day : 11/04/2014 13 results

Update: House fire in 5600 block 49th SW, 1 hurt; ‘smoking materials’ blamed

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
11:57 PM: A deck fire in the 5600 block of 49th SW has apparently spread into the attic. We are en route.

12:17 AM: Our crew is on scene. The fire is at a two-story home; the deck is on the second floor.

A neighbor tells us flames were visible at one point. The five people who were at home all got out of the house, thanks to a neighbor who saw the smoke and banged on the door to alert everyone; a child is being checked out for what’s described as a small burn, and that’s the only injury we’ve heard of.

12:33 AM: The fire’s out; cause is under investigation, and some units are being dismissed from the scene.

ADDED 8:45 AM: Per SFD on Twitter, “improperly discarded smoking materials” caused the fire, with damage estimated around $35,000.

Proposition 1 transit/roads-money vote: 2 West Seattle rallies

checkbox.jpgWith ballots due one week from Tuesday, the campaigning will be intensifying this weekend, and we have word of two pro-Proposition 1 rallies in West Seattle in the next three days:

-Tomorrow (Saturday, April 12th), 1 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle: King County Executive Dow Constantine, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen are expected at Move King County Now‘s rally. All welcome, from those with questions about the ballot measure to those already planning to doorbell for it and in need of campaign literature and a list.

-Monday (April 14th), noon, South Seattle College (WSB sponsor): Councilmember Rasmussen and State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon are headlining what SSC says is a student-organized rally titled “Save Our Metro,” planned for the Clock Tower plaza (inside Brockey Center if the weather is bad).

We haven’t received word of any local anti-Prop 1 events so far; is the address for any and all event announcements, on this subject or others. April 22nd is the deadline for ballots to be returned.

West Seattle schools: New principal for K-5 STEM, Ben Ostrom, moving from Highland Park Elementary; HP’s new principal coming from Wedgwood

Thanks to everyone who shared the news of this – Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda has announced a new principal for K-5 STEM at Boren, Ben Ostrom, who’s moving from Highland Park Elementary:

I am writing today to let you know that your principal, Shannon McKinney, is taking a leave of absence, starting at the end of the school year. I know you join me in thanking her for all of her efforts to establish and build the STEM program. She has been an exceptional leader for a new school community.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Ben Ostrom as your new Principal, effective July 1, 2014.

Mr. Ostrom comes to K–5 STEM at Boren from Highland Park Elementary, where he was Principal for the past four years. He is committed to STEM learning and your future expansion to a K–8 school, and will be a great fit for the K-5 STEM at Boren community. He is passionate about learning, and about students applying STEM subjects to understand and affect the world around them. Mr. Ostrom believes that families are our most important learning partners.

Prior to Highland Park, Mr. Ostrom served as Principal at Orca K–8 for seven years. Previously, he spent three years as Principal at Loyal Heights Elementary and has extensive classroom experience after teaching in the district for six years.

Mr. Ostrom’s professional preparation includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University and a Masters in Teaching from Seattle University. He also completed the Danforth Educational Leadership Program at the University of Washington. He received a Golden Apple Award for Educational Excellence from KCTS-Washington Public Television in 1999 and an A+ Award from the Alliance for Education in 1998. In 1997 he received an EDS Leadership in Learning award and Washington Software Foundation Innovation in Teaching Award.

I know Ms. McKinney and Mr. Ostrom will work together this spring to ensure a smooth transition. Please join me in welcoming Mr. Ben Ostrom to K–5 .

Ostrom will be taking over K-5 STEM in its third year, one which brings a new challenge because Arbor Heights Elementary will be co-locating with it in the Boren building for the next two years while the new AHES is built. Meantime, we don’t have the official district announcement on this yet but our friends at Ravenna Blog report that Chris Cronas, who has been principal at Wedgwood Elementary in the north end, is moving to Highland Park Elementary.

ADDED 9:09 PM: The original report of Cronas’s appointment came via Twitter but now it’s also on the RB website, here.

