West Seattle, Washington
Still smoky at sunset, but clearer than it was last night – Bainbridge and other islands were visible from West Seattle’s west-facing shore, though the Olympic Mountains remained hidden by haze. The National Weather Service says “onshore flow” will continue clearing the air through tomorrow. The Washington Smoke Information website, however, says slightly ominously, “It may be short lived, but we expect at least a couple days of cleaner air coming up.” As for the fires themselves – they remain numerous; we note that one just past Hood Canal that we mentioned shortly after it started, when things first started getting smoky here nine days ago, is now past 1,300 acres.
That’s the view West Seattle pilot/photographer Long Bach Nguyen had of our peninsula last night … you can only imagine what it looks like tonight. Earlier today, he did get to fly above the wildfire smoke – here’s Mount Rainier (elevation 14,400+ feet) peeking above:
The National Weather Service’s “special weather statement” about the smoke does offer a bit of hope: “Conditions may start to improve Wednesday as an upper level trough begins to approach the area…bringing a better chance for increased onshore flow.” Meantime, Twitter users have been providing photographic perspective:
Air quality comparison from West Seattle. :( pic.twitter.com/VqEC3o64J0
— Kevin Freitas (@kevinfreitas) August 14, 2018
Here’s my view. June 24th and today. pic.twitter.com/3K1TZErztE
— Emilie Menard Barnard (@emiliebarnard) August 15, 2018
About the smoke itself – lots of updated info on the Washington Smoke Information website.
How much of a problem do alcohol and other drugs pose to youth in our community? A local group asks that question each year, and has just released this year’s survey:
The Southwest Seattle Youth Alliance, a school and community coalition formed to address the high rates of youth substance use in Southwest Seattle, would like your help in learning more about community concerns related to drugs and alcohol. The coalition will use these surveys to guide their work in selecting effective prevention programs and services for youth and the community. Please take a few minutes to complete this anonymous survey.
The survey starts here in English, and here in Spanish. The SWSYA says, “The data from these surveys will be used to implement evidence-based prevention programs in middle and high schools in the community.”
As this increasingly smoky day moves into late afternoon, an air-quality alert just arrived by e-mail, from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and health agencies around the metro area:
Air pollution is increasing due to wildfire smoke and may cause health problems.
We expect air quality to reach levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS overnight and into tomorrow in many areas. A high pressure system is pushing upper-level wildfire smoke down. Smoke from British Columbia and the Cascades is continuing to build in the Puget Sound region today. Winds tomorrow afternoon could help clean the air. Thankfully, we don’t expect this to last as long as it did last summer. We are forecasting for GOOD to MODERATE air quality Wednesday and beyond.
Wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems:
Sensitive groups should take precautions, including: children, older adults, and people that are pregnant, have heart or lung issues (such as asthma and COPD), or that have had a stroke.
Stay indoors when possible.
Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, and sports.
Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use the “recirculation” switch. Use an indoor air filter if available.
If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a public library or a community center.
Avoid driving, when possible. If you must drive, keep the windows closed. If you use the car’s fan or air conditioning, make sure the system recirculates air from inside the car; don’t pull air from outside.
Schools and daycare providers should consider postponing outdoor activities or moving them indoors.
N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution. These masks are usually available at hardware and home repair stores. Please check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you. More information here.
For more information on ways to reduce your exposure, see the Washington Department of Health’s Smoke From Fire tips.
Air quality conditions may change quickly. Check the air quality forecast regularly at the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s website.
As always, check with your health care provider for more specific questions and concerns.
Though construction is complete at the new Aegis Living of West Seattle (4700 SW Admiral Way; WSB sponsor), a mobile crane was on the site today. Here’s what it was lifting:
That’s a replica of the tugboat Norene, which was the inspiration for the name of Aegis Living founder/CEO Dwayne Clark‘s mother-in-law. Her father had such an inspiring experience working aboard the tug in Puget Sound, he gave that name to his daughter, who is the mother of Dwayne Clark’s wife T Clark. The custom replica was brought in as a centerpiece of the new memory-care/assisted-living center’s Mediterranean theme, to anchor the courtyard on the west side of the complex.
