month : 04/2015 327 results

VIDEO: City Council told Alaskan Way Viaduct still ‘safe,’ but…

(5:12 PM UPDATE: Just added archived video of meeting – briefing starts about 1 hour, 9 minutes in)

10:38 AM: Click the “play” button to watch, live, as the City Council gets briefed on the Highway 99 tunnel project. Today’s big focus – as previewed in our morning traffic/transportation-news watch – is on how much settling is happening with the Alaskan Way Viaduct and vicinity. The briefing is accompanied by a sheaf of technical information, from the state and the city, which has done its own analysis (and has already issued a news release declaring that the AWV is safe to use). More to come – we’re adding toplines below, as this continues.

*WSDOT project lead Todd Trepanier reiterates that the Viaduct is safe and that if any information indicated it weren’t, they would shut it down ASAP. But, he later says, data underscores that “this structure needs to be replaced.”

*Daily “automatic surveys” are “recording information all the time”

*So what would trigger a declaration of “this is unsafe”? Councilmember Bruce Harrell asked. Trepanier insisted there is no numerical answer to that, no “x” cracks or “x” inches, but that they keep monitoring and if something looks close to a trigger, they fix it. “It’s complex,” he insists. OK, says Councilmember Mike O’Brien, but “what are they comparing it to?” No numerical answer results. Trepanier mentions “demand and capacity.”

*WSDOT briefer Dave Sowers goes through the slide deck we’ve added below. Says that as long as a specific building, specific water line, etc., settles at same overall rate, it’s OK. Discussion also underscores that multiple entities are monitoring multiple points and not always finding exactly the same thing in (nearly the) same place; Sowers says they’re not yet sure why.

*March 28th inspection for which the Viaduct was closed: WSDOT says quarter-to-half inch of settlement at monitoring spots in Seneca Street vicinity, since last October. CM Sally Bagshaw asks why that area, since not near tunnel pit; WSDOT says they haven’t figured it out yet – it’s not the area where they’ve had settling near Seneca in the past. “Bent 76” (monitoring point) is where some cracks showed movement, they add, and new gauges have been installed. CM O’Brien asks, is the deterioration getting to any certain point such as, the Viaduct could have survived an X quake a month ago but not now? WSDOT’s very technical answer does not hit a certain magnitude but does mention that despite the “large cracks” they believe it would be OK in a “108-year event” quake.

*Water main on Western in Pioneer Square to be replaced ASAP – design 90% done – will take about 8 weeks

*City’s technical analysis (second slide deck below): Bottom line, the city wants another analysis before tunneling resumes, since some parts of the Viaduct have already hit the inch-or-so of settling that it was expected to be able to withstand. They also would like to know what magnitude of quake the Viaduct is expected to be able to handle, currently, and whether more strengthening might be in order. Are we approaching a point at which the Viaduct would have to be closed? Councilmember Tom Rasmussen asks. Not necessarily, says SDOT.

*Here’s the WSDOT presentation:

*Here’s the city’s technical-analysis presentation:

*Here’s the Seattle Public Utilities presentation (including the water-main-replacement plan):

*Seattle Tunnel Partners is making progress on machine-repairing project, says WSDOT, but “still too soon” to set or guess at dates for resumption of tunneling. Won’t be the “budget-breaking project” (some have feared), Trepanier says

*No rescheduling yet for the sign-related work that WAS going to shut down 99 lanes north of the Battery Street Tunnel for a while

West Seattle Monday: North Delridge Neighborhood Council & more

(Satyr Anglewing butterfly, photographed by Trileigh Tucker)

From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

CAREGIVER SUPPORT GROUP: Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s/dementia? At 1:30 pm, a twice-monthly support group meets at Providence Mount St. Vincent – details here. (4831 35th SW)

NORTH DELRIDGE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL: 6:30 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. So far, here’s what’s on the agenda – but it’s YOUR community meeting, so if you have an idea, concern, question, be there. (4408 Delridge Way SW)

SW LIBRARY EVENING BOOK GROUP: 6:45 pm, this month’s Evening Book Group at the Southwest Branch talks about “The Painter” by Peter Hellerinfo (and next month’s title!) here. (35th/Henderson)

ADMIRAL LIBRARY EVENING BOOK GROUP: The West Seattle (Admiral) Branch‘s Evening Book Group gathers tonight too, 6:45 pm; this month’s book is “The Worst Hard Time” by Timothy Egan – more info here. (2306 42nd SW)

