West Seattle, Washington
The orcas seen off West Seattle on Saturday weren’t the “transients” who spent so much time recently in the South Sound. Instead, expert whale-watchers identified them as members of J Pod, one of the three groups of endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. Federal researchers hoping to help save the SRKW from extinction are trying to find out more about where J-Pod orcas, in particular, goes when they are not here at “home,” so once again this year, they have tagged a member of the pod. According to this report on the Northwest Fisheries Science Center website, researchers tagged J27 yesterday, while J Pod was northbound through north Puget Sound. What little they know from previous tries suggests that, more than the other two SRKW pods, this one stays closer to home. Finding out more, they say, can help them identify “critical habitat” among other things. They promise to update the page from which we got the map you see above – follow it here.
(WSB photo, December 5th)
In case you’re keeping track – King County Wastewater Treatment has just changed the dates again for the next big pour at the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control Project across from Lowman Beach. It’s now set for Monday and Thursday of next week, January 5 and 8th, exactly one month after the first big pour, which brought about 20 trucks an hour to the site – twice the amount expected for this one. The county also notes that crews will not be working at the site New Year’s Day. Here’s the full update (PDF) the county sent late today.
Get the last day of the year started off right:
Volunteers able to lift between 20 and 50 pounds are needed at 9:00 am Wednesday, December 31 to help the White Center Food Bank do inventory. The inventory will take place at 10829 8th Ave SW. Volunteers should dress for a warehouse and wear closed-toe shoes. Available? Contact Audrey Zemke at email@example.com or 206-762-2848.
The SW Yancy footbridge over Longfellow Creek in North Delridge is expected to remain closed for weeks. That’s the latest from Seattle Parks, ten days after an allegedly drunk driver crashed through the bridge’s wooden railing and into the creek. As we reported the night of the crash, neither the driver nor his passenger were seriously hurt. But the bridge was left with major damage. Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad tells WSB that there’s no firm date for repairs yet, but it’ll likely be a matter of weeks – well into January. “Until then we will keep an eye on this to make sure the barricades stay up, and would appreciate the cooperation from the public to stay off the bridge.” Meantime, we’re trying to find out the status of the case against the 40-year-old man arrested at the scene.
ADDED 3:24 PM: We’ve finally obtained the aforementioned information. According to Seattle Municipal Court online records, 40-year-old Rossindo Ramos of Highland Park is charged with DUI and reckless endangerment, and also was cited for a license violation and driving without insurance. He is not shown as having been jailed after this incident, but he is out on bail with stipulations including electronic home monitoring. He did spend four days in jail less than three weeks earlier, after an incident that resulted in a charge of property destruction, related to alleged domestic violence.
Adding to the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, another tree-cycling option: If the curbside and transfer-station options don’t work for you, maybe this will – the West Seattle Rainbow Assembly announces its annual tree-cycling dropoff event in the parking lot at Alki Masonic Center, 10 am-3 pm next Saturday (January 3rd), cash donations accepted, no flocked trees or tinsel. The center’s newly regraded/repaved parking lot is at 40th/Edmunds.
(Photo by Lynn Hall)
Clear weather is forecast all the way to New Year’s Day, and the Olympic Mountains are making an all-out appearance for the first time in a while. Along with gawking at our gorgeous surroundings, here are a few other options for the day/night ahead:
DROP-IN FAMILY GAMES: Week 2 of winter break. Home with the kid(s)? Looking for something new to do? 2:30-4 pm, you’re welcome to play games at the Southwest Branch Library, as explained here. (35th/Henderson)
COASTLINE ‘SOFT OPENING’: As noted in our most-recent update, the new burger joint in The Junction was hoping to be open by month’s end. Looks like it will achieve that goal – tonight’s the night, according to this announcement we received:
We are very excited to announce the official opening of Coastline! Coastline will serve organic, grass-fed burgers on buns that are freshly baked in our house oven. Come enjoy real food made entirely from scratch with the freshest ingredients, and pair it with a delicious locally brewed draft beer. We would like to extend an invite to our community to join family and friends for our “soft opening” practice run on Monday, December 29 at 5 pm. (Some menu items may be limited.) We will open again at 5 pm on the 30th and 31st, and celebrate our Grand Opening at 11 am on January 1st with full menu availability.
