day : 09/04/2021 13 results

And another principal announcement: David Dockendorf leaving Pathfinder K-8 after 22 years

Thanks for the tips. After we published news earlier of the principal change at Genesee Hill Elementary and the next principal announced for Chief Sealth IHS, we learned of another West Seattle school with a change at the top announced today: Longtime principal David Dockendorf is leaving Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point. Here’s what district superintendent Denise Juneau sent to the Pathfinder community:

I am pleased to announce Dr. Britney Holmes as the next principal of Pathfinder K-8. Dr. Holmes will be replacing Principal David Dockendorf, who is retiring at the end of the 2020-21 school year.

Dr. Holmes was selected through a rigorous process which included multiple interviews with central office staff, including school-based interview teams, and was interviewed and selected by Superintendent Juneau based on her demonstrated experience building coalitions among multiple stakeholder groups, championing a vision of anti-racist practice and social justice in schools, and maintaining systems to provide and maintain high levels of academic rigor.

Dr. Holmes’ most recent experience at Hazel Wolf K-8 aligns with the school’s stakeholders’ vision and commitment to championing and acting on a vision of equity and cultivating instructional expertise. Dr. Holmes will begin as principal starting July 1, 2021.

Please join me in thanking Principal Dockendorf for his service to Pathfinder, and welcoming Principal Holmes.

Dockendorf is West Seattle’s longest-serving principal – the Pathfinder website says he’s led the school since 1999. Dr. Holmes is currently assistant principal at Hazel Wolf, which is in northeast Seattle.

CORONAVIRUS: Friday 4/9/2021 roundup

Tonight’s pandemic headlines:

KING COUNTY NUMBERS: First, the latest stats from the Public Health daily-summary page, cumulative totals:

*90,581 people have tested positive, 219 more than yesterday’s total

*1,483 people have died, 2 more than yesterday’s total

*5,444 people have been hospitalized, 15 more than yesterday’s total

*990,088 people have been tested, 1,476 more than yesterday’s total

On to our weekly check of key numbers on the COVID Vaccination Among King County Residents dashboard:

*842,660 people have received one dose

*504,4026 people have received both doses

*1,244,985 doses have been allocated to King County (not counting pharmacy programs)

One week ago, the first four totals were 88,786/1,471/5,354/975,969, and the vaccination totals were 727,140/422,486/1,083,085.


WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 134.6 million cases, 2,915,000+ deaths – see the nation-by-nation numbers here.

COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER’S BRIEFING: In his weekly briefing, Dr. Jeff Duchin ran through q long list of King County trends. “Cases and hospitalizations are still substantial and holding steady.” Deaths are down, and he attributes that to vaccination success – but warns yet again that “vaccination alone is not enough,” so keep distancing and wearing your mask. “To abandon COVID-19 precautions now is like sending the Fire Department away while your house is still burning.” He also warned that there’ll be a continuing “mismatch between supply and demand” for vaccine in the next few weeks, so if you’re seeking an appointment, be patient. As for reopening phases, right now King County is still likely to stay in Phase 3, depending on how things go over the weekend.

SO IF YOU’RE SEARCHING FOR VACCINE – here are links to try (the clinic we mentioned earlier appears to be fully booked, by the way):

*Check for West Seattle city-run site appointments here; sign up for the city’s notification list for all four of its sites here.
*Health-care providers (particularly bigger ones like UW Medicine (one reader specifically recommends Valley Medical Center), Franciscan, Swedish, Kaiser Permanente, etc.)
* (volunteer-run aggregator) – you can also follow its tweets for instant notifications
*The state’s Vaccine Locator
*The CDC’s Vaccine Finder
*Pharmacies big and small – Safeway, Rite Aid, QFC, Pharmaca, Costco, Bartell Drugs
*Sea Mar clinics

NEED IN-PERSON HELP FINDING A VACCINATION APPOINTMENT? Get in-person help in West Seattle tomorrow – with free food offered at that event, too.

