day : 15/02/2012 12 results

West Seattle schools: Crowded 1st meeting for K-5 STEM at Boren

That’s only about 2/3 of the overflow crowd that filled the Schmitz Park Elementary cafetorium – and the hallway outside, and even the stage and its stairs – for tonight’s first meeting about K-5 STEM at Boren, the new “option” elementary that Seattle Public Schools plans to open in West Seattle this fall. The district officials who led the meeting, executive director of West Seattle schools Aurora Lora and head of planning and enrollment Dr. Tracy Libros, repeatedly expressed surprise at the turnout. Many questions were asked, many suggestions offered, and additional details emerged. We are heading to HQ, where we will write the full story and also upload video of the entire hour-and-a-half meeting. Lora promised that there will be another meeting soon, “someplace bigger.”

ADDED 11:31 PM: Here’s our video of the entire hour and a half meeting, which began with a short PowerPoint, followed by Q/A:

ADDED 2:57 AM: Now, the key points:

First, one more mention of the crowd. Every seat was full, and more chairs were brought in. People stood against the walls, sat on the stairs to the cafetorium stage, even sat on the floor. From the reactions of Lora and Libros, you might have thought they expected to see about 50; instead, our rough estimate would surpass 300.

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Update: Metro ‘restructuring’ open house @ Madison MS

6:05 PM: The first of three Metro meetings/presentations in West Seattle this week, to provide information/answer questions/accept comments about the revised September route-restructuring plan, is under way. It’s at Madison Middle School (45th/Spokane), and our understanding is that it’s open-house format, so drop by any time, no presentation scheduled. We’ll be there shortly and will doublecheck.

6:40 PM UPDATE: At Madison now. Metro reps confirm it’s open-house format, so just drop in. You have the opportunity to ask questions at a variety of “stations” in the commons area (parking in the south lot, walking into the south entrance and walking down the stairs is how we generally get in), have your comments written on butcher paper = just a handful of comments so far, but two of them are about the concern that South Seattle Community College will be left without direct service to downtown on weekends – or write them on a sheet of paper you can leave behind as you go. They’ll be here till about 8. If you miss this – there’s another one tomorrow, also 6-8 pm and also open-house format, at Chief Sealth International High School (in the Galleria).

Monday trash pickup at your house? Robo-call on the way!

Seattle Public Utilities sent this late today:

Nearly 4300 single-family West Seattle residences – whose garbage, yard waste or recycling collection day is Monday, February 20 – will receive a recorded phone message on Thursday afternoon, February 16, reminding them that collections are on a normal schedule for the President’s Day holiday on Monday, February 20.

The automatic phone message is an opportunity for Seattle Public Utilities to use its outdialer system during a non-emergency event while still conveying valuable information to its customers. From information gathered from using the system, Seattle Public Utilities will be better prepared to convey critical information to members of the public during emergency events.

We think this is a first, but we’re checking.

ADDED 9:49 PM: SPU’s Ingrid Goodwin confirms to WSB that this is a test of sorts:

Yes, this will be the first time SPU is using its new outdialer system. At this point, we haven’t determined if it will be used for regular outreach messages, like holiday garbage pick-up, or if it will be used primarily for emergency communications. That’s something we’ll be evaluating from feedback we receive from our customers and other sources

Spokane Street Viaduct project: Ramp girders finally arrive

One week after our in-depth update on the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project – which has been closing the east end of the West Seattle Bridge most weeknights lately – there’s a milestone of sorts: Crews are starting to install long-delayed steel girders that SDOT said had been holding up the new 1st Avenue South on/offramp. Brad tipped us off via Twitter:

Before stopping nearby for the photo you see above, we sent an inquiry to SDOT, asking if the resumption of work meant those girders were finally arriving. Spokesperson Rick Sheridan‘s reply:

You are correct. The installation of the steel girders for the First Avenue S on- and off-ramp is now underway.

The contractor working for the Seattle Department of Transportation on the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project began this week installing the steel girders necessary for constructing the First Avenue S on- and off-ramp. The installation is taking place during the night.

