year : 2011 4273 results

Viaduct misperceptions tackled: SW District Council report #1

(WSDOT photo via Flickr: Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond signs tunnel contract Thursday)
Even as the Alaskan Way Viaduct Central Waterfront Project marked a milestone – signing the tunnel design-build contract – a team from the AWV front lines debunked some misperceptions in Q/A during an appearance before the Southwest District Council Wednesday night, hours before the signing. First and foremost: No, this does NOT mean the tunnel is “no going back” final, and it does NOT mean construction is about to start, as some may believe. The construction that’s starting now is a separate phase of the project, its Holgate-to-King-Street segment (formerly known as South End Replacement Project). After the jump, the Q/A/myth-debunking on that:Read More

West Seattle schools followup – plus, another international school

Following up on last night’s board meeting, with introduction of next year’s transition plan for the ongoing New Student Assignment Plan, Seattle Public Schools offered news media a chance to talk today with one of the district’s top managers, Dr. Tracy Libros. We participated by phone and asked, for starters, a followup question (here) posed in WSB comments on our school-board-preview story from last night (here).

Answer, according to Dr. Libros: No further West Seattle attendance-boundary changes are proposed at this point for next year. But tomorrow is the deadline for school board members to propose amendments – so if there’s anything coming in at the 11th hour, we’ll know by the start of next week; they would be considered when the plan comes up for a final vote on January 19th.

Among the other points of interest was a little more discussion of the fact that one West Seattle elementary school will be designated as an “international” school, to complete the “pathway” that currently goes from Concord International Elementary (in South Park but considered part of the West Seattle service area) to Denny International Middle School to Chief Sealth International High School. Which West Seattle elementary will it be? Dr. Libros says it hasn’t been designated yet. After the jump: What about the crowding at West Seattle’s northern elementaries? Read More

Caspar Babypants concert ahead for High Point Community Center

(WSB video from August 2010)
Kids of all ages loved ’em at the Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series last August, among other stops – and now West Seattle’s own Caspar Babypants (aka Chris Ballew and friends) has another local concert on the schedule. Got word from High Point Community Center tonight that CB will play HPCC (6920 34th SW) at 10:30 am Saturday, January 15th. Tickets are $3 in advance, $5 on show day.

‘West Seattle loses another treasure’: Christy Tyson

If you’ve been to West Seattle’s Southwest branch library in the past few days, you may have noticed that tribute in the art by its entrance. It is in honor of Christy Tyson, who worked with the branch for more than 15 years. Julie Enevoldsen and Toni Reineke, with help from library staff, put together and shared this remembrance, and the accompanying photos:

West Seattle Loses Another Treasure
You may not have known Christy Tyson by name, but many will recognize her in the attached photo, as she was a fixture at Southwest and High Point branch libraries.

Patrons, volunteers, and library staff are mourning the loss of our
friend–and our Friend. Christy lost her battle with a long illness just minutes into the New Year.

Christy devoted her entire life to the library. In 1991 she became branch
manager at Southwest, and then team leader at both Southwest and High Point until her retirement in 2007.

As manager at Southwest, she worked with library administration and patrons on a pilot project to support the development of branch Friends groups. In 1992, she and neighborhood patrons founded Friends of Southwest Branch Library as a subsidiary group of the Friends of Seattle Public Library.

As team leader, she made a significant contribution to the design of the new buildings at both Southwest and High Point branches.

Her reputation for working with young adults was national. Christy had a special rapport with teens, encouraging young adults not only to participate, but to take active leadership roles (“She listened carefully to what we were saying,” one former teen says), and she kept tabs on their development throughout her life. She was a past president of YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association). As branch manager, she made a special effort to mentor teens and encourage them to establish their own library careers. Three of the Library Assistants currently working at Southwest are in Library School because of Christy’s inspiration.