IF YOU NEED TESTING SATURDAY: Since the city extended the operations of the West Seattle test site (2801 SW Thistle), you can still get tested there Saturdays (as well as weekdays) until further notice.

GOT INFO OR PHOTOS? or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!

WEST MARGINAL WAY: New intersection plan; bicycle-lane update

More news from this month’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting in addition to low-bridge access expansion and SW Alaska paving: Two West Marginal Way updates.

WMW/HIGHLAND PARK WAY INTERSECTION: SDOT’s Trevor Partap announced the plan you see above for more rechannelization and signal changes at the busy West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way intersection. They will also be upgrading the communications technology so they’ll be better able to monitor the traffic flow and change the signal timing remotely if necessary. These improvements will remain even after the bridge reopens. They’re working on design right now, with construction in the second half of the year.

And the Task Force got updates on two other areas of West Marginal:

FURTHER NORTH ON WMW: In addition to the ongoing plan for a temporary crossing signal near the Duwamish Longhouse, which will be installed in “late summer/fall,” some sidewalk work in the area will start soon. That is separate from the not-yet-decided issue of the Duwamish River Trail connection, which may or may not result in a protected bicycle lane replacing the southbound curb lane. Latest on that is that SDOT is still “finalizing data analysis” and was scheduled to take walking tours this week with members of the Seattle Freight Advisory Board, which opposes the proposal. “We have been hearing a lot” on all sides, SDOT says. The decision is now expected by the “end of this quarter.” If you haven’t commented yet, is the address.

Another principal announcement: Chief Sealth International High School’s next leader

Thanks for the tip! More principal news from Seattle Public Schools: One month after Chief Sealth Internqtional High School principal Aida Fraser-Hammer announced she will retire after this school year ends, the district has announced her successor. Here’s the letter sent by superintendent Denise Juneau to the CSIHS community:

We are pleased to announce Mr. Ray Morales, currently an assistant principal at Cleveland High School, has been selected as the next principal of Chief Sealth International High School.

The hiring team, which included students, community members, teachers, classroom support staff, and SPS leaders recommended Mr. Morales based on his clear vision for students, his focus on equity and inclusion, and his commitment to the rigorous profile of a graduate that have grounded Chief Sealth’s philosophy as an international, 21st century high school.

Mr. Morales is a Seattle native who values education, social justice, and service. He earned his BA at University of Washington, his Masters in Social Work at Columbia University, and his Principal Certification at Seattle University. Mr. Morales will begin as principal on July 1, 2021.

Please join me in thanking Principal Fraser-Hammer for her service to Chief Sealth and welcoming Principal Morales.

Before Cleveland, the new CSIHS principal was at Tyee High School in SeaTac.

Principal change for West Seattle’s most populous elementary school: Gerrit Kischner leaving Genesee Hill

betterkischnertiles(WSB photo, Principal Kischner at Genesee Hill just before its 2016 opening)

Five years after presiding over the move of Schmitz Park Elementary‘s staff and students into the newly built Genesee Hill Elementary, principal Gerrit Kischner is moving on. Seattle Public Schools has just announced that he’s being transferred to Thornton Creek Elementary in North Seattle after the school year ends, and assistant principal Liz Dunn will succeed him. Here’s the letter Kischner sent to the school community:

Dear Genesee Hill Families and Community,

I’m writing today to share some news that may come as a surprise to many of you. On July 1st, I will be transferring to be Principal of Thornton Creek Elementary. While I am very sad to be leaving the community that I have been privileged to serve for thirteen years – time for a full generation of students from Kindergarten to graduation — I am also thrilled to announce that Liz Dunn has been tapped to replace me as Principal of Genesee Hill.

This news came as a surprise to me, and I did not ask for this transfer, but I am ready to take on this substantial challenge at Thornton Creek, a school which has struggled with frequent leadership turnover since its long-time principal retired. I hope that I can help to build the same collaborative community spirit that has made my job such a joy here in West Seattle.

