month : 11/2011 320 results

Traffic alert: SDOT warns the commute home might get ‘dicey’

Need to pass through downtown and/or SODO to get home tonight? Beware! This just in from SDOT:

The afternoon commute could become a little dicey later today. Occupy Seattle will hold a protest rally and march in downtown Seattle starting at 6 p.m. A crowd of more than 500 people is expected to gather at the north end of Westlake Park at Fourth Avenue and Pine Street for the rally. Between 6:30 and 7 p.m. the protesters will move to the Sheraton Hotel on Sixth Avenue between Union and Pike streets. Seattle Police will escort the marchers south on Fifth Avenue to Union street, east on Union to Sixth Avenue, and north on Sixth to Pike Street. Given the size of the expected throng of protesters, the march will likely be in the street so motorists should plan to avoid the area to avoid delays.

At the other end of downtown at 7 p.m., the Seattle Sounders will be drawing over 40,000 scarf-waving fans at CenturyLink Field. They’ll take on the Real Salt Lake soccer club for the second leg of the Western Conference semifinals. Expect traffic around the stadium to be very congested before and after the match.

The Water Taxi is on its winter schedule now and is NOT extending for sporting events, according to the county.

Saving Southwest Community Center: Councilmember to visit

(Photo courtesy Kathleen Lonergan, from 10/26 City Council budget hearing)
As reported here previously, the mayor’s proposal for next year’s city budget – currently under review before the City Council – changes the Southwest Community Center into a shared space with Southwest Teen Life Center and West Seattle’s lone Neighborhood Service Center (moving from its Delridge location). SWCC supporters are trying to get the Council to change the plan and keep the center open for general community use. Among them is Kathleen Lonergan, who shares the news that …

… City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen has accepted our invitation to visit SWCC! He’ll be there this Friday, November 4th, at 2:00pm. He will do a meet and greet/Q&A session with members of the community for about 1/2 hour. Around 2:30, he will tour the center with me and other Family Learning Program representatives.

We’d love to have plenty of people there for his visit. Most of our homeschoolers will be gone home by that time, since so many have small kids who need to nap. This would be a GREAT opportunity for West Seattleites to get out and show their support for SWCC.

Lonergan was one of dozens of SWCC supporters who went downtown last week to plead their case at the City Council’s most recent public hearing on the budget. This week, the council has moved into a round of presentations about potential budget alternatives – you can check them out under “Green Sheets,” in the Budget Documents section of their website. Tomorrow morning, when the budget meetings resume at 9:30, Parks (which runs community centers) items are on the agenda, including one titled “Enhanced Hours at Community Centers”; the Green Sheet for that does not appear to be online yet. Next week, the council starts making decisions on potential changes to the mayor’s plan, and final approval is expected on or by November 21st, so if you have something to say, this is the time, as they start locking in on changes (or non-changes) – here’s how (as well as being at SWCC if you can on Friday).

New look, new books for library at West Seattle Elementary School

For the past month, the library at West Seattle Elementary has been undergoing renovations – 2,000 books, a tech upgrade with iPads, new furniture, new shelves, new carpeting. Today, the overhauled library unveiled to the world. Lauren sent us the above photo via Twitter; when we dropped by for a look, a full complement of photojournalists was there, as was Mayor McGinn (on the other side of the cameras):

The project was the work of the Heart of America Foundation and Target volunteers, dozens of whom were at the school doing more work today, including playground revitalization:

WSES is one of 42 schools around the country in the library-makeover program this year. As part of the project, each WSES student gets seven new books to take home. A commemorative tree was planted too, we were told by WSES counselor Laura Bermes, who summed up the day as “a big deal!”

Seen in West Seattle waters: Purse seiners at work

November 2, 2011 12:23 pm
|    Comments Off on Seen in West Seattle waters: Purse seiners at work
 |   Seen at sea | West Seattle news

Every year right about this time, we get the question – What are those boats with the big nets out there? Reply: Purse seiners fishing for salmon. They have been working off West Seattle’s west-facing shore, as Beach Drive Blog reports. (Our files yield photos from 2009.) The times when this type of fishing is allowed are reported here.

