West Seattle, Washington
With less than half an hour to go in 2014, some scenes from tonight: Above, Long Bach Nguyen‘s aerial view of West Seattle after the last sunset of the year; below, Trileigh Tucker‘s sea-level view from Lowman Beach around the same time:
And one of the first New Year toasts in West Seattle tonight – at Peel and Press in Morgan Junction, proprietor Dan Austin offered a toast when 2015 arrived in the Eastern time zone at 9 pm, and shared the photo:
Any other New Year’s Eve scenes to share, now or later (impending Needle fireworks, for example)? email@example.com – thank you, and here’s to 2015!
From West Seattle High School boys’ basketball head coach Keffrey Fazio:
The West Seattle HS Boys Basketball team traveled to the Mountlake Terrace Holiday Basketball Classic on Monday and Tuesday for a 4-team tournament.
The Wildcats went 2-0 and won their pool. WSHS beat host school Mountlake Terrace on Monday and then beat Bellingham on Tuesday for the bracket championship.
WSHS was led by sophomore point guard Nate Pryor, who was tournament player of the game, scoring 28 points in the first contest, then scoring 23 in the second. He had help from senior Andre Moore, and juniors Carter Golgart, Chaaka Trahan, and Melvin Arrington. Sophomore Akili Kasim played well off the bench for the Wildcats.
West Seattle resumes Metro League play Tuesday, January 6th, at home against O’Dea. JV 5:30 pm, Varsity 7:00 pm.
Somebody fired two shots into the front window of a south Morgan Junction business less than an hour ago. Our photo shows one of the bullet holes in the glass at Stella Ruffington, a dog-care center in the 7000 block of California SW. No one at the business wanted to comment; police say no one was hurt, neither human nor canine. They were trying to sort out the circumstances.
Again this year, we’ve rounded up the year’s most-commented-on WSB stories. These aren’t necessarily the most important stories (many stories are much-read but little-commented), but we always find it an interesting look back; hope you do too!
#11 – 4-mile, 5-hour closure after Highway 99 crash, June 10, 2014 – 121 comments
****Followup note – This much-scrutinized situation was reviewed at City Hall earlier this month; it’s led to changes including more hours of staffing at the city Traffic Management Center.
#10 – SDOT apologies for ‘scumbag hat’ tweet making fun of West Seattle Bridge drivers, May 5, 2014 – 122 comments
#9 – Barton family eviction/protest, July 18, 2014 – 131 comments
****Followup note – Their foreclosure lawsuit is still making its way through the court system at last check.
#8 – West Seattle Health Club officially open, November 4, 2014 – 137 comments
#7 – West Seattle Athletic Club closes; property owner opening WS Health Club, October 25, 2014 – 140 comments
****Followup note on the previous two – The gym’s popular swimming pool has yet to reopen; management says HVAC equipment is still on the way.
Just in from SDOT:
Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation are scheduled to make minor repairs such as filling potholes and depressions on numerous blocks in Arbor Heights starting Monday, Jan. 5, weather permitting. SDOT anticipates the work will be completed in less than a month.
The repair work will focus on non-arterial blocks in the western and southwestern sections of Arbor Heights. These repairs will improve the pavement condition to a level where a microsurfacing preventive maintenance treatment would be effective.
Microsurfacing is a protective seal coat which extends the life of pavement. It is a thin, tough layer of asphalt emulsion blended with finely crushed stone for traction.
SDOT’s contractor microsurfaced approximately 27 lane-miles of streets in Arbor Heights last summer. SDOT is now in the process of finalizing the list of blocks that will be included in a smaller microsurfacing project in Arbor Heights this summer. Streets being repaired at this time may or may not be included in this summer’s microsurfacing project.
Barring breaking news, here’s our last West Seattle Crime Watch roundup of 2014. (You can always check the archives, by the way, via either the CW page – see the tab on our header – or here.) We are always sorry to hear about ANY of this happening, but we appreciate the reader reports, so that other West Seattleites can be better-informed – as we mention often, we don’t get as much information from police as you might assume. (We’re working on that, though.)
