West Seattle, Washington
Just back from the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting. The transit discussion – which swerved back and forth across just about every imaginable bus-related issue that’s come up recently – will be in a story all its own. So we’ll start this Crime Watch roundup with the WSCPC meeting-opening briefing on crime trends, followed by 5 reader reports we’ve received.
Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen said that a spike in property crimes about a month ago is over because of recent arrests – the rate had dropped back down in the past week or so. He says the year overall remains on track around 20 percent below last year’s property-crime rate – a year that in turn was about 20 percent above the long-term average.
Another “bump” may be ahead, he warned, because it’s “that crazy time of the year, the holidays,” when thieves and burglars are after items you’ve bought for gifts, maybe even before you get them into your vehicle or home: “(When shopping) you become more of a target, so be aware of your surroundings, look around,” Capt. Paulsen warned, adding that there will be more police presence at Westwood Village and The Junction – not on overtime, but by “shuffling around” resources. He also cautioned people to arrange for deliveries in ways that won’t lead to packages unattended on front doors.
Betty asked about the Fairmount Springs break-in reports that circulated one week ago (they’re in this WSB Crime Watch roundup), apparently targeting homes inhabited by women, home alone. The cases were news to Capt. Paulsen and Community Police Team Officer Jonathan Kiehn, who monitor for patterns, but said these hadn’t surfaced as one. Another attendee said she had come to ask about the incidents too, and the perception that there might be a known suspect who hadn’t yet been arrested. Police promised to check into these cases ASAP.
One attendee brought up mail theft and asked if police could “set up a sting.” Short answer: No, since it’s a federal-jurisdiction crime, but if you see it happening, do call 911, the citizen was told, since, Capt. Paulsen said, they have caught mail thieves “over the years.” He was also advised to look into a locked mailbox. Immediately after the exchange, he and Officer Kiehn started a followup conversation.
Now, Part 2 of this roundup: The latest reader reports – five in all, the first two with photos:
We’re at the Southwest Precinct, where Capt. Steve Paulsen has just presented a certificate of appreciation to Ken Wicklund. He’s the citizen who asked an officer and sergeant if they needed help when they found themselves in a struggle with a suspect one week ago tonight near the old Charlestown Café. They said yes – he jumped in to help. And tonight, the commander and his team – including Sgt. Joe Bauer and Officer Sara Mulloy (at front left in the photo below) – said thanks to Wicklund, whose family was on hand too.
We’ve been covering the case, most recently with a report on the charge filed Friday against suspect Skyler Gronholz, who remains in King County Jail, in lieu of $45,000 bail for this case and a warrant that was already out for his arrest.
Wicklund works as a captain for Argosy Cruises. He told us that this happened after he left home to pick up dinner at Spiro’s Pizza, just blocks away. He came home and saw police activity near his home – and as he got closer, he noticed officers and suspect on the ground, and that’s when he asked if they needed help. He, and Sgt. Bauer and Officer Mulloy, were all injured, but all are OK now. We have video of tonight’s ceremony and will add it here once it’s uploaded (added – here it is):
After tonight’s presentation, the Wicklund family got a guided tour of the precinct.
(One group of Madison students who helped with this year’s food drive)
Again this year, Madison Middle School held a food drive to help families in their school community. School nurse Sami Hoag organized the effort:
Thanks to many staff, students and families who donated a total of 5,850 pounds of food to put into 45 large Thanksgiving baskets for our Madison families in need.
In addition we were able to help 5 Madison families who live in shelters with grocery cards.
Several students bought a large amount of food with their own money. Most of the baskets were delivered by volunteers in the pouring rain.
Our Madison students did the following to help with this project:
-Make signs, made presentations and collected food in their science classes
-Sorted food after school into baskets
-Made Thanksgiving cards for each family
-Moved hundreds of pounds of food into family cars
Thanks to Anne Weglin for sharing the information from Madison.
If you are still looking for a way to help local people in need, before Thanksgiving- we have food-bank-donation information at the end of the Thanksgiving roundup we published this morning. Both local food banks – West Seattle Food Bank and White Center Food Bank – have donation hours tomorrow, and in a word, WS most needs canned hams, WC most needs turkeys.