Video: How the city’s getting ready for winter windstorms

Mayor McGinn‘s been on the road all morning – including visits to West Seattle Elementary and West Seattle High School – our stories on those are coming up shortly, but first, an early-morning stop at Seattle City Light‘s control facility in Ballard. That’s of interest to WS because the topic was how the city – particularly its electric utility – is better prepared for winter windstorms than, oh, say, five years ago (anyone remember December 2006?). We tried to make it over to Ballard to cover it in person but – no exaggeration – almost-winter weather set us back (we walked out of the house this morning to a much-iced windshield and couldn’t find the scraper!). So here’s the Seattle Channel video. We’re betting they talked about the SCL mobile website we mentioned here yesterday; will add other toplines later, for anyone who can’t (or doesn’t have time to) check out the video.

ADDED 12:46 PM: Most of the toplines are in the official city news release that’s since been sent out; the mayor also noted that SCL has 50+ more lineworkers than at the time of Windstorm ’06 – read the news release (including family preparedness advice, which the mayor also stressed) after the jump:Read More

Benefit brunch this Sunday to help Ed Kingston’s family

November 2, 2011 10:25 am
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 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle people

(WSB photo from Ed Kingston‘s memorial at Holy Rosary on October 22nd)
Just got word about an event this Sunday to help the family of Dr. Ed Kingston, who died suddenly at the age of just 38 while coaching his son’s West Seattle Soccer Club team at Riverview Playfield almost a month ago. West Seattle Eagles vice president Paul Leonardo, who is also a fellow Holy Rosary parishioner with the Kingston family, invites you to a benefit brunch at the aerie:

There will be a benefit brunch for the Kingston family on Sunday November 6, 2011 beginning immediately after the 9:30 am Family Mass. Doors will open at 10 am. The benefit will be held at the West Seattle Eagles Aerie #2643. It is located at 4426 California Avenue SW (1 block from the parish). The cost will be $15 per adult and $7 for children under the age of 10 years.

There will be an omelet bar, fresh fruit, waffles, coffee, tea, juice, and hot chocolate. All proceeds will benefit the Kingston Family and all are welcome. In addition, we will be holding a raffle.

If you have any questions, please contact Paul leonardo at 206-250-5213 or Erik Ricard at 206-683-1018.

Dr. Kingston is survived by wife Laura, son Jack, and daughter Reese; his memorial fund also has a webpage, here.

West Seattle Halloween PS: Admiral Treats & Treasures winners

Every trick-or-treater in Monday’s “Admiral Treats and Treasures” was invited to get their stops marked off on a map which then was presented at Merrill Gardens-Admiral Heights (WSB sponsor) for a drawing to win one of two giant treasure chests (goodie baskets) – and the folks at MG have shared photos of the winners as they came to claim their “treasures”! Congratulations to Brenna Hinsley and Annabelle Moeckel!

Each basket contained gift cards, toys, and other items worth a total of more than $300.

Peek inside West Seattle’s Umpqua Bank before it opens today

Many people ask where they can get “I Heart West Seattle” items. Here’s a new answer: The first West Seattle branch of Portland-based Umpqua Bank (WSB sponsor), opening its doors north of Admiral Safeway at 9 am today. It’s also where you’ll find this tale out of early West Seattle history:

And though it’s a brand-new bank branch, it has a veteran manager who’s worked in West Seattle banking for seven years:

Kirk Mead is also a board member with the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Of course, not everything about the new Umpqua Bank branch is West Seattle-specific, but it certainly has features you don’t find in every bank branch – read on:Read More

West Seattle Wednesday: Metro changes; ‘Desperate Hours’; more

November 2, 2011 7:21 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Wednesday: Metro changes; ‘Desperate Hours’; more
 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

(By smohundro from the WSB Flickr group pool)
From the WSB West Seattle Events calendar:

BUSINESS OPENINGS: Opening day for Umpqua Bank (WSB sponsor) in West Seattle’s Admiral District, next to Admiral Safeway, and Petco‘s new location at Capco Plaza (41st/Alaska), both at 9 am.

