the annual Halloween Piano Recital by students of John Van Lierop, Jr. He reports, “Students dressed in a variety of costumes and played their scary pieces on the piano. Even (the teacher) was dressed up as Santa Claus. Highlights of the evening included the well-known Toccata and Fugue by JS Bach as well as Dance Macabre by Saint-Saens. Fun party games such as a candy-corn relay race and musical chairs were enjoyed by all the students at the end of the recital!” Lots of Halloween events on the WSB Events calendar … and if you’re looking for the business-district trick-or-treat days/times, they’re all listed here.

West Seattle Halloween: Free carnival & swim at Southwest CC/Pool

October 25, 2011 7:41 pm
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 |   Holidays | West Seattle news

Halloween doubleheader coming up this Friday at Southwest Community Center and Southwest Pool! They sent a note to make sure you know you are invited to the Halloween Carnival and Swim. It’s all FREE – with the carnival open to kids 12 and under 5-7 pm, teens 13-19 from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. Come dressed in your “scariest creative costume” – there’ll be prizes. And if you bring a few $, there’ll be concessions (hot dogs, nachos, more) to raise money for teen programs. And in the middle of all this, it’s a Halloween Family Swim 7-8 pm, with games, a penny dive, and bobbing for apples. (Everyone under 18 has to have an adult in the water with them.) P.S. Teen volunteers are needed 4-7:30 pm for the kids’ carnival; sign up at the SW Teen Life Center.

Viaduct-less Tuesday: Afternoon/evening commute updates

(Top L, north of 1st Av. S. Bridge; top R, 1st @ Holgate; below L, I-5 on south end of downtown; below R, 12th headed for bridge to Beacon Hill, where there’s alternate WS Bridge access)

We’re kicking off the afternoon/evening commute coverage. “Expect heavy congestion” is the warning again today, but at this point, there’s no reason for it to be worse than yesterday. Updates to come!

3:40 PM UPDATE: Reminder for Metro riders – the reroute used today may not be the same one as yesterday; they are trying to be flexible. Meantime, we’re not sure why, but beware, if you’re heading OUT of West Seattle shortly – the eastbound “high bridge” is moving slowly right now, as shown on the live-video feed linked from the lower-right section of the city map.

4 PM UPDATE: Via Twitter, Sarah says the low bridge westbound (and feeder street) is backed up all the way to Alaskan Way, and adds, “Metro supervisor at First/Hanford directing buses to Marginal reroute due to congestion along Hanford & Alaskan.” As for the eastbound “high bridge” backup, KING 5 traffic ace Tracy Taylor blames it on a NB I-5 wreck at the WS Bridge exit point, but says it’s clearing.

4:39 PM UPDATE: We’re heading out to look at the commute (traveling against the flow so we’re not contributing!), starting with the low bridge. Expecting to see some bicyclists; note that Cascade plans a commute station by the “low bridge” again tomorrow morning, followed by a “bike train” ride.

(Photo taken 4:40 pm)
Meantime, we’ve just arrived by the low bridge; traffic flow’s good till you get to its east end, and now there’s a bit of a backup. From the right side of eastbound lower Spokane off the low bridge, you can divert onto the brand-spanking-new East Marginal Way Grade Separation flyover … we unintentionally did just that. It takes you over the tracks and southbound onto East Marginal.

5:04 PM UPDATE: The 1st Avenue South Bridge also looked pretty good when we traveled over it a few minutes ago. Now we’re checking out 4th Avenue South – right now, heading TOWARD downtown looks worse than heading away!

5:19 PM UPDATE: Overall, still no problems. We are now downtown checking on the Pier 50 water-taxi line. Will have a report on that from the co-publisher in a couple minutes. Assessing comments, FB, Twitter, etc., bus drivers are diverting when they can, to avoid trains; sun glare is perhaps the most frequently mentioned problem, since it’s even brighter than it was yesterday. We were asked on FB to mention again that the northbound Viaduct over downtown is open by design – all along they have said it would be open from the stadiums north, 5 am-7 pm during the weekdays this closure week. If you have to head north past downtown, you can get to the onramp at Royal Brougham Way, but it’ll close again at 7 pm.

5:34 PM UPDATE: Water Taxi lineup a few minutes ago was all the way to the gate.

Now we’re back on the road, homeward bound (sorry to compound the congestion). Just passed 1st Ave. S. in Pioneer Square, all brake lights heading south. We’re trying 4th in hopes of getting to the 1st Avenue South Bridge. 4th looks OK southbound past the train station and “the Clink”…

5:56 PM UPDATE: Made it across the 1st bridge. Only real hangup was a few blocks of stop/start just before making the right turn toward the bridge onramp. On Highland Park Way now, getting dark already on the east slopes (nice sunset off to the west). Still no major problems to report. (The 5:45 pm Water Taxi left more than 20 people behind at Pier 50, though, Bill Schrier reports via Twitter, with this photo.)