Aegis Living expects its first West Seattle residents to move in soon, with a grand-opening celebration next month, and an open house announced for noon-4 pm August 25th. It’s been almost five years since Aegis Living bought the former Life Care Center site at 47th/Admiral/Waite.
King County Noxious Weed Control Program specialists were in West Seattle again today – for the second time this week, removing an infestation of a plant that’s one of the most noxious they tackle: Giant hogweed.
We contacted them after two WSB readers suggested we follow up on TV reports about a patch of this weed getting removed in West Seattle earlier this week. Sasha Shaw answered our inquiry and explained, it’s not that West Seattle is a particular hotbed of giant hogweed, but rather, the TV folks contacted her looking for a local angle on a story from the East Coast about someone getting badly burned by this weed, and it just so happened that West Seattle was where their most-recent report of a giant hogweed happened to be. Here’s a photo from that first stop, in the Genesee Hill area, on Tuesday:
Shaw is the communications specialist for the program, which is part of the county Natural Resources and Parks department. She explains, “Our program has the big job of stopping the spread of state-regulated noxious weeds such as giant hogweed throughout King County, including in the cities. For the Class A noxious weeds such as giant hogweed, which are limited in distribution in the state, we offer to help people with the control work because of the huge public benefit to stopping these highly invasive and damaging plants from becoming established. Giant hogweed also poses a serious health risk because of the potential of the sap to cause burns and blisters.”
(Here’s their info sheet about giant hogweed, so you can find out more about it.)
She also clarified that the removals in Genesee on Tuesday and Admiral today aren’t the first discoveries of this scary weed in our area: “We have responded to locations of this plant in West Seattle many times. It isn’t the neighborhood in Seattle with the most giant hogweed, but we have found several hundred sites there over the past 15 or so years that we have been working on this plant. We typically find some new sites every year, but more locations are closed than opened as the plants get controlled.”
She points out that you can use the county’s map to “zoom in and see the locations of all the giant hogweed sites we have found in West Seattle, as well as other regulated noxious weeds.” Go to https://gismaps.kingcounty.gov/iMap/ – and, she advises, “turn on the Noxious Weeds layer, select ‘Most Widespread Noxious Weeds,’ zoom in to West Seattle and look for the little green icons that look like pine trees.”
She continued: “At this point, most of the giant hogweed in West Seattle, and other parts of the city, is out of sight in ravines, alleys and backyards. Typically we find new sites when people contact us either about their own hogweed or their neighbor’s plants. Hogweed spends several years as small plants and can be inconspicuous especially in areas overgrown with other vegetation like blackberry. When they flower they are 10 to 15 feet tall so that is often when people discover them. Sometimes people get burned by the sap while working in the yard and then contact us to find out what they have. That’s what happened in the case of the West Seattle homeowner that was featured on KING5 News, although they actually got burned last year but didn’t know why until they found a flowering plant in their alley and identified it online. … People do get seriously burned by this plant so getting the word out as widely as possible is very important.” Also note, this is already toward the end of giant hogweed’s season, and most of the plants are dying back.
This isn’t the only “big problem” noxious weed/invasive plant out there – “but few that are regulated noxious weeds, highly dangerous to people and very invasive,” Shaw notes. We’re going to take her up on her offer to talk with us for a separate story about other weeds you should watch for. (You can start reading about them all here!)
Face-painting isn’t just for kids! It was part of the party this afternoon as Quail Park Memory Care of West Seattle (WSB sponsor) welcomed visitors to its first big public open house.
The weather was so nice, it was a patio party too, with music by the Jukehouse Hounds:
We showed you a peek inside the new facility back in May but went back this afternoon for the festivities and to see the finishing touches – like the hallways decorated with scenic photos and even benches:
Soothing sights like fish tanks, too.