METRO CHANGES IN WEST SEATTLE: Before its official meetings later this month, Metro presents its proposed West Seattle changes tonight at the Southwest District Council meeting, 7 pm, South Seattle Community College board room. Also on the agenda: SDOT rep explaining changes on West Seattle roads that have been or are being made for RapidRide. Here’s our preview (including linked maps to meeting location).

‘THE DESPERATE HOURS’: West Seattle High School’s Drama Club production, 7:30 pm at WSHS Theater. More info here.

PRIDE SKATE: Second edition of Pride Skate at Southgate Roller Rink – Halloween sequel; wear your costumes! 9-11 pm; more info on FB.

West Seattle Lights: The famous music-synched show starts going up

The e-mail from lightmaster Jim Winder began with the subject line: “Now that Halloween is over …” and continued:

…then it must be time to set up CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!!!!! … we are going to start setting up the lights this weekend for our West Seattle Lights – Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular.

Looking forward to some new things this year and LOTS more lights and new songs. Our lighting ceremony will be Saturday, November 26th at 7:00 pm.

If this is going to be your first holiday season here, a bit of background … this is a light-synched show on a house across from the water tower on SW Charlestown. A sample from last year (WSB opening-night coverage here):

The Helmstetler Family owns the house; family friend Jim masterminds the lights. More at

Thanks a million! We’re grateful for a great October

Before the first day of November ends … we wanted to say thank you for October.

For one … it was the first time ever that WSB registered at least one million pageviews in a single calendar month. Certainly, there was a lot of news this month … October started with the Amanda Knox decision and ended with a week of “Viadoom” traffic-tracking, with a sunken vessel and fuel slick at midmonth. By the last moment of Halloween night, the counter (per Google Analytics) hit 1,081,362 pageviews, more than 100,000 past the previous record back in August.

For two … we wanted to thank you for the votes that topped the “Best of Western Washington” category for the second consecutive year. We aren’t much for campaigning, so hearing that so many people still found the contest and took the time to vote for WSB was heartening.

For three … this marks the start of our fifth year as a business, a milestone many small family businesses aren’t lucky enough to reach. WSB is what some call “bootstrapped” – no investors, no grants, no co-owners, no rich relatives/friends, no day jobs. The 24/7 community-collaborative news, information, and discussion you find here is made possible by the local businesses that choose to gain exposure to more than 100,000 people each month by sponsoring WSB; we thank them for their support.

Your newstips, your reader reports, your comments, your photos, your presence are the indispensable ingredients. Thank you so much for choosing to be here (same goes for those in the WSB communities on Facebook and on Twitter) and to share information with your community – whether it’s a crime report, a crash, a lost/found pet, or a breathtaking sunset photo – via WSB. We could go on with more gratitude … including a huge thanks to the reporters/photographers who work with us … but there’s a story waiting to be written!
Tracy (WSB editor/co-publisher, on behalf also of co-publisher Patrick)

Big hair, big fun: You’re invited to ’80s Flashback Adult Prom’

You’re invited “to turn back the clock, dust off those old dresses and tuxes, and enjoy a night of disco balls, punch bowls, shoulder pads and big hair” – at the ’80s Flashback Adult Prom on Saturday, November 19th, a fundraiser for the Chief Sealth International High School Class of 2012. That night from 8-10 pm in the CSIHS Galleria, you’ll enjoy music, refreshments, free pictures, and even valet parking – for only $15, and you get to compete for prizes awarded to the “best flashback attire.” (And if you went to your original prom back in the ’80s and happen to have a photo handy, send it to Sealth activities coordinator Sam Reed at – he’ll be printing photos out to display at the Flashback Prom.) Proceeds will benefit the Class of 2012 as it works toward a couple of big parties of its own later this school year – making sure prom and the “safe and sober” Grad Night celebration are affordable for everybody. You can buy tickets online (or donate if you can’t go but want to support the prom/Grad Night fund).

$100,000 for healthier Duwamish River-area communities: Your help needed

A gathering of dignitaries and community activists this morning at the Duwamish Longhouse in West Seattle was a precursor to a gathering next week at which your help is vital – with the hope of a healthier future in eastern West Seattle and other Duwamish River-area communities including South Park and Georgetown.