Crystal Mountain is officially opening on Wednesday, November 21, 2012. The Seattle Ski Shuttle will be running our first shuttle of the season that day. Also, starting Friday, November 23rd, we will be operating our regular schedule to Crystal Mountain (Mondays, Thursdays, & Fridays every week)! We will also be running a shuttle to Snoqualmie Central on weekends once the mountain opens up. For more information and to book a seat, go to: seattleskishuttle.com
Wild weather this afternoon! The photo was shared by Carlos H. via Twitter. And though there’s a band of blue sky advancing as we type, you should know we’re under a wind advisory till early evening, too, as the next front literally blows through. Local meteorologist Patrick K. points out that what you see in Carlos’s photo is a “squall line.” Latest forecast says rain/showers are expected to continue off and on all week. If you can, take advantage of the impending break in the rain to clear your nearest storm drain! It’s usually a quick job, since yours probably isn’t THIS imposing:
That’s the Longfellow Creek sluice gate at 25th and Juneau; Lauren has been telling us about it, and shared the above “before” photo, with leaves, sticks and logs cluttering it till cleared – not by city crews (though we’ve seen them out and about all day) but by her husband. If it gets clogged, there’s a risk of big flooding, Lauren explains.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Though the vote on the Seattle Public Schools BEX IV construction-project levy isn’t until February, the process of planning one of its designated projects is under way now.
Last night, the Design Team for what’s for now known as the new Schmitz Park Elementary at Genesee Hill convened a “community conversation,” inviting neighbors to come talk about ideas and concerns. The school will be built on the site where the closed Genesee Hill Elementary now stands; it was long home to Pathfinder K-8 until that school moved into what had been Cooper Elementary on Pigeon Point in fall 2009, as part of the school-closure plan that shuttered GH permanently.
(Photos taken this morning by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
For a while this midday, it was raining again – just as they’re trying to pump out the floodwaters at the homeless encampment on the southeast edge of West Seattle that calls itself Nickelsville, as it has since it was founded at that site four years ago, the site to which it returned a year and a half ago. After publishing these photos by WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams during Monday’s deluge, we went back this morning to see what’s needed, since many are asking. The campers we talked with said about half the residents had gone to emergency shelters when their tents became uninhabitable in the floodwaters. But even tiny residents are poking around, like Coffee the cat:
You may have heard via our friends at KING 5 News that a pump donated this morning was making progress in clearing out the standing water – before the rain resumed. Here’s what they told WSB they need:
Gas for the existing pump
Another pump, as this pump was donated but has to go back tomorrow morning
Dry blankets and dry bedding
Labor needs are up in the air, as they need to get the standing water out before they can determine what needs to be done
With donated items or any other offers to help, just show up at their main gate, which is off the small parking lot on the southwest side of the triangle of land they are on, at West Marginal Way and Highland Park Way.
SIDE NOTE – NICKELSVILLE’S FUTURE: The water woes are bringing new light to the camp’s situation – a year and a half without either authorization or eviction on a government-owned site. We’re waiting for a reply from Mayor McGinn’s office regarding its stance on what’s happening there. We also checked this morning with Food Lifeline, the nonprofit which is pursuing a possible purchase of the site, as reported here in October. From spokesperson Amy Lee Derenthal: “We’re still in conversations with both the city and state and nothing has changed since we first shared we were interested in the property for our Hunger Relief Center.”
12:59 PM UPDATE: We had asked Mayor McGinn’s office earlier today for comment on the situation and just got the official reply via spokesperson Aaron Pickus: “Our Human Services Department is working with Public Health to help place families with children in shelter tonight. We have opened our severe weather shelter at Seattle Center and are providing bus tickets to residents who wish to access shelter. Our shelters at City Hall and Frye Hotel are also open. Our Public Utilities and Finance and Administrative Services department are also assisting, as appropriate.”
Thanks to Jenn Padilla for sharing that photo from the Alki boardwalk, where high water from our record rainfall has augmented what was already one of the month’s highest tides, 12 feet, peaking about an hour ago. Jenn texted us the photo (206-293-6302 any time), saying she’d never “seen the Sound so full that it spilled over.” (The peak high tide was 12.6 feet last Saturday.) P.S. From just around the point to the south, here’s high-tide coverage on Beach Drive Blog.
Two days till Thanksgiving! From the WSB West Seattle Holidays page, and updates we’ve received, some reminders today:
DONATE DESSERTS FOR HALL AT FAUNTLEROY’S FREE DINNER: West Seattle’s most famous free holiday meal is at The Hall at Fauntleroy on Thursday afternoon, noon-3 pm. They have the volunteer help and the main/side dishes – but what they REALLY need, we’re reminded by Carol from Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering, is donated desserts, whether you’re going to the dinner or not. You can drop off a dessert donation tomorrow (Wednesday) between 10 am and 3 pm, or after 9 am on Thanksgiving Day. The Hall is on the south side of the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse at 9131 California SW.
ANOTHER FREE THANKSGIVING DINNER: If you’re planning to dine a little later but would like to take advantage of a free feast just the same, join the West Seattle Eagles, whose annual “Thanksgiving to Remember” is 2-5 pm at their HQ next to the post office in The Junction.
LOOKING FOR A RESTAURANT OPEN THANKSGIVING? Here’s our list so far – we’ve made dozens of calls, but please let us know if something’s missing, or changed – firstname.lastname@example.org
WONDERING WHICH WEST SEATTLE GROCERY STORES ARE OPEN THANKSGIVING DAY? Here’s our list with that info.
