West Seattle, Washington
Story and photos by Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Highland Park’s Seamart convenience store will reopen at 16th/Holden Friday, with new property owners, more than a year after the former building and convenience store’s owner was foreclosed on (as reported here in December 2010), which led not only to the store’s closure but also to the shutdown of JoJo’s Fine Espresso and the relocation of Zippy’s Giant Burgers.
The new owners, partners Saejin Lee and Yungie Sun [above], say they saw a “unique” opportunity in the Highland Park business property. Lee’s family sold their previous Central District store on Jackson (Seven Star) to purchase here in West Seattle. They expect to attract both new and previous customers to their store, and to the new neighboring tenants, Athena’s Gyros (their plan to take over the ex-Zippy’s space was first reported here in mid-February), and an as-yet-to-be-determined coffee stand vendor.
The Design Team for the new K-5 STEM at Boren option school opening this fall in West Seattle has now met twice. We covered its first session (here’s that story) but were unable to go to the second one last night; a community member who did, Kathleen Voss, offered today to share her notes, and we took her up on that offer. Here’s her report:
The design team for the new STEM Elementary School at Boren met for the second time on Wednesday at the John Stanford Center in SODO. With the exception of the new incoming principal, Dr. Shannon McKinney, all design team members were present. Also in attendance were eight community observers who represented parents of prospective students, teachers from a local elementary school, as well as some who described themselves only as “interested community members.”
The meeting began fairly shortly after the 6:15 scheduled start time and opened with an opportunity for public testimony. It was stated that in future meetings, the public testimony portion of the meetings will occur at the end, rather than the beginning, of the allotted meeting time. Only one observer stood to offer commentsm which consisted of a reminder to the design team that there are many interested and committed individuals who are eager to assist the design team in whatever way possible. She suggested that a volunteer coordinator might be helpful in connecting skilled volunteers to some of the extraneous tasks that will emerge and lighten the load of the design team members. The team was also reminded of the fully functioning Yahoo group (groups.yahoo.com/groups/K5STEM) that currently boasts more than 70 links to local STEM resources, numerous research articles, as well as an events calendar.
Public comments were followed by a report from assistant superintendent Dr. Cathy Thompson regarding the Steering Committee’s recent walkthrough of the Boren site.
Thompson said all were pleasantly surprised by the current state of the building after years of hearing horror stories regarding its disrepair. As stated in earlier public meetings, all of the flooring will be replaced and walls will be freshly painted. Discussion is ongoing regarding a space that can be utilized for before- and after-school child care. The school will contain two computer labs (with one located in the library) and two science labs (most likely configured for K-2nd and 3-5th grades). The extra space in the administrative office area may lend itself to a family resource center.
The majority of the meeting was spent identifying and discussing the Key Program Features of the school. While the core values and mission statement will wait until Dr. McKinney’s arrival in early April, the design team took on the task of identifying the “Big Ideas” and big tasks to be accomplished before September.
The first priorities for the next two months are hiring faculty and choosing curriculum materials. Materials needed in September will have to be ordered in May. This timeline includes any waivers needed for non-district endorsed materials.
After hearing a multitude of ideas, Aurora Lora, the Executive Director of Schools for West Seattle, was able to identify seven key areas of focus for the team going forward:
Role of technology
Diverse learning community
Teaching the whole child
Becoming a leader in STEM education
Other items of discussion:
What is project-based learning? Is is the model we want to use?
Subcommittee needed to focus on grants to assure deadlines do not get forgotten.
List of questions to ask when visiting other STEM schools.
Kathleen says the district promised its notes will be up on its website by the end of the week (sometime tomorrow). She also says the team has added a Saturday meeting, 8:30-noon April 7th, and that several members will tour the state’s only currently operating STEM-focused public elementary school, in Bremerton, on April 27th.
That’s a recent view of the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project work zone, with the new 1st Avenue South on/offramp on the right, courtesy of Gatewood pilot/photographer Long Bach Nguyen. Tonight, we have the latest SDOT update on closures planned as part of the project:
The westbound lanes of the Spokane Street Viaduct between I-5 and SR 99 will be closed three nights next week, Monday through Wednesday, April 2-4, from 10 p.m. each night until 5 a.m. the following morning. This will close direct access to West Seattle via the Spokane Street Viaduct from both northbound and southbound I-5. (Motorists traveling southbound on SR 99 will still be able to access the off-ramp to the West Seattle Bridge.)
