day : 10/12/2017 11 results

Proposed Schmitz Park expansion goes before City Council committee this week

One of West Seattle’s biggest parks will get a little bigger, if a proposal for the city to buy an adjacent parcel gets final approval. The announcement was sent tonight by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

109-year-old Schmitz Park is on track to be expanded by a parcel at its southeast corner.

The plan, which has secured approval by the Seattle Mayor’s office, is headed for consideration by a Seattle City Council committee on Tuesday morning, Dec. 12.

Working on this plan for nearly three years is a group calling itself Friends of the Historic Schmitz Park Addition, including former Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Schmitz family spokesperson Vicki Schmitz Block, and the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

SWSHS is pleased to congratulate and support this recent announcement, which would involve legislation for the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation to acquire the property of West Seattle resident Bruce Stotler, located at the southeast corner of historic Schmitz Park in West Seattle (see map).

This issue will be voted on in Seattle City Council committee on Tuesday, December 12, during the meeting of the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee chaired by Lisa Herbold, which begins at 9:30 am and is open to public comment. If passed in committee, the legislation will go to full Council in early January.

The process began in 2015 when property owner Bruce Stotler reached out to former Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen about donating or selling (below cost) his property abutting the park. Councilmember Rasmussen led Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre and others on tours of the Stotler property.

(2015 photo: L-R, Bruce Stotler, Tom Rasmussen, Vicki Schmitz Block, Rasmussen staffer Evan Clifthorne)

Rasmussen and property owner Stotler later met with Councilmember Lisa Herbold in 2016, presenting goals to:

• Expand Schmitz Preserve Park by adding Bruce Stotler’s property to the park
• Allowing Stotler to live on the property through a life-estate agreement with the Parks Department
• Potential increase future accessibility to the Park at its southeast corner, potentially improving ADA access
• Establishing this agreement at a time that the property owner was willing to do so with a large donation component

Fast forward to today: Former Councilmember Rasmussen expresses his own appreciation to Mr. Stotler, Councilmember Herbold, and others for championing this issue and bringing it to the fore. “I believe this is an important step toward the preservation of our parks, and Mr. Stotler is setting a remarkable example of how an individual resident can continue in the tradition of the Schmitz family’s original gift of the park land to the City of Seattle.”

Representing the Schmitz family, Vicki Schmitz Block said, “The Schmitz Family is grateful to Mr. Stotler for his vision of adding his property to Schmitz Park, the Seattle Parks Department for agreeing to purchase this piece of land, and Mayor Jenny Durkan for shepherding the project forward. We are hopeful that this action will generate renewed interest and involvement by the community to ensure the future of this forest-like park.”

Jeff McCord, Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director, added, “We hope to continue to provide outreach, support and advocacy for projects like this one which help to enhance our wonderful West Seattle character and environment. The prospect of having better public access to a great asset like Schmitz Park, as well as helping to expand and preserve the park for all to enjoy, is great news for our community.”

The proposed purchase agreement that’s part of the committee’s Tuesday agenda lists the price the city will pay for the 5,000-square-foot parcel as $225,000, about half its current assessed value.

West Seattle mom’s quest for closure, 3 years after baseball-player son’s death in a crash

The holiday season is a time to give … and a time to reach out.

It is also a time to try to cope with the loss of those who are no longer with us.

Three years ago, Jenny Taylor lost her 26-year-old son Jay Taylor in a car crash.

His loss was also a loss to the community. Jay was a star baseball player at West Seattle High School, helping the Wildcats win the league championship. (That’s Jay in the photo at right, with recently retired WSHS baseball coach Velko Vitalich.)

He also played college baseball at multiple schools, and his potential had been recognized by pro-baseball teams. Before all that, Jay mentored many younger players.

His promising future was taken away in August of 2014, on the night before he was to return to Kansas for his final year of playing college baseball. He crashed near Lincoln Park in a summer downpour. Jenny explains that he suffered a brain injury that took his life 9 days later.

