West Seattle, Washington
Just in from Washington State Ferries:
Until further notice, all state ferries will operate on their current reduced schedules with the option for phased service changes based on the COVID-19 recovery and several other factors.
Any changes in service to Washington State Ferries’ current COVID Response Service Plan will be based on four metrics, all of which will be considered before any modifications are made on any route:
· Ridership – Recent system-wide numbers remain down more than 60% compared to this time last year.
· Crew availability – More than 150 crewmembers are either people who are at higher risk for severe illness or unavailable due to the pandemic.
· Vessel availability – There is a lack of boats available for service due to the maintenance shutdown earlier this year, combined with a continued reduction of U.S. Coast Guard inspection capacity.
· Funding – Washington State Department of Transportation is currently losing millions in revenue from the gas tax, state ferry farebox recovery, etc.
“Given the constraints associated with our four pillars of service, we unfortunately cannot increase our number of sailings based on ridership alone,” said Amy Scarton, head of WSF. “As we enter what is normally our peak season, our priority as always is to provide service based on the safety of our passengers and crews.”
A crane was needed to install the windows – we recorded some video:
Here’s what one of the new windows looks like:
The Hall is a popular venue for events and meetings – this was a perfect time to get the work done since those aren’t allowed to resume yet. (Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering, which operates The Hall, is offering weekly family meals for pickup, though – more info here.)
Thanks for the tips and pic! One month after we reported that The Original Bakery in Fauntleroy was gearing up to reopen, it’s happened. Today was the first day back for the beloved bakery, now equipped with a take-out window. The announcement:
This week we will be open for takeout with a limited menu of donuts and pastries. We will not be serving coffee or espresso yet. Our hours are from 9 am-3 pm Thursday through Saturday. Sorry, no telephone or online orders. We will operate similarly to a food truck to start, first come, first serve. When we sell out of items, we will be out for the day. We appreciate your patience as this process will move a bit slower than our regular service. We will take orders and contactless payment (credit card only) at the walk-up window. There will be a pick-up table at the far end door when your name is called.
The Original Bakery is at 9253 45th SW. (And of course we’re updating our ongoing restaurants/food/beverage-businesses list.)
Huge surprise this afternoon for physician and researcher Stephen Plymate, MD, as he returned to his home near Lincoln Park after a walk. Family and friends surprised him with a classic coronavirus-era celebration – a drive-by parade in honor of a national award he’s just won.
Dr. Plymate, who has worked at the UW and the Puget Sound VA for about 20 years, is the 2020 recipient of the Middleton Award, granted annually to a VA scientist for “outstanding scientific contributions and achievements in the areas of biomedical and bio-behavioral research relevant to the health care of Veterans.” As his wife Dr. Lisa Plymate explains, he “is the 4th physician to be granted this award from the Puget Sound VA in the 58 years it has been given out. He’s the first, however, to have his awards ceremony, usually held in D.C. with great fanfare, thwarted by a virus.” But family and friends weren’t going to let the virus preclude a parade, which we recorded on video:
The pandemic has kept Lisa Plymate on the east coast, so, she explains, “Steve’s Tacoma daughter Corinne worked hard to organize this surprise. She contacted his lab and colleagues plus family and friends.”
Along with his work for the Veterans Administration, Stephen Plymate is also a veteran himself, a retired U.S. Army Colonel. A local veterans’ advocate, Seattle Police Lt. Steve Strand, led today’s parade, in his dress uniform:
Pre-parade, as he walked unsuspectingly up the street, Dr. Plymate was serenaded by one of his neighbors, tenor José Iñiguez from Encanto Arts – we caught a bit of that on video too:
More about Dr. Plymate’s accomplishments, from his wife: He “is professor of endocrinology in the Department of Medicine and director of Prostate Cancer Endocrinology as well as a founding member of the Institute for Prostate Cancer Research at the UW and Fred Hutchison. His work has focused on prostate cancer and its treatment for over 25 years. He has over 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals and is internationally known for his work,” which she says he continues to do about “80 hours per week” in addition to remaining “an avid skier and bicyclist.”
