West Seattle, Washington
Vaccination acceleration is again tonight’s pandemic headline:
VACCINE UPDATE: While cautioning “we still have a long way to go,” Gov. Inslee said the vaccination pace is speeding up. 39,000 shots on Sunday, 39,000 on Monday – getting closer to the 45,000-a-daqy goal he recently announced. The feds will increase our state’s allotment by 16 percent, at least in the short term, he also announced. You can watch his briefing here.
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: Here’s what’s in today’s daily summary from Seattle-King County Public Health – the cumulative totals:
*74,901 people have tested positive, 174 more than yesterday’s total
*1,240 people have died, 13 more than yesterday’s total
*4,736 people have been hospitalized, 19 more than yesterday’s total
*817,432 people have been tested, 1,447 more than yesterday’s total
One week ago, the totals were 72,600/1,185/4,617/801,551.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: See them here.
NATIONAL/WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 100.2 million cases worldwide, 25.4 million of them in the U.S. – see other nation-by-nation stats by going here.
VACCINE-INFO LINKS: The PhaseFinder is here – to determine whether you’re eligible yet – and known vaccination locations are here – but there are still NONE listed in West Seattle. The nearest ones – Sea Mar clinics in White Center and South Park – have run out of vaccine, according to online updates.
PANDEMIC PEOPLE: Health-care workers and volunteers have been called on as never before in the past year. Scroll through the Seattle-King County Public Health gallery.
GOT SOMETHING TO REPORT? firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-293-6302, text/voice – thank you!
In the wake of a change at the top, Washington State Ferries has scheduled two online community meetings “to provide updates and answer questions.” New WSF head Patty Rubstello will lead the meetings with her predecessor Amy Scarton (now WSDOT deputy secretary), at 11 am Tuesday, February 9th, and 6 pm Wednesday, February 10th. WSF’s announcement says, “Both meetings will cover the same material and are designed to give participants the option to join the meeting that best fits their schedule. Meeting participants will be able to ask questions and provide comments.” Pre-register by going here for the February 9th meeting, here for the February 10th meeting, You can also attend a meeting for Ferry Advisory Committees at 6 pm Thursday, February 4th “to discuss issues related to their role in advising WSF on customer service and schedules”; preregister here.
8:02 PM: Police are converging on The Junction after a report of an armed robbery outside The Whittaker. They’ve detained a possible suspect near the Bank of America just west of there, and officers told dispatchers they found a “very realistic looking air pistol” in the man’s possession. No other details so far, such as where the robbery happened – it was first dispatched as Whole Foods, then MOD Pizza, then a specific victim who had left the area.
8:37 PM: The suspect was arrested. Police have been talking to witnesses. We’ll add additional details when the report’s available.
9:32 AM: Here’s the initial SPD summary, obtained this morning, including a photo of the gun:
Officers with Community Response Group and Southwest Patrol responded to the area of Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Alaska St. Multiple callers and victims around the Whole Foods at SW Alaska St and Fauntleroy Way SW were calling 911 to report a series of in-progress incidents. The calls began when the suspect robbed at gunpoint two pedestrians on foot and threatened to kill them if they called 911. He then walked to a car parked nearby and pointed the gun at occupants of the vehicle and proceeded to demand money from 2 of the 4 occupants. The suspect then continues to a victim at a nearby BECU ATM and points the gun at the victim’s head demanding money. The victims wife sees this happening and the suspect addresses her, telling her to “go back to your country, I’m going to kill your husband.” SW CRG was first on scene, located the suspect and immediately addressed this extremely dangerous armed suspect and took him into custody safely. The gun was recovered from the suspect’s pocket during the arrest.
The suspect was booked into KCJ for Felony Harassment and Investigation of Robbery x2.
The CRG is explained here.
We’ve heard from more local schools with upcoming tours/open houses, as enrollment season continues:
DENNY INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE SCHOOL: Denny is having online open houses tomorrow (Wednesday, January 27th) at 5:30 pm and Thursday, February 4th, at 7 pm. You’ll find the links, and more information, on this Denny webpage.
LOUISA BOREN STEM K-8: Coming up – a middle-school tour 9 am Thursday (January 28th), elementary open house 6 pm Thursday, middle-school open house 6 pm February 4th. Both of the open houses include teachers. Find the viewing links for all three events on this page of the STEM K-8 PTA website.
