day : 22/11/2011 11 results

One year after the snowstorm: A special, public ‘thank you’

(WSB’er photo shared November 22, 2010)
The anniversary seemed to pass unnoticed – maybe because we’re dealing with different weather woes at the moment. Tonight marked exactly a year since the November 2010 snowstorm that snarled the evening commute. Roads were impassable, buses got stuck, some folks wound up walking – like the person who posted this today in the WSB Forums:

One year ago today I was walking up West Marginal Way in the snowstorm and woke up in an ambulance. Apparently in the meantime some people had given me about ten minutes of CPR and a defibrillator shock. Quite the anonymous gift, a pulse. Whoever you were, I made it through the night and am doing fine a year later. Thanks.

We don’t recall hearing about that at the time; the archived 911 log for that day/night includes more than 1 incident on West Marginal Way SW, so we’re not sure when or exactly where it happened.

West Seattle wildlife: Another update from Fauntleroy Creek

Another update from Dennis Hinton, one of the volunteers who’s currently watching for coho salmon during spawning season along Fauntleroy Creek, which started welcoming back spawners after a huge restoration project a decade ago:

Exciting day on the creek. I watched in the rain from noon til 2 pm.

A happy couple spawning.
A jack of about two pounds that had a brief battle in the love nest, then squirted up the creek (photo of jack attached).
Remains of a big carcass high on the bank just outside the culvert.

Two redds I’ve seen so far are now marked with little white ribbons.

Creek when I left had risen to .90—getting almost too high and cloudy to read the water.

Total fish count since 11/19/11 is eight.

As noted in previous coverage, last year the creek didn’t see a single spawner.

SDOT says Spokane Street Viaduct’s new 1st Avenue S. ramp won’t be ‘fully open’ before summer

Once upon a time, the city had said they hoped the new 1st Avenue South on- and off-ramp for the westbound Spokane Street Viaduct – the now-being-widened section of the West Seattle Bridge between I-5 and Highway 99 – would be open by this fall, maybe even before the Alaskan Way Viaducts closure last month. It wasn’t. So many then asked, when WILL it open? We asked SDOT, and were told the contractor was coming up with a revised schedule. Now, that’s in, and our answer has finally arrived from SDOT spokesperson Rick Sheridan:

While the overall project is nearly 90 percent complete, our Spokane Street Viaduct contractor has not finished constructing the First Avenue S on-/off-ramps due to delays in receiving critical construction materials. Their steel subcontractor has yet to deliver specialized steel girders needed to complete the ramp.

When the girders finally arrive from the fabricator, it will take at least two months to complete the ramps. At that point in the construction schedule, we will need to transfer traffic to the viaduct’s new roadway to resurface the existing deck and cannot safely allow use of the on-ramp. Due to this, SDOT does not anticipate opening the ramps fully until the overall project is completed in July 2012.

We understand that the loss of this access point does create inconveniences for West Seattle residents and businesses. Alternate routes such as accessing the high rise bridge via I-5 or SR-99, the lower Spokane Street Swing Bridge or the First Ave S Bridge will continue to serve as good options for reaching West Seattle. The overall project remains on budget and scheduled for completion by summer 2012.

If that timeframe holds, it will be 26 months after the closure of the old 1st Avenue South onramp to the westbound bridge; just before that closure, we were told the ramp would take “at least 16 months” to build.

Date set for possible council committee vote on Triangle rezoning

November 22, 2011 4:18 pm
|    Comments Off on Date set for possible council committee vote on Triangle rezoning
 |   Development | West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

One week from tomorrow, the City Council’s Committee on the Built Environment will again take up the proposal for West Seattle Triangle rezoning – primarily upzoning part of the area to 85-foot height, and a significant part of the Triangle itself to “neighborhood commercial.” The committee was briefed last week (WSB coverage here). Based on that discussion, some changes to the proposal are expected, and we’ll publish an update when they’re available, though it probably won’t be till early next week. The committee meeting is set for 9 am Wednesday, November 30, in City Council chambers downtown.

As-it-happened: Gov. Gregoire @ South Seattle Community College

(We recorded both parts of the governor’s visit on video & will add here in their entirety when uploaded)

2:29 PM: “Speak your mind, and speak up!” South Seattle Community College‘s communications director Candace Oehler exhorted a room full of students just before Governor Chris Gregoire entered a moment ago. She is here to talk about her supplemental budget – which is not a pretty picture for education around the state, including post-secondary. We’ll be covering this as it happens. (Added: Video of what she said in the classroom, unedited, in its entirety:)

“Anything you say to me is important,” the governor herself told them moments afterward. “I can’t tell you how many countless hours I have put in … digesting a state budget as complex as ours during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” She’s explaining to them first that most of the budget is “off-limits” – $8.7 billion out of $30 billion to solve the budget gap. “There are really only four places in state government where you can cut,” she says, and asks if the students know where. “Higher education” is the first answer. “Social services,” the next. Then, “public safety.” Someone offers “Transportation” – but that’s off-limits, she says. “Health care” finally emerges as the fourth. It’s a shame, she says, since graduation rates are up, schools are full – including ones like SSCC where people can get training — and this is a time when optimally, in a recession, we should be investing in that, she says.

