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West Seattle robbery side note: Downtown scene now clear

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It’s the last entry in our all-day multiple-update running report on the situation that started as an armed robbery at the Admiral/California Wells Fargo and ended with police shooting a suspect downtown – but in case you missed it there, Spring Street is open again (photo above is from about an hour ago, nobody much left but TV trucks getting ready for 10/11 pm updates) – same spot from which Sharonn Meeks sent this photo at lunchtime (used in our earlier coverage):

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Thanks again to everyone who contributed photos, video, information, and other comments to today’s updates. If we learn anything else significant tonight, we’ll add it to this post; tomorrow we plan to start a new one with an update on the bank, assuming it reopens for business in the morning. 9:57 PM UPDATE: P-I talked with the mother of the uninjured suspect, who is now in jail. 10:36 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Scott C (who says thanks in turn to friend Jeff for helping!) for sending this photo of the suspects’ Jeep Cherokee – he happened to pull up next to the “tow” truck as it was driving off, tonight after 5 pm:

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EARLY WEDNESDAY ADDENDUM: Kevin in Arbor Heights just sent us this photo of a sign he saw outside a bar near the shooting scene:

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What’s going on at the Junction Plaza Park site

July 1, 2008 7:08 pm
|    Comments Off on What’s going on at the Junction Plaza Park site
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle parks

If you’ve noticed activity at the Junction Plaza Park site (42nd/Alaska), here’s what’s up – plus a question you might be able to answer:Read More

Update: City replaces missing pedestrian flags

New info today about the new pedestrian flags at 3 West Seattle spots, including replacement of stolen ones:Read More

Fauntleroy Place updates: Dates with Design Review, JuNO

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Though its groundbreaking ceremony is already two-plus weeks in the rear-view mirror, Fauntleroy Place (aka “the Whole Foods project,” city page here) still has some important audiences ahead: The new design shown above (made public the day of the groundbreaking) will go before the Southwest Design Review Board at 8 pm August 14 (same night as the High Point mixed-use development review mentioned here Friday), according to an update posted today on the city’s Design Review/Upcoming page (which likely means official notice will go out in Thursday’s Land Use Information Bulletin). In the meantime, work on the site will continue — Eric Radovich from BlueStar says that once Hancock Fabrics closes after this Saturday, the next step is asbestos abatement for the building, before it can be demolished. BlueStar, by the way, will be at the next Junction Neighborhood Organization (JuNO) meeting July 8 (6:30 pm @ Ginomai) to talk about the revised FP design and answer questions. (Also on the JuNO agenda that night, a presentation about the CORA [Congress of Residential Architecture] NW townhouse-design initiatives, featuring West Seattle architect Brandon Nicholson, who presented design ideas on behalf of CORA at Councilmember Sally Clark‘s recent townhouse forum (WSB coverage here).

Government stuff you should know, Monday edition

June 30, 2008 3:48 pm
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 |   West Seattle jail sites | West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

-The proposal for King County to reopen talks with cities regarding extending the agreement for jail services – potentially pre-empting the need for the Seattle city jail that might wind up sited in West Seattle – moved out of the county council Committee of the Whole today and goes next to the full council. (Dow Constantine represents you there; here’s how to contact him.)

-We’re watching the Seattle City Council meeting (live on cable 21 or online here) and they’ve just passed the somewhat-controversial Multi-Family Tax Exemption for developers, 7-1 (Licata, no) and a bill on condo conversions, 8-0. Will add links shortly. P.S. The council’s Viaduct briefing is finally about to start (4:05 or so).

-The environmental assessment on the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s South End project – the reason for the upcoming July 15 hearing at Madison Middle School – has just been published online. Find it here.

-If you have something to say about whether a new parks levy should be on this fall’s ballot, and whether what’s in the levy proposal is what you’d want to pay for, another hearing has just been set – July 10 (a week from Thursday), 5:30 pm, City Hall, before the city council’s Parks Committee (chaired by West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen).