Lisa Plymate adds, “Steve’s 12-year-old granddaughter Liora compiled a montage of congratulatory videos sent by family members and colleagues from around the world. This is also a surprise he will be able to watch after the parade. The entire Plymate clan thanks all the scientists, friends, and neighbors who have helped us put this together in his honor. And they’re grateful for this bit of excitement during our stay-at-home era!”
By Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog
When school closures started in March, most of the 72 teachers leading Salmon in the Schools projects across the city immediately released their tiny fish into the wild on the chance that some might survive. In West Seattle, however, most salmon teachers found ways to keep growing their fish and to share releases electronically with their students.
Arbor Heights Elementary‘s tank tender Kristin Waitt Hutchinson spun into action as soon as the closure notice came. She quickly got a freshwater tank ready in her garage for the 150 coho fry she had been helping teacher Angie Nall care for at the school. Two months later, she brought the robust fish to Fauntleroy Park, where Angie shared the release as it happened with her students on Zoom. Read More
That security video shows the thief who took Ariana‘s red 2014 BMW x3 from her Fauntleroy driveway. Note the accomplice moving solid-waste containers at upper left. Here’s the plate:
If you see it, call 911.
As previewed here Monday, the Fauntleroy Community Association held its annual meeting online last night; it ran less than half an hour, as shown in the archived video above. Big change from last year, when 200 people attended the annual meeting (aka Fauntleroy Food Fest) at The Hall at Fauntleroy, but they expressed hope they’ll be able to return to that format next year. Tuesday night, they started by recapping the organization’s 2019 priorities and accomplishments, from events like the Fauntleroy Fall Festival to environmental achievements like the beach creosote cleanup.
Elected as officers – Mike Dey, President; Alexis Zolner, Treasurer; Frank Immel, Secretary; Kimberly Terry, Membership Secretary; Bill Wellington; Marty Westerman; Nils von Veh; Alan Grainger; Catherine Bailey; Susan Lantz-Dey; Sydney Hammerquist; Kris Ilgenfritz; David Haggerty; and Bruce Butterfield.
Mentioned along the way: The Endolyne Triangle planter project welcomes volunteers – firstname.lastname@example.org.
WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE LETTER: One of the many issues mentioned briefly as a priority for FCA – as it is for just about every organization on the peninsula – was the West Seattle Bridge closure. Fauntleroy has a unique view, as the community through which traffic to/from Vashon Island and the Kitsap Peninsula flows via Washington State Ferries. FCA sent this letter to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold:
The FCA board has monthly business meetings, usually at 7 pm on second Tuesdays, so the next one will be June 9th. Watch fauntleroy.net for updates.
From Washington State Ferries:
Due to necessary repairs, the 90-car Sealth will replace 124-car Cathlamet as the F/V/SW #2 vessel beginning with the (updated) 4:35 p.m. Fauntleroy to Vashon sailing. This will cancel the 3:55 p.m. Southworth departure
In pre-pandemic times, the Fauntleroy Community Association‘s annual membership meeting was held in conjunction with a big community gathering, the Fauntleroy Food Fest. This year’s FFF was set for March 17th – and then, like so many other events this spring, had to be canceled. But FCA is still having an annual meeting, 7 pm tomorrow (Tuesday, May 12th), via Zoom, and community members are invited. Details and the registration link are here.
4:28 PM: Thanks to Dane Salle for the photos. SW Barton is blocked at 41st SW in Fauntleroy after a driver hit a pole that then fell onto the roadway. The driver was described via radio communication as “alert and conscious” when SFD got there.
5:58 PM: Just went by. Traffic is getting through now; the pole is coned off on the downhill side of the road.
10:58 AM: Thanks for the tip. Washington State Ferries has just confirmed there’s a problem at the Fauntleroy dock – the transfer span is currently “out of service,” with an electrician on the way. That means a scheduled departure is on hold, and the Cathlamet, which was on its way to land, is waiting offshore. Updates as we get them.