RECOGNIZE THIS CAMERA THIEF’S JACKET/BOOTS? From Grant in Morgan Junction:
My home’s two exterior security cameras were stolen on Monday, December 29 around 10:00 pm. I believe the thief crept along a narrow unlit path alongside my property, then across my backyard, and around to my front door to disable and remove my door camera from behind. Next he proceeded to my driveway camera where he again came up from behind it and disabled it before removing and leaving.
A rake was found by my door suggesting this was used tilt the camera. The door camera was thoroughly removed with a screwdriver, but the driveway camera had part of its mount left attached to the house. This suggests to me the thief was probably just wanting to get the cameras fast to sell them.
If nothing else, it shows someone had studied my house beforehand and planned how to come in through the backyard to take these at night. That person may have already been in the backyard before to make sure there was no backyard cam to catch him coming in that way. Lesson learned: mount valuables like security camera high up and with tamper-resistant screws, and make sure a thief can’t disable and remove them from behind.
HAVE YOU SEEN KATHY’S CAR? Stolen in Upper Fauntleroy:
My one and only family car….blue 1997 4-door Honda Civic was stolen last night on SW Sullivan Street near 39th Avenue SW. It has a child’s car seat in the back. License plate AJY 3038. The black chrome along the bottom of the driver’s side has also been removed (previous car prowl incident) . There are a couple of small bumper stickers on the back with Seattle Storm license plate frame.
Call 911 if you see it.
Click or scroll for (updated) three more reports – another stolen car, found; prowler/peeper at a local home; and (just confirmed and added, 2:07 pm) a store break-in:
(Photo by John Hinkey)
This is it – goodbye to 2014! Before the New Year’s Eve highlights, two more Olympics views:
(Panorama by Chris Frankovich)
Now, on with what’s up in this year’s final hours:
NEW YEAR’S EVE FOOD DRIVE: At Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), open until 5 tonight, a food drive. As proprietor Lora Swift explains, “We’ll be offering free 8 oz lattes to anyone who brings in a non-perishable food item. It’s a way for everyone to end 2014 on a good note!” (4410 California SW)
RESTAURANTS OPEN TODAY/TONIGHT AND/OR TOMORROW: Here again is our holiday restaurant list, including which local restaurants told us they would be open tonight and/or tomorrow. (Please note, as always, plans might have changed since our research, so if you have an update to report, text/call us ASAP – 206-293-6302 – thank you!)
TAKE A NEW YEAR’S EVE WALK: Hosted by the Emerald City Wanderers and St John the Baptist Episcopal Church, and sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association: Noncompetitive 5- and 10-kilometer walks starting from the church, no fee – “And there’ll be hot soup to chase away any chills.” Start any time between 4 and 7 pm. (California/Hanford)
CORNER BAR AND NOT-SO-SILENT-NIGHT PARADE: 6 pm start for the annual New Year’s Eve celebration at and around Highland Park Improvement Club – first the Not So Silent Night Parade, then the Sage Comet, then the Corner Bar, as noted on the HPIC website. Be there! (12th/Holden)
BURNING BOWL CEREMONY: 7 pm at Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation: “Ceremonies that involve fire as a cleansing ritual go back to ancient times. The service will include music, readings, prayers, singing, and the burning bowl ceremony.” (7141 California SW)
NYE AT SKYLARK CAFE/CLUB: 9 pm, New Year’s Eve with Hibou, 9 pm. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
NYE AT YEN WOR VILLAGE: Guy will start karaoke at 9 pm, stop it down for about 10 minutes of countdowns to the New Year’s arrival at midnight, then continue karaoke until 2 pm. (California/College)
P.S. – WEST SEATTLE LIGHTS FINALE: Last night this year to visit the music-synched West Seattle Lights/Helmstetler Family Spectacular. See the schedule here. Bring food to donate to the West Seattle Food Bank. (3908 SW Charlestown)
AND SPEAKING OF LIGHTS … if you’re new to West Seattle, yes, you can see the Space Needle fireworks (midnight) from north-facing north West Seattle. But don’t rush out at quarter till midnight and expect to find a great spot at the last minute. Trust us. (And if you notice that the Needle’s pink, no, it’s not for breast-cancer awareness; it’s a commercial sponsor.)
