West Seattle, Washington
(Photo by David Hutchinson)
Banners are up along Alki to ensure you know that, as Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network‘s Robin Lindsey reminds us, “We are now in the throes of harbor seal pupping season.” And with that, Robin shares four updates/reminders, including the banners’ installation, but beginning with the loss of a pup last weekend:
****Area rookeries are bustling with seal pups, a good majority of them now weaned. These pups are striking out on their own and Seal Sitters has responded to 5 pups in the past week in 5 different locations here in West Seattle.
(Photo by Robin Lindsey)
As usual, the pups have been thin. Sadly, seal pup “H2Otis” (above), who spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning at Emma Schmitz Viewpoint, had to be taken to PAWS Wildlife Center but died en route. The pup had multiple bite wounds to the head and flippers, but the species of animal that inflicted the bites could not be determined in the necropsy. The wounds were not the cause of death. He was much thinner than we realized due to difficulty of a visual assessment.
We cannot stress enough that each year, seal pups are mauled and killed by off-leash dogs in Puget Sound. Off-leash dogs were on the beach just before “H2Otis” came ashore (we do not believe he was bitten at Emma Schmitz on Saturday night) and have been there each day since. We ask dog owners to please respect wildlife and understand that even the most well-behaved dog can be unpredictable and cause terrible harm.
****Seal Sitters MMSN, as a member in good standing of NOAA’s West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network, has just renewed our contract with NOAA to respond to live and dead marine mammals from Brace Point through the Duwamish River (including Harbor Island). This contract gives us the authority to close off public access and establish necessary perimeters to protect both marine mammals and the public at large. All marine mammals are protected from harassment by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Violations will be documented and reported to NOAA’s Office for Law Enforcement (OLE) and WA Department of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement for prosecution.
We would like to note as well that boarders, kayakers and boaters need to stay an appropriate distance (100 yards) from the mid-channel Elliott Bay buoys when sea lions are present. In addition to the California sea lions that are now returning to the area, these haul-out sites are occasionally used by Steller sea lions, both protected by the MMPA. Violations are being documented and turned over to NOAA’s OLE.
Included as a requirement of this contract is to examine dead marine mammals and enter documentation into NOAA’s national database. We ask residents to please call Seal Sitters’ hotline @ 206-905-SEAL (7325) if there is a live or dead marine mammal on public or private beaches.
****Thursday, Seattle Parks employees hung 10 “Share the Shore” banners (top photo), featuring an illustration of a harbor-seal pup, along Alki Beach. The banners are displayed annually on light poles stretching from the Bathhouse to Duke’s Chowder House. The graphics are intended to raise awareness that September and October are the high season months for harbor seal pups to seek refuge on our shores. Read more here.
****Lastly, our usual reminder that if you see a harbor seal on the beach, stay back, keep people and dogs away and call our hotline at 206-905-SEAL (7325). Undisrupted rest is critical to a seal pup’s survival – and, as proven by the unexpected demise of “H2Otis,” it is a fragile existence at best.
That’s the first “Ice Bucket Challenge” clip called to our attention by a local school. This one features the staff of Holy Rosary School and the parish’s pastor, Father John Madigan. HR principal George Hofbauer starts with challenges to other local Catholic schools, and Fr. Madigan adds a challenge to Seattle’s Archbishop Peter Sartain. (In case you’ve missed it somehow, the IBC has been making the rounds for weeks to raise awareness and money for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.) P.S. First day of school at HRS is next Tuesday.
Thanks to Scott for the top photo and the tip that building demolition has begun at Arbor Heights Elementary, a milestone for the project to replace the dilapidated old buildings with a brand-new school. We went over and got there just in time to photograph the backhoe doing a little more work on the north side of the southern building before parking for the day:
As reported here on August 20th, the city Hearing Examiner rejected an appeal of the demolition-permit granting. Another appeal was rejected in May; that one involved the ruling that the project didn’t need a full environmental review. Following that first decision, a meeting was held to update the community on the construction plan (WSB coverage here). The timetable shared at that meeting called for demolition to begin in August, which now, technically, it has; it also noted that there would be a pause from November to February, when the second phase of the project would begin, by which time the district would decide if the school would be built to hold up to 500 students, or up to 650. The new school is supposed to open in two years; in the meantime, AHES is sharing the Boren building in North Delridge with the school permanently housed there, K-5 STEM.