While the substantial changes we have all faced in the last year make the timing of this transition somewhat difficult for many of us, Genesee Hill is in a great position heading into this next chapter. After year-after-year growth and the construction of a new building, we have thrived as a community. Ms. Dunn’s deep knowledge of the families she has served for now twenty years will give her an opportunity to bring a new leadership lens to the things we return to and the new lessons we have learned throughout this pandemic. In many ways, it’s a perfect time to make this transition, and I will be dedicated in these remaining months to laying the groundwork to make that possible.

There are too many people to even start thanking individuals for everything you have done to make Genesee Hill a great place for kids over these years. I will make every effort to connect in the coming months.

With that, best wishes for a restorative and hope-filled Spring Break.


Kischner’s 13 years at Schmitz Park/Genesee Hill is one of the longest principal tenures in West Seattle.

UPDATE: Friends, family launch fundraiser for children of West Seattle couple killed in Burien crash; suspected DUI driver charged

3:47 PM: On Tuesday afternoon, two people were killed in a crash on Ambaum Boulevard in North Burien. We covered the crash on partner site White Center Now. The victims are now identified as a West Seattle couple, 35-year-old Lauren Dupuis-Perez and 38-year-old Kamel Dupuis-Perez, who lived with their two elementary-age children in Arbor Heights. A friend asked us to publish the link to the crowdfunding page set up for their family, which says in part:

We know they touched so many lives with their spirit for adventure, photography, their love for their children, travelling, and community. This tragic loss is incredibly sad for all of us and we send our love to you as you grieve the unimaginable. The brilliant energy and love that they infused into all of our lives is what motivates us now to continue their legacy of creating a safe, beautiful, and rich life for their children.

The page also has information on donating directly to their children’s school.

The 26-year-old suspected drunk driver accused of causing the crash is also a West Seattle resident. She remains in King County Jail, bail set at a quarter-million dollars. We’re expecting word on charges this afternoon from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

4:56 PM: Five felony charges have just been filed against Irene Plancarte-Bustos of South Delridge – two counts of vehicular homicide, two of hit-run, one of negligent driving. The charging documents say her 3 1/2-year-old son was in her car when she hit the victims’ car in the 11800 block of Ambaum, going about 60 mph in a 35 mph zone. He was not hurt. Deputies found her in a nearby mini-mart parking lot; she had not called 911 nor attempted to return to the crash scene. She has no known criminal record.

LOOKING FOR VACCINE? Last-minute appointments in South Seattle tomorrow

If you are vaccine-eligible, looking for availability, and available to travel off-peninsula, we’ve been asked to share this announcement for tomorrow:

Pliable LLC, a nurse practitioner-owned practice, will be hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic tomorrow, 4/10/21, at Asian Counseling and Referral Service (3639 Martin Luther King Jr Way S.). We are partnering with Neighborhood House and ACRS to serve eligible community members. This is for the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine. We look forward to serving you!

You can register by going here. Pliable tells us that these appointments are only being released publicly at the last minute after ample community recruiting that still has left numerous openings.

FOLLOWUP: Seattle Public Schools plans in-person graduations for Class of 2021

(WSB photo from 2019 Chief Sealth IHS commencement ceremony)

Two weeks ago, we reported that Seattle Public Schools was close to a decision on whether to have in-person graduation ceremonies this year. We checked back with district spokesperson Tim Robinson, who replied with this statement from the district official overseeing planning:

We have shifted to an in-person model based on the governor’s change in level and further direction from OSPI. All of our comprehensive schools will graduate at Memorial (Stadium). That is the only venue that meets the guidelines. We are working on a plan to allow ticketed guests in limited numbers. For our small schools we are working on other sites and options.

Local students launched a petition drive in February asking the district to allow in-person ceremonies this year. SPS high-school students will return to campuses for part-time in-person instruction starting April 19th; next week is spring break.

