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Checking back on the West Seattle Elementary volunteers

Following up on this morning’s dignitary-laden kickoff event (WSB coverage with video clips here) on the King Day volunteer work at West Seattle Elementary: Before the scheduled wrap-up a short time ago, we dropped by again and found the work in full swing:


And also got some before-and-after views of spots we’d photographed when a group of volunteers did prep work last Thursday:



One more King Day note – Dr. King did visit Seattle once, in November 1961: HistoryLink.org tells the story.

Governor visits West Seattle Elementary School

Just back from West Seattle Elementary in High Point, where the King Day “Day of Service” work as part of the Hands on Schools project (previewed here on Thursday) got a major kickoff this morning featuring Governor Gregoire, her husband (aka “First Mike”), and Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott. Here’s our first clip, the governor joining in the City Year volunteers’ traditional morning warmup:

Tara Smith with Seattle Works tells WSB that local families are welcome to come by during the work today, which is under way through 3 pm (though the governor’s not staying all day) — they’ve got “family-friendly” activities for ages 5-12. More video ahead, including Gov. Gregoire on Dr. King, plus some of what West Seattle Elementary principal Gayle Everly and Rep. McDermott had to say:Read More

High Point progress report


Some updates on the biggest development/redevelopment project in West Seattle, from a presentation at last week’s joint meeting of the Delridge and Southwest District Councils: Project manager Tom Phillips from the Seattle Housing Authority told the groups he’s “very proud” of the way things are going, he says High Point Phase I has only 10 homes left to sell. As part of Phase II, the 160-unit seniors’ complex on Morgan will open in May, and the new park with amphitheater is in the works along with Neighborhood House. (NH construction is set to start this September; a capital campaign is under way now — read more here.) Phillips also told the councils that paperwork had just been signed with a developer for the commercial center at 35th/Graham, though there’s still no grocery-store commitment — he said he’s been told West Seattle is “over-grocered,” particularly with Whole Foods coming to Fauntleroy Place and QFC coming to Capco Plaza. The SHA’s official High Point site is here.

West Seattle Gas Price Watch: Back below $3

299gas.jpgDespite the most recent round of fuss that we were bound to finally break $4/gallon someday soon, West Seattle gas prices have been on the decline again. Tonight, we spotted two places below $3 for a gallon of regular unleaded — the Admiral/California Chevron (photo left) and the Delridge Arco. That’s 13 cents below the current Seattle average.

More Beach Drive trees coming down


At the bottom of a slope along the southern half of Beach Drive, those ivy-wrapped trees are posted for removal by the city at the end of this month. This has been a busy site — a mudslide in the December storm, a “vegetation-removal” project to the north a few months earlier, a tree from the west side of the street that came down and blocked BD in the December ’06 storm. The notice posted on the “No Parking” signs says these trees will be removed because they’re in “poor health”; we have been trying to reach the city Urban Forestry department (listed on the notice as a contact) to find out whether the trees will be replaced, but haven’t heard back yet.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Reader reports van break-in

January 20, 2008 7:02 am
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 |   Crime | Safety | West Seattle news

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From Colleen in the 48th/Dakota vicinity:

Friday night my son’s bike was taken out of my van. They also took a clay cat that my daughter had made, only valuable to me. I’m curious if they hit any other vehicles around here.

Besides whatever we hear here, we’ll also check next time we’re reviewing reports @ the Southwest Precinct. Meantime, the important reminders: Call 911 if you know or suspect something’s happening right now or just happened; 206/625-5011 is the non-emergency number; lots of crime-prevention resource info at the bottom of the WSB Crime Watch page.

Reader report: Exotic cat captured

Just in from TC (thank you!), re: the cat sighting from yesterday:

The exotic cat that someone saw on 1/18/08 was just captured by the Humane Animal shelter at about 4:30 and is being taken to a rescue shelter. We were up jogging on the Madison Middle School track when some boys pointed out a larger than domestic size spotted cat on the banks. We called the Humane Society 386-4258 and they came out and captured it. They said it was a serval, a wild cat from Africa and that it is the second one picked up in West Seattle.