“The loss of our son is something we will never get over in my lifetime. I wake up every morning trying to remember how his hug warmed my heart and how proud I was of him and maybe someday I will be able to feel love in my heart again. It’s just horrible to lose a child of any age.”

Before WSHS, Jay went to Schmitz Park Elementary and Madison Middle School. His love for baseball started with T-ball at age 5. Along with playing in youth leagues, Jenny says, her son “played all year around on select teams that traveled around … during the summer also.”

His achievements are detailed in part in his obituary. During his senior year, in June 2006, the Colorado Rockies drafted him, and interest was shown by other teams including the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres, Jenny recalls. “He didn’t sign and accepted a full ride to Lewis-Clark in Idaho that year.” His college career took him to several other schools, finally Sterling College in Kansas, “where he met his girlfriend, the captain of the softball team, and gave her a promise ring in May.” She too was from western Washington (Renton).

Then came the crash. “The night of the accident, he had been at Lincoln Park and left his backpack and went back to get it during a downpour, and was seen by a RapidRide bus driver rounding the corner on an a oily roadway, sliding into a pole and not getting aid soon enough …” Jenny says the bus driver did not call for help, while her son remained at the scene, gravely injured. But separate from that, she is seeking closure in the form of a headstone in tribute to her son. “I feel that all of his friends and teammates need some closure and a place to grieve, to process this horrible accident. I as a mother can only now think of putting his ashes to rest here in West Seattle in the (J) section that is still open after 3 years was just meant to be. My family is starting over and can’t afford the plot and headstone that Jay deserves.”

She is asking for community help via crowdfunding, hoping that those touched by Jay’s life might be able to make the memorial happen.

“My son never gave up on his dream, and deserves a nice headstone … he brought scouts to his school for other players to follow their dreams.” She hopes to be able to fulfill this last one she has for him.

TUESDAY: Admiral Neighborhood Association’s final 2017 meeting

December 10, 2017 7:54 pm
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 |   Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

Still a few more community meetings before holiday break – including the Admiral Neighborhood Association, 7 pm Tuesday (December 12th). Here’s the agenda, as announced by president Larry Wymer:

We welcome our Admiral neighbors to our last meeting of 2017 where we have a full agenda to address a variety of issues of interest to all, which includes:

1) ALKI PUBLIC SAFETY & HEALTH SURVEY (rescheduled from an earlier meeting)
Newell Aldrich, Legislative Assistant for City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, will be presenting the results of this recent survey initiated by Councilmember Herbold, which generated responses from 817 area residents (including 197 from Admiral). Mr. Aldrich will discuss both the survey, and the City Council’s response to it.

Seattle Fair Growth, along with at least 15 neighborhoods around the City, have filed an appeal, which Deb Barker will discuss.

The Admiral neighborhood is in need of a volunteer to take on the “Admiral Emergency Communication Hub Captain” position. This volunteer would help ensure Admiral is ready to be resilient after a disaster by setting up a communication point so Admiral neighbors can help Admiral neighbors, as well as maintain communication with other neighborhood hubs throughout West Seattle, and greater Seattle. If interested, please come find out more.

ANA would like to initiate a discussion among neighbors and businesses to consider establishing a committee to raise funds and assemble a group volunteers to purchase Christmas (and/or generic “holiday”) decorations which we would use to decorate the Admiral core in future years. Let’s discuss to gauge interest, and see if we can find volunteers!


ANA meets at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd/Lander), and all are welcome to attend.

UPDATE: House fire in Highland Park; no injuries reported

(Added: WSB photos, unless otherwise credited)

5:48 PM: Seattle Fire is sending a “full response” to a fire reported “on the exterior” of a house in Highland Park, in the 7500 block of 14th SW [map].

5:52 PM: Per scanner, the fire may have extended into the house. Everyone is reported to have gotten out OK.

5:56 PM: The fire’s reported to be burning in the attic. SFD confirms no injuries reported.

