day : 21/11/2011 13 results

West Seattle school-crowding relief: Newest proposals

Tonight, the Seattle School Board held another “work session” about capacity management – how to relieve school overcrowding now, and how to plan for the future. This is in preparation for another round of public meetings, including one here in West Seattle next Monday. The presentation assembled for the work session is already online. It includes the latest list of potential options for how current West Seattle elementary-school overcrowding could be relieved, the idea of reopening the former Hughes Elementary – leased and renovated a year ago by private Westside School (WSB sponsor)’s new home – is suddenly off the list; only the shuttered Boren Junior High and Fairmount Park Elementary are mentioned, the former as soon as next fall, the latter possibly by fall 2013 as a Science/Tech/Engineering/Math “option school.” The new document lays out what’s possible, school by school – including maybe even moving fifth graders from two crowded schools into the nearest middle school. More after the jump:Read More

West Seattle holidays: Help The Admiral choose a movie

Admiral Theater boss Dinah Brein says, “It’s that time again……time to decide the annual Free Admiral Theater Xmas Movie. We’ve already shown Elf, A Christmas Story and Jim Carrey’s A Christmas Carol. We want something both kid friendly and adult friendly.” Got any suggestions? E-mail her at They’ll also take up a collection for charity that night, too; the movie will be screened one night the week before Christmas.

As-it-happened: Mayor’s road-safety-summit stop in West Seattle

6:16 PM: We’re at Southwest Community Center, awaiting the start of the final stop on the citywide tour for Mayor Mike McGinn‘s “road safety summit” (explained here). Seattle Channel is not livecasting this, a rare occurrence; we’ll publish updates as it goes. The mayor’s just about to step to the podium. We’d estimate the crowd at more than 50.

6:24 PM: The mayor says Councilmember Tom Rasmussen will join the meeting shortly. “What prompted me to put together the road-safety summit is, it’s become clear to me … people feel very strongly about how we use our roads, how we share our roads, how others use the roads … I’ve heard bicyclists complain about drivers, drivers complain about bicyclists” (and so on), he opens. “No matter how you get around,” there are “tragic deaths” on our city’s roads. He tells the story of the Greenwood crash that left a teenage boy injured for life. He says engineering, education, enforcement, and empathy are needed to address the problem. Yes, we can change, he insists, citing the dramatic shift in how smoking in public is treated – 30 years ago, this room might have been full of people smoking, ashtrays on the tables in front of them, and that is now illegal and unheard of. “We CAN change,” he says. But he says, “I don’t have all the answers” – he believes the community does.

6:32 PM: Dr. David Fleming, who runs Seattle-King County Public Health, takes the podium. He says traffic injuries and fatalities are a public-health issue. He says car fatalities have dropped 25 percent in recent years, but bicycle and pedestrian fatalities have stayed about the same. He explains why he uses the term “traffic crashes” versus “traffic accidents” – because crashes are not things about which nothing can be done. (Editor’s note – that’s part of our style guide, too.) “Fundamentally, these deaths are the result of actions that are under our control, and that we can do something about, and that’s why we are here tonight,” Dr. Fleming says. There’s not “one solution,” he cautioned, but instead, a “more robust toolbox” should and could be developed. He adds another “E” to the list above – “expectation,” with everyone engaging in the behaviors that will make a difference. And yet “defensive driving” matters, he says, since you need to anticipate that someone else might not meet your “expectation.”

The end result of efforts to change and improve, he says, could be “safe and vibrant streets.”

6:41 PM: Rick Sheridan, SDOT communications director, now at the podium, explaining what people at tables are being asked to do for the next 15 minutes or so, before reporting back to the full group.

(Our as-it-happened coverage, after the jump)Read More

West Seattle wildlife: Fauntleroy Creek coho tally rises

November 21, 2011 5:48 pm
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 |   Environment | Fauntleroy | West Seattle news | Wildlife

Alki Cooperative Preschool paid a visit to Fauntleroy Creek this afternoon, with volunteers including Judy Pickens and Dennis Hinton (that’s him in the hat) helping the kids and their chaperones get a peek at one of the five coho-salmon spawners that have now been seen at the creek in the past several days. We couldn’t get a clear enough look for a photo, but Dennis shared this one of a male and female spawning pair spotted earlier:

Last year, volunteer salmon-watchers didn’t see any spawners at all, so this year is already a success in comparison. 2009 saw 18, the year before that only 2; since the Fauntleroy Watershed Council started keeping track in 2000, the record remains 167 in 2001. (P.S. You can watch for the fish by going to the Fauntleroy Creek overlook at upper Fauntleroy Way and SW Director, directly across the street – and up the embankment – from the Fauntleroy ferry terminal entrance. It’s one of those “hidden gems”!)