Coastline is in the ex-Shoofly space (4444 California SW).
‘GET FIT, WEST SEATTLE’ INFO NIGHT: As previewed here on Sunday, West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor) is presenting another edition of its free “couch-to-half-marathon” training program, and tonight’s the night for anyone and everyone potentially interested to come find out more. 6:30 pm. (3727 California SW)
WORKOUT FOR YOUR MIND: Trivia/pub quiz night at three local venues – all listed on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar.
On Christmas Eve last year, we featured a locally shot music video by Simone Bruyere Fraser, a former professional ballet dancer whose “Nutskracker” rap was about getting some respect for those who practice that art. This holiday season, she’s back with the spoken-and-sung video above, also shot in West Seattle, “Lost at Sea,” with a theme she says is intended for the New Year’s season. She explains:
It is the new year, a time of renewal, a time of rebirth, and with that there is sometimes a letting go of the old and a bringing in of the new, or in a more metaphorical version, losing the old self and a bringing-in of the new self, and that’s what this piece is about for us.
“Lost at Sea” was shot here locally off West Seattle (in Puget Sound), and as an Alki resident I have wanted to try to capitalize on our gorgeous natural surroundings and create art with it since I moved here two years ago. I am the writer and spoken-word artist on the piece, Esy Casey was our director/dp, the original music was done by Carl Clark, and it features singing vocals by Melanie Granger. It was recorded and mixed locally at Jack Straw Productions. This is the same team that worked on our first local piece “Nutskracker,” which was released last Christmas and shot at Salty’s on Alki.
This is a more soulful piece as I wanted to try to stretch our team into new territories and express what I felt about Seattle and Alki specifically when I first moved here and how rejuvenating it was to get lost in the beauty of the ocean and find my next step in that pondering. In our next videos, I’d love be to able to get some local kids involved. I wish everyone the most blessed and wonderful new year; may you be reborn as your truest self!!
(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Good morning! Last Monday of the year – notes/alerts:
*Metro is on its “reduced weekday” schedule.
*Washington State Ferries is now on its winter schedule.
*SDOT plans to close a lane on California Way, between Harbor and Ferry, for 3 days of retaining-wall work, starting today.
*School’s still out for one more week.
7:47 AM: Just in via text alert, the Vashon Water Taxi’s next round trip (7:40 am from Seattle, 8:15 from Vashon) is canceled because of high wind.
Tonight’s West Seattle Crime Watch starts with two incidents today/tonight that resulted in arrests:
CAR-PROWL SUSPECT ARRESTED: Thanks to several people asking us about an incident near 20th/Thistle (map) tonight, we’ve been able to get information from police: An area resident saw someone “prowling inside her car” and confronted the man, who threatened her, showing what “appeared to be a weapon in his waistband.” He then took off. At some point, police were called and responded with a K-9 team; the dog found the suspect, and he was arrested.
BURGLARY INTERRUPTED: Also interrupted, a break-in at a home in the 6000 block of 26th SW (map) this afternoon. We’ve confirmed details with police on this one as well: Someone in the house heard glass breaking and hid while calling police. They arrived and saw three suspects flee. They chased and caught two nearby; the third fled westward to High Point, and other officers found him there, also with the help of a K-9. Police say one of the suspects had a cut hand, from broken glass; some stolen property was recovered; and one suspect threatened to kill an officer. All three were booked into jail.
two three reader reports:
VANDALISM: According to a texter, taggers vandalized garage doors overnight along the 47th SW alley between Stevens and Lander (map). It’s been reported to police.
PLANT THEFT: CR reports from north of Morgan Junction:
Our green ceramic glazed pot (about 16″ tall) with 1 foot tall “lemon cypress” was stolen from the 5900 block of California Avenue SW (map). The ceramic pot is located on our main entrance door of our townhouse. It was stolen between nighttime of December 26 to early morning of December 27.
ADDED 3:10 AM – CAR PROWLS: Just got a text (206-293-6302 any time) that two cars had been prowled on 45th between Hanford and Hinds a short time ago. Police were called and are there now.
