West Seattle, Washington
Tonight’s pandemic toplines:
WHO GETS THE VACCINE NEXT: In state health officials’ weekly briefing, vaccine prioritization was the big news. Here’s the announcement about who’s in the next phases. Also made public, an update on how vaccination is going so far – more than 420,000 doses have been delivered, but only 110,000 have been confirmed administered. For those who like to follow the numbers, the state expects to launch a vaccine dashboard next week, with updates at least three times a week.
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: Now, from the Seattle-King County Public Health daily-summary dashboard, the cumulative totals:
*65.631 people have tested positive, 487 more than yesterday’s total
*1,117 people have died, 7 more than yesterday’s total
*4,340 people have been hospitalized, 14 more than yesterday’s total
*763,306 people have been tested, 2,524 more than yesterday’s total
One week ago, the four totals we track were 61,392/1,082/4,116/740,836.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them, county by county, on the state Department of Health page,.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: See them, nation by nation, here.
LOST TO COVID AT 101: The latest obituary we published was for Bettie Dunbar, who lost her life to the virus days after her 101st birthday.
GOT INFO? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us, text or voice, at 206-293-6302 – thank you!
Elliott Bay is a little cleaner and safer tonight thanks to the “Great Battery Roundup.” Above and below are the video and report shared by “Diver Laura” James as her project continued:
We showed up, we dove, we got the lead out!!!
Dive 4 of the Great Battery Roundup 2021 was a brilliant success; we were able to fully remove 8 derelict batteries from the wreckage of the “Honeybear” at a very popular dive site (near Seacrest).
These batteries were found in the hull of the wreckage, as time and tide had finally eroded away the body of the vessel, leaving only hull remnants and debris field. Upon inspection of the debris field, we could readily make out the ‘power banks’ for the vessel, 6 (turned out to be 8) large marine batteries, mostly hidden under a rotten deck hatch.
Dive 1, we removed the deck hatch and exposed the remaining unseen batteries.
Dive 2, we tested a battery run to shallow water
Dive 3, we moved ALL the batteries we could find currently from the debris of the wreckage and moved them into the ‘freshwater lens’ area (up where the water would be less salty from the influx of river water) to encourage any squatters that the batteries are no longer reputable living quarters, and move on.
Dive 4 was delayed slightly by some excessively snotty weather, but when the storm cleared up, our endeavors were greeted by a brilliant blue sky and calm waters. We were able to remove all the batteries liberated from the wreckage! Batteries ranged in weight from 40 lbs to >65.
We ran out of time to get them to Seattle Iron and Metal Corp, so will be taking them in for recycling tomorrow but I’m so thrilled that we were able to remove them with minimal fuss and a bit of elbow grease. Huge thanks to everyone who made this possible!
We have at least one more VERY large marine battery to remove but it’s buried pretty deep in the sediment directly out from the riprap wall in about 20′ deep water, so it will take some excavation. Volunteers are welcome, both shore support and underwater (but you have to be certified and comfortable diving in our chilly emerald sea).
Donations for the project can be made to Sustainable West Seattle.
As we first reported in October, the southbound 1st Avenue South Bridge is due for some repairs that will mean lane closures. We’ve been getting some questions about whether WSDOT has set the date yet, since it had been discussed as likely to happen “in early 2021.” Now that it’s early 2021, we checked back today with WSDOT spokesperson Tom Pearce. He tells WSB, “We are still working with our contractor to set a start date. A mid-January start is in doubt.” The contractor is Massana Construction of Gig Harbor, which won the contract with a $380,000 bid.
Two West Seattle Crime Watch notes:
SUSPECT ARRESTED: A big SPD and KCSO presence drew attention at the Dollar Tree store in White Center late this afternoon. We don’t have full details on this but officers at the scene told us they arrested the suspect they were seeking, wanted for using a knife to threaten people at one or more West Seattle locations before he was found at the store. Concerns about a standoff drew the big response but the suspect surrendered before long. MONDAY FOLLOWUP NOTE: The SPD “significant incident” summary published today indicates the person was in crisis and was taken to a hospital.
PACKAGE THEFT: Kendra says her building in North Admiral (44th/College) started having a problem with missing packages about two weeks ago. On Monday, she received a notice that a package had been delivered around noon, but returned home at 8 to discover the torn-open, empty box in the parking lot. A neighbor told her the package was seen in the lobby with another one around 6 pm. That same night, a suitcase belonging to a resident was taken from a locked storage area and dumped in the parking lot. Last night, Kendra saw a suspicion-stirring driver in the alley, in a dark sedan missing its front plate; when confronted, she said, the driver claimed to be an Amazon driver, but when she called to confirm, the company told her they were unable to look up anything more than package info.