INVITATION: Fauntleroy Community Association’s annual meeting Tuesday

April 9, 2021 1:41 pm
|    Comments Off on INVITATION: Fauntleroy Community Association’s annual meeting Tuesday
 |   Fauntleroy | Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

For a second year, the Fauntleroy Community Association won’t be able to have the Food Fest in connection with its annual meeting, but the meeting will happen anyway, online, 7 pm next Tuesday (April 13th). FCA president Mike Dey explains, “We plan to review the FCA accomplishments and what the FCA has been working on during 2020. Additionally there will be a vote for the board members and officers to serve during 2021. Following the annual meeting, we will continue into our monthly business meeting. Everyone is welcome to attend by just staying on the same Zoom link. No additional registration required. The business meeting will run from approximately 7:30 to 9:00 PM.” Registration is required to get the link – go here for that.

ROAD-WORK ALERT: SW Alaska repaving

(SDOT image from Community Task Force meeting slide decK)

In addition to the big news about low-bridge access changes (WSB coverage here), Thursday’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting also yielded a few other announcements we’re reporting today. First: Repaving is ahead for part of SW Alaska. You might recall that the SW Avalon project also included one block of SW Alaska, west of 35th. Now SDOT plans to repave the westbound curb lane between 36th SW and 38th SW. This will be done in three phases, starting with “asphalt-base repair” on the weekends of April 17th and 24th, continuing with some curb-ramp work and concrete repair in May/June, and grinding/resurfacing this summer.

TODAY: Bicycle ride in memory of Georgetown crash victim

(SPD photo, March 24th)

The West Seattle Bridge closure detours have linked the peninsula and Duwamish Valley communities – South Park, Georgetown – more closely than ever. Two weeks ago, we reported on a deadly crash in Georgetown, in which a 54-year-old man riding a bicycle was hit and killed by a semi-truck driver. Today community members are organizing a ride in the victim’s memory. From the announcement:

Georgetown residents have organized a Community Ride “Critical Mass” bike ride event, (after a) vehicle-related fatality which took place March 24th. The meetup is at 4:00 pm, Friday, April 9th, in the parking lot of the Georgetown Campus of South Seattle College, 6737 Corson Ave S. This event will be a legal and peaceful 1 1/2-hour ride on public streets, highlighting the dangers of biking in the Georgetown neighborhood.

The event organizers aim to:

–Remind drivers in an area of both heavy vehicles and heavy traffic that they need to share the road;

–Remind the city and the community that biking in and through Georgetown is dangerous and scary

–Ask city leaders that Georgetown improvements are prioritized and centered for bike infrastructure, especially as we experience West Seattle Bridge detour traffic

–Create a safe space to bike in and around our community

The ride was announced at two local meetings in the past three days – District 1 Community Network on Wednesday and West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force on Thursday, which also had a moment of silence both for the victim in this crash and for the scooter rider killed on Beach Drive last week.

Remembering Ralph L. Heitt, 1932-2021

Family and friends are remembering Ralph Heitt and sharing this with his community:

Ralph Leon Heitt
1932 – 2021

Ralph died January 21 (age 88) at Swedish Hospital, Cherry Hill, following a heart attack and stroke. His wife Betty was grateful to be at his side during his final hours and extends sincere thanks for the sensitive and excellent care Ralph received in the Swedish neuro and cardio units.

Ralph was born in Bonners Ferry, ID to Ralph and Edna (Walters) Heitt. He was preceded in death by his parents and former wives, Pat (son Greg) and Marie (daughters Sue, Pam, Betsy, Andrea, Annette). In addition to his loving wife Betty (Williams), he is survived by his devoted son Greg (wife Betsie and daughter Kathleen) of San Diego, CA; two brothers, Jerry (wife Mary) and Don of Tekoa, WA: and his loving extended family, Betty’s sister Margie and husband John, with sons Matt (wife Sarah, children Brooke and Ridge) of Naches, WA; and Steve (wife Erin, children Lucy and Katherine) of Durham, NH; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.

As an Episcopalian, Ralph was an active member, serving on vestries and/or acting as church handyman, also volunteering with a church thrift shop and making sandwiches with Northwest Harvest. In 2007, he and Betty joined other church volunteers to prepare damaged homes in New Orleans for reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina. Their current church family, St. Clements in the Mt. Baker neighborhood, has been very caring and supportive.

