West Seattle, Washington
Jake‘s car was stolen tonight. Maybe you’ll be the one who finds it (like Joe found Noah‘s stolen car):
Silver 2011 Subaru Forester. Texas plate LBW 2657. Last seen 3800 block 33rd SW.
That’s the best photo Jake has, but he says it looks just like this stock photo.
When Steve Bender sent that photo of a harbor seal, wondering about what looked like a red cap, we didn’t have a quick explanation – we’d never seen that before. So first we went to Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network. SSMNSN’s David Hutchinson recognized the “red cap” as a tag placed by their partners at SR3 when rehabilitating a seal – so the rest of the story comes from SR3’s executive director Casey Maclean.
First, if you’re not familiar with SR3, they’re a nonprofit based in Des Moines, where they have a marine-mammal rehab hospital; their name is short for Sealife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research. Casey told us, for starters, “The red dot on the seal’s head is a tag that helps SR3 animal-care staff identify them while they are in rehabilitation.” After talking with Steve about where he saw this particular seal, Casey was able to tell us more about her:
This young, recently weaned pup was found on 11/8 on the Don Armeni boat ramp and reported to the local stranding network, Seal Sitters.
They monitored the pup over the next 24 hours to assess the pup’s condition, and when she was still there the next day, Seal Sitters reached out to SR3 for further medical assessment. Together the groups determined it was in the pup’s best interest to be taken into SR3’s marine mammal rehabilitation hospital in Des Moines. This pup was SR3’s 48th patient in 2022.
She was in thin body condition, dehydrated, had a wound with some associated swelling and pneumonia. Despite her various health issues, she quickly improved under SR3’s care, and 67 days later she was once again swimming free. Patients are released within 30 miles of where they were found and you can help monitor patients post release! While in rehabilitation, SR3 places a small colored dot on their head to help identify individuals; with several patients in one pool it is critical to make sure everyone gets the proper treatments. The tags are glued on to their fur and will come off when they molt, which they do once a year. By reporting any sightings of seals with “dots” on their heads, you can help us learn more about their survival post-release, photos appreciated! Each patient will also have an orange flipper tag that is placed between the webbing of one of their rear flippers; these tags are permanent so that if they should be found again, we know their medical history.
Please remember that we are fortunate to share our shores with incredible marine wildlife and sometimes they just need to rest. If you are concerned about a marine mammal, please report it to Seal Sitters, 206-905-7325 – responders are available 7 days a week.
And if you see a “dotted” seal that’s not otherwise a reason for concern – happily swimming, for example, you can report the sighting to (corrected) the Seal Sitters hotline too.
SIDE NOTE: This seal has two names because of the SR3 and Seal Sitters involvement in caring for it. Seal Sitters called her “Lady Marmalade“; SR3 named her “Spaghetti.” David from SSMMSN explains, “Seal Sitters has a long tradition of naming the pups we watch over. Usually they are named by the first responder or possibly the reporting party. SR3 uses a theme for names during the season, with this year’s theme being space objects. Spaghetti is the name of a nebula.”
The high-school basketball postseason has begun, and the West Seattle High School girls were first out of the gate with a game tonight. The Wildcats hosted Holy Names in the Metro League championship tournament.
Despite being down at halftime, West Seattle roared back to pull out the win, 46-39.
Head coach Darnell Taylor and the Wildcats (12-7) next face top-seeded Garfield on the Bulldogs’ home court.
That game is scheduled for 5:30 pm Wednesday (February 8th).
For everyone still coping with Metro trip cancellations, we’ve been noting in our weekday morning traffic/transit watches that we’ve had a request out to Metro for a while, seeking an update on how many buses are still out of service. Tonight we have the answer.
“We are nearing the finish line for this round of steering column replacement efforts,” says Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer.
It’s been exactly two months since Metro revealed on December 6th that a steering defect identified by two of its drivers took buses out of service for repairs. Metro at first said it “proactively removed 126 buses from service out of its 1,500-vehicle fleet.” Then on January 12th, Metro said it actually needed to fix 206 buses, more than two-thirds of which had been repaired by then.
Now, Switzer says, “We are currently looking at 28 buses needing replacement steering columns, of which we have parts in hand to address 20 buses in the coming days thanks to our partnership with [manufacturer] New Flyer.” That work is expected to continue through the end of this month. But that’s not the end of it, he adds: “Building on initial guidance from the manufacturer, Metro has implemented a new enhanced inspection process to identify any additional buses in need of total steering column replacement moving forward.” So in terms of their service levels – which of course are affected by other factors, too, such as staffing challenges – “We’re in the range of 97% of our typical weekday service, and 100% on weekends, but appreciate the patience of riders while we work to address our fleet availability challenge.”
Three West Seattle Crime Watch notes this afternoon:
WEEKEND GUNFIRE: From the SPD weekend summaries, one incident of confirmed gunfire. Police went to Hamilton Viewpoint Park at 12:23 am Sunday after a report that someone had fired shots near the park entrance. Witnesses also mentioned a black sedan and/or silver SUV leaving the scene. Officers found evidence of gunfire but no victims or property damage.