City’s proposed microhousing rules now en route to council

The proposed city rules about microhousing are officially on their way to the City Council. From the council’s Introduction and Referral Calendar for next week, see the council bill here. Among other things, it sets the threshold for Design Review, by “dwelling unit” (which usually equals one floor with a common kitchen and multiple “sleeping rooms”) – four in a Neighborhood Commercial zone, eight in a Low Rise zone. It includes the definition of a “micro”:

“Micro” means a room or rooms located within a micro-housing unit that includes a sleeping room and has all of the following characteristics:

a. contains 285 square feet or less of net floor area, including abutting ancillary areas such as a private bathroom, closets or a sleeping loft;

b. contains a bathroom with a toilet, bathing facility, and sink;

c. does not contain a food preparation area or kitchen; and

d. no toilet, bathing facility or sink is located outside of the bathroom.

It also spells out “a microhousing unit is not a single-family dwelling unit and is not a permitted use in single-family zones.” Regarding parking, while one space would be required for every four sleeping rooms in some areas, the proposal does not change the current standard of no parking required if “frequent transit” is no more than a quarter-mile away. The proposed rules have been in the works for months; they will go first to the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee.

SIDE NOTE: West Seattle has one microhousing project that recently opened, another almost complete, and at least three others in the works, as shown on the development-tracking map we finished and published earlier this week.

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Restaurateur Eduardo Morales-Cardenas sentenced for buying stolen liquor; co-defendant Eric Olson also sentenced

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

At the King County Courthouse this afternoon, Puerto Vallarta restaurant owner Eduardo Morales-Cardenas was sentenced to just under one year with electronic home monitoring, plus community service, for buying stolen liquor.

One of his four co-defendants, Eric Olson, was sentenced immediately afterward. We recorded video of both hearings; and are uploading it now. (added 4:31 pm) here’s the first clip we have available, picking up after the prosecution recapped the case:

First, the proceedings involving Morales-Cardenas. As reported here two weeks ago, he pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree trafficking in stolen property and one count of attempted trafficking in stolen property. The case first came to light last September, when he was arrested and his Junction restaurant and home searched in connection with an investigation of what authorities said was a liquor-theft ring mostly targeting supermarkets. Court documents indicated that alleged stolen property was confiscated; charges were filed in November.

Presiding at the sentencing was King County Superior Court Judge Carol Schapira. Prosecutor Susan Storey called the sentencing recommendation “a very good result”; she explained that “a significant quantity of liquor … and cash” was seized in the search of Morales-Cardenas’s properties, and that $15,000 cash would be kept and turned over to theft victims as restitution.

Morales-Cardenas spoke to the judge and said he apologized, and that he has been working for the community in West Seattle for 22 years. He said he is alcohol and drug free and that he likes to keep a liquor collection in his house and he was sorry it’s been seized. He said that he was trying to help Michael Jensen, one of the other co-defendants, go straight. He said some of what was found in his garage was there because he was helping Jensen. He said he “made a couple mistakes … I’m sorry … I’m not a ringleader for (liquor thefts) …” He also told the judge he was upset with WSB for reporting on his arrest and prosecution, and alleged that we had not taken his calls, and that our reporting of the story had harmed his business.

(For the record, we have no record of him calling us; the only communication we received was from a person who called and e-mailed us a few weeks ago, saying he was a friend of Morales-Cardenas, who, he said, would be interested in talking with us if we wanted to talk to him. We replied to the friend that Morales-Cardenas was welcome to contact us via the same e-mail address the friend had used; we never received a reply nor any communication from him. We repeat what we told the friend – he is welcome to contact us, or 206-293-6302, the same communication channels to which we reply around the clock, 7 days a week. Or if he wishes to send a statement for publication, he is welcome to do that too.)

Before he spoke, Morales-Cardenas’s lawyer said that his client “is sorry (and) has suffered financially. … he understands the harm that has resulted from this, to the victims and the people around him … (it’s) threatened his business and his employees … it’s an aberration in what has otherwise been a very positive life.” He said Morales-Cardenas, who has no prior criminal record, already has done 50 hours of community service, including work at the Senior Center of West Seattle and is looking forward to helping out there more.

