day : 03/09/2013 12 results

West Seattle back-to-school scenes: Barbecue & Big Band at Lafayette

At right, that’s new Lafayette Elementary principal Robert Gallagher, one of the half-dozen new principals leading West Seattle public schools as classes begin tomorrow. Assistant principal Karmen Nordhougen was with him, making the rounds of the playground, at tonight’s Night Before School Barbecue.

Other schools might have barbecues too, but this was the first time we’d ever seen one with live music from the West Seattle Big Band:

This year’s enrollment stats won’t be available for a while, but for the past few years, Lafayette has been West Seattle’s most populous elementary school, with about 550 students listed as the official 2012 enrollment. P.S. If you missed it, we interviewed new principal Gallagher earlier this year, after his appointment was announced.

West Seattle traffic alert: Tree topples onto Fauntleroy Way

September 3, 2013 9:30 pm
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 |   Safety | West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

That tree was blocking northbound Fauntleroy Way by the south end of Fairmount Playfield as of the top of the hour – don’t know if it’s cleared yet (we’ll check back), but when we were there, it was quite a hazard – no illumination, no police or flares or road crews. No injuries or damage.

ADDED: Finally was able to go back and check around midnight. Tree had been cut up and moved off the road.

Update: Seattle teachers approve new contract; school starts tomorrow

(Scroll down for latest updates – contract ratified; reaction coming in …)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 7:36 PM: We’re watching news from the Seattle Education Association membership meeting downtown and will update here as it comes in. They’ve just updated via Facebook/Twitter that “Debate on the certificated staff contract has started” as of a few minutes ago – that means the teachers. Two smaller workgroups’ contracts were approved, according to SEA, by voice vote. Updates to come – and we’re embedding the union (and other key sources’) tweets here so you can follow along.



(Refresh the WSB home page to make sure you’re seeing the newest tweets.)

8:04 PM UPDATE: As you can see in the tweetstream above, the union says all contracts have been ratified. (Post-vote tweets continue, as the stream remains “live.”)

8:14 PM: Quick statement e-mailed to news media by district Superintendent José Banda:

I want to thank everyone involved for their hard work and dedication in negotiating this agreement. I appreciate each and every one of our staff members, whose work contributes to the academic success of our students. All of us at Seattle Public Schools look forward to welcoming our students and families to a new school year tomorrow.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Truck theft/car-ramming suspect Donald Plute back in jail, held on $260,000 bail

Four weeks after his August 6th arrest for allegedly stealing a truck on Alki and then using it to ram two cars – one a Seattle Police cruiser – 23-year-old Donald M. Plute is back in jail. (Thanks to commenter Tophat Topcat for the tip!) You might recall that Plute spent only one day in jail because, as reported here August 8th, a judge ruled there wasn’t enough probable cause to hold him. Compounding matters, a warrant for his arrest in another case was issued the day of that ruling – but it didn’t show up in the system until after Plute was released from jail.

On August 16th, prosecutors charged him in the truck theft/ramming case, and a $250,000 warrant was issued – but that was just a piece of paper until he could be taken into custody again, which happened sometime yesterday. We don’t have any information on circumstances of his arrest, but Plute is jailed in lieu of $260,000 bail – the quarter-million for the August 6th incident, and $10,000 for the other warrant. We’ve obtained court documents from that case, which involves an incident in White Center one year ago today, in which a King County Sheriff’s Office deputy tried to stop Plute after he allegedly ran a stop sign on his motorcycle at high speed, without a helmet. The documents say he ditched the bike and bolted; when the deputy caught up with him, he wrote, Plute advanced toward him with clenched fists, and was subdued with a Taser. The charges in that case are reckless driving and failure to obey a police officer. He’s due back in court on September 11th. (WSB photo above is from Plute’s arrest in Gatewood on August 6th)

Council to vote on proposal to prevent ‘bulky low-scale development’ in urban areas

There’s overdevelopment – and then there’s underdevelopment. The proposed one-story, 14,000 standalone pharmacy at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW – first reported here in July – is considered by some to be a potential case of the latter, along with two similar projects we mentioned in that story, one in Wallingford, one in lower Queen Anne, since they are planned on sites where much bigger developments could be built. City Councilmember Richard Conlin has announced a proposal that would prohibit these types of projects in certain urban areas in the future:

Councilmember Richard Conlin introduced interim controls legislation today that sets a minimum density requirement for new buildings in pedestrian-oriented Neighborhood Commercial zones in Seattle’s urban villages and urban centers. Councilmember Conlin developed the legislation in response to neighborhood concerns about one-story, suburban-style projects proposed in various Seattle urban villages.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen car, truck to watch for

Two stolen-vehicle reports to share – first, from Jacob:

I had my green 1995 Acura Integra stolen from in front of my house on 41st and Kenyon in Gatewood overnight. It is a four door vehicle with a baby seat in the back.