It was a celebration as much as anything – the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition has received a $100,000 federal grant for a program called Duwamish Valley Healthy Communities. DRCC staff including James Rasmussen – who emceed the event (and is shown above with EPA’s Dennis McLerran) – B.J. Cummings, and Alberto Rodriguez were there.

Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen spoke first (after you hit “play” on our clip above, that’s who you’ll see). King County Executive Dow Constantine and City Council President Richard Conlin – both fervent environmental advocates – spoke too, as did the EPA’s regional director.

But the people most involved in making “healthy communities” happen, collaborating (as described in a news release) “to understand and reduce risks due to toxic pollutants and environmental concerns from all sources,” weren’t there – because they’ll just be finding out about it now: Local residents, and businesspeople. “We must work through this together,” Rasmussen said.

“We are evolving a new vision of what the Duwamish can be,” observed Conlin, saying that for all the talk about the Seattle waterfront’s future, that cannot merely address the Elliott Bay waterfront post-viaduct, it must include the Duwamish River waterfront too.

Constantine noted that communities’ concerns will be prioritized, and that equity and fairness will be sought, with the end result a “healthy physical and natural environment.” He also mentioned the county’s Combined Sewer Overflows-reduction program (which has made news on West Seattle’s Puget Sound shoreline too), and the hundreds of millions of dollars going into cleaner water through that program.

McLerran, EPA’s Region 10 Administrator, called it a “very exciting day” for his agency, which doesn’t make grants this size so much any more, he said. This is one of 100 communities to get the grant so far, though, and he said they “really do result in great things for communities.”

He declared the program “the right money going to the right places for the right things.”

So what exactly will those “things” be? That’ll be determined in the convening of a “sustainable partnership” – starting with a meeting on November 10th, 6-9 pm, at South Seattle Community College‘s Georgetown campus (6737 Corson Avenue South). Food, music, kids’ activities, and Spanish/Vietnamese interpretation are all planned. Cummings (right), who recently returned to DRCC after a sabbatical, is point person on the Healthy Communities Project, and excited about it. You can contact her for information – or 206-458-0284..

Outage? Bill-paying? Seattle City Light goes mobile

Good to keep in mind as storm season approaches – and for other reasons – Seattle City Light now has a mobile site – just announced at

On the site, customers can report a streetlight problem, get information about outages, read City Light news, get money-saving energy conservation tips, or find links to contact the utility on other matters. Customers who are signed up for eBilling also can pay their bills. The mobile site is accessible to any phone with an Internet connection. A free mobile app is now available on the Android Market that will launch the mobile-enabled web pages. An iPhone version is pending with Apple for distribution in the iTunes store. … City Light already is looking at ways to enhance its mobile site. Customers who use it are encouraged to send feedback and suggestions for potential additions to

West Seattle biz: Petco moves tonight, opens new store tomorrow

If you’re a customer of Petco in The Junction, you’ve probably heard they’re opening their new Capco Plaza location – 41st/Alaska, next to the new state liquor store (as first reported here in February) – tomorrow. And like its new neighbors, Petco’s making its move without missing any days of business. WSB contributor Keri DeTore just talked with store manager Ann, who says moving trucks are expected around 3 pm (that’s why the NO PARKING signs are up in front of the store). The old store will be open till 6 tonight, and Keri says they have a shelf full of free stuff they’d rather not move. Grooming is closed for today, though nail trims will resume after 3. Then tomorrow at 9, Ann told Keri, the new store will open with everything up and running: “It’s brand-spankin’ new in there. So clean, it’s lovely.” They’ll have grand-opening events this weekend including a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday morning just before 9. P.S. The current Petco space is still listed as available for lease.

