day : 03/10/2012 13 results

Video: School Board hears West Seattleites’ BEX-IV concerns; finalizes Fairmount Park contract

Tonight’s Seattle School Board meeting had two key points for West Seattle. First, though the BEX-IV levy was not on the board’s agenda tonight, it took up much of the public-comment period during the board’s meeting, mostly regarding moving up the timeline for the Arbor Heights Elementary rebuild.

That’s our video of all the West Seattle speakers – including one whose focus was on K-5 STEM at Boren. Ahead, text summaries of all the speakers – and the latest on the plan to reopen Fairmount Park Elementary, with a design-contract “emergency” vote tonight:

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Encore! Seattle Chinese Garden brings back ‘Chinese Corner’

Hurry! If you’d like to learn a little Chinese language and Chinese culture, the Seattle Chinese Garden (which is in West Seattle – photo above – on the north side of the South Seattle Community College [WSB sponsor] campus) invites you to the second edition of “Chinese Corner” (here’s the wrapup from the first edition)! But if you don’t sign up fast, you’ll miss the chance. Here are the basics:

The six sessions will be on Mondays from 4 to 6 pm on 10/15, 10/29, 11/12, 11/26, 12/3 and 12/17. The sessions will introduce Chinese culture and basic Mandarin Chinese conversation with fun games and exercises for people of all ages. The professional teachers will be provided by our co-sponsors the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington and the Chinese Language Teachers Association Washington State. Teacher aides will be the students from the Mandarin Chinese program at Chief Sealth International High School.

To register for this free class (donations welcomed), people can register by filling out this form, or e-mailing

Roxhill Playground renovation: New dates for community build

October 3, 2012 8:35 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle parks | Westwood

Update on the Roxhill Playground renovation project: Mat McBride, who’s been organizing the “community build” for the new “castle” play structure to go on the site of the now-torn-down “castle,” says a new date’s been set: Friday, November 2nd, through Tuesday, November 6th. (It had been set for mid-October, but as noted here last week, preparation of the site – which is under way, along with construction of the neighboring skatespot – hit some snags that required the schedule to be pushed out.) McBride says they’re signing up volunteers again (and asking already-signed-up volunteers to re-check the schedule) – go here. And he reiterates, “We still need volunteers. Lots of them in fact.” For project updates and information, check out the community website – or contact him at

Blessing of the Animals at Alki UCC, St. John the Baptist

(WSB photo: Alki UCC’s Rev. Diane Darling at “Blessing of the Animals” service in 2009)
Early October means time for the Blessing of the Animals in honor of the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, and the local congregations that have been offering this service in recent years are doing it again this Sunday.

INTERDENOMINATIONAL SERVICE AT ALKI UCC: This Sunday at 10 am, you’re invited to a “Blessing of the Animals” service. The church‘s announcement says, “This year Pastor Diane Darling, Rabbi Zari Weiss, and Rev. Ann Holmes Redding (Christian, Jew, and Episcopal/Muslim) will bless the animals you bring to worship. Dogs on leashes and critters in carriers, please! You also may want to bring a blanket or cushion to sit on.” 6115 SW Hinds.

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH: St. John’s says its interim priest Reverend Greg Peters “will be blessing animals at both worship services, 8:00 am and 10:15 am, and also at noon in the West Seattle High School Parking Lot,” which is at 3000 California SW, immediately north of the church.

West Seattle school questions answered at Superintendent Banda’s regional meeting in South Park

(Superintendent José Banda listens as Concord Elementary principal Norma Zavala speaks)
Story and photos by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

One month into his first school year as Seattle Public Schools superintendent, José Banda came to the city’s southwest sector last night for a “regional meeting.”

It happened at Concord International School in South Park, but it was intended for the West Seattle community too. And they turned out in force, including – as promised in this letter published here last week – Sanislo Elementary, which got some reassurance relating to its kindergarten-class-size concerns during the Q/A period, which also brought questions from Arbor Heights Elementary, K-5 STEM at Boren, and Schmitz Park Elementary parents.

After Superintendent Banda was introduced with a biographical outline, including his 30 years of work in education, he turned the floor over to Concord Principal Norma Zavala, who spoke to the crowd about the school and its programs. she described its highlight as being “a school that is truly truly diverse – linguistically, ethnic, geographical, gender orientation, everything … and that’s the beauty of being an international school – we’re working every single day to apply a global perspective to our problems, to our successes, as adults and as children.”

The superintendent acknowledged parents were wondering “what IS IT we’re focused on?” and “where are we going?”