BROWSE THE CALENDAR to see what else is up today/tonight – and beyond.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Monday watch; the week ahead

April 13, 2015 6:12 am
|    Comments Off on TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Monday watch; the week ahead
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Happy spring break to everyone who’s off this week, and welcome back to everyone who’s been away. Our Monday watch is on. And we are looking ahead:

*This morning’s City Council briefing will include a tunnel-project update around 10:30 am (watch live via Seattle Channel – accompanying documents are linked from the agenda, with lots of charts related to Viaduct settling)
*Tuesday night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting (7 pm, The Sanctuary) will include an SDOT briefing on the early-stage plan for a bicycle lane on Admiral Way between California and 63rd SW. (Also see the document that will be shown to the City Council Transportation Committee earlier in the day.) Plans for a 20 mph speed limit on residential streets around West Seattle High School will be discussed too.
*On Wednesday night, another West Seattle presentation about the draft transportation levy is set for the Delridge District Council meeting (7 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center). Also that night, the agenda for the quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting (7 pm, The Kenney [WSB sponsor]) includes several transportation topics.

Save Seattle’s apples! City Fruit will show you how to help

April 12, 2015 9:39 pm
|    Comments Off on Save Seattle’s apples! City Fruit will show you how to help
 |   Gardening | How to help | West Seattle news

(Photo courtesy City Fruit)
Got an apple tree? More than one, maybe? Don’t let its fruit go to waste! City Fruit, which harvested almost 14 tons of homegrown fruit last year, is hoping its new “Save Seattle’s Apples” campaign will keep even more from going to waste. Here’s what City Fruit announced this week – and scroll ahead to find out about the West Seattle event that’ll be part of it:

City Fruit is excited to announce the launch of the organization’s first ever Spring 2015 Save Seattle’s Apples Campaign. In partnership with Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Recology, Greater Good Granola, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, this three-month pest prevention campaign will build awareness about Seattle’s urban canopy, the proper care and management of apple trees, and provide opportunities for the public to protect apples. Additionally, the project aims to reduce waste that unnecessarily ends up in the compost bin.

During 2014, City Fruit harvested nearly 28,000 pounds of fresh, edible fruit and donated the majority to Seattle’s emergency food system. During the same harvest season, the organization composted over 12,000 pounds of rotten fruit that had fallen to the ground due to insects, poor tree management, or neglect. Through education, outreach, and direct hands-on assistance to tree owners in protecting their fruit, City Fruit hopes to cut the number of pounds of composted fruit in half in 2015, adding 6,000 pounds of fruit to the emergency food system and feeding an additional estimated 20,000 families.

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Memorial on Wednesday for Barbara Cough Shea, 1930-2015: ‘Her generous spirit and love of fun live on’

Barbara Cough Shea, who lived for more than 35 years in West Seattle, will be remembered at a funeral Mass on Wednesday (April 15). Here’s the remembrance her family is sharing, telling the story of the many chapters of her life:

Barbara was born April 23, 1930, in Norridgewock, Maine, to Bernard Ezra “Bun” Cough and Helen Norton Cough. She grew up in Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island, Maine, the second oldest and fast friend of her three siblings, Sonny, Janis and Jimmy. Her entrepreneurial and ever-scheming father had the family moving frequently around the town and pitching in on various family ventures. Her mother Helen was always there for her children.

Barbara graduated Bar Harbor High School and went on to attend college in Boston, where she reveled in the excitement and freedom of the city. Back in Bar Harbor during a break from school, she caught the attention of a college boy on vacation from studies in Miami. Barbara’s father was quite impressed to learn the “boy” was Bob Greive, a Washington state senator and law student. Barbara’s father arranged for her to transfer to school in Miami to encourage the romance. Bob and Barbara were married in Miami, just weeks before her 20th birthday. He was 29.

Following his law school graduation, Barbara and Bob settled in West Seattle, where they raised their six children. Barbara and the children were fixtures in the back pew of Holy Rosary Church during Sunday Mass while Bob ushered. She earned a reputation for her grace and elegance even as she wrangled squirming toddlers. She kept up appearances at daily Mass when slacks were taboo, hiding her pant legs by rolling them up above the hem of her long coat. She was a member of the Holy Rosary School Mothers Club for 18 years.

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HAPPENING NOW: West Seattle Soccer Club’s spring season starts

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
The final round of games for the first day of the West Seattle Soccer Club‘s spring season is under way, on fields all over West Seattle. We stopped by one of the fields at Roxhill, while players in the youngest division – U-6 – were getting in gear.

