day : 09/10/2015 10 results

West Seattle Crime Watch: Repeat offender Emanuel Kozma sentenced

Nine months ago, 33-year-old Emanuel Kozma was found in a treehouse, where he’d tried to hide from police searching for him in connection with package and mail thefts in Alki. He subsequently was charged with three felonies and has been in jail since his original arrest on January 8th. Last month, a jury found him guilty of theft; today, he was sentenced – and is about to go free, having been sentenced to what amounted to time served.

In addition to the theft case, Kozma also had pleaded guilty to two other charges – one, a plea bargain that brought the burglary charge in the Alki case down to criminal trespass, the other in a case for which he had a warrant out for his arrest when caught in Alki. In that case, he pleaded guilty to felony harassment. Charging documents in that case say he had threatened to shoot and kill an 18-year-old woman who was described as a friend, when she avoided responding to his requests to drive him to a probation appointment. The threat happened near Kozma’s home in White Center in the summer of 2014.

Court documents say Kozma’s criminal record – with three and a half pages of convictions – goes back 20 years, to age 12, with what’s described as “numerous misdemeanors and felonies” along the way, including harassment, assault, indecent exposure, and weapons charges. Today, Judge Dean Lum sentenced Kozma to a year in jail, suspended while he is monitored for two years, plus what amounted to the time he’s served since the January arrest, 274 days. He’s still on the King County Jail Register right now, but court documents say the judge signed the order for his release (a drug warrant from Everett is still listed on the register, and it’s not clear whether that’s been resolved, so we’ll continue checking on his post-sentencing status). The photo above, by the way, is the most recent one the state Corrections Department had when we requested it after his arrest.

Highway 99 tunnel: State sues its contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners, to ‘protect … taxpayers’

(Added: Image from webcam over tunnel-machine access pit tonight)

No hint of this just two days earlier, when WSDOT released a video update on the Highway 99 tunnel-machine repairs, hours before its quarterly stakeholders meeting, but, late today, the state sent out a very different update, saying it’s suing its contractor:

WSDOT is committed to working with Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) to complete the SR 99 Tunnel Project.

We are also committed to protecting taxpayers.

Today, WSDOT filed a lawsuit against STP in King County Superior Court. This filing was prompted by recent court filings by STP and their insurance companies. Filing this lawsuit ensures WSDOT will have a right to make legal claims in the future. This lawsuit does not prevent STP from pursuing claims under the terms of the design-build contract.

Taking action to preserve WSDOT’s rights in court was a necessary step. Our focus remains on completing the project, and removing the seismically vulnerable Alaskan Way Viaduct. We intend to ask for a stay of WSDOT’s lawsuit until the project is completed and asked STP to join us in this request.

This delay in the lawsuit will allow for work on the SR 99 Tunnel Project to be completed before litigation takes place.

The intent of today’s action is simple: protect the interests of Washington taxpayers.

There will be no further statements on this legal matter.

While WSDOT provided the case number – 15-2-24943-6 – we checked the online files, and no documents are available there yet, just “Case Title: Washington State Department of Transportation vs Seattle Tunnel Partners” on the page. We’ll keep checking.

This follows news earlier this week, first reported by the Puget Sound Business Journal, that WSDOT has told insurers it expects costs to rise more than $78 million because of the tunnel-machine trouble. That in turn came out as part of another lawsuit, one filed in New York state by insurers against STP, which says it’s hoping to get the machine going again in November, almost two years after its underground breakdown.

PROGRESS REPORT: New Junction mural, day 2

Last night, we reported on the first day of work by artist Jesse Link on the mural long planned for the south-facing wall of the Lofts At The Junction apartment building (4535 44th SW). We went by late this afternoon to see how it’s going. The artist was gone for the day, but it’s clear that, as he had told us in a brief shouted exchange yesterday, it’s a heron and a boat – with the words WORK IN PROGRESS painted across the space for now, lest anyone think otherwise.

UPDATE: President Obama’s three-hour Seattle visit is over

(Added: Photo by David Hutchinson, seen from Don Armeni)

3:06 PM: As of a few minutes ago, Air Force One had left Eugene and was headed this way, so, as expected, the president should arrive at Boeing Field by 4. He’ll be headed to downtown, and then back to Boeing Field 7-ish. Updates to come.