Those speaking to the court also included King County Sheriff’s Office Deputy B.J. Myers, lead investigator who “sunk his teeth into the case, he did a phenomenal job,” despite not being a detective, Storey told the judge. Myers said he got involved in the case because of the “effect … (the liquor thefts were) having in the White Center neighborhood … the crimes fueled (other defendants’) drug habit,” leading to thefts and disorderly conduct by others. “So I recognized that these suspects were affecting the peace of White Center and that building this case was going to make a difference. … The defendant (Morales-Cardenas) was the one who was purchasing the stolen liquor from these thieves … in effect incentivizing the effect these thieves were having on the White Center neighborhood. … Even though this is a different kind of case for a community police officer to (become involved in), we’ve seen it have an effect on the neighborhood.” Also speaking, a risk manager from Safeway, one of the chains targeted by the thieves from whom prosecutors say Morales-Cardenas bought stolen liquor.

Following Morales-Cardenas’s sentencing, another defendant in the case, Eric Olson, was sentenced for pleading guilty to organized retail theft; he had been charged with stealing liquor from stores including Safeway, QFC, and Costco.

He told Judge Schapira he was “ashamed” of what he had done. She sentenced him to 41 months – just under 3 1/2 years – in prison, and restitution to be determined later.

As for the three other people charged in the case:

As we reported last month, Amber Vincent pleaded guilty in February to organized retail theft and trafficking in stolen property, and was sentenced to three months of work release; Shaye Glenn-Nitschke also pleaded guilty in February, to one charge, and was released from jail because he’d served more time than he had been sentenced to. A fourth defendant, Michael Jensen, has pleaded guilty to multiple charges and will be sentenced one week from today; he has a lengthy record and a 7 1/2-year sentence is recommended.

West Seattle food: New location for Taqueria El Antojo truck

1:47 PM: Two weeks ago, the Mexican-food truck that had been headquartered north of Morgan Junction Park for about six months, Taqueria El Antojo, abruptly was told to move. The owners told us that they would share the news when they found a new location, and that information has just come in. Their truck is now at the 76 station north of Lincoln Park, 7427 Fauntleroy Way SW.

ADDED FRIDAY NIGHT: Thanks to Jeff for tweeting a photo:

Video: With voting under way, Metro talks money with West Seattle Chamber of Commerce

(Metro/King County contingent at Chamber lunch; WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
Still undecided about Proposition 1, the buses-and-roads measure on the April 22nd ballot? The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce invited Metro reps to its April lunch meeting on Thursday to recap what brought the system to this point and answer questions – not to campaign for Proposition 1, they made it clear, but for information about the state of the transit system. We recorded the almost-hour of speeches and Q/A on video:

One of the questions was one often asked in comment discussions: How much more would Metro have to be charging in order to cover its budget gap? Answer, from planner Marty Minkoff: About $2 more – virtually doubling fares – but that doesn’t take into account factors such as any dropoff in ridership that could result if some couldn’t afford such fares.

More ahead:

Read More

West Seattle Friday: Dining, dancing, nature, theater, more…

April 11, 2014 11:20 am
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 |   West Seattle news | WS culture/arts | WS miscellaneous

Our emerald peninsula, seen from the sky! Thanks to the WSB’er who shared the photo taken from a jet over West Seattle around 6 am today. Here are five highlights of what’s happening at ground level (as viewable any time on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar):

TEEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP: 3 pm at Southwest Library, it’s a chance for teens to learn how to take an idea from dream to reality. Details in our calendar listing. (35th/Henderson)

DINE AND DANCE: Dinner, dance lessons, and music by the West Seattle Big Band, all part of tonight’s dinner/dance at the Senior Center of West Seattle. Details in our calendar listing; 6-9 pm. (Oregon/California)

WSHS DRAMA, FINAL PERFORMANCE: “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” – featuring Charles Schulz‘s classic “Peanuts” characters – is onstage one last time tonight in the West Seattle High School Theater, 7:30 pm. Details on the WSHS Drama Club website. (3000 California SW)

SPRING NATURE ‘CONCERT’: Come to Camp Long tonight and listen to the voices of wildlife – owls, frogs, more. 7:30 pm; details in our calendar listing. (5200 35th SW)

‘A … MY NAME IS ALICE’: 7:30 pm, it’s curtain time for the Twelfth Night Productions musical/comedy revue at historic Kenyon Hall; details here. (7904 35th SW)

This is just part of the list – check out our calendar for more, including live music tonight at multiple West Seattle venues!

