West Seattle, Washington
For more than four years now, we’ve been glad to be able to work with photojournalist Christopher Boffoli. Though lately his career focus have turned toward the unique “Disparity” imagery that gained worldwide attention this year, he took the time to look back at his WSB work from this year and put together a slideshow of dozens of memorable images. Many were from breaking-news stories, as that’s been his WSB specialty over the years, but that’s not all you’ll see if you click through the photos (or let them play automatically) … watch closely for, for example, the most-talked-about food from last July’s West Seattle Summer Fest. Speaking of food, Christopher’s about to open an exhibition of images from his “Disparity” work, January 10-February 23 at Winston Wächter Fine Art (203 Dexter Ave. N. downtown).
P.S. 2 more year-in-review roundups to come … we’ve archived previous installments (plus this one) here.
(5/10/11 photo by Gary Jones)
Continuing to go through the WSB archives as we rough out more year-in-review roundups, we realized that “Seen at Sea” coverage – even without the wildlife stories, which we’ve already recapped – contains some of 2011’s most memorable sights. Among them, of course, what you see in the top photo – the Sea-Based X-Band Radar, the missile-tracking floating dome which was at Vigor Shipyards on Harbor Island from May 10th (nighttime arrival coverage here) till August 20th (departure coverage here), during which time it was the subject of doubtlessly millions of photos, and almost as many questions.
(8/20/11 photo by Melanie Dixon)
By the way, SBX is on the move again right now – this story says it departed a Hawaii base on Wednesday for point(s) unknown.
Here’s some of what else made news in and on West Seattle waters this year:
SINKING AND RAISING OF ‘JUSTIN’
Beach Drive was media central for a few days in October after the rock-laden Justin sank. Nobody hurt, but the slick raised some concern – Colby Chester provided the view you see above – and raising the sunken vessel took quite an operation.
FIRST-EVER NORTHWEST PADDLING FESTIVAL
In June, a first-of-its-kind festival debuted in West Seattle, as Alki Kayak Tours/Mountain to Sound Outfitters led the way for the Northwest Paddling Festival at Jack Block Park, where a stretch of previously closed shoreline opened for the occasion.
MORE HUMAN-POWERED WAYFARING
In July, during the outrigger race “Da Grind,” Gatewood pilot/aerial photographer Long B. Nguyen shared that sight. Also in July:
David Hutchinson shared great shots from the Tribal Journeys visit to Alki.
NO, THAT WASN’T AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER
The Seafair Parade of Ships was particularly impressive this August, with the amphibious-assault vessel USS Bonhomme Richard part of the parade, and a hovercraft right behind it. Gary shared the view looking over the Alki Lighthouse.
WHY WE ALL LEARNED THE WORD ‘NOCTILUCA’
In June, many people spotted this phenomenon close up along local waterways, and worried about “red tide.” It was reddish, but that’s not what it was – it was a nontoxic microorganism bloom called “noctiluca.”
WEIRDNESS AT SEA – BEACH DRIVE’S BEACHED COW
Maybe the weirdest West Seattle story of the year – a dead cow washed up in front of multiple Beach Drive homes over the course of a few days in February. Police finally got involved and towed it to Don Armeni, where a rendering company picked it up. As far as we know, the cow’s origins remain a moo-stery.
Track “seen at sea” stories on WSB any time via this archive (newest-to-oldest). Meantime, more year-in-review coverage to come!
Our series of topic-by-topic 2011 reviews started with one that was easy to quantify, since it was by-the-numbers – most-commented WSB stories of the year. Then came the review roundup for one of our favorite topics, wildlife. Now, we start getting into some of the more classic topics, starting with West Seattle schools. Going back through the archives, we discovered more than 200 stories over the course of the year. You can review them all, in reverse chronological order, here. From those stories, some of the MANY highlights:
SCHOOL CROWDING, AKA ‘CAPACITY MANAGEMENT’
Some public schools in West Seattle are already over capacity, and the quest for a solution will continue into the New Year, with the district scheduled to announce its official proposal for next school year at a media briefing next Wednesday. Early in the year, some local schools already were getting portables; this month, newly elected West Seattle school-board member (more on that in the 2011-politics-in-review report) Marty McLaren asked for your thoughts about short-term solutions.
FINAL PHASE OF 3-PHASE DENNY/SEALTH PROJECT
After more than three years of work, the Denny/Sealth project is almost done. A September dedication event opened the new Denny International Middle School (phase two) next door to the renovated Chief Sealth International High School (phase one); by the time that happened, demolition of the old Denny was complete, and construction of park/sports facilities on the site (phase three) is nearly done.
The most populous school in West Seattle, Chief Sealth International High School, is now led by interim principal Chris Kinsey, after longtime principal John Boyd took a new job in the Highline Public Schools district … This past spring, Ruth Medsker became permanent principal of West Seattle High School … Arbor Heights and Lafayette Elementary Schools began this fall with new principals – Christy Collins and Jo Lute-Evans, respectively – while a principal change was announced about a month into the new year at Alki Elementary, as award-winning Chanda Oatis took over.
COMMUNITY COLLABORATION – GETTING, AND GIVING
Lafayette Elementary‘s students have someplace new to play … The Roxhill Elementary “R” got a facelift thanks to community help … A West Seattle Montessori School (WSB sponsor) student’s blanket drive gets regional coverage … Holy Rosary reached out with a big gift for Holy Family … West Seattle Elementary‘s library gets an overhaul … Awareness-raising and money-raising were part of what happened during World Water Week at Sealth … Freshmen got a boost from upperclassmen as West Seattle HS debuted “Link Crew.” … Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) students won arts honors.
