West Seattle, Washington
11:40 PM: Notice it’s gotten windy out there? The National Weather Service has a wind advisory in effect till 4 am – could gust up to 50 mph in some parts of Western Washington.
5:26 AM: The wind advisory expired at 4 and no new warnings are in effect so far, but it’s still very windy out there. Only one power outage in the city so far, though, with more than 100 customers still out in the Pioneer Square/stadium zone on the south end of downtown.
If you absolutely have to drive to or from West Seattle in the next few hours or so, here’s a few things you might need to know:
I-5 NORTHBOUND – is likely to be a mess for a while because a tanker overturned at Lakeview on the north side of downtown, and its 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel will have to be pumped out before it can be cleared. 10:57 PM UPDATE: Scanner traffic indicates they will be trying to right the truck WITHOUT emptying it.
HIGHWAY 99 SOUTHBOUND – a spinout crash is reported in the Battery Street Tunnel, and south of there, watch out for puddling in the right lanes, particularly the last stretch before Harbor Island (we experienced this firsthand on a quick run to/from downtown in the past hour).
WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE – the Fauntleroy Expressway closure planned for tonight hasn’t happened yet, if it’s going to happen at all (might be too rainy for crews) – you can keep an eye on the traffic camera above (the signage on 99 may not help; a lit sign on 99 just before the bridge said it WAS closed when we went through around 9:15 pm, but it most definitely wasn’t). 10:57 PM UPDATE: The westbound detour IS in place now, as you can see in the “live” camera view.
Several WSB’ers reported decoration thefts this holiday season, but the one reported a week ago by Cyndi and Steve was an especially tough tale, as they’re in mourning and only put decorations out for the neighbors. Earlier this evening, they sent a happier postscript:
I just wanted to let everybody know that our Christmas decorations were returned to us this afternoon. They were found in a hedge in the Alki area and Bridget returned them to us after reading the blog. Once again the wonderful people of West Seattle came through to help their neighbors.
6:40 PM: Police and fire are responding to 32nd and Juneau in High Point, where a female victim – possibly a teenager – has reportedly been shot in the leg, possibly from a passing car, according to initial scanner traffic. More as we get it.
6:52 PM UPDATE: Police on the scene confirm to WSB that the victim is a girl “in her mid-teens” with a leg wound. They are still trying to sort out the circumstances. Meantime, scanner traffic from the medic unit crew describe the victim as 15 years old and quote her as saying “she only heard one shot.”
7:06 PM UPDATE: From the scanner – police are talking with some people and trying to find out if they were involved. Our crew at the scene is close to where this questioning is happening, about a block from the shooting scene. WSB archives show this is the first shooting investigated in West Seattle in 2 months, since the Admiral murder-suicide shootings.
7:53 PM UPDATE: Our crew says police have now handcuffed the male who was being questioned (caveat, that does not ALWAYS mean an official arrest, we will be working to confirm with police). Police also are impounding/towing a car in which a source tells us the victim and possible suspects all may have been (photo to come when our crew is back at HQ). We aren’t likely to get an official update on the victim’s condition, but the medic-unit radio exchange earlier indicated that her vital signs were good.
9:36 PM UPDATE: New information from Southwest Precinct Lt. Ron Smith, who says that two “young males” found near the shooting victim and claiming to be “bystanders” were “investigated further and revealed that it was an accidental discharge inside the car. The bullet was recovered from the floor of the car. Shooter and gun are outstanding. A possible second female victim, who was not located, had reportedly been grazed by the single shot also. It appears a group of young individuals were smoking drugs in the car handling the gun when it was discharged, striking 2 of the females.”
(June 2011 photo by David Hutchinson)
This year, we’re reviewing 2011 topic by topic, instead of the traditional everything-lumped-together or month-by-month review. On Monday, we began with the 10 most-commented WSB stories of the year … and this afternoon, we’re continuing with a favorite WSB topic: West Seattle wildlife. So much of our coverage is thanks to your reports, with and without photos – aside from the Steller’s Jays in the backyard, wildlife seems to elude us. So we start this review with a huge THANK YOU FOR SHARING! Now – the categories of most note, listed alphabetically, with two bonuses afterward:
(February 2011 photo by Karen, at West Seattle Golf Course)
We published 38 stories with reader reports about coyote sightings this year (some included more than one sighting). They certainly evoke mixed sentiments – sometimes admiration, sometimes anger, since there is no question that some pets, particularly cats, have been eaten by coyotes – which eat rodents and reptiles too – while yet others are worried they might eventually attack humans (no documented cases in West Seattle in recent years). All coyote reports published here, dating back to 2007, are archived (newest to oldest) here.
