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Crime Watch reader report: Same block hit twice in 3 days

This time, though, arrests are reported, thanks in part to alert neighbors. The report comes from Scott, who was away from home when the burglary happened on Sunday, but says he’s just across the alley from this burglary (7300 block 35th SW) reported here 3 days earlier:

So, from what we’ve heard someone (4 of them) attempted to break into our house today.

They backed their vehicle up our driveway and went around the back to break into a door on the backside of the house, first attempting to get into the side garage window first. While this was happening -3- of our neighbors were already on the phone calling 911 !

The police caught 2 of the guys, both in their early 20s. Obviously our house is being watched!

I’m really surprised that they attempted to hit our house; it’s a lot more open than the house across the alley from us! No trees to block the view of our house, wide-open driveway, and obviously LOTS of neighbors watching!

Another new business coming to West Seattle

April 27, 2008 9:28 pm
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 |   West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news

Found out about this one because they’ve just posted job listings in our West Seattle Jobs Offered section in the WSB Forums: Snap Fitness, on its way to Jefferson Square. Looks like a US/Canada chain – corporate website here.

Update: Elliott Bay Water Taxi’s 2008 season has begun!

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We got that photo from Seacrest less than an hour ago as the Elliott Bay Water Taxi headed over from Pier 55 on its first official run of the season. Upon arrival, a loudspeaker announcement from the crew thanked their inaugural group of passengers — five in all (you can hear the announcement in this clip:

As mentioned earlier, the kickoff ceremony, emceed by West Seattle’s King County Councilmember Dow Constantine and featuring music by West Seattle’s Bronwyn Edwards Cryer, is happening noon-2 pm. Water Taxi rides are free all day (here’s the schedule), and remember the free shuttle is now back in business too (here’s its schedule) – taking it will be a really good idea today, given the limited parking at and around Seacrest. The Water Taxi’s season is set to continue all the way through Halloween this year, with the full 7-day schedule all the way till the end.

From park site, to true park: Ercolini labor of love under way

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Just west of The Junction at midday today, those kids played in a space that is taking shape as their future neighborhood playground, at Ercolini Park, while dozens of adults labored just feet away to install the playground equipment that just arrived:

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Here’s video of both aforementioned groups in action:

The volunteers’ work at Ercolini continues 9 am-3 pm tomorrow, and is a major milestone in a transformation that’s been years in the making. Around this time last year, the park site was still a large grassy lot – former family homestead, sold to the city Parks Department:

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In the ensuing months, neighborhood volunteers received a city grant — matching funds for cash and volunteer-time commitments that they worked hard to procure; now they’re cashing in on that volunteer help – and looking forward to a grand-opening celebration within a matter of weeks. By the way, if you live in any of the areas around The Junction, stop by Ercolini tomorrow to not only see what’s happening, but also to familiarize yourself with the site’s new status as your neighborhood gathering place in case of disaster – between 10 am and 2 pm, a table with safety info will be set up like the one last weekend in Morgan Junction (and other events that have happened in Alki and Pigeon Point; check the map in this post for other upcoming events – we’ll have updates soon for additional neighborhoods).

Two reader reports on transportation trouble spots

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That photo, and report #1, from Arbor Heights Elementary teacher Mark Ahlness:

It’s finally happening! The sidewalk on the south side of SW 104th next to Arbor Heights Elementary School is almost finished. Many thanks to the Arbor Heights PTSA, who have worked for several years with the city to make this happen!

The Arbor Heights sidewalk project was first mentioned here last November.

Report #2: As Manuel noted in his e-mail, the issue he is following isn’t technically in West Seattle, but certainly affects a lot of WS drivers “who use South Spokane Street to go to Costco or work.” He continued:

I wrote SDOT inquiring about the poor condition of the concrete panels at the railroad crossings down there. Over time they sunk several inches, and drivers had to slow way down. They have since fixed the eastbound panels, but the westbound panels are currently pretty bad. Anyway, just passing along a well-thought-out response from our city.

