West Seattle, Washington
10:38 PM: As we reported last night, wildlife authorities are investigating five sea lion deaths discovered on West Seattle shores. Today, the two most-recently discovered California sea lion carcasses – both adult males – were towed to Don Armeni Boat Ramp, where an area was taped off so necropsies could be done. Participants included Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which reports on its website tonight that the procedures showed “evidence of bullet wounds and projectiles … one (sea lion) with extensive internal damage.”
The first one was towed in late morning from the beach west of Seacrest. Longtime local whale researcher Mark Sears provided the boat, more often used for orca research. This one was measured at nine feet long and estimated to weigh almost half a ton.
The other was towed in the afternoon from the 1500 block of Alki SW with a boat provided by West Seattle volunteer Rick Rasmussen. Those helping prep that sea lion for transport included “Diver Laura” James.
The Seal Sitters update continues, “The skulls [of both sea lions] were removed and will be radiographed early next week and should reveal more conclusive results.” The report also notes the full list of agencies and organizations that collaborated to make today’s procedures happen.
As a NOAA spokesperson had told us early today, the federal agency’s Office of Law Enforcement is investigating. If you have any information on the sea-lion shootings, you can reach them any time of the day or night at 800-853-1964.
SIDE NOTE: While all this unfolded, a harbor seal swam over and hauled out elsewhere on Don Armeni.
Seal Sitters told us they’d been watching that one come and go.
ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: NOAA has now published its official statement:
NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement is investigating the apparent shooting of several California sea lions in the area of West Seattle since October, and reiterates that sea lions are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).
“We are concerned about a number of recent reports of marine mammal deaths caused by gunshots in the greater Seattle area. All marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and OLE investigates all reported unlawful takes of sea lions,” said Greg Busch, Assistant Director, NOAA Fisheries, Office of Law Enforcement, West Coast Division.
To report a marine mammal violation, call 1-800-853-1964. NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement provides live operator coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To report a dead, injured or stranded marine mammal, call: 1-866-767-6114.
In recent years, there have been reports of sea lion shootings n fall and winter in Puget Sound, said Kristin Wilkinson, NOAA Fisheries Stranding Coordinator for the Northwest. California sea lions in and around Puget Sound now are almost all males that have come north from the Channel Islands off Southern California in search of more plentiful food.
The MMPA prohibits the harassment, hunting, capturing, or killing of marine mammals, or any attempt to do so. However, the law does contain exceptions authorizing certain people under certain circumstances to use non-lethal methods to deter marine mammals from damaging private property, including fishing gear and catch, so long as it does not result in the death or serious injury of an animal.
For further details and frequently asked questions on deterrence methods, visit:
Eight days after the election, the monthly meeting of our area’s largest political organization, the 34th District Democrats, included looks ahead to other elections – including one of their own.
SEATTLE SCHOOL LEVIES: Two Seattle Public Schools levies – capital (BEX) and operations – are expiring, so in three months, Seattle voters will be asked to approve their replacements. The group endorsed “yes” votes after hearing from Leslie Harris, who said she was speaking as an individual and longtime 34th DDs member rather than as our area’s elected rep on the School Board and its president:
The School Board finalized the levy plans two weeks ago; here’s the info sheet, including what property owners will pay. The biggest projects the BEX levy would fund in our area are a rebuild for Alki Elementary and an addition for West Seattle Elementary; go here to see other projects listed school-by-school.
Back in February, we reported on a $10,000 “Only in Seattle” grant that the West Seattle Junction Association and WS Chamber of Commerce planned to use to connect local businesses with new residents. Today, the organizations made the next move in creating that connection – a volunteer work party to stuff 800 bags with swag provided by and promoting dozens of businesses. Each one will also include this booklet of coupons from, and information about, the businesses:
The bags will be distributed to new residents starting later this month. We’re among the participants – our contribution is a fridge magnet featuring our 24/7 hotline (206-293-6302). You can read more about the WSJA/WSCC pilot project here.
