West Seattle, Washington
As school resumed after the holiday weekend, something new was being installed at Madison Middle School – the illuminated signboard that had been the subject of a years-long fight. The Madison PTA raised money to get it, but needed a zoning exception because the school has homes on all sides, and zoning didn’t allow this type of sign. The neighbors who will be facing the sign challenged the city ruling allowing that exception, went downtown to argue their case, then ended the fight when the city Hearing Examiner upheld the ruling last September. Claudia Ludwig, one of the neighbors who led the challenge, says it’s a “sad day.” The Hearing Examiner did formalize conditions for the sign’s operation, in hopes that would address some of the neighbors’ concerns; among those conditions, it’s only supposed to be turned on 7 am-7 pm weekdays, 10 am-4 pm weekends/school holidays/breaks.
Detectives are making progress in West Seattle’s two most recent murder cases, new Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis told the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council tonight (our second report tomorrow will cover the rest of tonight’s meeting). In the Q/A period after his meeting-opening briefing, he was asked about three of the cases. First, in the December 14th blunt force/strangulation murder of 46-year-old Nga T. Nguyen at her High Point home, he said detectives “are working on something – hopefully they can bring something to a close very quickly.” He said that’s all he could say. Asked then about the New Year’s Eve shooting death of 40-year-old Stephen Jeffries Jr., Capt. Davis wasn’t quite that optimistic, but said detectives “know a lot more now” than they did on the chaotic night of the killing at a 16th/Barton party. Those were West Seattle’s only two murders in 2013, and the first ones since that of 51-year-old Greggette Guy more than a year and a half earlier; asked about that case, he said he hadn’t heard anything lately but would check. There are two other unsolved murders in this area – Kaari Higgins, who died three years ago after being found injured in her Fauntlee Hills home, and 24-year-old Jeremy Peck, last seen in a West Seattle bar three years ago, weeks before his body turned up on a Bainbridge Island beach. His death was added to the unsolved-murder list two years later.
If you have information on any Seattle homicide case, the SPD tip line is 206-233-5000 (or you can call 911).
In West Seattle Crime Watch tonight:
STOLEN CAR: From Bill:
I live just north of Admiral Junction and adding my red ’97 Civic hatchback, license 701 HMN, to the long list of stolen Hondas. I have a Club and pretty sure I put it on last night.
If you see Bill’s car, call 911.
MAILBOX, TRASH CAN EXPLOSIONS: Following up on e-mail we received early today, we learned that police are investigating two incidents last week. First, on Thursday in the 8600 block of 17th SW (map), a home mailbox was blown up – the resident said a piece of it was found 30 feet away. Police found what appeared to be part of a firecracker. A neighbor said she saw two teenagers hanging around the mailbox and then taking off running about the time of the explosion. Nobody was hurt. The next day, after 3 pm in the 8100 block of Delridge Way (map), they got a call from someone who reported her trash can had just been “blown up” – she was driving toward her home when she saw smoke pouring from it. A roommate was home but didn’t see it happen. An Arson/Bomb Squad member investigated that case, according to the report. No definite description of suspects in either case; the teens seen running after the Thursday incident were described as male, one white, about six feet tall, white shirt and blue jeans, the other black, with “unidentified clothing”; in the Friday case, police were told a slender 18-to-20-year-old African-American man in a yellow-and-red shirt, “possibly a San Francisco 49ers jersey,” and blue jeans was seen running from the area after the explosion.
EGG VANDALISM: A reader who asked for anonymity reports, “My car was egged on Charlestown Street between 44th and 45th [map] (likely) on 1/19.” Yes, you can report this as vandalism; the reader says the online form is problematic, though, because the vandalism section doesn’t have a dropdown for “car.”
MIDNIGHT PROWLER: A Seaview resident e-mailed:
Thought I would report that I had a weird happening Saturday around midnight. Someone rang my doorbell. When I went to answer the door, no one was around. I called police and they came and checked around the house and the neighborhood. They did find evidence of someone on my porch, but saw no one. Just an alert to let people know to be cautious. Police said someone was probably checking out the house to see if anyone was home, so they could break-in.
P.S. Lots of interesting information at tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting – still under way as we publish this – watch for at least one report later.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
James St. Clair‘s niece choked up as she struggled with saying her uncle “was” rather than “is.”
