month : 02/2014 308 results

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday updates; weekend 99 closure(s) reminder

(More cams, and other info, on the WSB Traffic Cameras page)
Good morning! The day again begins without major trouble, so far. So here are today’s transportation notes/reminders:

HIGHWAY 99/ALASKAN WAY VIADUCT WEEKEND CLOSURES: Saturday and Sunday, 6 am-6 pm both days, Highway 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct north of the West Seattle Bridge will close for its twice-yearly inspection. From Friday night until Sunday noontime, other stretches of 99 from the Battery Street Tunnel north will close for other reasons – all explained by WSDOT here.

ROXBURY SAFETY-MEETING REPORT: Couldn’t be there last night? We were. See the story for your next chances to say what you’d like to see on Roxbury.

WATER-TAXI FARE REMINDER: In case you missed it – Water Taxi fares go up as of March 1st (but since that’s a Saturday, and the WT routes don’t run weekends this time of year, technically the increase kicks in on Monday, March 3rd).

7:16 AM: Andrew reports in comments, “Just now, stalled VW Vanagon east bound bridge at bottom of hill adjacent to Nucor.”

8:08 AM: Crash reported on NB 99 near Seneca. Your editor here is on a RR bus waiting to get onto 99 and indeed we are all but stopped. But moving in fits and spurts.

8:28 AM: By the time our bus got off 99 at Seneca, looked like flashing lights beyond – we had continued moving with few delays.

9:04 AM: If you are leaving late, note that a crash is reported on I-5 northbound at Denny – so that might cause some trouble here in the late going.

FOOTNOTE: Continuing our “temporary commuter” exploration, we took RapidRide in, and took the Water Taxi home. First time on the Spirit of Kingston, we realized. It is FAST – listed as a 10-minute crossing but really seemed like about five minutes sailing, five minutes docking and undocking. Compared to the $16 we’ve been paying (tax included) for an earlybird all-day parking spot near the courthouse, $2.50 bus fare in and $4 boat fare out combined for a bargain. Lots of room for more people on the boat; we were dropped off by the 35th/Avalon bus stop and had to stand, but we’re blessed with good health and didn’t mind, especially facing a full day of courtroom-bench-sitting.

Morgan Junction murder trial: Victim’s friend tells his story, gets grilled

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“Quit talkin’ to me – talk to Jesus.”

That’s what Jonathan “Jamie” Vause testified he told his dying friend Travis Hood as he drove frantically away from where Hood had just been shot, toward what he thought was a hospital a mile and a half away.

Vause was the only witness to testify Wednesday at the trial of the man who shot Hood, Lovett Chambers, and he will be back on the stand today.

The fact that Chambers fired the fatal shots is not disputed – but the reason for the shooting is, as is Vause’s behavior preceding it. As laid out in opening statements last Wednesday, the prosecution contends he was a shocked witness who has no idea why Chambers, who had been drinking at the same Morgan Junction bar as he and Hood moments earlier, opened fire, while the defense contends Vause and Hood, both white, taunted Chambers, who is black, with racist insults and provoked a confrontation that led him to act in self-defense.

Yesterday, after prosecutor Margaret Nave led Vause through the story of his longtime friendship with Hood and the night he was killed – January 21, 2012 – defense lawyer Ben Goldsmith began the most intense cross-examination of the trial, first asking Vause: “You are a fugitive felon from North Carolina, is that correct?”

But first:

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SAT for free! Grant money gets 270 at Sealth to take The Test

It’s a fixture of getting ready for college – taking the test known as the SAT. It usually entails paying a fee and spending several hours somewhere outside the school day – but today, a special event at Chief Sealth International High School made the test possible for about a fifth of the entire student body:

Thanks to grant funds, about 270 Sealth students (mostly juniors) were able to take the SAT test today at no cost! The grant provided registration fees ($50/student), an online SAT-prep course ($70/student), and a healthy snack to students who registered. A unified effort between Lori Douglas, Academic Dean, and Cheryl Sullivan, Assistant Principal, ensured as many students who were eligible got registered for this excellent opportunity! Students had (and continue to maintain) the ability to send scores to any college(s) they chose, or they could just use the results as a “barometer.”

Thanks to assistant principal Sullivan for the report and photo; she says the grant money originated with the Race to the Top program.

Making SW Roxbury safer: Discussion #2, and more to come

If you didn’t make it to the second meeting tonight about the project to make SW Roxbury safer between 35th SW and its east end at 4th/Olson, you’re not out of chances yet, but time is finite.

As with the first meeting earlier this month in White Center, this meeting was led by SDOT’s Jim Curtin and Brian Dougherty, though it was an interactive discussion much more than a “sit down and listen” meeting. Curtin did have a new, brief slide deck – that’s him at left, below, on the Roxhill Elementary stage with Chris Stripinis from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Neighborhood Council, who had explained backstory about WWRHAH and other groups asking the city to “do something about Roxbury Street.”

