West Seattle, Washington
Lots of questions about whether this is on – and finally we can say yes. Once again, longtime community advocate Mark Ufkes will lead the West Seattle Polar Bear Swim on New Year’s Day morning. And once again this year, as in years past, his announcement voices political hopes and critiques. Here it is, as received:
West Seattle Polar Bear Swim
January 1, 2020 (The Year of Perfect Vision!)
We enter the water at 10 am sharp !
2020 is finally here. West Seattle’s Alki Beach is the place. Across from Dukes.
We run into the water at 10:00 am sharp, Wednesday, January 1, 2020. Last year we had about 700 swimmers, up from a handful of swimmers when we started this tradition over 15 years ago. Swimmers should bring a towel, good water shoes, and their hopes and dreams for the New Year.
We line up and down Alki beach in a long row, we hold hands with our family and friends (in my case, with my remarkable, beautiful wife Lois), count down from 10, 9, 8, 7 (be sure to wait for the countdown!), …. and at 10:00 sharp we run into Puget Sound screaming as if we are mildly insane. It’s all over in less than a minute, quite painless really, and everyone is happy and smiling afterword. There is something monumental about forcing ourselves out of our comfort zone and willingly jumping into Puget Sound to wash away the complexities of the previous year and invite the unlimited possibilities of the New Year into our lives.
What I want in 2020; well, I recently retired after 12 years as a Scoutmaster where I spent thousands of hours mentoring over 40 boys to complete their Eagle Scout award. I helped these Scouts (my two boys included) to develop a profound appreciation for our natural world and I always stressed several character traits that they need in adulthood.
First, I taught Scouts to never degrade or bully anyone. We can disagree, but everyone deserves respect. And if these Scouts see bullying, they have an obligation to intervene and stop it. Yet President Trump degrades and bullies others every day.
Second, I emphasized the importance of respecting family. Yet President Trump cheated on all three of his wives and bragged about sexually assaulting women. Imagine how his actions disrespected and hurt the self-esteem of these women and his children?
Third, I stressed that Scouts need to live a life of service to others in some form. Doing “a good turn daily”, the Scout Motto, should not be taken lightly. Yet President Trump created a non-profit to make us think that he was serving others, but he used the funds for himself. Trump’s action is really the moral equivalent of shoplifting at Goodwill.
Finally, I reminded these boys that when they turn 18, they must register for the military draft, consider military or other community service to pay America back, and that they should register and then vote. Trump had five deferments to avoid military service, and more important, he repeatedly ridiculed veterans who served honorably (think Senator John McCain and others). And Trump’s Republican operatives are pushing many states to make it harder for every legal citizen, 18 and older, to vote in 2020, because they know that lower voter turnouts help Republicans win.
So, for 2020, all I want is for America to realize that the Presidency of the United States reflects the moral character of our nation and that Donald Trump has proven that he does not deserve this great honor. And for all you outraged Trump supporters, all I can ask is this; “would you want your children to treat people the way Donald Trump treats people?”
Finally, I will be wearing pink again as usual on January 1, until the day that the majority of our Members of Congress are women and/or people of color, since these two groups are the American majority. That, my friends, is the only way we will truly Make America Great Again!
Mark L. Ufkes
Polar Bear Swimmer
Here’s our coverage from last year.
That’s just part of what you’ll see on what you might call “the block by the bridge” – visible through the fence (and vegetation) along the west end of the westbound West Seattle Bridge. Officially, it’s a stretch of Fauntleroy Way, the 4000 block, best reached if you turn east on SW Andover from 35th SW. We’ve previously featured the house whose display fills most of the photo; it’s not the only brightly lit house on the block, so if you want to see a lot of lights in a short distance, it’s worth the visit. Meantime, you can see the lights we’ve previously showcased by scrolling through this WSB archive.
6:36 PM: Just west of Home Depot, a crash on Sylvan Way has taken down wires and left a utility pole leaning. We can’t get close enough for a photo because police are detouring traffic, but avoid the area for a while.
7:16 PM: Thanks for the text – we’re told the scene has cleared.