Local notes related to the breaking national news that’s been happening for the last several hours – the insurrection that disrupted Congress’s electoral-vote counting to finalize the presidential election:
REP. JAYAPAL EVACUATED: Watching cable-TV coverage for a while, we saw NBC video showing West Seattle-residing U.S. House Rep. Pramila Jayapal taking cover in the upper House gallery. She had to evacuate and has since tweeted:
I am safe and sheltering in place.
I was one of a dozen Representatives in the gallery above the House floor. We pulled out gas masks and had to get down on the ground. Capitol police barricaded the doors and had guns drawn. We were eventually told that we had to quickly exit.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 6, 2021
PRAYER FOR PEACE: From Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church:
With the deeply troubling events happening in DC right now, Our Lady of Guadalupe invites all in the community to join with us tonight, January 6 at 7:00 pm for a prayer service. The service will focus on intentions for Peace and Reconciliation. Let us gather in prayer asking Mary’s intercession for peace and reconciliation in our country at this very difficult time.
This will be via livestream – here’s the Vimeo link.
WEST SEATTLE ELECTED OFFICIALS’ STATEMENTS: West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold says, “”This violent occupation of our Capitol – and attack on our American Democracy and values – must be ended immediately” (full statement here); West Seattle-residing Councilmember Lorena González says, “As elected leaders, we all have a responsibility to continue to denounce dangerous rhetoric and work to move our country forward toward progress and healing” (full statement here); West Seattle-residing King County Executive Dow Constantine says, “I urge leaders at all levels of government and across the political spectrum to stand together in support of our nation, our constitution, and the peaceful transfer of power that these traitors are seeking in vain to disrupt” (full statement here).
As promised, state health officials went public today with information about who’s eligible for the next phases of COVID-19 vaccination. In case you missed the noon briefing, here’s the announcement:
Today the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released guidance for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination. The department worked closely with the Governor’s Office to finalize prioritization for phase 1B, and we are pleased to be able to share eligible groups for this next phase of vaccination. This phase is broken up into four separate tiers.
In addition to partnership with Gov. Inslee and reliance on federal guidance, nearly 20,000 people across the state weighed in on the prioritization through focus groups, interviews, and surveys over the past few months. This feedback directly informed our recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine prioritization and allocation, and continues to help us make sure our vaccine plans are equitable and protect those most at risk from COVID-19 infections.
“Vaccine prioritization decisions are complex, but based in a need for equitable distribution,” says Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah. “Our priority has been to get the vaccine to high-priority people first.”
(The graphic above) shows the groups and the timeline for phase 1B. Broadly, groups eligible for vaccination in phase 1B include:
Phase 1B1 – (Tier 1)
All people 70 years and older
People 50 years and older who live in multigenerational households
Phase 1B2 – (Tier 2)
High risk critical workers 50 years and older who work in certain congregate settings: Agriculture; food processing; grocery stores; K-12 (teachers and school staff); childcare; corrections, prisons, jails or detention facilities (staff); public transit; fire; law enforcement
Phase 1B3 – (Tier 3)
People 16 years or older with two or more co-morbidities or underlying conditions
Phase 1B4 – (Tier 4)
High-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings under 50 years
People, staff and volunteers all ages in congregate living settings:
Correctional facilities; group homes for people with disabilities; people experiencing homelessness that live in or access services in congregate settings
Additional details of phase 1B will be posted on our website.
It’s important to note that we are not moving into phase 1B right now. Our state is still in phase 1A (PDF) of vaccinations, and will continue to be for the next few weeks. Many pharmacies, clinics and hospitals are vaccinating people in 1A1 (tier 1), and others have moved to 1A2 (tier 2). While phase 1A is still the priority, we hope that the release of phase 1B guidance will help facilities, counties and individuals plan for the months ahead. Once we’re ready to start phase 1B, we will let our communities know how and where to get vaccine.
That was stressed repeatedly during today’s briefing – if you’re in the newly announced phase, DON’T call your provider yet, because there’s no start date yet.
Though some speculated she might run for mayor, West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda has decided to run for re-election instead. Mosqueda has moved to North Delridge since her 2017 election to Position 8, one of two at-large (citywide) seats on the council. She was in the spotlight last year for multiple reasons, including as the council’s budget chair, and as sponsor of the “JumpStart” tax, as well as workers-rights issues. The early-morning news release announcing her candidacy quotes her as saying, “There are many challenges ahead as we leave the COVID-19 era; to restart our economy and get people into housing, a proven track record of delivering will be needed. My team and I are ready to do the work.” Her listed priorities include homelessness, housing affordability, supporting child-care providers, strengthening support for small businesses and community services, and continuing public-safety reform. She plans to participate in the Democracy Voucher program, as she did in her 2017 campaign. So far, one other candidate has registered a Position 8 campaign with the city, Kaia Persson. (Photo courtesy Mosqueda campaign)
Despite the disruption in school operations, the pandemic isn’t stopping the Salmon in the Schools program. Local volunteer organizers Judy Pickens and Phil Sweetland obtained hatchery eggs this week for participating teachers, and arranged a distanced pickup from their home near Fauntleroy Creek, into which fry will be released this spring.