Thanks to Joe Szilagyi from WWRHAH, among tonight’s attendees, for that photo. Meantime, here’s the SDOT slide deck, shared by Curtin:

If you can’t see the Scribd document above, click here for the PDF version. After the presentation, with key points including the fact that Roxbury – classified as “a principal arterial” – has “a very high rate” of collisions, 223 in the last three years, including 11 pedestrians and two bicyclists being hit. Traffic volumes rise from 13,000 vehicles daily on the west end to 25,000 daily on the east end, “a pretty busy road.” The collision hot spots are all along the stretch.

The most collision-plagued intersection is at that busy east end, Olson/4th/Roxbury, and one suggestion was for a roundabout there – that would take money and time, Curtin said, not ruling it out, but for starters they’re considering reducing the spinout factor there by roughing up the pavement.

Other suggestions written on sticky notes and left along the multi-table rendering of Roxbury included working on the turn lanes at the intersection by Safeway, so people are clearer on which way vehicles are turning. All the suggestions are being collected, along with those to come at upcoming events such as these (from the slide deck):

WHAT’S NEXT: Early projects will include pavement repair near Roxbury Safeway – that will be fixed “very soon,” Curtin promised. Photo-enforcement cameras, as already announced, will be installed in Roxhill and Holy Family school zones. This entire project is being made possible by photo-enforcement revenue, he added. Longer-term – recommendations for the corridor are expected to be out in July.

Memorial service Saturday for Cecil O. Hansel, 1934-2014

Family and friends will gather this Saturday to share memories of Cecil O. Hansel, a half-century-plus West Seattle resident who died last week at 79. Here’s the remembrance they’re sharing now:

Cecil O. Hansel
April 21, 1934 – February 20, 2014

Cecil Oscar Hansel was born in New England, North Dakota on April 21, 1934, to Pete and Mary Hansel. He was soon joined by brother, Larry and sister, Joanne and later by Royal and Suzanne. Cecil graduated from Larimore High School in 1953, where he was an all around athlete, playing football, baseball, basketball and track. He was also active in drama, on the Annual Staff and President of the Lettermen’s Club. This is where he met the love of his life, Janice Morstad, a cheerleader and two years his junior.

After high school, Cecil was offered a scholarship to play football, but decided instead to enlist in the Army and was sent to Korea for a year. After leaving the military, he attended NDSU. Cecil and Janice eloped and were married on January 21, 1956.

They moved to Spokane, Washington, where Cecil attended a trade school while working at Ideal Concrete Company. Cecil and Janice’s family grew with the birth of sons Jeff, Greg and daughter, Mary Jo.

In 1963, the family moved to Seattle, Washington, and settled in West Seattle. Cecil began working at the Corps of Engineers. The family continued growing with the additions of sons, Mark and David.

Cecil played American Legion Baseball and enjoyed coaching little league football, basketball and baseball. He also enjoyed taking his family on vacations to Spirit Lake, Deer Lake, and other places, eventually retiring to Lake Trask to enjoy the fishing. He retired after 30 years at the Corps of Engineers as Chief of Photogrammetry. He enjoyed watching his kids and grandkids play sports, spending time with family and friends, and fishing.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Janice and his parents. He is survived by his sons, Jeff, Greg (Denise), Mark, and David (Diana), his daughter, Mary Jo Dunlap (Brian), his brothers Larry (Leah), and Royal, his sisters Joanne Hanson and Suzanne Green (Greg), his grandchildren Christina (Jonathan), Tom, Drew and Drake, four great-grandchildren, and also nephews and nieces.

A funeral will be held at Forest Lawn Funeral Home on Saturday, March 1st, at 1:00 pm. It is located at 6701 30th Ave SW.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

West Seattle development: Design packets online for next week’s reviews of 3257/3303 Harbor, 1606 California projects

February 26, 2014 5:04 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle development: Design packets online for next week’s reviews of 3257/3303 Harbor, 1606 California projects
 |   Development | West Seattle news

(One view of project team’s preferred ‘massing’ for Harbor Avenue project)
One week from tomorrow, the Southwest Design Review Board meets again, with two projects on the agenda – a two-building, ~100-unit, ~85-parking-space project at 3257/3303 Harbor Avenue SW (map; first reported here last month), and a 4-story, 16-apartment, 16+-parking-space building proposed for 1606 California SW (map; first reported here last October).

(One view of project team’s preferred ‘massing’ for California SW project)
Both “packets” full of renderings, massing options, and other early details are now viewable online, so you can preview one or both if you’re interested – the Harbor Avenue project packet from architects Public 47 is here, the California SW project packet from architect Roger Newell is here. Both are going before the board for the first time, so they are both in the Early Design Guidance stage, which is focused on massing – size and shape – rather than specifics of how the buildings will look. Harbor Avenue is first up at 6:30, California SW at 8 pm, when the board meets Thursday, March 6th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon).

