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Update: “Inconvenient Ride” homecoming and bike convoy

That was the scene at Chief Sealth High School less than an hour ago as the “Inconvenient Ride” cross-country student bicyclists (they’re in the light-blue jackets) headed out, with plenty of company, for Benaroya Hall, site of tonight’s “Project Earth Care” benefit. ADDED 6 PM: A candid moment with three of the riders, including the youngest:Read More

Water Taxi countdown: Five days till the season starts

wtrtxi.jpgWe asked the staff of West Seattle’s King County Councilmember Dow Constantine for some info-bits to add to our Elliott Bay Water Taxi countdown, and here’s one for starters — Take a close look at this year’s schedule; the “maintenance break” gap at midmorning is gone; King County staff worked with Argosy to shorten the time needed, so there’s now a 9:30 boat from Seacrest and a 10:30 boat from Pier 55. (The Water Taxi starts its season on Sunday; rides are free all day and there’s a celebration from noon-2 pm.)

Route update for bicycle convoy

April 22, 2008 4:05 pm
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 |   Delridge | West Seattle news

The police escort is staging at Chief Sealth and the Inconvenient Ride bicyclists, with dozens of other students, will head out shortly, with a new route: they now plan to head north on Delridge all the way from Thistle to the low bridge.

Earth Day business spotlight: Alki Kayak Tours expands

April 22, 2008 2:29 pm
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 |   West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news

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As the Elliott Bay Water Taxi gears up to start the 2008 season this Sunday, one of the two businesses that share Seacrest Boathouse/Pier with the EBWT is gearing up for a double expansion that we’re telling you about today in honor of Earth Day: West Seattle is home to a fair amount of “green” businesses, but you can’t get too much greener than human-powered recreation. Alki Kayak Tours is open now for the season and expanding this year in two ways; we sat down with owner Greg Whittaker (pictured above) to talk about the expansion and about how far the business has come since its first season (this is season number four):Read More

Update: Permits issued for “townhomes long after teardowns”

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Five months after our last update on that empty lot along California just north of Morgan Junction (previous WSB coverage here), Knoll Development has just been issued construction permits for the four addresses at the site where townhomes and live-to-work units are to be built: at 6021, at 6025, at 6029, and at 6031. Looks like this is the Knoll website page about the development (this is just up the block from the live/work units that will be part of the 6053 California development).

Update: Police-escorted route for “Inconvenient Ride” bikers

April 22, 2008 10:50 am
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 |   Safety | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

UPDATED WITH NEW ROUTE SINCE ORIGINAL POST AT 9:49 AM: As mentioned earlier this morning, the Southwest Precinct wanted us to share this so that you will know ahead of time and be able to help contribute to the safety of the “Inconvenient Ride” students and their bicycling escorts, who could number up to 200, as well as their police escorts. This is the route they are to follow after a welcoming celebration at Chief Sealth High School in mid-afternoon, as they then head on to tonight’s Global to Local benefit downtown. The route has changed a little since our first post an hour ago:

Starting approximately 4:15 pm Tuesday:

From Chief Sealth, east on Thistle Street, then north on 16th Avenue, west on Myrtle, and north again on 21st Avenue. We will veer west on Croft Place, then Juneau in order to head north on 26th Avenue, then pass by the Gatewood bus riders at Delridge Community Center. Following a brief hello, we’ll continue on to the Lower West Seattle Bridge.

(From earlier update, the rest of the route will be:
Remain on Bike Trail over West Seattle Low Level Bridge
Cross Spokane St. at 11th Ave SW, continue East on trail to E Marginal Way S
Head North on E Marginal Way S, becomes Alaskan Way S
Continue North on Alaskan Way S to Spring St.
Head East on Spring St., up the hill to 3rd Avenue
Head North on 3rd Avenue to Union St.
Turn W on Union and into Benaroya Loading Dock – North side of Benaroya Hall, entrance is off of Union St.)

We will be riding single file, observing bike safety rules and etiquette, and will be accompanied by a number of expert riders, including some from Cascade Bicycle Club.

