day : 03/01/2013 11 results

Photo: West Seattle, seen from the International Space Station

When Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted that photo today from aboard the International Space Station – two weeks after his arrival – his caption noted that you might see Pike Place Market if you look closely. Never mind the market; West Seattle’s in the heart of the photo! We wouldn’t have seen this if not for West Seattleite Bill Schrier retweeting the picture. Click here for a larger version via Twitter. (The ISS, according to this NASA webpage, is in “low Earth orbit,” more than 100 miles up, making one full orbit of Earth every hour and a half.)

Metro Route 50 will stay rerouted six more weeks, though stoplight’s almost ready

Those awaiting Metro Transit Route 50‘s debut on its “real” route will have to wait six more weeks. When it launched three months ago as part of a major restructuring tied to the debut of the RapidRide C and D Lines, Metro announced temporary reroutes that it said would be in place until the Genesee/Avalon stoplight was up and running for the westbound trip and turning-radius issues were fixed in Admiral for the eastbound trip. Now that the Genesee/Avalon stoplight is close to its debut, we asked Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer today if that meant the “real” Route 50 is close too. He tells WSB it’ll be six weeks longer, because they will be changing the bus size:

The Route 50 reroute is scheduled to continue until the Feb. 16 service change, at which time westbound buses will start traveling the original planned route on southbound Delridge Way and westbound on Southwest Genesee Street. The change will happen then because we can switch to a shorter bus that can better make the southbound right turn at that intersection.

At the same time, Route 50 also will shift to the original planned route in the Admiral district, as the shorter buses will be able to make the right turn from Southwest Admiral Way to California Avenue Southwest.

Because of the signal delay – it was at one point expected to be in place before the fall Metro changes – North Delridge has not been served by westbound Route 50, intended as a long-overdue east-west connection in that area.

West Seattle Lights’ season of success: Charity-donation totals

January 3, 2013 7:27 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Lights’ season of success: Charity-donation totals
 |   West Seattle Christmas lights | West Seattle news

(11/24/2012 photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
Bright lights and big hearts! We’re talking about not only West Seattle Lights mastermind Jim Winder and the hosting Helmstetler Family, who put on the famous music-synched Christmas-light show for free, but also about the show’s fans, who donate money and food to designated beneficiaries – Jim has just sent this season’s official announcement:

West Seattle Food Bank:
Cash: $1315 – up $421 from 2011’s $895
Food: 1100 lbs – down 333 lbs from 2011’s 1433 lbs

NW Parkinson’s Foundation:
Cash: $1194, up $329 from 2011’s $865

Total for the three years:

West Seattle Food Bank:
Cash: $2642
Food: 3599 lbs

NW Parkinson’s Foundation:
Cash: $2441

Cash Total For Three Years: $7,173!!!! This includes the $1,200 for the Kingstons, $500 for Teachout Family, and $391 for Pushing Boundaries.

Thank You West Seattle, and see ya later this year!!!!

Jim Winder
West Seattle Lights

If you didn’t get around to donating to this year’s beneficiaries, but appreciated the light show, you can still use the direct links from the WS Lights page – just go here.

Update: ‘Threat of gun violence’ leads to lockdown (now over) at South Seattle Community College

4:19 PM: Just got some information about a situation that led to a campus-wide alert at South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor). According to Seattle Police spokesperson Det. Jeff Kappel, police were investigating “a threat” – he wouldn’t get any more specific than that. No injuries, no arrest reported. Our tip came from a reader whose spouse reported a lockdown situation for a while at the school; we have been unable to reach anyone at SSCC for comment, but the reader says the “all-clear” was just given.

4:53 PM UPDATE: Added a photo of the two police cars that were outside the school when we went by. No further details on the threat, though a spokesperson at the community-college system’s central communications office says there’ll be a followup message for the campus tomorrow.

5:02 PM UPDATE: Just got a call back from vice president of student services Rosie Rimando, who says that this started with a report from a student, who said another student had made a “threat of gun violence on campus.” Rimando says, “Within minutes it was reported to security, and while SPD began an investigation, we went into shelter-in-place, basically a lockdown, across campus.” She says that was a preliminary precautionary measure until they “confirmed that the student in question [who allegedly made the threat] was not on campus and not in the area at all.” That student, she says, has since been contacted and is “suspended from campus” while the investigation continues. A schoolwide team is also taking this, she says, as “an opportunity to brush up on our emergency-response plan,” but “we don’t feel like there is any danger” to the campus or surrounding community.

ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON, 1:30 PM: Associate vice president for college relations and advancement Elizabeth Pluhta e-mailed us the official statement on what transpired yesterday, including a note about a past incident brought up in the comment section:

Late Thursday afternoon a student reported a threat of gun violence on campus by another student. Campus Security and Seattle Police were immediately called, and Seattle Police began investigating on campus. The college also instituted “shelter in place” precautions, which included locking buildings and rooms, and notifying staff and students. Once Seattle Police confirmed that no threat was present on campus, the “all clear” was given. The student making the threat has been contacted and is suspended from campus pending a conduct investigation.

