month : 07/2012 308 results

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
|    Comments Off on Update: 43,000 diapers today for WestSide Baby’s ‘Stuff the Bus’ – but 315,000 overall!
 |   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
|    Comments Off on Go get diapers and ‘Stuff the Bus’ with WestSide Baby today!
 |   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
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Hi-Yu: Community breakfast today; Grand Parade views
 |   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.

From the ‘in case you wonder’ file: Lantern launch moved

In this morning’s “West Seattle Saturday” preview, we mentioned the scheduled Alki launch of “sky lanterns” as a fundraiser for youth arts education. Seems the wind on Alki was not conducive to a mass lantern launch, and organizers announced via Twitter they were moving to the south end of Lincoln Park and planning to send up the lanterns around 10. So we’re mentioning it in case anyone in that area is taken by surprise.

West Seattle Grand Parade, report #3: Officer John Bernasconi’s last ride

(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
When Seattle Police Officer John Bernasconi pulled his motorcycle up to the curb near the start of the West Seattle Grand Parade route this morning, to join the Drill Team as its leader for one last ride, a colleague joked, “Hey, this is seniors’ parking.”

The officer laughed. Within an hour, there would be time for more somber emotions – though the hugs and handshakes began long before he and his colleagues reached the California/Charlestown intersection where a ceremony was planned to mark his last ride.

This year, he is retiring, not just from the Drill Team after 36 years (12 as Drillmaster), but from the force after 43 years. We told his story here on Thursday,

Though he has worked from the downtown-based Traffic Division, those who speak fondly of him include Southwest Precinct leadership past and present – Traffic Division vets – current commander Capt. Steve Paulsen, past commander Capt. Joe Kessler (who now leads the West Precinct and was at today’s ceremony), current operations Lt. Pierre Davis. “He is just the nicest guy” is something we heard often.

And fittingly for a nice guy, though the morning was a tribute to him, he brought the gifts – bouquets of flowers for his wife Cindy, daughter Alexandra (visiting from Australia), and his mom (visiting from California). Our nine-minute uncut video shows how the farewell unfolded:

(That video is by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand; for a shorter clip, see Christopher Boffoli‘s video here.)

What made this particularly unusual was the fact it was held during the West Seattle Grand Parade – Officer Bernasconi’s choice, because he is a native West Seattleite, and it’s where he and Cindy, married 28 years, raised 23-year-old Alexandra:

Then after applause and more hugs ..

…off he rode:

…while his teammates, and their counterparts from Vancouver, B.C. – who as shown in our long clip also stopped to pay tribute – continued the parade.

Happening now: West Seattle Outdoor Movies’ 2012 debut

July 21, 2012 8:17 pm
|    Comments Off on Happening now: West Seattle Outdoor Movies’ 2012 debut
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle Outdoor Movies

The crowd continues to grow in the courtyard next to Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), home to West Seattle Outdoor Movies, which opens its 2012 season tonight at dusk (an hour and a quarter or so away) with “Pretty in Pink.” Admission is free but bring $ for raffles and concessions, which always have a beneficiary – tonight, WestSide Baby:

Yes, that’s WS Baby’s executive director Nancy Woodland handling the popcorn machine, hours after a fun ride in the West Seattle Grand Parade as its Grand Marshal (see video in our first parade report). Tomorrow’s a huge day for WS Baby too – its annual Stuff the Bus diaper drive; bring diaper donations to the AmericanWest Bank lot at 41st and Alaska between 10 am and 2 pm. Back to movie night … the team from longtime WSB sponsor Dream Dinners is serving up jambalaya:

Always a fun time. West Seattle Outdoor Movies (with co-sponsors including WSB) continue every Saturday night for five more weeks after this – see the schedule at

Video: 300 in 1st-ever pre-parade West Seattle Float Dodger 5K

(Video of the race’s start and first 2 photos, by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
About 300 people ran and/or walked in the first-ever West Seattle Float Dodger 5K, a kind of opening act for the West Seattle Grand Parade, was a big success, reports Tim McConnell of West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor), which played a big role in making it happen. Tim and wife/co-proprietor Lori McConnell both participated, too, in costume (which was encouraged):