She took children’s ideas and needs seriously, too, from helping them select just the right book, to making sure they could contribute their visions for the library. (One of her favorites was the idea from a child who wanted bunk beds on the bottom of each book rack!)

Christy was a passionate library advocate. One of her favorite sayings was, “The library is the community’s living room.” It was important to her to maintain the library as a common meeting ground for people of all ages and walks of life.

Christy enjoyed working in West Seattle so much that she bought a house here in the community. She was an enthusiastic gardener and dog-lover, and became involved in preserving and enhancing her new community in the Fauntleroy Creek area.

Our community has lost a passionate and inspired leader.

A celebration of her life will be held at a date to be announced. Donations may be sent to YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) or the Seattle Public Library Foundation.

UPDATE: The celebration has been set for 3-6 pm January 30th at Camp Long Lodge.

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Beach Drive search

Followup on the two incidents we were following late last night/early this morning: Police confirm the Beach Drive search was indeed the result of an interrupted car-prowl incident. Around 9:30 last night, in the 5400 block of Beach Drive (map), a vehicle owner looked outside his window and saw the vehicle doors open, then went outside and confronted a suspect, who displayed “a large knife.” Police say they stopped a possible suspect at one point during their extensive search, but the owner couldn’t confirm that was the would-be car prowler. Meantime, as for the Fairmount area shots-fired call, police did not find any damage or other evidence that it was definitely gunshots.

West Seattle businesses: Game Stop to Westwood Village

The former Hollywood Video/Game Crazy location at Westwood Village (which closed in July) will soon be home to Game Stop. As noted in the WSB Forums, the DPD page for the site mentions Game Stop, and WSB contributor Deanie Schwarz subsequently confirmed with the 15th/Roxbury Game Stop manager, AJ Hans, that the Westwood location is to be open by summertime. Hans says they haven’t been told whether the Roxbury shop will stay open once the Westwood shop is up and running. Meantime, Westwood Village manager Stuart Crandall tells WSB there’s a second tenant planned for part of the space, but they’re not ready to discuss it publicly because a deal isn’t entirely finalized yet.

ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: More information from Westwood Village’s Crandall – “The Hollywood Video space is being divided into three spaces. We have potential tenants for two of the three spaces, but will have a 3000-square-foot end cap vacancy remaining to lease after the two tenants have taken possession.”

Traffic alerts: Seahawks game; more Spokane St. Viaduct closures

Several traffic notes this afternoon: First, SDOT is sounding the alarm about Saturday’s Seahawks playoff game, since construction on the Spokane Street Viaduct and the south end of the Alaskan Way Viaduct are already causing some challenges in the area. Here’s some of what’s planned for that day:

To keep traffic moving, SDOT will re-open all lanes on Sixth Avenue S at S Spokane Street and also provide traffic control at the intersection of Fourth Avenue S and S Spokane Street. WSDOT is opening up a temporary crosswalk at First Avenue S and Railroad Way S and adding police officers to assist pedestrians. Motorists should, however, anticipate delays on First Avenue S between S King Street (on the north side of Qwest) and Royal Brougham Way (on the south side of Qwest) where the street is reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction to accommodate pile driving in the SR 99 construction zone.

For those who have asked – no, there will NOT be special Water Taxi service that day; it remains on a Monday-Friday schedule.

Second alert: The weekly regional construction update is out – and it just keeps getting longer. One item of note, heads-up for later this month – six more nighttime closures of the westbound Spokane Street Viaduct (meaning you won’t be able to get to the West Seattle Bridge from I-5 or Columbian Way on those nights) are ahead: Jan 19-21 and 24-26, all scheduled for 10 pm-5 am. (P.S. We had checked earlier today about a sign seen yesterday on the eastbound bridge exit to 99, about overnight ramp closures next week; SDOT tells us those have been postponed, so never mind for now.)