6:53 PM UPDATE: Concluding the commute, sounds like those who traveled in the more traditional time frame after 5:30 hit some snags, so if you can leave earlier tomorrow, you might get a better shake. If you’re tracking Water Taxi ridership, this morning’s totals are now posted on the county website. More commute-tracking in the morning, and of course, we’re watching traffic the rest of the time too, because without the Viaduct, any major problem can have worse ripple effects than usual.

Big changes proposed for Metro service in West Seattle

(Click to see full-size PDF)
With the arrival of the RapidRide “C” Line next fall – replacing Route 54 – Metro has long said, they would be “restructuring” local bus service, and that they will want to hear from local residents on what changes should be made. Just a few days ago, we published news of local meetings to discuss the “restructuring.” Now we’ve just learned they already have a detailed proposal, and it’s just gone public (thanks to Jake for first word of that, via the North Delridge e-mail list). You can find the proposed changes here (lots of links to follow for expanded explanations, maps, etc., depending on what you’re interested in).

Here are just some of the toplines — Route 21 would only serve Arbor Heights during peak periods; Route 22, which serves Gatewood, would be dropped, but Route 125 would be revised to serve that area (and southward to Chief Sealth International High School) during peak periods, though it would drop the Shorewood area; Route 37 would be dropped, leaving Beach Drive with no bus service; Route 128‘s east-west connection would move further north, to give North Delridge cross-peninsula service. Seattle Transit Blog has more analysis of the changes for West Seattle (and other areas). The first West Seattle meeting for input on this, and other ideas, is at 6:30 pm November 9th at Chief Sealth.

SIDE NOTE: Separate from this process, but likely of interest, tomorrow night is the city’s Transit Master Plan discussion in West Seattle – also a place to voice your transit interests, since even though Metro is a county agency, the city needs to know what priorities to advocate and assist. That meeting is 6-8 pm tomorrow at the West Seattle Eagles‘ hall, 4426 California SW.

Viaduct demolition, day 4: Another ‘eye-in-the-sky’ view

(Click for larger version)
If you’ve been wondering how the Alaskan Way Viaduct south-end demolition is going – and haven’t passed that way – the state has a simple update on this “what’s happening now” webpage, “The top, northbound deck of the viaduct is mostly demolished from about the stadiums to the south.” Or, just take a look at the photo above, courtesy of Erick, who’s in a crane nearby. (He contributed yesterday, too – thanks!) The state is showing the newest photos from closer to the ground here. And if it’s been a while since you watched the WSDOT animation of how your drive will look AFTER the closure – here it is; perhaps the strangest thing, for longtime Viaduct drivers, will be heading south on an elevated roadway with nothing up above.

Like ‘comfort food’? You’ll love Family Promise of Seattle benefit

October 25, 2011 12:36 pm
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 |   How to help | West Seattle news

When last we checked in with Family Promise of Seattle, they were planning another “Comfort Food Throwdown” fundraiser – and now it’s just a week and a half away. Family Promise is the only shelter program in our area – and beyond! – to help homeless families while allowing them to stay together. At 6 pm Saturday, November 5th, 10 local restaurants and congregations will offer their favorite “comfort-food” entrees for sampling and judging. For $20, you can try five; for $30, you can try ten. It’ll all happen at Seattle Lutheran High School, and there’s a special guest star – Amy Finley, who won the “Next Food Network Star” TV contest and recently published “How to Eat a Small Country.” She’ll also lead a cooking demonstration at the event. You can buy your ticket online right now by going to this page on the recently remodeled Family Promise of Seattle website.

West Seattle coffee: Caffé Fiore plans to open next week

Announced online: The opening date is November 2nd for Caffé Fiore‘s Admiral District shop (ground floor of a new live/work building at 2206 California SW). We first reported their impending arrival last month. Caffé Fiore bills itself as “Seattle’s first organic coffee house”; this is its fourth location.

West Seattle Tuesday: What’s up, besides Viaductlessness

(Harlequin duck dust-up, by Danny McMillin – click for larger image)
From the WSB West Seattle Events calendar:

BYE-BYE, BLUE WILLOW LUNCHEONETTE: As reported here over the weekend, today is the last day of lunch at Blue Willow Luncheonette in The Junction. The space is changing owners, with a new café on the way, and the Blue Willow Catering operation is moving to a commercial kitchen. They are offering lunch specials today as a “thank you” to patrons.

