West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
We have yet to get an incident number from SPD, though we requested it today.
City Attorney Pete Holmes, meantime, is expected to brief the City Council on the tree-cutting case behind closed doors on Monday.
That’s according to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, with whom we spoke during a break in her second round of “district office hours” this afternoon in The Junction. The agenda for Monday’s weekly council “briefing” meeting ends with two separate items labeled only “executive session on pending or potential litigation” – executive session means it’s closed to the public.
Herbold also noted that she has called for a look at the current laws and penalties and whether they could be toughened, as has been called for in this citizen-initiated online petition.
Packed house tonight in the Galleria for the Denny International Middle School STEM Fair. Thanks to Denny principal Jeff Clark for photos:
Thank you to all of our families who came out to celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at our Annual STEM Fair!
It was great to a have a packed house to see the amazing projects made by our scholars. Congratulations to all of the Dolphin scientists on a job well done. We are proud of you!
A huge thank you to our awesome science teaching team: Mr. Evans, Ms. Choi, Ms. Sanchez, Mr. Shigenaka, Ms. Rody, Mr. Nelson, and Ms. Kelleher! Go Dolphins!
Seen Whitney’s car? Just out of the WSB inbox:
1994 Honda Accord stolen from Westcrest Park Off Leash Area. Around 6:00 pm April 1st. Light green, two door. Pima Medical Institute sticker up front on driver’s side corner. With broken passenger headlight. Green middle sticker on bottom back window. License plate number AUH9649. Please help me find this vehicle! If seen, message me at (970) 596-9574.
6:14 PM: Thanks to the texter who sent word (and photo) of a crash in the 1700 block of Alki Avenue [map]. Seattle Fire has sent a medic response; the texter says it appears a vehicle almost hit a house. We’re en route to try to find out more.
6:41 PM: Just arriving at the crash scene. Does indeed appear to be a close call. Police are still here. General traffic alert: Alki Avenue is jammed both ways – looks like a summer night down here.
6:45 PM: Police tell us the driver apparently had a medical problem that sent the car off the road. No one was seriously hurt otherwise. SFD is gone and the remaining SPD cars are not in the traffic lane, so the jam down here is not related.
Nine days after the last Highway 99 tunnel-machine update, WSDOT just published another one – but it still doesn’t answer the big question of when the Alaskan Way Viaduct will close so the machine can tunnel beneath it. The update goes into great detail about how crews are working in “hyperbaric” conditions, and includes this :34 video:
WSDOT has said it hopes to provide two weeks advance notice of the two-weeks-or-so closure, so at this point it would seem unlikely to start before mid-April. The state is continuing to add info to its special closure-info website at 99closure.org.
Today’s update also included a note that results of the March Viaduct inspection are available:
Survey crews measured approximately 5/16 of an inch of settlement near Seneca Street and between 1/8 and 1/4 inch of settlement at the Columbia Street on-ramp. Crews also observed upward movement of up to 1 inch at some locations at the south end of the structure. This upward movement is uniform in nature. No new cracking or structural damage was found.
That’s the entirety of the update published here.
5:04 PM: We’ve been getting questions about an Alaska Airlines jet flying over West Seattle, accompanied by a smaller plane. It’s a “photo flight,” we’re told via Twitter.
— Woodys Aeroimages (@woody2190) April 1, 2016
5:16 PM: Added a photo texted by James Tilley, atop this story – thank you!
5:36 PM: And one more photo from James, above – plus, below, Woody’s Aeroimages gave us permission to republish its tweeted photo of the two planes’ takeoff:
— Woodys Aeroimages (@woody2190) April 2, 2016
Alaska Airlines unveiled its updated look two months ago.
District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is midway through her second session of office hours in the district. We just talked with her for a few minutes after her initial rush of visitors, who came from near and far (even someone from Wallingford!), with concerns ranging from roads to garbage rates to parks to bike racks. You don’t need an appointment – you’ll find her in the Senior Center (Oregon/California) cafe upstairs until 7 tonight.
1:10 PM: As first reported here last week, serial arsonist Jacob Kokko has pleaded guilty to three charges – one, reduced as part of a plea bargain – and is being sentenced today. We’re in the courtroom of King County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell and will chronicle the hearing live as it happens.
Kokko has been in jail since his arrest almost five months ago. The recommended sentence is for the time he has served – which is almost as long as the maximum possible penalty, given that he has no criminal record.
His lawyer told the judge, “He’s a good kid, you’re not going to see him again … He was crying for help, and he’s going to get the help that he needs.” His lawyer says Kokko will be responsible for getting that help.
He spoke briefly at the judge’s invitation and said this was a “turning point” in his life and that he is aware that this will affect the rest of his life. (We have his full statement on video and will add it when back at headquarters.) He said he would be going back to college, where he has two years’ credit and was majoring in psychology.
Judge Ramsdell is going along with the recommended sentencing so far, a suspended year – provided he stays out of trouble – in jail, plus as-yet-undetermined restitution, 50 hours of community service, and credit for jail time served otherwise (147 days total), meaning he will be going free shortly.
