West Seattle, Washington
Eleven months after the governor closed schools, he saye it’s safe for them to be open, and that tops tonight’s pandemic news:
BACK TO SCHOOLS? Gov. Inslee‘s briefing this afternoon (see it here) started with his declaration that it’s safe for schools to reopen – with proper protocols, of course. He spotlighted a company that’s helping dozens of districts expand COVID-19 testing to enable opening safely and staying open safely. (More on that here.) Inslee noted that 200,000 students around the state are already getting some in-person instruction.
VACCINATION ACCELERATION: The governor also said the federal government is sending additional doses of vaccine next week, and touted the state’s continuing improvement in the percentage of doses that have been administered – now up to 81 percent, he said, 12th-highest percentage among the 50 states.
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: Here’s the update from today’s daily summary from Seattle-King County Public Health – the cumulative totals, although note the data for the first stat is somewhat off tonight:
*80.317 people have tested positive, 14 more than yesterday’s total [NOTE: The county says today’s low case counts “may reflect ongoing efforts by (the state) to remove duplicates” after reporting that the statewide counts over the weekend “may have included up to 700 duplicates”]
*1,321 people have died, unchanged since Sunday
*5,008 people have been hospitalized, 7 more than yesterday’s total
*879,299 people have been tested, 2,298 more than yesterday’s total
One week ago, the totals were 78,981/1,300/4,919/863,266.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: See them here.
NATIONAL/WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 109.5 million cases worldwide, 27.7 million of them in the U.S. – see other nation-by-nation stats by going here.
QFC BAGGING TWO STORES: Grocery megacorporation Kroger says it’ll close two Seattle QFC stores, on Capitol Hill and in Wedgwood, because of the city’s mandate for “hazard pay.” Capitol Hill Seattle notes that the store on the Hill is on a future redevelopment site anyway; a Kroger spokesperson told KING 5 the two stores were “underperforming.” City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda calls the decision “beyond disappointing.” Grocery-workers union UFCW Local 21 calls it “corporate bullying.”
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After three-plus weeks on the Vashon Island route, MV Doc Maynard is returning to the King County Water Taxi‘s West Seattle route tomorrow. That’s the word from Metro’s Torie Rynning. That means the run will be back to full (distanced) capacity. The smaller MV Spirit of Kingston handled the West Seattle run while Doc Maynard was filling in for MV Sally Fox, which was out for annual maintenance.
A court hearing this afternoon yielded more information in the case against 47-year-old Brent D. Comer, arrested Monday and accused of hitting a pedestrian and three other vehicles while trying to escape police in a motorhome going downhill in reverse (here’s our original coverage). WSB policy is generally not to identify suspects before charges are filed; Comer is also being held on a warrant in a case in which he is charged, so we are publishing his name now. More on that shortly. A judge found probable cause today to hold Comer in this new case, but he did not appear in court, so bail will be addressed at a hearing tomorrow.
The probable-cause documents say an SPD sergeant was trying to pull over Comer after noticing that the RV’s registration had expired three years ago. At the time, the RV was westbound on West Marginal Way, heading toward Delridge. The sergeant had lights on and activated siren bursts, but the motorhome ran the light and headed southbound on Delridge, then westbound on Andover, before going into reverse, hitting a car, a pickup truck, and a tanker truck before coming to a stop. Police say Comer then bailed out of the motorhome and ran, but was caught nearby. They say they saw suspected black-tar heroin and needles in the RV, and that Comer later claimed he was headed to visit his girlfriend in Pigeon Point; before he was arrested, he approached a resident on Delridge and asked for a ride to her house. Probable-cause documents list his address as in Kirkland. That’s the same address on documents from charges filed against him in another case, involving an alleged assault on a former girlfriend in Redmond. Those charges are for assault and auto theft, saying he punched his ex-girlfriend in the face and stole her car in December 2018. The charging documents in that case note, “Since 2004, 5 different court venues have imposed 8 orders under 5 unique case numbers protecting 3 other women and 1 child from the defendant.” The warrant in that case is for failing to appear at a hearing. Back to the Monday incident in West Seattle – the injured pedestrian is expected to survive, according to an update just shared at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting that’s under way right now.
Since the onset of the pandemic, West Seattle has lost some Metro bus routes, and lost some service on others. Should/will any of that service be restored? Metro has a survey open right now, as it looks toward decisions for the September service change. The survey asks whether you are still riding Metro or not, as well as which of the still-operating routes you do or would ride, now or when the pandemic’s over, and it asks your thoughts on the suspended (like West Seattle’s 22 and 37) and reduced-service routes. Deadline to answer it is March 8th; you’ll find it linked here, in six languages.