Read on for the full text of the response that Manuel received and forwarded:Read More

Truck hits house on Genesee Hill

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For the second time in less than 12 hours, a vehicle has hit a building in West Seattle. WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli is out on the “heavy rescue” 911 call in the 4400 block of 55th SW (map) and texted us with the description “truck vs. house.” 1:05 AM UPDATE: Police on the scene tell Christopher nobody is hurt; the truck’s driver fled before fire/police arrived and will face a hit-run charge if/when found.

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Updates on 2 new West Seattle fire stations

This P-I story about impending pole-less-ness in new fire stations — including Station 37 on 35th — got us wondering how that project and another one in West Seattle are going. We found this page on the Fire Department website with monthly reports on the fire-station projects citywide; though the newest “status report” is filed as “March 2008,” it’s dated just yesterday. For Station 37, to be built at a new site at 35th/Holden (while the old one, a city landmark, will eventually be sold), the architects are “continu(ing) on construction documents.” For Station 32 in The Junction, the report says its architects (different firm) are continuing on pre-design, and “three alternative site layouts have been prepared for comment.” Another document linked from that same city page says construction on FS 32 is scheduled to start in November ’09, while 37 is scheduled to start this August.

2743 California: Design-review details

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Last night’s Southwest Design Review Board meeting about the project proposed for that spot between PCC and the California Place mixed-use building had one foot in the present and one foot in the future – as would be optimal for such meetings, since new buildings will be around for decades. We toplined it last night but here as promised are the details:Read More

West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 reader reports, plus an update

First reader report: Officers with guns drawn earlier this morning at 46th/Andover. We are checking on that. 9:21 AM UPDATE: Sgt. Jeff Durden at the Southwest Precinct says “911 call of a man in a back yard with a shotgun. Turned out it was only an air rifle and the intent was to shoot a woodpecker.”

Second reader report: Burglary yesterday. Here’s what Joe e-mailed to WSB this morning:

We live on the 7300 block 35th Ave SW, I went home from work to meet a service technician at 12:30 pm and found that we had been burglarized. Entry through broken window. two tvs, two cameras, laptop, misc stuff . One tv was lying on floor as if the burglars were scared off before the were done. This happened between 9:oo am and 12:30 pm and nobody saw anything.

Update: A few folks asked about a followup on the two-car crash at 35th/Thistle the other night. It’s close to impossible to get an update on the victim’s condition — privacy laws have tightened in recent years so media cannot just call up a hospital and say “somebody was brought in from a crash, how are they” — but Sgt. Durden says the crash did NOT turn fatal. As for the cause, he says one of the drivers had run the red light, and was cited.

Be a Master of Disaster: 3 ways to do it this weekend


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In honor of our state’s Disaster Preparedness Month, throughout April – and continuing for a few weeks into May – we’re helping local community leaders share information geared to help you take steps to ensure your family’s safety in case the unthinkable happens. One big emphasis is the designation of neighborhood gathering spots around West Seattle where residents will be able to go for information and help if the normal lines of communication are down; even if the only preparedness step you take this spring is to know your nearest gathering spot, that’s still progress. With that in mind, we’ve made the map you see above – each marker is clickable and explains that respective location and who it’s for. Two communities, Alki and Morgan Junction, have already had one-day drop-in events for neighbors to visit the gathering spot and get disaster-preparedness info; this weekend, you’ve got the same chance in two more — 8 am-10 am tomorrow at 20th and Andover, during the Pigeon Point neighborhood cleanup, drop by to get info and get acquainted; 10 am-2 pm Sunday at Ercolini Park, Junction-area residents are invited to do the same. ONE MORE THING YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW, NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE: One of the many West Seattleites working on this effort is Cindy Pestka, who has worked a long time to help people with readiness (we borrowed the “Master of Disaster” term from her); she created a checklist of supplies you can purchase right now to have on hand “just in case” – it has helpful specifics, not just the generalized lists you often see. We’ve uploaded it here so you can take a look and print it out for yourself for use in building a kit you can get to if you need it (and if you don’t have MS Word — thanks to Amy F, here’s a PDF version).