IN THE HOLIDAY GUIDE: At westseattleblog.com/westseattleholidays – even more of what’s up tonight – and, what’s up for New Year’s Day tomorrow!
11:28 AM: Thanks to Bill Schrier for spotting and sharing this while visiting SODO – the sign for the shuttered, historic Sears store is coming down. “Kind of a nostalgic end of a historic brand in SODO for the last day of 2014,” he observes. We noted the store’s closure announcement last February, primarily because it meant the Rotary Club of West Seattle would have to find someplace new for its annual Children’s Holiday Shopping Spree. (Ultimately, it moved to the Sears store at Southcenter.) As for the fate of the sign and the question of whether anyone’s leased the space yet – we don’t know but are trying to find out. (This might suggest the answer to the latter, at least, is “no.”)
ADDED 12:44 PM: According to the company that owns the building, no new tenant yet, as the Sears lease runs another year.
If you’re going to tomorrow’s 10 am Polar Bear Swim at Alki Beach – watch for the softball umpires who are doing it again this year. Leading the way will be West Seattle’s Kayleen Dunson, who shares the news of a big achievement in her storied career as an ump:
Kayleen Dunson, the Umpire in Chief for Seattle/Tacoma, and West Seattle resident, just earned ELITE Umpire Status from USA/ASA Softball.
Less than 1 percent of the 30,000 USA/ASA softball umpires in the country earn their Elite Umpire Status. It is the highest award for an American umpire. Kayleen joins just 14 other umpires in the Seattle area who have earned their Elite.
Only umpires who have earned their Elite Status are eligible to apply to become certified International Softball Federation (ISF) umpires – and only ISF umpires can work international championships – like the Olympics!
Kayleen will try for her ISF certification this July. And it’s looking like softball may make it’s way back into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Could she be selected to represent the United States there? It’s possible.
But Kayleen isn’t about the glory. “I do this because I’m having so much fun,” she said. She and about 15 other softball umpires will be “Polar Plunging” at Alki on New Year’s Day. “Umpiring is a family – like any family we have the ‘Steady Eddies’ and the ‘Crazies.’ On New Years Day a bunch of my like-minded ‘Crazies’ join me for a Plunge into Puget Sound – in full uniform. It’s a bond as strong as any family bond.”
Seattle needs about 50 new Softball Umpires this year. If you are interested, check out their website at www.smsua.org – or contact “Krazy Kayleen” at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kayleen adds an update about two people who signed up after past reports here: “West Seattle umpires Shani Neamen and Mike Katz both umpired their first National Championship Tournament this past summer. They did awesome!”
In the days ahead, family and friends are saying goodbye to Mary Jane Erlewine, who died last week at 82. Here’s the remembrance sent to us to share with you:
Mary Jane Erlewine, a longtime resident of West Seattle, passed away on Friday, December 26th.
Mary Jane was born on April 23rd, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in nursing. She put her education to use as a registered nurse with Group Health Cooperative for over 25 years. She was married to Lewis Erlewine from 1958 until his death in 2000. She is survived by her sons Jim Erlewine, Tom Erlewine, Robert Erlewine, daughter-in-law Traci, granddaughter Christina, grandson Michael, brother Charles Gillece & his wife Beverly, sister Dolores Mehringer & husband Otto, and numerous nieces & nephews.
She was full of life and had a kind and generous spirit. Visiting new places, meeting new people, the symphony, the ballet, Alki Beach and her cabin on Ohop Lake in Eatonville brought joy to her life. Her laugh was infectious and will be missed very, very much.
Please join us for a celebration of her life. All are welcome. If you are unable to attend, celebrate by saying a prayer, sharing a memory &/or paying it forward.