Nomination time for West Seattle Chamber of Commerce awards

January 6, 2011 2:02 pm
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One of our proudest moments in 2010 was on the April day that WSB was honored as West Seattle Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. Now it’s time to nominate your favorite business for the honor – as well as nominating potential recipients for individual honors (at left is last year’s Westsider of the Year, Chief Sealth International High School‘s Colin Slingsby). There’s also a fourth category this year, Emerging Business of the Year. Here’s the announcement, sent by Shannon Felix (whose Avalon Glassworks also is a past WSCC Business of the Year):

Who really sparkled in 2010? Honor those in our community who make West Seattle a great place to live and work by nominating a business or individual for the annual Westside Awards!

The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce sponsors this annual program to celebrate West Seattle’s entrepreneurial spirit and personal commitment to the Westside.

Award information and nomination forms are now available online at web site or at this link. You may e-mail nominations with your name and phone number to: or via fax: 206-938-7437.

Four categories of awards will be presented:

Westside Business of the Year

Westside Emerging Business of the Year

Westside Not-For-Profit of the Year

Westsider of the Year

Nominations are open to any West Seattle business or individual and due by
January 31, 2011 at 5pm to The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

Award recipients will be honored at the Westside Awards Breakfast at Salty’s on Alki on April 6, 2011. For more information, contact the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, 206-932-5685.

Governor proposes Puget Sound Regional Ferry District

(Bremerton ferries passing in front of Bainbridge, photographed 12/2010 by JayDee)
First, King County created its own ferry district — now, Governor Gregoire is suggesting that the state have one too. She is proposing that Washington State Ferries be taken out of the state Transportation Department and instead run by a regional ferry district. Here’s the story from the Kitsap Sun; here’s the governor’s news release. Announcing the proposal today, she said the proposed Puget Sound Regional Ferry District would have its own taxing authority. But this idea will have to be proposed in, and approved by, the State Legislature before becoming reality.

ADDED 4:30 PM: It’s been pointed out, the state ferries are considered part of the state highway system, raising issues about the separation proposal. Some legislators already are speaking out – we received this:

The following statement was released by:

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, chair of the Senate Transportation
Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam
Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor
Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan Island
Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch

“Our ferries are part of our state highway system, just like roads, rail and transit. “Isolating the needs in our ferry system and creating another layer of government to address them is not the solution. Users of ferries already pay into the highway system just like everybody else when they pay gas taxes, in addition to ferry fares.

“The state’s not asking Seattle residents to pay special taxes for the tunnel or the 520 bridge. It’s not asking Spokane residents to pay special taxes for the North-South Corridor. It’s not asking Vancouver residents to pay special taxes to pay for the Vancouver-Portland Bridge. Our ferries are no less a part of the state highway system than these projects.

“We need to prioritize the dollars we have. We need to continue working on the efficiencies that we’ve started in the ferry system. And we need a transportation package to meet the needs of our entire highway system as a whole, including ferries, roads, rail and transit.”

West Seattle Weather Watch: Snow chances, again

Aside from two major showers, our last round of possible snow didn’t go much of anywhere. But it’s back in the forecast, so from the “just in case” perspective … The National Weather Service‘s “forecast discussion” mentions two possibilities — showers this weekend, and then one “model” hinting at a “classic snow pattern” around the middle of next week. Too soon to tell for sure, on either count, but forewarned is forearmed.

West Seattle High School invites you to celebrate student art

Not only is next Thursday night — one week from tonight — the monthly West Seattle Art Walk, it’s also a chance to celebrate student art at West Seattle High School.
Fine arts teacher Martha Tonkin says the WSHS Winter Art Expo is set for 4-8 pm next Thursday in the school library:

We will have 200 Drawing & Painting/Ceramics students exhibiting their artwork and ceramic pieces in a large show, judged by 10 professional artists/art instructors. Music, food, a beautiful setting, and a feeling of “celebrating the arts” makes this a fun event to drop in on, as the teen artists are available to speak about their work, similar to an art opening in a gallery setting.

