day : 20/06/2016 10 results

West Seattle weather: Summer’s first thunderstorm; South Park outage; Westwood collision

(Photo by Brandon Sparks, via Twitter)

10:36 PM: Did you see and/or hear that burst of thunder/lightning? At least it held off until after Alice’s summer-solstice sunless-sunset watch!

lightning 06-20-16
(Added: Photo by Chris Frankovich)

The National Weather Service’s short-term-forecast alert says “isolated thunderstorms” are possible until midnight.

(Added: Photo by Raynea Crittenden, shared via WSB Facebook page)

10:47 PM: Checking the City Light outage map, we see 106 customers in South Park are without electricity, and that it’s blamed on a lightning strike.

11:27 PM: Police and medics are headed for 26th and Barton, where a driver is reported to have hit a pedestrian.

11:32 PM: Emergency crews on scene are calling for a private ambulance, indicating the injuries are not major.

11:41 PM: That’s changed – now scanner traffic indicates the man has a fracture and will be taken to Harborview to be checked out.

11:55 PM: Westbound Barton had been closed but, per scanner, will be reopened shortly. Meantime, in case you’re reading this later and sleeping through the storm, it’s still raining fairly hard after more than an hour.

12:37 AM: And now … the rain has tapered off, at least here, east of Lincoln Park.

4:21 AM Texter says a tree is down across Fairmount Avenue in the 2200 block.

West Seattle summer solstice: Sunset watch with Alice draws crowd despite sun’s no-show


Though the sun was a sunset no-show (that’s just a little residual color in the background of our photo), Alice Enevoldsen‘s 29th solstice/equinox watch drew and delighted a crowd just the same – we counted about 80 people. Above, right about the time the sun was setting behind the clouds, Alice and volunteer helper Christian demonstrated the relationship between the Sun and Earth on the solstice. See and hear part of it in our Instagram video (mouse over the image to get the “play” button, and click it again to stop):

Alice also talked a bit about newly discovered asteroid HO3. And she promised to be back for equinox sunset watch in September – “with a tiny baby” (she and husband Jason are expecting their second child later this summer). She cheerily wished all, “Happy Solstice!” as some departed, while others hung out to ask skygazing questions.

ADDED TUESDAY MORNING: You can hear Alice’s entire 17-minute presentation via this clip published to YouTube by Scott Scowcroft. The fish-eye video is an experiment but the audio’s clear and it’s fun to hear Alice’s discussion of solstices, the asteroid, and more.

FOLLOWUP: Riverview Playfield fire was ‘set’

(WSB photo, taken before fire debris were cleaned up Saturday)

Saturday’s 2 am fire in a restroom/storage building at Riverview Playfield was “a set fire,” SFD Lt. Sue Stangl confirmed to WSB today. She said the damage estimate is $70,000. What that breaks down to, and how the building will be repaired, has yet to be determined, according to Seattle Parks. Spokesperson Christina Hirsch told us today that “SPR staff have visited the site to take an initial look at the damage. Staff are planning on conducting a formal assessment this week. After that assessment is complete, we will have a better idea of damage estimates and repair plans.” The comfort-station building is only three years old. Meantime, with the park so busy this time of year, portable restrooms already have been brought in, Hirsch said.

Summer Concerts at Hiawatha 2016: Here’s the lineup!

(WSB photo from Caspar Babypants @ Summer Concerts at Hiawatha in 2015)

About an hour into summer, we have the news music lovers have been awaiting – the lineup for this year’s Summer Concerts at Hiawatha, presented by the Admiral Neighborhood Association, with sponsors including WSB, one month before the start of the six-Thursday-night outdoor-show series. Coordinator Katy Walum says it was “a big challenge to review the work of so many talented artists who applied,” but they had to settle on a half-dozen, and here’s the result:

July 21st: Smokey Brights – video here

July 28th: The Banner Days – video here

August 4th – Vicci Martinez – video here

August 11th – Total Experience Gospel Choir – video here

August 18th – Duke Evers -video here

August 25th – Caspar Babypants – video here

The concerts are all free, on the east lawn at Hiawatha Community Center – bring your own chair/blanket/etc. – and start at 6:30 pm.