Heads up for the next three days: SDOT plans to close a lane each day on California Way SW between Harbor and Ferry Avenues (map), so it can clear vegetation from the retaining wall on the west side of the road. If you drive/ride California Way, you know it’s narrow enough as it is, one lane each way; SDOT says flaggers will be there to help you get through. (The announcement didn’t include specific work hours, so assume this could start as early as 7 am .)
Thanks to Chris Frankovich for the photo – his caption: “Great sunset for a great Seahawks win!” (20-6 over St. Louis, last regular-season game, in case you missed it.) Meantime, the forecast has changed a bit – while cold weather is still on the way, clouds are lingering, and the National Weather Service sees a chance of snow showers after midnight and into the morning, before the clouds clear Monday afternoon and stay away all the way until New Year’s Day (Thursday) pm.
The almost-legendary Not-So-Silent-Night Parade (2010 WSB video above) is just the start of this year’s full night of New Year’s Eve festivities at the Highland Park Improvement Club. As announced by HPIC:
Highland Park Improvement Club hosts its annual New Year’s Eve celebration from 6 PM until 2015. This is a kid- and adult-friendly event where everyone gets to have a little fun and toast all that was good in 2014 and all that will be good in 2015. Festivities will begin at 6 PM sharp with the Not So Silent Night parade. Bring your pots, bring your pans, and make some noise! After, we will gather outside the club for the Sage Comet to light up the night before we dance the year away. The Dance Extravaganza will be hosted by DJ Doctor Lehl, who will administer to our needs, assisted by DJ Evan and Scott Rainier on live bass. Dress up or dress in costume. Keepsake photos by RL Carroll. It’s going to be a good year.
HPIC is at 12th/Holden.
Even without a formal New Year’s resolution, you might well be hoping to be healthier and more fit in 2015 – at least in hopes of still being here in 2016, 2017, 2018, and beyond. Get a jump on it tomorrow during an informational night for a program that West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor) offers periodically. From WSR’s Lori McConnell:
What better goal than to run or walk your first half-marathon? We will start our new Get Fit West Seattle Half Marathon Training on Sunday, January 4th, at 9 am by running, walking or crawling 1 mile!! By June, participants will be ready to run the Rock N Roll Half!! Spread the word to family, friends, and co-workers. This is a free program for beginners. We will host an informational meeting on Monday, December 29th, at 6:30 pm.
WSR is on the second floor of Charlestown Center, northwest corner of California and Charlestown.
P.S. And if you’re looking for trainers/gyms/classes to enhance your 2015 fitness plans, note that we have six local options in the WSB sponsor directory – scroll down to the “exercise/fitness/gym” list.
(Passing under the bridge on Friday; photo by Don Brubeck, via the WSB Flickr group)
Good morning! From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: Fresh and local/regional, every Sunday of the year. 10 am-2 pm. (44th/Alaska)
GO SWIM! Been to city-run Southwest Pool lately? Here’s the schedule. (2801 SW Thistle)
TAILGATE IN HIGHLAND PARK: 12:30 pm, doors open at Highland Park Improvement Club for the last regular-season tailgate party. Details in our calendar listing. (12th/Holden)
HOLIDAY SINGALONG: 8:30 pm, The Benbow presents “Jay Cates’ Holiday Extravaganza Sing-A-Long Time.” (4210 SW Admiral Way)
LOOK AHEAD TO NEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY … via the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide.
(WSB photo: Ferry between Fauntleroy and Vashon during Christmas Day sunset)
The Washington State Ferries winter schedule starts tomorrow (Sunday, December 28th). Here’s the WSF roundup of major changes systemwide. For the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route, the biggest change is the usual seasonal shrinking of the number of weekend runs, plus a change to the emergency two-boat schedule – here’s a printable PDF. Separate from the schedule change, WSF also is warning that at some point in the not-too-distant future, you’ll see longer wait times, temporarily:
As early as Sunday, Dec. 28 through early February, customers traveling on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route are advised to prepare for longer than usual wait times due to a vessel downsizing. The temporary downsizing is needed to maintain a full, system-wide sailing schedule while the Yakima and Kitsap are out of service for necessary repairs and maintenance.
