day : 06/04/2012 10 results

Meet West Seattle’s Tracey Spenser, new black belt at 51!

(Photo by Jackson Spenser)
By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

It was both a record-breaking and board-breaking evening at Lee’s Martial Arts in West Seattle: Three students tested for their Tae Kwon Do black belts, including the oldest woman ever to test at Lee’s.

Tracey Spenser is 51 years old. Her testing colleagues, Megan Veltman and Jesse Simpson, are 19 and 17 respectively.

Tracey started studying Tae Kwon Do four years ago, after enrolling her seven year-old son in the LMA program. She thought, “That looks like fun, I wish I could do that.” She was concerned that, then 47, she would be too old to start such a program, but after noticing the wide age range of students, including some with white hair, she decided, “If they can do it, so can I.”

And she has — in less time than most people take to achieve their black belts.

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Girls Rock Math summer camps: Welcome, new WSB sponsor

(8/14 note: To check whether a business is still a current WSB sponsor, please go here)

Spring arrives and many families’ thoughts turn to … summer camps! A unique West Seattle camp program has just joined the WSB sponsor team, and Jessica Johnson wants you to know all about her program Girls Rock Math.

First, a bit about Jessica, who says her camps are fulfilling a dream she never knew she had! “As a girl, I loved math until 3rd grade, when we focused on memorizing our multiplication tables. At that time, I struggled. I recall crying as we practiced flashcards at home, unable to remember the facts, and hiding my papers in class- embarrassed that I didn’t pass. I never found a love of math again until I was getting my Masters in Education and learned about how people actually learn mathematical concepts! Now I know that studies show that girls perform better on tasks that involve problem solving, and often get more correct answers, but tend to work more carefully and slowly than boys.”

Fast-forward to what she is going to be doing in West Seattle this summer:

“I’m really excited to be offering Girls Rock Math camps for girls entering 1st through 6th grade, at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in July and August. Our camps are arts-based, social, and collaborative, mirroring the ways that may girls learn best. Each week has a different theme- from famous artists to fashion design- with mathematics concepts ranging from counting to algebra.

“My goal is to empower girls to feel confident in their math abilities, and develop a love of math! Studies have shown that girls lose interest in math as they get older due to the social stigma that math is ‘for boys.’ Girls Rock Math is dedicated to helping girls find meaning and joy in mathematics through creative, playful and meaningful math exploration.” Find out how to enroll, at (And check out the coupon on the WSB Coupons page!)

We thank Girls Rock Math for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news on WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.

West Seattle Easter weekend: Saturday egg-hunt lineup

in case you haven’t seen them all on the remodeled WSB West Seattle Events calendar, there are FIVE egg hunts tomorrow, including the big new combined West Seattle Community Centers mega-event- remember that big combined event REPLACES the individual centers’ egg hunts from past years:

(Louisa, photographed at the 2011 Thriftway egg hunt)
West Seattle Thriftway Easter Egg Hunt, 9 am Saturday, ages 1-10. More than 50,000 eggs. Free; 4201 SW Morgan (California/Fauntleroy).

Life Care Center of West Seattle Easter Egg Hunt, 11 am Saturday. Easter Bunny photos too, and they’re expecting to have a local fire engine as well! Free; 4700 SW Admiral Way.

Eastridge Church Easter Egg Hunt at Lincoln Park, 11 am Saturday. Also includes games, bouncy slide. Free.

West Seattle Community Centers’ Spring Egg Hunt (and more!) event (follow that link for the COMPLETE schedule), 11:30 am-3 pm Saturday. Egg hunts for all ages, bouncy rides, Caspar Babypants concert. New this year – a West Seattle-wide event replacing the previous years’ concurrent egg hunts at multiple centers. $3/person in advance (buy wristband at West Seattle/South Park community centers), $5 same-day (yes, we and readers have been told, a wristband is needed for adults as well as kids), Southwest Athletic Complex, 2801 SW Thistle.

Villa Heidelberg Easter Tea and Children’s Egg Hunt, 2 pm Saturday. Reservations required – call 206-938-3658 (4845 45th SW).

West Seattle traffic alerts: Bridge & 99 closures after this weekend

In addition to this weekend’s Alaskan Way Viaduct/Highway 99 closure – planned for 11 pm tonight till 5 am Monday, between the Battery Street Tunnel and West Seattle Bridge – more closures have been announced for next week, on 99 *and* the Spokane Street Viaduct:

*Next Monday night (April 9-10): Eastbound Spokane Street Viaduct closed 10 pm-5 am. (That’s the WS Bridge between 99 and I-5.) Some surface changes too – explained here.