Wondering how you’ll get to downtown Seattle after the Highway 99 tunnel opens? Here’s how

(WSDOT graphic)

It’s a question still asked fairly often – when the Alaskan Way Viaduct is gone and the tunnel is open, how will you get to downtown from northbound Highway 99? WSDOT has just announced it’s chosen the builder for the ramp that answers the question:

Construction will soon begin on a new flyover off-ramp designed to connect the northbound lanes of State Route 99 to Seattle’s stadiums, Pioneer Square, and downtown Seattle.

The Washington State Department of Transportation awarded the $3.5 million contract to Interwest Construction, Inc. of Sequim to build the ramp to South Dearborn Street that will allow northbound traffic to exit in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood when the new SR 99 tunnel opens.

“The flyover ramp is an important piece of the larger Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program,” said David Sowers, deputy program administrator for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. “And drivers should not worry about construction delays, as the ramp will be built in the existing SR 99 work zone near the stadiums.”

WSDOT and Interwest expect to sign a contract giving notice to proceed later this month. Construction activities are expected to start in July and last approximately six months. The new off-ramp will open to motorists at the same time as the new SR 99 tunnel, currently scheduled for 2018.

The latest tunneling-progress report, by the way, is here; as of last Thursday, 2,886 feet tunneled, about 200 feet shy of a third of the 9,270-foot distance.

UPDATE: Local schools hit with staffing changes, days before end of the year

(UPDATED WEDNESDAY with update on enrollment)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

With four days to go until the end of the year, and plans already in place for next year, Seattle Public Schools have just been notified of changes to teacher staffing.

In some cases, schools will add teachers. In some cases – they are being told to cut teachers, and Chief Sealth International High School is the hardest hit districtwide, with an order to cut 3 FTE (full-time equivalent) teacher positions, while the largest teacher addition districtwide is at West Seattle High School, with 2.4 more teaching FTEs. (added) Both schools were projected in the district “budget book” to be dropping in enrollment next year, but WSHS’s drop was projected to be larger than CSIHS’s – 1104 to 1090 for Sealth, 956 to 866 for West Seattle.

One of the educators who contacted us anonymously this morning with first word of all this sent along the district’s internal memo and numbers:

Today we are announcing teacher staffing adjustments at several schools. These adjustments are based on updated enrollment projections, open enrollment results, wait list moves, anticipated needs of each program and actual school capacity. If your staffing allocation has changed, please talk to your HR Business Partner to identify next steps for your school. If your allocation has increased, the Capital Projects team will contact you to discuss space implications. If your allocation has decreased, you must notify HR about potential displacements by 6/24.

We are pleased to report we are expecting 53,107 students (headcount) for our 2016-2017 school year, an increase of 783 students over last year’s official October headcount. …

Please keep in mind that while PowerSchool reflects actual enrollment through the current date, the enrollment projections include several additional factors, including the actual data and projected changes, as well as expected attrition and historical trends in enrollment for each school.

As a reminder, core staffing will not be adjusted at this time. We anticipate another set of adjustments following the start of school, which will be based on actual enrollment. At that point, core staffing will be reviewed for possible adjustments. Previously submitted mitigation requests for staffing above standards are still under consideration.

Please remember that elementary and K-8 schools must still adhere to the rules for K-3 class sizes. Schools have the option of using an FTE allocation for a reading and/or math specialist in order to meet the target ratios. The specialist must be assigned to the appropriate grade levels in order to be counted in the state calculations. If your school chooses to pursue this option, you must notify your Executive Director of Schools (EDS). Please see the email sent to all school leaders on May 13 for more details.

General Education: Please refer to the table below for staffing adjustments by school. Parentheses mean a reduction in staffing.