(Added: Photo courtesy Jonathan – AF1 approaching Boeing Field)

3:43 PM: Air Force One landed a few minutes ago. Northbound I-5 is closed from Albro northward, awaiting the motorcade.

3:56 PM: Regional media at Boeing Field say the motorcade’s heading for downtown. The onramps to I-5 close for this too, so if you’re heading for the eastbound bridge, you can expect to be stopped until President Obama has passed.

4:07 PM: The onramps have reopened, so traffic on NB I-5 should get back to normal again soon. Downtown, you’ll see these restrictions and these bus reroutes until the president’s visit is over. Metro also issued a general alert about “service delays for routes heading south from downtown Seattle.”

6:34 PM: Regional-media coverage indicates the president’s speech is over and he’ll be headed back to Boeing Field momentarily. This WSDOT tweet underscores that:

If you need to get to the east side of the West Seattle Bridge, particularly Southbound I-5, we’d advise waiting a bit.

6:49 PM: The freeway has reopened; the president is at Boeing Field.

7:02 PM: Wheels up for Air Force One, now headed for San Francisco. If you like the behind-the-scenes details, here’s the “daily guidance/press schedule” for today, information routinely published by several news sites.

The Growler Station is at Admiral Chevron 2: New WSB sponsor

We’re welcoming a new WSB sponsor this afternoon: Something new at Admiral Chevron 2, the Growler Station!

It’s part of the new “Extra Mile” store at the station on the northwest corner of 41st SW and SW Admiral Way, a new place to stop to buy fresh craft beer to take home. You’ll find four rotating selections, including local favorites – you can check them online here before you go, and they’re on a reader board at the station too. Bring your own growler, or get one while you’re there. Here’s a reason to stop by and try it: a coupon!

You can either print the coupon (right-click on the image) or show it on your phone when you’re at Admiral Chevron 2. (You can use the ShareThis feature beneath the story to e-mail yourself the link if that’s more convenient!)

We thank Admiral Chevron 2 featuring the Growler Station for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.

Your time, everyone’s river: Sign up now for Duwamish Alive!

Those are the sites where you can help Seattle’s only river by giving a few hours of your time to be part of this fall’s edition of Duwamish Alive! – one week from tomorrow, 10 am-2 pm on Saturday, October 17th. Organizers would love to hear from you ASAP, so use this list to choose one of the sites on the map – which include five in West Seattle – and sign up.

FOLLOWUP: Questions, advocacy emerge as teacher-cut news circulates at local schools; Sunday rally planned; district’s letter

(UPDATED with new online petitions, plans for a Sunday rally, and more – scroll to story’s end)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

At least five West Seattle elementary schools have been told they’ll lose teaching positions as a result of Seattle Public Schools‘ review of where enrollment stood at the end of September.

While a district-wide list has not been made available, as first reported in our Thursday coverage, we were able to confirm Alki, Highland Park, Roxhill, Schmitz Park, and West Seattle Elementary Schools are among the ~25 schools citywide dealing with this.

Nothing’s completely final yet, though, and principals and their school communities have been scrambling to see what they can do to minimize effects. Here’s what’s new so far today:

*Last night at Schmitz Park, this area’s most populous elementary with 600+ students, the annual Curriculum Night for first- and second-grade families found principal Gerrit Kischner trying to explain how his long-crowded school – moving into a new building next fall – has wound up with a teaching position on the chopping block. And it found parents declaring that the ongoing funding challenges of public education are unacceptable and vowing action, including a letterwriting campaign. (They also are continuing the online petition we mentioned in Thursday’s report.)

*This morning, an Alki Elementary parent confirms that school has started a crowdfunding campaign to try to save the position that’s slated to be cut.

First, from the Schmitz Park meeting, which we covered at the suggestion of several concerned parents:

“Remember, the kids are going to be fine,” Kischner reassured the first-grade parents who gathered in the school cafeteria instead of dispersing to classrooms as would have been SOP – a change made necessary by the expected loss of the first-grade class that was to be taught by Julie Pietsch.