Meantime, another set of student artists showed their work last month. 10 professional photographers judged the work of 60 high-school students at the WSHS Photo Expo in December. Among them, Highland Park’s Dina Lydia Johnson, who also put together a Flickr gallery with more than 60 photos of participants and their work. Here’s one of the winners:

That’s Zaya Wylde-Page, whose work was honored as “most professional.” Next on the winner list shared by the school, Francisco Morseletto, for “most ethereal”:

The rest of the winner list, and the judges and coordinators, after the jump:Read More

West Seattle community centers’ future: Help chart the path

As you might recall from the most recent city-budgeting process, Seattle Parks‘ community centers are under the microscope in an attempt to figure out what role they should have in their neighborhoods, and how they should be run, among other issues. The office of City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw – who chairs the council’s Parks Committee – just sent a reminder that a new team is being formed to come up with recommendations, separate from the budget process, which already has brought major cuts to some centers, including Alki. They want community members on the team as well as city reps, and the application deadline is approaching – Monday afternoon. It’s a short-term commitment; the team’s supposed to make a recommendation to the council this summer. Here’s how to help.

Family, friends searching for missing man in West Seattle

Family and friends of a 24-year-old West Seattle man say no one’s seen him in two weeks and hope you can help them find him. Jeremy Peck was last seen at Admiral Pub around 1 am December 24th, according to his uncle John Peck, who raised him after Jeremy’s birth parents hit tough times. John says, “He had no reason to run off … he’s a good guy.” The family thought it was a little odd he wasn’t home for Christmas, but then when he wasn’t there for New Year’s either, they decided something had to be wrong. So they’ve reported his disappearance to police and are trying to get the word out – they’ll even be fanning out in a “grid search” of West Seattle tomorrow morning. The photo at left, from official ID, is the best one they have; Jeremy is 6’1″, about 177 pounds, light brown hair, brown eyes, and goes by “JP.” He was wearing blue jeans, tennis shoes, and a black waist-length coat over a gray hoodie-type sweatshirt the night he was last seen. If you have any information about him, you can contact police or contact John Peck directly, 206-923-0875 or 206-371-6451.

West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 searches late tonight

12:04 AM: We don’t have much information about either of these but we’re getting some inquiries, so we’ll make brief mention, and will add any information we do get – which might not be till morning: First, there’s been a police search under way on Beach Drive – including the beach itself – for a while, near Me-Kwa-Mooks and further south. We have not been able to find out what sparked the search; police seem to be looking for one person, and a K-9 team is part of the search. We have an inquiry out to the precinct. Meantime, there was an Admiral-area call about possible gunshots; scanner traffic indicates officers thought it might be fireworks, though one resident who heard it begs to differ.

12:45 AM UPDATE: No word back from the precinct but we’ve learned what was heard via scanner re: the origin of the first Beach Drive call that preceded this search – apparently an interrupted car prowl, with someone reportedly threatened with a knife when they confronted the suspect, who then bolted.

West Seattle holiday postscript: Lights donation total; pics request

(WSB video from the light show’s opening night on November 27th)
The traditional 12 Days of Christmas are almost over. And here’s one last bit of holiday news. Jim Winder from the Helmstetler Family Spectacular light show by the Charlestown water tower – – has sent an update on this year’s fundraising, and a request before the holidays get too far in your rear-view mirror. First, the update:

The fantastic people of our West Seattle Community (and beyond) gave the following:

West Seattle Food Bank: $431.00 and 1066 lbs of Food
Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation – $381.00
Pushing Boundaries – $391.00
Brian Teachout – $500.00

And now, Jim’s request – he’s looking for video and photos you might be able to share, as part of something he’s putting together for next year:

I would like to gather up two things:

1) Pictures/videos of dads playing Santa Claus … of course the funnier the better!!

2) Pictures/videos of kids getting their pictures taken sitting on Santa’s lap…would even love some black and white pics from yesteryear…

They can send them to me at

And Jim promises he’ll have video from this year’s spectacular show up soon. Things just got busy.