6:10 PM: Traffic alert – SW Holden is blocked in the area. The fire is now reported to be under control. The Red Cross is being called to help the house’s residents.

(Seattle Fire Dept. photo)

6:19 PM: One resident told our photographer that they believe the fire was electrical and started in a wall in the back of the house. She confirms everyone got out OK, but they’re currently looking for their two cats.

7:19 PM: Holden is open again.

Shopping, snacking, sipping to help West Seattle nonprofits @ St. Nicholas Faire 2017

December 10, 2017 5:23 pm
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 |   Fun stuff to do | Holidays | West Seattle news

Soft light, refreshments, low-key holiday shopping … it’s like the anti-mall right now in the basement of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle during the 9th annual St. Nicholas Faire, continuing until 7 pm. The shopping is actually bidding – for dozens of unique gift baskets, gift items, and gift cards, all donated so the money that’s raised can go to the West Seattle Food Bank and West Seattle Helpline. Item themes range from sports to cooking to reading to gardening to relaxing to snacking …

Art, too – this Alki painting is by Paul Smith:

There’s an admission charge (as detailed in our calendar listing) to raise money for those nonprofits too, discounted if you bring nonperishable food for the WSFB. And for an extra $5, you can do some wine tasting – every year Rich Marshall from award-winning Maryhill Winery is there; he also happens to be brother of FLCWS pastor Rev. Ron Marshall. Parking lot’s behind the church (4105 California SW), entrance is in front; go have a good time while doing good. (More photos shortly.)

CONGRATULATIONS! STEM K-8 girls win LEAF Challenge

December 10, 2017 3:42 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

The photo and report are from Louisa Boren STEM K-8 principal Ben Ostrom:

STEM K-8 Girls Team takes first place in the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Flight STEM challenge against high-school competition! The competition involves designing, building, and flying electric planes that carry cargo.

Go Girls!

You can read more about the competition here.

Remembering Phyllis Chesterfield, 1936-2017

December 10, 2017 1:58 pm
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 |   Obituaries | West Seattle news

Family and friends are remembering Phyllis Chesterfield, and sharing this tribute with the community:

Phyllis Jean Chesterfield (Johnson) passed away peacefully at her home on November 16, 2017 at the age of 81. She was born February 20, 1936, in Seattle. She grew up in Seattle and graduated from West Seattle High School.

Phyllis loved her family, music, reading, history, cooking, genealogy, guitar, and so much more.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Donald R. Chesterfield, June 1, 2011.

Phyllis is survived by her six children Kris Ohanu, Kip Chesterfield, Karen Brown, Kitty Chesterfield, Karli Shanklin, Kilian Chesterfield, and their families, many grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brothers Walt, Keith, Jim, and Jerry Johnson, and their families, including many nieces and nephews.

A gathering for family and friends will be held in her honor at a later date. Please contact Kris Ohanu ( for details.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

HAPPENING NOW: Free rides on the West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays Santa Trolley

Yes, there is a Santa Claus … aboard the Santa Trolley. Today brought the debut of this new West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays feature – free rides around The Junction until 2 pm, during the Farmers’ Market – next Sunday (December 17th) too!

The trolley is from Emerald City Trolley; the rides are free thanks to sponsor Westside School (which also sponsors WSB, and we too sponsor Hometown Holidays). Junction Hometown Holidays events in the week ahead include Cocoa Cris Cringle photo sessions at Easy Street Records on Wednesday, Holiday Art Walk on Thursday night, Caspar Babypants at Easy Street next Saturday, and the cocoa-and-coat drive at the Farmers Market next Sunday … all listed here (and in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, too!).

WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: Stage 1 burn ban ordered

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is adding King County to its burn-ban list. As of 2 pm today, a Stage 1 burn ban will be in effect. Here’s what that means:

*No burning is allowed in wood-burning fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves or uncertified fireplace inserts unless this is your only adequate source of heat.

*Even those using a certified device or those for whom this is their only adequate source of heat cannot generate visible smoke.