With more than 1,400 players and 200 coaches signed up, WSSC has teamed with its counterpart to the south, Highline, for this year’s spring Champions League, with jerseys/team names inspired by the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Champions League.

Along with Roxhill, fields where today’s 92 scheduled games were played included Alki, EC Hughes, Fairmount, Highland Park, Madison, Riverview, and Walt Hundley, plus several fields on Highline’s home turf south of West Seattle. Next Sunday’s schedule is online here; games are scheduled every Sunday afternoon through June 7th, with the exception of May 24th, since that’s Memorial Day weekend.

P.S. Got a great game pic from today? We’d be happy to add it – – thanks!

West Seattle schools: Science Palooza at Gatewood Elementary

Right before Seattle Public Schools got out for spring break (which lasts all of next week), Gatewood Elementary students got to show off their projects for the 4th annual Science Palooza. Here are some highlights from Thursday night’s event, shared by Nicole Sipila, who chaired the science fair:

We had 69 kids with 48 projects. The kids really stepped up the projects this year and everybody was really impressed.

Simone & Delaney exploring sound with their project, The Pitch of Pipes:

​… More than just your average volcano replica, Kailey, Hailey, and Hudson made a model of Mt. St. Helens and showed how much of the mountain was lost and the effects of the lahar:

… We also had some exciting guests. UW Material Advantage was on hand to demonstrate material science applications at a graduate school level. Most popular were the semi-conductors.

… Also, Gatewood’s choir, conducted by Mr. Hall, performed the National Anthem to kick start the evening and then came back later to perform two more songs.

It was an amazing night of science learning & sharing, along with a great community building event. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped put this wonderful evening together.

West Seattle Sunday: Spring soccer starts; Duwamish Longhouse tea party; Catsino; classical music; more

April 12, 2015 9:58 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Sunday: Spring soccer starts; Duwamish Longhouse tea party; Catsino; classical music; more
 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

(Common loon, photographed at Lincoln Park by Mark Ahlness, shared via the WSB Flickr group)
Good morning! Some of what’s on our calendar for today:

COMMUNICATIONS ACADEMY: It’s the second day of the big annual regional emergency-communications gathering at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), with another full slate of presentations, starting with a keynote about amateur (ham) radio’s vital role. For the public, the most noticeable aspect is a passel of communications vehicles parked toward the south end of campus. (6000 16th SW)

WEST SEATTLE ULTIMATE FAMILY FRISBEE: 11 am pickup games on Sunday mornings are now at Fairmount Playfield. (Fauntleroy/Brandon)

WEST SEATTLE SOCCER CLUB: Today’s the first day of “another record-breaking spring season” on fields all over West Seattle, WSSC’s Tim McMonigle tells us: “Over 1,400 kids and over 250 coaches will be out on the pitch today, starting at 1 pm. The theme is Champion’s League again, in which the kids don jerseys patterned after the teams that are still in the Champion’s League over in Europe. This year, we are combining with our sister recreational club, Highline Soccer Club, which serves the Burien, SeaTac and Des Moines area. We normally do that in the fall, but this is the first time we’ve done it in the spring.” Find out more about WSSC, including game schedules, at

PRINCESS ANGELINE NATIVE TEA PARTY: The 5th annual event at the Duwamish Longhouse, 1-3 pm, hosted by Princess Angeline‘s great-great-grandniece, Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansenmore info here. (4705 W. Marginal Way SW)

FREE GARDENING TALK: 1 pm at West Seattle Nursery, learn about “Cool Season Gardening” from author Bill Thorness. (California/Brandon)

CATSINO: 2 pm-6 pm at Beveridge Place Pub, bid on silent-auction items and play just-for-fun games to raise money for local animal-rescue organizations – details here. Note that BPP is 21+. (6413 California SW)

UKULELE MUSIC @ C & P: 3-5 pm, Arden Fujiwara performs at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) – read about Arden and his music here. (5612 California SW)

LADIES’ MUSICAL CLUB: 3 pm at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, free classical-music concert with works by French composers. (2306 42nd SW)

VIDEO: West Seattle Trader Joe’s national spotlight, sort of

Thanks to Scott for sending the link after noticing the West Seattle Trader Joe’s featured on today’s CBS Sunday Morning national newscast. Actually, it’s not about the store so much as one particular shopper – we’ve heard of him before, but had no idea his shopping took him this far south of the border. (For the record, the distance from his store in B.C. to TJ’s in WS is 147 miles.)

