West Seattle, Washington
(SPD Mounted Patrol officers photographed by Faith on Barton by Westwood/Roxhill last week)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Roxhill Park/Westwood Village, a more-troubled area than ever lately, is getting beefed-up SPD attention, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske told the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network last night.
In his briefing at the start of their monthly meeting, he addressed both current problems and concerns about the approaching summer.
Regarding the latter, the area is one of three at the heart of the summertime emphasis plan he has drafted, along with Alki (for the usual reasons) and Lincoln Park (primarily for its car-prowling problems). “Exactly how much (of the requested resources) I’m going to get in terms of what I’m asking for, because it’s fairly significant, I haven’t heard that yet,” he said. He’s said before that he is hoping for Mounted Patrol resources and added on Tuesday night that he hopes some officers will be able to patrol the area on bicycles.
As for the current situation at Westwood Village, where incidents have ranged from recurring shoplifting to an assault on an officer, Capt. Wilske says officers are assigned to be in the area more regularly so that if a call comes in, they can get to it quicker than ever. Community Police Team Officer Jonathan Kiehn added that right now there’s a strategy of working on a big-picture fix for a “lot of little things” that require increased communications, security, and procedures on businesses’ part at Westwood, as well as help from police.
ALSO COMING UP THIS SUMMER: “We’re going to be doing traffic emphasis along 35th SW for the summer,” looking for “speed and distracted driving,” said Capt. Wilske. “If you are driving on 35th SW you probably want to be driving the speed limit and you want to be using your hands-free devices.”
Ahead (if you’re reading this from the home page), updates on notable incidents, plus the night’s featured guest:
One more reminder that TONIGHT is the deadline – 11:59 pm, about three hours away – to sign up a sale for the upcoming 10th annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day! Though WSCGSD isn’t until May 10th, every year, after a 3+-week sign-up period, we have to close it down in time to get all the locations and listings into the map/guide so that it’ll be available a week in advance. If you’ve already signed up, PLEASE doublecheck to be sure you have both the confirmation e-mail from us and the receipt from PayPal – you’re not registered without both. If you didn’t get that receipt, or if you have any other question, we’re monitoring the special mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org through sale day. P.S. If you are signing up your sale now to beat the deadline, here’s the link. Thank you! (And watch WSB starting tomorrow for sale-countdown news and spotlights.)
A high-profile visitor today at West Seattle Elementary School, from half a world away – Phiona Mutesi came to show the students what can happen if you work really hard at something. In her case, it’s chess that’s brought her into the spotlight from an impoverished neighborhood in Uganda. Students are learning it at WSES via the First Move program. Phiona, whose dream is to become a grandmaster, visited a third-grade classroom where chess instruction was happening, before speaking at an assembly:
Those accompanying her for the visit included (at right above) “The Chess Lady.” Phiona’s success, including junior championships in her home country as well as competitions abroad, has been detailed in stories including this one in ESPN Magazine. Tomorrow she will be featured on KING 5 News, whose morning anchor Mark Wright was one of the journalists covering her visit along with our crew.
4:23 PM: “Yes” on Metro/roads-money Proposition 1 gained a bit of ground in the second round of results just released but “no” is still leading, now by nine percentage points. Current tally:
No – 224,441 votes, 54.51%
Yes – 187,324 votes, 45.49%
5:22 PM: County leaders have issued a news release saying that they’re now making plans for Metro cuts. County Executive Dow Constantine is quoted as saying, “We gave the voters a choice, and presented a proposal for saving Metro Transit and maintaining our roads. They have chosen a reduced level of service, and we will carry out the will of the voters. Tomorrow I will transmit legislation to the King County Council to reduce service by 550,000 hours and eliminate 72 bus routes.” The County Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment committee will have public hearings on the plan before taking final action by the end of May. The draft version of the 550,000-hour reduction is in our election report from last night.
By Megan Sheppard
On the WSBeat, for West Seattle Blog
This edition of The WSBeat contains summaries written from reports on cases handled in recent weeks by Southwest Precinct officers – generally cases that (usually) have not already appeared here in breaking-news coverage or West Seattle Crime Watch reports, but that might at least answer the question “what WERE all those police doing on my block?” Or on the bridge, or the beach, or …
*On the afternoon of Wednesday the 16th, a car with heavily tinted windows drove past an officer on patrol at Don Armeni Boat Ramp. A routine records check of the license plate showed that the 27-year-old owner was wanted on a misdemeanor warrant for car prowling. A check of the owner’s name brought up a no-bail felony warrant, extraditable throughout the United States, for unlawful firearms possession in the second degree. The officer was able to take the suspect — described in the warrants as a violent gang member — into custody without incident.
*In the Admiral area on the 14th, an officer recognized a man who was violating a protection order by walking near a girlfriend’s residence The suspect was also wanted for failing to register as a sex offender. When arrested he was carrying an illegal switchblade knife and a bag of crystal meth. He was booked into King County Jail for investigation of all four violations.
*A woman paid a visit to her ex-boyfriend’s place of employment and argued with him in the parking lot. After he went inside, she rammed his car with hers six or eight times, yelling all the while, before driving off. The woman has been trespassed from the property.
This roundup covers a longer timespan than usual, and includes 13 more summaries ahead:Read More
1:31 PM: Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route is suddenly down to two boats TFN because the Sealth is out for repairs. See the two-boat schedule here. We’ll update when this changes.
6:32 PM UPDATE: As of early evening, the run is back to three boats.