*Next Tuesday AND Wednesday nights: Eastbound Spokane Street Viaduct closed 10 pm-5 am, ALSO southbound SR 99 between the Battery St. Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge will close the same hours.

*The big move of ALL Spokane Street Viaduct traffic onto the new (north side) structure might happen as soon as next Thursday. All four lanes of traffic – two each way – will be on what will eventually be the westbound-only side, while the old structure on the south side gets fixed up for the final rejoining when everything’s done “in late summer” (new estimate).

During this time, the 1st Avenue South eastbound offramp will remain open, but the 4th Avenue South offramp will be closed. Details here, including some added changes on the surface streets.

Undefeated, a bit unsung, Chief Sealth boys-soccer team on a roll

(UPDATE: Sealth won this afternoon’s game, 5-0, and remains undefeated. Video later.)

By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

It’s not all glamour being an undefeated, state-ranked high-school varsity-sports team.

No band, no cheerleaders, no confetti thrown as they arrive at school each day.

Not that the members of Chief Sealth International High School‘s boys-varsity soccer team (7-0-1) are complaining. Not at all.

Too much fuss would be weird, concur the five student athletes with whom we spoke on Thursday morning, as they looked ahead to their next game, 4 pm today at Southwest Athletic Complex vs. Rainier Beach.

All five are upperclassmen – in our top photo, front row from left, Aden Fidow (senior, forward); Simon Crean (senior, outside midfielder); Kristian Nilssen (junior, goalkeeper); back, from left, Brandon Rosario (senior, center midfielder, a team captain), Mori Tsuchiya (junior, center midfielder).

We won’t get into the “Cinderella story” clichés, because that’s not the case here – years of hard work, by players and coaches – including veteran Head Coach Ron Johnson – are simply paying off, as the season reaches the midpoint.

“We saw a good year coming – but didn’t know HOW good,” Simon allows.

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Along West Seattle’s gateway, Walking on Logs needs you!

(Click to see full-size plan, including added text)
You can help beautify a key gateway to West Seattle. The volunteers who have been working for years on an improved landscaping plan – as reported here last summer – for the area around Walking on Logs have a plan, and two dates, and are asking for help. From Nancy Driver:

After much planning and a few hiccups, we are excited to announce that the new landscaping for the Walking on Logs site will be installed later this month on Saturday, April 21st, and Saturday, April 28th. Walking on Logs Landscape Restoration Group [WOLLRG] obtained final sign-off from SDOT for our landscaping plan in November 2011 (planting plan is attached).

On April 21 we will be at the site laying out the planting diagram and using augurs to dig the holes for the trees and shrubs that will be going in on the following Saturday, April 28. We are seeking additional volunteers to help with the work. For Saturday, 4/21 we need a dozen or so very able bodied volunteers to work in two hour shifts to handle the two-person augurs; we will also need volunteers for blackberry removal, trash pick-up and bagging up green waste for disposal. For Saturday 4/28, we will need volunteers, again in two hour shifts, for additional blackberry removal, putting trees and shrubs into the ground, applying soil amendments, staking trees, and collecting and bagging green waste for removal.

Safety goggles and ear plugs (as needed) will be supplied as well as safety vests for all volunteers. Anyone willing to help with blackberry removal will need to bring their own sturdy leather gloves. We have a small supply of cotton gloves for use in other tasks. All volunteers should be aware that the site is not easy to negotiate. In addition to the steep slope, the ground is uneven and will be quite muddy. If you are interested in volunteering, please e-mail us at to let us know which date(s) and time(s) you are available and which tasks you are able to help out with. We will get back with you to confirm dates/times and provide additional details. Thanks!

P.S. This project is funded in part by a Neighborhood Matching Fund award from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Funding was also provided by the West Seattle Garden Tour and numerous West Seattle residents. WOLLRG is very thankful and amazed by the support we’ve received for this project.

‘Sidewalk closed, but businesses open’: Junction reminder

Cheryl from Twilight Artist Collective in The Junction, on SW Alaska just west of Easy Street Records, wants to make sure you know that despite the sign, their business (and the others to the west) IS OPEN while the neighboring bus shelter gets its RapidRide-related makeover.

