West Seattle, Washington
In Crime Watch tonight:
ANOTHER STOLEN CAR FOUND: Pat e-mailed tonight to say that “we recovered our Subaru Forester today. We are very grateful that it was only a mile or so from home and completely unharmed.” It was taken last Saturday night in The Junction. Pat didn’t mention where it was found, but SPD’s Twitter log includes a stolen-car recovery in the 4000 block of 40th SW today, and that would fit. (UPDATE: Different recovered car. Pat says theirs was found “in an alley near 35th/Alaska.”)
E-MAIL SCAM WARNING: Thanks to Susan for sharing this e-mail warning from the Seattle Public Library:
We wanted to let you know about an email scam that began yesterday afternoon and disguises itself as an official communication from The Seattle Public Library.
Several people in the area have reported receiving scam emails from “Joann” at the address “joan@seattlepubliclibrary(dot)com” that include subject lines about overdue and lost Library books. These emails are used to spread “malware,” or malicious software, to recipient computers.
Please note: any official communication from The Seattle Public Library will always come from our official domain: spl.org. The Library does not own or use the domain seattlepubliclibrary(dot)com.
If you receive an email claiming to be from The Seattle Public Library and it is NOT from an spl.org address:
Please DO NOT click on any links or attachments.
Please DO mark it as spam or junk and delete it immediately.
If you receive it at your work account, please also notify your I.T. department.
Your data privacy and security are very important to us and we want to assure you that the Library’s database of users has NOT been compromised. At this time, it is unclear where scammers collected their recipient email addresses and how many email addresses they have sent to, but there has been no security breach of our Library systems. Many recipients of this scam are not Library patrons. This is simply a malware scam disguising itself as Library business.
DAYTIME CAR PROWL: Most of the time, car prowlers work at night. Not the one Pete e-mailed to tell us about: “I live on 44th Ave SW between Brandon & Dawson. Between 3:30 & 4:45 this afternoon, someone came up our fairly long, steep driveway and broke into our SUV which was backed in up against the garage door while my kids and I were inside just 20′ from where the car was parked. The perp took various items including a box of valuables from the trunk. Brazen! Watch out, neighbors!
BOOKS STOLEN: The person who prowled Keri‘s car went away with unusual loot: “Sometime last night between 12 am-7 am, someone smashed my driver’s-side window and stole the box of books from my publisher that I had in there to re-sell. So, if anyone finds a bunch of copies of ‘Rain Gardens for the Pacific Northwest,’ please post, or take one home and build a rain garden!”
CITYWIDE STATS: SPD had another SeaStat briefing today; you can see the slide deck here. The categories of crime tracked in SeaStat are down, year to date, from the same time last year, except for two: domestic-violence aggravated-assault and arson.
You’ve heard a lot about school funding lately. The school-by-school discussions and decisions are where the toplines become real … and potentially painful. Thanks to Bill Schrier for the photo and report from tonight’s Lafayette Elementary PTA meeting, where attendees heard from first-year principal Cindy Chaput:
Principal Chaput reported to the Lafayette PTA tonight about budget cuts and other news.
On the good news front, the building is a historic landmark. It is slated for a remodel in three years, as long as levies continue to pass. The remodel will not change the interior, but significantly upgrade the interior and systems. In the meantime, she has arranged for repainting of the common areas, which badly need it.
The District has a $74 million shortfall, although $24 million of that is likely to be funded from levy proceeds. At this point, Lafayette is projected to have 415 students next year compared to 460 students this year. Chaput expects the actual number will be 460, and she encourages anyone with a potential kindergarten student to register immediately.
Between the budget shortfall and the District’s lower projection of student population, Lafayette would lose four certificated teachers, dropping from 20 to 16 teachers. It would also lose its half-time music specialist, who works primarily in grades K-3. The music specialist position would be restored if the District authorizes one more teacher. In addition, Lafayette would lose paid playground and cafeteria supervision, requiring teachers and instructional aides to perform such work.