Using the phrase “lock down” in our message may have been stronger than necessary, but our first reaction was to be protective until more was known about the situation. And, had there been an active threat, there are other emergency communication tools that would have been used.

The college regularly conducts emergency preparedness training sessions and emergency drills. We will review our response to this situation in order to continue improving our safety and security on campus.

Regarding the pistol found in the backpack on campus in December, that student faced disciplinary action through the normal student conduct process. Student privacy laws prevent us from discussing the specific result.

We subsequently asked her about the alert that was sent out, since some said they didn’t receive it, but our original tip came from someone who said their spouse had seen “e-mail” about the lockdown:

In this situation we used a computer “pop-up” system that sends a message to all computer screens on campus, over-riding anything on the screen at that time. If there had been active danger, we would have added a voice message through our outdoor speaker system, and we also have a warning system that can send a voice message to all campus telephones, using the speakerphone feature. In addition, all college staff and students are encouraged to sign up for Campus Alerts, where we send a text or e-mail message to the phone or computer the subscriber lists. The Campus Alert sign-up is available on our website.

Reminder: Ramps to West Seattle Bridge from southbound I-5, Beacon Hill closed this weekend

(Click image for full-size view as PDF)
More than a month after first word of the Spokane Street Interchange Vicinity Bridge Repair project – its first weekend of closures is almost here, 10 pm Friday night to 5 am Monday morning. WSDOT sends this reminder, with detour details spelled out if you had trouble figuring out the maps they posted in November:

Starting Friday night, crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will close the ramp from southbound Interstate 5 to the West Seattle Bridge and the westbound Columbian Way ramp to the West Seattle Bridge. Detours are in place.

This is the first of 11 weekend-long ramp closures to replace 31 aging expansion joints on the I-5/West Seattle Interchange.

Drivers can prepare for this and the next 10 closures by checking the website in advance. The WSDOT website has detailed list of closed ramps and weekend dates as well as detour maps available to print or download.

Ramp closure details and detours

· The ramp from southbound Interstate 5 to the West Seattle Bridge and the ramp from westbound Columbian Way ramp to the West Seattle Bridge will close at 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4 and reopen at 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 7.

· Southbound drivers can access the West Seattle Bridge by using the Forest Street exit and following the signed detour to First Avenue South. Drivers can also use State Route 99.

· Drivers from Beacon Hill can take the Sixth Avenue South ramp and connect with Lander Street.

“Locals know this area and they have their own short cuts,” said Aleta Borschowa, WSDOT project engineer. “We expect West Seattle drivers to take Highway 99, First Avenue South and Fourth Avenue South to get around. Just remember that many drivers have that same plan, and it will be busy.”
To help drivers get through the construction closure, WSDOT engineers have worked with the city of Seattle to retime the signals and cancel construction work on approved detour routes. Truck traffic near the Port of Seattle is expected to be light.

During the week, these ramps carry more than 20,000 vehicles each day, but daily traffic volumes on this interchange drop by more than 50 percent during the weekend. Engineers scheduled the work on the weekend to take advantage of this light traffic.

See the full calendar-coded map of closures – which ramps on which weekends – by going here.

West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 followups; 2 new reader reports

In >West Seattle Crime Watch today – first, some have asked about the two crashes we covered on Tuesday night. We checked with Seattle Police spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson, who says that the suspect who crashed a stolen car into another car by the Southwest Precinct is still in the hospital at last report, and will be booked into jail when released. As for the truck that hit parked cars before crashing into bushes outside a South Admiral apartment building – no arrest in that case yet.

Now, as to what’s new: First, if you heard about a White Center shooting this morning, investigators aren’t clear yet on whether it was an attack or an accident – the story’s on our partner site White Center Now.

Here in West Seattle, two reader reports – both are crimes that targeted the same type of vehicle, miles apart, apparently coincidentally – read on:

Read More

Tonight: ‘Joy of tinkering’ with West Seattle Fixers’ Collective

(Photo courtesy Patrick Dunn)
Make it a more sustainable New Year with “the joy of tinkering,” as Patrick Dunn from the West Seattle Tool Library puts it, reminding us that the West Seattle Fixers Collective meets at the Tool Library tonight:

The Fixers Collective aims to prolong the life of the things we own, learn how things work, and save a few resources along the way. Bring us your broken things and we’ll help you fix them or just bring yourself and help us fix other people’s stuff. We’ll work on most non-gas items that you can carry in. We can’t always guarantee that we’ll fix it but we’ll give it our best shot!