It’s been almost five years since first word a memory-care facility was being planned for the site at 4515 41st SW. It has room for up to 66 residents.
Quail Park is hoping for move-ins to start after a round of inspections planned in early August. If you missed the open house, you can set up a tour – go here.
“Why Yoga Works and How It Can Work for You” is the title of a new book by someone who knows firsthand – Chris Dormaier, founder of SoundYoga (WSB sponsor). She’ll be reading from it during the next Words, Writers, West Seattle event, this Thursday night (July 12th), 6-7:30 pm at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW). The author series is co-presented by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and Seattle Public Library. This year, as we noted back in February, SoundYoga’s celebrating 20 years!
Today we’re welcoming Counseling West Seattle as a new WSB sponsor:
Here’s what they would like you to know about who they are and what they do:
Counseling West Seattle is your neighborhood counseling center in the West Seattle community. Life gets very busy, sometimes difficult, so we have five counselors to serve you with an array of specialties: children and adolescents, adult individuals, couples, and families.
Counseling West Seattle welcomes people of all ages, stages of life as well as race, religion, sexual orientation, and abilities. Service to the community is our mission and our first priority.
We believe in change and transformation and experience it daily. We are a client-centered group practice and we utilize proven methods including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Solution Focused Therapy; EMDR; DBT and Mindfulness.
Our counselors are:
• Toni Napoli, Director and Founder
• Elliot Grossman: Individuals, couples and families with divorce
• Ernie McGarry: Individuals and couples
• Kathryn Vinson: Certified child therapist, individuals and families
• Katie Unterreiner: Families, children, adults and couples
• Stacey Goodrich: Adult individuals
We are providers for many Insurance Companies.
Visit our website to learn more about our counseling center: www.CounselingWestSeattle.com
We thank Counseling West Seattle for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
While at Fauntleroy Park earlier today for the last Salmon in the Schools release of the season (story later), we found out that forest steward Peggy Cummings had found a dead bat in the park this week. It was a very small and likely juvenile bat, and no reason, she stresses, for you to panic, but it did make us realize we should publish this week’s alert from the state Health Department, since bats do turn up in West Seattle parks:
Since May 1, four bats found in Washington have tested positive for rabies, the highest number identified in the state in the month of May since 1998. The Washington State Department of Health reminds people to call their local health department if they, a family member or a pet interacts with a bat.
Health officials routinely test for and find rabid bats, typically during the summer months. DOH wants the public to continue to take appropriate precautions if a bat – dead or alive – is found. Try to avoid contact with bats and other wild animals; do not touch a bat if possible. If you do have contact with a bat or suspect that a family member or pet had contact with a bat, try to safely capture it and keep it contained away from people and call your local health department for next steps.
It is also important to protect your pets by ensuring their rabies vaccinations are current. More detailed precautions and information can be found on the Washington State Department of Health website.
While any mammal can be infected with the rabies virus, bats are the most common animal in Washington that carry rabies. In 2017, 22 bats were tested and found to have the virus. This is up from 2016 when 20 rabid bats were identified. The Washington State Public Health Laboratories tests between 200 and 300 bats per year. Typically, between three and 10 percent of the bats submitted for testing are found to be rabid.
The state says two of those bats were found in King County, but no further specifics. Cummings says she spoke to the county Health Department today and they said she and another park volunteer who briefly handled the dead bat don’t need to worry. “Rabies is serious but very rare,” she notes. But she also wants to remind you that you and your family should steer clear not only of bats but of any dead animal they find.