Family and friends are remembering Alicia T. Watson, and her sister is sharing this with the community:
Alicia T. Watson (Wilhite)
January 7, 1964 – November 1, 2018
Alicia T. Watson (Wilhite) suddenly passed after long complications with health issues at her home in Seattle. Alicia is survived by her loving son Felix, 3 grandchildren Sophia, Felix IV and Vivian, her sister Linda, and her beloved Chihuahua Lovie.
Alicia was born in Alaska but spent most of her life in Seattle, the city she loved most. She was an Associate of the Sisters of Providence and enjoyed working the last few years at Taco Time. She enjoyed taking her Lovie for long walks and doting over her beautiful grandchildren and proudly watching them at their sporting events.
When we were young, you were my whole life, my world. We had our own way of communicating with each other that no one else could understand. This is how I remember you.
When we were young we had never ending energy to play in our own imaginary world. Building houses and castles and sometimes spaceships with our building blocks and Lincoln Logs. This is how I remember you.
When we were young we even found adventures in other people’s basements. Like playing hide and seek in Carmen’s basement or cleaning the many piles of sawdust in Mr. Cornelius’ basement workshop or getting scared trying to guess what was behind Cecilia’s locked basement door and running out screaming over our own imaginations. This is how I remember you.
When we were young we could entertain ourselves for hours with our sing-song hand slapping games or getting the giggles, really bad, at the worst times like in restaurants or worse at church. This is how I remember you.
When we were young you were my whole life, my world. I looked up to you in awe at how you knew so much and how sure you were of everything. And you took me by the hand and showed me the way and taught me so much. This is how I will always remember you.
Your sister Linda
You are much loved.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
So many neighbors work tirelessly and often thanklessly to make this a better place. Today, one of them got some thanks, in the form of an award – Sharon Baker from Friends of Lincoln Park is among the recipients of the Denny Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Stewardship, announced today by Seattle Parks. From the announcement:
… The winners are a cross-section of Seattle’s most creative, dedicated and hard-working volunteers who donate precious time and energy to improving Seattle’s parks and recreation programs. …
In 2017, 36,198 people volunteered for Seattle Parks and Recreation, providing 196,448 hours of service, which is a donation valued by Independent Sector at $30.46 per hour or $5.9 million dollars.
Healthy Environment: Sharon Baker, Lincoln Park
For the past 13 years, Sharon Baker, lead forest steward with Friends of Lincoln Park (FLiP), has led volunteers in creating healthy habitats in the park. Sharon has spent countless hours restoring beautiful Lincoln Park forest, benefitting the surrounding community, wildlife and ecosystems. Since she became a master forest steward in 2005, she has been committed to restoring and maintaining much of the park’s extensive forested areas. Sharon creates a warm and welcoming experience for anyone who wishes to join the efforts of FLiP. Sharon welcomes many youth groups and local school classes to experience the forested areas of Lincoln Park, and she knows exactly the right spots in the park that will spark their interest and imagination.
P.S. Want to join Sharon and the FLiP volunteers? Their next work party is this Sunday morning!
Two West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports:
DUMPING: Michael sent the photo and video below after reporting this last night:
This pickup truck just dumped 10 huge black bags of what appear to be trash in front of our house, and sped off. Video attached of vehicle. You can hear them throwing the trash out in the beginning.
Non emergency line was called and police were supposedly dispatched. Would love it if you shared and asked folks to be on the lookout for that pickup, this is a pretty brazen dumping on a public street. This was on 32nd Avenue SW between 106th and 105th.
VANDALISM: And from Arbor Heights, Evelyn asks, “Did anyone else in the Arbor Heights get your house egged around 1 am? We got woken up by a huge loud noise and realized someone egged our home.” It has been reported to police.
12:20 PM: Close to where northbound vehicles will enter the new Highway 99 tunnel starting in a few months, WSDOT, SDOT, and Metro just held another update/briefing event for the media.