LA FITNESS SUSPECTS: One more followup in the case of two 18-year-old men arrested Friday for allegedly threatening staff at the LA Fitness front desk in The Junction, with one of the suspects allegedly brandishing with what police say was a handgun modified to be fully automatic. Bail was set on Saturday for the allegedly armed suspect; prosecutors asked for $5,000 and that’s what a judge granted, with the suspect, who has no prior record, subsequently released after posting bond. The other suspect remains in jail in connection with unrelated cases, in which he is charged, so we are identifying him, 18-year-old Peter M. Rodrigue Jr. One of the prior cases is a juvenile burglary case but we were able to obtain the court documents for the other one, for which his bail is set for $100,000: He and another man are accused of trying to rob three people at gunpoint after following them off a bus in Auburn in August 2021; Rodrigue was 17 years old but was charged as an adult. The charge was filed in February 2022 after detectives identified Rodrigue and the other suspect via Metro security video. He failed to appear at a hearing last May and that’s when the warrant was issued. Court documents show both he and the LA Fitness incident suspect who has posted bond are West Seattle residents.
HIT-AND-RUN SEARCH: Reader report/request via email:
$100 reward for any information on a hit and run in West Seattle at Fauntleroy and 35th intersection.
(Collision) involved 2 cars. Friday Feb 3rd approximately 6:55 P.M. Rear-ended in the left lane while stopped at intersection, traveling toward West Seattle Bridge.
Car fled the scene turning right on a red light onto 35th headed south. Blue Toyota Prius with temporary license tag in back right corner of rear window and Dealership insert. Year between 2008-2013? The Prius is missing a large chunk of its front right bumper and its grill. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Police Report has been filed with the Seattle PD.
We’ll add that number when we get it. (Update: 23-032756.)
Builders around the region will be giving the gift of accessibility again this year during the annual Rampathon. Just announced, it’s time to apply if you or your organization might benefit from one:
The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS), through its Rampathon program, is now accepting applications for free ramps for families struggling with mobility within their home or from nonprofit organizations whose clients or residents struggle with mobility.
Since 1993, MBAKS members and community volunteers have built more than 500 ramps to give people the freedom of movement throughout King and Snohomish County.
Applications are due June 30 and MBAKS and its members will be building ramps through July. Apply here.
City of Seattle and King County employees are no longer required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. They sent a joint announcement today, saying that, among other reasons, “the overall risk forecast (is) low enough to lift the mandate”:
Following updated public health guidelines, King County and the City of Seattle will no longer require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.
In alignment with updated Public Health – Seattle and King County guidance, Executive Dow Constantine and Mayor Bruce Harrell announced today that King County and the City of Seattle will no longer require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of employment effective today.
Throughout the pandemic, King County and the City of Seattle have used the most up-to-date recommendations and expertise from Public Health officials to inform policy decisions to adapt to the conditions and threats from the virus. To keep employees and the community safe and healthy, in mid-2021 that included requiring all county and city employees, contractors, and volunteers to show proof they had received the initial COVID-19 vaccination series.
Before supporting a recommendation to lift the employee vaccine mandate, Public Health officials wanted to understand the impacts of a potential winter surge in 2022 – 2023. With King County’s high level of vaccination booster uptake and lower levels of community spread, hospitalizations due to COVID infection remained at a safe level, making the overall risk forecast low enough to lift the mandate for employees, volunteers, and contractors.
“Since the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, King County’s policy has been to follow the science, listen to the experts, and protect life and health. Establishing a vaccine mandate for employees and contractors was critical to keeping employees and the public safe, and keeping services flowing. Today our experts advise that immunity has reached a level that allows these requirements to be relaxed,” said Executive Constantine. “With high vaccination rates and effective, updated boosters available, we are in a different place in the pandemic, and our policies and regulations will change to reflect the best information we have available today, as they have throughout the last three years.”
“The vaccine mandate was an effective and necessary tool for protecting the health and safety of City workers and the public we serve,” said Mayor Harrell. “The City’s actions then and now have always been informed by the science of the pandemic and recommendations of public health officials – an approach based on data and dedicated to saving lives. Rooted in our shared values of safety and health equity, we will continue to follow this approach as we respond to next steps in the pandemic and continue to advance efforts to ensure a thriving and equitable recovery for all Seattle residents and neighbors.”
More than 98% of King County’s nearly 15,000 employees provided proof of vaccination at the time the mandate launched and the nearly 4,000 employees hired since, while less than 2% were separated at that time due to the requirement. At the City of Seattle, more than 99% of employees provided proof of vaccination or received an accommodation, while less than 1% were separated at that time.
In addition to the employee vaccine mandate, Executive Constantine also rescinded the county’s COVID emergency proclamation today. Executive Constantine reissued the order pertaining to Metro service reductions which will remain in effect. Today’s orders will not impact booking restrictions at King County correctional facilities originally adopted at the beginning of the pandemic, and that remain in effect due to staffing shortages at the correctional facilities.
Staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines continues to be critical for preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Almost 90% of King County residents between 18 and 64 years of age have completed the primary vaccination series, although most have not yet received an updated bivalent booster and therefore are at increased risk for preventable serious infections compared to those who have received it.