Holiday call for help: White Center Food Bank needs more turkeys

Local food banks are providing holiday food through Wednesday – and yet the need outstrips the supply. Though White Center Food Bank took in hundreds of turkeys on Saturday, Ann Kendall just sent word:

It looks like we are going to run out of turkeys – we’re only on day 1 of holiday distribution and things are getting sparse. In some years people have deferred on the turkeys but this year they are in high demand. We will be at the food bank to accept donations tonight until 6pm, Tuesday from 9-6 and 9-7 on Wednesday. Phone 206-762-2848 at the food bank.

WC Food Bank – which also serves southern West Seattle – is at 8th/108th. And if you can’t make it there but can donate a turkey, West Seattle Food Bank (35th/Morgan) is accepting turkeys till 7 tonight.

West Seattle holidays: Seasonal crime-prevention advice

November 21, 2011 4:38 pm
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 |   Holidays | West Seattle news | West Seattle police

From Seattle Police – timely advice to reduce the chance you’ll become a holiday-season crime victim: What to do/not to do when you’re away OR at home – all the way down reminders about Christmas lights and charity solicitations. Check out Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon‘s latest newsletter here (PDF).

West Seattle Crime Watch: Plea bargain in Fairmount Springs attack

We’ve just learned that another high-profile West Seattle case has been resolved with a guilty plea. This one is the attack last May that left a 65-year-old Fairmount Springs woman seriously hurt and brought law-enforcement and political leaders to the neighborhood days later. The victim turned up on a neighbor’s doorstep early one morning with injuries including more than 20 broken bones, but how she had been hurt was not initially clear.

In early July, with the help of DNA evidence, police arrested a man who lived in the same home to which the victim had fled, 49-year-old Monty Richardson. Court documents say he broke into the victim’s home, dragged her into her basement, tried to strangle her, and beat, kicked, and jumped on her till she lost consciousness. Richardson pleaded guilty last Thursday to first-degree burglary and second-degree assault, with the third charge against him, unlawful imprisonment, dismissed. Prosecutors will recommend a sentence of 2 1/2 years on the first count, 1 year and 2 months on the second (to run concurrently with the first). According to court documents, he is entering the guilty plea as a so-called Alford plea – he does not admit guilt on either charge but believes the evidence is likely to lead to a conviction.

Richardson is scheduled to be sentenced December 2nd by King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller.

West Seattle holidays: Christmas trees! & Holidays page updates

(Photo courtesy West Seattle Nursery)
West Seattle’s first Christmas trees of the season have arrived. West Seattle Nursery received its first shipment on Sundays – Noble Firs – and kindly gave us permission to use a photo. Christmas-tree availability is part of what we’re updating again this year on the WSB West Seattle Holidays page – who’s got them, where and when. (WSN’s Marcia Bruno tells us that the “natural nobles” arrive sometime today, and also that their tree prices will be lower this year, since they got a better deal from suppliers. We also just got word of a new tree lot in progress, heading out to check on that!) The Holidays page is updated multiple times daily with the newest holiday information. Right now, you’ll find Thanksgiving info at the top, including Thursday’s free dinners and workouts, supermarket hours, and (a WSB tradition) where to find coffee on the holiday.

Thanks very much to everyone who has already sent holiday event listings and other holiday-related info, and we renew the request for YOU to send anything and everything that might be relevant to the Holidays page – bazaars, sales, concerts, parties open to the public, Santa photos, Christmas ships, Hometown Holidays, gift-wrapping events, businesses’ holiday hours (including restaurants/coffee shops open Thanksgiving, Christmas, and/or New Year’s Day), and places/people that could use YOUR help this holiday season (from donation drives to giving trees to ongoing nonprofit wishlists). E-mail is our favorite way to get info ( but we have other options listed here if that’s more convenient for you. Thanks and happy holidays!

Governor Gregoire coming to West Seattle to talk budget cuts

Governor Gregoire just announced a statewide mini-tour tomorrow to talk about her “supplemental budget” – and one of the stops is here in West Seattle. She’ll be at South Seattle Community College at 2:30 pm tomorrow “to meet with students at South Seattle Community College, discuss potential education cuts in supplemental budget,” according to the announcement. For details on the “supplemental budget,” including a potential sales-tax increase, here’s a story from our partners at the Seattle Times.