11:09 AM: Vessel Watch shows both ferries now headed to Vashon, and the WSF cam (screengrab above) shows vehicles waiting on the Fauntleroy dock are being turned around.
12:01 PM: The Fauntleroy dock is still out of service.
1:36 PM: WSF just announced that repairs are complete and service is resuming with the 1:40 pm Vashon departure to Fauntleroy.
This time of year, Salmon in the Schools volunteers would be hosting hundreds of students at Fauntleroy Creek as they release salmon fry they’d been raising at school. This year, though, school closures brought an abrupt end to that project. As reported here in mid-March, teachers and volunteers scrambled to save the salmon fry. And part of that effort led to what happened at the creek on Friday. Louisa Boren STEM K-8 teacher Christina Massimino sent the video, photos, and report:
Salmon releases looked a little different this year.
Two local schools released their salmon fry today in Fauntleroy Creek. Students from Louisa Boren STEM sent in “well wishes” for the fry and they were read out loud as the fry were released. This was live streamed on Zoom so families could join in the experience. Arbor Heights had several people in attendance for their release as well and is putting together a movie for families. STEM released at 10 and Arbor Heights at 12:00.
Local volunteers Dennis and Pete were there to help.
Some schools released their salmon early due to schools being closed. Arbor Heights and STEM had teachers who brought the salmon home and have been taking care of them until they could be safely released on schedule.
As the one-year anniversary of its mysterious appearance nears, The West Seattle Turkey is back in the neighborhood where those early sightings happened.
WSB commenter “1994” texted that photo from north Arbor Heights tonight. Earlier, Emily K. photographed it in Upper Fauntleroy, near 36th/Cambridge:
Steve also reported a sighting there, while a texter saw TWST at 36th/Cloverdale: “I have always wanted to see her on a walk and then she appears right outside our yard! So cool!” The day began with Amy‘s sighting in Seaview:
TWST has covered a lot of ground in the past few weeks – south to Fauntleroy, then north to North Admiral, and now all the way south to Arbor Heights. BirdWeb says of the wild turkey, “They typically get around by walking although they can fly and often roost overnight in tall trees.”
From Washington State Ferries:
The last sailing from Fauntleroy to Vashon and Southworth will be cancelled tonight due to needed terminal maintenance. Cancelling the 1 a.m. sailing out of Fauntleroy will allow crews to complete necessary repairs to the terminal’s transfer span.
Listed below are the final sailings for the day for each destination:
The 11:45 p.m. sailing to Vashon/Southworth will be final departure for the day.
The 10:50 p.m. to Fauntleroy will be the last sailing to West Seattle.
The 1:25 a.m. sailing will be the last trip from Vashon to Southworth.
The 11:10 p.m. sailing to Fauntleroy will be the last sailing to West Seattle.
The 12:30 a.m. departure from Southworth to Vashon/Fauntleroy will only go to Vashon.
The Triangle Route is already operating on a reduced schedule,
While neither of these is directly related to Camp Second Chance, both bits of information emerged during this afternoon’s meeting (by videoconferencing/phone) of the CSC Community Advisory Committee (full report later): 2 elements of COVID-19 response that are dropped or on hold because the West Seattle Bridge closure has suddenly rendered our area a lot less accessible.
One is the plan for the Southwest Teen Life Center to be used as an additional shelter space for up to 50 people, so that existing shelters in the city could be made less dense. Shawn Neal of the city Human Services Department said that site is on the back burner now because transportation logistics between here and, for example, downtown services are a lot more complex without the bridge. Also, Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski of Fauntleroy UCC (now the camp’s sponsor) said a plan for the co-housed Fauntleroy YMCA to be used as a child-care space for medical personnel/first responders hit the same snag – suddenly it’s a lot harder to get to/from WS – so the church is now exploring “other (interim) uses” for its building.