Since this will likely get started before our usual morning highlights list goes live, we wanted to remind you about an annual event tomorrow that you are invited to join or support – retired Pathfinder K-8 PE teacher Lou Cutler‘s annual birthday run for Make-A-Wish. In June, Lou turns 67, so he’ll be circling the Pathfinder field on Pigeon Point 67 times. It’s just one way he supports Make-A-Wish>, whose official news release for this year’s run calls him a “wish-granting superstar.” He’s volunteered for the group for more than 20 years; this is his 15th year of Laps with Lou. If you can stop by the Pathfinder field at 1901 SW Genesee tomorrow, you’re welcome to join the run – as most of the school’s students and staff do at some point during the day – or just cheer him on! You can also donate online in honor of his dedication and the kids who have unforgettable experiences as a result. He expects to get going around 9 am, and last year the run went past 1 pm.
Another new sign that’s going up in the West Seattle Junction area: Quail Park Memory Care Residences (WSB sponsor). We got a mini-tour this week as the center at 4515 41st SW gets close to accepting its first residences, pending final inspections/certifications.
Having areas with familiar themes and scenes is important at memory-care centers, and in this case, you’ll recognize the scenes from Pike Place Market. Each floor will also have a lounge with an aquarium. There’s also a restful terrace:
Here’s a single room, awaiting its first resident:
The project was certified LEED Silver. There are 48 rooms with a capacity of up to 66 people. If you have questions before they officially open, you can drop by their Discovery Center at 4506 California SW.
Today we welcome Innate Vitality as a new WSB sponsor! Here’s what proprietor Kara Krause, NTP, would like you to know about her studio:
Innate Vitality is a small boutique wellness studio located in the Brace Point community, near Endolyne Joe’s. We offer a wide variety of modalities: Pilates, strength training, barre, yoga, Nutritional Therapy, and Reiki. What makes Innate Vitality unique is our community of members – who are in every age and fitness range – and we can design a health and wellness program that best fits your individual needs.
Group classes and private sessions are available to accommodate all fitness levels from beginners to athletes. So, if you want to eat and feel better or if you’re training for an event, Innate Vitality has a program for you. Our strong community membership base and small class size offers a caring and supportive environment to encourage you on your wellness journey!
Our Pilates studio is equipped with a wide variety of state of the art STOTT apparatus. All of our Pilates instructors are STOTT trained, a method that pairs the Joseph Pilates repertoire with functional movement that is scientifically based. Our Pilates reformer classes are small, never more than four people, which allows for more attention to the participants at affordable group rates.
Come check out our community! Here’s what our clients are saying:
“After seeing immediate progress with Reformer classes at Innate Vitality, my physical therapist happily gave me the green light to continue the classes and discontinue the PT I had started for left hip pain.” -S.L.
“….my results have been outstanding. From going to having been told I needed a lower back fusion to doing a Pilates program and personal training – I am no longer in pain and discomfort due to my back issues and will not be needing any surgery…” – A.H.
Services ~ Pilates ~ Yoga ~ Barre ~ Strength & Conditioning ~ Nutritional Therapy
Click here to visit our website. Use code WSB18 and get 25 percent off any package right now!
We thank Innate Vitality for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Just found out today that another regional 5K fundraiser is moving to West Seattle – on June 9th, you can join the Take Steps 5K Walk/Run at Lincoln Park. It’s a fundraiser for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. This is an afternoon event, with a festival starting at 1 pm and the 5K at 2:30 pm, all in an effort to find new treatments and someday a cure for these intestinal disorders. You can participate as an individual or as part of a team – here’s where to start.
Don’t flush it, don’t toss it – if you have expired or unneeded prescription medication to get rid of, Drug Take-Back Day is only three weeks away. Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis sends the reminder that the national event is set for 10 am-2 pm on Saturday, April 28th, and the precinct is a drop-off spot as usual, 2300 SW Webster. P.S. If that day doesn’t work for you, note that the Junction QFC pharmacy is now a year-round dropoff spot. (Photo – start of 5th bag filled by dropoffs during last October’s Drug Take-Back Day at the SW Precinct)
Providence Mount St. Vincent has announced that it’ll reopen to visitors tomorrow, after a norovirus outbreak resulted in the facility closing its doors to visitors and even canceling its chapel’s traditional Easter Mass. From administrator Charlene Boyd, the announcement:
We are delighted to report that The Mount will be open to visitors effective Tuesday, April 3 — tomorrow! Thank you so much for your patience during this challenging time.
