day : 22/07/2012 11 results

West Seattle traffic alerts: This week’s big closures start tonight

July 22, 2012 9:28 pm
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 |   Alaskan Way Viaduct | Transportation | West Seattle news

Reminder that southbound 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct will close in about half an hour for the first of five overnight closures scheduled this week – and every week into the fall. Those Sunday through Thursday night’s 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct closures are the biggest traffic alerts for this week – the state explains them here. The week’s full list, broken out day to day, is ahead:Read More

Farewell to Chris Wedes – aka J.P. Patches – 1928-2012


(WSB photo from 2007 West Seattle Grand Parade)
WSB’er Kathleen just sent e-mail to make sure we had seen the sad news that Chris Wedes, best known as J.P. Patches, has died, at the age of 84 – just one day after this year’s West Seattle Grand Parade, a parade in which he had appeared more than a few times, with his final appearance in 2010. Here’s a short story on The Seattle Times (WSB partner).

Checking WSB archives: In February 2008, West Seattle’s then-State Senator, now County Councilmember, Joe McDermott introduced a resolution honoring Mr. Wedes on the 50th anniversary of his TV show.


That picture was shared from Olympia by then-Sen. McDermott, and featured him with Mr. Wedes – who was not in his J.P. makeup – and with McDermott’s cousin Emmett Blake (“Patches Pals and West Seattleites both,” the then-senator noted at the time).

Three months later, in full J.P. Patches regalia, Mr. Wedes appeared at the Admiral Theaterhere’s our coverage (with video). By then, he was already fighting the cancer that has now taken his life.

So far as we can find in our five-plus-years of archives, his final appearances in West Seattle were in 2010. He was at the May 2010 Westwood Village Street Fair. We covered his appearance, but the best photo came later, from Karen, whose friend Kristi got him to pose with her pugs:

He also rode in the 2010 West Seattle Grand Parade:

(July 2010 photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)

ADDED 7:15 PM: The Times has now published a full obituary – read it here.

One more note from here: Back in May, Mr. Wedes’s wife Joan Wedes was an honored guest at the dedication of the new South Transfer Station in South Park. Since JP Patches was also known affectionately as “Mayor of the City Dump,” the city promised a tribute to him at the new building that is about as close as you get to a “dump” these days. (The dedication got little to no coverage in local media [us included] because it was overshadowed by breaking news – shortly after the ceremony ended, Ian Stawicki‘s deadly rampage began.) She’s at right in this photo we took during the dedication:

Though you can’t tell since our photo is a wide shot, Councilmember Jean Godden, sitting next to Mrs. Wedes, was wearing a J.P. Patches button.

8:14 PM: Another West Seattle-raised politician who was a Patches pal, King County Executive Dow Constantine, remembers J.P.:

Several generations of Seattle kids owe a bit of their personality and sense of humor to J.P. Patches. Chris Wedes, sidekick Bob Newman, and director Joe Towey created a remarkable world of improvised comedy that enthralled children and, with an occasional wink or double-entendre, let parents in on the backstage hilarity.

I knew this day would come, but cannot believe that it has. Good night, sweet clown.

ADDED 8:19 PM: Cynthia Reid, who knew Mr. Wedes for many years, also was responsible for bringing him to the West Seattle parade – 1996 was the very first time. She told us, “Even though Chris has been so ill, I just wasn’t prepared for the news today.”

We contacted her after reading her Facebook comment about his death, in which she explained that she was just 5 when Chris Wedes came into her family’s life, visiting her cousin at Children’s Hospital while he was recovering from open-heart surgery. “They told us Craiger wasn’t going to make it after his open-heart surgery, he’d just given up. J.P. came and spent the whole day with him, and even brought his favorite treat, Fudgesicles! Craig found the strength that day to pull thru and we’ve felt indebted to Chris ever since. … Chris was told countless times how much he helped kids who were going thru a hard time with their families. Divorce, abuse, etc, he knew he was the only constant in their lives. And every year during the parade these folks would approach him and thank him. Every story meant so much to him. He KNEW how important it was to the kids, all the kids, and especially the ones who were hurting. Please know how much he cared about each and every kid out there.”

ADDED: Patches Pal Jeff Jones shared memories too, and a photo:

A huge shoutout to my great Patches Pal friend Eric Wiseman for having JP as his special guest for BBQ a few years ago.

I have a Boris S. Wart second-meanest man in the world t-shirt my Mom gave me back in the day.

Coaching girls’ hoops at the rec center, the kids would always ask me who the meanest man was, I said me!

The … picture is me asking JP who the meanest man is, he said, Jonesy, it’s the Principal.