ROXHILL ELEMENTARY: Principal Katherine Torres tells WSB that Roxhill is having kindergarten tours: “We are having virtual tours with staff available to share what students will be experiencing and learning about in the fall.” 5:30 pm February 4th; click here or call 206-800-4125 (Meeting ID: 652144902#). 3:30 pm February 10th, click here or call that same number (Meeting ID: 966067499#).
Hope Lutheran and Seattle Lutheran Schools are accepting applications for Fall 2021. Although we aren’t able to invite you into our facility, we are happy to give you a virtual tour of each campus and provide more information on our preschool, elementary , middle and high school programs. Please contact Admissions Director Sally Heit at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a tour.
We published Arbor Heights Elementary‘s announcement Monday. Any others with tours/open houses? Let us know – email@example.com – thank you!
Thanks to Jerry Simmons for that view of this morning’s sunrise … a colorful start to what ended as a gray day. Still a chance we might see a few snowflakes, but our neighbors across Puget Sound – Bremerton, Hood Canal vicinity – have the highest probability. Nonetheless, the forecast discussion says we have a chance, especially on the highest hills – the Myrtle Reservoir Park vicinity holds the highest elevation in the city. The forecast summaries note a chance of rain and snow tonight and tomorrow morning. (Just in case of snow, SDOT says its crews are ready.)
If you’ve been dreading those upcoming lane closures for repair work on the southbound 1st Avenue South Bridge – you can put your dread on hold for a while again. Two weeks ago, WSDOT told us that the work originally expected to happen in January wouldn’t start until February. Today, WSDOT spokesperson Tom Pearce told WSB that the schedule has been pushed back again, and now it’s not expected to begin before early March. Pearce says they’re expecting “a firm schedule in the next couple of weeks.” We first reported the need for repairs back in October (that story explains the bearing-replacement work that needs to be done). Once the work starts, contractor Massana Construction will close two of the bridge’s southbound lanes around the clock for about three weeks, bookended by two overnight closures of the entire southbound bridge.
Thanks for the tip: A longtime family-owned West Seattle restaurant has changed families. The Pellegrinis have retired and sold La Rustica, the Italian bistro at 4100 Beach Drive SW, to the Hoffmans. Co-proprietor Kat Hoffman explained via email, when we asked, that she and her husband have owned La Rustica since November, but have loved it far longer:
My husband and I have been going to La Rustica since 2002, when my sister-in-law told us about the cutest place in West Seattle with the best cannelloni ever, garlic bread that we would eat baskets of, and the most amazing tiramisu. We have been going there ever since. I can’t tell you how many of our dates started out walking along Beach Dr while waiting for a table.
I don’t know if you believe in fate, but I do. I think things happen or don’t, when they are supposed to. We had been looking for a new business to buy since the summer of 2019, had even made some offers but deals fell through for one reason or another. So one morning in January of 2020, I was looking at a business-for-sale site and saw a listing that caught my eye. It said 25-year-old West Seattle Italian Restaurant. I told my husband, “I bet you this is La Rustica.” He lost the bet, and we bought the restaurant. It took almost 10 months to go through because of Covid.
The main thing people ask or are afraid of is, what is going to change. Really, most of the changes that have happened are more because of Covid than the ownership change. I have really only changed 4 things since taking over. I switched from paper gift certificates to plastic gift cards, made some labels for the to-go boxes and bread, started making the chocolate mousse cake instead of it being store-bought, and just introduced homemade panna cotta to the menu.
Other than that, the food/recipes, the chefs and wait staff, and everything else that makes La Rustica La Rustica has stayed the same because that is we fell in love with so long ago.
I know some people think we were crazy, buying a restaurant during a pandemic, especially with so many restaurants closing. But it’s La Rustica. The neighbors and community have been so supportive and welcoming. We haven’t made a big announcement not because we are hiding it, but because we want our guests to see nothing has really changed and that the food is still amazing. The Pellegrinis said they are planning to come back for a week this summer when things are hopefully back to normal to see everyone and to say goodbye.
If you’ve seen our recent coverage of Southwest Precinct police at community meetings (here and here) and have questions, another chance to ask them is coming up – SPD reps are on the agenda for tomorrow night’s meeting of HPAC, the neighborhood council for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge. The announcement also promises “a comprehensive presentation and conversation with SDOT Home Zone planners, to help them prioritize the traffic mitigation proposed for” the area. All are welcome at the 7 pm Wednesday online meeting; viewing/participating/calling-in info is on the HPAC website.
