West Seattle, Washington
10:32 PM: First arriving firefighters say the vehicle is “30 feet down a bank” and so far it appears empty, so they’re going to have to go down and look for the occupant(s).
10:36 PM: New estimate, the car is more like 10 feet down the embankment. Still no sign of anyone. They’re downsizing the response.
10:43 PM: They’ll be blocking traffic “Olson to Roxbury” for a while, so if you’re headed that way, consider an alternate route.
King County Sheriff’s Deputies have fanned into the West Seattle neighborhoods north of Roxbury, searching for a man reported to have robbed the Roxbury Safeway at knifepoint. We don’t know whether this was a shoplift-turned-robbery or a different type of holdup, but the robber is reported to be armed with a knife that he used to “threaten employees.” Initial description is that he’s Black, in his 20s, about 5’9″, in a green puffy jacket and gray sweatpants.
In West Seattle Crime Watch tonight, charges have been filed in two incidents at Westwood Village stores:
BIG 5 BREAK-IN: The man arrested early Tuesday after a burglary at the Big 5 Sporting Goods store, 37-year-old Nicky R. Taylor Jr. of Tacoma, is charged with first-degree burglary. Charging documents tell the same story we reported that day – mall security called police after seeing someone use a shopping cart to break into Big 5 by smashing a window. Police say Taylor had grabbed what appeared to be a rifle – and later turned out to be an airsoft gun – and pointed it at an officer, before fleeing out a side exit. They caught up with him just south of the mall, on SW Barton. The charging document say police who went into the store after the arrest “observed the airsoft and ammunition section was in disarray. Several guns appeared pulled off the wall and there was ammunition scattered on a counter.” Taylor is accused of taking bullets, boots, two coats, and a baseball bat, plus the airsoft rifle, all of which was recovered. The charging documents say he was wanted on a misdemeanor DUI warrant from Federal Way and that he has had 22 failure-to-appear warrants since 2007; all his prior convictions are driving-related, including three other DUIs. He remains in jail, bail set at $80,000.
ROSS SHOPLIFT-TURNED-ROBBERY: 27-year-old Issac R. Alejandro is charged with first-degree robbery, accused of pointing a gun at Ross Dress For Less store security and management while getting away with shoplifted merchandise. The incident happened October 4th; the charge was just filed last week, but Alejandro has been in jail since October 12th in connection with a different case. In the robbery case, prosecutors say, Alejandro went into the store, gathered up more than $300 in clothing, and when employees tried to stop him, pulled the gun and told them repeatedly “Back off.” This security image is in the charging documents:
He then, investigators say, fled with two accomplices in what turned out to be a stolen Chevrolet Silverado, found by police less than five hours later in the 2500 block of Harbor Avenue SW. (It had been taken from a light-rail park-and-ride in Tukwila hours before the robbery.) Meantime, a detective investigating the robbery got security-camera images from the store, circulated them to officers, and had the stolen Silverado processed for fingerprints. The charging documents say he soon heard from an officer who believed he knew the identity of the main robber; one of the accomplices was identified through a tip that he was in Renton. SPD subsequently heard from Renton Police that Alejandro was in their custody for an incident in which he allegedly shot at them. They also learned that Alejandro had a million-dollar warrant for a King County Sheriff’s Office robbery/assault case and that he has criminal history in California and Arkansas. The jail register shows he’s being held in lieu of $700,000 bail.
When Christmas brought an end to subfreezing weather, Keith Hughes finally got a break from round-the-clock operation of West Seattle’s only emergency shelter/warming center. Temperatures are expected to drop again next week, so he’s announced the shelter will reopen Monday at the West Seattle Veteran Center:
We will be back open on Monday morning, Jan 2, 2023 from 7:30 am till 11:00 am, and again at 5:00 pm for a hot meal and overnight every night that the overnight temperature is forecasted to be in the 30s. During the last Cold Weather Emergency, from November 3 thru December 25, we averaged 20 people per night, both men and women, as the only Shelter in the West Seattle/White Center area.
With that, the “Keep the Heat On at the Warming Center” crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs will continue. Keith explains:
It takes a lot of help and support to feed, clothe, and house a group this size as a private, all-volunteer, non-profit organization. “Keep the Heat On” literally means being able to pay the gas bill, electric bill, water and sewer bill, insurance, and building maintenance (like cleaning supplies). We can’t do it without your help. Thank you to all who can join us in supporting our local Homeless community.
If you know someone who needs a place to go inside and be warm, the address is 3618 SW Alaska.
3:08 PM: Just got word from Kersti Muul that several orcas are reported in “southern Elliott Bay,” seen from a state ferry. Let us know if you see them!
3:27 PM: Just received this video recorded by Erica Quimby from Alki:
3:33 PM: Kersti just texted that “they are super-close passing Alki Point.”
3:51 PM: Also from Alki, Ryan Nestle sent this photo:
Ryan says, “We were driving back from a late lunch at Harry’s Beach House, when I spotted them right off the tower. Picture only shows two, could have been 4 or 5 by our count. We’ve lived here in West Seattle for 3 years and this was my first sighting. Let’s just say I was beyond excited.”