The race started under cloudy skies, but no rain:

The “float dodging” happened after participants walked/ran the first leg of the race, north from California/Charlestown to California/Lander, the starting line of the parade – where the West Seattle Hi-Yu float was parked, minus royalty, for them to run around:

(WSB photo by Tracy Record)
From there, they ran southbound along the entire parade route to the finish at California/Edmunds. The results are available online now – go here. The top male finisher was 29-year-old Mark Mandi, with a net time of 15:28; top female finisher was 30-year-old Bekka Martin, with a net time of 20:17. Other winners included the beneficiaries, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Rotary Club of West Seattle, whose members helped with race staging/organizing – here’s Gary Potter of Potter Construction (WSB sponsor) with some of the course markers:

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
This was one of two Rotary events on parade morning – the other was the Kiddie Parade; photos from that are coming up. Run for Good Racing Company was a partner in making the Float Dodger 5K happen, too. So far, sounds like the first one won’t be the last – so watch for the registration announcement next year!

West Seattle Grand Parade 2012, report #2: The winners!

(Our 1st parade report is here; our pre-parade coverage is here)

(WSB video of the All-City Band, top Overall Trophy Winner today)
Just announced by West Seattle Grand Parade coordinators – today’s winners!

Clowns & Comics

1.       Seattle Seafair Clowns
2.       Keystone Kops

Performing Acts

1.       Pathfinder K-8 School (Unicycle Team)
2.       Lake City Vigilantes
3.       Seattle Seafair Pirates

Marching Bands

(Photo by Dan Holz)
1.       Kennedy Catholic High School Marching Band

(This photo and next one by Nick Adams for WSB)
2.       Seattle Seahawks Blue Thunder
3.       Pacific Northwest Drumline (Tie)

3.    Seattle Police Pipe & Drum Band

Drill Teams – Senior

1.       Electronetts High Steppers Drill Team & Drumline
2.       The Dolls Drill Team
3.       Super Steppers Marching Team

Drill Teams – Junior

1.       Electronetts Butterflies Drill Team
2.       Washington Diamonds Drill Team
3.       Daughters of Royalty Drill Team

Cars & Antique Cars

(Photo courtesy Lance Rasmussen)
1.       Pacific Northwest DeLorean Club
2.       Last Resort Fire Department
3.       Seattle Lutheran Schools


1.       Your Seattle City Light and the Northwest Tap Connection Dance Team
2.       Luna Park Café
3.       Seattle Public Utilities


(WSB video of part of the OLG parade entry)
1.       Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish & School
2.       Little Gym of West Seattle

(Photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
3.       WestSide Baby


1.       Marysville Strawberry Festival

Overall Trophy Winners

1.       Seattle Schools All-City Marching Band (see video atop this story)
2.       Chinese Community Girls Drill Team
3.       Sumner High School Marching Band

Happening now: 25th annual Mediterranean Fantasy Festival @ Hiawatha

July 21, 2012 3:18 pm
|    Comments Off on Happening now: 25th annual Mediterranean Fantasy Festival @ Hiawatha
 |   West Seattle festivals | West Seattle news

(Troupe Rashaad from Lacey, at Medfest this afternoon)
ORIGINAL SATURDAY REPORT: Steps away from where the West Seattle Grand Parade (WSB coverage here) began just a few hours ago … another big event is continuing till 7 tonight (and again tomorrow). Belly-dancing is the main event at the Mediterranean Fantasy Festival – Medfest for short – in and around Hiawatha Community Center; it’s celebrating its quarter-century anniversary this time! Shopping and browsing are popular too:

Admission is free. Performers and vendors come from all over the region – the schedule is online, but you also can get a program at the festival – browsing the copy we picked up, we’re seeing performers from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, even Rhode Island, as well as here in Washington. There are indoor and outdoor performances, till 7 tonight, and 11-5 on Sunday. The Babylonian Ensemble co-sponsors the festival, along with the Hiawatha Advisory Council (which benefits from the vendor fees, to help pay for center programs).