We can’t cut and paste the table, but here’s our transcription of what it lists for schools in the West Seattle area. If a school is NOT listed, that means it is not involved in this round of staffing-level changes:

*Arbor Heights Elementary, adding 1 FTE
*Chief Sealth IHS, losing 3 FTE
*Denny International MS, losing .4 FTE
*Lafayette Elementary, adding 1 FTE
*Madison MS, adding 1.2 FTE
*Schmitz Park Elementary, adding 1 FTE
*West Seattle Elementary, losing 1 FTE
*West Seattle HS, adding 2.4 FTE

Those are “general education” teachers. The letter also includes a table of special-education changes, affecting local schools as follows:

*Chief Sealth IHS, losing .6 FTE resource teacher, adding 1 FTE teacher for the SM4 level
*Fairmount Park Elementary, adding .2 FTE resource teacher
*Roxhill Elementary, losing .2 FTE resource teacher
*West Seattle HS, losing 2 FTEs at the SM2 level and adding 2 FTEs at the SM4 level

(Update: Here’s an explanation of SM2, SM4, and other special-education terminology; thanks to the reader who sent the link.) The letter continues with these closing paragraphs:

Displacement process: If your allocation has been reduced and you need to displace staff you must first try to solicit volunteers. The opportunity for voluntary displacements must be publicized at least five (5) days prior to identifying involuntary displacements. If there are insufficient volunteers, identify the least senior person qualified by category (ies) as the person to displace. If you displace an employee, all remaining teachers must be assigned in their approved categories. Employees must be displaced .5 or 1.0 FTE or to the extent of their contract. (Can be in increments of .4 or .6 at secondary). Complete one displacement form for each teacher displaced, checking the reason the displacement is necessary. …

We know that changes are not easy for our schools, students, staff, parents, and principals. By announcing these changes now, we hope to minimize potential disruption in September/October. Thank you in advance for helping make these adjustments occur smoothly.

The letter is signed by associate superintendents Michael Tolley and Flip Herndon and assistant superintendent Clover Codd.

Individual schools’ budgets for next year, and projected enrollment, had already been published in the “budget book” for 2016-2017 – you can review them starting at page 100. (Also note, we see via that the district has a public hearing on next year’s budget at 4:30 pm this Thursday, with time for public comment.)

You might recall that staffing changes ordered a month into the school year caused controversy each of the past two years (here’s our fall 2015 coverage).

We are pursuing more information and will update with whatever more we find out.

ADDED 5:40 PM: We received this from the district’s chief engagement officer Carri Campbell:

The projections used in the 2016-17 Budget Book were done in February 2016. Those projections were updated in June, to incorporate open enrollment results and wait list moves. The revised projections have been shared with all principals.

The new projections were re-applied to our school staffing model (WSS) and as a result, adjustments (both up and down) were identified for some of our schools.

This process is a standard part of the district’s annual cycle of matching staffing to enrollment. We plan to examine staffing levels again after school starts in the fall, once actual enrollment numbers are known.

Campbell offered to put us in touch with district enrollment director Ashley Davies. We’ll be accepting the offer as part of followups on this.

ADDED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: We spoke with Davies at noontime today and will be publishing a followup later this afternoon. Meantime, the updated enrollment projections are now on the district website, showing Sealth losing more than 70 students from the February projections, and WSHS gaining about the same amount.

UPDATE: House fire in Arbor Heights ruled ‘accidental’; resident, firefighter hurt

(UPDATED 5:22 PM with fire’s cause)

(WSB photos unless otherwise credited)

10 AM: Seattle Fire is reporting smoke and flames as it arrives at an Arbor Heights home in the 10200 block of 38th SW [map]. One person is reported to be hurt and they’re calling for an additional medic unit.

10:08 AM: SFD says the patient is being cared for. Our crew will be on scene shortly.

(Added: Photo sent by Charles)

10:11 AM: Per scanner, the fire is under control “in a shed” adjacent to the house.

10:17 AM: Our crew says firefighters are cutting into the roof – ventilating – to continue fighting the fire.


They also say the patient is male and appears to be conscious; (update) scanner indicates he’s 62 years old and likely suffering from smoke inhalation. Scanner traffic indicates they’re bringing in more engines for additional water supply. Also, our crew tells us a TV helicopter is now in the area.

10:24 AM: Per scanner, they’ve had to run a hose on SW 102nd from 35th so they’re asking to close off 102nd to protect it.