Video: Elliott Bay Water Taxi crew practices for Sunday start

April 24, 2008 10:30 pm
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 |   Elliott Bay Water Taxi | West Seattle news | West Seattle video

Thanks to marketing director Maureen Black at Argosy Cruises for answering our inquiries about when we might catch the Sightseer — aka the Elliott Bay Water Taxi, now operated by the new King County Ferry District — in action prior to its season debut this Sunday; as a result, we caught the crew in action doing touch-and-go practice at Seacrest this afternoon. Here’s a longer clip from our visit to Seacrest:

Rides are free all day Sunday; the EBWT will start running that morning (8:30 am from downtown), but the real fun at the dock will be the official launch-day festivities noon-2 pm, with West Seattle’s King County Councilmember Dow Constantine emceeing (he can be a lively host, as evidenced at the 34th Legislative District Caucus earlier this month) and Argosy CEO Kevin Clark also scheduled to appear.

Admiral project @ Design Review tonight: Quick topline

April 24, 2008 9:56 pm
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 |   Development | West Seattle news

“Early design guidance” tonight for 2743 California (city project page here), replacing a duplex between PCC and California Place (the white building with apartments over businesses including Freshy’s): Not much controversy. A few new details – the “medical offices” are expected to be primarily dental, three floors over “basement” parking. Design Review Board members had a lot of questions and recommendations, but they did advance the project to the next stage. More tomorrow, including the interesting caveat that came up about half a dozen times.

Another review next week for Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza

It’s not online yet but the agenda for next Thursday’s city Design Commission meeting (at City Hall downtown) came out today via e-mail, and the Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza project will return that day for another review. The same commission had a long list of suggestions when they saw the project for the first time three weeks ago; read about them in our report from that meeting. FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE: This review has been delayed – we’ll let you know when it’s rescheduled.

Charlestown Cafe update: Repair work hasn’t started yet

ccfiresmall.jpgWe just checked in again with Charlestown Cafe owner Larry Mellum; in our last update three weeks ago, Larry’s co-owner Ron Hanlon told us they were still awaiting the final go-ahead for work to start, and they couldn’t set a reopening date yet. Today, Larry tells WSB that the work required for the restaurant to reopen post-Feb.-4-fire still hasn’t begun:

The project has not yet started. We have been waiting for our Landlord and their insurance carrier to get the required construction proposal and deposit back to the contractor. To date that has not happened due I believe to some administrative glitches within their operation. … We are as anxious as you to get the Charlestown going again. Thank you again for all of your support.

Whenever the work starts, the cafe owners say it’ll take at least four weeks from that point to get it finished so the Charlestown can reopen. (You can always find the latest WSB coverage of the Charlestown Cafe situation atop this archive.)

Traffic alert: Bonair closure next week

Just in from the city Transportation Department:

A contractor for a private development will close the 2100 block of Bonair Drive SW in West Seattle to traffic next week to repair the roadway. The street will be closed between Alki Avenue SW and Halleck Avenue SW (map) for four to five days. Drivers will need to use an alternate route.

New way to get a 4-year degree without leaving West Seattle

April 24, 2008 11:41 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Just announced today: South Seattle Community College and City University of Seattle are partnering for a program that will enable students to get a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with all four years of studies taking place on the SSCC campus in east West Seattle. SSCC says the deal will be finalized at a ceremony next Tuesday; here are the details released this morning.

It’s not just YOUR grocery bill that’s rising …

You’ve heard the national-news stories about the rising price of staples like rice and wheat … and you’ve seen it when you go to the grocery store. But if you think your budget is tight, try running a food bank and trying to maximize every last fraction of a cent. Local food banks are hurting worse than ever as a result – not just from having to pay more for the food they buy, but also because the higher prices are sending more families their way for help — but the bright spot is that, donating to them in the next week not only will help with the crunch, it will also help them qualify for matching funds as part of a national “challenge” we’ve mentioned before. Here’s an update from Eve Holt at West Seattle Food Bank:

April 30th is the last day for donations to the West Seattle Food Bank that can be submitted for matching funds from the Feinstein Foundation’s $1 Million Challenge.

Donations of food and cash are especially needed right now because of rising food prices. Most of what the Food Bank has to buy is costing more and there has been a significant increase in the number of families coming to the Food Bank for help.

Checks may be mailed to West Seattle Food Bank, 3419 SW Morgan, Seattle, WA 98126. Credit card donations can be made by calling Eve Holt at (206) 932-9023 or online at www.westseattlefoodbank.org. A list of suggested food donations can also be found on the organization’s Web site.

