day : 08/10/2015 9 results

FOLLOWUP: Memorial bench from ARK Park has been found

Update on a story we reported here about this time last night: The memorial bench from ARK Park in Arbor Heights has been found. The family of the baby for whom it was named says the little bench turned up in some bushes in the park, broken in two. Despite the damage, they’re glad to have it back, and thankful that so many people were on the lookout for it.

West Seattle Art Walk scenes: Sheila Lengle’s benefit show; Deanna Baldi at Click!

October 8, 2015 9:43 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Art Walk scenes: Sheila Lengle’s benefit show; Deanna Baldi at Click!
 |   West Seattle Art Walk | West Seattle news

Two scenes from tonight’s West Seattle Art Walk, both in The Junction on California between Oregon and Alaska:

That’s Sheila Lengle, who spent the evening at Windermere West Seattle (4526 California SW), where her show “Prevail!” raised money to fight breast cancer, which she has survived. As the preview of her show noted, creativity was a pathway to healing for her, resulting in bright, beautiful paintingss.

A few doors south, Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW; WSB sponsor) is featuring the work of Deanna Baldi (and shared this photo of her, taken tonight):

As you can see, her work is also inspired by the world of plants – her paintings “strive to capture the essence of beauty in bloom,” she says. They’ll be at Click! until next month’s Art Walk, which will be November 12th (remember that WSAW is a great night for artful holiday shopping, especially in November and December).

Wildlife sighting ahead: Jesse Link painting mural for The Lofts At The Junction

Thanks to Eddie for the photo and word that painting is under way on The Junction’s highest-profile mural in a long time. A mural has always been in the plan for the south-facing wall of The Lofts At The Junction (4535 44th SW), but the design wasn’t done until long after the project went through Design Review and started construction. After Eddie shared the tip this afternoon, we went over and hollered up at the artist to ask what’s in store – not knowing at the time that it’s Jesse Link, last featured here when he painted a mural on The Shack coffee house in Luna Park a month and a half ago. This afternoon, via that ground-to-bucket exchange, he told us the mural will feature a heron and a tugboat.

FOLLOWUP: Suspect charged with arson in Westwood house fire

(WSB photo from Saturday)
The 18-year-old arrested in connection with last Saturday’s house fire on 31st Place SW is now charged with second-degree arson. Ezekiel M. Hoskins was arrested blocks away from the scene of the fire, less than two hours later. Charging documents include the same details we reported the day of his bail hearing, that his girlfriend said they had argued earlier in the day and that he had threatened to set the house on fire. Police say he told them he was smoking in the house that afternoon and that his discarded cigarettes might have ignited the fire, but he denied deliberately setting it; court documents say he was seen walking away from the house before an explosion that preceded the fire. While his girlfriend was quoted as telling investigators that Hoskins lived in the house, which had belonged to a relative, charging papers say he told police he had been living elsewhere with his aunt, but that they were unable to verify it. Also, while we couldn’t find a criminal record for him in previous checks, the court documents say that as a juvenile, Hoskins had two robbery convictions in the past two years. Before SFD cleared Saturday’s fire scene, a firefighter suffered a hand injury and had to be taken to the hospital. Damage to the house and its contents is estimated at $105,000; Hoskins remains in the King County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Parents angered to learn that Seattle Public Schools’ fall reshuffle will cut teachers at local schools

(NEWEST UPDATE: Adding fifth school, West Seattle ES)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Seattle Public Schools says “approximately 25 teachers are being pulled from” schools around the city now that it has actual enrollment counts for the start of this school year, with overall district enrollment up, but not as much as expected.

At least five elementary schools in West Seattle are affected, according to what we have found out so far from information that includes, in two cases, letters sent by principals and forwarded by parents, some of whom are furious.

The district checks enrollment in early October every year and decides whether schools have appropriate staffing levels. Last year at this time, you might recall, Gatewood Elementary was told it would lose a teacher, and raised more than $66,000 in a frantic fundraising campaign to keep the position, one week after getting the initial word.

We asked district spokesperson Stacy Howard for a list of the schools affected this year; she told us that’s not available, but also added that no teachers are being laid off – just being moved.

Since there’s no list, all we know so far is what we have learned from parents – letters sent by the principals of (updated) Schmitz Park, Alki, Roxhill, and West Seattle ES, plus information from the PTA president of Highland Park.