Ralph proudly served with the US Navy in the Seabees (CB – Construction Battalion), building construction projects at Subic Bay, Philippines. His Seabee training served him well in his lifetime career as a land surveyor and construction project inspector; working for Entranco Engineers and several cities in Washington. His work also took him to Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, and Oregon.

For many years Ralph enjoyed playing golf with a weekly foursome. At home he was an avid reader, enjoyed DIY projects in and around his home, crewed on sailboats out of Shilshole Bay Marina, skied in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Canada. In 1981, as an early celebration of his 50th birthday, he climbed Mt. Rainier with dear friend (and matchmaker) Ed Berschinski,. His love of the outdoors probably began with stream fishing in Idaho in his youth with his parents and brothers. He enjoyed camping, white-water rafting on Washington rivers, and hiking with family and friends, especially at Mt. Rainier, where he and Betty were married.

During their 40+ years together, Ralph and Betty enjoyed many travel adventures. These included: garden tours of England, Ireland, Scotland, France, and Italy; touring the canals of Venice; hot air ballooning over Cappadocia in Turkey; snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea off Costa Rica; snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef in Australia; shopping for cigars in Havana, Cuba; soaking in the Blue Lagoon and seeing the Aurora Borealis in Iceland; a trans-Atlantic cruise – South Hampton to New York on the Queen Mary 2; swimming with turtles in Hawaii; viewing exotic animals in New Zealand, Australia, and Tasmania.

Ralph loved holidays – putting up decorations for Easter, Halloween, and Christmas – to the delight of neighborhood children and the child in himself. He enjoyed parties with friends – whether casual, costumed, or formal – always a good sport – whether serious or silly. Ralph was a good man who treated people with warmth, respect, and sincere caring. He will long be remembered and loved by many as the guy with a great laugh, a warm smile, and a cheerful disposition.

Living in West Seattle for several decades was a great pleasure for Ralph. He enjoyed morning coffee at the Morgan Thriftway (with friends nicknamed the Seattle Seniles); he and Betty exercised and swam at the West Seattle YMCA and participated with Seattle Indivisible as citizen activists. They also volunteered with Seal Sitters to protect young Harbor Seals on Alki and other local beaches. A favorite activity together was monthly dancing at the Senior Center.

“I shall take you by the hand and we will dance for joy in heaven
with all the saints and angels who will rejoice at your coming.” – Margery Kempe

A memorial/celebration of Ralph’s life will be scheduled at a later date; post Covid. Memorial donations may be made in Ralph’s name to Northwest Harvest or Seal Sitters.

Share Memories and Photos of Ralph on the Tribute Page at
Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to

WEATHER, ROAD WORK, TRAFFIC: Friday watch, with first low-bridge change ahead

April 9, 2021 6:07 am
|    Comments Off on WEATHER, ROAD WORK, TRAFFIC: Friday watch, with first low-bridge change ahead
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

6:07 AM: Good morning! Mixed weather expected today, some sun, some clouds.


Delridge project – The east end of Sylvan Way, just west of Delridge, is now closed for work. Here’s the rest of this week’s plan, as we await the weekly update on what’s next.

The Highway 99 tunnel is scheduled to close both ways tonight into Saturday morning for its monthly inspection, with the NB side staying closed until Monday morning.


Metro is on its regular schedule

The West Seattle Water Taxi is on its regular schedule


382nd morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here’s how it’s looking on other bridges and routes:

Low Bridge: 13th week for automated enforcement cameras; restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily – but starting tonight, weekend mornings will be open to all drivers for three additional hours, so restrictions are in effect 8 am-9 pm Saturdays and Sundays. (Read about other changes ahead, here.)

Here’s a low-bridge view:

West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:

Highland Park Way/Holden:

The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):

And 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.

See all local traffic cams here; locally relevant cameras are also shown on this WSB page.

Trouble on the streets/paths/bridges/water? Please let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.