Even before the second vote count comes out this afternoon for Metro/roads-money measure Proposition 1, a new ballot measure is in the works, says a group calling itself Friends of Transit, seeking a property-tax increase to be used only for bus service inside the Seattle city limits. The announcement received via e-mail:
Friends of Transit today announced it will file an initiative for the November 2014 ballot that would save bus service within Seattle city limits. The measure could raise up to $25 million a year for the next six years, enough to reverse most cuts to King County Metro routes that serve Seattle.
“Seattle will grind to a halt if we don’t act fast to save buses,” said Ben Schiendelman, founder of Friends of Transit and proponent of the ballot measure. “Seattle voters want better transit. We will not rest until we have reversed these cuts and begun making the investments we need to provide Seattle with the transit system it deserves.”
A signboard is up for this but you might not have caught all the details, so we just checked with SDOT for details: The Admiral Way offramp from the westbound West Seattle Bridge will be closed 8 am until ~3 pm (reopening earlier if the work is done) this Saturday (April 26th). SDOT’s Marybeth Turner explains that crews “will be working on a project to restore the sidewalk where a traffic accident took out a pole last fall. City Light performed their work, and now we’re following up. On Saturday the crews will remove the temporary fill material (this requires the ramp to be closed) and they plan to pave during this coming week.” That paving work, she adds, will NOT require subsequent closures.
Thanks to Lise for sharing her photo of birds in the buffet line! Before the day moves too much further along, four notes for tonight:
SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT COMCAST? As noted here yesterday, the city is reviewing citizens’ opinion of its service, as it prepares a potential franchise renewal. The franchise technically only involves the cable-TV service, but the city also has been soliciting opinions regarding its Internet service as well. If you have something to say about Comcast service and/or how you think Seattle’s cable service should be, be at High Point Community Center at 6 pm. (6920 34th SW)
CUB SCOUT INFO NIGHT: 6:30 pm, it’s Cub Scout Pack 799’s “Join Scouting Night” at Arbor Heights Elementary. From the announcement: “We will have leaders from the Pack as well as the Seattle Scouting Council to talk to boys and their families about joining our exciting Pack. Boys who attend will have the chance to build their own Pinewood Derby Car, and then come back on Friday night to race their car in our Annual Pinewood Derby Race!” (37th/104th)
LAST DAY TO REGISTER FOR WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE DAY: We opened registration three weeks ago, and tonight we close it just before midnight, so mapmaking can begin. If you haven’t signed up your sale for the big day (9 am-3 pm Saturday, May 10th) yet – hurry! Here’s the form.
(Added 8:55 am: Photo by Carolyn Newman)
Lots of orca-watching going on this morning, from Beach Drive to Elliott Bay, where the newest reports are from – likely the same two transient male orcas who have been visiting the area for the past several days. Photos shared via Twitter:
— Jonathan Evans (@jhewiz) April 23, 2014
— Melinda Simon (@melindasimonsea) April 23, 2014
8:38 AM: Found out they started the day off West Seattle pretty early – James was watching them off Fauntleroy in the 6 am hour! Meantime, another photo tweeted from the Water Taxi vicinity (Seacrest Boathouse/Pier, 1660 Harbor SW, in case you are new in the area):
— KellyD (@kdbokay) April 23, 2014
— Russ Walker (@russ_walker) April 23, 2014
9:36 AM: Thanks again to everyone who has tweeted, e-mailed, texted/called (206-293-6302 any time), Facebooked – speaking of which, Melinda posted video of the orcas off Beach Drive; not embeddable, unfortunately, but here’s a direct link to see it on FB.
(Latest bridge and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:07 AM: Happy midweek! Our traffic watch begins. No road work today but we did spot a sign on the westbound West Seattle Bridge announcing that the Admiral Way offramp will be closed for much of Saturday (April 26th); we’re checking on that today and will update with whatever info we get. (Afternoon update: Here are the details.)
8:50 AM: If you use Denny Way downtown and haven’t headed out yet – we haven’t heard exactly where but a light is out and big backups are starting, according to radio discussion (monitored via scanner). Otherwise, this morning’s big commute news has been the Water Taxi orca-watching!
1:42 PM: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry route is down to two boats.
During Tuesday night’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting (full report to come), Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske listed Lincoln Park as one of his emphasis priorities for the summer season, particularly because of its ongoing car-prowl problem. The first of two West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports includes another example of that:
Michelle reports a car break-in during the West Seattle High School tennis team’s game at the Lincoln Park tennis courts on Monday. She says two backpacks with “several valuable items” were stolen from the trunk of a Honda Accord, and the debit cards in those backpacks were used quickly at stores including Roxbury Safeway. The car break-ins have been reported to police and they are hoping to find clues on store surveillance video. If you find any tossed-aside backpacks, and/or personal paperwork, please report it to police.
Ahead, our second reader report – the case of the unauthorized tree-cutter:
Good fan turnout for Tuesday afternoon’s Chief Sealth International High School–West Seattle High School soccer rematch. Sealth’s Devin Offord had a cheering section (above) and scored the first of Sealth’s four goals, helping the Seahawks to a final score of 4-1 over the Wildcats.
Last time the two teams met, one month ago, WSHS won, 2-1.
Other scoring in Tuesday’s match at Southwest Athletic Complex: Alazar Gilay had WSHS’s lone goal; Luis Medina had two for Sealth, and the final one was by Yael Pina (who assisted on two of the three other Sealth goals).
Both are on the road for their next games: Sealth plays at Franklin, 3:30 pm Thursday; WSHS plays Cleveland, same time/day, at Van Asselt Playfield.