Another new state ferry to be built at Vigor on Harbor Island

Just one day after Harbor Island’s Vigor (formerly Todd) Shipyards delivered the ferry Kennewick to the state, three months ahead of schedule, there’s news that work will start soon on a new ferry. This one is more than double the capacity of the Kwa-di-Tabil Class (3 ferries including Kennewick) – it’s the first of a a new 144-car class based on the Issaquah class (whose flagship usually sails the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run). The state signed an order with Vigor today, and work on the new $147 million ferry is expected to begin early next year. Though the state has a contract with Vigor for three of these ferries, there’s only funding for one right now, says Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond, warning that because of the aging state fleet, “We are on the brink of a crisis.” When this ferry is finished in 2014, it’ll allow the 55-year-old Evergreen State to be retired, according to Hammond – but that’s far from the only ferry that needs to be replaced. (Photo courtesy WSDOT)

West Seattle coffee notes: Caffé Fiore, Café Osita, Sugar Rush

3 notes from the West Seattle coffee world:

CAFFE´FIORE OPENING DATE CHANGES: Last week we reported that Caffé Fiore had announced tomorrow as its opening date in a new live/work building at 2206 California SW (next to West Seattle Fabric Company [WSB sponsor]). This morning we got a note from general manager Katrine Callahan saying they’ve had to reschedule to November 8th (one week from today). The night before that (Monday 11/7), she says, “We are inviting friends, family, and all our new neighbors and community members to come on over on the evening of Nov. 7th from 6 pm-9 pm for a ‘house warming’ or rather Fiore warming party!”

CAFE´ OSITA ANNIVERSARY: Proprietor Andrea Ramirez notes on Facebook that today is the second anniversary of the shop’s opening at 35th/Webster. (Last week, you’ll recall, a thief took the tip jar; she posted an update following the story thanking everyone for their support.)

SUGAR RUSH BAKING COMPANY: As this Junction enterprise celebrates its 7th anniversary, it’s focusing on the Sugar Rush name and phasing out “Coffee to a Tea with Sugar,” says SRBC boss Jilyan Perry. So just call them Sugar Rush from now on.

Early note to everyone in the West Seattle coffee business – you’re invited to send us your planned Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s hours soon as you know them, for our annual “where to get coffee on the holiday” lists!

Which West Seattle school(s) will reopen? Decision pushed back

ORIGINAL 9:45 AM REPORT: The timetable for deciding which schools will reopen to deal with West Seattle (and elsewhere) school overcrowding has been changed. When Seattle Public Schools hosted a “capacity management” meeting in West Seattle last month, as noted in our report, there was a projected timetable of decisionmaking for next school year: District officials’ slide presentation at the meeting said a proposal would be introduced at tomorrow’s School Board meeting, and voted on as soon as November 16th. However, we noticed that “capacity management” is NOT on tomorrow night’s agenda – though the board is having a workshop session on that topic today this week – and subsequently asked the district about the new timetable. SPS spokesperson Lesley Rogers tells WSB this morning, “Board action is expected in December/January for the fall 2012 plan, because we are going to do more community engagement, meeting dates to be announced soon. Also, the capacity management team wants more time for feedback from the newly formed Facilities and Capacity Management Advisory Committee.” It has been widely expected that the plan for next year will include reopening the former Boren Junior High on Delridge; beyond that, it’s still in flux.

7:53 PM UPDATE: The newest timetable is reported on the Save Seattle Schools website, suggesting the next round of meetings will be in the first half of December, and a board vote in January.

West Seattle Tuesday: From storytelling to skeletons to school

November 1, 2011 9:15 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Tuesday: From storytelling to skeletons to school
 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

(WSB photo taken last week during our morning West Seattle Water Taxi coverage at Seacrest)
A bit of a Halloween holdover as November begins, with a few of the following highlights from the WSB West Seattle Events calendar:

STORY TIMES AT SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY BRANCHES: From the SPL Calendar of Events – baby story times at 10:30 (West Seattle/Admiral) and 11:30 (Southwest) am today, Somali story time at 1:30 pm (High Point), family story time at 7 pm (Delridge)

DREAM DINNERS’ OPEN HOUSE, BOOK SIGNING: Taste the November/holiday menu and meet Western Washington entrepreneurs turned authors at the West Seattle Dream Dinners (WSB sponsor) store 5:30-7:30 pm tonight, 4701 41st Ave SW, Ste 110. More details – including a bonus just for RSVP’ing – in our preview published earlier this morning.