COMMUNITY CENTERS’ FUTURE: The series of meetings at individual community centers continues with a meeting tonight at Hiawatha Community Center to talk about what hours/programs you’d like to see under the cty’s new plan, 6:30 pm (details here)

OPEN HOUSE: Seattle Lutheran High School open house, 6:30 pm, more info here.

BIG NIGHT FOR ‘FAMILY MATTERS’: Multiple Family Matters presentations/events at Fauntleroy UCC Church (9140 California SW) – full lineup here; tonight, five presentations/events – 5 pm, emergency preparedness, and “Family Love Letter”; 6:30 pm, Family Zumba; 7 pm, Young People and Safety (Technology), and “Praise Vs. Encouragement.”

HIGH-SCHOOL SOCCER PLAYOFFS: Chief Sealth will host Bishop Blanchet at 6:00 pm, Southwest Athletic Complex.

ADVISORY GROUP FOR OVERFLOW-CONTROL PROJECT: First meeting of the Murray CSO Control Facility Design Advisory Group, 6:30-8:30 pm. Fauntleroy Schoolhouse (Board Room; 9131 California SW). This is an organizational meeting for the group that will help oversee the design of the storage-tank project across from Lowman Beach Park, but public is welcome. (More on the project status in a report coming up on WSB later this morning.)

BLOCKWATCH CAPTAINS: West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network meets at 6:30 pm, Southwest Precinct – agenda details here

CANCELED: In case you hadn’t already heard, the West Seattle Candidates’ Forum that was scheduled for tonight has been canceled.

West Seattle traffic: 2nd morning of Viaduct-less workweek

(SCROLL DOWN FOR THE LATEST INFO – and let us know, in comments, how your commute went!)

(More cams on the WSB Traffic page; travel times on the city Travelers’ Info map)
Again today, we’ll keep a running narrative of the morning commute, and invite you to share your experience, either in comments or by another means of your choice … no trouble as we begin, just before 6. Our “Viaduct Crunch” coverage partners at KING 5 say WSDOT reported earlier this morning that the demolition work is on track. At the West Seattle Water Taxi dock, the line for the 6:15 am sailing is longer than it was on Monday morning. Here’s the special schedule; remember the Rachel Marie is back this morning, returning to service at mid-afternoon yesterday after repairs. KING’s “minute-by-minute” updates (including their tweets, ours, and other sources) can be seen here (click “play”).

6:13 AM: Our crew just arrived at the Water Taxi, and reports seeing more street traffic than this time yesterday. But the Don Armeni Boat Ramp parking appears a bit emptier, same for street parking, even though there are indeed more people taking the early Water Taxi (stand by for the official total). SDOT’s live-video cams on the high bridge show it’s a bit foggy, and starting to get busy. (added) 110 estimated on the first Water Taxi run – a few more than yesterday.

6:22 AM: And much like yesterday at this time, the eastbound high bridge is starting to slow down. Just noticed the Water Taxi ridership numbers for yesterday’s PM commute are published (the AM numbers were up early): 5:15, 5:45, 6:15 sailings were at capacity (150). [added} Metro‘s first morning report: No bus delays.

6:32 AM: A KING crew just drove Avalon onto the high bridge, and says it’s sluggish too; they’ve also noted Seattle Police patrolling for bus-lane violators on the bridge again today. (Via Twitter, Jana tells us “Two police cars and three vehicles pulled over for blocking the ‘bus only’ lane” when her bus went by.) Another of their crews is up at the Traffic Management Center in SDOT offices downtown, and reports that the patterns yesterday and today are indeed trending about an hour earlier than usual. By the way, if you’re taking 1st to get on the Viaduct at Royal Brougham, the ramp IS OPEN THIS MORNING (it was closed a few hours during the day yesterday; demolition work got too close).

6:45 AM: High bridge still slow going. Via Twitter, @pleonardo says that given the slowdown, “Glad the coffee is hot”! The 6:45 Water Taxi is down from yesterday, 111 compared to Monday’s 129. Parking for the Water Taxi is more available than early yesterday – more people seem to be getting dropped off. Special lot at Don Armeni still virtually empty.

7 AM: Bus riders are reporting “a breeze” so far this morning – at least those who left by 6:30! High bridge still busy. Low bridge not as busy. No surface trouble spots at major intersections that police are watching, like 1st and Spokane, per a “round robin” check of sorts we just heard via scanner. SDOT is telling KING’s Traffic Management Center crew that **4th looks better than 1st** so try the high bridge to the 4th Ave. S. exit if you can. (added) From Metro via Twitter: “Don’t be surprised if your bus takes a different route from yesterday to avoid morphing congestion. Bus won’t miss any stops.”