West Seattle parks: City plans more work in upper Me-Kwa-Mooks

From the city:

Seattle Parks and Recreation, in conjunction with the Green Seattle Partnership, is undertaking another project to preserve portions of Me-Kwa-Mooks Park off SW Jacobsen Road. Activities will include control of 4 acres of invasive weeds, planting thousands of native plants, erosion control and litter removal with the help of urban forestry crews and volunteer support.

The public can expect to see activity throughout the year on Parks-owned properties that lie along Jacobsen Road between the western boundary of SW Hudson and SW 56th Ave.

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Door-to-door in West Seattle: What you need to know about the rules

There’s been a resurgence of complaints/concerns about door-to-door solicitors in West Seattle lately. Some people have posted notes in the WSB Forums, but with more mentions showing up in all of our message boxes, from e-mail to Facebook to text, it seems like a good time to at least talk about the rules.

Most of the complaints we have heard have NOT been simply for the solicitation itself – but mostly because they were aggressive and/or rude. For example, we received this one today from Fauntleroy:

Just had an aggressive door to door magazine salesman in the last 30 minutes or so. Name Mike and claimed to be new here from South Carolina on a job program. No contact info or web information that could be looked up and referenced. He just had some magazine info of laminated paper and was pushing aggressively to try and get a donation/subscription.

He went away frustrated when I said I didn’t conduct any business from door to door sales.

The archives show it’s been a while since we recapped Seattle city law – so here again are the rules for door-to-door soliciting, aka “residential sales,” as shown in the Seattle Municipal Code. Key points to remember: If they are selling something, they must have licenses and IDs and they should not be the least bit reluctant to show both to you; hours are restricted to 8 am-9 pm; if you have a “no soliciting” sign, they’re supposed to leave you alone. But if someone is simply asking for a charity contribution, they do NOT require a license. And if you suspect they’re not really soliciting, but perhaps casing – they jiggled the doorknob, for example – police say, don’t hesitate to call.

P.S. For even more details from SPD, see the second half of this Crime Prevention newsletter from last year (PDF).

Video: Community meeting for church ‘park’ site’s 6-townhouse/rezoning project

February 26, 2014 11:25 am
|    Comments Off on Video: Community meeting for church ‘park’ site’s 6-townhouse/rezoning project
 |   Development | West Seattle news

In case you couldn’t be there, we recorded video of last night’s community meeting at West Seattle Church of the Nazarene, focused on the proposed six-townhouse development on church-owned land known best as an informal “park.” (We first reported on the project, which would require a rezone, back in September, with subsequent reports here and here.) Architect David Neiman and developer Joe Paar presented the plan, and church leaders were there too; it was stressed that the townhouses will be put up for sale, not rented. The project is continuing to move through the city system; the rezone (to Lowrise 1 from single family) would require City Council approval and is proposed to include a special agreement to keep part of the site as open space.

West Seattle Wednesday: Scrappy freebie; Roxbury safety; HPAC; benefit trivia; more…

This morning, we are grateful to be able to showcase TWO beautiful photos – a Tuesday view of the Olympics peeking from the clouds, from James Bratsanos, above; and below, this morning’s sunrise sky from Debbie Bukoski:

Now, on with the highlights, mostly directly from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, where you can always look ahead to tomorrow, next week, next month …

FREE COMPOSTING BIN: Today’s the day! 11 am-3 pm, go to the Southwest Neighborhood Service Center and get your free “collector’s edition” Felix Hernandez-branded kitchen-scraps bin, explained in our preview. (2801 SW Thistle)

SOUTHWEST LITTLE LEAGUE SIGNUPS: 5-7 pm at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center, it’s signup night for Southwest Little League – eligibility details are in our calendar listing. (1321 SW 102nd)

ROXBURY SAFETY MEETING #2: 6 pm at Roxhill Elementary, you’re invited to come talk about the challenges on SW Roxbury and how they can be fixed – background here. (30th/Roxbury)

FAIRMOUNT PARK ELEMENTARY INFO NIGHT: Another one tonight, 6-8 pm at Alki Elementary; meet planning principal Julie Breidenbach and find out more about the expanding/reopening Fairmount Park Elementarydetails in our listing. (3010 59th SW)

HIGHLAND PARK ACTION COMMITTEE: After a 6:30 pm potluck, HPAC meets tonight at 7 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club:

So far, the agenda includes:

*Official announcement of the formation of HPAC’s very own Greening Committee: HPAC member Craig Rankin has taken the lead on this and already has a very cool kick off event in the works. Come learn about what’s going on and how to get involved in making our neighborhood more beautiful.

*Aly Pennucci from DPD is joining us to discuss a Pedestrian Zone Mapping Project.

*We have some updates on the Seattle City Light Surplus Properties, several park projects going on in the neighborhood, and all kinds of announcements of cool stuff happening.

*We will be presenting HPIC’s landscape plan for community input and review- come check it out and see how you can help transform part of HPIC’s parking lot into a beautiful courtyard for the community- it’s happening fast!