SCHMITZ PARK ELEMENTARY: Losing one teaching position, according to e-mail that principal Gerrit Kischner sent last night to the school’s first-grade parents. More than a dozen parents have forwarded it to us.

He began, “Every year, the Seattle School District reevaluates enrollment on October 1st and makes budget adjustments accordingly. I am writing tonight to share some very unfortunate news: because of significant shifts in enrollment District-wide, Schmitz Park has lost funding for one of our first grade classrooms.” That means, he went on to write, that one class will be “collapsed” with its students reassigned to the remaining four 1st-grade classrooms. He had notified that class’s families directly, but added that “we know that the impact of this staffing reduction will be felt throughout the first grade cohort and across the school. Schmitz Park is not alone. In fact, enrollment is lower than projections by over 600 students districtwide (although we have grown overall in our total enrollment), and approximately 25 elementary schools (nearly half) will be losing one and, in some cases, more than two teachers. This news comes as much as a surprise to us as it is for you, and I am very sorry to have to bring you this news. In fact, I maintain a glimmer of hope that this budget decision can be reversed, but at this point it is extremely important that we plan rapidly to ensure that students can make a smooth transition to their new classroom.”

Kischner’s letter also quoted Schmitz Park’s enrollment at 643, one above projection, but “a drop from the 663 students we had on our rolls at the end of August.” First grade is at 114, up from the 99 at which the cohort ended kindergarten. He also noted the district’s end-of-September headcount as 52,399, 411 students more than last year, but 675 below what was projected, citing “budget pressures at the District level” for leading to the loss of what was the last teacher hired there before the school year began. “Unless new information comes our way very soon, our plan is to introduce students to their new classrooms Friday afternoon, ahead of starting Monday in the new classrooms.”

This information from the letter was attributed to the district:

Annually, at the beginning of the school year, Seattle Public Schools undergoes a staffing adjustment process to monitor enrollment at every school and to adjust staffing levels relative to actual student enrollment. Staffing adjustment decisions are made to match student needs with limited staff resources. In this process, adjustments are made in staff levels at schools to reflect the number of students actually enrolled in a program, grade and school, as opposed to forecasted/ projected enrollments. While our enrollment projections are historically very accurate at the district level, a wide range of factors can influence the final number of students enrolled at a grade, program and school level.

Once receiving student enrollment counts for each school, the district then reevaluates staffing across schools, making adjustments up and down based on each school’s enrollment. Please know that our best efforts are being made to assess all factors for staffing adjustment decisions at all schools. Staffing adjustment recommendations are developed by a team composed of members from Budget, Human Resources, Enrollment Planning, School Operations, Capital Planning, Special Education, Advanced Learning and English Language Learning departments, who use current enrollment numbers in determining staffing adjustments.

Additionally, Enrollment Planning also takes into account other factors in staffing allocations, including projected changes, expected attrition, historical trends in enrollment for each school as well as unique factors affecting each schools’ enrollment. Each school is carefully reviewed for any factors which could impact the classroom.

A petition has been started by parent Rachel Lazarsee it here. She also shared her initial reaction: “What kind of screwed-up educational system gets kids back to school two weeks late after a strike, lets them settle into their classes, then decides to cut a beloved 1st grade teacher because their counts were off and cram her students into the other classrooms, letting them hit nearly 30? Add to that a school who has been forced to expand its boundaries again this year BEFORE our new facility opens, leaving it bursting at the seams. Oh, and do this all in 48-hours time so there is little time to work through it with the kids, and no time to try and address or fight it. This makes absolutely no sense to me and I’m fired up. Our kids deserve better. This phenomenal teacher deserves better. How the hell do we fix this mess our school system is in in Seattle!?!”

ALKI ELEMENTARY: Scheduled for a 1.5-position cut, according to the letter, forwarded to us by multiple parents, sent by principal Shannon Hobbs-Beckley to her school’s community. She began, “Earlier this week, I was informed by Seattle Public Schools that we are one of several schools that will experience a staffing adjustment based upon our current school enrollment. Last year, our adjustment resulted in adding staff to our school. This year, our adjustment results in a reduction of staff to our school. … This is not an easy adjustment to make, by any means. And some questions remain unanswered, so I consider this letter the first communication about the changes we are about to embark upon.” She quoted the same district information that Kischner’s letter did, and said that with Alki Elementary having “lower enrollment than projected,” its budget was cut “by 1.5 full time teaching positions (1.0 from a general education classroom and .5 from the specialists of PE/Multi-Arts/Technology).” She went on to write that the staff was still “determining all of the impacts of this change” and thinking they might be able to cover the half-position specialist reduction, but, “What we are still working through is the 1.0 reduction from a general education classroom.”