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Forest Lawn Funeral Home, 6701 30th Avenue SW
Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 3 pm
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Parish, 7000 35th Avenue SW
Monday, January 5th at 11:00 am
Calvary Cemetery, 5041 35th Avenue NE
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
ADMIRAL ALERT: Crews worked late into the night at the bottom of the Admiral Way hill, just north of the bridge, at the scene of a water-line break. From the comment thread on our afternoon/evening story, Val has the first report on this morning’s conditions:
Went through there southbound just before 3:00 am and all the work has been completed. Northbound lanes have a couple of rough, bumpy patches in them but otherwise everything looked open. There has been an attempt at sanding and salting or whatever it is we use around here but it was still icy. Today more than ever slow down if you are coming down the hill. Hit the turn to Avalon or the curved on ramp and under 20 and you should be fine. It’s not even supposed to get to 40 degrees today so the ice in this area might be there a couple of days.
We’re headed over shortly for a look.
8:20 AM: Here’s an Instagram video cliplet (:15) how it looks as you head downhill there, which we just did:
Also from north West Seattle, another road-ice report, via Twitter:
@westseattleblog major ice on California way Southwest heading down the hill from Hamilton viewpoint to Alki
— Patrick kelly (@MetPatrick22) December 31, 2014
12:59 AM: What started as a house-fire response near 24th/Thistle in Westwood appears to have become a car-fire call. Firefighters are checking to be sure it hasn’t spread to the structure. More to come.
1:15 AM: Our crew at the scene was told by SFD that the fire started in a vehicle in a carport and also scorched a boat parked nearby, but didn’t spread to the house. No one is hurt.
1:36 AM: Photo added.
We’ve been talking about ways to finish – or start – the year with a good deed. Here’s yet another opportunity. This Saturday (January 3rd), 10 am-4 pm, CrossFit LOFT in The Junction (4142 California SW) will host a fitness competition and silent auction to help Keith Olson, injured in a logging accident. Keith’s daughter Annie Olson is a West Seattle resident and firefighter who coaches at the gym. You can find out more about the event here – and that’s also where you can register in advance.
(Photo courtesy Center for Whale Research: Mom J16 and newborn J50)
After heartbreaking losses this year in Puget Sound’s orca pods, good news – a baby! Here’s the news release shared by Orca Network:
This afternoon Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research confirmed seeing and photographing 42-year old J16 (Slick) with her newborn baby – now known as J50!
During an encounter off the south shores of North Pender Island in Canadian waters, Ken discovered J16 with her newborn calf, only a day or two old, snuggled in her slipstream and looking healthy and energetic.
No other female has given birth at over 42 years of age in the four decades of demographic field studies of the Southern Resident orcas. J16 was not expected to be carrying a calf due to her advanced age.
Researchers probably won’t know the calf’s gender for many months, until they are able to see and photograph the calf’s ventral markings.
The Southern Resident community was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 2005, after dropping in population to only 78 members, but had recently lost a pregnant female, J32 Rhapsody, bring their numbers down to only 77 members. This birth brings the So. Residents up to 78.
Most of J pod was seen on December 24 west of Orcas Island, but J16, known as Slick, and her family were not among them. Then on December 26th, the Orca Network Sightings Network received a photograph of J16’s oldest offspring, 23-year old J26 (Mike), and another orca off the north end of Lopez Island, indicating that J16 was probably nearby, because maternal families remain in close proximity their entire lives.
9:09 PM UPDATE: We hope to add a photo when Orca Network releases one; in the meantime, you can see several on the ON Facebook page. Also, thanks to West Seattle wildlife watcher/photographer/writer Trileigh Tucker for tipping us to the happy news even before we got the news release.
9:28 PM UPDATE: Added a Center for Whale Research photo of mother and calf, republished with permission. You can see half a dozen others on the center’s website.
(WSB photo from New Year’s Eve 2012 at Highland Park Improvement Club)
One more mention – if you’re looking to stay close to home on New Year’s Eve/Day, you have options, and most of them are listed in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, which we’ve been updating all season long as usual, starting in mid-November. (Each day, while adding updates, we also remove what’s already happened, so you don’t have to wade through expired info.) From the Not-So-Silent-Night Parade (all welcome!) to bar parties to special menus to Polar Bear Swims to scenic walks- and then some – check out the listings. And if your business/organization/etc. has special plans that AREN’T in our guide yet, it’s not too late for us to add them – please e-mail the information to firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP!