Video: Blue Angels’ wintertime Seattle visit to prep for Seafair

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels have one jet and two pilots here tonight, as part of Seafair‘s two-day winter meetings, looking ahead to summertime. For WSB, photojournalist Cliff DesPeaux covered the pilots’ arrival today, as well as their media briefing immediately afterward, as you’ll see in his video above. Blue Angels jet #7 is at Clay Lacy Aviation tonight and expected to leave noontime tomorrow. This year’s Seafair air show, featuring the Blue Angels, is exactly seven months away – August 5-7.

Assignment-plan transition back before School Board tonight

The draft transition plan for the second year of Seattle Public Schools‘ new Student Assignment Plan comes before the School Board tonight. (If you’re not attending, you can watch it live right now on cable channel 26.) Reviewing the draft plan today, we noticed it does not include a possible change previously discussed to address West Seattle’s challenges – possible “dual feeder” schools to balance out the two major public high schools’ populations. We checked with West Seattle’s school board rep Steve Sundquist, who confirmed that’s not currently under consideration. We asked him about his view of key points of interest for West Seattle families – read on:Read More

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Alki shooting suspect in court

gavel.jpgWe’re at the King County Courthouse, where 59-year-old Thomas Qualls – the Alki resident accused of firing an assault rifle September 3rd at police who subsequently shot him (original WSB coverage here) – made a brief appearance this afternoon. It was meant to be an update on whether he would enter a plea or proceed to trial. He pleaded not guilty September 22nd to three counts of second-degree assault, with firearms enhancement. Lawyers told the judge today that they are still awaiting key reports, so a decision on what’s next is now pushed back a few more weeks. When last we saw Qualls in the same courtroom three months ago (WSB coverage here), he was in a wheelchair, as he recovered from a gunshot wound to the abdomen; today, Qualls was standing, with the assistance of a walker. He’s been in jail since leaving the hospital five days after the incident, held in lieu of $1 million bail. The proceedings today included a mention of “negotiations,” so it appears a plea bargain is still a possibility.

West Seattle Family YMCA gets new signs, with a new look

In The Triangle, the West Seattle Family YMCA (longtime WSB sponsor) has just put up new signage, with a new look for the first time in more than 40 years. The Y’s Josh Sutton tells WSB it’s about more than just a logo – and other upgrades are in the works:

Over the past few years, Ys across the country, led by YMCA of the USA, found that people love the Y, but couldn’t really name what we do beyond swim, gym & camp. So it’s time to refresh and make sure we communicate better how the Y strengthens the foundations of community.

Our look has changed a couple of times since we came to both the West Seattle Junction and the Fauntleroy communities in the early 1920s. The last time we revamped the Y look was the late 1960s. The new logo comes in five colors and focuses on what most people already call us – the Y.

More important to us than the new look and colors, we want to better communicate the impact of our Y – For Youth Development, For Healthy Living, For Social Responsibility.

When our full-time Y directors at Sealth & West Seattle High Schools help 9th graders to make a successful transition to high school, our Y is For Youth Development.

When cancer survivors get together to exercise and support each other at the Fauntleroy Y, we are For Healthy Living.

When more than 975 Y volunteers give more than 21,000 hours and 2,400 donors chip in to help West Seattle kids in need, we are For Social Responsibility.

We appreciate the enormous support and involvement our Y has in the West Seattle community, and hope that you like the new look! By the end of the month, we’ll have launched a new website that is more easily navigable and brings the new look and message online. Our staff and volunteers are thrilled to share these changes with you, and we look forward to seeing those new Y shirts around the neighborhood!

West Seattle scenes: Hovercraft at Alki today (and Tuesday’s sub)

Thanks to David Hutchinson for the photo of a hovercraft-type vessel that showed up on Alki this afternoon. (Thanks also to Cami for sharing a photo via Facebook.) Not sure yet what it was up to but we’re working to find out! UPDATE: Just a few minutes after we published this, we got a note from Jeff, who says the hovercraft’s skipper was stopping for lunch but didn’t know powered craft were not allowed to come ashore; apparently the arrival sparked several 911 calls, but, Jeff says, the hovercraft’s operator “talked with SPD and was allowed to depart without further actions.” ADDED 5:31 PM: Jeff also shot and published this video – including the hovercraft rising up and heading back out onto the water:

(back to original story) Meantime, a photo from Tuesday – submarine spotted passing West Seattle shores:

Bob Anderson got the photo from his North Admiral backyard; he says the sub was heading northwest.

More ‘contact voltage’: 5 West Seattle/White Center locations

(Photo by Deanie Schwarz, added 5:04 pm – the 1721 SW Roxbury pole)
Seattle City Light has published another update today about its ongoing systemwide streetlight inspections in the wake of “contact voltage” that killed a Queen Anne dog and spooked one in High Point. On Monday, three more West Seattle discoveries were listed; today, SCL announced five more spots were found in our area. From their online update:

Locations where the latest contact voltage was discovered were:

* 1721 SW Roxbury Street [map], 111 volts, a faulty ballast assembly was replaced …
* SW Avalon Way and 35th Avenue SW [map], 104 volts, bad wiring was repaired
* SW Holly Street and 31st Avenue SW [map], 107 volts, a faulty lamp head was replaced
* 4115 SW Arroyo Drive [map], 84 volts, a faulty ballast assembly was replaced
* SW Arroyo Drive and 39th Avenue SW [map], 98 volts, power was disconnected, repairs pending

City Light’s update also says that West Seattle testing has been completed. Their contractors have made it to 37 percent of the city’s streetlights so far.

Special Olympics Polar Plunge returning to Alki on January 29

(WSB video from 1/24/2010 Polar Plunge @ Alki)
Miss last Saturday’s Polar Bear Swim at Alki? Or, liked it so much you’re looking for another excuse to rush into the chilly water of Elliott Bay sometime soon? Good news today – on Saturday, January 29th, Special Olympics of Washington is bringing its Polar Plunge to Alki Beach for the second consecutive year. Last year, more than 350 joined in – triple the participation of the previous non-West Seattle location. WSB is proud to co-sponsor the law-enforcement-organized fundraising event again this year. Here’s where to find information about participating!

ADDED 1:35 PM: You might recall that Chief Sealth International High School‘s group won the “Spirit Award” at last year’s Polar Plunge (photos in our 2nd report from last year). They’re planning to participate this year, and hoping to almost (at least) triple that number. They hope to collectively raise at least $5,000 – you can make a pledge/donation by going here (or if you want to be part of their group, they’re taking signups here).

Repaired West Seattle Water Taxi vessel starts sea trials

(9/26/2010 WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
More than three months after it crashed into the downtown seawall at Washington Street, the King County Water Taxi vessel Rachel Marie is close to returning to service. This morning, King County Department of Transportation spokesperson Rochelle Ogershok confirms that the Rachel Marie begins its post-repairs sea trials today. (Thanks to Eileen for the tip.) The Argosy Cruises boat that used to handle the West Seattle-to-downtown run, the Sightseer, has filled in for most of the runs since the crash, which sent seven people to the hospital last September 26. Ogershok says they should know in a few days when the Rachel Marie will be officially back in service; meantime, a U.S. Coast Guard District 13 spokesperson says the investigation is still “ongoing.”

ADDED 1:26 PM: USCG Lt. Jon Lane provided a little more information about the investigation’s status: He says there will be a formal announcement for the media later this week, saying that Coast Guard investigators have “determined the causal factors” but won’t be able to go public with them “until the investigative report is finalized at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound and then reviewed and approved by Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C.” Lt. Lane says that’s likely to take at least two more months.