ADDED POST-FESTIVAL: A Sunday photo shared by Dina Johnson (who designed the MedFest banner in the photo):

Dina says Tiffany, at left, “is a Tribal Bellydancer from West Seattle, one of Troupe Hipnotica’s (very accomplished) students. Saroya, who grew up in West Seattle, has been co-producing MedFest for 25 years now.”

West Seattle Grand Parade 2012, report #1: First look

(WSB pre-parade coverage is here; our report on the winners is here)

It’s 12:33 pm as we publish this – almost 2 hours after the West Seattle Grand Parade began with the Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team, almost 3 hours after the Float Dodger 5K preceded the parade down the course – and even here at the starting line, California/Lander, the parade isn’t over yet. About 10 minutes ago, the Seafair Pirates took their turn heading down the route, and we caught their first cannon blast on video (above). The very start of the route is a great place to watch – especially if you like to see a bit of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering; for parade participants (we’ve been in it three times), getting the signal to move onto the route is a thrilling moment – here’s Lora Swift from Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), atop her Mini looking out of, of course, a coffee cup:

Just before we walked up to photograph the Hotwire entry, Lora e-mailed us this photo from HER viewpoint atop the cupmobile:

Sustainable West Seattle has, of course, a human-powered entry again this year:

And while the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums were marching for their first appearance in this parade, the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flew over (as of the Monday night parade-lineup meeting, it had been requested, but it’s never a sure thing; an emergency might call for it) – it’s at the end of this short clip:

And of course there was royalty! One of the Seafair princesses was Kelsey Bills, representing West Seattle Hi-Yu in this year’s Seafair Scholarship Program for Women

Will she become queen? We’ll find out just before next Saturday night’s Torchlight Parade. Meantime, Hi-Yu’s appearance today will be in one of our upcoming reports.

ADDED 12:56 PM: Traffic note – the parade is over now at the NORTH end of the route, through the Admiral District, and from Admiral Safeway, we are seeing traffic moving again along California in this area. The parade still has some time to go in The Junction, though, so it won’t be fully reopened for a while.

ADDED 1:07 PM: The parade has now finished passing California/Charlestown, our crew at that intersection reports.

ADDED 1:56 PM: One more clip for this story – Nancy Woodland from WestSide Baby entering the parade route as Grand Marshal, followed by the WS Baby bus and volunteers (even chanting!), and then after a bit of a pause, Shirley Vradenburgh riding with the Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Community Service:

In forthcoming reports, we’ll have much more parade coverage; we had four photojournalists covering today’s parade (including a team covering the mid-course farewell ceremony for SPD drill-team Drillmaster Officer John Bernasconi).

West Seattle Grand Parade 2012: Before the parade (including Float Dodger 5K)

(Scroll down for latest pre-parade updates till it all gets going around 10:30)

We’re starting West Seattle Grand Parade morning at Merrill Gardens-Admiral Heights (WSB sponsor), where the Seafair Pirates have just swept in for a “raid” (so says a sign on the front door) – and are serenading residents, staff, and West Seattle Hi-Yu royalty, with pirate songs (ending “We never put out to sea”) at the start of a big day. Here’s the Pirates’ leader, Captain Kidd (aka Lance English), with members of last year’s royalty:

One pirate appeared to be attempting to “borrow” this year’s Junior Court Queen Thea‘s pendant for their treasure chest … hmm:

In a couple hours, the Pirates will “sail” Moby Duck down California SW, cannon blasts, sword-sweeping and all. The road is closed from Admiral Way south, remember; the Float Dodger 5K starts from California/Charlestown at 9:45, while parade preps continue further north, with the route going southbound from SW Lander all the way to SW Edmunds.