1:37 PM P.S.: Thanks to “Que” for sending us the KING5 noon news link.

Denny-Sealth: Local meeting tonight, School Board tomorrow

TONIGHT: 6:30 pm, Chief Sealth High School, the next public meeting regarding the Denny-Sealth construction project — as described by Westwood Neighborhood Council president Steve Fischer, “The School District has issued their Environmental Determination; the Appeal period closes shortly. Copies of the Environmental Checklist will be available for the community to review. For those who are interested, they should attend the meeting and see what the District is proposing.”

TOMORROW: The Seattle School Board agenda includes several items related to the Denny-Sealth project – somewhat technical but if you follow the links to the attached documents, there are a few more project-plan specifics to be learned.

Archived WSB coverage of Denny-Sealth can be found here.

Update: Fire damages vacant house on 21st SW

April 21, 2008 7:52 pm
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 |   West Seattle fires | West Seattle news | WS breaking news

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That photo and video clip show the house at 5645 21st SW (map) where flames did significant interior damage within the past hour. Firefighters tell WSB the house was a “vacant rental”; nobody was inside, nobody hurt, they don’t know yet how the fire started — damage was particularly heavy in the living room, and firefighters had to “ventilate” the roof. Investigators are just getting to work on looking for the cause.

New parks levy? New advisory committee has West Seattle reps

April 21, 2008 7:09 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle parks | West Seattle politics

Latest move by the City Council in its pursuit of a new parks levy – which the mayor reportedly wants to delay – as the old one expires, is the appointment of a citizens’ advisory council. We recognize at least three names on the list as West Seattle citizen activists (Pete Spalding, Bruce Bentley, and Sharonn Meeks); while we crosscheck for other WS ties, here’s the full list of members:Read More

Skittish about skateparks? How about a tour?

As we reported last week after covering the Morgan Community Association‘s quarterly meeting, some controversy remains over the Parks Department‘s plan to save space for a skateboard “feature” at the soon-to-be-built Myrtle Reservoir park. At that meeting, Parks Department project manager Virginia Hassinger suggested a firsthand look at some existing skateboarding facilities might assuage concerns. MoCA’s Cindi Barker is proposing organizing a tour this Saturday if enough people are interested. Here’s more from Cindi:

One of the suggestions made near the end of last week’s Morgan Community Association meeting was for people who had not been to see a skatepark in action to take a “field trip” to get some info. I’d be willing to organize such a trip, something like in a caravan to visit the Ballard Bowl (4,200 sq ft bowl), the Burien Skate park (a 7,500-square-foot skate park, Nakano Associates, architect, coincidentally the same architect hired to do the Myrtle Reservoir Park itself) and a third park mentioned by Virginia Hassinger at the MoCA meeting, which sounds smaller in scale and is more melded in with the surrounding park rather than a pure bowl design. If neighbors can observe the skate parks in operation, it might answer some questions and give neighbors a good idea of what they can expect. I realize that the next Myrtle Reservoir Park design meeting on May 1 isn’t about the skatepark, but it sure is sounding like we should know what to consider around this proposed skatepark feature. I would propose a Saturday morning, maybe running from 10 to 2, to cover drive time and allow us to spend about 45 minutes at each park. If people could comment to this posting, it would give me an idea of how feasible or well attended this would be.

No obligation, but if you’re potentially interested, say so in the comments here and we’ll let you know about “next steps.” This could be a good prelude to the next public meeting about the Myrtle park, which is 7 pm May 1 at High Point Community Center.