Chaput also reported on how the school spends its $71,000 in discretionary funds for professional development, teacher leadership development, and to help fund the school’s interventionist. The PTA could help by raising and spending $100,000 to fund a half-time counselor, 1 day a week instrumental music teacher for the upper grades, the Writers in Schools program, and library supervision so the library could stay open 5 days a week during the school day.
Chaput concluded by saying she loves the staff and community at Lafayette, which makes her commute from Federal Way worthwhile. She loves her job.
The Lafayette PTA is presenting its annual auction on April 1st: lafayettepta.com
Bill also forwarded the e-mail that Seattle Public Schools superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland sent to families tonight. It’s not yet on the district’s special webpage for budget-related messages and information, so we’re republishing it below:
Dear Seattle Public Schools families:
Seattle Public Schools faced a $74M budget shortfall for next school year. Recent bipartisan action in the Legislature reduced that shortfall by $24M. Thank you to the Legislature and Governor Inslee for delaying the Levy Cliff and for restoring dollars, already approved by our local voters, to our 2017-18 budget.
We are extremely grateful for the timely action. I also want to thank the Seattle Legislative delegation for conveying the seriousness of the Levy Cliff and the potential impact in Seattle. Finally, thank you to the Principal Association of Seattle Schools (PASS), Seattle Education Association (SEA), Seattle Council PTSA (SCPTSA), WA Paramount Duty, and so many others for carrying our needs and message forward.
Delay of the Levy Cliff resolves one-third of the budget shortfall we are facing next year. We can now prepare, with greater certainty, school and central budgets for the 2017-18 school year. It also allows us to reduce far fewer staff and provide our students and families some stability in the short term as the Legislature continues to work on long-term budget solutions.
We find ourselves in a unique position, of being extremely thankful and relieved, but still facing a $50M budget shortfall. Without full funding from the state, the district will still need to make painful cuts. We are working with our partners to identify restoration priorities. We will take those recommendations to the School Board on March 29. We expect the restoration plan will restore most, but not all, of the proposed staffing reductions. Updated staffing allocations will be sent to schools after spring break.
As a result of the McCleary lawsuit, promises to fully fund education were made. Years later, they remain unfulfilled. Extension of our levy authority, while much appreciated, does not address our long-term financial needs, including adequate and ample educator compensation, nor does it address the state’s constitutional obligation.
I continue to remain hopeful. The Washington Supreme Court has set a firm deadline. By the end of the 2017 legislative session, the state must have a plan to fully fund education. I am encouraged by our community’s united efforts to get the Levy Cliff addressed. It is evidence that when we are aligned, focused, and persistent, we can get great things accomplished on behalf of our children.
Thank you for your patience, commitment, and continued support of our students. As more information becomes available, I will continue to share updates. Attached is a document that provides additional details. If you have any questions during the next phase of the budget process, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Highland Park Elementary back on Monday, Gov. Inslee told us and the TV crews covering his visit that he expects the Legislature to fully solve the education-funding crisis this session.
Story and photos by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
Football season is months away, but West Seattle High School‘s new head coach Marcis Fennell isn’t wasting a minute.
Wednesday, he found out he got the job. Today, he was on campus after school to meet with his players.
And that wasn’t a trip across town – that was a trip from out of state. Fennell is finishing up his Ph.D. studies (in sports leadership) at the University of Idaho, where he played football in the mid-’00s.
We got the chance to talk with Coach Fennell this afternoon in the WSHS Gym, after his introductory meeting with players.
He’s no stranger to Seattle, having been on the coaching staff at Garfield High School, and says it was always in his plan to head back west, so he applied for the WSHS job, which opened after Tom Burggraff announced his retirement from a long coaching career following the 2016 season. His wife has family and friends in the area, and they are looking forward to having their two young kids have same-age playmates around, so he’s excited about the move.
