day : 04/01/2012 12 results

Board members question ‘option school at Boren’ plan

At Seattle Public Schools HQ downtown: The district proposal to reopen Boren as an “option” elementary school drew fire from 3 board members, including West Seattle’s newly elected rep Marty McLaren. She says she will propose an amendment to remove that from the plan. Two other board members said they had been ‘flooded’ with mail from West Seattleites saying they want a new neighborhood school instead.

This came after district managers admitted a new option school next year likely wouldn’t draw enough from any single school to avoid having to plan for adding portables, saying they thought they would still need the same projected amount of homerooms at the existing elementaries, so they are proceeding with planning for portables and then waiting to check numbers after “open enrollment.” They said they hadn’t proposed a new neighborhood school in the short run because they want to hold off on boundary redrawing as much as possible until the BEX IV levy – to raise more than half a billion dollars to build new schools, among other things – is mapped out.

Board president Michael DeBell warned the other members that trying to appease any one group of constituents creates issues for others. “More to come on this,” as DeBell put it. A vote is scheduled in two weeks – amended or not. We’ll be following up before then. (Our previous report on a staff briefing about the originally proposed Boren-plus-portables-elsewhere is here.)

ADDED: The issue of overcrowding at Chief Sealth International High School came up too; while not part of the “Short-Term Capacity Management Plan,” it surfaced as Sealth staffers spoke during the public-comment period at the start of the meeting, discussing their petition asking the district for more portables (previously reported here). We recorded their remarks on video:

With the remodel a few years back, they lost nine portables and gained five classrooms, but with the student population rising by 400 in the past few years, that wasn’t enough, they said. (As we reported earlier in the day, district administrators say they are considering one portable for Sealth for next year, but won’t make a decision till later this winter.)

ALSO OF NOTE FROM THE MEETING: A lot of hot topics, which is why it didn’t adjourn till 10:45 pm. Transportation guidelines for next school year were approved in the late going; the presentation included a chart of “civil twilight,” so the district can figure out how to make sure its youngest students aren’t walking to or from bus stops in the dark. The only West Seattle mention was the fact that Denny and Sealth are legally required to stagger their start times, so any forthcoming bell-time adjustments would have to work around that fact. … Then there was the issue of rules for schools to get waivers if they want to use instructional material that is not standard-issue, with notable examples including Schmitz Park Elementary‘s use of “Singapore math” (and the resulting achievements). … The board authorized a superintendent search, though some members told interim Supt. Dr. Susan Enfield they are hoping she reconsiders her decision not to seek the permanent job. And one more item:

SURVEY ON ‘SCHOOL DISTRICT LEADERSHIP AND PRIORITIES’: We attended a briefing on this right after the capacity-management-plan briefing this morning. The PowerPoint with toplines is here. Among the research findings – Dr. Enfield had a 65 percent favorable rating from staff, 56 percent from teachers. In other groups, views were more “neutral” – they didn’t know her well enough – than unfavorable. The survey showed an almost-universally positive level of “satisfaction with quality of education” – 73 percent among families, 66 percent among the general public. In terms of “essential qualities of the superintendent” – now that the district is launching a search – “local knowledge” rated the lowest. The highest, after “leadership to staff,” was “education background” – notable since the district has had two superintendents in the not-too-distant past whose backgrounds were elsewhere.

Video: West Seattle HS girls start year with big home-court win

ORIGINAL 8:59 PM REPORT: Last night, the West Seattle High School and Rainier Beach HS boys-varsity basketball teams faced off (WSB coverage here) – tonight, the girls’ teams took their turn. Final score is in from WSB contributor Randall G. Hauk, who says WSHS won, 48-13. We’ll add his full report here later. FOLLOWING WAS ADDED EARLY THURSDAY:

By Randall G. Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Though the weather outside was frightful, the basketball inside was so delightful.

The fans who braved the cold, wind, and rain to take in the first West Seattle High School girls basketball game of the new year were treated to a dominant performance by the Wildcats, who easily handled the visiting Rainier Beach Vikings, winning 48-13.

Although ten different Wildcats scored in the game, defense was the key to victory. West Seattle blanked their guests in the first quarter, resulting in a 14-0 margin and all the points needed to win the game. After yielding 11 points in the second quarter, the West Seattle defense would pitch another shutout in the third quarter, while not allowing another field goal the rest of the night, leaving Rainier Beach to score only two more points after halftime, both on free throws in the fourth.
The victory was West Seattle’s first in Metro Conference play, moving them into third in the Sound Division at 1-3 in conference play and improves their overall record to 3-6. The loss dropped the Vikings to 0-9 on the year.

The highlights:

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Home makeover, anybody? TV-production company’s recruiting

Quick note from Seattle-based Screaming Flea Productions, a Georgetown-based company with more than a few West Seattleites on staff. Your house might be just what they’re looking for. Screaming Flea says it is …

… looking for a home on the market to make over for a national cable home-design show … listings that are challenged, dated, or in need of serious cash. This show involves a complete renovation of a kitchen or a bathroom, and work on 2-3 other rooms as well. Homeowner personality a plus! Filming and makeover will occur beginning of March. Contact Kim Nyhous at

Know a winner? Make ’em one! Westside Award nomination time

January 4, 2012 6:50 pm
|    Comments Off on Know a winner? Make ’em one! Westside Award nomination time
 |   West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news

(WSB photo of Mountain to Sound Outfitters team @ April 2011 West Seattle Chamber awards event)
One year after honoring Mountain to Sound Outfitters (above) as Emerging Business of the Year, Salty’s as Business of the Year, White Center Food Bank executive director Rick Jump as Westsider of the Year, and the West Seattle Farmers’ Market as Nonprofit of the Year – it’s time for the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce to choose its next round of honorees. But they can’t do it without nominations from you! From Shannon Felix:

Who was outstanding on the Westside in 2011? Honor those in our community who make West Seattle a great place to live and work by nominating a business or individual for a Westside Award!

The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce sponsors this annual program to celebrate West Seattle’s entrepreneurial spirit and personal commitment to the Westside. Four categories include Westside Business of the Year, Westside Emerging Business, Westside Not-For-Profit Business of the Year, and Westsider of the Year. Award information and nomination forms are available online at You may e-mail nominations with your name and phone number to: or via fax: 206-938-7437.

Nominations are open to any West Seattle business or individual and due by January 31, 2012, at 5 pm to The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, 3614-A California Ave SW. Seattle, WA 98116. Award recipients will be honored at the Westside Annual Awards Breakfast at Salty’s on Alki on April 18, 2012. For more information, contact the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, 206-932-5685.

New owners of ex-Conner Junction site: Groundbreaking this year

(Sketch of California-facing view taken from project renderings last year)
We’ve just heard from Chicago-based megadeveloper Equity Residential for the first time since the company closed the deal to buy the California/Alaska/42nd site long owned by Charlie Conner. The day the deal was finalized, we’d sent an inquiry looking for comment – no response, but we renewed the request today, and just heard back from Equity spokesperson Marty McKenna.

He says Equity expects to break ground “within the next year.” He also confirms they are going ahead with the project as per the plans already approved by the city, two buildings totaling almost 200 apartments, and says they will honor the agreement made with community members regarding external elements of the project.

The remaining business tenants are renting month-by-month, he says, adding that since the new development “will have a retail aspect,” they’re also open to the possibility that all or some of them might want to be part of it. (Some have already found new locations, as most recently mentioned here just yesterday.) Though the site has its land-use approvals, a demolition permit would have to be sought before any construction could start; you can watch the project’s city webpages for signs of that as the year goes on.

Update: Authorities say autistic teen not missing after all

UPDATE: The autistic Burien teenager reported as missing in White Center turns out to have been safe after all, at Harborview Medical Center. King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. John Urquhart tells WSB that the 15-year-old was found on a roadside by someone late this morning, and was actually at Harborview Medical Center long before everyone realized he was the boy that KCSO asked the public to help find. So bottom line, he’s OK. Our original story is after the jump:

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West Seattle school overflow: Briefing today, meeting tonight

As noted in this morning’s preview, Seattle Public Schools‘ proposal for relieving overcrowding next year – just *next* year; proposals for other years are yet to come – officially goes before the School Board tonight. We’re just back of a media briefing at district HQ, offered as a chance for media reps to ask questions about the plan (see it here), crafted as the district deals with 1,500 more students this year than last, and another 1,000+ jump next year. (Added – video of the briefing, unedited, including the media Q/A:)

For West Seattle, the key component of the plan is spending $3 million to fix up and reopen the former Boren Junior High School (5915 Delridge Way SW) as temporary home of a new “option” elementary school – meaning you have to apply to attend, there is no automatic assignment zone – focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). We asked what happened to the possible Montessori component mentioned at the second community meeting on the topic in West Seattle (late November; here’s our story). While that remains a possibility for West Seattle at some point after next school year, district officials said, they decided they couldn’t ramp up for it in 2012-2013 – particularly because some Montessori teachers elsewhere in the district who at one point were going to have to be moved, no longer need to be.

Boren has been empty for two school years, since serving as the interim home of Chief Sealth International High School during its two-year renovation project (completed in 2010). We asked how many students the district hopes it will serve in its first year; they didn’t have that number handy but promise to get it to us shortly.

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Viaduct/Tunnel project traffic alert: Alaskan Way S. reroute

January 4, 2012 10:26 am
|    Comments Off on Viaduct/Tunnel project traffic alert: Alaskan Way S. reroute
 |   Alaskan Way Viaduct | Transportation | West Seattle news

Since Alaskan Way is part of the surface connection between here and downtown/points beyond, you might be interested in this WSDOT announcement about a reroute taking effect tomorrow (see the map here):

Drivers who use Alaskan Way South along Seattle’s waterfront can expect major changes beginning this week as crews make way for the SR 99 tunnel construction zone.

Washington State Department of Transportation crews will reroute Alaskan Way South between South Main and South King streets beginning at 5 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 5. Drivers will travel on a new temporary roadway located underneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct, while crews use the old roadway to relocate utilities and prepare for tunnel work.

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Tea time! More room at the WestSide Baby tea tables this year

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
No post-holiday-season break for staff and volunteers of WestSide Baby. Last night at their White Center/West Seattle donation center, hundreds of invitations were hand-addressed for WS Baby’s biggest event of the year – the annual Benefit Tea, coming up February 12th (2-4:30 pm). And the big news this year is that the event – whose “table captains” led the way last night – is moving to a new location, after three sell-out years with more than 450 in attendance each time. This year, it’s at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center near Sea-Tac Airport, still close enough for area supporters, but big enough to potentially accommodate hundreds more guests, according to honorary Tea chair Toddy Dyer and WS Baby’s executive director Nancy Woodland:

Other traditions won’t change, according to the official announcement sent by WS Baby, which served 19,000 children last year:

The Tea tradition includes tables set with individual sets of china shared by community members, mimosas, BabyCakes by Avalon Glassworks, wonderful Troll Bead bracelet prizes donated by Wyatt’s Jewelers and, most importantly, an incredible gathering of the community in support of families in need of basic items such as diapers, car seats, clothing and shoes.

The BabyCakes are beautiful blown-glass creations like this one shown at last night’s volunteer work party:

A few more event details:

WestSide Baby has identified areas where the need is not being met – more car seats, diapers, baby wipes, older children’s clothes, strollers and highchairs are needed. “A successful Tea in February will set the stage for planning increased impact for the rest of the year because funds raised directly support our programs and general operating costs. “ according to Woodland.

Keynote speaker Kathy LeMay, author of “The Generosity Plan,” will inspire guests by sharing her personal motto to “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” (Teddy Roosevelt) Ms. LeMay will challenge guests to “lead their most generous life, make a lasting difference, and positively influence the world’s unwritten future.”

Tickets are $30. Tables for 10 range from $250-$500 and business sponsorship opportunities are available. There will be a program, an opportunity to give and time to socialize too. The suggested minimum donation is $100. For more information about the Tea or to purchase tickets or a table, visit or call Jolyn Mason, WestSide Baby Development Director at (206) 686-3124.

Here’s our coverage of last year’s WestSide Baby tea.

West Seattle Wednesday: Schools, trees, jets…

At sunrise Tuesday, Don Brubeck took that photo while pausing on his bike at the fishing bridge along the East Duwamish Waterway. (He says the red-hulled, docked ship is the Norway-flagged Nina Victory.) What’s ahead today? Highlights from the WSB West Seattle Events calendar:

SOUTH SEATTLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE NEW STUDENTS RECEPTION/RESOURCE FAIR: Two sessions, noon and 4:30 pm, in the Brockey Center auditorium – details on the school calendar.

BLUE ANGEL SIGHTING: Blue Angels jet #7 due to arrive for Seafair‘s winter planning meetings, expected on the east side of Boeing Field around 1:15 pm.

SCHOOL BOARD ON REOPENING BOREN: The Seattle School Board will consider the “short-term capacity management plan” (see it here), including the official proposal to reopen Boren Junior High School on Delridge as an “option” elementary school for any and all West Seattle-area students to choose to attend. Meeting is at 6 pm, district HQ in SODO.

SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL: The city’s proposed street-tree ordinance – recently reported and discussed here – is part of what’s on the agenda for tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting, 7 pm, board room at South Seattle Community College (6000 16th SW).

GET FIT WEST SEATTLE: Want to go “from couch to half-marathon”? Check out tonight’s Get Fit West Seattle info/intro night at West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor), 7 pm (California/Charlestown).

PRIDE SKATE: Tonight’s the monthly Pride Skate at Southgate Roller Rink in White Center, 9 pm – the theme, ’70s!

PARTIAL BRIDGE CLOSURE: Another Fauntleroy Expressway closure is scheduled tonight, approximately 9 pm to 5 am, west end of West Seattle Bridge. (Check the cams on the WSB West Seattle Traffic page get a look on the westbound status.)

Video: West Seattle HS boys face state’s No. 1-ranked team

Story and video by Randall G. Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

If “beat the No. 1 team in the state” was a New Year’s resolution for the West Seattle High School boys’ basketball team, they were’t quite able to keep it on Tuesday night, losing 76-53 to visiting Rainier Beach HS.

RBHS brought with them their No. 1 ranking in Washington’s 3A classification, a spotless 8-0 record, and the state’s highest-rated player in Anrio Adams, who is signed to play basketball for the Kansas Jayhawks next season. As if that weren’t enough, ESPN also has the Vikings listed as the 26th-best team in the nation.

Those credentials were on display early and often, as the visitors scored the first seven points of the game and never trailed, saddling the home Wildcats with their first loss of 2012.

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West Seattle Sky Watch: Quadrantids meteor shower tonight

Missed this somehow – until someone just texted to ask about it. There’s a meteor shower out tonight, and we just walked outside to confirm that the sky is – at least right now – mostly clear, so getting a good look is not out of the question. It’s the Quadrantids meteor shower; NASA has lots of information and some live-cam links, here. Their visibility map shows that our area (and everywhere in the “green” zone) should get a good show provided the weather cooperates. Best visibility, says NASA, will start right after moonset, 3 am-ish, and continue till dawn.