West Seattle, Washington
For the second time in nine days, Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) at Westwood Village has been burglarized. It happened this evening – exactly when, the proprietors and police were still trying to figure out when we heard about it from a texted tip and went over a little more than an hour ago. Once again, someone broke the front door to get in, same way entry was made during the early-morning break-in on December 7th. We’ll be following up with them and police tomorrow.
Last year, the Christmas Ship‘s West Seattle finale – serenading Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) – came on a night so foggy, the caroler-carrying boat seemed to emerge from nowhere. Tonight, you could see it headed here from miles away (after a performance at Manchester, sailing eastbound cross-sound, as we saw while headed down Charlestown Hill). And as the Holy Names Academy Choir sang Christmas classics, the beautiful downtown-and-beyond skyline was in full display, even the candy-cane-pattern lights atop CenturyLink Field. While the Christmas Ship won’t be back here this season (it made two stops on Saturday night), it continues sailing regional waterways – see the schedule here – until Christmas Eve-Eve.
ADDED EARLY TUESDAY: One more clip – the end of the performance, including the final song (“Jingle Bells”) and the Christmas Ship announcer’s always-festive farewell:
P.S. West Seattle’s own “Santa Al” told us he was scheduled to be “lead Santa” on tonight’s trips; check the WSB WS Holiday Guide to see where to find him here next.
A memorial service is planned Friday morning for Chester “Chet” Neiswender, whose family shares this remembrance:
Chester E. Neiswender, 1/29/1925-11/25/2014
Chester (Chet) E. Neiswender passed quietly November 25, 2014. He leaves his loving family: Wife, Mary; stepchildren: Nancy McCreery, Rick Gay, Janine Cox; 8 wonderful grandchildren; and 5 beautiful great grandchildren. Chet is also survived by 3 sisters: Evelyn, Ester and Marji, who all had numerous children. Chet had 8 biological children, 11 biological grandchildren, and several biological great grandchildren.
Chet was a WWII veteran, driving big trucks like amphibious vehicles where he helped get soldiers onto the beach from the landing crafts at Okinawa, Japan, and the Philippine Islands. He was still in touch with a friend in Connecticut, the last surviving war buddy. We will all miss the wonderful stories from those exciting ,and sometimes horrifying, times.
Born in Hobart, WA, Chet was a lifelong resident of King County. He was a veritable wealth of historical information.
Ten years of work … and now, Sarah Alisabeth Fox – who lives and works in the West Seattle/White Center area – has published her first book, “Downwind: A People’s History of the Nuclear West.” Getting it published is just the start – now, the task is to get the word out about it. To help support Fox as she does that, while also working a day job and raising a child, friends organized a benefit that’s happening right now at Skylark in North Delridge.
The event includes a silent auction, reading, and dessert grab (featuring a special flavor from White Center-founded Full Tilt Ice Cream).
Fox has tales to tell including what she experienced traveling to Vienna, Austria, recently for the International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. She attended with anti-nuclear-testing activist Michelle Thomas of St. George, Utah, who, Fox writes, “grew up immediately downwind of the Nevada Nuclear Test Site, where nearly one thousand Cold War nuclear weapons were tested between 1951 and 1992. … Conference organizers hope the event will help strengthen international support for the total abolition of nuclear weapons technology.” Fox’s book tells the stories of those who have struggled to be heard despite the effects of “the Cold War arms race as it played out in their backyards.” Fox hopes to continue to travel to speak about “her book and the environmental and health consequences of nuclear weapons,” but that takes money, and so this benefit was organized; more details are in our calendar listing – it’s on until 9 pm at 3803 Delridge Way SW.
Last week, we shared a request from student researchers, asking you to take a quick survey for their project. Today – this followup, including the photo and a hearty “thank you”:
Thank you West Seattle Blog and all of your readers for your help with our research project. The Holy Rosary Gator-bots received over 680 responses to our survey in 3 days! The participation from so many readers was impressive, but what impressed us most was the level of detail provided by the readers. The Gator-bots spent a good portion of last Saturday going through the responses. Based on the responses, the Gator-bots realized that there are opportunities to enhance the way everyone learns about new Technology. So they modified their original hypothesis for the project based on your guidance!
Yesterday they presented their research and modified hypothesis to a panel of judges as part of the First Lego League regional competition in Auburn. Thanks to WSB and the survey respondents, the Gator-bots received a trophy for their research through crowdsourcing and were asked to continue their research because they were invited to attend the Semi-Finals in January! Look for an update on the Gator-bots in January!