Several parents, including PTA president Robert Kelly, sported T-shirts in support of that classroom, P-8:

(“The fox says” is a reference to Schmitz Park’s mascot.) In the early going at the meeting, before the second-grade parents left to visit their teachers, he promised the organization would find ways to support the teachers in what he declared to be a crisis, and reminded parents that volunteer work would be important like never before.

Kischner said principals had found out about the cuts on Monday night. He said a group of them is meeting with Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland today “so we can say we did everything we can to lessen the impact on kids.”

Read More

What’s up for the rest of your West Seattle Friday

(Dark-eyed junco, photographed by Mark Wangerin)

From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

FRIDAY AFTERNOON MOVIE: “A Knight’s Tale” (2001), 1 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle. (California SW & SW Oregon)

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: 5:30-8:30 pm at Admiral Congregational Church – details here. (California SW & SW Hill)

FRIDAY NIGHT SKATING: 6:30-8:30 pm, go skate at Alki Community Center! (5817 SW Stevens)

HIGH-SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Two games are being played in West Seattle tonight, both at 7 pm, Ingraham visits Chief Sealth International High School at Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle) – it’s homecoming night for the Seahawks! Also – Bainbridge visits O’Dea at West Seattle Stadium (4432 35th SW)

CHRIS & LYLE: Live music at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)

NODDY & QUALIA: Electropop music at The Skylark (21+), 9 pm. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Go browse our complete calendar to see what’s up. The biggest event of the weekend will be Sunday afternoon’s Fauntleroy Fall Festival – if you missed our preview, complete with activity/entertainment schedule, see it here!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Friday updates, including President Obama’s pm visit

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:59 AM: One traffic alert to start with – the investigation of a deadly shooting at 4th Avenue S. and Royal Brougham has the northbound lanes of 4th closed. Buses are rerouted off 4th in the area as a result. The shooting happened three hours ago.

PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: Looking ahead to the afternoon/evening commute – President Obama‘s schedule is projected to be about the same as what we were discussing yesterday, arriving at Boeing Field before 4 pm, heading to the Westin downtown for two events, leaving around 7. The transit reroutes planned for the visit are detailed here; the downtown security zone is detailed here. He’ll be coming here from Eugene, OR, where Air Force One will remain during his visit to Roseburg (shuttling via helicopter), so we’ll have a good short-term alert when he’s on the way.

8:01 AM: 4th is now open both ways, per SDOT:

8:05 AM: One weekend traffic reminder for West Seattle – 2-5 pm on Sunday (October 11th), the Fauntleroy Fall Festival is happening at venues on both sides of the 9100 block of California SW. Our preview has details, including the entertainment/activity schedule.

8:11 AM: If you’re headed for southbound I-5 from the West Seattle Bridge, it could get a little problematic – there’s an SFD response at Albro.

8:13 AM: The 4th Ave. S. bus routes that were rerouted earlier are back to normal except for one thing: “The northbound stop just north of Royal Brougham Way remains closed,” per a text from Metro.

8:38 AM: That stop has now reopened.

9:01 AM: All SB I-5 lanes are now open at the scene of the fire call mentioned above, south of the West Seattle Bridge (though two northbound lanes remain blocked).

9:43 AM: From Washington State Ferries:

Starting Monday, Oct. 12, customers are advised to prepare for at least a week of longer than usual wait times due to a temporary vessel downsizing on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route. The temporary downsizing is needed to maintain a 3-boat sailing schedule while the Cathlamet is out of service for its annual maintenance and U.S. Coast Guard inspection. The F/V/S route will be served by the 124-car Issaquah, 87-car Tillikum and 87-car Evergreen State.

PLAYTIME! Pathfinder K-8’s new playground officially opens

West Seattle’s newest community-created playground is officially open. It’s at Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point, whose principal David Dockendorf wielded the ribbon-cutting scissors:

One of the parents who led the project through years of fundraising and volunteer work parties, Kelly Guenther, emceed the celebration:

Along with the play equipment, you’ll find a message here and there:

It was a true reason to celebrate, after more than a year and a half of work:

And now, it’s all about playtime.

See all the steps along the way via the playground project’s official website.