We’ve seen servals … in zoos. Will look up a usable photo shortly to add here. ADDED 7:18 PM: Here’s one. Again, NOT the WS capturee, just one found roaming online:


Denny-Sealth updates, including meeting date change


Two updates for everyone following the Denny Middle School-Chief Sealth High School shared-campus-proposal controversy: The Westwood Neighborhood Council has slightly changed the plan for its just-announced next meeting on Denny-Sealth; it’s now at 7 pm Tuesday, Feb. 5, in the Chief Sealth Commons. The WNC announcement says the meeting will be “a moderated discussion among five panelists about the School District’s decision to combine the two schools (options 1 and 2) or retain two separate schools (option 3). Key discussion will address academic and social needs of middle- and high-school students, and will include questions from audience members. Panelists will include a school board member, a District facilities representative, Sealth staff member, child development expert, and public safety expert.” The WNC says that school-board member will be District 6 (West Seattle)’s director Steve Sundquist; we checked in with him late this week to see what he was hearing on Denny-Sealth since the last school-board meeting (WSB coverage here; that and followups since then, plus previous reports, are all now archived in their own category):Read More

West Seattle Crime Watch: Exposure arrest; car vandalism

January 18, 2008 7:33 pm
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 |   Crime | Safety | West Seattle news | West Seattle police

The latest from the files at the Southwest Precinct: We start with an indecent-exposure arrest in the 9400 block of 30th SW. handcuffs_2.jpgAn 11-year-old boy was walking in a nearby alley Wednesday afternoon when, he said, a man motioned him over, then dropped his pants and exposed himself. He ran to a nearby school to report what happened. Other information led officers to believe they knew who they were looking for, and before they had finished talking with the young victim, the suspect showed up in the area, and they arrested him. Police say they have dealt with the suspect before, mostly for “mental-health situations.” More police-report summaries ahead, including a “home invasion” that happened this morning:Read More

West Seattle Crime Watch: Crime-stats breakout

When we mentioned yesterday’s announcement that citywide crime hit a 40-year low last year, we also mentioned we didn’t have a West Seattle breakout. Right now, we do, thanks to the kindness and tech-savvy-ness of Scott from Central District News. He sent the following list of crime stats in major categories in West Seattle for 1996-2007, year by year, for census tracts 96, 97, 98, 99, 105, 106, 107, 108, 116, 115, 114, 113, 120, and 121 all together — we don’t have time right this second to doublecheck where the boundaries end, but you can find your census tract here. Now, those numbers:Read More

47th/Admiral crosswalk death: Driver found guilty of assault

That was the verdict against West Seattle rabbi Ephraim Schwartz from a Seattle Municipal Court jury this morning, according to the P-I. The crash that killed then-City Councilmember David Della‘s chief of staff, 29-year-old Tatsuo Nakata, happened 14 months ago.

Latest from land-use land: 2 West Seattle proposals

Two notes from the city’s latest Land Use Information Bulletin, starting with 4515 44th SW in The Junction:


Back in October, we brought you first word of a planned mixed-use development on that site; the Design Review Board took a look at it in November. The application notice (which also includes contact info for comments that’ll be taken through 1/30) describes the project as a “4-story, 14-unit apartment building with 1,334 square feet of retail, 3,860 square feet of office space” and parking for 15 vehicles. Next, to Harbor Ave:


The land-use application for 2775 Harbor Ave (map; the Harbor Ave building boom was also discussed at last night’s Alki Community Council meeting). The application notice (also taking comments through 1/30) describes this project as “a 5-story 13,101 sq. ft. office building with an 800 sq. ft. caretakers unit,” parking for 15 vehicles. No rendering publicly visible on the architects’ site at this point.

Alki Council: Sidewalk squabble, McMansion rules, more


That’s newly elected Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin, speaking tonight to the Alki Community Council. “Every neighborhood counts,” he declared, and hit on several hot topics. But the hottest topic of the night took center stage before he spoke, when a large, displeased group of Alki Point residents tried to pass a resolution about the one issue that had brought them all to the meeting:Read More

Trial updates for two high-profile West Seattle cases

January 17, 2008 9:46 pm
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 |   Crime | West Seattle news

Both just posted at the P-I site: The jury in the Tatsuo Nakata 47th/Admiral pedestrian-death case will start deliberating the fate of defendant Ephraim Schwartz tomorrow morning (story here); the jury in the trial of ex-Huling salesmen Adrian Dillard and Ted Coxwell heard lawyers’ opening statements today (story here).

A morning @ 34th/Morgan: Crossing-guard crunch, and more

We saw that close call while spending time at 34th/Morgan this past Tuesday morning, meeting with neighborhood and pedestrian-safety activists who say it’s one of this area’s most dangerous places for schoolkids to have to cross. Here’s a taste of the regular traffic:

Kids coming from the booming north side of High Point cross here to get to West Seattle (formerly High Point) Elementary, which is further south on 34th.Read More

Mayor, police chief say Seattle crime is at a 40-year low

Here’s the news release. Haven’t seen a neighborhood-by-neighborhood breakout yet. 5:52 PM ADDENDUM: One stat we can break down with regards to West Seattle — of the 24 murder cases in the city last year, three happened here – March at 37th/Findlay, April at Cal-Mor Circle, October at 59th/Admiral. The suspects in all three cases are still awaiting trial. In the 59th/Admiral case, the newest court documents show that the 18-year-old suspect has been found competent to stand trial, and his next hearing date is Feb. 11. (We reported the then-impending competency hearing on Dec. 29.)