Three years have passed since we reported that Just Poké was planning to open in West Seattle – as soon as the locally based restaurant chain found a spot. A WSB reader recently observed that Just Poké’s website listed a “coming soon” Jefferson Square address. That address, however, is supposed to be future home to another business. So we inquired with Just Poké. Co-founder Norman says they’re finalizing a location that’s actually across the street – the former Wallflower Custom Framing space at 4735 42nd SW. No projected opening date yet; as shown here, Just Poké is looking to double in size, opening another dozen or so locations this year. Here’s what they serve.
A change in government safety standards for a certain chemical could lead to a change in the Duwamish River cleanup plan. So the Environmental Protection Agency is taking public comments, and having an online meeting tomorrow night to talk about it. The EPA says the change could remove an aggregate total of five acres from the 170+ acres that were part of the ~$342 million 7-year-old cleanup plan for the polluted river. Now, they have to ask you about it. The substance in question is benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), a “carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (cPAH).” The federal government raised the level of what’s considered safe, and that’s what could lead to the cleanup change. So the EPA is taking comments until March 8th, and will have an online meeting Wednesday (February 17th) at 5:30 PM, including Q&A. Spanish, Khmer, and Vietnamese interpretation will be available. The Zoom link for viewing/participating is here; meeting ID is 362 818 756. The agenda and slide deck for the meeting are linked here; an EPA one-sheet about the proposed changes is here. If you want to comment on the proposed changes, whether or not you attend the meeting, you can email Region10@epa.gov by March 8th.
Another armed robbery at a West Seattle business, third one in three days: This one happened last night at 8:30 pm at the gas-station mini-mart in the 7800 block of Detroit Avenue SW. The initial police summary says only that there were two robbers and that the clerk was not hurt. Officers told dispatchers that both robbers were described as Black, male, and wearing dark clothing. We don’t know yet whether police are investigating possible links between any of the recent robberies.
Thanks to Laura Thomas for the photo of a squirrel taking refuge in a birdhouse. Today it should be safe to emerge – warming into the upper 40s, close to normal for this time of year, as what’s left of the snow continues to melt. Notes for today/tonight:
REMINDER, GARBAGE/RECYCLING DELAYED ONE DAY ALL WEEK: Waste Management is scheduled to pick up Monday customers today, which means Tuesday customers will be on Wednesday, etc.
CITY COUNCIL: Their first meetings of the week are also delayed a day, because of Monday’s holiday; the 9:30 am “briefing meeting” is under way now, and the “full council” meeting is at 2 pm – agendas are here, with information on commenting/viewing.
GOVERNOR’S BRIEFING: 2:30 pm, Gov. Jay Inslee gives his next briefing on the pandemic, with media Q&A. You can watch the live stream here.
DEMONSTRATION: Organizer Scott will lead the twice-weekly streetcorner sign-waving in support of Black lives, 4-6 pm at 16th/Holden. Signs available if you can’t bring your own.
CITY ATTORNEY AT WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: The monthly meeting to hear from and talk with West Seattle police has a special guest tonight, just announced: City Attorney Pete Holmes (who recently announced he is running for re-election). The meeting is online at 6 pm – here’s the Teams link for watching and/or participating. (Our archives show his last visit to the group was in 2015.)
Even as the snow continues melting, spring is just weeks away … and another youth-sports league is inviting players to register. The announcement is from West Seattle Girls Softball president Chrysta Torres:
West Seattle Girls Softball is open for registration!
We invite girls 6-15 with any level of softball experience to join us for a fun season of recreational-league fast-pitch softball. We teach the basics and build skills as players continue with the program and work to place players on teams that will be most beneficial to their needs. We are committed to having a safe and fun season, so we have implemented COVID safety protocols.
We’d also like to thank the local businesses that sponsor our league year after year – we cannot do it without their support.
6:07 AM: Good morning. Still melting – with a showery forecast today, high in the 40s – and still some snow out there. Shouldn’t be as slushy as Monday’s roads, though – Eric Bell shared this view:
TRANSIT: Metro is back on regular routes. … The Water Taxi is back in service (added: Doc Maynard returns to the run Wednesday) … The Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry route is back to 2-boat service.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES: 330th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here’s how things are looking:
Low Bridge: Sixth 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 – with a new left-turn signal for northbound HP Way, turning to westbound Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
The 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):
For the South Park Bridge (map), here’s the nearest camera:
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.