But her words were clear and plaintive as she wondered aloud “what could happen in another seven years if it’s going to take that long to make changes?”
“Seven years” referred to the time elapsed between the death of 27-year-old Susanne Scaringi, who lost her life bicycling at 35th and Graham in September 2006, and the death of Mr. St. Clair, 69, hit and killed while walking across 35th at that same intersection last month.
Darlene Saxby spoke about her uncle, and her fears, during the community meeting that followed Saturday’s community-organized Memorial Walk on Saturday. (She also spoke during the memorial, as seen in our first report, with video, here.) After words and song in his honor, yards from where he died, about 20 participants walked on to Neighborhood House’s High Point Center for that conversation.
For Darlene, this was new. For some in High Point, it was achingly familiar. In April 2011, after the death of a motorcyclist at 35th/Juneau, a roadside memorial:
A roadside rally:
Some extra enforcement:
And a discussion of safety.
Flash back across another two-and-a-half-year span before all that. In September 2008, a teenager was hit and seriously hurt crossing at 35th and Juneau:
Soon after that, local youth joined in a safety rally along 35th:
And that in turn was less than a year after a previous plea for safety improvements, days after 85-year-old Oswald Clement was killed crossing at 35th/Othello. Between his death and the teenager’s injury, yet another person had died on 35th – Gregory Hampel, a 39-year-old hit by a car while trying to get his dog out of the road near their home.
Five lives, seven years. The challenges had not changed, but some of the faces and names had changed:
Highland Park Action Committee just shared a preview of tomorrow night’s meeting, and one topic is of interest even beyond HP and vicinity:
… We’ve invited Kathy Nyland to come speak. She was recently “borrowed” from city council staff to help Mayor Murray’s office coordinate a Neighborhood Summit. We’re going to hear what she’s up to and share our thoughts about what this could look like and how Highland Park and Riverview can participate. We’d like Mayor Murray to be aware of the concerns our neighborhood may have, so please join us to learn about this effort and provide feedback to her.
We trust other community councils are participating in this planning in other ways, but this is the first we have seen with a specific agenda item about it. HPAC plans a 6:30 pm potluck, 7 pm meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, January 22) at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th and Holden).
(‘Alki From Above’ route 2012 photo courtesy Cathy Jaramillo)
Three West Seattle routes are on the lineup of 18 citywide for this year’s Feet First Stairway Walks Day – and registration has JUST opened so you can reserve a spot before they’re all gone! On the Fauntleroy-area route, you’ll travel on the city’s second-longest stairway (SW Thistle near Lincoln Park); on the “Alki From Above” route, you’ll walk among old-growth trees; on the Longfellow Creek/Pigeon Point route, you’ll climb Puget Ridge. See the signup page for full descriptions, including how many steps up/down for each route. Each walk is guided and each starts at 10 am on Saturday, February 8th; $5 donation per person is suggested.
P.S. Even the non-WS routes have a local link – all 18 are from West Seattleites Cathy and Jake Jaramillo‘s “Seattle Stairways Walks.”
One more event for tonight in addition to what we’ve already previewed – a topic that could make a difference for thousands of children in the years ahead:
The Madison Middle School PTSA would like to invite the West Seattle Community to join us at our PTSA General Meeting (7 pm tonight) to hear about the Civics for All initiative, which seeks to revitalize civics education in Seattle Public Schools.
Did you know that currently students receive a mere 3 weeks of civics instruction in their entire K-12 education? Sadly, Seattle has plenty of company – 75% of American teens failed the last national civics test. Come hear about what we can all do to turn this around. Read ahead at civicsforall.org
The presentation will be in the library at Madison, which is at 3429 45th SW.