Thank you WSB and West Seattle. We feel blessed to be part of such a wonderful community.
Two years after opening its restaurant/lounge at 2940 SW Avalon Way in the Luna Park business district, Duos announced today that it’s closing that part of its business, while continuing with catering:
Thank you for all the support and love you have shown to us here at the restaurant. We value the relationships we have built with you and we will truly miss seeing you. Our last day open will be December 20th, 2014 – Our two year anniversary.
The restaurant has become such a growing success for us and we were getting busier every day! It is such a great feeling to have a loyal support base and it made our decision that much more difficult. Unfortunately, we share this building with our catering department which has also grown substantially over these past two years. As a result, providing quality food for both the restaurant and catering has proven to be difficult and space has become limited.
Our business growth has been a blessing for us and it pains us to know the outcome of Duos’ success means closing the restaurant. We will still have an active role in the community and continue to support and donate to the wonderful schools and organizations in the area. We will remain in this building, producing our great catered food and we will keep the space open as an event venue. We will be holding events at the space offering special menus, date nights, cooking classes, and fun wine maker dinners!
This was an industrial and then retail space until five years ago; Café Revo was the first restaurant there, in 2009-2010, followed by Avalon for a year, early 2011 to early 2012, and then Duos, which opened its lounge/restaurant in fall 2012.
On Friday evening, December 12th, Denny International Middle School hosted our annual Posada celebration. The evening was filled with great food, dancing, and fun! Thank you to all of the families and staff who came to make this such a culturally rich and memorable time!
A special thank you to all of our volunteers, including: Ms. Salcedo, Ms. Amaral, Ms. Olsen, Mr. Garcia, Ms. Brown, Ms. Bowie, Ms. Rangel, Mr. Rodriguez, Manu, Sheila, Kevin, Sommer, all of the Proyecto Saber scholars, Mirabella and the Chief Sealth dancers, and the one and only DJ Vagos!
This is the last week of school for Denny and other Seattle Public Schools pre-winter break – after a one-hour-early dismissal on Friday, no classes for two weeks.
Scammers are still at work out there, trying to steal your money by making you think you are at risk of utility cutoff. We’ve reported this before (including earlier this fall) and today Seattle City Light is out with another alert:
As temperatures continue to drop and the importance of keeping your home warm rises, scammers are taking full advantage of the situation by targeting utility customers; threatening to shut off power unless payment is made to a fraudulent bill collector.
Seattle City Light is receiving 25 to 30 reports per week from customers targeted by such scams, often some of Seattle’s most vulnerable residents. Scammers commonly target non-English speaking individuals, elderly, and small business owners.
(ADDED: Video of this morning’s entire meeting, above)
9:41 AM: Ten days after concerns about “settling” related to the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project, WSDOT reps are briefing the Seattle City Council right now. Transportation secretary Lynn Peterson says there appears to be “no further settlement” since what was reported a week and a half ago, and no damage to buildings in the area. She says that while this is a “tense moment” in the project, WSDOT firmly believes it’s “less risky” to proceed than to rely on the earthquake-vulnerable Viaduct. She also vows that the contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, is being and will be held accountable for what they’re expected to do. And she says they can’t commit to any kind of timeline right now for completion, because the cutter head has to be retrieved for repair first: “This is a design-build contract and we have purchased a tunnel … the fix .. is the responsibility of the contractor. We do not own the machine nor the method” STP chooses to fix it.
WSDOT’s Todd Trepanier tells the council STP was asked to stop excavating, at least temporarily, on Friday, until getting a green light for resumption. He’s getting into more technical points; here’s the slide deck just added to the agenda.
You can watch the briefing live here. After WSDOT reps are done explaining, and answering council questions about, the “settling” situation, city reps are scheduled to talk about the status of plans in place in case a Viaduct closure was needed. We’ll have toplines of that later; you can preview the slide deck (which involves a 2005 plan centered on “what ifs” in case of an earthquake) here, plus a new city update on the “settling” situation here.
11:26 AM: The meeting, originally scheduled for about an hour, has now lasted for two and isn’t likely to end any time soon – again, it’s live at seattlechannel.org. Councilmembers continue to press for more specifics on Viaduct safety – a moment ago, Councilmember Kshama Sawant was asking what size of earthquake would take the AWV down; WSDOT says it doesn’t want to speculate but notes they all believe the structure “is vulnerable.”
11:30 AM: City reps are now coming to the table to discuss the status of plans in case it was determined the Viaduct had to be closed – not just transportation, but utilities.