OPEN LETTER: A grandmother says ‘thank you,’ and wonders about safety, after 4-year-old’s Alki seawall fall

That’s 4-year-old Aaron, photographed before a fall off the Alki seawall left him badly hurt. His grandmother Teri has written an open letter both to say thanks to the strangers who helped, and to voice concerns about safety:

On Tuesday, April 7th, at approximately 5:30 pm, my husband David, my 4-year old grandson Aaron and I were riding bikes along the 1300 block of Alki Avenue. We were in the bike lane, with Aaron following David, and I was bringing up the rear so I could keep a watchful eye on Aaron. Part way through the ride, Aaron apparently decided he wanted to ride along the path on the other side of the sidewalk and veered off in that direction. Despite my calls for him to stop, Aaron continued on toward the path and the unprotected bulkhead. He managed to stop his bike before it went over the edge, but he went flying over the handlebars and over the edge of the bulkhead, landing face first on the boulders 6-8 feet below street level.

As I scrambled off my bike and ran, horrified, toward where I had just seen Aaron flying over the wall, passersby had already leapt into action. By the time I got to the edge, there were people down on the rocks lifting the very terrified Aaron up to safety. Others standing around also clamored to help, and one woman was an absolute angel. She sat with Aaron and kept him talking, focusing on calming him down while we waited for the 911 response team that was summoned by still others. I was in a state of shock at the time and can’t tell you enough how grateful I am to all of these people who stepped up to help us.

Fortunately, Aaron was properly outfitted with a Bern bike helmet at the time of his accident. Without it, he would not be with us today. This helmet literally saved his life. It was cracked and dented as a result of the fall, clearly showing us where significant brain damage was avoided. I am now a staunch bike-helmet advocate! I see so many children out riding bikes with helmets that are ill-fitting and barely more than a styrofoam hat in the shape of a shark, unicorn, or kitty and wonder whether one of these helmets would have stopped the significant damage that was avoided by wearing the well-fitting, hard-shell Bern helmet. Our children and grandchildren are irreplaceable, so only the best in protection is good enough for them.

Aaron spent just under 4 days at Harborview, and was helped by many fine, caring doctors and nurses both in the Emergency Room and PICU. Our eternal gratitude goes out to them as well.

At Harborview, we learned that Aaron had fractured his skull. He also had several fractures around both eye orbitals, multiple deep nose fractures, and his upper right jaw was fractured as well. Right now he is back home, and back to playing with his trains and cars, colors and crafts as he continues to heal. The doctors are waiting for the significant eye swelling to subside before they can determine whether he is in need of surgery to repair some of the fractures as there is the possibility that they may be impinging facial nerves and eye muscles. Right now we call him our little puffer fish!

Since the accident, we have heard that there have been several other incidents along the unprotected stretch that runs around Alki Avenue and drops off to large boulders. I walk that path several afternoons a week, and with the warmer weather I am seeing more and more children along the way either walking, running, or riding scooters and bikes. Knowing how the younger ones can rapidly dart away and put themselves in danger, I have to wonder what the City of Seattle can do to make this a safer place for us all. We came so close to losing a precious 4 year old that day. God forbid another child, or even an adult, is lost forever due to a slip or fall and lack of fencing along this area.

We don’t know who any of the people are who helped us on the beach last Tuesday, but we really want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to them for them being there and stepping up to help. I don’t know what we would have done without their help! We are blessed to live in a community with so many caring people.

Teri says they *do* know some of Aaron’s rescuers – the Seattle Fire Department personnel – and that they plan to visit those fire stations soon (the log from Tuesday shows units from 3 stations) to say thanks in person.

Faster way to get the power back? Seattle City Light testing one

While West Seattle was spared power outages during this afternoon’s blustery weather (areas north and west of downtown got hit instead), we often aren’t so lucky. And this brings to mind new outage-response technology that Seattle City Light announced earlier this week. While WS isn’t part of the first round of testing, it might not be far behind if the pilot project works out. Ahead, the SCL news release, and what we found out on followup:

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Four weeks until West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day 2015

garagesaledaysmalllog5.jpgThe countdown continues: Four weeks until West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day 2015, which is coming up on Saturday, May 9th. The newest toplines:

–We’ve set the registration deadline – sign up by Thursday night, April 23rd
–More than 120 sales are registered so far – all sizes!
–If you have no room and/or just a little bit of stuff to sell, check directly with multi-seller spots Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (4410 California SW; WSB sponsor) and C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor)
–If you’re just looking forward to browsing – the map (which we make in 2 formats, online/clickable and PDF/printable) will be ready a week in advance as usual, which means you’ll find it here and at starting May 2nd

Ready to sign up and sell? Go here! Questions? – thanks!