“I really see that West Seattle can be successful,” he told us. “The Metro League is a pretty flat ground – aside from Eastside Catholic and O’Dea. … I know (WSHS) is a good school and a good community.’
Since he just accepted the job, he hasn’t put together his staff yet, but hopes to do so within the next few weeks. He’s looking at a “college approach” and planning to focus himself on what he’s getting a doctorate in – leadership. “My goal is to cultivate young men,” he explained, while he’ll have his staff focus on the technical points of the sport itself.
Fennell is originally from Southern California, where he went to high school at Long Beach Polytechnic. After he played for the Idaho Vandals, an injury got in the way when he tried out for the NFL, he says. So he took his leadership aspirations, and his football skill, into coaching. And now, he’ll use all of that and then some as the Wildcats’ head coach: “We want to bring a sense of pride back to West Seattle.”
The school has a long, proud history as it celebrates its centennial year, and it’s had recent success in other sports – including this year’s boys and girls basketball teams both making it to state – so the tradition, and the will, are there. New WSHS athletic director Corey Sorenson is excited too.
“Full go,” said Coach Fennell. “That’s what I’m planning.”
But in the short run, he has to head back to Idaho to finish the work of becoming Dr. Fennell.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Even outside peak commute times, motorized-vehicle traffic roars and rumbles through The Triangle on Fauntleroy Way, along the route of the now-in-final-planning-stages Fauntleroy Boulevard project. This afternoon, that posed challenges for the “talk” part of the first of two SDOT-led Walk-and-Talk Tours through the project zone.
More than 40 people turned out in the semi-surprise sunshine to walk along most of the route, eastbound from 39th/Alaska to Fauntleroy/Avalon, with two crossings along the way. Introductory speakers included longtime resident and community advocate Sharonn Meeks (below, with project manager Norene Pen):
Meeks reiterated that the project “has been in play” for many years and said, “We’re here as a community … not as ‘I want it, I don’t want it’.”
Two groups formed; we went along with the one led by project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey, who recapped key points of the plan, including two travel lanes in each direction, and “consolidation of utilities” since the undergrounding requested by the community wasn’t part of the budget. Stops started with an explanation outside Trader Joe’s of how, since their current loading area will no longer exist, they’re going to load off 39th SW west of the store, with some in-lane loading in the middle of the night on Fauntleroy.
McCaffrey said TJ’s is “pretty happy” with what they worked out. Currently, they get two truck deliveries each night, one around 7 pm, one around 3 am. Next stop was the Parks-owned triangle by SW Oregon, where pedestrian improvements were the focus.
Discussion included the plan to change the overhead “fire signal” flashing lights to a full pedestrian-activated signal. Some questions included how that would be timed with the rest of the motorized-vehicle traffic flow on the road. Also noted at this stop, the plan to have “consistent, defined sidewalks” on both sides of Fauntleroy. Then came a chance – for those who haven’t experienced it – to see what it’s like crossing Fauntleroy in The Triangle. The amount of time allotted definitely wasn’t enough for ~20 people.
At the end of that crossing, outside Wardrobe Cleaners, tour participants got a look at the area that SDOT says will be turned into “green stormwater infrastructure.”
Someone pointed out a utility pole that seemed to be infringing on the pedestrian area. “We’re going to be moving a lot of utility poles,” McCaffrey acknowledged. Another question: How will the landscaped median areas be maintained? SDOT is accountable for right-of-way maintenance, but community group help would be great too, McCaffrey said. (Community groups actually have helped over the years – we’ve covered numerous cleanups in the Triangle/Gateway area – but their numbers have dwindled, among other challenges.) Project designer Mike Hendrix said they’re looking at “low maintenance” trees, too.
Outside the 4480 Fauntleroy Way building (Rudy’s Barbershop/Realfine Coffee), questions included just how much of the parking lot was really city right-of-way.
With questions about how businesses would be helped to survive the year-long construction period – a major topic at the recent launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Association – the SDOT reps pointed to city Office of Economic Development reps who were present, and suggested talking with them at the end of the tour.