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Marination ma kai: West Seattle’s newest restaurant opens tomorrow – if all goes well

1:09 PM: One week ago, Marination opened the doors of its almost-ready Seacrest Boathouse location for a sneak peek (here’s our coverage) – and now, they’re getting ready to open the doors for real. They’ve announced via Facebook that tomorrow’s the big day. We’re checking to see what time they plan to open.

2:25 PM UPDATE: Went over to Seacrest to get the answer – 7 am tomorrow.

3 PM: Marination co-proprietor Kamala Saxton does have a caveat via e-mail – they are working with their kitchen team today (it did smell good while we were over checking on the time!) and will make the FINAL call tonight regarding opening tomorrow. So by mid-evening, we should get word on whether it’s confirmed, or changed.

8:50 PM UPDATE: 11 am tomorrow with limited menu, full bar, says Kamala – they’re still working out a few things in the kitchen.

Video: Walk To School Day in Highland Park, with the mayor

Highland Park Elementary students gathered for a group photo after a memorable International Walk To School Day stroll. Not only were they basking in October sunshine, they also were celebrating new safety improvements in the area (crosswalk, speed bumps, stop signs) – with a VIP guest on hand:

Actually, those are both VIPs. Photographed with Mayor McGinn, that’s Rachael Wright, a parent volunteer who has worked hard to get safety issues addressed, including securing grants to fund them (as mentioned in previous WSB coverage including this big safety celebration last spring). This morning, she was part of the crowd crossing at the 11th/Holden crosswalk that’s become a reality

Carrying the banner – CityYear corps members who work at HP Elementary:

They huddled with the mayor too:

And, as the walk proceeded, Highland Park Elementary principal Ben Ostrom chatted with the mayor:

Highland Park community leaders were on hand too – we saw HP Action Committee co-chair Carolyn Stauffer, and members of nearby Highland Park Improvement Club.

ADDED: Wouldn’t be an appearance without a speech – we recorded that too:

Find out more about Safe Routes to School here.

Walk-to-School Day scene: Schmitz Park Elementary

Thanks to Schmitz Park Elementary PTSA president Mark Wainwright for sharing the photo of SP students gathered at the campus flagpole after taking part in International Walk to School Day. They even had a color-coded map of their routes!

West Seattle Wednesday: Debate-watching; history-preserving; School Board…

Thanks to Mark Wangerin for the photo of harlequin ducks in West Seattle waters. Before the day gets away again, there are some highlights we wanted to point out – among a LONG list of possibilities you’ll find on the WSB West Seattle Events Calendar:

TRAFFIC ALERTS: On West Marginal Way, you may happen onto the manhole work that King County announced yesterday … No highway/bridge closures scheduled; more traffic alerts listed here.

EXTRA WATER-TAXI RUNS FOR M’S GAME: With the Mariners playing a late-afternoon game, the West Seattle Water Taxi has added evening runs: “In addition to its normal schedule, a 7:15 pm sailing from Pier 50 and 7:30 pm sailing from Seacrest will be added.”

PARENTING SUPPORT: Noon-2 pm, parents of babies are welcome to drop by Nurturing Expressions (WSB sponsor) at 4746 44th SW (just buzz to get into the building) to check out the Early Days drop-in support group.

SCHOOL BOARD: With the board scheduled to have a final proposal for the BEX IV levy before its next meeting, they’ll be hearing today from many people with an interest in the final draft – the list of those signed up to speak includes more than a few West Seattleites. Here’s the agenda; remember the meetings now start at 4:15, and public testimony starts at 5 pm.

WHERE TO WATCH THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) and Skylark Café and Club both say they’ll have Obama vs. Romney on their bigscreens tonight (both are also restaurants as well as bars – you can have dinner, drinks, AND debate). 6 pm. (ADDED 1:12 PM) More locations: Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor) will stream via the Net at 6 and discuss @ 6:30 pm … A Democratic Party fundraiser/watch party is planned at Alki Arts at 5:30 pm ($35/person) – details and RSVP link here

WHAT TO DO ABOUT DEVELOPMENT: The Southwest District Council has been talking over its past several meetings about possibly pursuing some kind of historic district in West Seattle in order to keep the new wave of development from completely subsuming the area’s “character.” That discussion continues at its monthly meeting tonight (the agenda’s on our calendar), with city Historic Preservation Officer Karen Gordon on hand, 7 pm at the board room of South Seattle Community College (6000 16th SW).

LEARN ABOUT WILD MUSHROOMS: Hunting for them can be rewarding – and dangerous, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Special presentation at 6:30 pm tonight, Southwest Library (35th and Henderson), details here.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT SOCCER: Delridge Playfield – 7 pm – adults and “big kids.” Details here.

