West Seattle, Washington
3:26 AM: We’re receiving multiple texts from Highland Park and Westwood from people who say they heard gunshots or fireworks a short time ago. One says they called 911 and were told multiple reports had been called in. No indication so far of anyone having been injured, nor word of any proof it was gunshots – let us know if you see police in your neighborhood. (Might be a coincidence, but we should also note that the solstice officially happened at 3:12 am. The scanner indicates similar sounds being heard in other parts of the city, and one in the north end already has been determined by police to have been fireworks.)
3:41 AM: Commenters are indicating it was apparently fireworks.
And the winner is … Lafarge! Its friendly holiday-season food-drive rivalry with cross-Duwamish counterpart Ash Grove has concluded for the year, and Lafarge emerged victorious for the third consecutive year – which is why plant manager Jonathan Hall is hoisting a trophy above. (The full-size trophy is out getting engraved, so a replica rustled up by Lafarge’s Lashanna Williams stood in at a Thursday morning presentation. The food goes to Northwest Harvest, which assists many local food banks,and the total raised was:
*45 pounds of clothing
*400 pounds of gift cards
*260 pounds of cash
*1042 pounds of food
Thanks to Denny International Middle School principal Jeff Clark for photos from Thursday night’s Denny/Sealth winter jazz concert at Chief Sealth International High School – above, the Denny jazz band; below, Sealth’s Jazz Band II (JB I performed as well). He writes:
The jazz musicians of Denny and Sealth did a fantastic job performing at our Winter Jazz Concert. Under the skilled direction of Mr. Marcus Pimpleton and Mr. Jorge Morales, our scholars shared their musical skills and talents to the delight of all in attendance!
Other Sealth and Denny ensembles have winter concerts coming up next month.
Walk into the bar at Yen Wor in The Admiral District tonight, and you’ll get a name tag like that – it’s the Christmas party that karaoke host Guy Olson organized for anyone who’s missing the classic company-party-type event because they’re work-at-home/unemployed/etc. Guy is presiding, with helper Katie:
And special guests – KING 5 reporter Zahid Arab and crew; back when Guy announced the party, we tweeted about it, and Zahid thought it sounded like a fun story, so they’re there (you might have noticed the live truck parked on the north side of the building):
You’re welcome to join in – sing, dance, wear a lampshade (you might have to bring your own), make up stories about imaginary officemates … If somehow you’ve never been to Yen Wor, it’s at California/College.
Family (that’s wife Karrie above), friends, and fans are helping Marty Riemer celebrate his departure from The Mountain, at a party continuing till 10 pm at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor; 6451 California SW). It’s not a party without cake, of course, and this one has two:
Marty’s still doing the podcast he launched after his previous departure from the station in 2009 – you can watch it happen live at 9:30 am Fridays, via his website (or catch the recording at your convenience later).
(WSB photo of Shauna Heath making an entrance aboard a fire engine at Lafayette’s first assembly of the year)
Seattle Public Schools just announced that another elementary principal from West Seattle is being promoted to management downtown – this time Lafayette Elementary‘s newest principal Shauna Heath, after just a few months. Here is what was sent to Lafayette families late today:
>Dear Lafayette Elementary community:
Today I’m announcing a leadership change at Lafayette. Your principal, Shauna Heath, has been appointed Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction. In her new role, Ms. Heath will oversee Early Learning, College and Career Readiness and core content areas.
I know Lafayette staff and families went through a principal search process last summer, and I understand it is a hardship to have a leadership change mid-year. But we need Ms. Heath’s leadership to help all of our nearly 50,000 students. Congratulations to Ms. Heath, and I know she will be missed at Lafayette.
Birgit McShane has been appointed interim principal. This is effective Jan. 7, and Ms. Heath will be available to ensure a smooth transition. Ms. McShane is a long-time educator and retired principal. She is a graduate of Seattle Public Schools and spent more than 30 years as an educator in the District – including serving as the principal at Graham Hill Elementary and Daniel Bagley Elementary — before retiring in 2006. She also recently served as interim principal at Leschi Elementary when the principal was on maternity leave.