*All outdoor burning is prohibited, even in areas where outdoor burning is not permanently banned. This includes wood- and charcoal-fueled recreational fires.

Also, the National Weather Service‘s air-stagnation advisory continues.

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: USS Nimitz, headed home

(Added: Photo by Tom Stoner)

After six months away, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) arrives home in Bremerton today, and the grouping of Navy vessels rounding south Bainbridge Island and entering Rich Passage, as shown on, indicates it should be visible from here.

What’s up for your West Seattle Sunday

(Ruby-crowned kinglet, photographed by Mark Ahlness; photo shared via WSB Flickr group)

Happy Sunday! Here’s what’s up, morning through night – from the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide and Event Calendar:

SANTA PHOTOS AT CAPERS: 9 am-noon at CAPERS in The Junction. Donations benefit the West Seattle Food Bank. (4525 California SW)

SANTA AT THE SCHOOLHOUSE: Santa photos at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, 9 am-4 pm Saturday with Gail Ann Photography. Walk-ins welcome. Packages start at $30, and 20% of all sales will be donated to the Fauntleroy Community Service Agency. (9131 California SW)

RIDE THE SANTA TROLLEY! 10 am-2 pm in The Junction, free ride with Emerald City Trolleys taking you on a loop around the Junction. Sponsored by Westside School (WSB sponsor). Catch the trolley at the south end of the Farmers’ Market. (California/Alaska)

WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: Year-round market open today 10 am-2 pm. (California SW between Oregon and Alaska)

GREYHOUND MEET AND GREET: 11 am-1 pm, Greyhound Pets Inc. at Mud Bay in Admiral. (2611 California SW)

OPEN HOUSE AT MODE MUSIC AND PERFORMING ARTS: 3-6 pm, come find out about this new venture at its first open house:

Mode Music and Performing Arts (MMPA) is a new nonprofit performing arts organization based in the West Seattle neighborhood, providing classes and workshops in the Seattle area. Founded by Kristina Rowell (Studio East Education Director) and Erin Rubin (Mode Music Studios in West Seattle), MMPA is out of West Seattle and ready for launch in January of 2018.

MMPA strives to provide exciting and innovative performing-arts training. We believe that it is vital every child experience the arts and have the opportunity to create on and off stage. Our professional teaching artists are skilled at offering a wide variety of performing arts classes from acting technique to musical theater to play creation and performance.

It’s two doors down from Mode Music Studios (WSB sponsor) and next to Skylark. (3801 Delridge Way SW)

HOLIDAY SINGALONG: Songs of Christmas singalong, 3 pm. All ages, following festive refreshments at 2:30 pm, at Admiral Congregational UCC. (4320 SW Hill)

‘IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE’: Matinee today for Twelfth Night Productions‘ holiday show “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Show.” 3:00 pm at Kenyon Hall. Get ticket(s) online at this Brown Paper Tickets link, or at the Kenyon Hall box office. (7904 35th SW)

ERYN BENT: Singer-songwriter performs at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 3-5 pm. (5612 California SW)

LADIES’ MUSICAL CLUB: Free classical concert at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, 3 pm. Program details in our calendar listing. (2306 42nd SW)

ST. NICHOLAS FAIRE: 4:30 pm-7 pm, enjoy the 9th annual St. Nicholas Faire, raising money for the West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline: “Appetizers and spiced cider or mulled wine, silent auction of gift baskets featuring
beer, wine, tea, kitchen items, games, puzzles, art activities, Seahawks & Mariners gear, baked goods, children’s books, etc, and gift cards from local merchants and restaurants. Plus a ring toss game and wine tasting. Lower level of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle. $5 person admission with non-perishable food item or
$15 per family with food donation for each member. If no food donation, $10 person/$25 family.” (4105 California SW)

HOLIDAY CONCERT: South Seattle College Community Choir‘s free holiday concert, 7 pm, SSC’s Olympic Hall. Park in south lot. (6000 16th SW)