9:19 AM UPDATE: California outside Admiral Safeway/Lafayette is starting to fill up with parade participants. Here’s the WestSide Baby bus, not only promoting tomorrow’s diaper drive but following WS Baby executive director Nancy Woodland, Grand Marshal for today’s parade:

Thirsty? Next to Admiral Safeway, Umpqua Bank (WSB sponsor) manager Kirk Mead and team are ready to offer bottled water:

Across the street, some logistics – parade co-coordinator Dave Vague (right) checked in with Josh Sutton, who’ll be driving the West Seattle Y (WSB sponsor) bus, about the banner that will be displayed to show the Y is a major sponsor of the parade:

The Seattle Police Pipes and Drums members, making their first West Seattle Grand Parade appearance, are gathering:

You’ll see them BETWEEN the two motorcycle squads (Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.). Meantime, we can guarantee this will be the biggest bus in the parade:

And yes, “RapidRide Man,” costume and all, will be on hand, the bus’s minders told us. Meantime, it’s getting closer to Float Dodger 5K start time down at California/Charlestown – we’ve got crews there too and expect to hear from them shortly. We’re going out to check on more arrivals, including, we expect, some parade-watchers in the Hiawatha vicinity.

9:44 AM: More than 250 runners/walkers are about to start the Float Dodger 5K – here’s a photo from our crew – it heads NORTH on California before turning around to head south to finish at California/Edmunds:

10:04 AM: The runners/walkers have all completed the first section of the course – they ran north to California/Lander and “dodged” the Hi-Yu float, which was parked in the intersection to play the role.

They’re now all headed south to the end of the parade route at California/Edmunds. (300 participants, we’re told!) Separate story with 5K video and more, later! P.S. (as of 10:08 am) – the Seattle and Vancouver B.C. motorcycle units have JUST arrived, and if you’ve been following our coverage, you know they have a special event ahead at California/Charlestown, as longtime Drillmaster for SPD, Officer John Bernasconi, a West Seattleite, relinquishes his command (he’s retiring this year) – added, we walked up just as he was arriving around 10:10:

As of 10:19 am, the motorcycles appear to be getting ready to leave – if you’re at California/Charlestown, get ready! Not sure when our next update will be – watch us on Twitter.

Check our parade preview from last night for more advance info; more pre-parade coverage to come.

West Seattle Saturday: Grand Parade, 5K, Outdoor Movies, Mediterranean Fantasy Fest, more!

July 21, 2012 6:03 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Saturday: Grand Parade, 5K, Outdoor Movies, Mediterranean Fantasy Fest, more!
 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

Get nostalgic tonight with “Pretty in Pink” under the stars – that’s a quick clip,”the computer scene,” above. It’s part of an all-star lineup of Saturday happenings in West Seattle and a bit beyond:

YOGA CLASS BENEFITING WESTSIDE BABY DIAPER DRIVE: On “Stuff the Bus” weekend, Center Studio is having a 90-minute yoga class – bring diapers! Details on their website.

PRE-PARADE SIGHTINGS: Ever seen a parade behind the scenes? In the Admiral District, you can watch what happens before the West Seattle Grand Parade – and for example, you can expect to see the Seafair Pirates show up outside Merrill Gardens-Admiral Heights (WSB sponsor) around 8:30 am (that’s where West Seattle Hi-Yu royalty will host visiting royalty for breakfast a bit earlier).

FLOAT DODGER 5K: A brand-new feature on parade day – 9:45 is when it begins. Read the FAQ here. If you’re not among the hundreds signed up already, get to West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor)-land at California/Charlestown, the starting line for the charity run-walk, to register right before the race!

GET AN ID TAG FOR YOUR PET: Furry Faces Foundation is back with on-the-spot tag-making today in two places: 10 am-2 pm at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor; 4410 California SW) during the West Seattle Grand Parade, and 3-6 pm at Big Al Brewing in White Center during Jubilee Days. Details here.

SCOOTER RALLY: The local Westenders Club is hosting its annual Tour di Mari rally this weekend; today’s events start with breakfast at Skylark Café and Club, 10 am. Schedule here.

CUPCAKE COOKOFF AND PICNIC: At Lincoln Park, sponsored by Mars Hill Church, all invited, 10 am-2 pm. Details in the calendar listing.

WEST SEATTLE AMERICAN LEGION POST 160 GRAND PARADE! 10:30 is the official start time for the Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team to take off from California/Lander (with a special stop along the way AND with the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums following them for the first time); 11 am is when the rest of the parade is expected to head down the route. In all, close to 100 participating groups/floats/vehicles will march or roll right by you if you’re somewhere along the official route – California SW between Lander in the Admiral District and Edmunds in The Junction. (Here’s our final mega-preview, with links to all our OTHER previews, and more overview info for parade fans, including road closure/parking restriction info – VERY important.)