After that, we missed the final scheduled stop because of unrelated breaking news. But we caught back up with the end of the tour inside West Seattle Brewing (4515 Fauntleroy Way SW), where participants were invited to check out more informational boards, talk one-on-one with SDOT reps, and chow down on pizza that WS Brewing baked at its Alki location and brought up to the Triangle for the occasion.
Also there, Jill Anholt, just announced this week as winner of the public-art contract for the project zone:
Anholt said she doesn’t have a preconceived plan for the work – she’s waiting to see the stories that community members tell. (Here’s how to share yours.) We asked what she’s done in the area most recently; turns out she has work at the newly opened Sound Transit Angle Lake station.
The second and final walking tour – at least for this phase of the feedback process – is on Saturday morning (March 18th), 10:30 am-noon. Same route – meet outside LA Fitness at 39th/Alaska.
12:54 PM: A “full response” is on the way to a possible house fire in the 5600 block of Delridge Way SW [map]. More to come.
12:59 PM: Police are being called for traffic control – avoid this area of Delridge TFN. Via scanner, fire crews report “water on the fire,” and then seconds later, it’s reported to be under control/”knocked down.”
1:09 PM: The fire is now reported to be “tapped.” No word yet on injuries; we’re waiting to hear from our crew at the scene. County records confirm the address on the fire log – 5618 Delridge Way SW, a single-family house built in 1943. And if you’re hearing a helicopter in the area, that’s TV.
1:24 PM: Our crew reports that the three people who were in the house got out OK, no injuries, but they lost one cat (possibly two) in the fire. There’s more damage in the back of the house than the front.
Some units have been dismissed but there’s still a major SFD presence in the area – Delridge is likely to be closed in the vicinity for at least another hour, we’re told – and we’re expecting to hear soon from SFD’s public-information officer at the scene.
2:10 PM: Metro says that Route 120 is back to its regular route southbound, but still rerouted NB between Brandon and Juneau.
3:43 PM: Metro says Route 120 is fully back to normal.
Ready to provide feedback as another West Seattle transportation project gets going? Here comes your chance for semi-early comments on the project officially known as Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane St Intersection Improvements – covering the often-snarled area beneath and on both sides of the bridge. It affects SW Avalon Way, too, though that’s not mentioned in the title.
This is a community-proposed project that made it through the Neighborhood Street Fund process. We reported back in October that it was voted to receive funding; the cost is estimated at $352,000. It’s being designed this year and will be built/installed next year. Here’s the description from the project “fact sheet,” followed by the questions the project team is asking you to answer now:
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will improve safety for people walking, biking and driving at the intersection of Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane Street in West Seattle. In 2016, the Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane Street Intersection project was one of 12 selected by the Levy to Move Seattle Oversight Committee to be funded through the SDOT’s Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) program. The NSF program funds projects requested by the community.
■ Adding a signal to give people biking a protected crossing from the northeast to the southwest corner of the intersection
■ Adding a curb bulb to increase space to stand and visibility at the corner
■ Removing segments of a jersey barrier along the Alki Trail approaching Harbor Ave SW
■ Restriping the crosswalk
■ Trimming overgrown landscaping on the northeast corner
■ Adding bike ramps on SW Avalon Way
■ Painting a bike turn lane on SW Manning St
Maintaining transit and freight access to Harbor Ave SW and SW Avalon Way is a key element of the project.
Adding the protected bike signal will increase wait times at this intersection during some peak times of the day.
■ Increase visibility of and safety for people walking and biking across Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane St
■ Clarify a bike-only turning movement at SW Manning St and SW Avalon Way
The project team is asking for your comments on the early concept – via e-mail, at NSFHarborandSpokane@seattle.gov. Their questions are:
*What do you like about the design concept presented on our website? Do you have any concerns?
*Do the project elements address any problems you have at this intersection?
*What is your experience at this intersection when you are walking? Biking? Driving?