Reader reports: Cat, birds shot with BBs/pellets

Two separate incidents – but both came to us first as reader reports (police reports have been filed too) from neighbors who want to alert you. First, Michael sent his report with this photo – we debated putting it behind a jump but it’s not particularly gory – just distressing, considering what his kitty is recovering from:

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I live on 25th Ave SW one block off of Delridge between Hudson and Brandon. My cat was shot in the hindquarter with either a BB gun or pellet rifle. (see attached pictures) I just wanted to put the word out in case anyone else’s pet has suffered this class C felony and wanted to warn the neighborhood to watch out for their pets.

Not long after Michael’s report came in, we got this forwarded by Sheila in High Point, who also wanted to put it out as an alert to neighbors:

On Monday June 23 some kids were chasing a injured pigeon that was shot with a BB gun. A neighbor caught that pigeon and I called the Seattle animal shelter and it was picked up the next day. [An officer] said if we see anything, call the shelter at 206-386-7387. Nothing was done to the kids since we didn’t see who shot the pigeon.

Saturday night (28th) another neighbor was walking [in the 30th & Graham area] and found another pigeon. This one was dead and there was a small hole with blood, it had appeared to be shot. I called the animal shelter Sunday morning and told them what happened. They said since I didn’t see it happen they cannot do anything about it. Please keep a look out for kids with a BB gun and please report it to the police (911).

From the latest Land Use Bulletin: Alki antennas approved

June 30, 2008 10:43 am
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 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

Last year, some controversy simmered in the Alki/west end of Admiral area over proposals to add more antennas to the top of 6609 Admiral (over Alki Point). Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin, just posted by the city, includes a land-use decision allowing 8 more antennas on the building (construction permit still pending); you can see the history of this project (and others at the site) here.

Reminder: Driver-licensing office closed this week

The West Seattle driver-licensing office near Westwood Village is closed for remodeling this week – it won’t reopen until Wednesday, July 9th. If you have to go to a driver-licensing office before then, locations of other Seattle offices are on this page.

Charlestown Cafe is open again!

(video no longer available due to blip.tv shutdown)

charlestownsign.jpgThe video above shows Charlestown Cafe staff greeting Ted, the first customer to walk through the door on the restaurant’s grand-reopening day – he arrived a few minutes after 6 am, as the beloved restaurant is back in business almost five months after a fire shut it down. We’ve talked with co-owner Larry Mellum, who’s also been interviewed by at least one TV crew so far (that’s a channel 7 photographer you see in the video above), and says he’s thrilled for this day to have finally arrived. More video and pix, including an interview with Larry, coming up. ADDED 6:34 AM: Another clip — a quick look inside, just before the first customer arrived:

(video no longer available due to blip.tv shutdown)

Now a little of the backstory, to help with context for all this – The Charlestown Cafe has been a West Seattle fixture practically since its opening in 1991. Then, two years ago, in summer 2006, the cafe owners announced they were losing their lease because the property owner wanted to redevelop the site. A community outcry ensued, as did various hearings on the development. Then this year, just a few days before the February fire, when it seemed the project had been stalled for months, the Charlestown owners announced they had something of a reprieve (WSB report here). Still much to be decided about its future, but when the property owner committed to the repairs, that said a lot about a commitment to the restaurant for some time to come. (More later.)

West Seattle Gas Price Watch: A week of few increases

Only one of West Seattle’s 20 gas stations is still in the $4.40s, after a week where the majority of stations either cut prices a bit or kept them the same. See the latest prices, on our map and text list, ahead:Read More

Holiday updates: Alki 4th of July traffic reminder; the forecast

We reported the Alki traffic restrictions here first, back on June 14, and they are linked from our West Seattle 4th of July page (along with everything from parades to practical info like bus/Water Taxi/ferry schedules) – but Seattle Police asked us to be sure to remind you a few more times, so here’s what Lt. Norm James originally laid out in our first report:

Over the past several years, the volume of spectators using the Alki community to watch the fireworks over Elliott Bay has grown past the ability to safely handle. The increased vehicle traffic along Alki and Harbor Ave has become a hazard for responding emergency resources. While most spectators are well-behaved, the increase in large crowd disturbances has also been noted.

To alleviate most of these issues, vehicle traffic to the Alki community will be limited on the day of the event. This will commence at 6 pm and remain in effect until the fireworks commence. Vehicle access to the Alki community will be limited to residents living within the restricted area and their guests. The basic area affected will be north of Harbor Ave at Spokane Street, north of Hamilton Viewpoint on California Ave, north of Admiral from Lander to 63rd and all of the little side streets which have access to Alki Ave. Spectators are still welcome to park their vehicles outside of the restricted area and walk to the viewing sites.