3:45 PM: Update on the water problem mentioned earlier in our daily traffic watch:
SW Admiral Way westbound lane closed at SW Spokane Street; Seattle Public Utilities performing an emergency repair on water service line:
One westbound lane of SW Admiral Way, at SW Spokane Street (underneath the bridge), will be closed while Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) crews make an emergency repair to a water service line. SPU expects the lane to be reopened by 9 pm this evening.
9:13 PM UPDATE: As of less than an hour ago, the crew was still working and the road was still wet; in addition to the lane closure toward the bottom of the Admiral Way hill, access to Admiral via westbound Spokane St. under the bridge was closed off. We’ll be checking the scene in an hour or so (please let us know if you see it reopen sooner) and will also check it for the morning commute since it’ll be well below freezing tonight.
11:55 PM UPDATE: Crews were still working at the scene as of our return visit a short time ago. Looks like it has the potential to be treacherous for the morning commute but rather than speculate, we will check back before starting our daily traffic/transit coverage ~6 am and will include an update on what it’s like and whether you might do better to consider an alternate route.
(WSB photos unless otherwise credited)
One more way to see wildlife in West Seattle – the display currently on view in the window at Twilight Gallery and Boutique in The Junction. Twilight’s Tracy Cilona called our attention to its unusual nature (so to speak), and we stopped by for photos.
Elijah Evenson is a Seattle-based sculptor who combines the aesthetics of a natural history museum with the concept of surrealism. In 2004 he studied sculpture at Gage academy of Fine Art and went on to study at the Seattle Sculpture Atelier in 2007. He currently has a studio at the Inscape building in the international district where he works in a variety of mediums both large and small.
The Survivors Exposition is a large-scale diorama in homage to the animals of the Pacific Northwest, featured in our window gallery for the month of December.
(Photo provided by Twilight)
(From the artist): “Every day that I live in the northwest, I fantasize about the way things were here one hundred thousand years ago. I have always felt a strong connection with the mountains in Washington, the beautiful balance of the very rich and peaceful environment. The animals that live here are elegant and yet apprehensive. There is special quietness that most of the animals share as they listen to the strong sound of the wind blowing through the trees and the rush of the rivers. Through these sounds, the soul of the mountain can be heard. The Coyote, the Elk, and the Falcon all have their own harmonies to sing. When I was in the redwoods, I came upon an elk’s skull that had been buried into a tree. The poor thing had its horns caught up in the branches until the tree eventually ate the carcass whole. Buried in the trunk was the memory of the elk. What survived was a monument of itself. This is my monument to the spirits of the forest.”
Twilight is on SW Alaska just west of California SW, and open until 7 pm tonight.
(Image from SDOT camera on the bridge, saved early Monday – note the dark zone in the center)
If you have driven the West Seattle “high bridge” after dark/before dawn in the past week or so, you’ve no doubt noticed the stretch of non-working lights between Highway 99 and the bridge crest. (And this isn’t the first trouble since the LED lights were installed last year.) After multiple inquiries, we mentioned last Friday that city sources had confirmed Seattle City Light was on it. So why aren’t they fixed yet? We followed up today with SCL, whose Scott Thomsen tells WSB:
After we got reports of the lights being out, we had a line service crew do a patrol and inspect the lights that were out. They determined that the cause for the majority of them was a failed piece of equipment called a breaker/contactor. The part is on order. It is scheduled to be delivered Jan. 5 and will be installed as soon as it arrives. Then, the crew will do another patrol to assess any remaining lights that are still out.
Three reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:
STOLEN CAR: Amanda hopes you’ll keep an eye out for her car – “My car was stolen from the alley of (the 900 block of) SW Holden St between the hours of 2 pm Sunday and 8 am Monday morning. It is a gold 1994 Honda Accord with the license AIB2949.” Call 911 if you’ve seen it.
TWO CAR BREAK-INS: We received a texted report this morning about two cars broken into on 48th SW in the Admiral area. The texter notes, “Lucky for us, we don’t keep anything important in our cars, so no harm, but unneeded this time of year, especially since we have just brought home our son from the hospital just over a week and a half ago.”