After much delay, half of the girders required for the ramp arrived from their source in Montana and the contractor expects it will take several weeks to install these. The other half of the girders has not yet arrived. With the full installation of these girders, the remaining construction of the ramp can proceed.

The ramp is expected to be available as an offramp sometime this spring – but not as an onramp from 1st until the project is virtually complete, probably late July. Meantime, construction closures continue – the newest update is here – and keep in mind, this is SEPARATE from the project at the WEST end of the WS Bridge, which is the Fauntleroy Expressway Seismic Retrofit Project, responsible for closures of its own (including all day this coming Sunday). That project too should be complete this summer.

Want to learn Chinese? Hang out ‘on the Corner’

By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Using a concept that originated in China, where people would gather in park corners or on street corners to practice their English, the Seattle Chinese Garden on the north side of the South Seattle Community College campus is hosting a series of “corner” gatherings to teach Chinese language and culture.

The first one is tomorrow.

According to Julia Freimund, program director of the Seattle Chinese Garden, this series is a collaboration between the garden, Chinese Language Teachers of Washington, The Confucius Institute of Washington and Chief Sealth International High School. Instructors from each organization (Freimund, Chunman Gissing, Donna Tang, in photo at right, and Pollyanna Wang, who took the photo) have been creating a curriculum meant to teach Chinese culture and language in a fun, hands-on way.

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Followup: Conversation with K-5 STEM at Boren principal-to-be

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The newly announced principal of K-5 STEM at Boren, the new “option” elementary that Seattle Public Schools intends to open in Delridge this fall, won’t be at tonight’s informational meeting.

But we learned more about Dr. Shannon McKinney‘s background, hopes, and plans, by interviewing her hours after the district announced she had been hired.

While she hasn’t led a STEM-focused school, she feels this is the culmination of much of the work she has done in her career, including a decade as a teacher of mathematics – “Not a math teacher,” she corrects. “I taught students mathematics.”

More from our conversation, ahead:Read More

West Seattle schools: Chief Sealth announces new football coach

A former college football coach will take over Chief Sealth International High School‘s football program. Three months after announcing the school was looking for a new head coach, Sealth athletic director Sam Reed just sent this news release:

Chief Sealth International High School has selected Luther Carr III to be the Seahawks newest head football coach. Carr comes to Chief Sealth with over 18 years of coaching experience, the last 10 in Division I college football.

Most recently, Carr held the position of Wide Receiver Coach at the University of Idaho, and before that served on coaching staffs at both University of Montana and University of Washington. During his time in the college ranks, he has coached and recruited numerous all-league and academic all-American players.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Hit-run damages ‘very loved’ van

Out of the WSB inbox, from Brittney:

Someone hit our parked camper van last night at the top of Erskine Way by the 7-Eleven (in the Junction). It was a pretty bad hit, with the entire front driver’s side being dented from the fender up and the driver’s side mirror being torn off. There must be significant damage to the car/truck that hit our vehicle. The van is an old 1987 GMC camper van, old but low mileage, very nice and very loved/used by our family. We do not insure it in the winter because we don’t drive it, so this damage hits hard. We would very much appreciate someone coming forward and taking responsibility, not necessarily to fix it to new but to at least make it driveable again.

West Seattle Helpline needs new home for its Clothesline – fast!

(West Seattle Helpline photo from a 2009 WSB story)
A local nonprofit that helps people in crisis is now in urgent need of some help – so it can keep providing one of its signature services. West Seattle Helpline executive director Tara Byrne says the Clothesline needs a new place to hang its hat (and coats, and so on), ASAP:

The West Seattle Helpline is looking for a new home for our clothing bank. The building we are currently in is being sold therefore, we must find a new location by the end of February in order to continue serving West Seattle families with clothing during financial hardships. People visiting the Clothesline get 3 outfits, a coat, and a pair of shoes at no cost to them. This free service has been provided by the Helpline for many years and we need help with finding a new location. Ideally, it would be donated or low-cost rental space that is around 800 square feet, on or near a bus line, and located within the West Seattle community. Please contact Tara Byrne at with any opportunities.

Read more about Clothesline (and other WS Helpline services) here.