THRIFTWAY BARBECUE BENEFITING WESTSIDE BABY: Tomorrow’s the diaper drive, today’s your chance to help WestSide Baby and get a yummy lunch – the weekly West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) barbecue benefits WS Baby, starting at 11 am.

WHITE CENTER JUBILEE DAYS STREET FAIR, CAR SHOW, KID CENTER, CARNIVAL: 11 am is when most of the excitement revs up today in White Center – just head toward Roxbury/17th and you can’t miss it. Live music continues till about 11 pm. Check out the schedule for today’s festivities by going here. (Continues Sunday.)

MEDITERRANEAN FANTASY FESTIVAL: Belly-dancing performances, costumes, music, more, in the park around Hiawatha Community Center (2700 California SW). Performances today are scheduled 11 am-7 pm – the list of performers is here. (Continues Sunday.)

MUSICAL STORYTIME AT BARNES AND NOBLE: Musikal Magik will be performing Musical Storytelling at the Barnes & Noble in Westwood Village at 11 am – a special Music with Movement storytime featuring children’s entertainer Katy Webber.

GATEWOOD ELEMENTARY PLAYDATE: Child going to Gatewood Elementary this fall? 1-3 pm, join other families at the Gatewood playground (4320 SW Myrtle) for a special playdate!

‘PRETTY IN PINK’ KICKS OFF WEST SEATTLE OUTDOOR MOVIES: Free, fun, but don’t wait till the last minute – movie’s at dusk, around 9:30 pm, but gates at the Hotwire Online Coffeehouse courtyard (4410 California SW) open a couple hours earlier, BYO blanket/chair and get your spot. Also bring $ for raffles – proceeds tonight benefit WestSide Baby, which is selling concessions too. Opening act: Bob “Bobcat Bob” Rice, 8 pm.

‘UNDER AFRICAN SKIES’ EVENT: At 7 pm, this much-acclaimed film about singer/songwriter Paul Simon’s return to Africa plays the Admiral Theater – and doors open at 6:15 pm for food and beverages from Pan Africa Grill. Details on The Admiral’s website.

LANTERN LAUNCH ON ALKI: It happens at least once a year – those floating candlelit lanterns appear in midair and someone e-mails wondering what’s happening. Here’s advance notice that a lantern-lighting is planned around 8:30 pm at Alki, as a benefit for youth art – explained here.

More on the calendar!

West Seattle Grand Parade on Saturday! One final mega-preview

It takes a village to build a float! The volunteers we found outside Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor) tonight are no doubt just one of many groups/businesses/organizations putting finishing touches on their floats, cars, signs, etc., for Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade. So it’s time for one final preview of what you’ll see tomorrow among the nearly 100 entries. Here’s what we have already reported (with links to our stories):

*Grand Marshal: Nancy Woodland of WestSide Baby – she’ll be in a car, followed by the famous “Stuff the Bus” school bus promoting Sunday’s big diaper drive
*Orville Rummel Trophy: Shirley Vradenburgh, recently retired from Seattle Lutheran High School
*Seattle Police Pipes and Drums’ debut, marching between motorcycle groups, with visiting Boston Police counterparts
*Last ride/ceremony for SPD Motorcycle Drill Team leader Officer John Bernasconi, a West Seattle native (you’re welcome to watch – 10:30 am or so at California/Charlestown)
*First-ever Float Dodger 5K precedes the parade (still time to register beforehand – run/walk starts at California/Charlestown at 9:45 am)

And now, from information gleaned while we sat in on the parade-lineup meeting this week (with Jim Edwards, Dave Vague, Doreen Vague, and Michelle Edwards working to put it all together), some of what else you’ll see along the parade route (California/Lander to California/Edmunds):

*More marching bands than ever – half a dozen as of the parade-lineup meeting – including the Seahawks’ thunderous Blue Thunder. (Michelle Edwards is a member but won’t be playing with them because she’s part of the coordinating team for the parade – without which, there would be chaos!) And of course, the famous, West Seattleite Marcus Pimpleton-directed All-City Marching Band. (Marching bands obviously have to be separated, making for a fun juggling challenge at the lineup meeting.)