ONE BIG PROMISE
Thousands of students in West Seattle will get the chance for college classes they might not have been able to afford, thanks to the South Seattle Community College 13th Year Promise expanding to Chief Sealth.
(Sanislo GRC participants, photo courtesy of Craig Seasholes)
Sanislo Elementary and Concord International went to the Global Reading Challenge finals … Madison Middle School‘s “Project Citizen” crew went to state competition … Madison and Alki were chosen “Schools of Distinction” … Denny principal Jeff Clark got not only a new school but also, this year, the Foster Award … And Denny music director/Sealth band director Marcus Pimpleton got the Golden Apple Award.
VIDEO OF THE YEAR?
You’ll see several of the previously mentioned newsmakers in “Teach Me How to Study,” which went viral for Denny:
… and even brought a TV spotlight.
WEST SEATTLE’S NEWEST MIDDLE SCHOOL
Westside School (WSB sponsor) started adding middle-school classes this fall, introducing the school community to new faculty members before last school year ended.
The West Seattle Preschool Association was launched this year … After many years at Seaview Methodist Church, Lincoln Park Cooperative Preschool moved to a new home in the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse.
EVERY West Seattle school did amazing things this year … this is just part of the story. In the New Year, please let us know what’s going on with YOUR school, big and small – here’s how to share info, photos, or advance notice so we can come cover an event. More year-in-review reports still to come!
(June 2011 photo by David Hutchinson)
This year, we’re reviewing 2011 topic by topic, instead of the traditional everything-lumped-together or month-by-month review. On Monday, we began with the 10 most-commented WSB stories of the year … and this afternoon, we’re continuing with a favorite WSB topic: West Seattle wildlife. So much of our coverage is thanks to your reports, with and without photos – aside from the Steller’s Jays in the backyard, wildlife seems to elude us. So we start this review with a huge THANK YOU FOR SHARING! Now – the categories of most note, listed alphabetically, with two bonuses afterward:
(February 2011 photo by Karen, at West Seattle Golf Course)
We published 38 stories with reader reports about coyote sightings this year (some included more than one sighting). They certainly evoke mixed sentiments – sometimes admiration, sometimes anger, since there is no question that some pets, particularly cats, have been eaten by coyotes – which eat rodents and reptiles too – while yet others are worried they might eventually attack humans (no documented cases in West Seattle in recent years). All coyote reports published here, dating back to 2007, are archived (newest to oldest) here.
WEST SEATTLE ORCA SIGHTINGS
(August 2011 photo by Craig Savey, taken from Harbor Island)
With a newborn J-pod whale this month, Puget Sound’s resident orcas now number 89. That’s still such a small number … but every new one is cause for hope they won’t go extinct. And every sighting, particularly here in metro waters, is cherished. So many West Seattleites are working to help protect and save them, like Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail, which now has interpretive signs on state ferries; Jeff Hogan, whose Killer Whale Tales takes their story to schoolchildren; and Mark Sears, the Lincoln Park-based researcher who can often be spotted right out among the whales. Lots of great photos and video in 2011, especially this clip from Vashon:
By 2012, we resolve to get orca sightings their own category, so we can point you to an archive, instead of the search box, to find past stories (we published more than a dozen sighting reports this year alone).
SEAL PUPS PROLIFERATE
(Photo courtesy Robin Lindsey)
As of last week, West Seattle-based Seal Sitters had already dealt with more than 50 pups on local shores – a record year. Their role and responsibilities expanded this year, too, as did their territory, as they now respond to beaches further north, too.
In the past few weeks, we’ve seen publications around the region covering the unexpected appearance of snowy owls, usually seen further north. But WSB’ers were ahead of the curve on these birds, thanks to Mark Campbell‘s photo/report a month ago.
And aside from the trends, we had to include these:
BONUS LOOK BACK: THE RACCOONS WHO ALMOST MADE THE ‘MOST-COMMENTED STORIES’ LIST
In July, we got a tip about a backyard raccoon rescue carried out by a West Seattleite named Patrick – one of his friends told us about seeing the story told via Facebook. Patrick subsquently agreed to let us share his photos and story, among the year’s most memorable.
BONUS PHOTO ENCORES
(April 2011 photo by David Hutchinson)
So many great photos this year – just scroll through the “wildlife” coverage category to see them all! – but we had to give these two a home-page encore – David’s parent-and-child Canada geese, and Trileigh Tucker‘s hooded mergansers in courtship mode:
Thanks yet AGAIN for all the great sightings, photos, even ID help when WSB’ers send photos asking “what is THIS?” … looking forward to 2012.
More 2011-in-review reports to come between now and Saturday night! See the first one here.
Some Decembers have been too busy for the traditional “Year In Review,” but we’re bringing it back for 2011, in installments that will roll out, topic by topic, between now and, well, the end of the year (11:59 pm Saturday), at least one per day. Today, we’re beginning the rollout with a site-specific topic – most-commented stories of the year. (Obviously, with five and a half days to go, there’s always a chance this list – and/or any other one published before Saturday night – will have to be updated …) A few of these stories will of course also appear in our subsequent 2011-in-review roundups later this week. Here goes:
#10 – 125 COMMENTS
West Seattle traffic: ‘Worst morning in 5 years’ – but why? (May 11)
#9 – 126 COMMENTS
Close Junction streets for trick-or-treating? Mom’s campaign (November 6)
#8 – 127 COMMENTS
Zippy’s Giant Burgers moving from Highland Park to White Center (February 3)
#7 – 136 COMMENTS
West Seattle speeders: SPD stops a 42 mph bicyclist (July 27)
#6 – 137 COMMENTS
West Seattle traffic: 1st morning of Viaduct-closure workweek (October 24)