Your support and cooperation is greatly needed as we get back to normal operations. Although you are welcome to visit if you are well, we ask that you wash your hands or sanitize upon entering and leaving The Mount.
Most importantly, you may not enter or visit The Mount if you are ill. No fever, cough, sore throat, diarrhea, or vomiting in the last 48 hours prior to visiting The Mount.
Again, thank you for your cooperation and patience. We look forward to seeing you soon!
The Mount had told us that the number of cases during the outbreak “fluctuated” but averaged in single digits.
As mentioned here last weekend, a norovirus outbreak at Providence Mount St. Vincent in West Seattle has led to restrictions on visiting. There’s a new notice today, announcing that this means no Easter Mass in The Mount’s Chapel. As shared with us by the facility, here’s the announcement from Mount administrator Charlene Boyd:
While there are lessening cases of the GI/Norovirus bug in the building, there continue to be some new and active cases daily. Because of this, we have made the difficult decision to keep the building closed through the weekend, including all Easter activities on Sunday.
Mass on Sunday will be televised in house on channel 6 at 9:30 am for the residents. But no one will be allowed in the Chapel and we ask that you refrain from visiting your loved one. If you do feel your visit is essential, please contact your Neighborhood Coordinator or Social Worker.
We realize not only the inconvenience this causes, but the impact on quality of life for our Residents and you, particularly with Easter. We are committed to keeping you informed and updating you as soon as restrictions can be reduced or completely removed.
Thank you for your continued understanding and patience as we work together to restore wellness for all. To check on daily visiting status, you can call the front desk at 206-937-3700.
We asked earlier this week about the number of cases; it’s averaged in the “single digits,” according to Mount spokesperson Colleen Farrell.
Thanks to the reader who forwarded us two notices sent by Providence Mount St. Vincent in the past few days, asking visitors to stay away because of a norovirus outbreak.
Update Regarding Norovirus at The Mount
There are still relatively few cases of norovirus right now. That being said, they can easily and quickly spread and we want to continue to be diligent in both resolving active cases and preventing new ones from occurring.
So we continue to ask that guests, volunteers and community members refrain from visiting for a short time.
We know these restrictions are not easy on you or your loved one, so we will let you know as soon as possible when The Mount is reopened to unrestricted visitation. If you feel your visit is essential at this time, please contact your Neighborhood Coordinator or Social Worker.
Thank you again for your understanding, patience and help in minimizing the impact of this illness on our residents, caregivers and the community at large.
To check on daily visiting status, you can call the front desk at 206-937-3700.
Two months ago, The Mount restricted visitation because of the flu. A spokesperson pointed out that the average age of its residents is 94 and because of that, they are particularly “vigilant” in taking steps to protect health. We have a request out for comment on the current norovirus situation.
Thanks to the caller who wondered why people are picketing outside the Navos campus at 2600 SW Holden in West Seattle. We went over to find out. It’s not a strike – members of Service Employees International Union 1199NW told us they are there until about 5 pm for a round of “informational picketing” related to negotiations for a new contract. According to the union’s website, they represent about 140 workers at Navos’s inpatient mental-health hospital.
Today we are welcoming a new WSB sponsor, Project 968. Here’s what proprietor Michael Browder wants you to know:
Our mission is to provide every member and client access to researched protocols to increase the effectiveness of their workouts and provide individualized support in a community setting.