*Your major parade sponsors are the returning West Seattle YMCA (also a WSB sponsor), West Seattle Podcast (the folks in the ex-Petco space, aka Sound Ad Group), and International Parking Management. (WSB is proud to be among the next tier of donors – thanks to EVERYONE who chipped in to help make sure the parade would happen.)

*The Admiral District will make its debut in the parade – the newly formed business group

*As always, the Rotary Club of West Seattle-sponsored Kiddie Parade will be seen in The Junction, leaving California/Genesee at 11 am, marching, walking, rolling down the rest of the parade route to California/Edmunds – all kids welcome to participate (details here – you can sign up online OR just show up at the starting spot after 10 am)

*19 community groups (schools, churches, nonprofits, youth groups, lots and lots of your West Seattle neighbors)

*13 drill teams (including the always awesome Seattle Chinese Community Girls’ Drill Team)

*Performing acts including new participant Joyas Mestizas and Pathfinder K-8‘s unicyclists

*VIPs including Seafair royalty (cheer for Kelsey Bills, who is representing West Seattle Hi-Yu in this year’s Seafair Scholarship Program for Women competition)

*A red-and-yellow RapidRide bus

*Of course, the Seafair Pirates and the West Seattle Hi-Yu Festival float, among others who participate every year (Art and Gloria, the World War II veterans who were last year’s Grand Marshals, are scheduled to return!)

*Remember, it’s NOT the “Hi-Yu Parade.” Hi-Yu is IN the parade. The festival sponsored the parade in its early years (the first parade was in 1934). But it’s the West Seattle American Legion Post 160 Grand Parade now.

*Judges will be spread out along the route – no truth to the perception that acts show off at California/Alaska because that’s where they ALL are. Announcer Joe is at that intersection, though.

*One last reminder – if you ignore a sign like this any time between early Saturday morning and mid-afternoon …

… you are in danger of getting towed. Restrictions kick in at 7 am, per signs like that one along California, and that road will be closed earlier than usual because of the Float Dodger 5K. Side streets used for parade staging are mostly “just” parking restrictions but that means serious enforcement too – the area is needed for staging before AND afterward. And remember that the area around Hiawatha will be even busier because tomorrow is Day 1 of the Mediterranean Fantasy Festival, which begins right around the time the parade does!

(WSB coverage will start early in the morning with pre-parade preps. Later on, if you get cool parade pix, please consider sharing them with us, via e-mail or Flickr or Facebook or Twitter, for potential inclusion in our coverage! Thanks!)

Traffic alerts: SDOT’s roundup of weekend events, citywide

July 20, 2012 8:36 pm
|    Comments Off on Traffic alerts: SDOT’s roundup of weekend events, citywide
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

No reason to leave West Seattle/White Center this weekend. Really. But in case you absolutely have to … here’s the city’s roundup of big traffic-affecting events, from the Bite of Seattle to the Capitol Hill Block Party to the Grand Parade (one last preview in the works right now) and Float Dodger 5K right here in West Seattle tomorrow:Read More

Update: Hokum Jeebs’ killer Angelo Felice sentenced to 14 1/2 years

(Added 5:23 pm – WSB video of the entire hearing, unedited)
2:20 PM: We’re in King County Superior Court, where Judge John Erlick will sentence Angelo Felice for the February 2011 murder of vaudeville entertainer Hokum W. Jeebs at his home in Fauntleroy. On June 13th, we brought you first word of a plea bargain for Felice, who admitted to stabbing Jeebs to death. According to court documents from last month, prosecutors will recommend 11 1/2 years for Felice, who had moved from the East Coast a short time before the murder. Family and friends are filling rows in the courtroom, and some of them will speak to the judge.