WEST SEATTLE TIMEBANK: Whether you have already joined the Timebank, or are interested in becoming a new member, tonight’s meeting is for you, 7 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle, details in our listing. (California/Oregon)

EARTHRISE CHAMBER CHOIR: Open rehearsals on Wednesdays for the Earthrise Chamber Choir – details in our listing. 7 pm, Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation. (7141 California SW)

TRIVIA BENEFIT FOR THE Y: Tonight’s 8:30 pm trivia at Talarico’s Pizza in The Junction is a special fundraiser:

The West Seattle and Fauntleroy YMCA are partnering with Talarico’s Pizzeria for trivia tonight, and 100% of the “pay to play” money will go directly to support the YMCA’s Annual Campaign. The Annual Campaign raises funds to support youth in the West Seattle community by providing scholarships for summer camps, tutoring services, swim lessons, youth sports, and so much more!

(4718 California SW)

LOTS MOREon the calendar, for today, tonight, and beyond.

West Seattle road/trail safety: Re-envisioning Chelan/Spokane/Delridge/W. Marginal

This morning, an invitation-only design charrette downtown is devoted to taking a fresh look (as explained here) at one of West Seattle’s more-problematic intersections, and it was preceded by a walking tour on Tuesday afternoon. The intersection is the five-way meeting of Chelan, Spokane, Delridge, and West Marginal Way SW, just west of the “low bridge.” West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen was among those on hand for a firsthand look and discussion of its challenges and its potential.

Among the stops – a bus lane that wasn’t serving its originally intended purpose, because of route changes.

The bicycling/walking/running trail was scrutinized too; there’s already a project in the works just to the south at 23rd/Delridge to improve connectivity (as mentioned in our coverage of the most recent West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting).

This morning’s design event was billed as for “stakeholders”; we’ll be checking back to find out what’s next.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday watch; Roxbury safety meeting tonight; more

February 26, 2014 7:01 am
|    Comments Off on TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday watch; Roxbury safety meeting tonight; more
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

(More cameras, and other info, on the WSB Traffic page)
So far, so good as we head for the heart of the morning commute. Today’s transportation notes:

ROXBURY SAFETY MEETING: Tonight is the second of two meetings to set the stage for SDOT’s safety project on SW Roxbury, the result of local neighborhood advocates pushing for solutions to longrunning problems: 6 pm at Roxhill Elementary (30th/Roxbury).

WESTWOOD TRANSIT HUB SAFETY: Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council shares another update from Metro.

WONDERING ABOUT THOSE ROAD MARKINGS? SDOT e-mailed to make sure we had seen a post on the SDOT Blog site last week – answering the question “why are there white paint marks on my street?” In Arbor Heights and Fauntleroy, they’re probably for the upcoming microsurfacing prep work.

HIGHWAY 99/ALASKAN WAY VIADUCT CLOSURE REMINDER: Saturday and Sunday, 6 am-6 pm both days, Highway 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct north of the West Seattle Bridge will close for its annual inspection. Before and inbetween, other stretches of 99 will close for a variety of reasons – all explained by WSDOT here. P.S. WSDOT also updates the ongoing discussion of “settling” after what it terms “inaccurate” recent reports elsewhere.

DNA details, including what wasn’t tested: Morgan Junction murder trial continues

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A 40-minute primer on DNA testing led off the third day of witness testimony in the Morgan Junction murder trial.

It was courtesy of state crime lab forensic scientist Katherine Woodard, who testified about testing evidence gathered at the scene of the January 21, 2012, shooting for which 69-year-old Lovett “Cid” Chambers is charged with second-degree murder.

The testimony most likely to be revisited later involves what she said about what was not tested – the passenger door handle of Chambers’ car, which he contends was pulled open in a threatening move moments before he shot and killed 35-year-old Travis Hood.

Besides Woodard, Tuesday’s witnesses were two Seattle Police officers who had been part of the response the night of the shooting – one where it happened, alongside Morgan Junction Park; the other, at Providence Mount St. Vincent, where Hood had been taken by his friend Jamie Vause.

Early in the day, Vause’s upcoming testimony was again the subject of arguments made by the legal teams to Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle outside the presence of the 15-member (including three alternates) jury. The argument was about what he might say, how it might compare to a statement by a police officer, and how he might be impeached and subsequently rehabilitated.

The discussion wrapped up around 9:30 am, and it was time for testimony to begin.

Woodard, from the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab – which does testing for criminal-justice agencies around the state – took the stand (which is really a seat, a chair between the judge’s “bench” and the jury “box,” which also is really just two rows of chairs).

As with most expert witnesses, time was taken to establish her credentials – 12 years at the lab, after time in the private sector, with a degree in cellular/molecular biology. She estimated she’s testified as a DNA expert about 25 times before.

The courtroom’s big-screen display monitor was used for slides explaining DNA testing, narrowing in on the specific types done by the lab, particularly “STR” – short tandem repeat, looking at repeating genetic sequences that help distinguish individuals.