Washington State Ferries will reduce service on some routes – including Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth – starting Sunday, and continuing for at least a month. WSF says the “Triangle Route” will reduce sailings by about a third, moving to a two-boat schedule. WSF says the temporary schedule will also suspend these early-morning sailings:.
· 1:25 a.m. Vashon to Fauntleroy
· 1:45 a.m. Southworth to Fauntleroy
· 2:20 a.m. Fauntleroy to Vashon
· 2:45 a.m. Vashon to Southworth
These service reductions and the earlier announced extension of the winter sailing schedule prepares WSF for the ongoing effects of COVID-19 disrupting service, including:
· A continued decrease in ridership due to public health recommendations
· Availability of sufficient crew personnel to meet federal requirements
In the announcement, WSF head Amy Scarton is quoted as waning, “Further suspensions and adjustments are possible depending on ridership trends.” Systemwide ridership is down 60 percent compared to a month ago – 80+ percent fewer walk-ons, almost 50 percent fewer vehicles.
Special to West Seattle Blog
From the Fauntleroy Watershed Council
Last week, when schools began closing for COVID-19, teachers and volunteers had to scramble to save lives – the lives of nearly 2,000 coho salmon being reared by students in 13 West Seattle schools.
Knowing that their fish were too small to survive in the wild, all sought to keep school tanks going until May releases in Fauntleroy Creek. Most teachers turned to school custodians to feed the fish and provide access for someone trained to maintain healthy water chemistry.
For Arbor Heights and Gatewood elementaries, the solution was to move their fish immediately off site, one to the home of a tank volunteer and the other to Phil Sweetland‘s carport. He and his wife, Judy Pickens, help guide the Salmon in the Schools program for 73 schools throughout the city and provide particular support to participating schools in West Seattle.
When the governor extended school closures by several weeks, Roxhill Elementary and Louisa Boren STEM K-8 also relocated their fish and Phil added West Seattle Elementary‘s fish to his carport.
Teacher Andy Darring soon concluded, however, that he had to release Pathfinder K-8‘s fry five weeks earlier than planned. “It was a difficult decision to let the fish go but it was the only real choice, given the situation,” he said.
“Release dates for all other West Seattle schools remain on the calendar so students can still have that experience,” Judy said. “If classes don’t resume by late April, fry will be big enough for likely survival in the wild.”
Teachers who find they need to relocate their fish should contact Phil at 206-938-4203.
Creek no place for dogs, children
Pathfinder’s small fry will have a tough enough time surviving without having dogs in their water. Last year, experts pointed to off-leash dogs in the creek as a reason that only a handful of the coho released in Fauntleroy Park did not survive to migrate to central Puget Sound.
“Juveniles can stay for weeks near the big bridge, where students released them,” said Dennis Hinton, long-time release volunteer. “One dog thrashing in the water there can kill dozens of fry in just a few minutes.”
For habitat protection, Seattle Parks and Recreation requires dogs to be on leash at all times in the park. Also, with kids home from school, parents may be tempted to let their children pad in the water on a warm spring afternoon.
“The creek is always teeming with life, whether you see it or not,” Dennis emphasized. “It’s no place for a dog or a child.”
We’re starting to get word today of some independent school/preschool closures – out of caution, NOT because of illnesses. Fauntleroy UCC confirms that its Little Pilgrim School has canceled classes for the rest of the month. From the letter sent to families:
It is with the abundance of care that the leadership of Fauntleroy Church has decided to cancel Little Pilgrim School classes starting this Monday, March 9 through March 31, 2020.
As you’ve realized by now, the issues around the COVID-19 virus have been a dynamic concern for everyone in Washington, and particularly in the King County area. New information about best strategies for prevention and health have come out every day. Each day we’ve asked, “What is the best way to care for those at Fauntleroy Church, Little Pilgrim School, the Y, and our neighbors?”
Our primary concern has been for those who are considered most vulnerable–and at Fauntleroy Church, that especially includes your children. We do not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 on our campus, but we are taking the CDC’s recommendation at its most serious level to limit group interaction.