While details of the crimes were not discussed here in court, documents indicated Kokko, 22, had acknowledged setting four fires – outside the Senior Center and Hamm Building in The Junction on Halloween night, outside a house on his block in High Point earlier, and the 35th/Morgan bus-stop fire caught on the surveillance video that led to his arrest – but denied involvement in the others that were suspected to be part of the same spree.
1:26 PM: No one else has spoken at the hearing other than Kokko, the lawyers, and judge – no victims, no family members – and it’s now over (after many mostly silent moments of paperwork-signing), with the judge saying “Good luck to you, sir” and a deputy re-handcuffing Kokko to return to jail (processing for release usually takes at least a few hours).
You might have noticed that the temperature display in the WSB header has been insisting it’s zero degrees this morning. Might seem like a great April Fool’s joke … except it’s not; just a malfunction, first one for this feature since we added it in the January overhaul, and we’re troubleshooting it. Meantime, if you click the time/temp spot, you’ll get to the WSB West Seattle Weather page, which DOES have the accurate temperature (mid-to-upper 50s at last check). Sorry!
Thanks to Mark Wangerin for beautiful hummingbird images to grace this sunny, warm first day of April – rufous above, Anna’s below:
Now, highlights of what’s up for the rest of today/tonight:
TALK TO YOUR COUNCILMEMBER: Second session of in-the-district office hours for Councilmember Lisa Herbold today, noon-7 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle in The Junction. Appointment NOT required; just drop by. (4217 SW Oregon)
‘PULP FICTION’ @ WORDS, WRITERS, & WEST SEATTLE: Tonight, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society-presented meet-the-author event at Westwood Village Barnes & Noble features Greg Hatcher, “pulp fiction” genre writer, writing instructor for the Young Authors class at the West Seattle YMCA’s Community Learning Center, and comics/cartooning teacher (among other things):
Find out more about “new pulp movement.” More info in our listing – drop by between 5 and 7! (2800 SW Barton)
FREE ‘FAMILY NIGHT’ FUN: 6-8:25 pm, it’s another free, fun “Family Night” at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor), all welcome, whether you’re a member or not. Obstacle course, games, running, swimming – details in our listing. (4515 36th SW)
WEST SEATTLE DRAMA CLUB BENEFIT: Tonight, see “The Addams Family” at West Seattle High School as part of a special fundraiser, “Taste of the Arts“!
(Photo courtesy WSHS Drama Club)
7 pm dessert and more, 8 pm performance – details here (including how to get your ticket). The money raised goes for program needs including body microphones, a sound-effects library, theater lights, monitors for musicians and in the dressing room, replacements for the worn/torn curtains … You can help! Be at WSHS tonight. (3000 California SW)
AND THERE’S MORE … on our complete calendar!
From Erin, near 31st and Holly in High Point [map]:
We had a scary situation we wanted to report to you about an attempted intrusion to our home this morning in High Point.
My husband was downstairs in the kitchen at 4:45 am, when he noticed a man with a backpack walk up the alley (heading toward the street). Moments later our security panel chimed saying the garage (side) door had opened. My husband opened the side door to the house and found the guy he’d just seen with the backpack standing inside our garage!
The man claimed he and his friends thought our house was abandoned. After my husband informed him our house was not abandoned (nor were any of the houses on the street) the man left our property. We called the police this morning and filed a report.
The officer reminded us to always call the police immediately and not approach these guys because you never know if someone has a weapon or some other intention, and of course to lock all doors. Typically our garage is always locked but we had forgotten to do so after some extensive repair work and been done on it the previous day.
The man was African American, 5’11”, wearing a shiny gray wind pants, zip up hoodie, and square backpack.
Just a reminder to everyone to stay vigilant!
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:29 AM: Good morning and welcome to April. The day begins with a transit alert – a crash at 3rd/Seneca has Metro routing the C Line, 120, and 56 off Seneca between 1st and 3rd. SDOT says the crash is blocking one southbound lane.
6:31 AM: And just like that, Metro has now sent an alert saying those routes are all back to normal.
9:26 AM: Reminder for next week – the parochial schools that were out on break this week will be back to school; the Highline district just south of West Seattle will be on break. (Seattle and Vashon public schools are out the week of April 11th.)
The Japanese Club was onstage in the Galleria when we walked into Chief Sealth International High School‘s annual Multicultural Night, midway through a lineup of performances that had begun with the resurgent Mariachi program. While dancing and music continued, schoolmates, families, and other community members continued to mingle:
For some, it was a photo-op occasion:
Back onstage, Charlie Loper from the Sealth GSA presented a spoken-word performance – we caught part on video:
The Asian Culture Association followed:
Here’s a video excerpt:
The Sealth BSU had T-shirts to sell:
And the performances closed with a breakdancing quartet:
The party didn’t break up immediately. On the sidelines near the stage, a public invitation to prom, with signs, drew cheers and applause. The Galleria continued to pulse with energy as we headed toward the door, back out into the warm spring evening. Thanks to Sealth activities director Sarah Martin for the invitation, and to the students for sharing their talent and passion.