(Added: Photo sent by Debra)

(Please stay away from the fire zone in general anyway.)

10:43 AM: We’ll be asking SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl, who is now on scene, about the water situation. As discussed in comments, multiple Arbor Heights fire hydrants were upgraded in 2011 after flames destroyed a house while firefighters lost time awaiting supply. Meantime, scanner discussion indicates part of 35th may be blocked in the area too – so if you have to get to or from Arbor Heights, the further WEST you can stay, the better, for now. Meantime, SFD’s investigator has been dispatched to look into the fire’s cause.

10:50 AM: Lt. Stangl says a firefighter also was hurt, a leg injury suffered apparently on what was reported to be an unstable deck at the house. She confirmed that the 62-year-old man with smoke inhalation lives at the house. The fire is now tapped. Regarding the water supply, she said that they brought in additional engines so that they could run at the highest pressure possible – Arbor Heights does have uneven supply (as noted in our 2011 coverage, some hydrants are atop smaller mains, though some of those also were upgraded in 2012).

11:23 AM: Our crew’s back and uploading the video of Lt. Stangl’s briefing so you can hear what she had to say about the water, the fire, and the people who were hurt. We also have questions out to Seattle Public Utilities, which is responsible for water mains and fire hydrants. Meantime, photojournalists including ours were taken around to see the major fire damage:

The resident who was hurt was overcome by smoke inhalation while trying to put out the fire himself, Lt. Stangl said.

12:05 PM: The audio in our video of the briefing is unfortunately mostly unintelligible because of the TV-helicopter noise. We’ll be following up with Lt. Stangl for further explanation on what firefighters had to do. Meantime, we’ve added a few more photos to this report.

12:21 PM: Just talked with Lt. Stangl by phone. She says that coincidentally, the incident commander on today’s fire was the same one from the 2011 fire nearby and was already familiar with the area, as are many of the crews, and with the plans for dealing with fires in the area, so that plan was implemented. She says there was not a supply shortage at any time – they did not have to use extra water from the backup engines. Lt. Stangl also noted, as we now recall learning in 2011-2012, that if necessary, SPU can reroute water supplies around the city to make higher flows available in any given area if needed, but they did not need to request that in this case, either. We’ll update again later when we hear from SPU about our questions relating to the overall hydrant status in the area.

1:34 PM: In case you wondered – SW 102nd is open again, but 38th SW remains closed, in the vicinity of the fire.

3:37 PM: We just spoke with SPU’s Andy Ryan, who reiterates that there were no problems with the hydrant system today. As per city standards, everywhere in the area is now no further than 1,000 feet from a 1,000-gallon-per-minute hydrant. The ones closest to today’s fire are 500 and 600 gallons per minute, he said, and there are 800-gpm hydrants nearby. (The WSB archives include this map from 2013 showing remaining 500-gpm hydrants around West Seattle, and this explanation of how they figure into firefighting. The hydrants’ exact addresses are listed here.)

5:22 PM: And we checked back with Lt. Stangl to ask about the fire’s cause: Accidental – the resident was doing some work in the garage, spilled some fuel, a table fell over, and “fuel vapors” were ignited.

damageclose (1)

Damage to the structure is estimated at $55,000, and $18,000 to its contents. We don’t know the resident’s condition but she says the firefighter is already out of the hospital.

SATURDAY: Here’s when the Seafair Pirates land on Alki Beach!

June 20, 2016 9:40 am
|    Comments Off on SATURDAY: Here’s when the Seafair Pirates land on Alki Beach!
 |   West Seattle news

(WSB photo from 2015 Seafair Pirates’ Landing)

Next big West Seattle summer event is Saturday – the Seafair Pirates Landing on Alki Beach! Just in, the scheudle for the day, from event manager Oliver Little:

The Seattle Seafair Pirates will once again storm the beach at Alki on June 25th.

This year’s celebration includes live swashbuckling, live mermaids, a pirate-weapons display, craft vendors, kids’ activities, food vendors, and live music all day. The event runs from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. The Pirates will land at approximately 2:00 pm to a hail of cannon fire and regalia. This event is FREE and very family friendly!