Zippy’s Giant Burgers contest/food-bank benefit: The winner is…

21-year-old Tony Pham of West Seattle is the champ, after the first-ever Zippy’s Giant Burgers (WSB sponsor) burger-eating contest: 8 burgers in 8 minutes. He and his fellow competitors had a sizable audience:

Even Zippy himself (aka Blaine Cook) watched from the sidelines:

At the end, he had an expression of disbelief; second place was a five-way tie, six burgers in eight minutes:

Zippy’s planned to donate the $10 entry fees to the White Center Food Bank.

Followup: Huge ‘Super Post Panamax’ cranes arrive in Elliott Bay

Back on Thursday, we brought you the Port of Seattle’s announcement that three more Super Post Panamax cranes would soon arrive, headed for Harbor Island. Looks like they are now visible in Elliott Bay, according to the photo we received from Don Brubeck.

ADDED MONDAY MORNING: Trevor MacLachlan shares a closer view:

We’re checking with the Port regarding the timeline for when they’ll dock at the terminal on this side. The Zhen Hua 23 is still off Magnolia, according to

Why the helicopter was over Highland Park, White Center early today

Finally got some information about the incident that brought the law-enforcement helicopter Guardian One to the Highland Park/White Center area early this morning – several people called, e-mailed and texted us about it in the 2 am hour, but we couldn’t find out at the time what was going on. Now we know that it involved a report of gunfire near 17th and 98th in White Center – first word of that came thanks to a comment on the WSB Facebook page, and it was confirmed by King County Sheriff’s Deputy BJ Myers, with whom we just talked at White Center Jubilee Days (where we’re tabling today on behalf of our partner site White Center Now). No proof of the reported gunfire, though – nobody hurt, no property damage, no shell casings found. A suspect was reported to have been seen running; deputies did make one arrest of a person who they say had a gun, but no one has identified him as having been involved with the alleged gunfire.

Update: 43,000 diapers today for WestSide Baby’s ‘Stuff the Bus’ – but 315,000 overall!

July 22, 2012 1:00 pm
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 |   How to help | West Seattle news

One more hour to take a diaper donation to WestSide Baby‘s “Stuff the Bus” headquarters in the AmericanWest Bank lot at 41st and Alaska – lots of cheerful volunteers are there to greet you and cheer, from the moment you turn in. By 11 am, they already had 17,000 diapers – one-third of the way to today’s goal. If you bring some, you can honk the bus’s horn – Lucas did:

1:17 PM UPDATE: Nancy Woodland from WS Baby sends word that they were up to 33,000 as of 10 past 1 but need 17,000 MORE by 2 pm – drop everything and go get some if you can!

2:40 PM UPDATE: From Nancy, 43,106 diapers today, but …

215,000 diapers total so far from Stuff the Bus (diapers plus money turned into diapers). plus 100,000 in the match from National Diaper Bank Network.

ADDED: Here’s how the bus looked toward the end of today’s drive:

And at WestSide Baby HQ in White Center, volunteers working hard to sort them:

You can donate any time – here’s how – and smaller drives continue, such as the one at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), where you’ll get a free drink for bringing in a package of diapers before the end of this month!

West Seattle Sunday: Even more of what’s happening today…

We’ve already previewed the Hi-Yu Community Breakfast till 11 (story here) … WestSide Baby‘s “Stuff the Bus” diaper drive 10 am-2 pm (story here) … but here’s even MORE happening in West Seattle and vicinity today:

ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR: At 4480 Fauntleroy Way in The Triangle, Diva Espresso is hosting an arts/crafts fair till 3 this afternoon – details here.

WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: As with every Sunday, you’ll find it at 44th/Alaska till 2 pm.

MEDITERRANEAN FANTASY FESTIVAL: Day 2 at Hiawatha Community Center! Entertainment on indoor and outdoor stages 11 am-5 pm … and vendors galore. Admission free. (Here’s our report from Saturday.)

WHITE CENTER JUBILEE DAYS STREET FAIR/PARADE: Today’s events start with the parade at 11:30 am and continue till the carnival closes at 9; you can find full schedule/event details on our partner site White Center Now.

ZIPPY’S BURGER-EATING CONTEST: Registration started at 10, contest is at 2 pm, at Zippy’s Giant Burgers (WSB sponsor), 9614 14th SW. (Entry fees donated to the White Center Food Bank, which also serves part of WS.)

34th DISTRICT DEMOCRATS PICNIC/SOFTBALL GAME: You never know who’s going to show up (check out our coverage from last year). Picnic starts 3:30 pm, first pitch 4:05 pm, E.C. Hughes Field (map/details in our calendar listing).

BIKRAM YOGA CLASS FOR WEST SEATTLE HELPLINE: 5 pm today, Bikram Yoga Seattle (WSB sponsor; 4747 California SW) is presenting a special class to raise money for West Seattle Helplinedetails here.