FOOD BANK HELP BEFORE THE HOLIDAY: Here again are our updates on the West Seattle Food Bank and White Center Food Bank, both of whom are accepting donations through tomorrow (or, follow those links to their websites and give cash, which goes even further):
–WS Food Bank here – they tell WSB today that they need “canned hams for distribution to homeless communities”
–WC Food Bank here – they tell WSB today that the big need is “turkeys, turkeys, turkeys”
Again, all of this and MUCH more (including Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s info) is on the WSB Holidays page – which you can find any time from its red-type tab atop the page.
Good news for West Seattle Lights-lovers … Monday’s mini-windstorm didn’t wreak too much havoc with designer Jim Winder‘s setup at the Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular HQ on SW Charlestown, across from the water tower. Just one star was damaged, Jim told us last night. In fact, despite the resurgent rain, he kept an early-evening appointment with WSB to run through one lights-synched song, which you can see in our clip above. (The audio’s somewhat muddied by the rain and wind, but the lights are big and bright!)
Some things you’ll want to know, especially if you missed our November 1st preview report:
-The lights launch Friday night; the schedule is on the official website – note the “special shows” for Christmas Eve/Day and New Year’s Eve (which is the final night of the season).
-The official lighting ceremony is Saturday night, with the free Judy Pancoast concert, at 7 pm. DIFFERENT THIS YEAR: Charlestown will be blocked off, that night only, for that block only – so come enjoy the block-party atmosphere! And bring donations for the West Seattle Food Bank; you can also make cash donations, which will be split between WS Food Bank and NW Parkinson’s Foundation (as explained on this webpage – where you also can donate $ any time).
How many lights? Jim is STILL adding them. You’ll find plenty of numbers on the website’s “Fun Facts” page, but there might not be a final tally till showtime! This is the fourth year we’ve covered this extravaganza, which keeps getting literally bigger and brighter.
(Monday photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
Two days till Thanksgiving, and the full holiday lineup (open restaurants/coffee shops, grocery-store hours, free dinners, other events) is on the WSB West Seattle Holidays page. But for Thanksgiving Eve-Eve, here are some of the regular calendar’s highlights for today/tonight:
BENEFIT DANCE CLASS: Gildenfire‘s class is at 10:45 am at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th and Holden) for 2-4-year-olds, free with 2 cans of food, to benefit the West Seattle Food Bank. More info in our calendar listing.
CO-WORK MEETUP: The WS Office Junction team is continuing to organize “co-work meetups” as it works on a permanent location. You’re welcome to join them noon-1:30 pm today at Uptown Espresso in The Junction: “This week we would hope to steer the conversation to what everyone is working on in their businesses to see if we can get some collaborative networking started.”
DESSERT WITH TRANSITIONAL RESOURCES: TR is having Thanksgiving dinner today – and inviting the community to drop in for potluck dessert – bring one and come share, 1-4:30 pm. Details and map in calendar listing.
TALKING TRANSIT AT CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: Safety and other issues raised by West Seattle transit changes, including the expansion of the Westwood transit hub, are at the heart of the agenda – with guests from Metro, Sound Transit, and SDOT – tonight at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, 7 pm, Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster). Also bring your neighborhood crime concerns.
BELLY DANCING: It’s the monthly Alauda showcase at Skylark Café and Club (3803 Delridge Way SW), 7 pm.
MOUNT VIEW ELEMENTARY NEEDS BOOKS: West Seattleite Shoshanna Cohen, the ELL Interventionist at Mount View Elementary in White Center, asks for your help as they vie for a $5,000 grant to buy books. Many of the kids at MV Elementary speak Spanish as their first language, and the school has few books in Spanish – Cohen explains, “There is so much research showing that by promoting the student’s first language, their growth in their second language (English) is astronomical.” Just contribute a vote by going to this webpage and clicking the lower-right link that says VOTAR/VOTE. You’ll go to a page with the entries – look for the student in the Cat in the Hat-striped hat, and that’s for Mount View. Just click the “vote” link you’ll find with that specific photo, and that’s it, no strings attached. The contest runs through this weekend.
WEST SEATTLE STEM NEEDS TECH: And while we’re talking about online votes for school grants – West Seattle STEM Elementary (aka K-5 STEM) has a month left in their bid for a $50,000 tech grant – here’s our original story, which explains how to vote.
(Live view from the only WS Bridge camera currently in operation; see other cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
No rain this morning – though more is on the way later today – so the morning commute might not be so bad. Please let us know if you encounter any holdover standing-water trouble spots – and thank you for the many updates and photos shared during yesterday’s storminess (text or voice, 206-293-6302 any time, or all the other ways listed here).