The gym name is Project 968, where 968 is the alphanumeric equivalence to YOU. Our approach to fitness is to take the typical gym experience and improve it by adding personal attention and providing instruction in a more intimate setting. The concept of the gym is simple; provide a small functional space for community members to exercise freely and allow members to feel they have a sense of ownership. Couple that with a non-pushy sales approach, free daily workouts that can be done on your own schedule and a weekend boot camp.
In addition to providing a warm and inviting place to work out, Project 968 is about supporting the local community. Although we have been open just a few weeks, we are participating in the West Seattle Art Walk, have donated to three school auctions, and offer our local seniors 50% off their monthly membership with provided exercises to specifically help them as they age.
I have been in the fitness industry for a decade and have had the privilege to work with a wide range of individuals from 8 to 70 years of age differing in physical capabilities and goals. My skillset includes general fitness, athletic performance, weight loss and increasing strength, flexibility and mobility. Every member and client of Project 968 will be provided with up-to-date training protocols to enable them to reach their desired results while staying injury free.
If you want to experience a different approach to gym memberships and personal training, we encourage you to stop by the gym and join our Saturday boot camp or do one of our daily workouts as our gift to you.
I look forward to welcoming you and showing you why we are different.
Michael Browder, West Seattle resident
4617 37th Ave SW | 206-504-7661
www.project968.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
We thank Project 968 for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Tired of staring out the window at the rain? Go wish SoundYoga (WSB sponsor) a happy 20th anniversary! Until 4 pm, the celebration is on at SoundYoga’s 5639 California SW [map] studio. Long before yoga became trendy, Chris Dormaier founded SoundYoga; she is also a Certified Teacher Trainer in the tradition of Krishnamacharya – the tradition in which all SoundYoga teachers are certified. They’re celebrating this afternoon with demonstrations, raffles, and free SoundYoga license-plate holders. Chris tells us that SoundYoga was West Seattle’s first yoga studio and that when she was getting started, they ended up buying the property because no one would rent to her – they thought a yoga business wouldn’t last! Not only has it lasted … there are new features, like the “total relaxation” setup:
One week ago, we reported that Providence Mount St. Vincent was temporarily not allowing visitors, so it could be “vigilant” in keeping its vulnerable residents safe from this year’s particularly nasty flu. Today, The Mount notified families and others that it will be open to visitors again starting tomorrow. Spokesperson Susan Clark shared a copy of the announcement sent by administrator Charlene Boyd:
We are delighted to report that The Mount will be open to visitors, effective Thursday, Jan. 25th — tomorrow! Thank you so much for your patience during this challenging time.
However, we continue to ask for your support and cooperation as we get back to normal operations. You may visit if you are well. You must wash or sanitize your hands upon entering and leaving The Mount. Sanitized hands are some of our best defenses for preventing flu.
You may not enter The Mount if you are ill. No fever, cough, sore throat, diarrhea, or vomiting in the last 48 hours prior to visiting The Mount.
We will be resuming house-wide activities gradually over the next few days.
Again, we thank your for your cooperation and patience, and we look forward to seeing you soon.
The Mount is an assisted-living and skilled-nursing-care facility and also home to an intergenerational preschool, which has continued operating but had suspended visits between the kids and seniors while flu concern was peaking.
Schools are places where not only can students learn, but also parents and guardians. A potentially life-saving lesson is coming up in a few weeks at West Seattle High School, and it’s so important that we are mentioning it here as well as adding it to the WSB calendar:
On February 7th from 6 to 8 pm, please join us for our first annual LEARN™ Suicide Prevention Training for parents and guardians. The LEARN™ steps are designed to help empower individuals to play a role in recognizing peers, friends, and family who might be having thoughts of suicide, and to know how and where we can refer those individuals to keep them safe. Come learn about how to talk about suicide with your children and their friends! All parents/guardians welcome. This training is offered free of cost. Food and refreshments will be provided.
Questions? Contact Kari Lombard (School Nurse) at KRLombard@seattleschools.org or Mallory Neuman (Counselor) at MLNeuman@seattleschools.org.