3:56 PM: And Kersti just texted to say they’re now in view off Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook (4500 block Beach Drive SW), still closer to this side of the Sound, but moving southbound quickly.
4:05 PM: Another texter sent this photo of people lining Lowman Beach to whale-watch:
4:25 PM: As it gets dark, Kersti says they’re passing Lincoln Park. Also: “There’s a little, little baby in the group.” (These are transients, by the way, not the endangered residents.)
A city permit filing says the international tea-shop chain Happy Lemon is moving into the Westwood Village space long occupied by Vatsana’s Thai Restaurant. Before we could follow up on that discovery, we learned the restaurant has apparently already closed. A reader says a Vatsana’s staff member reported that employees were told on Christmas Eve. We went over yesterday and found only this note on the door:
We went back today to check again and the restaurant remains locked, with workers inside who appear to be dismantling fixtures. We sent inquiries both to the posted email address and to Happy Lemon corporate HQ; our note to the former just got a reply promising a “reply in the near future.” Meantime, Happy Lemon’s website says it has more than 2,000 locations in 20+ countries, with 14 in the Puget Sound metro area, nearest ones in Columbia City, South Lake Union, U-District, and Tukwila. Happy Lemon’s menu shows tea drinks featuring a variety of ingredients from boba to salted cheese, plus smoothies. This will be the second international tea chain to open in West Seattle, after Sharetea‘s Jefferson Square arrival a year and a half ago.
1:14 PM: Cable outages are often highly localized, but today we’ve heard from people in multiple neighborhoods – including North Admiral, Fairmount Park, and High Point – that their Comcast/Xfinity service is out. One person reports the outage started around 12:30 am. We have an inquiry out to the company, and will add anything we hear back.
1:44 PM: Comcast/Xfinity regional spokesperson Jack Follman says “everything should be up and running” now. Anyone still out?
As we say goodbye to the old year, many are also ready to say goodbye to their Christmas tree. Here’s the annual reminder from Seattle Public Utilities about how to do that if you have curbside pickup or the ability to take your tree to the transfer station:
Seattle Public Utilities invites Seattle residents to compost their Christmas trees and other holiday greens for free through January 31, 2022. Residents should place trees or bundled greens next to their food and yard waste cart on their collection day. Apartment residents may place two trees next to each food and yard waste cart on each collection day. Trees must be cut into lengths of four feet or less and all ornaments, lights, tinsel, and other decorations must be removed.
In addition to curbside collection, Seattle residents may drop off trees and other holidays greens for free at SPU’s north or south transfer stations through January 31. Stations will accept up to three trees per vehicle.
Recycle Your Holidays: Composting Christmas trees is just the beginning when it comes to holiday recycling. Many common holiday items can be recycled or reused. Customers can find out how to cut down on the amount of holiday waste that ends up in the landfill by checking SPU’s Where Does It Go Tool: seattle.gov/util/myservices/wheredoesitgo.
The list for today, from our West Seattle Event Calendar:
VOLUNTEER IN SOUTH PARK: The Duwamish River Community Coalition continues coordinating help for those affected by this week’s flooding in South Park and has been seeking volunteers to help again starting at 11 am today – sign-up link here (if it’s full, keep watching that link for opportunities; meantime, monetary donations are also still welcomed via this link).
LAST CALL FOR FOOD DRIVE: This is the second-to-last day of the holiday-season food drive at Canna West Culture Shop (5435 California SW), open 10 am-6 pm.
PRE-NEW YEAR’S EVE AT THE SKYLARK: 8 pm show with Beautiful Freaks, Princess Pulpit, Skipping Victor, all ages until 10 pm. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
LIVE MUSIC AT THE POGGIE: Lumberjax play 9 pm-midnight at Poggie Tavern (4717 California SW).
Something to add to our calendar for New Year’s Eve or 2023? email@example.com – thank you!
Just before our recent storms, friends got the devastating news that Kalilah Hunter, known by many for her work at the temporarily closed Luna Park Café, had passed away. Here are remembrances they’re sharing:
Our dear friend Kalilah “Shmeow” Hunter sadly departed this world on December 16, 2022. She was 37 years old.
Kalilah was raised in Spokane and has been a West Seattle resident for around 15 years. Since she arrived in West Seattle, she has been a beloved consistent face at Luna Park Cafe. She found her chosen family at the cafe in her coworkers and regulars who she truly loved so much. She was a face so many looked forward to seeing during breakfast time especially at the cafe. Luna Park was her home and it was a part of her heart.
Kalilah had so many friends in so many different circles and was so very loved by all who got to know her. When she first arrived in the Seattle area, she was very active in the punk scene. For years she was a valued integral part of The Morgue underground punk venue. It was there at The Morgue that she made so many lifelong connections that she cherished so much. She always spoke about The Morgue with so much love and admiration, and she was very nostalgic about that very special time in her life. In general, though, as many know about her, first impressions were not her strong point. But with a bit of patience, once she let her guard down, she showed the loving and caring person she was protecting. Sometimes her love came natural and sometimes folx had to work for it. And I assure you, it was worth the wait, because to love her and be loved by her was a true gift. Her family circle was far and wide and included all different types of individuals, never with judgement, only with love.