Stopping by while we visited for a photo were Rita Gazewood, first-grade teacher at Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Claudia Rodriguez, preschool teacher at The Cove School. In “normal” years, volunteers led by Phil and Judy deliver the eggs to schools.
This year, Judy tells WSB, “The eggs are destined for eight tanks – four elementaries, three preschools, and the volunteer who rears fish for schools that have crop failures. Some teachers and their tank volunteers have moved their tanks into garages and others have arranged access to their tanks in school buildings. All will be following COVID protocols to keep themselves safe while engaging students remotely in the rearing process. If all goes well, at least 1,300 coho fry will be ready to release into upper Fauntleroy Creek in May. They will have the habitat to themselves as we had no spawning last fall to produce ‘home hatch’ in the lower creek.”
We’ve arrived at the middle of the new year’s first full week. Here’s what’s happening:
WEST SEATTLE ELEMENTARY APPEAL HEARING: 10 am online, a hearing convenes to hear a challenge to the decision that the West Seattle Elementary addition project does not need a full environmental study. Here’s how to attend.
STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS’ BRIEFING: Noon online, state Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah and other state health officials present their weekly pandemic briefing. This one is expected to include updates on the state’s vaccination situation and who’s next in the prioritization ranking. Here’s the link.
STAY HEALTHY STREETS BRIEFING: 6 pm online, the city Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Boards meet together, with agenda items including an SDOT update on the Stay Healthy Streets program. The agenda includes information on how to attend.
DISTRICT 1 COMMUNITY NETWORK: 7 pm online, this coalition of community advocates has its monthly meeting, open to the public, with agenda items including a discussion of the West Seattle SkyLink gondola proposal. Attendance information is in our calendar listing.
Family and friends are remembering centenarian Bettie Dunbar, and sharing this with her community:
The family of longtime West Seattle resident Bettie Dunbar is sad to announce her passing on Saturday, 1/02/2021 of Covid-19, just days after her 101st birthday.
Bettie was born on December 29, 1919, in Puyallup After graduating from High School, she attended and graduated from the University of Washington. During WWII she worked for the American Red Cross. In 1945, she married Horace Dunbar while he was still in the US Army, staying married until his death in 1999. In 1948 Bettie and Horace built their home in Fauntleroy (which is still in the family) where they raised their family. Bettie was active in the Fauntleroy Community Church, singing in the choir for many years, and was an ardent member of West Seattle’s Golden West Camera Club.
She retired from Seattle Public Schools in the early ’80s, having taught Special Education at Pacific Pre-vocational School, Lincoln High School, and finally at Chief Sealth HS. Horace and Bettie retired within months of each other and became world travelers, visiting 47 different countries as well as Antarctica. Bettie volunteered at the Cancer Society Discovery Shop in the Junction, did Tax Preparation through the West Seattle Senior Center, and served at the monthly pancake breakfast at the Seattle Swedish Club.
She is survived by her three sons (Jerry, David, and Brian), 6 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. The accompanying photo is from her 100th birthday celebration. No memorial service is planned at this time.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
6:12 AM: It’s Wednesday, January 6th, the 289th morning without the West Seattle Bridge.
ROAD (ETC.) WORK
West Marginal Way SW – Emergency tree removal is scheduled to continue, starting after 9 am, and will again narrow WMW just north of Highland Park Way, to one lane each way.
Delridge project – Here are the toplines for this week.
California and Myrtle – Lane closures and a big middle-of-street tank are part of a sewer-repair project that could last about a month.
Metro – On regular schedule
Water Taxi – On regular schedule
CHECK TRAFFIC BEFORE YOU GO
West Marginal Way (substitute camera since the one at Highland Park Way has been out of alignment):
Highland Park Way/Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
Restricted-daytime-access (open to all 9 pm-5 am, with camera enforcement starting 1/11/21) low bridge:
The main detour route across the Duwamish River, the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) . Here are two cameras:
The other major bridge across the river – the South Park Bridge (map). Here’s the nearest camera:
Going through South Park? Don’t speed. (Same goes for the other detour-route neighborhoods, like Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge.)
To check for bridges’ marine-traffic openings, see the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed.
Trouble on the roads/paths/water? Let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.