West Seattle Wednesday: Metro x 2; K-5 STEM; Admiral; more

(Thanks to Teresa for sharing that photo on the WSB Facebook wall, where meteorologist Patrick then explained: “Post-frontal shower activity, Virga visible in this pic and cold air aloft streaming in behind the front”)
Something to say – and/or ask – about the latest route revision proposal from Metro? Tonight you have TWO chances. That’s part of what’s on the list, from the WSB West Seattle Events calendar:

BRIDGE CLOSURES AND OTHER ROAD WORK, AGAIN TODAY/TONIGHT: Same reminders as the past two days: In the Morgan Junction/Lincoln Park area on Fauntleroy Way SW and part of California SW north of M-Junction, it’s the third day of work on the “transit corridor” project to facilitate this fall’s launch of RapidRide bus service. Here’s our on-scene report from Monday, with more details. … Avalon Way again will have restrictions/detours today, 9 am-4 pm, explained here … Two West Seattle Bridge closures overnight again tonight: The eastbound Spokane Street Viaduct, east of the 1st Avenue South offramp, 9 pm-5 am (details here); the Fauntleroy Expressway (southwest end of the bridge) has an overnight closure those same hours, detailed here (and don’t forget that this coming Sunday, THE FAUNTLEROY EXPRESSWAY WILL BE CLOSED ALL DAY, 9 pm Saturday till as late as midnight Sunday night).

JAPANESE-AMERICAN DAY OF REMEMBRANCE: A special event with author Mary Matsuda Gruenewald is scheduled at South Seattle Community College, 11 am-1 pm today (as previewed here), as part of a week of remembrance leading up to this Sunday’s 70th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066. (Read more about the guest speaker in this story from our partners at the Seattle Times.)

METRO’S 1ST WEST SEATTLE OPEN HOUSE: Open-house format meeting about the newest version of the Metro restructuring proposal, 6-8 pm at Madison Middle School (details here)

SWAT TRAINING: If you haven’t yet seen the alert we published earlier this morning – SPD’s SWAT team will train inside the vacant Genesee Hill School, 6 pm-3 am.

K-5 STEM AT BOREN, 1ST INFORMATIONAL MEETING: One day after Seattle Public Schools announced a principal for this new public school opening this fall in West Seattle, the first informational meeting about it is set for 7 pm at Schmitz Park Elementary. (Our followup interview with principal appointee Dr. Shannon McKinney will be published later this morning.)

ADMIRAL NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, ONE NIGHT LATER THAN USUAL: Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, 7 pm, Admiral Congregational Church.

METRO BRIEFING AND MORE AT NDNC: Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meets at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 7 pm, agenda includes presentation by Metro planner Jack Lattemann as well as a discussion of the Seattle Public Library‘s future and city reps talking about the Seattle Comprehensive Plan and Community Technology.

Genesee Hill alert: Seattle Police SWAT training tonight

Neighbors have received a flyer (see it here) about this, we’re told, but just in case it’s noticed by passersby, here’s advance notice: The Seattle Police SWAT team will be training inside the closed Genesee Hill school tonight, from 6 pm till 3 am. SPD trains from time to time on the campus, which was home to Pathfinder K-8 before that school moved to Cooper on Pigeon Point two-plus years ago, and may be the site of a new school within a few years, depending on what the district proposes in the forthcoming BEX IV levy.

Followup: Andrew Borracchini’s bid for bagging glory

(Photos courtesy National Grocers Association)
Though he didn’t make the top 5 at the national championship, Washington State’s “Best Bagger,” Andrew Borracchini from Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) in Admiral, is a winner just the same. The national bag-offs were Monday in Las Vegas, during the National Grocers Association convention, and a 30-year-old woman who works at a Piggly-Wiggly in Wisconsin brought in the bacon (the $10,000 grand prize). Andrew had quite the cheering section (as noted in our preview before his departure), T-shirts and all!

And MM spokesperson Torie McIntyre says that “out of 24 contestants, (Andrew) made it until the Top 5 were chosen. He competed well and represented Metropolitan Market and West Seattle (and Washington!) well.” (Here’s coverage from the Las Vegas Sun and from the Las Vegas Review-Journal – Andrew’s in one of their pix.)