Homeless shelter Family Promise of Seattle closing again – for good

Almost six months after reopening following a hiatus – West Seattle-based shelter program Family Promise of Seattle says it’s closing again, and this time it’s permanent.

After getting an e-mail announcement, we called to talk with executive director Norman Schwamberg, and he tells us the board determined “there just wasn’t sufficient money to continue operation and not really any hope in the foreseeable future to (generate money) to reopen with” – so they’re giving notice to their West Seattle day center’s landlord (the church next door) and will start clearing out.

Family Promise is a unique nationally franchised program: Rather than operate a physical shelter, they partner with local churches who provide shelter and meals for families, while FP administration helps the families find services and look for employment – that’s where the day center comes in. It opened here in 2008. Schwamberg says they’re looking for other nonprofits that can accept the items they’ll have to clear out of the day center. The last family they’re sheltering will likely move on today; he says they’re finishing the intake process with another organization.

Last August, FP closed after running out of money, but said they would reopen if they could raise $90,000 – enough money for a half-year of operations. They got it done, and reopened in June, but that half-year is almost over, and no source of sustainable funding emerged along the way.

West Seattle Weather Watch: Wind advisory; heavy-rain alert

This morning the forecast didn’t look that unusual for our area – some rain, some breeziness – but now things are starting to ratchet up. The National Weather Service has just issued a WInd Advisory for Seattle and environs, 7 tonight through noon tomorrow; see it here. Gusts up to 45 mph are possible, the NWS says. As for rain – weather analyst Cliff Mass has just published his analysis of the impending storm, and he says: “Even Seattle will get nearly 4-5 inches if this forecast verifies.” (See his summary – maps and all – here.) Remember we now have a permanent collection of weather tools – current conditions, forecast, tides, etc. – on the WSB Weather page.

West Seattle traffic alert: Worse-than-usual bridge backup

(Latest “live” picture of the northbound Viaduct, looking south from the tunnel vicinity)
Multiple reports that the bridge is much worse than usual this morning – and we’ve finally seen one possible explanation for current trouble: Via Twitter, SDOT says there’s a stalled vehicle blocking lanes on northbound 99 at the Battery Street Tunnel. Not much help if you’re already out in the middle of it but if you tend to commute later, maybe best not to leave for a while.

West Seattle Monday: Road-safety summit stops here, & more

(Westcrest Park photo by Flickr member mriggen, from the WSB Flickr group pool)
From the WSB West Seattle Events calendar:

SCHOOL’S OUT ALREADY FOR MANY: Most Seattle Public Schools elementary and K-8 schools have no classes this week because of parent/teacher conferences, but as the district calendar points out, it varies by school, so check with yours if you’re not sure.

CAN YOU SPARE A TURKEY (OR TWO)? The West Seattle Food Bank is open to accept donations of frozen turkeys, and other holiday food, 9 am-7 pm today, 35th/Morgan. Lots of other ways to offer holiday help in West Seattle are listed on our WS Holidays page.

CITY COUNCIL BUDGET VOTE: If there’s anything you’ve been watching – today’s the day the council takes its final vote, and one last round of potential changes is linked from the agenda for their 10:30 am meeting.

MENCHIE’S FROZEN YOGURT OPENS: New store’s first day of business after a “friends and family” open last night (WSB coverage here), 2620 California SW, 11 am.

LIFE’S JOURNEYS: Conversation group, 1-2:30 pm at West Seattle Senior Center. This group will explore the territory we find ourselves in when involved in a significant transition. Are you in a changing time—re: relationships, housing, health, mobility, losses, retirement, etc? Are you looking for ways to make new connections? We will share our stories, give and receive support, and learn coping skills and strategies for saying goodby to what was and welcome what may become. Facilitated by Laurie Becharas, Licensed Marriage and Family therapist, and D’vorah Kost, Licensed Clinical Social Worker Cost: $20/month, donation. No one turned away for inability to pay.

WHAT’S THE HIGHEST-PRIORITY SAFETY PROBLEM TO SOLVE ON SEATTLE ROADS? That’s one of three questions you’ll be asked tonight during the mayor and council’s Road Safety Summit West Seattle session, 6 pm, Southwest Community Center, details here.