We will move quickly to form a hiring committee. Carmela Dellino, Executive Director of Schools for West Seattle, will attend the Jan. 17 PTA meeting, along with our Human Resources staff, to gain parent input regarding desired qualities of their principal. We will also meet with Lafayette staff next month.
We will also draft and send out an electronic survey to gather additional input from families. We hope to post the position by Jan. 21. A team of staff and family members will interview candidates, with a first round of interviews completed by the end of February. Our goal is to have someone in place by the end of March.
I recognize that leadership change creates a distraction in the school. But I am confident the Lafayette staff will ensure strong teaching and learning continues during the next several months.
Lafayette is the second local elementary this year to see its principal moved up into district management; Carmela Dellino – mentioned in the memo above – became executive director of Southwest Region schools after serving as Roxhill’s principal until earlier this year. Heath’s predecessor at Lafayette, Jo Lute-Ervin, was there just one school year, as the successor to Virginia Turner, who had led the school for seven years before that. Lafayette is the most populous public elementary in West Seattle, with about 550 students at last count.
P.S. Thank you to the WSB’ers who forwarded this announcement to make sure we had seen it. Meantime, turns out the announcement about Heath is part of a larger districtwide leadership announcement – read on for the superintendent’s memo on that:Read More
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Almost exactly six years after its last look at what was then Fauntleroy Place, the Seattle Design Commission got a look this afternoon at what is now planned for the notoriously idle West Seattle development site at 3922 SW Alaska, which since has become widely known as “The Hole.”
The land-use lawyer who led the project team at the hearing told WSB they hope to start construction “as soon as possible” – once the last few approvals are in place.
As first reported here last July, the project now owned by Madison Development does have a new name – Spruce West Seattle – and that was publicly shown on renderings for the first time at this afternoon’s downtown review. (We photographed some of the key images, but hope to get electronic copies later.)
Though the project obtained some permits long ago, its master-use permit won’t have a final signoff until the City Council gives one last OK, which can’t happen any sooner than January, when council meetings resume. They, the Design Commission, and SDOT are involved because the project involves an alley vacation – part of public right-of-way being in effect given to the developer, though as was pointed out at the hearing, they are creating a new alley at another spot on the site. Much of the discussion centered on the “pocket park” that will be right at the Fauntleroy/Alaska/39th corner:
Project team members at the hearing included land-use lawyer Roger Pearce from Foster Pepper, lead architect Joe Workman from Collins Woerman, landscape architect Andy Rasmussen, and West Seattle artist Lezlie Jane, whose role in the project we learned about for the first time – she is designing art for the “pocket park” at the 39th/Alaska corner.
Tomorrow morning will mark exactly one week since the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut. Many will pause to remember, in West Seattle as well as elsewhere – as noted here last night, a moment of silence is requested at 9:30 am Friday, and all are invited to the 5 pm Saturday vigil on Alki. Today, Seattle Public Schools‘ Superintendent José Banda has just shared another update on campus security:
As we head into winter break, I know many of us are still reflecting on the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut and how we can work together to ensure our schools are a safe place for our students.
I want to take a moment to let you know how important safety is at Seattle Public Schools, what steps we’ve taken since last Friday and what we plan to do in the future to protect our students.
We take the safety of our students very seriously. Once a month, each school conducts at least one safety-related drill. Every school has a safety plan that outlines procedures for prevention, mitigation, response and recovery in the event of a crisis. We have a team of security specialists divided by region who are in schools and able to respond quickly in times of a crisis.
After hearing of the news last Friday, we asked our principals to be extra vigilant in their schools.
Just added to the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide: The first draft of our “restaurants open on Christmas/New Year’s” list! You’ll find the links in the guide but for direct perusal now – here it is. This year, we’re including Christmas Eve/New Year’s Eve information where applicable, too. Please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org) about changes/additions – the information you see is the result of dozens and dozens of phone calls and even some in-person visits, and venues sometimes change the plan at the last minute. The coffee and supermarket lists are almost done, too, and will also be linked from the Holiday Guide (which, as previously announced, already has the Christmas Eve/Day church-services page linked too).