(Mid-August Seacrest panorama by Robert Spears)
Recordsetting month for the West Seattle Water Taxi, and it’s not over yet. Just shared by County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who is also chair of the Ferry District Board, which oversees West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi operations, an announcement sent by Marine Division shoreside operations/customer-service manager Greg Lerner:
I wanted to let you know that today, on the 10:30 am sailing, our 50,000th rider for the month of August boarded our West Seattle boat, setting a new all-time record for the route. From a person who spent 10 years working with the West Seattle route at Argosy thinking we were doing well, I’m particularly proud of all of you for taking this route to the next level!
You can see month-by-month ridership for the past year and a half by going here and clicking the “West Seattle ridership” line to open it – last year’s biggest month was July, with 47,588. This year’s July ridership isn’t posted yet but June was the biggest month of the year posted to date, with 32,484.
P.S. The West Seattle Water Taxi will be in service on Labor Day, but using the Sunday schedule.
West Seattle development notes to share this afternoon:
(Rendering by PB Architects)
‘PACKET’ FOR NEXT DESIGN REVIEW MEETING: Hasn’t been much for the Southwest Design Review Board to consider these past few months, but they do have a one-project meeting coming up next week, and the “packet” is available – see it here. The project is a medical/commercial building, the Clearview Eye Clinic at 7520 35th SW, and the meeting at 6:30 pm Thursday, September 4th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle, is its second “early design guidance” meeting. (Here’s our coverage of the first one back in July.)
RECENT DEMOLITION-PERMIT APPLICATIONS: Here’s what’s appeared on the city website in the past two weeks. (We haven’t gone by these sites yet, so some might already have been torn down – sometimes the permit filings appear same-day or close to it.)
Busy day so far, but we don’t want to wait any longer to nudge you about four possibilities for this afternoon/evening, primarily from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, plus one heads-up:
FREE CANNING CLASS: West Seattle-based and nationally renowned food writer/educator Kim O’Donnel is leading a free canning demonstration with The Little Red Hen Project at 4 pm today, Delridge Community Center. Kim says, “We will cover the basics of water-bath canning & make some mixed-berry jam.” (4501 Delridge Way SW)
DELRIDGE GROCERY’S FRIDAY FARMSTAND: Delridge Grocery‘s weekly farmstand is happening again from 4:30-7:30 pm today – fresh-from-the-farms fruit and vegetables for sale. (5435 Delridge Way SW)
ALKI FUN FEST AND NEIGHBORHOOD-APPRECIATION BARBECUE: 5-7 pm at Alki Community Center, games for kids, food for all, more info in our calendar listing. (5817 SW Stevens)
AUSTRALIAN WINEMAKER AT THE CASK: Tonight at The Cask (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm, acclaimed Australian winemaker Daniel Binet from Ballabourneen Winery is on hand for a “Meet the Winemaker” event. Ballabourneen says Binet is more than a winemaker – he’s also “entertainer, bon vivant and inspiration behind the wines, creativity and culture of the company.” (His bio is here.) The Cask is at 2350 California SW.
MUCH MUSIC! Double-digit listing lineup of venues/performers for tonight – see them all on our calendar.
And just in case you hear them from across the bay …
FIREWORKS … are on the Safeco Field schedule after tonight’s Mariners’ game (third and final time this season).
11:40 AM: A vehicle has gone into the bushes off the side of the eastbound entrance to the bridge just past 35th/Fauntleroy. No serious injuries reported but one person in the vehicle was having trouble getting out; there’s a sizable police/fire response there right now.
11:59 AM: The SFD response has closed, so the traffic situation should ease soon.