Before sunset on this Christmas Eve-Eve and second night of Hanukkah, a rainbow! Three reader photos arrived via email – above, by Dan Ciske; below, from the Zemkes (taken on 14th SW in White Center):
And this one’s from Lynn Hall:
And via Twitter, Dené Miles called this one to our attention:
— Dené Miles (@DeneMiles) December 24, 2019
STOLEN TOYOTA TRUCK: Victoria‘s Tacoma was stolen from the 4500 block of Glenn Way:
It was taken some time between 11 pm and 6:30 am. It is a blue 2015 Toyota Tacoma, it’s lifted and has a custom grill, light bar on top and in the custom bumper. The plate number is C45948P; the report number is 19-473574.
If you see it, call 911.
CAR BREAK-IN/THEFT ATTEMPT: Via text – “Was going to go to work, my front driver-side car door was left open. They pulled out my Ignition, tried to start the car and couldn’t. It has a safety lockup, so they just grabbed everything they could in the car.” This happened near California/Raymond.
STORE INTRUDER: CAPERS in The Junction reported an intruder in their store around noontime Sunday who they believe matched the description of the intruder reported at Holy Rosary. He was found in their office area. They do not believe anything was taken
Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Neighbors gathered Wednesday night for an update about the Dakota Homestead fundraising campaign to purchase the former Seattle City Light substation at 50th and Dakota (just north of Genesee Hill Elementary).
The campaign was launched three and a half years ago by the Urban Homestead Foundation, with a goal of buying the Dakota site (most recently appraised in 2017 at a value of $650,000) and preserving it as a neighborhood greenspace, meeting hub, urban garden and environmental education center. The site is one of the six former substations in West Seattle that Seattle City Light had determined were no longer needed, which started a process to sell or otherwise dispose of the properties.
Urban Homestead president Rich Sheibley said that since 2016, the group has successfully secured community donations and grant funding to help support the project, but things really accelerated earlier this year when the project was earmarked for $155,000 in funding in the state capital budget as part of the state’s community projects program (more on that below).
ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:43 AM: Early warning this time – Kersti Muul sends word that orcas are off Golden Gardens (Ballard), southbound, so could be visible from here before long. Let us know if you see them!
12:07 PM: Update from Kersti – they’re off the north tip of Elliott Bay.
12:47 PM: Update from Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail – they are in view from Constellation Park – residents!
1:27 PM: Along with the updates in comments, we just received email from Russell, saying they are in view from Pt. Williams at Lincoln Park.
6:09 PM: Photos added – top of the story and above this line, by Jamie Kinney. Thank you!
THE CHRISTMAS PEOPLE: First day at Alki Masonic Center, until 5 pm, working in the kitchen to put together holiday meals for those in need, as well as accepting donations of homemade cookies – also 9 am-5 pm tomorrow and Wednesday, with a free noon-4 pm buffet Wednesday for anyone who needs a holiday meal. Backstory here. (4736 40th SW)
HOLIDAY MUSIC AT THRIFTWAY: Lots of live music for shoppers at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) – Alex Baird noon-3 pm, Gary Benson 3:30-5:30 pm, We 3 Carolers 5:30-7:30 pm. (4201 SW Morgan)
SANTA AT THRIFTWAY: One last chance for pics with Ol’ St. Nick, 2-5 pm at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) – then it’s back to the North Pole to get ready for Christmas Eve. (4201 SW Morgan)
LIBRARY LAB – ROBOTS! Drop in 4-7 pm at Delridge Library. (5423 Delridge Way SW)
3 TRIVIA/QUIZ NIGHTS: Here are your Monday night options:
*Best of Hands Barrelhouse (7500 35th SW), 7 pm, $2/person, 21+
*The Skylark (3803 Delridge Way SW), 7:30 pm, free, all ages
*Parliament Tavern (4210 SW Admiral Way), 8 pm, $2/person, 21+
… are views like these. Above, David Hutchinson‘s photo of the Olympics during a weekend sunbreak. Below, Bob Bollen‘s recent view of the Mount Rainier vicinity, with the West Seattle Bridge in the foreground.
As for our forecast down here in the lowlands … you might see the mountains again later today, if the “partly sunny” projection comes true.
7:24 AM: Good morning! No incidents/alerts in our area so far.