“While the significant benefits of vaccination have not changed, the acute threat to our community and healthcare system has decreased. Therefore, it makes sense that vaccination is highly recommended but no longer required for King County and Seattle staff and contractors outside of health care settings,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “At this stage in the pandemic, we have higher levels of immunity from vaccination and from many people having had COVID-19 infections. Treatments such as Paxlovid antiviral treatment are available for people who get infected and may be at higher risk. We also have tools to further reduce the spread of illness through improving indoor air quality (e.g., through ventilation and filtration) and, in some settings, with the use of high-quality, well-fitting masks.”
Public health highly recommends following the current vaccination guidance which includes a bivalent booster dose for the best protection.
“We are now in a different phase of the pandemic compared to where we were in 2021 and 2022 and it makes sense to remove any requirements for vaccination,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, Director of Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Public Health continues to encourage everyone to be fully vaccinated and to be prudent about the use of masks in indoor settings.”
You can find the newest county stats on COVID here.
Three restaurant notes today:
CIRCA’S 25TH ANNIVERSARY: It’s happening today! Circa in The Admiral District at 2605 California SW is celebrating its 25th birthday today, and co-proprietor Gretchen tells us they’re offering “$12 burgers, $2.50 mini cake slices, $2.50 Manny’s Pale Ales, $15 red beans and rice plate.” If you visit today (they’re open until 9 pm) you’ll also find “decorations [photo above] and fun!” Circa is the Westside Awards‘ reigning Business of the Year, by the way.
PAGLIACCI FREEBIE: Just noticed while in The Junction that Pagliacci Pizza (4449 California SW) has window signage promising free slices on Valentine’s Day (Tuesday, February 14th), 4-8 pm.
TALARICO’S ADDITION: Speaking of pizza, Talarico’s in The Junction (4718 California SW) is adding weekday lunch starting Monday, February 20th – they emailed us to announce they’ll open at noon Mondays-Fridays. They’re expecting to offer lunch specials but are still working on the details.
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, here’s today’s highlight list!
MONDAY MOVIE: 1 pm at Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon), “Terry’s Greatest Movies You’ve Never Heard Of,” today featuring “A Stolen Life.” Free popcorn! Advance registration required – our calendar listing explains how.
CITY COUNCIL BRIEFING MEETING: 2 pm, councilmembers preview the week ahead (here’s the agenda) and get a briefing on the State Legislature session. You can watch online or on cable via Seattle Channel.
FREE INDOOR PLAYSPACE: Second week for the new free Toddler Gym weekday afternoons at the Salvation Army Center (9050 16th SW), ages 2-6, begins today, 3:30-5 pm.
CRAFTING AND CREATIVITY NIGHT: 6-10 pm at The Missing Piece (9456 35th SW), explained here.
PLAY TRIVIA! Three scheduled options tonight for trivia players – 7 and 8 pm Sporcle Pub Quiz at Three 9 Lounge (4505 39th SW); 7 pm at The Good Society (California/Lander), 7:30 pm at The Skylark (3803 Delridge Way SW)
Have a West Seattle/White Center event for our calendar ? Please send info to email@example.com – thank you!
This Friday, you can have dinner with the West Seattle High School Key Club, whose president Angelina Ly sent this announcement:
We are hosting a Spaghetti Night … There will be trivia, board games, drinks, and of course, spaghetti! This event will take place at West Seattle High School on February 10th from 6 PM to 8 PM. People must enter through the Historical Entrance, located on the north side of the building. The cost for a ticket is $10 per person and can be bought through this link. People of all ages and backgrounds are welcome, whether they have attended West Seattle High School or not.
Key Club is student-run and is the largest and oldest service organization for teens. There are more than 5,000 Key Clubs around the world. In each of those clubs, members work together to improve their schools and communities while also building character and leadership skills through service.
Our goal with this event is to raise money for our club to fund future projects while also providing a fun, family-friendly event to the community.
WSHS is at 3000 California SW.
6:01 AM: Good morning! It’s Monday, February 6th.
Cloudy and breezy, rain likely, high around 50.
TODAY’S TRANSIT STATUS
–Metro is on its regular schedule, but still canceling some trips/suspending some routes, so keep watching notification channels such as @kcmetroalerts for trip cancellations and route suspensions. (Yes, we’re still waiting to hear from Metro about how the bus repairs are going.)
-Regular schedule for the West Seattle Water Taxi.
–Washington State Ferries‘ Triangle Route continues on a two-boat schedule – check here for alerts/updates.
Some wondered about the backup of port-bound trucks last week. The terminal operators changed terminal opening times from 7 am to 8 am, “largely due to decreased cargo volumes coming into the NWSA gateway,” per the Northwest Seaport Alliance.
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):
Low Bridge – looking east to west:
1st Ave. S. Bridge – the south route:
Highway 99: – the northbound side at Lander.
MORE TRAFFIC CAMS: See all working traffic cams citywide 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 bridges/streets/paths/water, please text or call us (when you can do it safely, and after you’ve reported to authorities if needed) – 206-293-6302.