SKELETON THEATRE, NIGHT TWO: At 36th/Hanford, the animatronic production Skeleton Theatre is on for its second and final night tonight. Full details on its official website; shows are 6-9 pm, every half-hour – here’s our preview from Sunday night and our Monday night coverage.

TOASTMASTERS TELL TALES: West Seattle Toastmasters Club 832 invites you to its annual “Tales of the Hearth” guest night at The Kenney (WSB sponsor; 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW) at 6:30 pm. All welcome; more details in our preview published earlier this morning.

HOPE’S OPEN HOUSE: Open house at Hope Lutheran School, 7 pm (42nd/Oregon). Event details on this Facebook page.

TRIVIA: Rock music/pop culture trivia 8 pm tonight (and every Tuesday night) at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor).

Meet Dream Dinners’ co-founders tonight at West Seattle store

November 1, 2011 8:27 am
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 |   West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news

They literally wrote the book on finding a way to keep the tradition of family mealtimes even in this busy day and age. Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna, co-founders of Dream Dinners and co-authors of “The Hour That Matters Most,” will be at the West Seattle Dream Dinners store (WSB sponsor) 5:30-7:30 pm tonight. The event is not only their book signing but also the store’s November tasting and open house. Prizes too! According to media material, their book “aims at helping American families reconnect over the dinner table, a lost art that has been found to be an important ritual in child development and family bonding.” If you RSVP before attending the event, you get a free copy of the book, but e-mail ASAP. West Seattle Dream Dinners is at 4701 41st SW, Suite 110, on the eastern ground-level side of Jefferson Square, entry from 41st. (P.S. Though Dream Dinners now has stores across the country, it was founded right here in Western Washington; Stephanie and Tina are from Snohomish, where their company is headquartered.)

12:13 PM UPDATE: WS DD proprietor Leslie says EVERYONE who comes will get a book – they just got some extras – don’t worry about RSVP’ing, just drop by.

Speaking, singing, networking: 3 local groups looking for you

Three local groups/organizations are inviting you to check them out this week. First, tonight, Toastmasters Club 832. From Jacqueline:

West Seattle Toastmasters Club 832 is having its annual “Tales of the Hearth” Guest Night at The Kenney, (tonight) at 6:30. All are welcome to come to this free event to hear some entertaining storytelling, enjoy some leftover Halloween candy (plus other delicious treats) and learn about how a Toastmasters club can help improve their public speaking and leadership skills. E-mail for more information.

Then Wednesday morning, also at The Kenney (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW), the BNI Westside Professionals invite businesspeople to join them for networking and breakfast. From Jackie:

If you want your local business to grow and expand BNI chapters are a solid way to help you. We meet Wednesday mornings at The Kenney from 8-9:30 and a full breakfast is provided. We welcome any local business owners to join us.

And Wednesday night, The Olio Show invites interested singers/actors to check out their rehearsal. Marie writes:

We have two ensembles: The Olio Players and The Olio Glee Club and together we plan to produce 3 Olio Shows (which are all-ages variety/vaudeville shows) in the coming year. Our goal is to provide opportunities for adults to develop their singing and acting skills in a fun, supportive environment. Previous training is helpful, but not necessary. No audition is required!

The directors of the show are Bert Gulhaugen and Jerry Halsey, who offer voice lessons through their West Seattle company, In Good Voice. They have produced several Olio Shows in the past, the most recent one a couple of years ago at the Youngstown Performing Arts Center.

Our next rehearsal is this coming Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Church at 7141 California Ave SW. We are very much in need of male voices! We encourage West Seattle dads, husbands, brothers, uncles and sons to come join us and add to the fun! For information, people can call Jerry Halsey at 206-851-3617.

Our first singing performance of the season will be at The Great Figgy Pudding Street Corner Caroling Contest on December 2, downtown Seattle, starting around 5 p.m. We will be one of over 40 caroling teams singing to raise money for the Pike Market Senior Center and Downtown Food Bank. We’d love to find a volunteer with video skills who can do a YouTube video of our Figgy performance, so we can start adding Olio video to our website. Anyone interested can email me at