More marine-mammal news today:
(Image courtesy David Hutchinson)
On the beach at Constellation Park south of Alki Point this weekend, a striking sight: Near a log carved with Native-inspired art of a sea lion … the carcass of a sea lion. Jana first pointed it out to us via the WSB Facebook page, recalling that we had mentioned the carving in Lincoln Park back in 2012, and marveling at how the sea lion came to rest nearby. Then we heard from David Hutchinson of Seal Sitters, who also had spotted it, and noted that this is an eight-foot-long male California sea lion first reported to the group on January 10th – at the time, it was at Andover Place Park several blocks south, and they tracked it to the Constellation Park vicinity, where, he says, “it beached the next day.” Researching the carving, he then found our second story, from one year ago, when the carved log was sighted near Cormorant Cove Park. So, he deduced, “Since that date it has moved about 500 feet further north to where my photo was taken.” He also shared this closer look at the carving:
Besides marveling, as had Jana, that the sea lion and carving had come to rest almost together, David asked that we share this reminder:
Folks coming across any dead marine mammal on West Seattle beaches should report it to Seal Sitters at 206-905-7325. We respond, document/photograph the animal, and fill out a Level A report for NOAA. The animal is marked so that if it floats to another location, it can be identified. Before the recent funding cuts, a necropsy might have been performed to determine cause of death. Seal Sitters is not responsible for the disposal of dead animals on private property. Ones on public beaches are either returned to the water to re-enter the food chain, or Seattle Parks & Recreation is contacted for disposal.
The funding cuts he mentions are detailed here. And in case you didn’t already know, Seal Sitters wants to hear about live marine-mammal sightings, too, not just seals – same number as above, which also has a handy mnemonic, 206-905-SEAL.
Gray day so far, so we’re featuring another brightly highlighted bird, photographed by Mark Wangerin, who explains it’s “a Golden-Crowned Kinglet female. These birds are very common around here, although seldom noticed… They are small and flit around a great deal. They are in constant motion. The very-high-pitched squeak you hear on a walk through a local park is likely them.” Speaking of busy – here are the calendar highlights for today/tonight (you’ll find even more here):
LOCAL BALLOT MEASURE FOR METRO, ROADS MONEY? One week after the proposed county ballot measure was presented – seeking approval for a Transportation Benefit District to charge $60/year license-tab tax and .1 sales tax – the County Council’s Transportation Committee is being briefed during a meeting under way now in council chambers at the courthouse downtown. Here’s our preview; you can also watch live on KCTV.
RESIDENTS’ RIGHTS: All are welcome to a free lunchtime presentation at the Senior Center of West Seattle, with a rep from the King County Long-Term-Care Ombudsman Program. No charge for the presentation, but if you’d like to have lunch while you’re there, a $3-$6 donation is suggested, and you should call for reservations ASAP. Info’s in our calendar listing. (California/Oregon)
EVENING BOOK GROUP: This month’s title for the High Point Branch Library‘s evening book group is “The Story of a Marriage” by Andrew S. Greer. 6:30 pm. (35th/Raymond)
WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: 7 pm, first meeting of the year, with crime updates, your chance to share neighborhood concerns, and a chance to learn about the Seattle Animal Shelter and animal-related issues from one of its top managers, Ann Graves. All welcome; Southwest Precinct meeting room. (Delridge/Webster)
SUSTAINABLE WEST SEATTLE: 7 pm at C & P Coffee (WSB sponsor), it’s the SWS annual meeting, including a review of 2013 achievements and a look ahead to what’s planned for this year. Board elections, too. Details on the SWS website. (5612 California SW)
LIVE IN-STORE CONCERT @ EASY STREET: Deadkill performs at Easy Street Records, 7 pm. (California/Alaska)
BELLY-DANCING: The monthly Alauda showcase, free and open to all ages, is at 7:30 pm at Skylark Café and Club. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
‘BLUES TO DO,’ WEEK 3: Third week for the new Tuesday series at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor), live blues, streamed online too. Tonight it’s Rippin Chicken, 8 pm. Full details in our calendar listing. (6451 California SW)
LOTS MORE … on the calendar!
Thanks to Cheryl for sending word of the sighting – she texted to say it was “right off the Water Taxi dock for the 8:45 sailing … heading toward Salty’s as we pulled away. Tail slaps, surface blows, and fluke waves. Amazing!” (206-293-6302 any time with breaking news, text or voice, and yes, a whale sighting is breaking news!)
(Latest bridge and Viaduct views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Good morning! Off to a foggy, and frosty, start. No road-work alerts for the daytime but two for late tonight into early Wednesday: all lanes of northbound I-5 will close at S. Dearborn 11 pm tonight to 4:30 am Wednesday, diverting onto the collector/distributor lanes . Also, 11 pm tonight to 5 am Wednesday (and again the night after that), the two left lanes of northbound I-5 will close at Olive Way.
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