After explaining how testing is done, she was asked about “degradation” of samples, which included a mention that the person who last handled something is not always the person who will have the most DNA on that object.

This specific case finally became the focus after more than 40 minutes. Woodard recounted receiving for analysis a pistol, magazines, swabs from the shovel that Hood was holding when he was shot, and a small folding knife. These items were present in court, and some were handled during Woodard’s testimony – she and the lawyers all wore gloves when touching the items.

It was noted that she had begun working on the case in June 2012 – almost five months after Hood’s death and Chambers’s arrest.

She described what she swabbed and tested, and explained that the work was done in line with a “case scenario,” explained as testing “what’s likely to give us the best answers, a guide to go by.”

There was a “blood indicatory sample” on the shovel, found lying across the curb and street where it fell when Hood was shot. On the knife, Woodard said, the blade was found to have Hood’s DNA; the handle indicated DNA of two people, mostly Hood.

After an hour, prosecution questions ran out, and the defense team’s senior lawyer Ben Goldsmith began his cross-examination. He hoisted the shovel – the most sizable piece of evidence shown in court to date – and asked how decisions are made regarding what will be tested and what will not. It’s under the direction of investigators, Woodard replied. And the DNA must be compared to “reference profiles” – it is not just tested to come up with an ID of whose DNA it might be, it is compared to someone’s DNA for reference. The detective with whom Woodard worked on the case, she testified, had not asked for analysis of whether Vause’s DNA was on the knife, only whether Hood and/or Chambers had DNA on it. And, she confirmed, there was no request to test for DNA on the passenger door or trunk of Chambers’ BMW.

Many variables go into test samples. At this point, we learned that “some people are sloughers” – they shed more skin cells than others. And then we learned that many factors can “degrade” a sample, even a change in temperature.

Exposure to water and sand could wash DNA off something like a door handle, Goldsmith sought to confirm – something mentioned in his co-defender Lauren McLane‘s opening statement, their contention that the condition of the car, towed along wet, gritty streets and then stored, made it impossible to get a good DNA sample.

But, he said yet again, you were “never asked to check the passenger door handle.”

No, Woodard affirmed, she was not.

The morning ended on that note, and the customary hour and a half lunch break ensued. Woodard returned to the witness stand when it was over, though not for long – just a few more questions, from both sides, about aspects of degradation of DNA samples.

Next witness was questioned by the senior member of the prosecution team, Margaret Nave: SPD Detective Tanya Kinney, who was a patrol officer the night of the shooting, in the William-1 sector, focused around the Alki area, but for an incident like this, she said, it was typical for just about everyone in the precinct to rush that way. “All we heard was, shots fired at that location, possibly a truck involved … my purpose was to go to the scene and see where they need me.”

Having gone through special “evidence training,” Kinney was assigned first to take photos of the shell casings found at the scene; she also placed numbered placards over them, “to make it easier for CSI” (the Crime Scene Investigation team). Photos were shown of the placards, and of the scene in general, including the yellow crime tape, and some blood spatters – the first graphic evidence shown, and – audibly – a difficult moment for friends and family of the victim, who have been in the gallery daily, a box of tissues nearby.

Kinney did not touch the evidence, she testified – that’s for the CSI detectives (who arrived, she said, around 12:30 am); her job was to make sure it was not tampered with, and she continued to assist with containment of the scene even after she was done with photos and placards (the latter of which blew away a few times that night, she said).

Her next job, assigned by a detective, was to start “logging the scene” – keeping track of which officers/detectives came and went. Her log from that night was placed into evidence, and a few points reiterated before her hour or so of testimony ended.

Following the afternoon break, the day’s final witness was SPD Officer Brandon McDougald. On the night of the shooting, he was headed to the scene at Morgan Junction Park when he heard the victim had shown up at Providence Mount St. Vincent, to which he was closer.

He explained that it “looks like what most people would think of as what a typical medical center would look like” (the reason Vause has given for why he drove his wounded friend there).

Upon his arrival, he saw Seattle Fire Department medics “working on somebody lying on the ground just outside the front door of the facility.” Standing to the left of the person on the ground was Jamie Vause, who McDougald said told him that he was the person driving the red pickup truck (seen leaving the shooting scene), and that the person on the ground was who he had brought from that location. McDougald subsequently had Vause get into his patrol car so he could “take a statement.”

He described Vause as “very coherent … I didn’t smell any alcohol on him .. he seemed rather in shock.”

After talking with Vause, McDougald said, he drove him back to his house. And then he had one more task related to the investigation: He was asked to go to the suspect’s house in Gatewood to impound the BMW.

It had been backed into a detached garage behind the house. McDougald said he had been given the task because he knew how to drive a stick shift. The tow truck arrived at 4:07 am (by which time six hours had elapsed since the shooting), and he followed it to the SPD processing room at Park 95 (off Airport Way).