Update: Missing teen home safe

April 21, 2008 1:50 pm
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 |   West Seattle news

missingsydney.jpgThat’s a photo of 15-year-old Sydney Hess, a West Seattle High School student who is missing, according to a family friend who asked us to post her photo and a request for help in getting her safely back home. She is believed to have run away on Friday night and did not show up for school today. The family asks: “If you have seen her or have any information about her whereabouts, please call Heather Hess at 206/291-4933 or contact the Seattle Police Department [Southwest Precinct] at 206/733-9800.” 6:48 PM UPDATE: Word is that she is back home safe.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Followup on 17th/Trenton gunshots

Early Sunday, we posted 3 reader reports about gunshots at 17th/Trenton and promised to follow up with the Southwest Precinct. Just heard back from Sgt. Jeff Durden, who shared this info from the report: A 22-year-old was having a party for a friend’s birthday; “uninvited guests” showed up, a fight ensued, “several rounds” were fired into the air. The shooter(s) took off. No arrests, no injury, no property damage … no description of the suspects’ car, either. Regarding readers’ reports that this house had problems before, Sgt. Durden, who leads the Community Police Team, says it wasn’t on their radar but CPT officer Adonis Topacio will investigate — that’s who to contact (info here) if you have info to share.

Harbor Ave wall: What went up, is now coming down

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That photo taken a short time ago shows the work that’s under way right now to dismantle this wall put up earlier this year along Harbor Ave (without proper permits, according to the city) east of Salty’s – here’s the photo we took last month:

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As we wrote at the time, the city had posted “stop-work” orders earlier in March; the project is NOT related to Salty’s at all — it’s an industrial site with a different owner. We have messages out to city inspectors to try to find out more about the site’s status.

Longfellow Creek Garden farm update

April 21, 2008 10:04 am
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 |   Delridge | Gardening | How to help | West Seattle news

We told you two weeks ago about the new community-organic-farming effort on a plot of land off Delridge known as “Longfellow Creek Garden.” Today, the LCG blog has photos from the hugely successful work party on Saturday to clear the land, plus a short list of what’s on the agenda next. (That site, by the way, is one of 3 just added today to our “Other Blogs in West Seattle” page, which features links to 144 WS-based blogs, after a frequently updated digest of excerpts from the sites’ latest updates.)

West Seattle Gas Price Watch: The 7-week comparison

7 weeks ago, we took a baseline check arco.jpgof the regular/premium prices at every gas station in West Seattle, when it looked like prices were about to start another relatively steep rise. Tonight, we went back for another WS-wide survey, calishell.jpgjust to take more of a macro look at what’s happened in those seven weeks. The lowest price for regular is still where it usually is, Arco at Delridge/Orchard ($3.47, left, up 22 cents in 7 weeks); the highest price is at the Shell on California in Morgan Junction ($3.71, right, up 24 cents in 7 weeks); and one gas price in WS has passed $4 (premium at Admiral Chevron, $4.05, up 22 cents). Here’s the full survey, regular and premium prices at each station, listed lowest-to-highest, followed by where that station was seven weeks ago:Read More

Be a Master of Disaster: One must-have item

April 20, 2008 9:00 pm
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 |   Neighborhoods | Safety | West Seattle news

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When we dropped by the Morgan Junction “get to know your neighborhood gathering place in case of catastrophe” table at Thriftway this afternoon, one of the items Cindi Barker (right, with Helen Daniel) showed us really caught our eye, and she says it had many table visitors abuzz too: The Duracell 3-in-1 hand-crank light/radio/charger:

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We have a hand-crank light/radio around here somewhere, but the charger is a new and welcome addition — this sort of gizmo would cover you in a true regional catastrophe. Cindi says she found the Duracell 2-pack for $12 at Costco; we’re going to check local hardware stores – also found a variety of similar items online by several different manufacturers. Meantime, next scheduled disaster-prep-info site/time is for Junction-area residents, at Ercolini Park, 10 am-2 pm next Sunday; check this map for the location or for a place/time nearer your home.

West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 break-ins with unusual loot

From the P-I: 32nd SW burglar(s) made off with $7,500 in athletic shoes.

From CL: Laptop stolen from a car in The Junction, but the owner doesn’t care so much about the laptop, just really needs the accompanying hard-to-replace notebook back.