Parent Nikki Eisenhut, who has three children at Alki, shared her letter of concern with WSB; it talks about her children’s experience at the school and concludes, “These teachers have worked hard to create a safe, inspiring learning community in the last month. I cannot support a ‘staffing adjustment’ that is going to interrupt these communities. I do not see the benefit of interrupting student learning to create larger classes and less support for the students who need it the most. I want you to know that the ‘1.5 FTE’ that you will take from Alki is removing a human being and impacting countless students. It will create larger class sizes and interrupt learning. I know that at Alki, we will weather the change, our students are resilient, our teachers are inspiring and our leader is our foundation. These staffing changes are unjust and our community is strong and resilient.”

(2nd update, 3:40 pm) ROXHILL AND HIGHLAND PARK: Thanks to the Roxhill Elementary who scanned the hard-copy letter sent home by principal Sahnica Washington; she quotes much of the district explanation excerpted above, before saying her school has “experienced lower enrollment than expected” and therefore has had its budget cut by 3.7 teachers: “As a result of the loss of teachers, we will be consolidating classrooms.”

Earlier, after this story’s initial publication, we heard from Highland Park Elementary PTA president Holly Briscoe, who says that HPE is slated to lose one teacher: “The 4 kindergarten classes will be combined to create 3 classrooms and the kindergarten teacher will then be moved to another grade level and displacing the least senior teacher, and affecting upward of 90 students, or approximately a quarter of our total population.”

(added) WEST SEATTLE ES: Thanks to the parent who sent an image of the letter sent to some families, in which principal Vicki Sacco said a lower enrollment for first grade than expected had led to the loss of one teacher.

THURSDAY NIGHT P.S. Some of the concerned parents at Schmitz Park suggested we cover tonight’s Curriculum Night for the first- and second-grade families, and so we did. The cuts were a hot topic, to say the least. We will be writing a separate story about it for tomorrow morning. No revelations but some insight, and also a spirit of bringing together the wider West Seattle community to fight for the state to fix education funding.

West Seattle Thursday: WS Art Walk; playground party, more…

Looking ahead to the rest of your Thursday, here are highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, starting with the biggest event of the day/night:

(Click image to see larger version of the map/venue list)

WEST SEATTLE ART WALK: It’s the second Thursday, which means Art Walk night, 6-9 pm. Every quarter the map/participant list changes, and this time around, more than 20 West Seattle venues are welcoming you to come see what’s on display. Highlights are on the official WS Art Walk website; this quarter’s participants include WSB sponsors Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (featuring Todd D. Martin; 4410 California SW), Emerald Water Anglers (42nd SW & SW Oregon), Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW; featuring Deanna Baldi), a group show at Wallflower Custom Framing (4735 42nd SW), and South Seattle College (6000 16th SW), where the gallery show is “The Growing Visibility of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”

Also: At Windermere West Seattle (4526 California SW), artist Sheila Lengle is presenting her show “Prevail!” with 15 percent of tonight’s sales going to the fight against breast cancer – Sheila herself is a survivor. Windermere’s Kim Tingley will match the amount raised tonight.

Also happening today/tonight:

PATHFINDER K-8 PLAYGROUND GRAND OPENING: 3:30 pm, the community-built playground welcomes community members to visit to celebrate its grand opening! (1901 SW Genesee)

COMMUNITY ORCHARD OF WEST SEATTLE: Fall shifts the time and tasks for the weekly work party at the orchard, which you’ll find at the north end of the South Seattle College campus, 4-6 pm, all welcome! Details in our calendar listing. (6000 16th SW)

FREE GARDENING CLASS: At West Seattle Nursery, you’re invited to learn how to “Make Your Bed,” a free gardening class with Jeannine James, 5-6 pm. (California SW & SW Brandon)

SECOND THURSDAY OUT! Starts at 6 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle – details in our calendar listing. (California SW & SW Oregon)

CHIEF SEALTH IHS OPEN HOUSE: Dinner 5:30-6 pm, open house 6-8 pm for Chief Sealth International High School families, who “will have the opportunity to follow your child’s schedule, meet their teachers, and get general information from administration and staff.” P.S. If you’re going, bring donations for the CSIHS Clothing Closet! (2600 SW Thistle)

ROXHILL ELEMENTARY OPEN HOUSE: 5:30-7:30 pm, for current Roxhill families. (9430 30th SW)

WINE TASTING AND MUSIC: 7-9 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) – details in our calendar listing. (5612 California SW)

OF COURSE THERE’S MORE – please take a minute to see our complete calendar for everything that’s up today/tonight/beyond.