SDOT director Scott Kubly says the “unified command structure” has been meeting at least once a day to talk about the situation. Seattle Public Utilities says it’s been monitoring utility lines and pipes in the area – they’re using a hydrophone to “acoustically” detect water leaks, as well as using closed-circuit video to watch the sewer lines. The presentation embedded above this paragraph shows all the utility info they’re presenting, including what types of lines are in the Viaduct/tunnel-pit area, as well as the transportation plan that SDOT will discuss shortly.
11:46 AM: Now it’s SDOT director Kubly’s turn, after a council question asking SPU who covers the cost if there are utility problems – answer: the state. Meantime, he says that they are in “good shape” if a Viaduct closure was necessary, because the 2005 plan is updated each year. The “variable message boards” on paths to The Viaduct would be called into action, as would equipment like barricades etc. which he says are “pre-loaded” onto vehicles and ready to go at a moment’s notice, if needed. He is followed by Seattle City Light with its plans. Meantime, the Department of Planning and Development hasn’t heard yet of any buildings that would be deemed unsafe, but if settlement was “a lot steeper in areas,” they have authority to “do various things depending on how much damage we see … (including) ordering vacation of (a) building.”
11:58 AM: Councilmember Tom Rasmussen asks how Metro works into this plan if the Viaduct had to close. Kubly says Metro is “at the table” and they are looking at “how would we speed buses” and “what detour routes would be in place … how (to) add service would depend on length of the closure.” Could the plan deal with all 60,000 people/vehicles that would not be able to use the AWV? Kubly says it would address elements such as possible restrictions on “non-essential construction,” changes in deliveries, and looking at ways to get more people carpooling, using transit, etc. (The funding for extra transit is “already gone,” the council is told.) WSDOT’s Trepanier is asked to come back to the table to answer some questions, such as what if there’s a long-term gap between the Viaduct going out of service and the tunnel coming into service. He says the Legislature made the decision not to use any more project money toward “transportation mitigation” (such as transit).
12:13 PM: The Viaduct discussion is over and the council has moved into a preview of its 2 pm meeting, which will include the White Center annexation proposal. When the video of this meeting is available, we’ll add it to this story.
3:18 PM: Just added the video.
CITY COUNCIL ALASKAN WAY VIADUCT BRIEFING: 9:30 am, the council is scheduled to have a two-part briefing on matters related to the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project and its tunnel troubles – 9:30 am, the latest on the “settling”; 9:50 am, the state of city plans for how to handle mobility if The Viaduct has to be shut down. This is the regular “briefing” meeting, so there’s no public-comment period, but it’ll be live on Seattle Channel (cable and online).
CITY COUNCIL TALKS WHITE CENTER ANNEXATION: As first reported here on December 5th, the Seattle City Council is taking the first step toward calling for White Center and vicinity residents to vote on whether they want to be annexed (see the resolution here) – with the caveat that the city needs more help from the state in order to take this area on, so though they’re initiating the process, they might not follow it all the way through. This meeting does include a public-comment period at the start; it’ll also be on Seattle Channel (online and cable).
DANCE OPEN HOUSE: 3-7 pm at Kenyon Hall, meet dance teacher Vanessa Villalobos and find out about her classes. Free open house, followed by a dance party (admission charge – details in our calendar listing) at 7 pm. (7904 35th SW)
TAP TAKEOVER PARTY AT MARINATION MA KAI: 5-8 pm, kickoff party as Marination ma kai (WSB sponsor) starts a week with Stoup Brewing taking over all its taps. Meet the brewers; check out the special menu items; details in our calendar listing. (1660 Harbor SW)
‘DOWNWIND’ BOOK LAUNCH/FUNDRAISER: As previewed here on Sunday, local author Sarah Alisabeth Fox will be at Skylark tonight for a launch party and fundraiser as she gets the word out about her book “Downwind,” the result of a decade of research. More in our calendar listing. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
CHRISTMAS SHIP AT SALTY’S: 9:15-9:35 pm at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor), it’s the final West Seattle visit of the Christmas Ship, this time with the Holy Names Academy Choir on board. (1936 Harbor SW)
MORE … for today/tonight, on our calendar!
(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Good morning! Nothing unusual on the routes we watch in/from West Seattle, so far.
TODAY’S BIG TRANSPORTATION STORY … is likely to be the City Council briefings from WSDOT and SDOT this morning, on the “settling” in the Viaduct vicinity and on plans in case it has to be closed. The meeting starts at 9:30 am (here’s the agenda) and will be live on Seattle Channel (online and cable).