West Seattle Crime Watch: Guns-drawn arrests in Morgan Junction

2:24 PM: Thanks to everyone who messaged us about this. The situation in Morgan Junction right now with police taking three people into custody at gunpoint involves a stolen car. That’s all we know so far; whenever a felony is suspected, the procedure for a “felony stop” requires guns to be drawn. More details if/when we get them.

3:12 PM UPDATE: We went down the hill to try to find out more. The owner of the vehicle, a black Mercedes SUV, was already back in it, in the parking area north of Cal-Mor Circle (on California north of Fauntleroy).

ADDED: Police weren’t able to tell us where the car was stolen from, but they say that the owner herself spotted it being driven around in West Seattle, and called 911. The driver was booked into King County Jail; two others from the car were questioned and released.

WestSide Baby loses power after small fire at White Center facility, asks you to hold onto donations for now

April 11, 2015 1:18 pm
|    Comments Off on WestSide Baby loses power after small fire at White Center facility, asks you to hold onto donations for now
 |   How to help | West Seattle news

If you were planning to donate items to WestSide Baby via its main HQ in White Center – they’re asking you to wait a few days, because of a power outage caused by a small fire. From WS Baby executive director Nancy Woodland:

WestSide Baby’s White Center Main Operations Center experienced a small electrical fire in an outside meter that has caused us to lose power. We are awaiting landlord-directed repairs and must remain closed until those repairs are made. We hope this will happen quickly and we are exploring other options to continue operations in the meantime. We’ll post updates on our website and/or Facebook. Thank you to everyone for your concern, and please know we are making every effort to be up and running very soon as children are counting on us.

We will have our donation bin out during the regular hours but, if you have item donations and you are able to hold them for us during this time, we would be very grateful. We are in the dark and unable to sort things and a pile up can be difficult to address.

We are hopeful, our landlord will address this quickly but we expect to be closed at least a week at our White Center Donation and Volunteer Center. Our administrative office and our Central Branch location at 23rd and Jackson are both open for full operations!

HAPPENING NOW: Kiwanis food drive to help your neighbors

We stopped by two of the stores where Kiwanis and Key Club volunteers are collecting food until 3 pm:

At West Seattle Thriftway (California/Fauntleroy/Morgan; WSB sponsor), we found, from left, Chief Sealth International High School Key Club members Ariana, Cameron, and Johnny were there with Kiwanis’s Shari Sewell and West Niver. Then at PCC Natural Markets-West Seattle (California/Stevens; WSB sponsor):

In our photo, Rosemary and Hana from the Key Club at West Seattle High School (right across the street!). The Kiwanis’s third location is the Junction QFC (42nd/Alaska). Your nonperishable food donations matter more than ever right now – while there are food drives aplenty at some times of year, especially the winter holidays, the need is great year-round.

P.S. Separate from the Kiwanis food drive but toward the same goal – making sure fewer people are hungry – the West Seattle Food Bank has volunteers at Metropolitan Market (41st/42nd/Admiral; WSB sponsor) until 3 pm, too.

West Seattle Saturday: Food drive; benefit rummage sale; International Tabletop Day; open houses; Diverse Harmony; more

(Golden-crowned sparrow, photographed by Mark Wangerin)

Happy Saturday! First, a transportation note:

WATER TAXI NOW RUNNING WEEKENDS TOO: This is the first Saturday since the West Seattle Water Taxi moved to its spring/summer schedule, which includes weekends. See the schedule here.

Now, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

FOOD DRIVE: The Kiwanis Club of West Seattle will have volunteers at West Seattle Thriftway (California/Fauntleroy/Morgan; WSB sponsor), PCC Natural Markets-West Seattle (California/Stevens; WSB sponsor), and Junction QFC (42nd/Alaska), 9 am-3 pm, to collect food for local food banks. Buy extra while you’re shopping, or if you already have nonperishable items ready to give, go to any location to drop it off.

MEGA-RUMMAGE SALE: 9 am-3 pm on the Oregon side of Hope Lutheran Church, a big rummage sale to raise money for missionary work in Mexico. (Oregon/California)

OPEN HOUSE & SALE: 10 am-6 pm, Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) continues its 10th anniversary open house with giveaways, refreshments, specials, and the ongoing storewide sale. (added) We stopped by for a pic of proprietors Kirk and Joni Keppler:

(Westwood Village, north of Barnes & Noble)

INTERNATIONAL TABLETOP DAY: 10 am-midnight, celebrate at Meeples Games (the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s Emerging Business of the Year) with a day of FREE fun – competitions, raffles, learn-to-play sessions, and more – see the calendar listing for details. (California/Charlestown, upstairs)

SPRING OPEN HOUSE: 11 am-2 pm at West Seattle Nursery, with speakers, free espresso, and other reasons to stop by. (California/Brandon)

LOVE LEGOS? Ages 5-12 invited to the West Seattle (Admiral) Library, 3-4:30 pm – details here. (2306 42nd SW)

(added) BASEBALL BENEFIT DINNER/AUCTION: West Seattle Booster Club Spaghetti Dinner and Auction benefiting the West Seattle High School Baseball Team is tonight, 5 pm to 8 pm at West Side Presbyterian Church (WSB sponsor), $10 donation per person for a delicious meal and great time. (3601 California SW)

DIVERSE HARMONY: 7 pm at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, free concert by the singers whose choir made history as the first “queer/straight alliance” chorus – see our preview. (3050 California SW)

COFFEE & MUSIC: Steve Beck, Steve Peterson, and Jim Moore perform at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)

FRIENDS FOR FEET: 7:30 pm benefit at Feedback Lounge, explained here. (6451 California SW)

BENEFIT FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS: 8 pm at West Seattle Eagles (all-ages until 10 pm), the annual benefit for Mukilteo Magic & All Aboard athletes – live music and more. (4426 California SW)

THAT’S ONLY PART OF WHAT’S UP TODAY/TONIGHT … full list on our calendar.

‘Not just a Diversity Club thing’: West Seattle HS students teach anti-racism workshops in #embRACEtheRACE campaign

Thanks to West Seattle High School teacher Rebecka McKinney for another update on the WSHS Diversity Club, which closed out this pre-spring-break week with a workshop for classmates schoolwide:

The West Seattle High School Diversity Club taught workshops in every language arts class Friday, April 10 on racism, bias and privilege.

The workshops went through why this is important work as a part of the Diversity Club’s #embRACEtheRACE campaign to build understanding and capacity for anti-racist efforts at WSHS. They shared the history of race as a social construct and what the concept of race means in this country.

“I feel like more people are thinking about racism and that’s what matters, they’re thinking about it instead of just ignoring it,” said senior facilitator and Diversity Club member Jahine Wallace.

Next, the club used a well-known game to teach a lesson on privilege and why people need to recognize when they have it and help those who have less.

“I felt that it was great because people were actually engaging and participating,” said senior facilitator and Diversity Club member Essence Cassell. “I felt like they learned a lot and they’ve been listening all year.”

After that the workshops covered different types of racism, individual, institutional, and structural racism along with implicit bias. They talked about what each of these are as well as examples of each.

“It was a work in progress, but successful,” said junior facilitator and Diversity Club member Larenn Dixon. “I feel like a lot of people have more understanding than they did before and it opened people’s eyes to more than just individual racism, but institutional and structural.”

Next the workshop had students go through a scenario on racism in education that the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative developed last year for the RACE workshops that went with the Science Center’s exhibit.

“People actually spoke about racism and didn’t feel as uncomfortable,” said junior facilitator and Diversity Club member Analisa Guerra.

The Diversity Club has done several things this year as a part of their #embRACEtheRACE campaign. They led a challenge to erase the n-word that was featured on KING 5 with a video to kick off the challenge on YouTube and time at class assemblies. They have also taught the school about police brutality against people of color through the school’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assembly.

“I hope more people are aware that racism is a real thing and not just a Diversity Club thing,” said senior facilitator and Diversity Club member Aby Riggins.

The Diversity Club meets twice a week and planned these workshops in response to the walkout that happened after the Michael Brown verdict. The workshops ended with suggestions for how to take action for racial equity.

“I hope people know the different types of racism and know that implicit bias isn’t their fault,” said junior facilitator and Diversity Club member Eryn Johnson. “I hope people at WSHS understand that racism still does exist and that it’s not just a black people’s problem.”

Last month, we featured the Diversity Dinner presented annually by the club – their biggest one yet.