*Do you have recommendations for how to keep people up to date about the project?
If you’re interested in the original concept for the project – here’s the SDOT document summarizing it (in far more detail), prepared for last fall’s review/decisionmaking process.
Thanks to Fleurt in The Junction for the tip on this: A nationwide outage is affecting businesses who use Square for payments. The company is updating its customers on this webpage, and saying it’s not sure how long it will take to fix. While some apparently can use “offline mode” to keep accepting card-swipe payments, that may not cover everyone, so if you were heading soon to a business that you know uses Square, you might consider carrying cash.
The promise of that rainbow last night really came true today – it’s sunny! Here’s what’s ahead for the rest of your Thursday:
FIRST FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD WALK-AND-TALK: Noon-1:30 pm, join the SDOT project team for Fauntleroy Boulevard on the first of two walking tours, starting outside LA Fitness. (3900 SW Alaska)
LAUNCH PARTY AT ORIGINS: 3-8 pm at Origins Cannabis (WSB sponsor), launch party for House of Cultivar Product. Food from Jones Barbecue, music, and swag merchandise for the first 200 customers. 21+ (4800 40th SW)
WEST SEATTLE TIMEBANK: New location for tonight’s WS Timebank meeting – Neighborhood House’s High Point Center! The evening begins with orientation for new members at 6 pm, potluck at 6:30 pm, and then at 7 pm, guest speaker Chris Langeler from the West Seattle Helpline. Full details in our calendar listing. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)
DESIGN REVIEW FOR 2715 CALIFORNIA SW: As previewed here, 6:30 tonight is when the Southwest Design Review Board gets its first look at this 4-story mixed-use building proposed for the Admiral District, with 48 apartments over ~46 parking spaces. The meeting’s upstairs at the Senior Center/Sisson Building. (4217 SW Oregon)
ALKI COMMUNITY COUNCIL: 7 pm at Alki UCC, with the agenda including discussion of a noise survey, SDOT’s 2016-2024 paving plan, a grant application for safe crossing at 57th/Admiral, more. (6115 SW Hinds)
MORE, AS ALWAYS … on our complete-calendar page.
Before we get to the highlights for today/tonight, we’re shining a spotlight on a free concert coming up Saturday night in West Seattle:
Girls Jazz Band
Hosted by Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra
Join SWOJO in concert with our first-ever Girls Jazz Band featuring middle-school girls from West Seattle!
Saturday, March 18 at 7:30 pm
Madison Middle School Auditorium
3429 45th Avenue SW
Free, all ages. Donations accepted at the door.
Support the next generation of women in jazz!
As explained on the SWOJO website, this concert is the culmination of a two-month program.
6:57 AM: Will this morning’s commute be any better than the past two days? The next few hours will tell. No current incidents in, or on the major routes from, West Seattle. No view of the high bridge right now, though, as neither of SDOT’s cameras are working.
FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD WALKING TOUR: If you’re on the peninsula at midday today and interested in the Fauntleroy Boulevard project, the first of two walking tours is set for noon-1:30 pm today, starting outside LA Fitness at 39th/Alaska/Fauntleroy.
Though the scheduled guest from the Southwest Precinct was a last-minute scratch, Tuesday night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting featured a lively discussion of questions for the group to consider, and observations about the city’s new open-to-all process for spending more than $2 million on community-proposed park/street projects. About 20 people were at The Sanctuary at Admiral to talk, listen, and consider: Read More
The season’s not quite over yet for West Seattle High School senior Nate Pryor, who led the team to their third-place finish in the state 3A basketball championships: As we reported last month, he’s on the All-State 3A team as 3A Player of the Year, and WSHS head coach Keffrey Fazio says Pryor will receive his award while playing in the All-State Senior All-Star Games this Saturday (March 18th). The games are presented by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association at Mountlake Terrace High School, where Pryor and the 3A All-Stars will play the 4A All-Stars at 6 pm Saturday.