West Seattle, Washington
Today was the first day in four days that West Seattle didn’t have a Seattle Public Library branch closed for what the system called “staffing shortages.” Several branches around the city were closed on each of three days – Friday, including the Southwest branch; Saturday, including the Delridge branch; and Sunday, including the West Seattle (Admiral) branch. We followed up as promised, to ask if the shortages were the result of COVID, or something else. Here’s what SPL spokesperson Laura Gentry told WSB:
The Library has experienced low staffing numbers recently due to an increase in sick calls, an increase in vacation leaves around the holidays, and an increase in usage of family medical leave.
We do have an ongoing hiring effort to staff back up after receiving restored funding to do so. However, our first round of hiring resulted in several internal promotions, which has led to another round of hiring that requires additional orientation and training time. Even as we do become more fully staffed, it’s difficult to predict the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on our staff.
We do try to rotate which branches are closed due to low staffing in order to not impact certain neighborhoods more often than others. However, we also try to keep certain high-use branches open every day, if possible. These branches are often located near major transit lines and are geographically spread throughout the city to ensure coverage in all areas of Seattle.
We are currently taking a closer look at this approach to see if there is a way we can create more consistency for our patrons while we are in this situation.
West Seattle has four SPL branches, mapped here.
Here’s our weekly update on local pandemic numbers, including the weekly Seattle Public Schools updates, just made public this evening, with results from the district’s recent mass testing. First, the countywide and local info:
KING COUNTY CUMULATIVE NUMBERS (through today):
*248,775 cases – 37,244 more than a week ago (9,245 total in West Seattle, up 1,330)
*9,750 hospitalizations – 438 more than a week ago (277 total from West Seattle, up 7)
*2,196 people have died – 31 more than the previous update (77 total in West Seattle, unchanged)
SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS STATS
The SPS dashboard wasn’t updated until this evening, and it includes the results of the district-wide testing one week ago (SPS had said previously that about 4% of those tests were positive). Districtwide, the cumulative case total for this school year is 2,101, 807 more than a week earlier. Here’s the local school-by-school breakout (as always, these total also are cumulative):
West Seattle High School – 39, up 15
Chief Sealth International High School – 33, up 10
Denny International Middle School – 32, up 4
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 – 23, up 5
Arbor Heights Elementary – 22, up 7
Madison Middle School – 21, up 8
Alki Elementary – 19, up 13
Gatewood Elementary – 19, up 2
Fairmount Park Elementary – 18, up 6
Sanislo Elementary – 17, up 12
Pathfinder K-8 – 17, up 9
Genesee Hill Elementary – 17, up 3
Concord International (Elementary) – 15, up 6
Roxhill Elementary – 15, unchanged
West Seattle Elementary – 14, up 4
Highland Park Elementary – 14, unchanged
Lafayette Elementary – 11, up 1
BRIDGES @ Roxhill – 1, unchanged
The district’s newest pandemic-related message to families is here.
82.4% of King County residents 5+ have completed their vaccine series – up .5% from one week ago.
By West Seattle zip code – note that these numbers are still NOT available as 5+, so they reflect the percentage of 12+ population; the county has stopped calculating the boosted percentage, so we don’t have those numbers this time:
98106 – 88.5% completed series
98116 – 91.6% completed series
98126 – 83.5% completed series
98136 – 93.3% completed series
98146 – 83.8% completed series
(Find more COVID-related King County stats here.)
THE WEEK’S PANDEMIC HEADLINES
Boosters for teens and tweens – The recommendations for boosters expanded this week to include 12- to 17-year-olds.
Testing coverage – The White House has decreed how much COVID testing health-insurance providers must cover.
-The city-sponsored, UW Medicine-run West Seattle testing site at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle) is limiting testing to symptomatic/exposed people. Appointments can be made here (if you find an opening).
The city-run vaccination hub at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW) continues Friday and Saturday operations; here’s where to look for an appointment. Pliable‘s Sunday clinics (same location) are on hiatus until January 30th.
That artwork, “The Matriarchs” by West Seattle High School Class of 2021 graduate Hannah Shelfer. is now on display at the U.S. Capitol! Our area’s U.S. House Rep. Pramila Jayapal (also a West Seattleite) circulated the image this weekend, noting that the artist was this district’s winner in last year’s Congressional Art Competition. WSB reader Kathleen pointed this out and wondered if we could find out more about Hannah. We contacted her family, which tells us the artist is now a student at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., majoring in food science. Her award-winning painting, according to her family, “was inspired by the 2020 movie ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’. This digital piece was constructed using multiple layers of color and methods that approximate conventional painting and drawing tools. Hannah’s artwork earned her the Fine Arts Department Scholar Award in the WSHS 2021 graduating class.” Also while at WSHS, she was a swim-team athlete and, her family adds, also competed regionally and nationally as a team member of Pacific Waves Synchronized Swim Club.