WEST SEATTLE ORCA SIGHTINGS
(August 2011 photo by Craig Savey, taken from Harbor Island)
With a newborn J-pod whale this month, Puget Sound’s resident orcas now number 89. That’s still such a small number … but every new one is cause for hope they won’t go extinct. And every sighting, particularly here in metro waters, is cherished. So many West Seattleites are working to help protect and save them, like Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail, which now has interpretive signs on state ferries; Jeff Hogan, whose Killer Whale Tales takes their story to schoolchildren; and Mark Sears, the Lincoln Park-based researcher who can often be spotted right out among the whales. Lots of great photos and video in 2011, especially this clip from Vashon:
By 2012, we resolve to get orca sightings their own category, so we can point you to an archive, instead of the search box, to find past stories (we published more than a dozen sighting reports this year alone).
SEAL PUPS PROLIFERATE
(Photo courtesy Robin Lindsey)
As of last week, West Seattle-based Seal Sitters had already dealt with more than 50 pups on local shores – a record year. Their role and responsibilities expanded this year, too, as did their territory, as they now respond to beaches further north, too.
In the past few weeks, we’ve seen publications around the region covering the unexpected appearance of snowy owls, usually seen further north. But WSB’ers were ahead of the curve on these birds, thanks to Mark Campbell‘s photo/report a month ago.
And aside from the trends, we had to include these:
BONUS LOOK BACK: THE RACCOONS WHO ALMOST MADE THE ‘MOST-COMMENTED STORIES’ LIST
In July, we got a tip about a backyard raccoon rescue carried out by a West Seattleite named Patrick – one of his friends told us about seeing the story told via Facebook. Patrick subsquently agreed to let us share his photos and story, among the year’s most memorable.
BONUS PHOTO ENCORES
(April 2011 photo by David Hutchinson)
So many great photos this year – just scroll through the “wildlife” coverage category to see them all! – but we had to give these two a home-page encore – David’s parent-and-child Canada geese, and Trileigh Tucker‘s hooded mergansers in courtship mode:
Thanks yet AGAIN for all the great sightings, photos, even ID help when WSB’ers send photos asking “what is THIS?” … looking forward to 2012.
More 2011-in-review reports to come between now and Saturday night! See the first one here.
A few changes for the next few weeks of overnight closures for the Fauntleroy Expressway earthquake-safety project – here’s the latest schedule from SDOT:
This week the Seattle Department of Transportation is continuing with a number of nighttime closures to the Fauntleroy Expressway (the raised roadway at the west end of the West Seattle Bridge). These closures are being made to accommodate work that will strengthen and seismically retrofit the structure to better withstand an earthquake. Closures began the week of December 12th and will continue regularly until the project’s completion in June 2012. Future closures may also occur on weekends, though none are scheduled at this time.
Closures will begin at 9:00 p.m. and reopen the next morning at 5:00 a.m. and are planned for the following evenings:
Tuesday, December 27th through Thursday, December 30th
Note – December 30th has been added as a work night since the previous notice
Tuesday, January 3rd through Friday, January 6th
During this week of evening closures the following detours will be in effect:
· Westbound motorists traveling to West Seattle via the West Seattle Bridge will be directed to use the Delridge Way Southwest off-ramp.
· Eastbound motorists on Fauntleroy Way Southwest will be detoured at Southwest Avalon Way and will be directed to the Southwest Spokane Street entrance to the West Seattle Bridge under the Fauntleroy Expressway.
For information on changes to bus service, look for Rider Alert notices at bus stops, visit Metro Online at www.kingcounty.gov/metro or call (206) 553-3000.
Some drivers also have recommended using the Harbor Island offramp if you’re heading westbound, since that will point you toward the “low bridge” and options at its west end.
(WSB photo from October 2010)
With rising West Seattle Water Taxi ridership – noted here a week ago – comes a rising demand for tickets, so the county is about to install a second ticket machine at Seacrest. It’ll be right next to the first one, according to this afternoon’s announcement, which mentions another change as of this Thursday:
On the same date, a new King County Ferry District fare policy will be implemented. Tickets sold through our TVMs will now show a sixty-day expiration date. Please be aware of this change, as the ticket will not be valid beyond the listed date.