Whenever that happens, you can use this page to check Fauntleroy wait times. P.S. The F/V/S route is on a regular schedule on New Year’s Day.
Today’s impromptu wildlife theme continues, this time away from the shore – We’ve received three reports of coyote sightings in Sunrise Heights around mid-afternoon. Jeremy shared the photos (taken from a distance – we cropped them), after seeing two “wandering down 27th near Othello” in the 2 pm hour.
Not long after that, Ellery saw two coyotes that “just strolled by in front of my house on 32nd Ave at Holden St.” That’s also where Sarah reported seeing them. (Here’s a map showing both aforementioned locations.)
If you haven’t seen coyote mentions here before … we’ve been publishing reader reports of sightings for more than seven years; here’s the archive. The more awareness, and the more that we all follow advice such as not leaving food out, the more likelihood of continuing to minimize closeup conflict. (The state Fish and Wildlife “Living with Wildlife” page that we usually recommend seems to be inaccessible right now, so here’s another page full of info/advice.)
One more story in keeping with what seems to be today’s theme (water/beaches/wildlife):
At midday on Christmas, Marianne sent word that Seal Sitters were out on the beach at Lincoln Park, guarding a pup. Before we could get out of the house, she sent the photo you see above, with a followup – the seal had returned to the water shortly after SS responder Dana arrived. That wasn’t the end of the story, though. We finally went to Lincoln Park for a walk (which resulted in these pictures) shortly before sunset. As we entered from the Lowman side, we passed the Seal Sitters group (including David and Eilene Hutchinson, recognizable from so many other volunteer endeavors) departing – seems the pup had made a comeback for a while. And now, you can read the full story of seal pup Silverbell and the humans who helped it, via the newest update on the Seal Sitters “Blubberblog.”
(WSB video of the 2014 Polar Bear Swim on Alki)
More people than ever have asked in the past week-plus, “Is the Alki Polar Bear Swim on for New Year’s Day?” Longtime organizer Mark Ufkes has just confirmed, yes, indeed, it is. Can it break last year’s record (~500 swimmers)? Why not! Here’s Mark’s announcement:
West Seattle Polar Bear Swim is on!
2015, The year of the Sheep – a symbol pf peace, harmony, co-existence, and tranquility. A nurturing year, which the world can always use more of.
The annual West Seattle Polar Bear swim starts at 10 am sharp on January 1 each year. Arrive a few minutes early.
We line up all along the beach, have a count down, and at 10 am sharp, we hold hands and run into the water together. Each year, the swim gets bigger. Over 500 swimmers fanned out in a long line along the beach and joined us last year. It is a great way to wash away the complexities of the previous year, and celebrate the unlimited potential that awaits each of us in the new year. Year after year, Polar Bear swimmers declare that this ritual creates a sense of renewal, and helps make the new year be stronger and more positive.
Traditionally, Duke’s restaurant generously provides free clam chowder and local families bring hot chocolate for the crowd. Afterwards, Alki beach is full of hundreds of smiling swimmers and their families and friends. Come join the fun. Do the West Seattle Polar Bear swim. You will have a great time!
This starts from the sandy section of Alki, right across from Duke’s (58th/Alki). Adding to the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, which includes other New Year’s Eve/Day options, from walking to parading to dining to more swimming…
— Andrew Malinak (@AndrewSwims) December 27, 2014
(Added: The every-Saturday-morning Alki swim included an orca sighting!)
9:33 AM: When last we heard of whales in the area, it was late Friday, and some were reported to be heading northbound in this direction, off the east side of Vashon. Don’t know if they are the same ones, but we have multiple reports of orcas off the 1500 block of Alki right now, for starters, plus an Orca Network Facebook report of orcas off Alki Point a short time ago, possibly visible off West Seattle. We’re off to look; let us know of any sightings!
10:02 AM: Very choppy water on the west-facing shore; followed up a text about orcas at Emma Schmitz Overlook but no luck.
10:47 AM: Just saw two southbound from Brace Point!