PRIDE SKATE’S ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: 9-11 pm tonight, be at Southgate Roller Rink to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Pride Skate! Details here.

Again, MUCH more on the calendar!

Fewer ‘bioswales’ planned for Westwood/Sunrise Heights project, says county

October 3, 2012 9:29 am
|    Comments Off on Fewer ‘bioswales’ planned for Westwood/Sunrise Heights project, says county
 |   Sunrise Heights | West Seattle news | Westwood

(County map – the larger, shaded area is the entire “basin” that feeds the Barton Pump Station)
After the latest round of research and feedback, King County says fewer bioswales (19, instead of the original 31) are planned for Westwood and Sunrise Heights neighborhoods where “green stormwater infrastructure” is planned to reduce combined-sewer overflows at the pump station the area feeds – and fewer streets will be involved. That’s part of an announcement they’ve just sent about an open house coming up a week from Saturday:

Neighbors are invited to an open house on Saturday, Oct. 13 to learn about design updates to King County’s Barton Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control project in West Seattle.

The open house is set for 10 a.m. to noon at Westside School, 7740 34th Ave. S.W., Seattle.

Combined sewer overflows occur during heavy rain when stormwater fills sewers to capacity in older parts of the city. To comply with state water quality requirements, King County will control CSOs from the Barton Pump Station through a system of bioretention swales and Green Stormwater Infrastructure in West Seattle’s Sunrise Heights and Westwood neighborhoods.

Project staff will share a number of design updates that reflect new technical information and community member feedback, including:

· A reduction in the number of bioswales and impacted streets.
· Fewer and smaller curb bulbs to preserve parking.
· Preservation of property access and tree canopy.
· Rebates and financial incentives for residents to voluntarily install raingardens and cisterns through Seattle’s RainWise program.

Additional information is available at the Barton CSO Control Program website, or by contacting Kristine Cramer at 206-263-3184 or

Area residents are receiving a flyer – if you haven’t gotten it already – that you can see here.

West Seattleites participating in International Walk to School Day

7:27 AM: Safety reminder this morning – depending on where you drive/ride/walk/run, you may see more students on the sidewalks and in the crosswalks, because it’s International Walk to School Day. Some schools are doing special “Walking School Buses” (and some do them daily). In the Highland Park Elementary area, there’ll be some extra pomp-and-circumstance with Mayor McGinn coming to help dedicate newly completed safety improvements along routes to school. Schmitz Park Elementary also sent word of their “Walking School Buses,” and even this map of routes that students (and parents if available!) are welcome to join. If your school has a special event and somebody takes photos – please consider sending/sharing one that we can include in our coverage. Thanks!

8:34 AM: Just added the Instagram photo the mayor tweeted from the Highland Park crosswalk; we have a crew there too and will publish their work in a separate story later.

Metro changes, weekday #3: Wednesday updates

6:42 AM: As reported here last night, Metro has acknowledged the reports/complaints of full buses and says it’s “working to address the issues.” They also offered information (same story link) recapping other routes running from and to West Seattle. So again today, we’re setting up a story page for updates and riders’ reports. Let us know how it’s going.

11:20 AM: Thanks yet again for all the reports. Meantime, also from the comments, Chas Redmond from Sustainable West Seattle notes that the group plans a transportation forum October 15th with key county and city decisionmakers on hand – so come join the discussion. Details in his comment.

Seeking scholarships? West Seattle VFW announces 2 writing contests

October 3, 2012 6:30 am
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 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

West Seattle’s Veterans of Foreign Wars post wants to get the word out about two scholarship programs that are open for applications right now, with a November 1st deadline. From VFW’s Kyle Geraghty:

The Patriot’s Pen program is open to students in grades 6-8, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories.

The Patriot’s Pen is a 300-400 word essay with the theme of “What I Would Tell America’s Founding Fathers.” The top prize for this program is $5,000. For more information about Patriot’s Pen and a link to the entry form go to:

The Voice of Democracy Program is open to students in grades 9-12, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories. Students should record their reading of the draft to CD. The recording can be no shorter than 3 minutes and no longer than 5 minutes. This year’s theme is “Is the Constitution Still Relevant?” The top scholarship for this program is $30,000. For more information about Voice of Democracy and a link to the entry form go to:

” Please turn in your entries, as well as everything else required by the program, by November 1, 2012 to VFW Post 2713 located at 3601 SW Alaska St, Seattle, WA 98126. Visit VFW Post 2713 on the web at