Kalilah’s list of interests and accomplishments are vast. She was a yearly participant in the Polar Plunge and raised a lot of funds for the Special Olympics over the years, and she was a huge supporter of ASL (American Sign Language). She was a true advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and she always was ready to stand up and fight for equality and human rights. Shmeow was an incredible artist and produced hundreds of drawings and paintings during her art career. From cartoon characters to portrait realism, her immense talent was recognized by all. She was a proud member of the HappyTime Apocalypse art gallery at The Greenwood Art Collective for many years. Cats were prominent in her work, reflecting the intense love she has for all of the kitties of the world. Her art is a legacy that will bring joy and happiness for lifetimes to come. And her sense of humor was unmatched. She is truly one of the funniest and quirkiest people you ever have met, hands down. Laughs were always present in her company to say the least.
Sadly she leaves behind her kitties, Lilly and Ajah, best doggie friend Noodle, father and 2 sisters, incredible partner Lincoln, roommate Rachael, her favorite kiddos Victor and River, and SO very many of us who considered her family and loved her dearly. This is a loss of epic proportions for many and our lives will never be the same without her. Kalilah’s impact on the world was immeasurable, and she will truly live on in the hearts of all of those who she touched. She will be sorely missed forever.
Tributes from a few of those she touched:
“We are saddened to say that our beloved Kalilah has passed away. As most of our regulars know, Kalilah was a Luna Park staple. She started at Luna 15 years ago as a very young shy hostess. She blossomed into a great waitress loved by all her customers. There has never been such a sweet and quietly funny member of the Luna team. The Luna staff has always been family where most are lifelong friends. We were looking forward to Kalilah coming back when we reopened. She will be missed by all her customers, friends, and family. Rest in peace, sweet Kahlilah.” – John A. Bennett
“My family have been Luna Park regulars since before I was born, and that tradition has continued for the past 21 years. Though I’ve spent the last 5 years working with Kalilah at Luna Park, our relationship began with me as a wide-eyed kid in her section every week, in awe of her older, quirky, punk coolness. In this way it feels like I’ve known her my entire life, and I guess I have. I’ll never forget how excited she was when, at 16, I started working at Luna, and how immediately welcomed I felt, due in no small part to her enthusiasm and warmth (she is likely somewhere cosmically cringing at being described as warm and enthusiastic, but it’s true.) She was endlessly patient with me at this time, and despite my incredible awkward-teenagerness when we began working together, she always treated me like her peer. Over the years that we worked together and in the last few years specifically, she became my close friend and one of my favorite people in the world. I don’t think I ever told her this, but every week I eagerly scanned the schedule to see if we were working together (we always were), as the prospect of getting to spend time with her made me excited about getting up in the morning. She was endlessly cool and funny and truly, deeply, badass. Despite her badass exterior, however, she was never truly cynical. She loved so hard and so deeply, and if you had the honor of being her friend, you know how dedicated she was. She was unwaveringly loyal to those whom she loved, and was earnestly dedicated to making sure they felt it. I will feel honored to have known her for the rest of my life. I have enough stupid anecdotes of the shenanigans we got into to fill a whole book, but I’ll spare you that right now. I hope that wherever she is, she knows how incredibly loved she is. By myself, my family, and the community at large. F*cking love you, Shmeow. I’m gonna miss you. – Clara Humphreys & the Messier-Humphreys family (Tom, Carolin, and August.)
(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)
9:27 AM: Pelicans emailed with a warning: “Was entering the westbound WS bridge from the southbound 99 ramp in the dark. There is a HUGE pool of standing water there and it is deep!”
6:03 AM: Good morning! It’s Friday, December 30th.
This is the 8th day the low bridge has been closed to surface traffic, with SDOT saying they don’t yet have a timeline for repairs.
A new map is out for the (long) bicycle detour.
WEATHER & WATER
TODAY’S TRANSIT STATUS
-Reminder that most transit services will be fare-free on Saturday
–Metro is on a regular schedule today but still down buses for repairs – 12 of the 126 had been fixed by the end of last week – keep watching notification channels such as @kcmetroalerts for trip cancellations and route suspensions.
-The West Seattle Water Taxi is on its regular schedule – note that it won’t run Sunday or Monday
-WSF’s Triangle Route remains on its two-boat schedule- check here for alerts/updates.
Delridge cameras: Updating this recent report, five are now live. Besides the one below (Delridge/Genesee), cameras are also up at Delridge/Oregon, Delridge/Juneau, Delridge/Orchard, and Delridge/Henderson.
High Bridge – the camera at the top.
High Bridge – the view from its southwest end (when SDOT points the 35th/Avalon/Fauntleroy camera that way).
1st Ave. S. Bridge – the south route.
Highway 99: – the northbound side at Lander.
All functional city traffic cams can be seen here, most with video options; West Seattle and vicinity-relevant cameras are also on this WSB page … Are movable city bridges opening for vessels? Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed.
If you see a problem on the roads/paths/water, please text or call us (when you can do so safely) – 206-293-6302.