Just out of the WSB inbox – thanks to Alec for sharing a photo of an unusual sight in this area: A brown pelican. We’ve had scattered reports of one in the area for some days now, but this is the first photo we’ve seen/received, and now that we’re seeing it, it’s definitely a juvenile (mature brown pelicans take on more of a gray tinge, with a dingy-white head). On the open seacoast, they’re not rare – we’ve seen them from Ocean Shores to San Diego – but inland Puget Sound is rather out of the way.
Thanks to John for the recent raccoon group photo from Sunrise Heights. Today brings multiple opportunities for you to hang out with others – from the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide and regular year-round Event Calendar:
STORY TIMES: Preschool Story Time at two local libraries this morning – Southwest (35th/Henderson) at 11 am, Delridge (Brandon/Delridge) at 11:15 am. P.S. – Note that all Seattle Public Library facilities will be closed MONDAY (Christmas Eve) as well as Tuesday (Christmas Day).
SPRUCE @ DESIGN COMMISSION: As first reported here on Monday, the project now in the works for the 39th/Alaska site long known as “The Hole” is going back to the Seattle Design Commission (1:30 pm, Boards and Commissions Room at City Hall) for a discussion of the “public benefit” component of the revised project. Open to the public, and there usually is a public-comment period. It’s part of an all-day meeting, so don’t wait for the doors to open – just go in when you get there.
FREE WINE TASTING: It’s all about “holiday wines” tonight at West Seattle Cellars (WSB sponsor), 5:30-8 pm.
SHOP LATE THURSDAY!!! Last one before Christmas, 6-9 pm – participating merchants are listed here. At WSB sponsor Click! Design That Fits: Discounts, and snacks/book signing with West Seattle-based, nationally renowned cookbook author Kim O’Donnel – details here.
ALSO OPEN LATE TONIGHT: Avalon Glassworks offers Hot Shop Late Thursday! “Shop late this Thursday until 8 pm. We’ll have live glass blowing to keep the house warm …”
‘WRAP IT UP’: Gift wrapping by donation with Furry Faces Foundation and AARF: These two animal-advocacy groups are wrapping gifts by donation (you decide how much), with 100 percent of the donations going to help animals, 6–9 pm, Beer Junction, 4511 California SW (during their weekly Beer Tasting)
CELEBRATE MARTY RIEMER’S MOUNTAIN DEPARTURE: 7-10 tonight at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) – details in the Facebook invite.
HIGH SCHOOL CONCERTS: West Seattle High School Winter Concert tonight in the WSHS Theater, 7:00 pm; also at 7, at Chief Sealth International High School, concert by Denny International Jazz/Chief Sealth International Jazz 2/Chief Sealth International Jazz 1.
CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR WORK-AT-HOME/UNEMPLOYED/ETC.: And after you’ve shopped … Yen Wor karaoke host Guy Olson is organizing company-party-style festivities for those who won’t get them otherwise (he was last seen looking for a copy machine to borrow), starting at 9 pm.
WINTER SOLSTICE TOMORROW! And there are solstice events – including a North Delridge walk and Alice Enevoldsen‘s always-popular sunset watch – in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, along with other holiday events, all the way through New Year’s Day – we’re continuing to update it daily (it now includes the link to our full list of Christmas Eve/Day/etc. church services, and later today we’ll be adding the lists of restaurants/coffee open for the holidays.
(SDOT’s east-facing West Seattle Bridge cam; more WS-relevant cams here)
Back to our normal traffic/transit updates, now that the weather is back to the more-predictable showery pattern – here’s the latest forecast. Please let us know if you spot any problems – provided you’re not in the driver seat (in which case, comment or text/call when you get where you’re going, 206-293-6302).
TRANSIT NOTE FOR NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND: Reminder that Metro will be on a “reduced weekday” schedule Monday and Wednesday-Friday of next week as well as Monday of the following week, with a Sunday schedule on the next two Tuesdays (Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) – more here. Both Water Taxis (West Seattle and Vashon) will be out of service on Christmas/New Year’s Days but operating normally the other weekdays.