2:37 PM: She also talks about cutting health care – where already there have been cuts, with the Basic Health Plan now at less than half the enrollment of just a few years ago. She then explains that what she calls an “F-minus failure by Congress” hit the state “like a ton of bricks” in August, with “an immediate $1.4 billion shortfall” – and “they’re doing it to us again … but this time we’re a little more resilient.” This comes as positive economic signs have emerged, she says, in fields such as aerospaces, life sciences, and energy, in our state. But small business is struggling, she says, because it relies on consumer confidence – which just isn’t there. “Now we’re waiting to see what’s in Europe – if Greece defaults, Italy defaults, triggering a banking crisis in Europe,” that will be a crisis here, with possibly another $2 billion shortfall.

Now she moves on to what she sees as a budget solution – raising taxes. “Some will tell you this is not the time” to do that, she says, but “I can’t stomach (the budget) cuts.” She says she is upset about the prospect of having to cut school years, and release prisoners early. “I can’t see letting folks out and not supervising them, to include sex predators,” she says. And she says she doesn’t want to cut long-term care. Overall, she says, she’s looked at “185 revenue options,” including “tax loopholes,” while realizing “there’s an argument not to cut, for every one of them.” She said she saw the tax proposal as the only way to “stand up to the problem” – and thinks she might be the first in history to send a bill to the Legislature asking them to “take it to the people.” She notes that the sales tax hasn’t been raised in the state since 1983. State taxes take a lower share of your income than they did back then, and yet, no other levels of government “is doing our job,” she says, talking about how she plans to campaign for the sales-tax increase next spring.

2:47 PM: Now, questions from the students: “How are you telling people in Olympia who might be saying ‘we’re not going to raise taxes’ about the impact on students, and others?” she was asked, beginning her reply “We’ve already cut (more than $10 billion). … We’re in an election year and we’re going to hear a lot of election rhetoric. … (Candidates) will say ‘Surely there’s a better way, another revenue source’ … So what you’re going to hear in the coming weeks is that we need more recreational gaming, gambling, off the (reservations).” Others, she says, will suggest a capital-gains tax. But that will require building an infrastructure at the Department of Revenue, which’ll take a couple of years, she says – “I don’t have the time.” She says basically any counterproposal you can throw at her, she’s thought of. And she slings a few angry words at “the other Washington,” saying “they’re putting partisan politics above the good of the public.”

Next question isn’t clearly audible but brings her to discussing higher education – “It’s (one of the few places in the budget) where there’s a way to raise revenue” – tuition increases. However, she says, that’s not feasible any more – “We can’t make it so that only the affluent can afford to go to college in Washington state.”

Back to the sales tax: “This idea that if you raise it a half-cent you’ll lose all these jobs … Guess which state raised it a penny a year ago? Arizona! They haven’t lost a boatload of jobs.” The governor goes on to say, “We’re unique! … Who’s our #1 trading partner? China! … You’re competing against students sitting in a classroom today in China, and Japan, and Korea. That’s who you’re going to compete with. With all due respect, they’re not cutting their budgets. They’re not cutting education, they’re investing in education. … Cutting the dickens out of education is not in your best interests and not in the state’s.” In response to a question from a student that was more a statement in support, she observed the problem with much of today’s unemployment – even when the economy recovers, many of today’s lost jobs won’t exist any longer, due to automation, efficiencies, and other factors. Hiring right now is depressed for reasons, she says, including – as a student answered her question – a lack of capital, because the banks aren’t making it available. “They’re real jittery about what’s going on in Europe … They’re sitting on no less than $2 trillion in cash.”

3:01 PM: How many would vote for raising more revenue than the $500 million she proposed? asks the governor. Most students in the room raise their hands. “I gotta try … (it’s) my best shot, and I don’t know if I’m gonna win,” she says. Shortly afterward, one student suggests that an income tax would be the solution. She reminds him that voters said no to the “income tax for higher-income individuals” proposal just last year. She also notes, though, that ours is one of only six states without an income tax, and has an “antiquated tax system.” She says ours is a “1935 tax system based on manufacturing.” Now she’s wrapping up: “We’re going to get out of this recession,” she promises. (is going to take media questions in a separate room next – we’re off to that.)

POSTSCRIPT: Community-colleges system chancellor (and former SSCC president) Jill Wakefield was on hand too, seen above with SSCC president Gary Oertli. Will add the video of the governor’s brief meeting with media.