Second, Kristine is hoping you might be able to help her find her stolen truck:

It was stolen from the 2000 block of Alki. It is a forest-green Chevrolet Z71. The year is 1998. The front license plate has a Seahawks cover on it.

If you see either vehicle, or have any related information, call 911.

Election 2013: West Seattle’s first mayoral forum announced

September 3, 2013 1:30 pm
|    Comments Off on Election 2013: West Seattle’s first mayoral forum announced
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

checkbox.jpgWith nine weeks until the November 5th election, and summer in the rear-view mirror, the campaign for Seattle mayor is about to resume in earnest, and what we believe to be West Seattle’s first post-primary mayoral forum has just been confirmed for two weeks from today: Senior Center of West Seattle executive director Karen Sisson says incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn and challenger State Sen. Ed Murray will be there at 1 pm on Tuesday, September 17th. Lucy Gaskill Gaddis will moderate, in a format including opening/closing statements, moderator questions, and audience questions. (The Senior Center is at California/Oregon in The Junction.)

Any other groups have forums/debates scheduled? Don’t wait until the last minute to let us know – we’d love to get your event in the WSB calendar now; editor@westseattleblog.com. Thanks!

3rd big Sunday event: Pancake breakfast to benefit West Seattle Junior Football/Cheer

September 3, 2013 12:50 pm
|    Comments Off on 3rd big Sunday event: Pancake breakfast to benefit West Seattle Junior Football/Cheer
 |   How to help | West Seattle news | WS & Sports

We’ve already previewed two big West Seattle events for next Sunday, in the afternoon (Harbor Seal Day) and evening (“The Earth Cried Out“). Get ready for a big Sunday with another big event: The West Seattle Junior Football and Cheer fundraising pancake breakfast! Parent volunteer Annie Higgins explains, “It’s such an important event for this group because the funds raised there go to help so many kids who might not otherwise have a chance to participate. … All money will go toward player scholarships, safer gear, and other franchise expenses. Join us for some fun, exciting raffle items, and a delicious breakfast.” 9-noon Sunday (September 8th) at the Masonic Center (4736 40th SW), $6/person, $25/family.

West Seattle musicians in ‘Concert for Bangladesh’ re-creation

That upcoming event is not in West Seattle but has a “huge West Seattle tie-in,” points out Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) co-proprietor Jeff Gilbert (besides the fact that he designed the poster):

A bunch of Northwest musicians have come together to re-create George Harrison’s landmark 1972 charity concert for Bangladesh on Friday, September 13, at the Hard Rock [9 pm]. And of the 20 performers, half are West Seattle residents. Tickets are $10 advance/$12 day of show, 21+, with all proceeds benefiting Roots Young Adult Shelter and the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF™. This is gonna be epic!

The Hard Rock Café-Seattle is downtown, at 116 Pike; advance tickets are available online here.

Keep K-5 STEM at Boren, urges North Delridge Neighborhood Council

With fall and the new school year arriving, Seattle Public Schools‘ board is scheduled to make major decisions soon about “growth boundaries,” including the future of some West Seattle schools. As reported here a month ago, West Seattle’s STEM elementary – about to start its second year – is hoping to either stay at the Boren building on Delridge Way and grow to a K-8, or move into Fairmount Park Elementary, which is being expanded prior to reopening next year. Back in May, though, the district proposed moving K-5 STEM onto the current Schmitz Park Elementary site after it’s vacated upon completion of the new school at Genesee Hill in 2016. STEM has been marshaling community support, and is getting it in a letter being sent today by the North Delridge Neighborhood Council, backing the suggestion to stay at Boren. Co-chairs Parie Hines and Kirsten Smith write, in part:

Delridge as a neighborhood has felt the negative effects of having the Boren school used as a transitional and temporary school for many long years. It has been a pleasure to see the students, parents, and staff of the STEM school begin to “take ownership” of the building

Read the entire letter here:

NDNC letter supporting keeping K-5 STEM at Boren


(If you can’t see the document, try it here on our server as a PDF.) The school board’s decision is due later this fall; before then, the district plans a series of community meetings detailed here, one of which is in West Seattle – 6:30 pm September 25th at West Seattle High School. Comments are being accepted before (and after) that meeting via e-mail: GrowthBoundaries@seattleschools.org.

West Seattle Tuesday: Back-to-school events and more from the calendar

Thanks to Dan for sharing a back-to-school photo! This trio, he says, is headed to Holy Rosary – from left, Elena, 11; Cameron, 13; Elliot, 8. Lots of school notes in today’s highlights list from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, and we’ll start with those:

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL: In our daily traffic watch, we mapped the five major schools that start today – if you missed it, they are:

*Holy Rosary (42nd/Genesee)
*Seattle Lutheran High School (40th/Genesee)
*Hope Lutheran (42nd/Oregon)
*Our Lady of Guadalupe (34th/Myrtle)
*Holy Family (20th/Roxbury)

Note that for some, the first day of school is a half-day.

CHIEF SEALTH ‘WELCOME BACK, SEAHAWKS’ DAY: At Chief Sealth International High School, students are invited to campus today (on a staggered schedule spelled out here) to get schedules, locker assignments, etc.

ARBOR HEIGHTS MEET-AND-GREET: Arbor Heights Elementary is inviting families to the campus 2-3 pm today so students can meet their teacher and see their classroom, and to get a jump on start-of-school paperwork. (37th/104th)

TEACHERS VOTE: Members of the Seattle Education Association gather at Benaroya Hall downtown at 4:30 pm to vote on a proposed contract. Their leadership recommends approving it, but the union also confirmed last night that the leadership vote was a close one. No specific time is set for announcing the results, but we’ll publish an update here when there’s word.

LAFAYETTE NIGHT-BEFORE-SCHOOL BARBECUE: As previewed here last night, at 5 pm on the playground, community members are invited to join the Lafayette Elementary school community for a hot-dog barbecue and live music with the West Seattle Big Band. (Lander west of California)

MADISON SIXTH-GRADE ORIENTATION: Sixth-graders and families are invited to Madison Middle School 6:30-8 pm tonight for orientation. (45th/Spokane)

In non-school happenings:

TRANSPORTATION TALK: 9:30 am, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Governor Jay Inslee plan a media briefing downtown, regarding transportation issues. Not a public event, but this is likely to relate to Metro Transit and potentially looming budget cuts, so we’ll be monitoring it and reporting on what they have to say; you can watch live here.

WEST SEATTLE BIKE CONNECTIONS MEETS: 6:30 pm, this month at West Seattle Cyclery (WSB sponsor) in The Junction. Meeting details here. (4508 California SW)

TOASTMASTERS’ HUMOROUS SPEECH CONTEST: You’re welcome to join West Seattle Toastmasters 832 for their humorous speech and table talk contest, 6:30 tonight at Merrill Gardens-West Seattle (WSB sponsor) in The Triangle – details in our calendar listing. (4611 35th SW)

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: 1st of 2 back-to-school days

(Live view from the east-facing WS Bridge camera; other cameras are on the WSB Traffic page)
It’s not just back-from-holiday-weekend day, it’s also the first of the two biggest back-to-school days – today, the parochial schools reopen; tomorrow, other independent schools, as well as the public schools. That means it’s time to be extra-safe and mindful of school zones again, starting today – here’s a map of the major schools that are back in session:


View West Seattle parochial schools in a larger map

Also important to note: Today is the scheduled start of partial closures on SW Orchard between Delridge and Sylvan, as part of the Delridge Way Repaving Project – for two weeks, it’ll be closed eastbound; see the detour map and details here.

4:03 PM UPDATE: Crash reported on southbound 99 right by the bridge exit. Here’s some of the backup (not that southbound 99 isn’t megabusy this time of the afternoon anyway):

We’ll keep an eye on this.