Why did it take 9 hours to move one truck off Highway 99? Newest report has explanations, recommendations, revelations

Remember the truck-on-its-side incident that closed southbound Highway 99 for nine hours last month (WSB coverage here), leading to domino-effect backups around the city and trapping drivers/riders on the Alaskan Way Viaduct?

(March 24 photo courtesy Chi Krneta)
The city went public today with its first version of an “after-action report” looking at the intricacies of why it took so long and what could change before the next one:

(Note the fine print at the bottom of the cover page, saying “The City of Seattle will be utilizing an external consultant to fully investigate this incident …”)

Reading through the report, you’ll note it includes a more detailed timeline than was released shortly after the incident.

(March 24th photo, included in report)
Part of what that reveals: Nobody contacted Seattle Tunnel Partners, whose equipment-laden worksite was yards away, until 6:30 pm, four hours after the crash. Within ten minutes of that contact, STP offered equipment to help clear the wrecked truck. But no STP equipment was used until almost 9:30 pm, when the tunnel contractor’s “Sky Jacks” were used to unload part of the truck trailer’s load of fish so it could be moved. (By the way, the report identifies the fish as cod, not salmon as we were told the day it happened, worth “$450,000 to $750,000.)

The report goes into a list of what needs to happen by June 30th – as “SPD and SDOT will expeditiously develop protocols that prioritize incident response decision making on arterial streets” – and that list gives hints as to what didn’t work so well during the March 24th response, including:

… Ensure that City personnel have requisite expertise to make sophisticated on-scene assessments or have access to necessary external expertise. For example, if onscene personnel had access to on-scene engineer, more critical information and analysis could have been incorporated into the decision-making process.

…(Be aware of w)hat other resources (equipment, personnel, or private sector relationships) could be brought to bear on incident management. For example, would prior agreements and protocols have made STPs loan of Skyjacks to unload the trailer easier and quicker? If prior agreements were in place with the Port of Seattle or other private loading companies, could additional heavy equipment been utilized?

f. Ensure that current communications systems are adequate to ensure accurate and timely responses to incidents. For example, was there a delay in the arrival of heavy class tow-truck?

“Engineering problem” was in fact how SPD spokesperson Sgt. Sean Whitcomb described it in a conversation with WSB the day after the crash (included in our followup report). He also said at that time that a citation would likely be issued; the report released today says, in fact, “The operator would later be cited by SPD for exceeding reasonable speed.”

West Seattle Crime Watch: Gatewood car prowls; scam phone calls

Two West Seattle Crime Watch notes:

CAR PROWLS: A Gatewood resident tells us prowlers hit multiple cars overnight along SW Southern between 39th and 41st SW (map): “Thieves didn’t make off with much, but would love to know if anyone saw anything or has security camera footage.”

SCAM PHONE CALLS: You might have heard that one of the latest waves of scam phone calls is attempting to target BECU customers. These bogus calls are even being received by non-BECU customers – we got one, and so did a WSB reader who wanted to share this warning today:

Just received a scam call from 202 area code (DC) advising BECU Visa was locked, and directing entry of the 16 digit card number. Since I don’t have a BECU Visa, an obvious scam. I have heard of others referencing generic Visa, this is the first I have heard BECU mentioned.

BECU issued a fraud alert on its own website earlier this week, stressing that it has nothing to do with these calls and telling its customers what to do if they fell for it. This same type of scam has been done in the name of various banks and financial institutions – we featured one back in 2011 that fraudulently used Wells Fargo’s name. This is just another example of so-called “phishing”; here’s advice on preventing and fighting it.

Mass, reception next Thursday for Jack Meduna, 1946-2015

Jack Meduna will be remembered with a Mass at Holy Family and reception at Forest Lawn next Thursday. Here’s the remembrance his family is sharing:

Jack Meduna, 68, of West Seattle, passed away April 2nd after fighting Lung Cancer for almost a year.

He was born in Seattle on December 18th, 1946. At a young age he attended Briscoe Boarding School for boys, then went on to graduate from O’Dea. He began pre-med at the UW but was drafted to Vietnam. Upon his return, he worked on a fishing boat in Alaska until finding his calling as a Seattle Police Officer. For 34 years, Jack absolutely loved his career with SPD and was also a Hostage Negotiator. He loved interacting with the public and all his fellow officers.

In 1986 Jack married for the second time and found the love of his life, Virgie.