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Helicopter video of this morning’s search

King County Sheriff’s Office Air Support has just published the video – and dispatcher/pilot/officer audio – from this morning’s helicopter-assisted search following an attempted burglary in the 9000 block of 16th SW (map). We reported on this as it unfolded just after 1 am. We have also followed up with SPD, which tells us four teenage boys were arrested, three of them booked into the Youth Services Center, one “declined by YSC and released to Spruce Street because officers could not locate a parent/guardian.” No one is living in the apartment where the break-in attempt happened, according to the police report, and there was no sign anyone actually got in. A neighbor heard the sound of breaking glass and called police, who spotted suspects on the run as they arrived; Guardian One was nearby and asked to help. The incident report says one of the suspects had a felony warrant out for his arrest, on a recent “taking a motor vehicle without permission” charge.

West Seattle filmmaking: ‘Shapeshifting’ crew on Alki tomorrow

April 11, 2014 10:14 am
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 |   West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

If you notice a film crew on Alki tomorrow afternoon near the volleyball nets – here’s what it’s all about. West Seattle actor/producer Alder Sherwood explains they’ll be doing street interviews for “Do You Shift?“, described as a documentary about “shapeshifting.” No, not necessarily the mythical/magical kind (though they’re exploring that too) – Sherwood explains, “… it isn’t just about physical transformation; it is about shifting our perspective of what is possible.” There’s more here, on the project website. As in – have you transformed your life? Producer Jeremiah Kaynor of Corvus Eye Productions says, “We would love to interview anyone that is a Shifter or knows someone who has Shapeshifted.” Interviews will be reviewed for the documentary as well as its accompanying YouTube channel. Just look for the crew at the beach tomorrow afternoon.

West Seattle Summer Fest 2014: 2 signup deadlines, days away

April 11, 2014 9:22 am
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 |   West Seattle festivals | West Seattle news

(WSB photo from 2012 West Seattle Summer Fest)
April 15th – next Tuesday – is not just the tax deadline. It’s also the deadline for vendors and musicians to get applications in for this year’s West Seattle Summer Fest, we are reminded by the WS Junction Association. It’s closer than you think; July 11-13, exactly three months away. Interested in being part of Summer Fest but haven’t applied yet? Find the vendor application and info linked from this page on the Summer Fest site; the application for musicians is here.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Friday updates, road-work reminders

April 11, 2014 6:03 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

(Latest bridge and Viaduct views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Happy Friday! More road work today – along with the ongoing Charlestown project, some work planned in The Junction:

JUNCTION DETOUR TODAY: Concrete pouring is expected to close part of northbound California between Alaska and Edmunds starting at 7 am. (We’ll be checking on it.)

And in case you missed these transportation stories on Thursday:

SW GENESEE TO CLOSE FOR WORK NEXT WEEK: Similar to the Charlestown project; details here.


Coming up later this morning – our report on what the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce heard from Metro (video, plus text toplines) on Thursday.

Update: Helicopter assists with search in South Delridge

1:21 AM: If you’re hearing a helicopter – Guardian One is helping with a police search in the 17th/18th/Henderson vicinity. Police were called by someone who heard glass break at a neighbor’s house. At least one suspect is reported to be on the run. More to come.

1:26 AM UPDATE: And it sounds like the search has ended, successfully.

1:40 AM: From Guardian One via Twitter:

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Guardian One’s video/audio (including dispatchers and officers) has been made public, and we’ve obtained more information about what happened. Here’s the followup story.