McLane cross-examined him, at which time he said he wrote Vause’s statement and Vause indicated it was correct and signed it. On redirect from Isaacson, the officer was asked if he found “anything memorable” when he checked Vause’s background. “Not that I recall.”

The lawyers were done questioning him at 3:45, too close to the 4 pm adjournment time to call another witness. At least two SPD officers who were mentioned Tuesday morning as expected afternoon witnesses were yet to come, so we expect they’ll be called Wednesday.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE AND BACKSTORY: Links, in case you are catching up:

Trial report, Monday 2/24/2014 (5 more witnesses)
Trial report, Thursday 2/20/14 (first witnesses)
Trial report, Wednesday 2/19/14 (opening statements)

Charge reduced to second-degree murder (August 9, 2013)
Charges filed against Chambers (January 25, 2012)
Coverage the night it happened and the morning after (January 21-22, 2012)

West Seattle Crime Watch: Notes from Admiral to Westwood

Three West Seattle Crime Watch notes:

IN CASE YOU WONDERED: Thanks to Guy for tipping us to a large police presence today at noontime at the former Life Care Center (47th/Admiral)/future Aegis Living site. The last officer leaving told us they were checking out an alarm – but they found no one, and no signs of break-in. Since it’s a big campus, there was a big initial response.

HOME BREAK-IN: Greg (40th and Hudson; map) says he saw a “smash-and-grab”-type home break-in in his neighborhood this afternoon, and wants people to be on the lookout. He first noticed “2 or 3 guys in a light tan or light goldish colored compact car. They stopped their car in front of my neighbor’s house. One of the guys slowly walked around back of the house. I thought it was odd seeing him walk directly around back, but was wondering if it was a workman assigned to do some kind of work. … Shortly after this I thought I heard a loud sound from the direction of the house, but wasn’t sure if it was some kind of work commencing or what.” Then he noticed at least one other person was still in the car, and its engine was still running. The first person came back to the car “with some object like a box or a stereo receiver of some type,” and they left. He still wasn’t certain something was wrong, since his neighbor usually is home during the day and it might have been a pre-scheduled delivery – but he found out otherwise when police arrived later. He says, “The crooks seemed to have gotten away with a small safe box of some sort.” The only description information he had was that both suspects were male and African-American – the one who got out of the car was about six feet tall, wearing a dark cap.

CAR BREAK-IN: Lisa reported her husband’s car was broken into in the Target parking lot at Westwood Village early last Saturday.

P.S. We were at tonight’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting, featuring new precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske – no new crime revelations, but watch for our report tomorrow on the discussion centering on how SPD can better collaborate with citizens on neighborhood safety.

Update: Pedestrians hit by drivers in Junction, Westwood areas

ORIGINAL REPORT, 8:57 PM TUESDAY: That photo is from Christopher Boffoli, who is just back from 45th and Glenn (map) on the west side of The Junction, where there was a sizable Seattle Fire medical callout after a pedestrian was hit by a driver. Christopher says the driver’s Prius was apparently headed north onto 45th from Glenn. The pedestrian’s injuries turned out not to be life-threatening, so SFD called for a private ambulance to take him to the hospital.

ADDED 1:39 PM WEDNESDAY: We have also confirmed that an incident near Westwood last night was also a case of a driver hitting a pedestrian. SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore says the victim was a 17-year-old girl, who did not suffer life-threatening injuries. Medics transported her to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition. Moore also says the victim in the Junction crash was a 45-year-old man who was in serious condition when transported.

WWRHAH transit-hub-tour followup: Metro terminal/layover changes to start Saturday

(WSB photo from December 2013)
The 25th SW driveway dangers on the east side of Westwood Village were among the problems noted when the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Neighborhood Council led a December walking tour of challenges in the evolving transit-hub zones around the shopping center (WSB coverage here). Tonight, chair Amanda Kay Helmick shares this update from Metro:

“We’re planning to shift the Route 60 starting this coming Saturday, moving the terminal on 25th Ave SW at SW Henderson by the Bank, up to the north end of the block by Staples. SDOT is updating the curb striping along here this week, so there will be room for the extra bus. SDOT will also extend the layover zone south of Henderson, used by Route 560, so that there will be more clearance and better visibility at the Westwood Driveway when there are two buses parked here. SDOT is able to work around the Metro coaches so there shouldn’t be any need for detours and there also shouldn’t be much impact to riders with this change other than when the 60 arrives at Westwood they would get off at Staples instead of the Bank. We will continue to use the stop by the Bank as a boarding zone for riders but it will no longer have any buses parking there.”

Helmick had early word of some of this in an update at this month’s WWRHAH meeting (WSB coverage here). She adds one more update: “In regards to the 70′ no-parking area west of the crosswalk at the Rapid Ride, Metro was asking SDOT today about the time frame.” So, watch for more updates, and check out WWRHAH’s March meeting next week.