In case you haven’t checked out our partner site White Center Now lately … we wanted to call your attention to two stories:
‘CHICKEN FRIDAY CHRISTMAS’: “Sometimes the good guys wear black,” concludes Joe Heisler’s story about this bighearted holiday event that gave the White Center Food Bank a Christmastime helping hand (and then some). Read it here.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE SKATE-BOOT SIGN? WCN published a call for clues/ideas about what became of the skate-boot sign that adorned the now-Southgate Roller Rink decades ago. Read it here (and see the photo).
You can check White Center Now’s headlines right here on WSB any time – click the tab under the header that currently says “WC” (and expands to “White Center” when the line of tabs is a little less crowded) – here’s the direct link.
The kindergarten classes taught by Marsha and Sarah at Westside School (WSB sponsor) helped make this Christmas merrier for lots of other local kids by collecting more than 170 toys during their annual Toys For Tots drive. Firefighters from nearby Station 37 picked up the donations, and that was part of the holiday giving at Westside, along with third-graders making baby blankets to donate to WestSide Baby:
Though today is still only midway through winter break, the school is looking ahead to what will be a busy time next week after classes resume – with a January 5th Middle School Information Night (6 pm), a January 6th tour (9:15 am) for families interested in preschool-4th grade, and an all-school Open House on January 7th (10 am-noon).
This morning’s inbox included a question about “family-friendly” ways to celebrate the New Year. In other words – what’s up besides the bar (etc.) parties? Here are three things — all outdoors — from the WSB West Seattle Holidays page:
NEW YEAR’S EVE ‘NOT-SO-SILENT NIGHT’ PARADE: As previewed here last week, this will be the third annual edition of the cheery noisemaking neighborhood walk, and having covered the first two (our video above is from a year ago), we can tell you it’s an all-ages event, and a whole lot of fun, from the first steps to the Start gathering in the parking lot outside the historic Highland Park Improvement Club HQ (where the “Sage Comet” finale outside and a NYE party inside will follow) at 6:15, 11th/Holden.
NEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY WALKS: You’re invited to join the Emerald City Wanderers on walks providing “a healthy and entertaining way to bid adieu to 2011 and welcome to 2012. And, there’ll be good, hot soup to warm you up afterward.” Both start from St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church at 3050 California SW – time’s flexible; start between 4 and 7 on New Year’s Eve, between 9 am and 1 pm on New Year’s Day. (The full announcement is on the Holidays page, along with e-mail addresses for questions, or see the brochure on the ECW website.)
NEW YEAR’S DAY POLAR-BEAR SWIM: It’s not January 1st without a chance to jump into Puget Sound and symbolically wash away the old year. Last year (photo above), we even found “Elvis”!
Who knows who might turn up this time? As per the announcement published here last week, it’s happening on Sunday morning at 10 am on Alki, across from Duke’s/Christos.
We’re still collecting events – like these, and special restaurant/bar events too – for the Holidays page; let us know what’s up!
Thanks to Don Brubeck for this morning’s featured photo of the “low bridge” in action, shared via the WSB Flickr group pool (and Flickr is where you can see a larger version). A waterway photo seems appropriate given the first preview of the day:
THIS MORNING’S ‘KING TIDE’: Another 12.8-foot high tide today, this one due at 7:16 am. (Here’s our overview from Sunday night, updated with a photo from Monday morning’s “king tide.”)
DAYTIME ROAD WORK: Road repair work is scheduled to continue in the 6500 block of 48th SW – details here.
NIGHTTIME BRIDGE CLOSURE: Another Fauntleroy Expressway closure is scheduled, 9 pm-5 am tonight (that’s the west end of the West Seattle Bridge, which means some onramp/offramp closures, particularly westbound, where you’ll need to exit at Harbor Island or Delridge).
FREE E-READER CLINIC: 1-3 pm today, Southwest Branch of the Seattle Public Library (35th/Henderson), learn more about your new e-reader and how to find a great e-book.
WEST SEATTLE SEE DOGS: Come find out about raising guide puppies, and meet a guide dog (with its human companion)! 3 pm, The Kenney (WSB sponsor), 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW. (More info via this Facebook event page.)
NIGHTLIFE: Skylark Café and Club open-mike night, poetry and comedy encouraged as well as acoustic music, starts 7 pm … rock music/pop culture trivia at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor), 8 pmStarlite singer/songwriter showcase at Shadowland, sign-ups at 9 pm …
LOOKING AHEAD TO NEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY: From special dinners on NYE to volksmarching and Polar-Bear-Plunging on The Big Day, we have listings on the WSB Holidays page – and it’s not too late for more (email@example.com).