8 AM UPDATE: Thanks to the caller who just let us know about stalled cars causing some backup as eastbound WS Bridge leads to northbound I-5.
(Charli Elliott of WSHS, Zoe Haywood of Sealth; photos by Nick Adams for WSB)
Wednesday night’s West Seattle High School–Chief Sealth International High School girls-varsity basketball game at WSHS took up where the previous night’s boys’ game left off. Both teams played a very up-tempo, aggressive game – here’s Chelle McMonigle amid Sealth double-teaming:
But West Seattle managed to control the ball for most of the game and came away with a 44-21 win. More photos as the summary continues ahead:Read More
With five days left until Christmas, time is running out for the giving trees and donation drives around town, and some have wrapped up already. Two updates:
First, there’s still time to help out the families who will benefit from the giving tree at CAPERS in The Junction. Proprietor Lisa Myers shared the photo, and says:
The Hickman House Giving Tree is still going strong and collecting donations for the moms and kids who are recovering from Domestic Violence. Gifts for women and children are being accepted through the 23rd of December at CAPERS, 4525 California SW in The Junction. The outpouring of support has been fabulous this year.
There are a few things needed to round out the gifts already acquired:
****All household items: kitchen utensils, pots & pans, silverware, dishes, glassware, twin sheets & blankets
****Gift cards to local establishments
Hickman House is transitional housing in West Seattle for moms/kids who are victims of domestic violence and is under the umbrella of the Salvation Army. All gifts and gift-card donations go directly to the residents living at the facility. CAPERS has sponsored the Hickman House Giving Tree since 1990.
Meantime, a successful holiday-giving drives that recently wrapped up shared a report, and this photo of some of the young helpers:
This drive covered not only West Seattle, but three other communities:
EuropaKids International Preschool, with locations in West Seattle, Burien, and Edmonds, teamed up with Annie’s Nannies of Ballard over the past few weeks and sponsored a diaper drive for WestSide Baby. We put a challenge out to our parents to bring in 5,000 diapers for donation.
We held an internal contest between the individual classrooms and not only did our families meet this challenge, we ended up collecting over 7,858 diapers! As you know, Westside Baby helps families with children by collecting and distributing car seats, clothing, toys, and diapers to local families in need. The holiday is season is upon us and these donations are extremely important to families who need a little extra help. Thank you to the families and staff who participated in this event!
In addition to the CAPERS Giving Tree above, other giving opportunities are listed in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide.
Four months after a federal plea bargain, former West Seattle medical-marijuana entrepreneur Brionne Corbray has been sentenced.
According to online records from this afternoon’s federal court hearing, while prosecutors asked for a one-year sentence, Corbray’s sentence is for five years of probation plus a $25,000 fine; his lawyer had suggested three years of probation. He pleaded guilty last summer to conspiracy to distribute marijuana, stemming from a undercover sting in which the federal government said its agents had been able to buy it without medical-marijuana authorization. The sting was followed by raids in November 2011.
At the time, Corbray’s GAME Collective had a short-lived “lounge” in downtown White Center (where we photographed federal agents on the day of the raids) as well as its original location on California SW between Alaska and Morgan Junctions, and one in North Seattle. In documents submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez in advance of today’s sentencing, Corbray was vouched for by family, friends, and community members, and he submitted a letter in his own defense, saying he had talked to local and state authorities to get assurance that what he wanted to do was legal, while also saying the White Center and North Seattle locations were primarily run by others:
We all just wanted to make a living in a bad economy and since we followed the state law and were doing a business that hundreds of others were also doing in the city and state we thought we were legal.
The federal government, meantime, said there is nothing even in state law authorizing storefront dispensaries, much less the type of “lounge” briefly operated in White Center, and its document also contends, “… Defendant’s activities would still be illegal today, even after the recent passage of I-502,” though the state has not yet drawn up the guidelines and rules for sales of marijuana.