West Seattle Friday: Viaduct weekend closure begins tonight…

(WSDOT photo of work to build the northbound 99 bridge south of The Viaduct. *Not* why it’s closing this weekend, but cool pic)
It’s Good Friday and the first night of Passover – and the Alaskan Way Viaduct is scheduled to close for the weekend at 11 pm. Here are highlights from the WSB West Seattle Events calendar listings for today (see the full set here):

ALASKAN WAY VIADUCT CLOSED ALL WEEKEND: Scheduled for 11 pm tonight through 5 am Monday (and of course we’ll let you know IF it ends sooner) – they’re doing work to reinforce The Viaduct in advance of future tunnel construction; this work started during the previous weekend-long closure last month.

TOUR THE C-SPAN ‘ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE’ BUS: It was at Chief Sealth International High School yesterday, and today 2:30-4:30 pm it’ll be at High Point Neighborhood Center, open to anyone (particularly youth) interested in touring it. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)

CHEER STATE-RANKED LOCAL STUDENT ATHLETES: Speaking of Sealth, its undefeated, #9-in-the-state boys’ varsity soccer team hosts Rainier Beach at 4 pm today at Southwest Athletic Complex. (2801 SW Thistle; watch for our closeup report about the team later today)

SEDER AT KOL HANESHAMAH: A “family-friendly, interactive” Seder marks the first night of Passover at Kol HaNeshamah, 5:30 pm. Details here.

HI-YU BRU DEBUT: The newest West Seattle/White Center charity-fundraiser beer debuts at multiple venues tonight, 6 pm. Details here.

SHAKESPEARE DINNER THEATER: 6 pm at The Hall at Fauntleroy, dinner and a play! Details here.

‘THRIVE THROUGH CANCER’ FUNDRAISER: A new support organization to help young adults through their battle with cancer, started by West Seattle cancer survivor Rose Egge, has a kickoff fundraiser at Bin 41 in The Junction tonight, 6-8 pm. Details in our calender listing.

HIGH POINT NEIGHBORHOOD NIGHT: 7-8:30 pm at HP Neighborhood Center, resource tables, refreshments, and West African music and dance by Gonsango. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)

‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’: Madison Middle School‘s first musical has the first of two performances tonight, 7 pm – details here.

WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE DAY REGISTRATION CONTINUES: Into the fifth day of registration, and we have about three dozen sales so far – join the fun 9 am-3 pm Saturday, May 12th – details here, including the link to the registration form.

Update: Brief police standoff ends at Luna/Anchor Park

7:33 AM: Developing story on Harbor/Alki – someone described by police as “suicidal and armed with a gun” is in a standoff with them just north of Don Armeni and at least part of Alki/Harbor is blocked off. SPD spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson says negotiators are on the way as is SWAT. We will have reports from the scene shortly but needless to say, avoid the area. Det. Jamieson says nobody has been hurt so far.

7:39 AM UPDATE: Multiple reports narrow the area down to Luna/Anchor Park. Buses are being turned around.

7:53 AM UPDATE: Traffic is being allowed through the area again, according to our crew at the scene – the person apparently followed through with his threat, according to a witness who lives across the street. A photo she sent shows a yellow tarp where the person had been standing on the northwest corner of the Luna/Anchor Park pier. (She also sent the photo shown atop this story.)

If you or someone you know is thinking of or threatening self-harm, the 24-hour Crisis Clinic hotline for King County is 206-461-3222.

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
All this had unfolded over the course of less than an hour – police first got the call just after 7 am, Det. Jamieson had told us during our original call.

ADDED 9:46 AM: There’s no information beyond what we have already reported, but for those interested, here is the official police summary on SPD Blotter.

ADDED EARLY SATURDAY: David DeSiga shared this photo from sunset Friday at the spot where this all happened:

Video: Arbor Heights questions dominate school-levy meeting

Just getting Arbor Heights Elementary rebuilt isn’t enough, community members told Seattle Public Schools officials during the BEX IV levy community briefing/comment meeting Thursday night at Denny International Middle School – it needs to be rebuilt sooner than the possible 2018 date mentioned in draft proposals. “We can’t wait,” said one mom. (District officials acknowledged that capacity issues are taking precedence over school-condition issues in planning of this levy.)

If you’re looking for touchpoints in the video – the first 26 minutes were taken up by procedural points and backstory; then there were 8 minutes of presentation about the 3 currently proposed options (see them here), bringing the video to the 34-minute mark, at which point the district officials on hand began answering questions, first written, then, at 48 minutes into the meeting, open-mike.

Following up on the Tuesday night meeting at Arbor Heights (WSB coverage here) at which AH and Roxhill Elementary‘s principals expressed surprise that two of the three first-draft “options” call for closing Roxhill and “merging” it into AH, assistant superintendent Pegi McEvoy acknowledged that what started as an idea in casual conversation was “moving fast.”

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