Those specific points are noted on a map you’ll see on the 4th of July page, but keep in mind that the police will be wherever they need to be to implement this, so precise turnaround points may vary – we will be checking back in the next few days to see if the plan has changed at all. As for the forecast — the short version updated by the National Weather Service this afternoon is “partly cloudy”; the detailed “forecast discussion” says it’s too soon to tell whether there’s any chance of showers on the 4th but as the meteorologists write, “hard to have a 4th without stratus most of the day and a threat of showers in the forecast … it’s almost tradition.”

West Seattle sports: Little League champs; recordsetting lifter

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Thanks to Cami for those photos and the news that the West Seattle Little League All-Stars teams shown in them are now the district champs:

West Seattle Little League’s 9-10 and 10-11 All-Star teams both beat South Highline Nationals teams in championship games on Saturday! The 9-10 All-Stars will advance to the state tournament in Vancouver, WA on July 19th and the 10-11 All-Stars will be playing in Auburn, WA, also on July 19th. Both teams were undefeated in play in the District 7 Tournament.

Currently, WSLL is hosting the District 7 Majors (11-12) tournament at Bar-S Field. West Seattle beat PacWest 3-1 Saturday and plays again (today).

For full bracket information for the 11-12 tournament and more information on upcoming state tournaments, visit westseattlelittleleague.com.

Another West Seattle sports note – thanks to Brian from Aus der Traum Photography for pix from the bench press/deadlift championships at Alki on Saturday:

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winifred2.jpgThat’s recordholder Winifred Pristell, 69 years old, deadlifting 270 pounds, reports Brian, who says that since he was only able to shoot her lift from that angle, he asked her to pose afterward, and that led to the photo you see at left. Results from the meet aren’t posted yet but should eventually turn up here; you can see Pristell’s previous record listed in her age class on this page. According to this article from last year, she’s a great-grandmother who’s only been lifting for a few years!

35th/Raymond signal upgrade now set for next month

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While exchanging e-mail with SDOT to follow up on last week’s 35th/Morgan signal upgrade and other things, department spokesperson Peg Nielsen told us that another signal change is about to happen, ahead of schedule because the equipment came in sooner: 35th/Raymond (photo above) will be upgraded next month to a full signal. The city reiterated two months ago that this was a priority (WSB coverage here); if you want to see what that spot can be like, check this video from our report last November, when neighborhood activists and visiting City Councilmember Nick Licata stopped a young bicyclist from jumping the current pedestrian light:

doordoor.jpgNews of the impending signal work has just been delivered to area residents via doorhangers like the one at left (thanks to LyndaB for getting us that picture); Nielsen told us they were delivered on Friday, and that work on the signal will start “next month, probably the week after the holiday … The work will take about a month. There is also a possibility that we may need to remove some of the parking spaces on 35th and Raymond to improve visibility for drivers turning at the corners of the intersection.” Nielsen said 35th/Raymond was originally set for September, but the equipment is available now, so up it goes. One other signal note: North Delridge Neighborhood Council‘s Mike Dady confirms something else we were checking on – there’s a new turn signal at Delridge/Orchard (by Home Depot/Arco).

Busy night on the scanner, and one seasonal question

June 28, 2008 11:06 pm
|    Comments Off on Busy night on the scanner, and one seasonal question
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle police

Various West Seattle police calls in progress at the moment – including “numerous illegal beach fires” in the 56th/Alki vicinity, which the dispatcher was advised are being handled by the Parks Deparment “putting ’em out right now.” But even more seasonal, in West Seattle and beyond, are tons of police calls from people who aren’t sure if they’re hearing gunshots or fireworks. We thought we’d look up “how to tell the difference,” and haven’t found a definitive explanation so far – only that guns tend to be a more “sharp” sound. (Of course, fireworks merit a police call too, since all types are illegal within city limits, as we mentioned yesterday.)