Stage Schedule:

11:00 PM – Zumba with West Seattle Health Club

12:00 PM – West Seattle School of Rock

1:00 PM – Sonic Medicine

2:00 PM – Pirates land and present the new Captain to the Mayor

3:30 PM – Skates!

4:30 PM – Big Wheel Stunt Show

5:30 PM – Acapulco Lips

Never been? Check out our coverage from last year and the year before that, for starters.

Planning how to get there and hoping to avoid a parking crunch? You can take the free Water Taxi shuttle bus, even if you’re not riding the WT; Saturday’s schedule for Route 775 from Seacrest to Alki is here; the schedule for Route 773 from The Junction is here. Metro Route 50 (map) includes stops in North Delridge, The Junction, and Admiral on its way to Alki – the Saturday schedule is here.

West Seattle Monday: Welcome, summer!

low tide 6

Thanks to Zack Malson for the photo from Sunday’s low tide. Today, hours before the official arrival of summer, low tide will be even lower, so we begin our calendar highlights on the beach:

LOW-LOW TIDE: The tide is out to -1.7 feet at 11:38 am today, so it’s a good day for a late morning/early afternoon beach walk. At Constellation and Lincoln Parks, Seattle Aquarium volunteer beach naturalists will be out 10 am-1:30 pm to answer questions – details here.

7-DAY-A-WEEK SCHEDULE STARTS @ COLMAN POOL: Today is the first non-holiday Monday of the year for Colman Pool, the outdoor saltwater pool on the shore at Lincoln Park, and it marks the start of daily operations through Labor Day. See the full schedule, and other information about the season (including swim-meet-closure dates), by going here.

TALK ABOUT INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS/DUAL-LANGUAGE IMMERSION: 6 pm at Concord International in South Park, you’re invited to a community meeting to talk about Seattle Public Schools‘ international-education/dual-language-immersion programs – details in our calendar listing. (723 S. Concord)

TINKERLAB DROP-IN: 6-7:30 pm at Delridge Library, all-ages drop-in for STEM-based crafts/activities. Tonight’s theme is “Chain Reaction.” (5423 Delridge Way SW)

QUIZ/TRIVIA NIGHT: Three venues have Monday night quizzes/trivia on our calendar – 7:30 pm at The Skylark in North Delridge, 7:30 pm at Christo’s on Alki, 8 pm at Shadowland in The Junction.

LIVE JAZZ: The Triangular Jazztet performs at 8 pm at Parliament Tavern. No cover. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

SOLSTICE SUNSET WATCH: Tonight’s forecast has clouded up a bit since last we looked, but you never know when the sun might make an appearance after all, so plan to join Alice Enevoldsen at 8:45 pm at Solstice Park to mark the official changing of the seasons (the solstice moment is 3:34 pm our time, but Alice’s sunset watches are always for the sunset closest to the solstice/equinox). More info on her Alice’s Astro Info website. (7400 Fauntleroy Way SW)

LOOK INTO THE FUTURE … via our complete calendar.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Monday updates; bridge closures continue

June 20, 2016 6:39 am
|    Comments Off on TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Monday updates; bridge closures continue
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links; is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)

(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)

6:39 AM: Good morning. No incidents reported currently in/from West Seattle. One challenge this morning: The Seattle Fire real-time 911 log page is down, so tips are more important than ever today if you see something that’s likely going to affect how people are getting around – if you can call or text as a passenger, or once you get to where you’re going, our 24/7 hotline is 206-293-6302.

Meantime, the Fauntleroy Expressway seismic-safety work continues on the west end of the West Seattle Bridge, so it will be closed again tonight 9 pm-5 am.

7:12 AM: This just came in from Metro via text and tweet; though it’s half an hour after the reported missed trip, we’re noting it for the record:

8:19 AM: Still quiet. So we’ll take a moment to remind you that Seattle Public Schools are still in session this week – last day Friday. The district immediately south of here, Highline Public Schools, has been out since last Friday; most if not all independent schools have finished for the year, too.