WSB Forum Community does it again: Admiral Pub bash a hit

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That hand-lettered sign graced a column inside the Admiral Pub as the WSB Forum Community and fellow funseekers rocked the house during tonight’s get-together and fundraiser. More pix (plus video) ahead:Read More

Lively – and large – turnout for Duwamish Alive! event

Yes, yard/garden/habitat work can be fun — if you have company! That video shows just one of several merry mulch-relaying groups we saw in action during a brief visit to the EarthCorps– and Nature Consortium-organized Duwamish Alive! Earth Day event at Pigeon Point Park today. The restoration work at PP Park has really taken shape since we visited for this report a few months ago. After today’s cleanup work, the party was scheduled to move inside neighboring Cooper Elementary for indoor events (good timing; as our video shows, we were there during a sun break, but we all know that didn’t last long). One organizer told WSB today’s turnout numbered about 400!

Snooty Walk pix: Doggone good time

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WSB contributing photojournalist Matt Durham photographed the West Seattle High School Class of ’09‘s second annual Snooty Walk fundraiser this afternoon, with this info about those pix, clockwise from top: 1. A pug dashes for the finish line with lofty goals of winning “fastest dog”; 2. “Gunner,” a 2-1/2-year-old purebred black lab, ducks through a flexible tube to win first prize “Speediest” through an obstacle course; 3. Chloe and Jacob Simmons congratulate their dog, Frieda, during the “Best Dressed” portion of the competitions; 4. Grayson (27 months old) couldn’t resist taking apart the dogs’ race lanes to investigate his world through a cone. (Prints of Matt’s WSB photos and his other work are available through his site, mattdurhamphotography.com.) Below, coincidentally sent separately by Grayson’s mom, this photo shows the family’s two canine competitors:

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Accompanying that photo, these details:

West Seattle’s own Harold, 4/M/BlackPug, won something! He came in second, VERY SNOOTY, at today’s Snooty Walk and Pet Rodeo. For so long now all the attention has gone to Hester his older sister, 5/F/FawnPug. Though we think the pair was robbed of the Cutest Couple Award we had a great time again (Hester has been putting up with Harold’s ahumpin’ for YEARS, yet the prize went to a couple of dogs that just met at the event. Can you believe it?) I hope to see the Get Snooty T-shirts put up on eBay for the community to bid upon. Keep the money flowing in, Class of ’09!

ADDED 9:03 PM: This one’s from Laurie:

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Laurie elaborates:

This is Penguin, the Polish Crested chicken who won “Most Unique” and “Smallest” pet. She is 7 weeks old and has been hand-raised from chickhood. Bianca (8 years old) was very happy to win a trophy!

ADDED SUNDAY: More of “Gunner,” the “Speediest Pet” winner. Proud owner Wendy Bradley sent this quick clip of Gunner “running the tube” (that’s Matt Durham at the other end getting the photo you saw above), followed by a photo of Gunner with his trophy:

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Don’t recycle that postcard: Elliott Bay Water Taxi freebie

wtrtxi.jpgOne more event we’re counting down to – opening day for the Elliott Bay Water Taxi a week from tomorrow. (Full schedule here, including details on the opening-day festivities.) Rides are free all day that day, but for subsequent trips, there’s a coupon for a freebie on a postcard from West Seattle’s King County Councilmember Dow Constantine that’s landing in (postal) mailboxes now (we just got ours).

Another Alki parking crunch may worsen, for safety’s sake

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People returning home tonight from work to the Alki neighborhood along and around SW Stevens and 59th/60th environs will notice many new markings like that (as well as the word “locate”) on the curbs near driveways and corners, thanks to a city Transportation Department worker who was out there, wielding a can of white spray paint, this morning.

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This is a busy parking street about to get busier, with the sign in the photo above heralding a teardown we’ve mentioned before, five units going up in its place, directly across 59th from Alki Elementary/Playground/Playfield. But the city marking project — delineating the areas around driveways/corners that must be kept clear — is the first step toward getting cars out of some illegal spaces on the street, for safety’s sake:Read More

Official SDOT update on High Point pedestrian update

Last night we published a letter on which we were cc’d, from Denise Sharify of High Point’s Neighborhood House, regarding some long-fought-for High Point-area pedestrian-safety improvements that are apparently finally on the way. This afternoon, we got the official details from SDOT communications boss Rick Sheridan and wanted to share that with you too:Read More