7:15 AM: Margie, via Facebook, says the lighted sign on Avalon warns it’ll take you 25 minutes to get to I-5. (added) The 7:15 am Water Taxi sailing had 128, unlike yesterday, which was at capacity with some left at dock. There’s also still parking in the Don Armeni lot, if you’re thinking about the WT. And the high bridge is still slow, more like a “normal” day than like yesterday. But KING’s chopper shows the low bridge continues to flow at an OK pace.

7:39 AM: Like yesterday, the high bridge is starting to thin out a bit. Our crew at the Water Taxi dock (which again is a magnet for TV crews – three trucks there now, according to Bill Schrier, who got to the dock just as the previous boat was leaving). He says it looks like everybody will make it on board – we’ll get an update on the passenger count in a few minutes. However, once you get downtown – 1st Avenue South is slow going, according to a KING crew currently stopped at 1st/Hanford.

7:48 AM: Water Taxi just left with 117 on board, down from capacity 150 (with some left waiting) yesterday. And the high bridge looks GREAT. The low bridge, though, looks slow heading toward downtown – the city just swung a live camera around that way. And westbound is wall-to-wall trucks. Back to Harbor Avenue – the Don Armeni parking lot for the Water Taxi now is almost full. But there’s some street parking along Harbor, west of Alki Tavern, on the water side.

8:05 AM: Haven’t been any crashes compounding things this morning, by the way, along the bridge or I-5. Bridge wide open.

8:19 AM: The 8:15 am Water Taxi run was again below capacity – but still, more than 110 people, including County Councilmember Joe McDermott, chair of the county Ferry District board. Bridge = a breeze. Surface streets downtown = 4th is faster than 1st.

8:30 AM: So if you had to take the bus, leaving before 6:30 or after 7:30 seemed to be the trick. Amy says via Twitter that her bus ride took only 20 minutes.

8:52 AM: And we have a “25 minutes to UW” report too, from SHQ via Twitter. If anything dramatic happens on the roads in the next couple hours, we’ll add it here; otherwise, we’ll have separate pm reports, as we did yesterday. We’ll see if the afternoon/evening commute is any better than yesterday, when train backups in SODO caused some misery, among other factors. The forecast looks good (tomorrow morning too).

10:24 AM: Results of this morning’s police operation on the bridge, from SPD Blotter:

24 Bus Lane violations
2 No Proof of Insurance
1 No Valid Driver’s License

West Seattle Crime Watch: Be on the lookout…

Two cases of incidents involving suspicious people/vehicles in West Seattle neighborhoods – read on:Read More

Double dose of The WSBeat: Guns gone; concrete trouble…

By Megan Sheppard
On the WSBeat, for West Seattle Blog

From reports on cases handled recently by Southwest Precinct officers – two rounds of The WSBeat, since last week’s edition didn’t get published, it appears immediately after the newest summaries:

*Wednesday night around 7:30, a woman who was planning to go target shooting accidentally left her purse on the counter of an Admiral convenience store. She went back to retrieve the purse but didn’t find the two guns she thought were inside — a .380 revolver and a 9mm pistol. The clerk said no one had taken the guns and offered to provide the store’s surveillance tape. The officer advised the woman to take a look around her home to be sure she hadn’t misplaced the weapons.

*Around 6 p.m. Saturday, when officers stopped to question a man at 14th and Cloverdale, the subject ran off, only to return a few moments later and hit an officer in the eye. He initially refused to provide officers with his name, probably because it turns out he was wanted on a no-bail felony warrant from the Department of Corrections and a $10,000 misdemeanor DUI warrant. He was booked into King County Jail.

13 more summaries ahead:Read More

Memorial service planned Friday for Rachelle Schutte

The family of Rachelle A. Schutte, gone at just 57, shares this tribute, and word that her memorial is planned for Friday:

Rachelle took her place in Heaven after suddenly passing away on October 22nd, 2011, in her West Seattle home.

Born on October 3rd, 1954, in Minneapolis Minnesota, Rachelle became a long time West Seattle resident where she lived her life to the fullest. Rachelle was a loving, kind, and caring person who loved her friends and family unconditionally and always put others before herself. When not in the bingo halls, you would most likely find her spending time with her family and enjoying her grandchildren.

Rachelle is survived by her husband Art; sister Marice; brothers Chuck and Steve; children Matt and Jodie and four grandchildren, McKayla, McKenzie, Kaya, and Kaleb, as well as many other family and friends who will miss her dearly.

Services and reception will be held on Friday, October 28th 2011 at Yarington’s Funeral Home, 10708 16th Ave SW, from 2-5 PM.

(WSB publishes obituaries at no charge; send text and photos to