They spent 23 years together, often traveling the Oregon Coast and eventually all over Europe before she passed 7 years ago. Jack is survived by his daughters Jill Casillas (husband Shane), Cami Aksdal (husband Todd) and son Clay Johnson (wife Amanda), and by his four grandchildren, Sydney Jaksich, Corbin Jaksich, Georgia Lee Aksdal, and Michael Aksdal and his sisters Vinette Tichi (husband Dennis), Roxanne Roten (partner Scott).

A mass will be held in his honor on Thursday, April 16th at 2 pm at Holy Family Church (9622 20th Ave. SW) followed by a graveside burial at Forest Lawn (6701 30th Ave. SW) with a reception to follow, also at Forest Lawn.

In honor of Jack and his love for pigs, please consider a donation to a place that meant a lot to him – Pigs Peace Sanctuary.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

Online petition launched by opponents of 35th SW speed-limit cut, rechannelization

An online petition was part of the community campaign to get the city to make safety improvements on 35th SW.

More than a year later, another online petition is asking the city not to reduce the speed limit or rechannelize 35th – both of which are key parts of the “design alternatives” announced in two March meetings (which begin on page 22 below):

We covered both meetings – March 10th here, and March 12th here – as well as the March 26th West Seattle Transportation Coalition briefing. It all traces back to an announcement by Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Tom Rasmussen more than a year earlier.

Neel says it goes too far. In feedback to SDOT, he wrote:

35th has been the major West Seattle arterial since West Seattle was platted! Everyone else who depends on it to help them get outta town don’t want it choked with “safety” improvements that, plain and simple, aren’t needed. Your own data shows that there isn’t much of a problem here, except for some concerns for pedestrian crosswalks toward the north end. So go fix that — don’t mess up the whole transportation system to ‘fix’ a problem that doesn’t exist. …

We like 35th just the way it is, but are also open to changes that will improve our throughput while maintaining proper regard for safety. And by this I mean the efficiency of the driver, not the road. I really don’t care how many vehicles per unit time you can accommodate (the road’s efficiency). I only care about the transportation efficiency — covering the maximum distance in the least amount of time. That’s the true measure of productivity: maximizing desired outcome(s) with the fewest resources.

The specific objections – and potential counterproposals – are all in the text of the petition, which you can see here. The city says it will present the final plan in June; in the meantime, comments are being taken by project manager Jim Curtin at

BIZ ANNIVERSARIES: West Seattle Cellars celebrates 20th; Wyatt’s Jewelers has open house, sale for 10th

Two momentous West Seattle business anniversaries to note:

20 YEARS FOR WEST SEATTLE CELLARS: Last night during the West Seattle Art Walk, we stopped by West Seattle Cellars (6026 California SW) after hearing the shop is marking its 20th anniversary. Here’s how proprietors Jan Martindale and Tom DiStefano (above) announced it in the WSC newsletter:

20 years ago this month, Matt Mabus founded the shop, which at that time was housed in the little building next door. Some of you may remember that space, part of which is now our back room/office. In 2000 we partnered with Bear Silverstein to buy the shop, and in 2005 we moved into our bigger, airier new digs. And after 20 years (now sadly minus the Bear) we’re still going strong, thanks to all of our wonderful customers who continue to shop local!

WSC has also launched its annual West Seattle Helpline fundraiser, hoping to raise $1,000 for WSH by its Taste of West Seattle event on May 21st:

They’re donating 10 percent of the sales made during their regular (free) Thursday night tastings until then. And while at the shop, you can just make an outright donation to Helpline.

TEN YEARS FOR WYATT’S JEWELERS: Family-owned Wyatt’s Jewelers (longtime WSB sponsor) in Westwood Village is celebrating its 10th anniversary with an open house today until 6 pm and again tomorrow (Saturday), 10 am-6 pm – “giveaways, refreshments, store specials, more.” It’s also the only storewide sale of the year, “everything 10 percent to 60 percent off.”

How much will your water bill go up? Here’s what Seattle Public Utilities is proposing

That’s the slide deck the Seattle City Council‘s Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee will see during its meeting at 2 pm next Tuesday (April 14th), as it begins reviewing a water-rate increase proposed by Seattle Public Utilities, which just sent this preview:

In keeping with a strategic business plan approved by City Council last year, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is proposing drinking water rate increases of 1.7 percent for 2016 and 2.7 percent for 2017. The business plan aims at capping average rates for all SPU services — drinking water, sewer, drainage, garbage and recycling — to an annual average of 4.6 percent through the year 2020.

A drainage and wastewater rate proposal will be considered by Council later this year. That proposal also is expected to fit within the 4.6 percent average annual rate cap.

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