3 local schools get $310,000 grants from Families and Education Levy

The city has just announced four schools will get grants of $310,000 each from the 2011 Families and Education Levy for next school year – and three of them are from this area: West Seattle Elementary, Sanislo Elementary, and Concord International Elementary. The “Elementary Innovation” grants “will fund after-school tutoring programs, family support services, and in-school academic support,” according to the official city announcement, which also mentions new Summer Learning grants for six sites around the city including Southwest Early Learning.

Do you know anything about this neglected, hurt dog found in West Seattle? $5,000 reward

Just in from the Seattle Animal Shelter – a plea for information about that dog, found neglected and injured in Highland Park:

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the neglect and abuse of a dog found in West Seattle last week. The dog showed clear signs of neglect and has been treated for a serious wound from a severely embedded collar.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, the dog pictured was found in the 8600 block of 8th Avenue Southwest. As the dog was extremely frightened, it took 20 minutes of coaxing for a Good Samaritan and Humane Law Enforcement Officer to lure the dog out of hiding. The dog’s collar had cut so far into the dog’s neck that it was not visible on exam and had to be surgically removed. Animal neglect such as this is animal cruelty and it is a crime.

Details of where the dog has been for the past several weeks are unknown. If you recognize the dog or know where this dog has been, please call Seattle Animal Shelter Manager of Field Services Ann Graves at (206) 386-4288. Please reference case number 14-13914. Any information about the dog’s previous whereabouts is vital to solving this case.

“Neglecting an animal to the point that no one loosens a collar that is literally cutting into the flesh of the animal’s neck is unconscionable and a clear violation of our state’s animal cruelty statutes,” said Dan Paul, Washington State Director for The Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful that this dog is now safe in the good hands of the Seattle Animal Shelter staff, and hopeful that this reward brings forward anyone with information about this heinous act of cruelty.”

First-degree animal cruelty is a Class C felony punishable by five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

The Seattle Animal Shelter enforces both SMC 9.25.081 and RCW 16.52.205, which make it illegal to abuse or neglect an animal. If you feel that an animal is being neglected or abused, please contact the Seattle Animal Shelter at (206) 386-7387.

SAS spokesperson Julie Moore says the dog originally came to authorities’ attention because a resident (same one mentioned above as a Good Samaritan) called to report this dog was lying in their yard.

West Seattle businesses: Longtime local attorney Sharon Best retiring, inviting you to the party

After a quarter-century, West Seattle attorney Sharon Best is retiring – sort of – but part of her practice will carry on. Here’s her message:

I would like to give a sincere and resounding Thank YOU to all of my clients, and clients who have become dear friends, for their growing and continuing support of my law practice over the years. Many people know that I retired to West Seattle in 1988 after serving 20 years in the Army. I set up my little law practice here in 1989, focusing on real estate and estate planning, despite being assured by other lawyers that I couldn’t make it without including family law or personal injury law.

25 years later, I’m here and they are not. Well, I need to stop practicing at this point so I can provide a needed presence to my partner of 30 years who is suffering from a disease diagnosed as Primary Progressive Aphasia. I want to be here with her as long as she can be here with me, and this means stopping my practice of law. While I may still do an occasional legal thing for friend or family, and I will be here to answer any background questions that the inheritors of my practice may have, I need to focus on my personal responsibilities at this time.

In the meantime, I wish everyone well, all my great clients, all of the real estate agents who have given us their trust to handle escrow transactions of all sorts, Heather de Vrieze, Elizabeth Carney, Kailei Feeney (the lawyers in deVrieze|Carney who still practice great law) and Cindy Benedict and Joline Fullwiler, my wonderful escrow staff, who have just been approved to handle escrow transactions as Best Escrow, LLC:

Best Escrow LLC is throwing me a retirement party and combining it with an Open House to celebrate their new status on Friday, March 7, 2014, from 3:00 to 7:00 pm at THE WHITE HOUSE, 3909 California Ave SW. I hope my clients and friends will stop by to see me off and welcome the new kids on the block.

You can help! Early alert for 22nd annual Fairmount Ravine Cleanup

(WSB photo by Nick Adams, from 2013 Fairmount Ravine cleanup)
Even if you don’t live in the Fairmount Ravine neighborhood – that’s the ravine running under the eastern Admiral Way Bridge, from east Alki up to Admiral – you might consider helping out with neighbors’ upcoming annual cleanup. From Sarah Schieron:

Please mark your calendars for the 22nd (!) anniversary of our neighborhood’s annual clean-up of the Fairmount Ravine. This local natural treasure needs the loving care of our community to help remove garbage and invasive plants each year. Please join us to give this special greenbelt the TLC it deserves.

*Saturday, March 15th, 8:30 am (stay as little or as long as you can)

*Meet at the top of the hill at Fairmount and Forest – directly east of Hiawatha Park

*Refreshments provided

*Please wear gloves, boots and old clothes as we remove garbage and invasive plants

*All ages welcome – my two kids (5 and 2) truly enjoy this experience each year.

*Rain or shine

*We hope to see some of you soon!