His lawyer pointed out that Corbray is one of just a few people prosecuted in our state for medical-marijuana businesses, noting that the federal government later sent warning letters to other dispensaries about operating too close to schools but did not prosecute any of them, and concluded, “Given the muddied and mixed messages that persist… sentencing Mr. Corbray to prison is neither an effective nor necessary means to end the medical marijuana industry or even storefront dispensaries.”
The final document from this afternoon’s court proceeding isn’t available online yet; if there is any additional information of note, we’ll add it to this story tomorrow.
From Governor Gregoire‘s office:
In response to a request from Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, Gov. Chris Gregoire asks that the people of Washington observe a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. local time on Friday, Dec. 21, out of respect for the families devastated by the Newtown tragedy.
Gov. Malloy has issued a proclamation declaring Friday, Dec. 21, to be a day of mourning throughout Connecticut. In solidarity with the people of that state, and recognizing that the deaths of these twenty children and six educators is a national tragedy, Gov. Gregoire requests Washingtonians join in this moment of quiet reflection.
“We are all heartbroken by this senseless violence,” said Gov. Gregoire. “Mike and I often think of those parents who will never again hug their first-graders. The courageous acts of the staff at Sandy Hook were truly selfless and heroic. The people of Newtown will long be in our prayers.”
In his letter to Gov. Gregoire, Gov. Malloy wrote, “In the last few days, the outpouring of love and compassion from your state and from around the world has been overwhelming, and the people of Connecticut will be forever grateful.”
In Connecticut, places of worship will also ring bells twenty-six times in honor of each life taken at Sandy Hook Elementary.
And a reminder that the next night – this coming Saturday, December 22nd – a 5 pm vigil is planned at the Alki Statue of Liberty (here’s our original story). Organizer Casey Ann Rasmussen, a West Seattle business owner, tells WSB today that the vigil will include speakers, including, from Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims, executive director Marge Martin and board member Mark Roe, who also is Snohomish County’s prosecuting attorney.
6:03 PM: We’re at Seattle Public Schools headquarters right now, where the School Board is meeting for a “work session” on short-term capacity management (crowding relief) – proposals that could affect thousands of West Seattle students and their families (as well as their counterparts throughout the city). This is the formal presentation of the proposals we wrote about last night. These meetings aren’t broadcast, so we’re going to write about it live – when the West Seattle points come up, or citywide points relevant to WS – over the next hour and a half. The slide deck that’ll be shown to the board can be seen here.
Assistant superintendent Pegi McEvoy, leading off the meeting, says that the district has received more than 600 written comments; one of the slides from the presentation summarizes the most-frequent comments, including that Fairmount Park is preferred as a permanent home for K-5 STEM at Boren (the only specific West Seattle school mentioned in the summary of comments).
6:10 PM: The president of the FAC-MAC advisory committee has arrived just in time to explain its recommendations – including, regarding West Seattle issues, more portables for Schmitz Park (before the new BEX-IV-funded school can be built at Genesee Hill), opening Fairmount Park Elementary as a neighborhood school in fall 2014, considering housing K-5 STEM at EC Hughes “when available” (Westside School tells WSB late today that it’s expecting to stay through 2015-16 and has a commitment from the district that it can do so).
She says the Schmitz Park community indicated it would rather have more portables than split off kindergarten to another site (a possibility mentioned at the last work session, for SP and other crowded schools such as West Seattle Elementary).
(Note – extensive discussion is ensuing on the North Seattle recommendations from the committee; there are citywide writers here including Melissa Westbrook from the Seattle Schools Community Forum website who will summarize those points later – we’ll update as West Seattle-relevant discussion ensues.)
6:41 PM: Board members are now hearing about the potential financial impacts of various proposals. If a new “kindergarten center” is opened at Boren, for example, to house kindergartens from other schools, the “operational overhead” would be $322,000. Another issue is whether, as originally planned, interim school-bus transportation to “option schools” (such as West Seattle’s Pathfinder K-8) is ended for some students affected by the Student Assignment Plan implemented two years ago – district staff says ending it would be more expensive than continuing it, because it would increase enrollment at many students’ neighborhood schools, potentially leading to a need for more portables.