The West Seattle Fixers Collective meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month from 6-9 pm at The Tool Library. The next meeting will be (tonight), January 3rd, 6-9 pm.

The WSFC got national attention over the holidays, too – featured in this story about the worldwide Fixer Movement! P.S. If you haven’t been to the Tool Library, it’s on the northeast side of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW).

Traffic alert: Repair work next week on surface Spokane Street

January 3, 2013 10:24 am
|    Comments Off on Traffic alert: Repair work next week on surface Spokane Street
 |   Transportation | West Seattle news

If you use surface eastbound Spokane Street – take note of repair work that SDOT has just announced for next week:

On Monday and Tuesday, January 7 and 8, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will be making repairs to the two left lanes (the far left Bus Only lane and the adjacent left lane) eastbound on Spokane Street just east of Fourth Avenue S. Then work on Wednesday through Friday, January 9 through 11, will shift to the two right hand lanes eastbound on Spokane Street at the same location just south of Fourth Avenue S. The lanes will be coned off to traffic in the work zone. The north/southbound crosswalk on the west side of the intersection will be closed to pedestrians during work hours of 9 3 p.m. each day. Motorists can expect some congestion approaching the intersection and should slow down as they move past the SDOT work crew.

We’ll note this in our daily Traffic/Transit Tracker next week, too.

West Seattleite who’s now regional Umpire-In-Chief makes the call: More umps needed!

Are you a decisionmaker? Stickler for the rules? Love sports? We might just have the perfect part-time gig for you. A West Seattleite is now our region’s softball Umpire-In-Chief – and shared the announcement, including a recruiting call (they’ll train you!):

West Seattle’s Kayleen Dunson has been appointed the softball Umpire In Chief (UIC) for the entire Seattle-Tacoma region. It’s her job to train the nearly 200 softball umpires in our area who serve both fast pitch and slow pitch leagues. And she’s looking for more umpires to train!

You may have seen Kayleen umpire games at all the local high schools including Seattle Lutheran, West Seattle High, and Chief Sealth, as well as the West Seattle Girls teams that play at Lincoln Park and Fairmount, and the Co-Ed adult slowpitch leagues at Delridge Community Center, and elsewhere.

Kayleen also umpires college softball, including community colleges, and Division III, II and I schools.

“I love umpiring,” Kayleen said. “Not only is it the perfect way to stay involved in the sport I love, but I also see it as my opportunity to give back to a community that I love. Also, it’s a great way to make a little extra money. You get to set your own schedule, work as much or as little as you want, and the training is free – no experience necessary,” she added.

Training sessions for the 2013 season start January 28. All training sessions include both classroom and hands-on experiences to make sure umpires are ready to get out on the field. There’s lots of information at the Seattle Metro Softball Umpires Association (SMSUA) website. Or feel free to contact Kayleen here:

“We’re hoping to train about 40 new umpires this year and I would love to see some friendly, familiar, West Seattle faces in the crowd.”

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Updates for Thursday 1/3

(Live view from the east-facing WS Bridge camera; see other cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
Good morning – time to keep an eye on traffic again. And time for ANOTHER warning that all weekend long, from 10 pm Friday to 5 am Monday, the first closures will be in place for the I-5 Spokane Street Interchange Vicinity Special Bridge Repair project – you will NOT be able to get to the West Seattle Bridge from southbound I-5, nor from Beacon Hill/Columbian Way. More info here. Now, on with Thursday, and thanks in advance for any info you share if problems arise – on the roads, buses, bike paths, water, sidewalks, wherever, if it’s related to getting around.

Update: ‘Green fireball in the western sky’ during meteor shower

12:33 AM: Have just received two reports of this, one a text, and then this e-mail from Chas in Gatewood:

no images – but sitting upstairs looking west (past my computer screen) just saw a giant green fireball enter over what looked like Kitsap peninsula – green streak coming from high in sky (limit of window) turning yellow and ending in large (5 times apparent diameter of moon) green fireball just above what looked like the mountains – couldn’t really tell how far it was except for the brightness and detail suggested it was relatively close (within hundred/or so miles)
about 3 minutes ago for timing (like 12;20 or thereabouts)

We had heard of a possible meteor shower tonight. Looking it up now.

12:48 AM UPDATE: Thanks to “Meteorologist Patrick” (as we know him) Kelly – who mentioned via Twitter that it’s the Quadrantid meteor shower, which is covering here. This story has details too – apparently the shower is peaking right now (convert the WP times to three hours earlier, of course).

12:55 AM: Someone at the National Weather Service saw it too:

1:39 AM: West Seattle’s own NASA Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen has shared some info in comments, starting here. She suggests that anyone with a west-facing surveillance camera should check to see if it caught anything around 12:20 am (and if you have any kind of image, still or video, please let us know, would love to add it to the story – thanks!).