Seldom a dull cleanup – here’s our report from last year, and the 2012 wrapup.

New 5K along Alki this year: Earth Day Run on April 19th

February 25, 2014 10:44 am
|    Comments Off on New 5K along Alki this year: Earth Day Run on April 19th
 |   West Seattle news | WS & Sports

10:44 AM: Add another 5K to the lineup of run/walk events on Alki this year. The Earth Day Run is set for Saturday, April 19th. Seattle Magazine launched this annual run last year at Myrtle Edwards Park and is moving it across the bay to Alki this time around. Start is listed as 9:30 am, round trip from Alki Bathhouse, with other events including an awards ceremony and beer garden. Part of the proceeds benefit EarthCorps. More info on the Earth Day Run is here. (Could be a good warmup for the West Seattle 5K four weeks later, on Alki May 18th!)

2:02 PM: This run will close Alki SW until 11:30 that morning, except for residential access, we have confirmed with Seattle Magazine’s Katie Williams – some 5K events just travel on the path/trail, so we wanted to verify this for anyone wondering.

West Seattle Tuesday: From dinner to development, and beyond…

(Photo by Trileigh Tucker)
Morning through night, today’s calendar is overflowing – and here are nine of the highlights:

DREAM DINNERS SALE: Longtime WSB sponsor Dream Dinners-West Seattle invites you to stop by and get great buys today on three- and six-serving dinners, sides, and desserts, 11:30 am-1 pm and 5:30-7 pm, no minimum purchase, first-come, first-served. “Lots of 30-minutes-or-less dinners and meals perfect for the crockpot,” says DD’s Leslie Thomson. Call 206-938-5999 with questions. (4701 41st SW, outer Jefferson Square, corner of 41st/Alaska)

‘THROWIN’ SAMOAN’ JACK THOMPSON @ SSCC: Free this afternoon? Come to South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) to hear former WSU and NFL quarterback Jack “The Throwin’ Samoan” Thompson talk about “his football career, life after football and his roots in White Center,” as announced by SSCC; the event is sponsored by the school’s Asian American-Native American-Pacific Islander program. 1 pm in Olympic Hall on the south end of campus. (6000 16th SW)

WHY THE EVERY-OTHER-WEEK TRASH-PICKUP IDEA WAS SCRAPPED: 2 pm today is the City Council Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee discussion that was scheduled before the mayor’s “we’re not doing it” announcement. (City Hall)

IMPROVING INTERSECTION SAFETY: City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen sends word of a 4:30-5:30 pm SDOT tour of the five-way intersection at Chelan, Delridge, Spokane, and West Marginal, as safety improvements are discussed. Meet at the Chelan Café. (3527 Chelan SW)

FAIRMOUNT PARK ELEMENTARY INFO NIGHT: 6-8 pm at Alki Elementary, come meet planning principal Julie Breidenbach and find out more about the expanding/reopening Fairmount Park Elementary – details in our listing. (3010 59th SW)

WEST SEATTLE BLOCK WATCH CAPTAINS NETWORK: Tonight’s monthly meeting brings a chance to talk with new precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske, 6:30 pm, Southwest Precinct. (Delridge/Webster)

WEST SEATTLE SEE DOGS: 6:30 pm at The Kenney (WSB sponsor), the guide-puppy-raising group invites you to come see what’s involved with raising a future guide dog, as previewed here. (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW)

TOWNHOME-REZONE MEETING: 7 pm tonight, West Seattle Church of the Nazarene hosts a community meeting about the six townhomes proposed on part of its “park” site south of the church. Here’s our preview, which links to our previous reports about the project. (42nd/Juneau)

PUBLIC HEALTH CAFE: Come to Chaco Canyon Organic Café and find out what you don’t know about microbes, 7 pm; details in our listing. (38th/Alaska)

LOTS MORE! on the calendar.

You can help! WSHS sophomores’ charity-benefit tournament needs basketball players, volunteer refs

February 25, 2014 9:04 am
|    Comments Off on You can help! WSHS sophomores’ charity-benefit tournament needs basketball players, volunteer refs
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

Know a 6th-through-12th grader who loves to play basketball? The West Seattle High School Class of 2016 hopes they’ll sign up (ASAP!) for an upcoming charity-benefit tournament. Sophomore-class rep Gabby Carufel shares the invitation – and says they’re looking for volunteer referees, too:

The West Seattle High School Sophomore class is hosting a 3 x 3 Basketball tournament “206 BANG OUT” on Saturday, March 15th which will benefit Treehouse and help improve lives of foster kids in our community.

This event is for 6th – 12th grade kids, with open divisions for all skill levels, Saturday, March 15th, from 9-3 pm in the WSHS Gym. Cost is $20 dollars per team.

To sign up, please contact: Entry deadline is March 3rd.

We are also looking for experienced people who would like to help with refereeing at this event.

Bring your friends, bring your family and take it to the hoops!

Download the registration form here (PDF).