After questions about why the front window is boarded up at the nonprofit Discovery Shop in The Junction, we contacted volunteer Suzanne Rowe (who had just e-mailed us about some new features there), and she has just responded with the photo and report:
As the Discovery Shop was preparing to close at 4:30 on Wednesday afternoon, a person passing by on the street intentionally smashed our front window either with his foot or with his backpack. The police were called and they did take a report and interviewed witnesses. Luckily, no one in the store or other pedestrians was hurt when the giant sheet of glass broke. Those in the store said it sounded like gunfire when it happened.
What makes this event even more unfortunate is our insurance will not cover the costs of replacing the window. The Discovery Shop has to pay the entire cost and that means less money going to the American Cancer Society. We hope the community will still stop by and support our store as we work to replace the window. Again, according to witness accounts, this was done intentionally in broad daylight with people standing nearby, making for a potentially dangerous situation.
The shop at 4535 California SW is open today until 4:30 pm. According to its website, one way they’re hoping to raise window-repair money is via a special sale on pants tomorrow and Sunday.
The Rotary Club of West Seattle is now selling tickets for its first-ever Oktoberfest. Everyone (21 and up) is invited to the celebration, 6 pm Saturday, October 11th, at Alki Masonic Center in The Junction – from the announcement: “Come enjoy a Bavarian evening complete with German and local microbrew beer, authentic German food, Oompah band, and a raffle. Bavarian dress encouraged. … Oktoberfest is a fundraiser to support the West Seattle Rotary Club’s community projects: Annual Children’s Shopping Spree; Rotary First Harvest; Pencil Me In For Kids.” Go here to get your ticket(s)!
By Kezia Willingham
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
As the sold-out PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) gaming convention starts today downtown, West Seattleite Bijhan Valibeigi will be there, launching a new product in her multimedia “Time Wars” franchise: A strategy card game.
She e-mailed WSB about the launch, explaining that “Time Wars: Supreme Command” is “the world’s first deck-stacking game, where you actively try to stack your own deck in your favor, while also trying to control the flow of your opponent’s deck.”
The format isn’t all that’s groundbreaking about “Time Wars: Supreme Command.”
Bijhan and I met at Meeples Games, the new business at California/Charlestown that not only sells games, but is also a place where you can sit down and play them in a relaxed atmosphere, with a café and a library where you can try out games before purchasing them.
Bijhan created “Time Wars” based on her experience as a game lover who missed seeing accurate representations of both her ethnicity and gender orientation – she describes herself as a “queer genderless Persian-American nerd” – in the games she loved. She wanted to see more diversity in the characters and their experiences.
(WS bridge and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
With some already beginning a long holiday weekend, traffic is quieter this morning. Unless you happen to be heading back this way, southbound on I-5 through downtown, in which case you should note that a crash is blocking all but one lane at Denny.
HOLIDAY WEEKEND NOTES: No transit changes until Monday (Labor Day), when Metro and the West Seattle Water Taxi will both be on Sunday schedules. For a citywide look at events that might affect traffic from now through Monday, here’s the SDOT roundup.
IF YOU’RE RIDING THE WATER TAXI TODAY … look toward Harbor Island as you pass and you might see this:
— SudsyMaggie (@SudsyMaggie) August 29, 2014
ADDED 8:57 PM: Jonathan tweeted this photo:
— Jonathan Evans (@jhewiz) August 29, 2014
1:35 PM: Back to traffic info – just spotted this lane-closure alert for Highway 99 next week:
Tuesday, Sept. 2 to Friday, Sept. 5
· Crews will reduce southbound SR 99 to one lane between South Atlantic Street and South Spokane Street from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.
Tuesday, Sept. 2; Thursday, Sept. 4 – Friday, Sept. 5
· Crews will reduce northbound SR 99 to one lane between South Spokane Street and South Atlantic Street from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.
If you heard/saw the big police response in southeast West Seattle, it was for a report of someone breaking into an occupied home (added: near 21st/Barton) … and police are reported to have a suspect in custody. More when we get it.