The Food Bank’s first-ever Instruments of Change fundraiser is coming up one week from tonight, by the way. One other note: Part of southern West Seattle is served by the White Center Food Bank, which is also participating in the challenge; find its donation info here.

Morgan Junction apartment building for sale

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It’s called “Gatewood Apartments” but this 22-year-old, 16-unit building at 6547 42nd SW (map) is in the heart of Morgan Junction, right behind Thriftway. Just listed at $1,950,000. (This isn’t in the listing, but city records show an “unresolved” condo-conversion application from 2006.)

Southwest Precinct follow-up on the “unusual doorknocker”

As promised, we checked today with the Southwest Precinct re: last night’s hottest topic, the “unusual doorknocker” reported by Larry Carpenter in Alki. Sgt. Jeff Durden, who leads the Community Police Team, says they were working directly with Larry to get more info, and also checking with area military — at this point. Sgt. Durden says, “I doubt this was any kind of military operation. Everyone we have contacted concerning the matter has agreed.” He adds, particularly in the light of the trouble that Larry had reaching somebody at non-emergency police numbers — “Also as said/posted many many times before – call 911. 911 will always answer and this is definitely a situation where we want to get a patrol officer dispatched to investigate.”

Sneak peek inside Spring Hill (the restaurant)

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That photo is courtesy of Mark and Marjorie Fuller, showing a partial peek inside their still-under-construction Spring Hill Restaurant and Bar, which they hope to open on the north end of The Junction (former In Bloom space) in mid-May — “if all goes smoothly from here,” is Mark’s caveat. Menu? we asked, checking in for the first time since our January update. “Still in the works and not quite ready to reveal yet.” Hours will be 5:45 pm-midnight, 7 days a week. (All ages, he told us previously. And in case you wondered, no relation to the BlueStar development of the same name on the south side of The Junction that we’ve been telling you about since October.)

Denny-Sealth meeting: 4 Denny-site future options, and more

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(Model of future Sealth/Denny shared campus, looking northward over it, with the new Denny building north of/behind the Sealth gym on the eastern half of the campus)
As promised, here’s the complete update on last night’s SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act)-mandated public meeting on the Denny-Sealth project, which turned out to have a further-reaching scope than you might have surmised by looking at advance notice of the meeting. Though there was a formal presentation halfway through — with the contingent of school-district staffers and project consultants/architects almost outnumbering the general-public attendees — the most interesting info was available on and along the easels in the Chief Sealth HS Commons during the first half of the meeting:Read More

Two “developments” at 4415 Fauntleroy, home to Tervo’s

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Heading east on Fauntleroy this morning, we noticed that sign on Tervo’s Mini-Mart, 4415 Fauntleroy (map), heralding new ownership, remodeling, and a “grand opening” next month. We’ve reported on this site a few times in the past few months — the death of its owner last September, and the property going up for sale in November. So far, no indication on the Liquor Control Board or city business-license sites who the new owner is, nor do King County records show a closed sale on the site (here’s the listing). HOWEVER — just checked the city files for the address, and there’s even bigger news — aside from the impending “grand (re)opening,” there appears to be a development proposal for the site, summarized online in the construction and land-use permit applications as: “Demolish existing commercial structure and construct new mixed-use building. Proposal to include retail space, 90 residential units, and associated subterranean parking.” Looks like time to update the Junction-area development/real-estate map – will work on that later today!

Denny-Sealth meeting tonight: Quick toplines

April 22, 2008 10:22 pm
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 |   Denny-Sealth | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Full article to come in the morning. A few toplines: While it was described as an “environmental-checklist meeting,” tonight’s Denny-Sealth project meeting at CSHS was far more sweeping in scope – including four “conceptual” possibilities for the Denny site, once the existing school has been demolished, and a chance for attendees to informally “vote” on priorities for spending the $10 million “extra” in Sealth renovation money. Also, the district admitted it fumbled another commitment to get Denny-Sealth info on its website in a timely manner; because the materials for tonight’s meeting were not posted earlier this month as promised — in response to an audience question, a district official said it just went up “this afternoon” — the comment period for this phase of the project will be extended till May 9. (The huge volume of material just posted online hours before the meeting is available here.)