2:23 PM: The hearing has begun. The prosecutor is recapping the plea bargain, which brought the charge down to second-degree murder, but says the state had no doubt Felice killed Mr. Jeebs. She mentions letters written to the court, and that the detectives who investigated the case are here. At least three people will speak, she says, starting with Mr. Jeebs’ longtime partner Anita. “It was hard for me to decide what to say today,” she begins, “describing Hokum and our life together, and what his loss has meant to me.” She is speaking to her partner’s killer, as well as to her friends. She describes “what a wonderful and unique person Hokum was … funny, unique, incredibly talented… we had a wonderful life together .. We are all going to lose our loved ones someday … (but) murder is particularly difficult, because someone made an intentional decision” to kill the victim. She is speaking calmly, and says it was hard to know her beloved “in his last moments was terrified.” She mentions the role of a WSB commenter as well as police in finding Felice. “No amount of prison time can bring back what we lost,” she says, so she has chosen “to embrace caring” and asks people to embrace life and light, and set an example for young people. Some in the gallery are crying. She quotes, “… may we care for one another, may we realize how precious we are, and I hope that you realize that someday, Angelo.”

2:28 PM: Speaking next, Tony, a friend of the victim. “I very very dearly miss my friend,” he begins. He mentions what court documents had said about Felice wanting to rob people, and Mr. Jeebs “not being a cooperative victim. … He went to the house to commit robbery, and ended up viciously murdering my friend.” He too thanks WSB (the commenters with sightings) as well as police, and says he is “sickened” to realize that Felice might be out in less than 11 years. “Sadly, I am convinced the world has more of this to look forward to when he is released … I hope not, I really do.” He asks the judge to consider sentencing Felice to the longest term possible (which would be 220 months, about 18 years). “Rest in peace, Hokum,” he concludes.

2:33 PM: Another friend, Michael, is next. He says he worked with Mr. Jeebs and was known as “Chumley.” He begins by reading a letter from another vaudeville colleague who had worked with Mr. Jeebs in the Bay Area in the late ’70s. Then, Michael himself says, “It was so unnecessary … you took a dear friend, an uncle to my kids .. my only wish is that you develop a conscience and are tormented by it until it motivates you to do something.” He becomes emotional, as do more in the gallery. After him, the defense lawyer says they feel the recommendation is fair. The judge offers Felice a chance to speak. He does: “My actions took away some one you love and there’s no amount of .. apologies that can … bring him back,” Felice says. “Every day I’ve had to wake up knowing what I did … there is nothing I can do to bring anyone back, no amount of apologies that I can say … when I get out I (will) try to help someone else from making the mistake I did. I’m sorry,” he says, turning to the gallery, “there’s nothing I can do.”

2:39 PM: “This is a tragedy all around,” says the judge, for a “young man” headed to prison, with an upbringing as “the proverbial lost soul,” and for the victim and his loved one. He says, “Nobody really knows what happened that night, except for one person here …The victim is not here himself to defend himself or his actions … there is no action that can justify having his life cut short like this.” Judge Erlick explains that he usually gives deference to what the two sides have worked out, but says he’s able to be independent … adding, “there is nothing I can do today to bring back Hokum, but to try to give justice for this senseless crime.” He adds time: 175 months, almost 3 years longer than the prosecution had recommended. The hearing is in essence over, as paperwork and formalities are handled. Three years of probation (community custody) will await Felice after he leaves prison. (We recorded the entire 20-minute hearing on video and will upload it as soon as possible, to add to the story.)

Meet your newly coronated West Seattle Hi-Yu Junior Court!

2:04 PM: The newly coronated West Seattle Hi-Yu Festival Junior Court for next year, with the current Junior Court and Senior Queen, from our crew at Hiawatha Community Center.

2:53 PM UPDATE: The new court has three princesses, one more than the current court. Thanks to WSB summer apprentice Callan Carow for gathering the information, working with photographer/co-publisher Patrick Sand. The new court:

Jr. Queen Madison Stanley-Jones — age 10, goes to Our Lady of Guadalupe (interests include music)
Jr. Princess Winter Williams — age 12, goes to Denny International Middle School (interests include underwater robotics)
Jr. Princess Emily Galvin — age 12, goes to Shorewood Christian (interests include art)
Jr. Princess Olivia Efird — age 9, goes to Schmitz Park Elementary (interests include dance)

ADDED 3:59 PM: The clip above includes all 11 candidates.