ANOTHER CAR BREAK-IN: An unfortunate reminder that car break-ins don’t just happen when everyone but the criminals are asleep – one happened lightning-fast to Lisa near 16th/100th:
I walked into the Autozone store after having my check engine light checked with one of the employees so they could print the results, and within less than 1 minute somebody had smashed my window and grabbed my computer bag. I was parked directly in front of the store, and it all happened in moments…
ADDED: One more 48th SW break-in:
(Monday) night someone went into our Subaru parked on 48 Ave SW between SW Dakota and SW Genesse. I am sure they were disappointed. We don’t leave anything in the car. They did search hard. They went through the whole interior of the vehicle including the side panel compartments in back in the wagon. Completely ransacked it.
Although work on the Arbor Heights Elementary School site has been under way now for more than four months, one more appeal is pending against a city decision allowing the new school to be built. We covered the two appeals that already have resulted in rulings, in May and August; the current appeal, filed in November, has a hearing coming up January 13th, per a notice in this week’s city Land Use Information Bulletin. It was filed by three area residents and district watchdog Chris Jackins, along with his Seattle Committee to Save Schools, who pursued the two other appeals. Here’s the two-page document covering four points, including the fate of two large trees on the edge of the site, and four zoning exceptions that were granted:
(If you can’t read it embedded above, here’s a PDF version.) We believe these are the two Douglas firs at issue (visible toward the upper left of the top photo – the trees between them and the excavator are not part of the site):
Documents related to the appeal are linked on this page of the website for the city Hearing Examiner, whose chambers on the 40th floor of the city Municipal Tower downtown will be the location of the hearing at 1 pm January 13th.
Just can’t get enough of the frosted Olympics. Thanks to Danny McMillin for the Monday photo of 7,743-foot Mount Constance, which we hadn’t previously known has a West Seattle link beyond the fact we can see it from here: Lt. George Davidson, who gave Fauntleroy its current name (the surname of his fiancée Ellinor Fauntleroy), also named Olympic peaks after members of her family, including sister Constance. But enough about the past – let’s look into the immediate future:
TODDLER STORY TIME: 10:30 am at the West Seattle (Admiral) Branch Library, bring the toddler(s) and listen up! (2306 42nd SW)
GO SKATING! 1-4:30 pm, it’s a special winter-break skating session at Southgate Roller Rink. (9646 17th SW)
LADIES SING THE BLUES: Last Tuesday of the month means that Blues To Do at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) spotlights female artists, and also happens to be a pajama-party event – 8:30 pm, be there! (6451 California SW)
(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Good morning! Second-to-last day of 2014:
*Again today, Metro is on the “reduced weekday” schedule.
*This is the second day of SDOT‘s planned three-day one-lane closure on California Way, between Harbor and Ferry, for retaining-wall work.
*Bonus: Check out the first of the two new Water Taxis – we spotted the photos in a small, unannounced slideshow on the Water Taxi website early today:
Go there to see more images of the Sally Fox, which will be on the Vashon run when it’s ready to go in 2015; right behind it will be the Doc Maynard, on the West Seattle run. Talking with Greg Lerner of the King County Transportation Department‘s Marine Division earlier this month, we had asked for images of the under-construction Water Taxis, but hadn’t heard/seen anything until stumbling onto this.
11:43 AM: We are getting reports of water on the road along Admiral north of the bridge. Checking on the cause.
So much giving spirit in the weeks leading up to Christmas – businesses, schools, organizations, individuals – but it doesn’t stop there. We’re spotlighting New Year’s giving this week too. Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor) has a two-part plan: Food drive for the West Seattle Food Bank on Wednesday, benefit drink raising money for WestSide Baby on Thursday:
Hotwire is at 4410 California SW.
P.S. If your business/organization/etc. has some sort of New Year’s giving going on too, and the community can participate, let us know so we can help get the word out! One other drive we know is still going on is this one – warm clothes for West Seattle Helpline, being collected through Wednesday at Dave Newman‘s State Farm Insurance office (WSB sponsor), 3435 California SW, regular hours 9 am-5 pm weekdays.