Check the WSB West Seattle Events Calendar for today’s complete lineup …

Go get diapers and ‘Stuff the Bus’ with WestSide Baby today!

July 22, 2012 8:20 am
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 |   How to help | West Seattle news

It’s a West Seattle tradition – the day after WestSide Baby rolls a big yellow school bus in the West Seattle Grand Parade, you’ll find that bus pressed into service as a diaper-drive center! Again this year, the WS Baby “Stuff the Bus” drive is happening in the lot at AmericanWest Bank on the east side of The Junction, 4022 SW Alaska, 10 am-2 pm TODAY. Your donations count for even more than the face value, because WestSide Baby has worked hard to get “matching” donations … between today and a variety of smaller drives hosted this summer, they’re aiming to get 50,000 donated diapers matched with 100,000 more from partners. (P.S. If you missed WS Baby’s Nancy Woodland as Grand Marshal in Saturday’s parade, there’s video in our first parade report.)

West Seattle Hi-Yu: Community breakfast today; Grand Parade views

July 22, 2012 7:30 am
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 |   West Seattle Hi-Yu Festival | West Seattle news

This morning, 8-11 am, you are invited to come support West Seattle Hi-Yu by joining in the annual Community Breakfast (at the Alki Masonic Hall, 4736 40th SW, suggested donation $6 adults/$3 kids). It’s been a big week for Hi-Yu royalty and volunteers – especially Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade:

This year’s Junior Court – from left, Princess Elena, Queen Thea, and Princess Amanda – and Senior Court Queen Kayli showed off their synchronized moves while riding on the “Secret Garden” 2012 float. Here’s our video:

If we haven’t said this often enough, ours is the last Seattle community to have “its own” float, and Hi-Yu represents West Seattle in parades around the region, from late spring through fall; community support is vital to keeping it going, though – donations and volunteers. Saturday marked James Kline‘s first year in the parade as Hi-Yu president:

Each year, the designers of the official Hi-Yu button – sold at various major summer events around Seattle – get to ride in the parade too, and this year, that happened to be last year’s Junior Court royalty, so they got a parade encore!

Tonight, Hi-Yu’s float and entourage will be part of the Chinatown Seafair Parade; next Saturday night, look for them in the Seafair Torchlight Parade downtown.

ADDED: One more view of Team Hi-Yu on Saturday – courtesy of J.P. Peck at

One more reminder that the new Web address for Hi-Yu is – where you’ll find an updated calendar and the latest Hi-Yu news.

Seal Sitters and other volunteers clean Alki in honor of Sandy

Despite everything else happening on Saturday, more than 50 took time out to help clean up West Seattle’s busiest beach. From Seal SittersRobin Lindsey:

Seal Sitters teamed up with Alki Community Council and Seattle Parks to sponsor a cleanup of Alki Beach (and Constellation Park) in honor of seal pup Sandy who was found dead, entangled in derelict fishing line earlier this year. Fifty-one passionate people showed up, anxious to do their part to help protect sea life from the dangers of marine debris and trash. Peggy Foreman of NOAA talked briefly about marine debris and specifically about the stranded Arroyos gray whale whose stomach contents consisted solely of human trash.

While the beach did not appear to be as littered as usual on a summer Saturday morning due to a rather rainy Friday, the volunteers (20 Seal Sitters and 31 folks from the community, 6 of those minors) filled about 10 large trash bags. Armed with buckets, bags and grabbers, they picked up plastic bottles and caps, countless cigarette butts, and among other things a kayak paddle, a woman’s black and pink bra and dirty diapers. We even had a family drive all the way from Ellensburg just to pick up trash on the beach. Brooklyn, the “almost” 9 year old daughter, read about seals on our website, saw the post about Sandy and told her mom and dad that she wanted to come help seal pups by cleaning up the beach. We can’t thank everyone enough for helping out today. A minimum of 120 hours were donated this morning (we have not yet tallied the worksheets for an actual figure). All of these volunteers are a true inspiration!

Robin says the photo she shared shows “students from UW’s Environmental Studies program (Kim, Alex, Nick and Ana) who each donated over 3 hours of their time” on Saturday.

West Seattle Grand Parade, report #4: Rotary Kiddie Parade

(Photos by Nick Adams for WSB)
Yet another facet of the interwoven events of Saturday, in connection with the West Seattle Grand Parade, was the Rotary Club of West Seattle-presented Kiddie Parade. Once again on Saturday, the proud participants marched down California from SW Genesee to Edmunds. Or rolled:

First, as usual, they mill about, which is almost as much of a spectacle:

Costumes usually abound:

Always lots of kids in the “main parade,” but this is a chance for little ones to enjoy the being-in-the-parade experience, even if they’re not part of a school, group, church, etc. that has an entry.