Last weekend of the year, and a quiet one, as is customary. But you do have some options if you want to get out for a while:
FINAL DAY OF DECEMBER KING TIDES: Nothing extreme is expected but as shown in our Friday photos, the “king tide” is still a sight to see, and today the final 13-foot high tide of December is at 9:06 am. Sightseeing spots include Seacrest, where the floating Water Taxi dock will be almost at the level of the non-floating fishing pier, and Alki, where the water will be close to the top of the seawall.
BEEN TO THE MUSEUM LATELY? On this quiet between-holidays, low-on-events Saturday, the Log House Museum is open noon-4 pm and awaiting your visit to explore West Seattle-and-vicinity history. (61st/Stevens)
‘BREAKIN’ UP CHRISTMAS’ CONCERT AND SQUARE DANCE: 7:30 pm at Kenyon Hall, enjoy an Appalachian tradition – music, dancing, revelry during the time between Christmas and New Year’s. Two visiting old-style musicians are performing before the dance, then helping accompany the dance, with local support, as explained in our calendar listing. (7904 35th SW)
DARCI CARLSON AT THE FEEDBACK: 9:30 pm, it’s “probably the most-requested artist here,” as the Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) describes Darci Carlson. See/hear for yourself. (6451 California SW)
LIGHT SHOWS CONTINUE: Catching up on, or revisiting, local Christmas lights? See the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide for the highlights. (P.S. The guide is also where we’re looking ahead to New Year’s Eve/Day happenings.)
Our first West Seattle Crime Watch roundup since pre-Christmas starts with two reader reports:
BURGLARY INTERRUPTED: From Jeff:
Attempted residential break-in. 7500 block of 46th Ave SW, approximately 7:45 (Friday) night. Neighbors came home as it was occurring. Burglar fled. Police notified.
We’ve asked a followup question about any description that might be available.
STOLEN BIKE: So often, stolen bicycles turn up abandoned somewhere – the thief used it to get to the scene of the next crime, and then cast it aside. Sharon is looking for hers: “My bike was stolen from (the 1700 block of) Alki Ave SW. It is a black Marin crossover with a sticker on the the front, which may have already been taken off. … I will provide a reward if found.”
We also have three reports from the online police files; it usually takes several days for narratives to become available, if they ever do, but we keep watch to see what’s new, and found these, including gifts stolen from a church and rapidly returned:
9:47 PM: The family of a 21-year-old man with Down syndrome says he is overdue from his usual walk around the block – he’s usually gone an hour or so but has been gone now for four hours – and they hope you can help find him. His name is Michael and he is 5’3″, about 190 pounds, dark hair, wearing a checkered “newsboy”-type cap, in a dark jacket and black shorts. He lives near 49th and Alaska and usually walks around the block a few times. He doesn’t have ID or money on him and his family is worried that even if he is lost, he won’t ask for help – also, he won’t be able to tell you his exact address. Police have been looking for Michael and haven’t found him – if you’ve seen him, please call 911.
10:50 PM: Just heard via scanner, police have found Michael (around 46th/Charlestown) and will be taking him home. (Added – his mom has confirmed this, too.)
If you use, and/or live near, the Fauntleroy ferry terminal, heads up: One week from tonight, two weeks of potentially noisy nighttime work will start at the terminal. It’s not a Washington State Ferries project; a contractor for Seattle Public Utilities will be doing cleaning work. Here’s the notice, forwarded to us by an area resident who received it this week and thought it might be of interest to people beyond the immediate neighborhood, too:
We contacted SPU for more information about this; Ingrid Goodwin confirmed that once the work starts, it’ll continue on weekend nights as well as weeknights, and she adds: “SPU’s contractor may decide to work consecutive nights or take some nights off – depending on the weather and other work conditions.” We asked if this was regular maintenance or response to some sort of problem; her reply: “This work is in response to a recent CCTV (close circuit TV) inspection performed on SPU sewer pipes that found concrete slurry partially blocking. There was an attempt to remove the slurry during normal business hours but due to the high tides, we decided to move the cleaning effort to off hours during lower tides. This will allow a broader window of opportunity for SPU’s contractor to clean, which will also reduce the number of job site setups and breakdowns needed to complete the work.” As for the source of the slurry – that’s another followup.