Last call: Be part of the 2015 West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival – offer an activity!

October 8, 2015 9:52 am
|    Comments Off on Last call: Be part of the 2015 West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival – offer an activity!
 |   Holidays | West Seattle news

(2014 WSB photo: Harvest Festival activity @ Westside School [sponsor] booth)
Halloween season is closer than you think – the big day/night is three weeks from Saturday – and the biggest event in West Seattle is even sooner, two weeks from this Sunday. That of course would be the West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival on Sunday, October 25th, 10 am-2 pm, featuring the chili-cookoff tasting at 11 am, the big costume parade at 11:30 am, and business trick-or-treating at noon. Even before all that, the fun starts right at 10 with “harvest-themed activities” throughout The Junction, as well as the Farmers’ Market in the middle of the street (its permanent home, inspired by the success of its previous in-the-street incarnations during the festival). There’s still room for a few more community groups and businesses to be part of the heart of the festival by offering activities – please go to this page on the West Seattle Junction Association‘s website ASAP for an application. (WSB is a co-sponsor and activity provider again this year, so we’ll see you there!)

Write and win! VFW Post 2713 announces student essay contest

October 8, 2015 9:00 am
|    Comments Off on Write and win! VFW Post 2713 announces student essay contest
 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

Young writer in the family? West Seattle’s VFW Post 2713 has just announced its annual essay contest for students:

All students in private, public, or home school are eligible to compete. First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded for each grade, while first place winners will advance to state and possibly national levels with greater prizes. The competitions are:

Youth Essay – Grades 3rd, 4th, 5th
Topic “Why is America my favorite country?”
Prizes: 1st $50, 2nd $25, 3rd $15
Rules and entry forms here

Patriots Pen – Grades 6th, 7th, 8th
Topic “What Freedom Means to Me”
Prizes: 1st $50, 2nd $25, 3rd $15
Rules and entry forms here

Voice of Democracy – Grades 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Topic “My Vision for America”
Prizes: 1st $100, 2nd $50, 3rd $25
Note: Each state winner is eligible for a $30,000 scholarship.
Rules and entry forms here

Deadline for all entries is November 1st. Good luck!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thursday alerts and updates; presidential visit tomorrow afternoon/evening


(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:59 AM: No incidents in our area or the nearest outbound routes so far this morning.

PRESIDENTIAL VISIT FRIDAY: After President Obama visits Roseburg, Oregon, tomorrow to meet with families of the college shooting victims, he will be heading this way for a Seattle fundraiser stop. We’ve looked and listened in a variety of places but we’re not finding the schedule yet. (The aviation alert for Eugene, from which he will travel to and from Roseburg by helicopter before heading to Seattle, runs until 3:15 pm, and the one for Seattle runs until 7:30 pm.) **ADDED** Sen. Patty Murray‘s campaign, presenting the Seattle event, says it starts at 5 pm. … **2ND ADD** SPD has some downtown-specific information for Friday here. He’s going to downtown Seattle for a 4:30 pm party roundtable and then the Murray fundraiser, says Channel 7. **3RD ADD** Metro has added some reroutes related to street closures – look for the 10/9 listings here. ** More as we get it.

(back to original traffic watch for the day)

7:38 AM: Still relatively quiet, aside from the usual backups. Transportation headlines from the past day, in case you missed them: Next Alaskan Way Viaduct inspection closure is set for Halloween weekend … Speaking of The Viaduct, did you see the video explaining what’s happening with the tunneling machine?

8:23 AM – NEED AN ORCA LIFT CARD? If you qualify for the ORCA LIFT discount-transit-fare program but haven’t gotten around to enrolling yet, there’s a new place to do it in West Seattle – the city will have staff at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW) from 1-6 pm every Wednesday starting next week (October 14th). Not sure if you qualify? Check here.


10:02 AM: Washington State Ferries says heavy fog has the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run at least half an hour behind schedule right now.