West Seattle High School students’ pro-4-period march

In case you wondered how the demonstration this afternoon went, here’s two video clips. First, the group leaving WSHS; second, their sign-waving in The Junction.

West Seattle wildlife updates: Delridge coyote; birdwatch win

First, a coyote sighting this morning at 21st & Andover (map), from Emily (thank you!):

9:05 this morning as I was driving to work there was a big beautiful coyote on the sidewalk. I stopped my car and it stopped and looked at me for a full minute. It looked really healthy and was as big as a large dog but with a fox shaped tail and a skinny jaw. It ducked down into the very small woodsy area by SW Charlestown. I drove around the block and put my cat inside for the day. I’ve heard they were here but I didn’t realize they were 1 bk from my house.

Now, the birdwatching win. Imagine seeing 79 different bird species in your yard! We can recall maybe 10 … such as the Northern Flicker and Steller’s Jay:


Those photos are courtesy of Ed Newbold, who coordinates the YardBirdRace around Western Washington. He sent word (from his YardBirdRace breaking news page) that the Seattle Residential category of the 4th annual YardBirdRace had West Seattle winners:

Jim Flynn and Marissa Benevente appear to be testing the upper limits of what it’s possible to see from a residential Seattle yard as they ended up with 79, five ahead of the record in Seattle overall and Seattle residential, both of which they set last year. Common Nighthawk and Western Screech-Owl are two of the birds that helped them get there. This is the second year West Seattle & Flynn/Benevente have led in Seattle residential and Seattle overall.

You can find out more about the YardBirdRace here.

West Seattle Crime Watch update: Robbery suspect nabbed

This just in from the Southwest Precinct, courtesy of Lt. Steve Paulsen: Officers arrested the Diva Espresso robbery suspect last night in the 3300 block of Charlestown. Lt. Paulsen says, “Great work by our night shift. The suspect tried to escape in his vehicle, but obviously failed.”

Pothole problems: Faulty fixes?

We’ve talked here before about pothole problems and rutted roads around West Seattle. This week, we heard from a High Point resident named Casey Crowell who has an unusual take on it: He is concerned about the same potholes being fixed over and over, making things worse, rather than getting a longer-lasting fix in the first place. Here’s the letter he just wrote to the mayor about it, with specifics all the way down to the pothole Casey has nicknamed “Bruno”:Read More

Another West Seattle retailer moving

Marilyn Murphy from Murphy’s Furniture Studio on Avalon (just up the hill from Java Bean, Luna Park Cafe, Avalon Glass Works) confirms her store will be moving in the next few months. She says she’d been thinking about it for a while, and a recent rent increase helped “influence her decision” as well. As is the case with Basic Green Box‘s move, which we reported here Monday, Murphy’s hasn’t settled on a new location yet but will update us when they do. Marilyn adds she’s preparing for the move already: “I am starting to mark down a lot of merchandise and will be having a fabric sale next month.” (Thanks to Beth for e-mailing the tip on this.)

Busy day (and night) for West Seattle High School

-WSHS has an open house this morning, with school tours offered 7:30-9 am.

As reported here last Sunday, the group that’s trying to overturn the plan for WSHS to switch to a 6-period day next year plans a student march this afternoon, starting at 2:30 and heading from WSHS to The Junction.

-The WSHS Winter Concert is in the theater tonight at 7 pm, with the band and choir performing.

“December was catch-a-burglar month”

January 16, 2008 11:59 pm
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 |   Crime | Neighborhoods | Safety | West Seattle news

That quote from Southwest Precinct Sgt. Jeff Durden at Tuesday night’s West Seattle Community Safety Partnership meeting — from which we have a few holdover notes to share with you before too much more time elapses, in addition to the news we reported last night about the high-security funeral that’ll be at Freedom Church next Tuesday. To elaborate on that quote, in the past month, SW Precinct leadership estimates its team has arrested more than 15 burglary suspects. Lt. Steve Paulsen noted that detectives and patrol officers are working more closely together, literally – four detectives are now based at the precinct, rather than elsewhere, which means more chances for them to talk face-to-face with the officers working the streets. “Our clearance [case-solving] rate has just been remarkable,” Lt. Paulsen noted. Not only are they arresting suspects, but he says they’re recovering lots of stolen property too. And they also praised community members whose eagle eyes and quick phone calls are helping them detect crimes and catch suspects more quickly. Other notes from the WSCSP meeting, including community “trouble spots” they’re watching:Read More