TO SEE THE REST OF OUR AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE, CLICK AHEAD:Read More
RYAN COX CASE: For those following the case of repeat offender Ryan Cox, in jail since late October for allegedly attacking a man with a baseball bat because of his perception of the victim’s sexual orientation: Cox’s arraignment on hate-crime charges is delayed again – a judge was told this morning that Cox’s mental evaluation still hasn’t happened, and that’s necessary for the competency hearing that is scheduled in connection with the arraignment. New court date: One week from today.
ANOTHER STOLEN CAR: Second one today – and since they are often found close to where they were taken, we publish these reports so the victims’ fellow West Seattleites can be on the lookout. This 2001 Honda Accord was taken between midnight and 4 am from 39th and Andover:
Shaun sent the photo on behalf of the neighbors who are the car’s owners, saying they are already going through a stressful time in their life with health challenges. If you see it – call 911.
Real Change asked us to publish an open letter of sorts, thanking you for your support – and asking that you be sure to support only authorized vendors of their award-winning publication. It’s a West Seattle-specific message, including descriptions of people they say are selling without authorization – which is only verified via a badge like this:
Thank You for Your Support, West Seattle
From Real Change:
Every day, Real Change offers opportunity, dignity, and a sense of community to 350 homeless or low-income vendors that sell Real Change News. For over 18 years, we have worked hard to support our vendors and respond to community concerns.
Vendors must follow a Code of Conduct if they wish to sell our newspaper. Vendors who are authorized to sell the newspaper wear a color-coded identification badge. If someone is selling the newspaper without a current badge, they may not be an authorized vendor and did not receive papers from our organization.
We know that there are a few people in West Seattle who are not authorized to sell our newspaper but have sometimes illegitimately acquired papers outside our office. They aggressively panhandle and actively disrespect community members, business owners, and Real Change vendors.
Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Students from Hope Lutheran School have been enjoying the sport this fall, thanks to the efforts of students and parents.
Hope Lutheran received a 2012 US Lacrosse Physical Education Equipment Grant, providing 30 sets of lacrosse equipment for the school’s physical education program.
Cara Marion worked with her lacrosse-loving sons Luke and Ben (pictured at right, above) to apply for the grant earlier this year. They learned earlier this fall that their application had been chosen as one of 74 winners in the country — and the only school in Seattle — for 2012.
As first reported here last month, West Seattle on-air/online personality Marty Riemer is leaving The Mountain. And in case you missed it in the WSB Event Calendar, here’s a reminder that tomorrow, after his final airshift, you are invited to join the afterparty at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor), 7-10 pm. Details are in our calendar listing, and on the Facebook event page.
Wintry weather didn’t keep the criminals home. We have four West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports this morning – three from the snow-showery overnight hours. First, be on the lookout for Jen’s stolen car:
My 1993 Honda Accord was stolen overnight. Car is a green 4-door sedan. Lic. #AIZ7501. The car was parked in the driveway in Fauntlee Hills between Donovan and Concord.
It has been reported to the police, so if anyone sees it they should call 911.
Ahead, two car prowls and a burglary:Read More
FIRST REPORT, 3:54 AM: Though the maps showed Seattle in the “snow shadow” again, snow is falling right now here in Upper Fauntleroy. Just one of the showers mentioned in the forecast? Just went out to check, and it’s fairly wet snow – sticking to the cars, but also audibly melting in the downspout. (Video added above, 4:09 am.) Let us know if you’re seeing any where you are.
4:24 AM UPDATE: It switched to freezing rain after a few minutes – but now flakes are mixed in again – seems to be right in line with the “rain/snow showers” forecast. Photo shows what that first wave left on the car window.
5:04 AM UPDATE: Another serious snow shower’s been under way awhile – more on the car, but not on the road so far. Added the bridge cam view just in case. (You can see more West Seattle and WS-relevant cams here.)
6:55 AM UPDATE: No major problems or changes related to the snow showers.
9:35 AM UPDATE: The winter-weather advisory for the area will expire at 10 am, and the latest forecast says that by afternoon, precipitation will be all rain.
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