Southbound traffic from I-5 wishing to travel to West Seattle should detour by exiting I-5 at S Forest Street, turning right (northbound) onto Sixth Avenue S, then turning left (westbound) at S Lander Street, turning left again (southbound) at First Avenue S, turning right (westbound) at S Hanford Street, turning left (southbound) onto East Marginal Way S, and finally turning right (westbound) onto the lower S Spokane Street roadway and across the swing bridge to West Seattle. Northbound traffic from I-5 wishing to travel to West Seattle should exit the freeway at Sixth Avenue S, and then follow the same detour route outlined above.
Other upcoming closures in the immediate vicinity include:
Besides the shops participating in the Spring Fashion Fling, there’s somewhere else you can shop late in The Junction tonight – Twilight Artist Collective in The Junction. Cheryl Robinson sends word they’re staying open late through the end of the week because the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference is in town,and their current group ceramics show “Chimeras” – curated by Eva Funderburgh – is linked to the conference. You can stop by Twilight till 9 tonight and 10 am-9 pm tomorrow.
One week from today, Seattle Public Schools will bring its touring meeting about the BEX IV levy to West Seattle. That levy is meant to generate construction money – as BEX III did (with its projects including the Denny International Middle School rebuild and Chief Sealth International High School renovations). Some of the ideas proposed for West Seattle are new, as first reported in Melissa Westbrook‘s coverage of a School Board work session yesterday on saveseattleschools.blogspot.com.
From the presentation, which you can see here, possibilities include building a new school at Arbor Heights Elementary and merging Roxhill Elementary and Arbor Heights there; building a new school for Schmitz Park Elementary on the Genesee Hill campus; reopening Fairmount Park Elementary (maybe as a permanent home for the school opening this fall as K-5 STEM at Boren); reopening E.C. Hughes (also a possible home for K-5 STEM), which is currently leased to Westside School (WSB sponsor); building an addition to West Seattle Elementary.
No one possible “scenario” includes all of the above; the district is trying to settle on a philosophical direction for the levy. Of the scenarios currently on the table, the cost range for voters would be between half a billion and $855 million dollars. We have a message out to West Seattle’s school-board director Marty McLaren to ask about the briefing.
In the meantime, if you are interested, the BEX IV feedback meeting for West Seattle is next Thursday, April 5th, 6:30 pm, at Denny International Middle School (see the original announcement in our events-calendar listing). Whatever form the levy takes, it will go to voters next year.
ADDED 11:38 PM: We haven’t heard back from Marty McLaren yet, but a WSB’er did forward us a post on her public e-mail discussion list in which she addressed the BEX IV proposals (we didn’t know about the list but we’re subscribing now – subscription info is here). Read on for the entirety of her post, which includes a little more background on the AH/Roxhill merger rationale, and dates/times for her 3 upcoming community conversations:Read More
“Mor Yay” is the first video by Branden Daniel and The Chics, released in advance of their debut album “Keep ‘Em Flying,” which comes out in early May. And the video has lots of West Seattle flavor. First – if you watch it, you’ll see Alki backdrops and other West Seattle scenery (plus a few other Seattle spots). Second – five-year-old Hayes, who’s in almost every scene, is a student at Holy Rosary; his proud mom Kelly – who also happens to be married to the young star’s dad, lead singer/guitarist Brendan Daniel – e-mailed to let us know about the video. She says lifelong West Seattleite Matt Winter, The Chics’ drummer – produced and edited the video. In a news release about the video, Brendan explains, “When Hayes was 2 years old, some of his first words were ‘mor yay.’ This is what he called the music I played on my guitar, because people would clap and say ‘yay’ after a performance.” You can preorder the album online, by the way.
Three weeks ago, a WSB Forums member started a discussion there about a $100 fee charged by Highline Medical’s West Seattle Urgent-Care Clinic that was not covered by her insurance. Among discussion participants, much discussion and research followed. The thread was called to our attention, and we sought a response from Highline, as the questions continued to pile up. Today, we have that response from Highline Medical Group’s administrator, confirming that this is a fee charged “for the higher costs of operating an urgent care facility during weekends and evening hours, when there is irregular demand for services,” and saying they are working to get more insurance companies to cover it – with another group coming on board next month, Regence. (Highline is not the only health-care organization with an urgent-care charge, according to one post in the discussion.) Read on for the statement:Read More
Shown off at the Highland Park Action Committee meeting last night – HPAC’s new info-card, which you’ll see at events like the upcoming Gathering of Neighbors – a quick way to find out more about the group and the neighborhood. Also from last night’s meeting, a crime-trends briefing, a “greenways” discussion, and the Highland Park Huddle – read on for the toplines!Read More
Another update on something we’ve been tracking for about 2 months – the list of stores in West Seattle planning to sell hard liquor, once privatized sales start on June 1st. Two more applications have just appeared on the state Liquor Control Board‘s website, bringing the total so far to 14 prospective liquor-selling stores in West Seattle, which currently has two state-run stores.