Heads up if you’re expecting a delivery. A resident in Belvidere emailed with porch-camera video of a package thief (frame-grab above): “This package was dropped off 30 minutes before it was stolen… 12:48 pm today.” Note the video also shows the getaway car.
If you watch the Seattle Fire Department‘s real-time 911 log – which logs the addresses and call classifications for all SFD responses – you might have noticed a new call designation on Sunday’s log: A few medical calls were designated BC Medic Response or BC Aid Response. We noticed it and also received a few inquiries – one of the calls was on Alki Avenue – so we asked SFD about it today. Spokesperson Kristin Tinsley says BC is short for “battalion chief” (regional supervisor) and this is indeed a new type of code: “With this policy change, a battalion chief is now added to most responses where the patient is experiencing a mental-health crisis, to help our firefighters with decision-making for an appropriate treatment plan.”
Reminder that if you want to participate in Washington State Ferries‘ winter community meetings, tomorrow’s your last chance – you can participate in the 1 pm Tuesday meeting. Hot topics for WSF right now range from ongoing schedule reductions to planning for projects like the Fauntleroy dock/terminal replacement. You can also watch the recording of the evening version of the meeting, held last Wednesday – find the link here, same webpage where you can register to be part of tomorrow’s session.
From the weekend Seattle Police log, a case described as “accidental gunfire” – no one was hurt, but two apartments and a business were damaged. Police were called to an apartment building in the 4700 block of 42nd SW just after noon Sunday to investigate. According to the report narrative, here’s what happened: A resident had bought himself a Colt .357 King Cobra pistol for Christmas. He was “in his living room, examining his pistol, taking out rounds and placing them back into the pistol with a speed loader. (He) intended to dry-fire his pistol to an adjacent wall, not realizing the pistol was still loaded, and fired.” The bullet went through the wall, into the apartment next door, through a closet at a business in the building, then “clipping a TV mounted on the outer wall,” finally stopping underneath a chair. The gun owner went to the building leasing office to report what happened, and from there 911 was called. The resident of the apartment next door wasn’t home at the time; her dog was there and wasn’t hurt. After talking with everyone involved and taking photos of the damage, police say they “spoke with (the gun owner) about the importance of firearm safety, which he said he understood.” He had placed the gun in a cabinet after the incident.
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar and elsewhere, notes for today/tonight:
GARBAGE/RECYCLING/YARD WASTE CATCH-UP: Residential collection is back to regular days this week, and if you were missed the past two weeks, you can set out triple the usual amount, Seattle Public Utilities reminds you. Customers who were skipped twice also can take solid waste to a city transfer station at no charge.
OPEN D&D GROUP: Players welcome to drop in for this weekly group at Meeples Games (3727 California SW), 6:30-10 pm.
Something for our calendar/daily previews? email@example.com – thank you!
Family and friends are remembering Cheryl K. Baechle and sharing this remembrance with the community:
Cheryl Kay Baechle passed away unexpectedly 12-25-21 in Kent, Washington.
Cheryl was affectionately known by many as “Mommifer” and is survived by her three brothers Ken, Alan, and Gary Baechle; her three children Joseph, Jeffrey (daughter-in-law Lindsey), and Jennifer (“sonny”-in-law Marlon); her three grandchildren Fabian, Lauren, and Josiah; 6 great-grandchildren; and her beloved cats Herm and Chloe.
Cheryl was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was a single, hard-working mother who, after taking a two-week vacation with her kids to Seattle in 1977, fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and moved her family there in July 1978. As a young woman she enjoyed her kids, music, and a fun night out dancing. Later in life she enjoyed reading, crocheting, the Seattle Seahawks, and her Seattle “Marinaras,” as well as caring for her cats. Cheryl, you will be missed!
Please share memories & condolences on the Tribute Wall at emmickfunerals.com/obituary/Cheryl-Baechle – Care & Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)
6:02 AM Good morning!
Rain returns, according to the forecast.
BUSES, WATER TAXI, FERRIES
West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi routes are on their regular schedules.
Metro is on its regular weekday schedule. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of trip cancellations.
Ferries: WSF continues a two-boat schedule on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run. Check here for alerts/updates.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
657th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. As of early today, SDOT cameras were down again, but this WSDOT camera is working:
The 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):
Road ruts have worsened since the recent snow, ice, and record rainfall. Cathy emailed last night to warn, “There are at least two major potholes between Morgan and Dawson on 35th that are causing major issues for vehicles. Several flat tires, according to the team at Les Schwab tires … all due to potholes on 35th. Need the city to please intervene and fix these dangerous potholes!!!” We also received notes about the potholes on 106th east of 35th and the previously mentioned Sylvan Way potholes – here’s another photo of those, sent by A.L.:
We also noted some serious ruts on eastbound Fauntleroy just west of Avalon over the weekend. Here’s our story from last week on how to report them (and how to check first if they’ve already been reported).
Trouble on the streets/paths/bridges/water? Please let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.