Update: Fire call in the 5600 block of 35th SW

November 22, 2011 1:25 pm
|    Comments Off on Update: Fire call in the 5600 block of 35th SW
 |   West Seattle fires | West Seattle news

Seattle Fire is sending a full response to a home in the 5600 block of 35th SW. According to the scanner, the first report came in as a lamp fire that “extended to a wall.” First firefighters to arrive didn’t see smoke or flames, but they are investigating; some of the units originally dispatched are being canceled.

Paving the way for Delridge Way = Delridge ‘boulevard’

The newly passed city budget includes a $250,000 allocation to start planning a “Green Boulevard” along Fauntleroy Way in The Triangle. But that might not be the only “boulevard” in West Seattle’s future. Two City Councilmembers and key SDOT staffers joined the most recent meeting of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council to hear a community pitch for potential “boulevard” treatment of Delridge Way SW:

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West Seattle mom partners in new kids-accessories business

(From left, Tracy Martinez and Carol George)
Story and photos by Jen Boyer
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

While walking around Green Lake last April, two stay-at-home moms had an idea that would send their lives in a new direction. What if they took those adorable hand-sewn felt hair clips one of the moms makes for her daughter and marketed them to the world?

What started as a “what if” turned into a whole new brand of fun, functional and eco-friendly kids accessories in just six months – Little Doodahs.

West Seattle resident Tracy Martinez and Queen Anne resident Carol George met years ago through their husbands, who were college buddies. When they had their children, they each decided to leave their 9 to 5 jobs and stay home full time.

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West Seattle Tuesday: Thanksgiving countdown is on!

(Photo by Paul Swortz via the WSB Flickr group pool – Harbor Ave sunrise from last week)
The calendar’s quieting down as the holiday approaches, but we have a few things to share:

SCHOOL REMINDER: Seattle Public Schools elementaries have no classes this week – parent/teacher conferences Monday-Wednesday, followed by the Thanksgiving 4-day break.

TURKEYS NEEDED: White Center Food Bank is hoping for more turkeys! They’re already running out of the hundreds collected so far. Here’s our update from Monday; they’re open till 6 tonight at 8th/108th.

LAST DAY FOR JAVA BEAN FOOD DRIVE: Java Bean Organic Coffee House, at 2920 SW Avalon Way, is wrapping up its 21st annual Food Drive for Northwest Harvest, collecting food on site such as stuffing mix, canned yams, cranberries, peanut butter and baby food.

FIRST DAY FOR COAT DRIVE: “Coats for Kids, Pizza for Parkas” charity drive benefiting the Atlantic Street Center starts today at Pizzeria 22 in the Admiral District. Owner Cary says, “We are accepting new or slightly used coats for ages infant to 18 years old. Those who donate will receive a coupon for one free Margherita Pizza. The offer is also good at all Via Tribunali’s and Cornuto Pizzeria as well. We hope to collect at least 200 jackets for those in need.”

**More giving opportunities are listed on the WSB West Seattle Holiday Events and Info page**

GOVERNOR IN WEST SEATTLE: Gov. Gregoire visits South Seattle Community College to talk about how her proposed “supplemental budget” affects education funding, 2:30 pm. (For those who have asked, it’s NOT open to the public. But we’ll be covering it.)

OPEN MIKE: Skylark Café and Club open-mike night hosted by Tekla & Brian of local band BLVD PARK, acoustic-only. Poetry and comedy are encouraged as well as all flavors of acoustic music!

TRIVIA TIME: Rock music/pop culture trivia at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor), 8 pm

West Seattle traffic and weather: Messy morning

(Latest “live” picture of the northbound Viaduct, looking south from the tunnel vicinity)
7:02 AM: Just got first word of trouble that might affect your commute: Greg e-mailed to say the Battery Street Tunnel on northbound 99 was closed as of 6:20 am. KING 5 traffic reporter Tracy Taylor reports a crash in that area. The traffic cam view doesn’t look too backed up at this point, but we’ll keep watch till 9 or so – and if you encounter trouble, let us know (when you can do so safely, of course!). As for the weather: The wind advisory is no longer in effect, but rain is supposed to continue through the day, so that’s what we’ll be tracking today.

7:42 AM: The Battery Street Tunnel problem is gone, per comments, but via FB, Sage notes from on board a bus – “Verrry slow getting onto the bridge from Avalon on the 21 right now. Looking ugly.”

West Seattle holiday giving: Half a ton from Madison!

55 families will have a happier Thanksgiving, thanks to students, staff, and parents at Madison Middle School. Students collected 1,100 pounds of canned food – more than half a ton! – in a science-department competition, and a staff/parents fundraising drive brought in $3,000 to buy turkey, vegetables, fruit, rice, milk, eggs, and other items.

That resulted in baskets for 45 Madison families and grocery-store gift cards for 10 more, while 25 Madison students sorted the cans and put together the baskets:

Thanks to Madison parent Anne for sharing the story, including school nurse Samara Hoag‘s summary: “We are happy to help our families have a nice holiday.” (P.S. West Seattle’s food banks can still use last-minute holiday help – more on that later this morning after we check in with them.)