Newest West Seattle applications: Both Rite Aid stores – Westwood Village and California SW south of The Junction.
Previously reported West Seattle applications: Metropolitan Market in Admiral (WSB sponsor), Bartell Drugs (Admiral and Jefferson Square stores), Walgreens (16th/Roxbury and High Point stores), Target (Westwood Village), West Seattle Thriftway, QFC (Junction and Westwood Village stores), Safeway (Admiral, Jefferson Square, Roxbury stores)
Remember, this is NOT the final list of who’ll be selling liquor in West Seattle – sales can’t start before June 1st, and qualifying businesses can apply at any time. (Before last week’s update, we checked with PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor), which hadn’t decided.)
Also checking in on the auction for the current state-store locations’ licenses: Bidding started at $1,000 each, as reported here March 8th – the Westwood-location license is up to $4,050, while the Junction-location license bidding is up to $7,100. Bidding is also open for all locations’ licenses together, and that’s now at $551,100, more than double what it was last week. Bidding continues into April.
Thanks to David for that view of the work under way this stormy morning in The Junction, as crews continue work on stations and stops for Metro’s RapidRide C Line, replacing Route 54 this September. Meantime, here’s what we’ve dug up from the remodeled WSB West Seattle Events calendar for today/tonight:
DONATE BABY ITEMS FOR ‘MOBILE TWEETUP’ STOP @ NURTURING EXPRESSIONS: WSB sponsor Nurturing Expressions in The Junction (4746 44th SW) is a scheduled stop for today’s “Mobile Tweetup” as KIRO TV’s Jenni Hogan collects donations for babies whose families are in need, 10 am-1 pm. Full details (and Jenni’s Twitter link!) in our calendar listing.
FREE WINE TASTING: West Seattle Cellars‘ weekly Thursday night tasting, 5:30 pm-8 pm, featuring their April Collector’s Club wines and two bonuses. WSC says: “We’ve got a wine with familiar grapes from an unexpected place; a grape we’d never even heard of, but found irresistible; and more.” Details of tonight’s tasting are here.
SEE CAFE ROZELLA’S NEW LOOK: The coffee shop and gathering place at 9434 Delridge Way SW has an all-new look, and is showing it off with a “reopening” party 6-9 pm (though it hasn’t been closed), everyone invited.
HELP CRAFT AN ARTS PLAN FOR SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS: The district is touring the city gathering public comments on an arts-education plan, and wants to hear from West Seattleites at 6:30 tonight, Chief Sealth International High School. (Full details on this listing’s page from the WSB calendar.)
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ‘AFTER HOURS’: Joined the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce yet? Tonight’s the monthly “After-Hours” mingle event, this time at Global Diving and Salvage, 3840 West Marginal Way SW, 5:30-7 pm.
FREE ‘BRING THE SPA HOME’ CLASS AT SHANTI: Tonight, learn how to do at-home hand and foot treatments! 6 pm Thursday, a free class to help you work a little spa style into your home life, at Shanti Salon and Spa (WSB sponsor) in the Admiral District, 2138 California SW.
SANISLO PTA – PROSPECTIVE FAMILIES WELCOME TOO! 6:30-7:30 pm in the Sanislo Elementary library (1812 SW Myrtle). Child care provided.
CRIME TRENDS AND CRIME PREVENTION IN NORTH DELRIDGE: Live between the bridge and Boren? You’re invited to a community meeting with Seattle Police leadership at 7 tonight at the Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster). Our preview from earlier this week explains what it’s about.
WESTSIDE BURLESQUE AT SKYLARK: 9 pm – West Seattle’s only regular burlesque revue. Ticket info here. Skylark’s at 3803 Delridge Way SW, just south of the West Seattle Bridge.
Amy French from Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) shares the story of a “living history lesson” this week: Suma Yagi is an EW student’s great-aunt, and visited the 7th-grade American History classes to read her poetry and talk about what she went through during the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans 70 years ago. Amy writes:
When Suma was 14 and a freshman at Garfield High School, war broke out with Japan and President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of Japanese Americans across the Pacific coast with Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. After having eight days to pack-up and leave their Central District home, her American-born family faced internment for over three years at two camps.
After her family was released, she moved on with her life as a high school student and her family rarely mentioned their time in the internment camps. Only when Suma was in her sixties and taking a writing class, did she start to capture and share these stories. Suma finished each classroom session by answering a series of questions that the students had prepared. The Explorer West 7th graders had been studying WWII and had completed some background reading on the internment.
The Explorer West community respectfully thanks Suma for so graciously sharing her living history with the 7th grade students.
There’s more about her story and her visit on the school’s website.