Charlestown Cafe grand reopening: Still on for Monday

Just checked with Charlestown Cafe co-owner Larry Mellum, and he confirms the grand reopening is still on for 6 am Monday (as first reported here a week and a half ago; then we showed you photos last Monday of the CC team getting everything ready), almost five months after the fire that shut the Charlestown down. We’ll be there to bring you the online equivalent of a live report. Says Larry, in an understatement: “Should be fun!” (WSB Charlestown Cafe coverage is archived here, newest to oldest.)

West Seattle Weather Watch: Keeping cool on Alki

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Actually this group probably wasn’t feeling all that cool, huddling around a barbecue by one of the picnic shelters to roast marshmallows. Nice umbrellas, though. Down on the sandy beach, a Malibu-size throng:

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And a reminder that the Seafair Pirates’ Landing is one week from today – an Alki Ave. house has decorated its dolphin fountain with pirate headgear:

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The official National Weather Service top-of-each-hour readings are here (KBFI is Boeing Field – 85 at 4 pm – KSEA is Sea-Tac Airport – 89 – K91S is Alki Point but that doesn’t measure temperature).

Happening right now: Relay for Life – West Seattle

June 28, 2008 1:21 am
|    Comments Off on Happening right now: Relay for Life – West Seattle
 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle video

Up late? Up early? Go drop by West Seattle Stadium and cheer on the Relay for Life of West Seattle teams as they continue their 18-hour American Cancer Society fundraiser — yes, that’s 18 continuous hours; R4LWS started at 6 pm Friday with the scene you see above, the “survivors’ lap.” That video shows the “survivors’ lap” at 6 pm Friday. Among the survivors participating — Fauntlee Hills’ Tammy Wooley, who we interviewed along with husband Kevin in this Relay for Life preview. The relay continues till an awards’ ceremony at noon today (preceded by the “kids’ lap” at 11 am).

Funeral tomorrow for West Seattle man who survived WWII attack

Sounds like Eugene Morgan of West Seattle had an amazing life, even after surviving the USS Indianapolis attack in 1945. The P-I had several stories about him in recent years (this one from 10 years ago is particularly fascinating)- and now, it reports he has died at the age of 87. His memorial service is set for tomorrow, 1 pm, Bonney-Watson in Burien (scroll down this funeral-home page for the obit he wrote himself).

Time for finishing touches on new Gatewood play structure

June 27, 2008 10:30 pm
|    Comments Off on Time for finishing touches on new Gatewood play structure
 |   Gatewood | How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

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We’ve chronicled the community dreaming, planning, and working that led to this point – now the Gatewood Elementary play structure (chosen just a couple months ago) is up and just a few finishing touches remain till it will be ready for kids to use. Next one happens tomorrow morning – see the pile of wood chips at the right side of the picture? Starting at 9 am tomorrow, show up and you’ll likely be handed a shovel to use to dig in. Next week, a little more work remains to be done before the school district can give it a final inspection and then hopefully thumbs-up for the fence to come down.

Design Review meeting set for High Point mixed-use megaproject

Just added to the city webpage for upcoming Design Review Board meetings: 3420 SW Graham, aka the shopping/residential complex to be built at 35th/Graham. 6:30 pm August 14, location TBA. Project page here (13k sf of retail, 300 parking spaces, 220 residential units, in three 4-story buildings).

Conviction in West Seattle murder — five years later

Thanks to Christopher Bell for sending the link — the case wasn’t on our radar: The P-I reports a man was found guilty yesterday in the deadly shooting of 14-year-old David Chhin, who was shot in August 2003 while riding his bike at 35th/Juneau. (Coincidentally, just five blocks west of there, at High Point Pond Park at 11 this morning, the community is gathering for a Youth Blessing Ceremony, in hopes this summer will be a peaceful one.)

More on the new Viaduct “scenarios,” and what’s not among them

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It’s drawn the most support at West Seattle public meetings about what will replace the “central waterfront” section of The Viaduct, which the state vows to take down 2012 no matter what — but the possible option shown above, a retrofit, is one of three options now totally out of the running, according to a state/city/county briefing this afternoon, presented by these three government representatives (left to right, Bob Powers from the city, Ron Paananen from the state, and Ron Posthuma from the county/Metro).

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We liveblogged the briefing in detail here; the briefing materials are now available online here; but if you want a summary of what this all boils down to, and a quick look at the renderings for each of the 8 “scenarios” (plus what didn’t make the cut), here goes:Read More