Part of it was intended to underscore just how much work has to be done during the ~3 weeks between permanent closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and opening of the tunnel – this new WSDOT video explains it:
No major new information about the closure period at today’s briefing, but we were there and noted some key points:
-SDOT has launched a new traffic-info website today at seattletraffic.org (this is where you can, among other things, sign up for neighborhood-specific alerts, which were previewed at a previous briefing)
-Metro is working on a new batch of brochures with information on bus changes
-Metro also notes that during the closure it will be “more dynamic,” with rerouting “on the fly” if needed
-The Water Taxi “two-boat” schedule information should be available online “soon”
-WSDOT says the tunnel will be toll-free into the summer, with tolling probably not starting until July/August
-You’re now warned that this is really just the start of a 5-year period of transportation turbulence in the city
-West Seattleites are reminded again that the three-week Highway 99 closure, and tunnel opening, will be followed by another two weeks or so of work before the new connection for those exiting NB 99 to downtown is ready to open
Otherwise, the big dates ahead are the same – January 4th for the closure of the SB 99 ramp to SODO, January 11th for the Alaskan Way Viaduct permanent shutdown/Highway 99 closure to get connection work done on both ends of the tunnel (again, the WSDOT video above explains), February 2-3 for the goodbye/hello weekend, tunnel opening TBA after that. We recorded today’s briefing and are processing the video, and will add it along with more toplines when ready.
7:42 PM: Here’s our video of the entire briefing:
Speakers were WSDOT’s Dave Sowers, SDOT’s Heather Marx, and Metro’s Bill Bryant. And another reminder – southbound 99 will be closed between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge this weekend for more prep work, starting around 9 tomorrow night and potentially continuing until very early Monday (as usual, we’ll publish an update if the closure ends early). This is a weather-dependent closure, WSDOT says, but so far the weekend forecast looks mostly dry.
One more reminder – next chance to bring your questions directly to transportation reps will be Monday’s meeting of the Junction Neighborhood Organization, 6:30 pm November 19th at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon).
(Chestnut-backed chickadee, photographed by Robin Sinner, shared via the WSB Flickr group)
Highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
DINE-OUT BENEFIT: Lincoln Park Co-op Preschool benefits from part of the proceeds today at MOD Pizza in West Seattle – mention the co-op when you order. 10:30 am-10 pm. (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW)
PRESCHOOL STORY TIME: 11 am at Delridge Library – stories, songs, and rhymes! (5423 Delridge Way SW)
WEST SEATTLE DEMOCRATIC WOMEN: 6 pm meeting at Admiral UCC. Featured tonight: Screening of the movie “RBG.” (4320 SW Hill)
ALKI COMMUNITY COUNCIL: 7 pm at Alki UCC. (6115 SW Hinds)
BILL DAVIE: Live at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)
‘FOOLS’ AT WSHS: Just two more chances to see the West Seattle High School Drama Club production of Neil Simon‘s “Fools,” with curtain time at 7:30 pm tonight. Ticket info is in our calendar listing. (3000 California SW)
8:21 AM: Thanks to Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales for the tip: Orcas are southbound in the Fauntleroy ferry lanes right now.
9:32 AM: Still southbound – see comments, with photos including the one we reposted above, from Jsmyth.
4:30 PM: Now northbound, visible from The Arroyos, reports Kersti Muul.
6:28 AM: Big early backup because of a crash in the NB Battery Street Tunnel. One lane has reopened but one remains closed. Also, NB I-5 downtown has had some trouble, most recently a
crash stalled vehicle at Seneca.
STADIUM ZONE TONIGHT: 5:20 pm kickoff for Seahawks vs. Green Bay at CenturyLink Field.
6:33 AM: Both BST lanes are now open, says SDOT, because: “Collision has been relocated north of the tunnel at Thomas St blocking the right northbound lane.”
6:46 AM: Per scanner, police are checking out a crash on 35th by the stadium (south of Avalon).
6:49 AM: That crash is not blocking and no one requires medical attention. Meantime, the NB 99 “relocated” crash has cleared, and so has the NB I-5 stall.
8:50 AM: Stalled truck on EB bridge past Fauntleroy entrance.