Also, as has already been communicated, a challenging part of small programs is that they are easily rattled by even small events. It is apparent that at this moment we presently don’t have sufficient staffing to provide the quality program we want for your children. Our remarkable LPS staff’s hearts and attention are being stretched to the limit trying to care for those they love at home and at school. We have had to stretch to find substitutes in the past week and anticipate this as an ongoing challenge.
We know that closing our preschool until the end of March will create consequences for your family. However, part of our job as an organization is to continue to do what we do best, and this is putting our community and the people (especially your child) in our community first, especially in times of crisis.
We know that some preschools and area schools have not yet closed. But we suspect that we are one of many that will begin to make the same decisions in the best interest of limiting the spread of COVID-19 and helping to protect the children and families they serve…
We know that Jenny Romischer and LPS teaching staff will be in contact with you soon with information about how you can talk to your child about this closure and how LPS will continue to support your family from March 9- March 31, 2020, even though there will be no physical classes.
Next steps? Well, we assume the Coronavirus will continue to be an on-going concern. We know we will have to reassess how to best care for and love one another day by day. But that is at the heart of all we do every day. Thank you for your patience as we made this difficult decision and for your love and care of Little Pilgrim School. Let us know if you have any questions. And as we get closer to March 31, we’ll be in touch about how we move forward together in ways that are both healthy and hope-filled.
The Executive Committee of Fauntleroy Church
Senior Pastor Leah Atkinson-Bilinski and Associate Pastor Karyn Frazier
As previously reported, the church itself moved to online services as of this past Sunday.
Washington State Ferries says MV Kittitas will return to the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route this morning, since repairs are complete. That means the route is back to the regular 3-boat schedule as of the start of the service day, with the vessels tasked as: #1 Issaquah, #2 Kittitas, and #3 Cathlamet.
As spring approaches, it’s a great time to plant, and that’s why fifth-graders from Taproot School were out helping this morning with a new pocket garden at Kilbourne Ravine, by the historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse. Above, Fauntleroy Watershed Council volunteer Mike Arizona was helping guide them. They had nine species of native shrubs and ground-cover plants to work with:
The pocket garden is meant “to demonstrate the use of beneficial native plants in any landscape,” Judy Pickens, also from the watershed councll, tells WSB. It’ll hold an interpretive sign too.
Volunteers have worked for six years to restore the ravine, with the help of a $70,000 grant from the King Conservation District. The pocket garden’s funding comes from a $4,000 grant from the 2019 West Seattle Garden Tour; maintenance will be funded by donations to the Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship Fund.
Annie reports this happened early Monday morning near 40th/Barton in Fauntleroy:
Had my car prowled at 6 am. Someone in sweats and a hoodie got into my car and took something out of the glove box. I got to the window in time to see a car racing away with its lights off, east up Barton, then turned left/north onto 39th Ave SW. I filed an online report with the police.
2:59 PM: Another waterborne transportation note: Thanks to the caller who pointed out that the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth state ferry run is down a boat. MV Kittitas has what WSF describes as a “fire-main leak” and has been pulled off the route TFN. WSF says it “will continue to operate the regular 3-boat schedule using vessels #2 and #3. Engineers on board the vessel are working to fix the problem.” We’ll update when there’s word it’s back.
11:25 PM: Looks like it’ll be a while. From WSF late tonght:
Due to the need for more extensive repairs to the M/V Kittitas, we will implement a 2-boat schedule on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route starting Monday, March 3. The Cathlamet will operate as the #1 vessel, with the Issaquah as the #2. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work to maintain our fleet.
Thanks to Mary for the tip about that drilling crew at work in a very visible Fauntleroy spot – across from the church/YMCA, just south of the historic schoolhouse, right at a RapidRide stop. Shortly after her inquiry, we belatedly received this notice from Seattle Public Utilities, explaining it’s part of preparations for the Fauntleroy Creek Culvert Replacement Project:
When we reported on the project’s early-stage planning last year, construction was expected to happen in phases between 2021 and 2024.