When shoplifting turns violent, it legally becomes robbery – and police say that’s what happened this morning at Admiral Safeway. Here’s their initial summary:
At approximately 0730, the suspect was inside the Safeway with a basket full of store items. The suspect walked past all points of sale. A store employee confronted the suspect by the front doors, and the suspect brandished a bladed instrument (box cutter) from an unknown pocket to threaten him. The suspect swung the box cutter at the victim twice, and he backed off for his safety and fear of being cut. The suspect left the area in a Honda Accord.
No further description, and no arrest reported so far.
By Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
A proposed State Legislature bill encouraging students in our state to learn more about Native history contains 2 words that could spell trouble for the Duwamish Tribe.
The bill SB-5161 (“Teaching Washington’s tribal history, culture, and government”) is scheduled to be reviewed tomorrow (Wednesday, January 27th) in executive session of the Senate Committee on Early Learning and K-12 Education.
At issue, according to Duwamish Longhouse director Jolene Haas (also the daughter of tribal chair Cecile Hansen) is the phrase “federally recognized,” which describes the tribes that are included in the scope of the bill.
(Kevin the squirrel, photographed by Machel Spence)
SPORTS PHYSICAL CLINIC: Second of five days for a clinic at Denny International Middle School at which any Seattle Public Schools student planning to play sports can get the required physical exam. More details here.
PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE: 9:30 am meeting of the City Council committee chaired by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold. The agenda includes briefings on the Seattle Community Safety Initiative and a proposed Seattle Police budget cut, as well as information on viewing/commenting.
SUSTAINABILITY & RENTERS’ RIGHTS COMMITTEE: 2 pm City Council committee meeting, with the agenda including discussions of potentially extending the eviction moratorium until “at least the end of the year,” and giving renters facing eviction the right to legal counsel.
(added) GOVERNOR’S BRIEFING: Announced at midday, Gov. Inslee is having a pandemic-and-legislative briefing at 2:15 pm. The livestream will be here.
CLASS FOR HEALTH-CARE PROFESSIONALS: 3 pm online, presented by Brookdale-Admiral Heights, “a real-life examination of the difference between caregiving and care partnering” – open to the general public too. Registration info and other details are in our calendar listing.
DEMONSTRATE FOR RACIAL JUSTICE: Organizer Scott‘s weekly announcement:
Black Lives Matter sign waving
Tuesday, January 26, 4 to 6 pm, corner of 16th SW and SW Holden
Thursday, January 28, 4 to 6 pm, corner of 16th SW and SW Holden
Come show support for BLM and ending systemic racism. Hold signs, meet neighbors, and stand for racial justice. Scott at PR Cohousing, endorsed by Hate-Free Delridge. Signs available.
(Are we missing anything? firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!)
6:07 AM: Welcome to Tuesday, January 26th, the 309th morning without the West Seattle Bridge.
ROAD (ETC.) WORK
Delridge project – The SW Thistle closure continues between Delridge and 20th. Here’s what else is planned this week.
California and Myrtle – The sewer-repair project continues – if driving/riding on California, watch out for the bumps on the northbound side (though the grade has been improved).
CHECK TRAFFIC BEFORE YOU GO
Low Bridge: Third week for automated enforcement cameras, while restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily. Here’s a bridge view:
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
The main detour route across the Duwamish River, the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):
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 all the other detour-route neighborhoods, both the arterials and neighborhood streets!)
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.
For the second time in a week, police staffing was a topic of discussion at a West Seattle neighborhood meeting. First one was the Crime Prevention Council meeting last Tuesday (WSB coverage here). Two nights later, the Alki Community Council board spent a large portion of its meeting on the state of policing. Here’s what was said, plus some followup information we obtained:
SEATTLE POLICE: Third watch (6:30 pm-3:30 am) Lt. Chris Johnson attended on behalf of SPD. He said “our street racer problem is still ongoing … we do not have the bodies to put any emphasis toward that.” But he’s hopeful that now that the inauguration is past, some of the officers assigned to the protest-handling Community Response Group might return to patrol. “Almost every night I’m running at or below” minimum staffing levels. “We’re losing bodies to outside agencies at a rate I’ve never seen. … We’re treading water.” He asked about community concerns; one person mentioned fireworks and beach fires – which are continuing year-round; here’s video we received just the night before: