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Almost time to show Ercolini Park a little love

February 14, 2008 7:14 pm
|    Comments Off on Almost time to show Ercolini Park a little love
 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle parks

(Still Valentine night, so we have to keep the “love” theme going …) To recap, Ercolini Park is now the official name for this under-construction park along Alaska west of The Junction, and work is well under way:

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Months ago, we told you about the campaign to get money and commitments of volunteer time. Now it’s time to get ready to make good on the time commitment: Bill Barna, Ercolini volunteer (and WSB sponsor), says those who promised that time are asked to save the weekends of April 19-20 and 26-27, because that’s when the just-ordered play equipment is likely to be installed. Bill says they’ll need help with tasks including volunteer registration, bringing/distributing refreshments, distributing foundation materials, and of course, putting up the play structures. More details to come as April gets closer.

Reader report: Car break-in alert

Just out of the WSB inbox, from Bree:

Last night someone broke into my neighbor’s car. The only thing they took was the $20 in her glove box and the change in her ashtray. They didn’t take anything else, not even CDs. I live (in the 3400 block of) California Ave SW, which is directly across from Swedish Physicians. Our cars are parked in a back alley, which is dimly lit. I would highly advise everyone to lock their cars and be on the lookout.

And we add, as always, be sure you report everything to the police as soon as possible – if it’s hours later, the non-emergency SPD number is 625-5011, always available on our Crime Watch page.

Crash near Westwood Village turns deadly

Just got word that the woman hit by a car near Westwood Village last Friday night has died. (We reported briefly on the crash in this post, with updated info in the comments – police believe it was truly an accident, someone in dark clothes crossing outside a crosswalk on a dark, rainy night; the driver apparently never saw her.) We don’t have her name at this point, though. By our accounts, this is the first fatal pedestrian accident in West Seattle since 85-year-old Oswald Clement was hit and killed at 35th/Othello last October.

“Heart of High Point” campaign needs you

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That’s an architect rendering of Neighborhood House, the new social-services center to be built in High Point starting this fall. 80% of the money for it already has been raised – now the “Heart of High Point” campaign wants to get the word out about this major West Seattle project, and invites you to a gathering next Monday night. Here’s what Cathy Cooper e-mailed WSB about it:

This “Heart of High Point” Neighborhood Center will be a Gold LEED certified
Green building, with solar panels, water filtration systems, a deep-well based heating/cooling system … all set in the environmentally sensitive and award winning High Point community. This building will be a real-life example of how to create sustainable spaces for delivering social services, combating poverty, and building a stronger community.

The HPNC will provide vital community services and support programs to more than 4,000 residents and their families annually. It will provide access to critical support services to 700 low-income families living in the redeveloped public housing in the High Point mixed income community.

The center will also demonstrate how cultures all over the world view environmental stewardship, and how immigrants from these cultures can teach us all lessons about caring for our shared planet.

To help spread the word about this exciting new development in our own backyard, a group of West Seattle-connected volunteers are meeting at Mission (2325 California Ave SW) at 5:45 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18. We’re focused on how to raise awareness about the “Heart of High Point” campaignand let West Seattelites know what this new building is all about. We’d like to invite our neighbors to join us. For more information, contact me at cooper1513@comcast.net.

Two more Denny-Sealth notes from last night

34TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS’ RESOLUTION: A comment under our report from last night mentioned the 34th DDs voted last night to support the Westwood Neighborhood Council and Denny/Sealth school staff in pursuing an “authentic” public process. We received a copy of the resolution this morning; you can see it here.

SPEAKING OF PUBLIC PROCESS: West Seattle’s school-board rep Steve Sundquist asked district staffers last night about reported discrepancies and omissions in the information that’s posted on the district website as answers to the public questions from last week’s meeting. District staff acknowledged some “confusion.” One point of ongoing dispute/confusion that was not addressed clearly last night — board member Harium Martin-Morris wanted clarification about the oft-repeated complaint that the language on the ballot did not mention the shared campus. He didn’t get a complete answer to that during the public meeting we observed last night (and it’s not fully answered in the district Q/A, either; see Question 14 under Pink Room on this page); fellow members Sherry Carr and Peter Maier talked again about the pamphlet mailed to all 45,000-ish households with Seattle Public Schools students, which did talk about the shared campus, but what was left out was the indisputable fact – whether or not you think it matters – that the actual text seen in the official King County Voters’ Pamphlet by voters casting ballots in the February 2007 election (direct link here) explaining what the money would go for, was this:

Section 2. Authorization of Construction and Modernization Improvements. The District shall modernize and expand its school facilities through the following programs:
(1) Middle /K-8 school improvements including full renovation of Hamilton, and replacement of South Shore and Denny.
(2) High School improvements including renovation of Chief Sealth and Nathan Hale, addition at Ingraham and modernization of Rainier Beach Career and Technology facilities.
(3) Infrastructure improvements for water piping, indoor air quality and synthetic sports turf, including contributions to Hiawatha Playfield with Seattle Parks for conversion to synthetic turf.
(4) Technology equipment and training.

On the ballot itself, before checking approve or reject, voters saw this:

The Board of Directors of Seattle School District No. 1 adopted Resolution No. 2006/07-3 concerning this proposition for bonds. This proposition approves a program to renovate or replace four high schools, two middle schools and one K-8 school and make other capital improvements, to issue $490,000,000 in general obligation bonds with a maximum term of seven years; and to levy excess property taxes to repay the bonds and to replace the expiring capital levy, not to exceed $81,666,667 annually for six years.

Just for the record, since this keeps coming up. There certainly was coverage, on our site and elsewhere, before the election, talking about the shared campus — but the official voters’ pamphlet and the actual ballot did not include that point, as project critics frequently note.

How you get around: A few more WS transportation notes

As mentioned yesterday, some interesting nuggets emerged from the transportation presentations at the monthly West Seattle Chamber of Commerce lunch: On the RapidRide bus route that will replace the 54 in three years, a Metro rep acknowledged opposition to possible re-routing along California through The Junction, saying the agency’s heard “loud and clear” from the “strong fan base” for the current routing. (One more meeting about RapidRide is coming up – next Tuesday night, Southwest Library.) City transportation director Grace Crunican suggested we haven’t heard enough about the major improvements coming to the Spokane Street Viaduct section of the bridge – which she describes as the city’s #1 priority – particularly the eastbound exit to be added at 4th (no westbound onramp at 4th though, and the long-closed one will finally go away). And while recapping the latest developments with the Elliott Bay Water Taxi — particularly the creation of the county Ferry District — West Seattle’s King County Councilmember Dow Constantine noted this year’s schedule should be announced relatively soon.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Rock-throwing redux

From the latest reports at the Southwest Precinct, we begin with yet another round of rock-throwers, this time on the south end of West Seattle: handcuffs_2.jpgA man in his 80s who lives in the 9400 block of 9th SW called police around 8:30 last night, complaining that four or five boys have been throwing rocks at his house for the past week and a half, on non-rainy nights, always between 7:45 and 9 pm. Last night, he spotted them crouching behind a tree on the south side of Roxbury; he yelled to his wife to call the police, and the boys bolted. He told police he’s lived in the house 45 years and never had a problem like this. No description of the suspects, though. Next — another throwing incident, and a masher at the mini-mart:Read More

Denny-Sealth updates from tonight’s school-board meeting

UPDATE #1: As has been the case for the past several meetings, the public-comment period at the start of the meeting was dominated by testimony from merged-campus opponents. The board’s in a brief break now, with what’s been described as a “presentation” and “discussion” yet to come on items including the formal introduction of the superintendent’s recommendation that the board approve Option 2. More to come; it’s live on cable channel 26. UPDATE #2, ADDED 9:55 PM: The Denny-Sealth presentation/discussion took more than an hour and a half. Read More

Charlestown Cafe update: At least a few more weeks

ccfiresmall.jpgOne week after our last update on fire repairs at the Charlestown Cafe, we went over to the restaurant to see if owner Larry Mellum had anything new to report – He does, and it’ll be disappointing news for CC fans: Kitchen repair work is a little more extensive than expected, and with the permits they need to get, and other aspects of the process, it will take at least two more weeks before they’ll be ready to reopen.

A different Valentine’s heart: New West Seattle bumper sticker

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We’ve talked about “I (heart) West Seattle” bumper stickers here several times before – now there’s a brand-new way to get one – at the monthly West Seattle Chamber of Commerce lunch today, the Chamber unveiled the stickers you see above. You can buy ’em for $2.50 at the Chamber office (3614 California, east side of street just south of Spokane; map). Lots of other info to share from the event – transportation was the main topic, with more on the Viaduct info presented last night at Cooper; also extra details on city projects such as the new ramps coming to the Spokane Street Viaduct end of the West Seattle Bridge, plus a county update on the Water Taxi – updates ahead.

Harbor Properties’ new plan: Not quite a done deal

February 13, 2008 9:47 am
|    Comments Off on Harbor Properties’ new plan: Not quite a done deal
 |   Development | West Seattle news

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We told you last weekend about Harbor Properties — the company behind Mural, going in at the former Petco parking lot — applying to the city for a permit to build a mixed-use project east of The Junction, including former Huling parcels (photo above) and land now occupied by West Seattle Montessori School. We’ve since talked with Emi Baldowin at Harbor, who says there’s one big “if” here — “We have not formally acquired the property,” she says, explaining that they went ahead and filed for the permit anyway to get the ball rolling because the process takes so long. She wouldn’t comment on how much other Huling land Harbor Properties is hoping to buy, but says her firm should have word on its proposed purchase by the end of the month. She also says that if it does go through and they are indeed able to work with West Seattle Montessori, they’re looking at the school perhaps being “on the other end of the block,” which could alleviate a pickup/dropoff situation that has been less than ideal for parents (and sometimes for drivers going by on Fauntleroy).

Denny-Sealth meeting: Countdown to the final vote

Tonight, Seattle School Board members will officially be presented with Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson‘s recommendation that they approve Option 2 for the Denny Middle School rebuilding/Chief Sealth High School renovation process, with the final vote in 2 weeks. Last night, at a public panel-discussion meeting organized by the Westwood Neighborhood Council, West Seattle’s school board rep Steve Sundquist announced which way he’s leaning, while also revealing what it’s been like to walk right into this turbulent controversy as a newly elected board member:Read More

Discussed in WS tonight: What’s next for The Viaduct

SCENIC_Alaskan_Way_AWV1.jpgTonight at Cooper Elementary in Pigeon Point, state, city, and county transportation leaders — along with more than 50 members of the public — took the next step toward deciding the future of the critical central section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct – the section that Governor Gregoire has said will come down in 2012, period:Read More

Quick headlines from Denny-Sealth, Viaduct meetings

Just back from both of tonight’s major meetings in West Seattle. Full separate articles coming for both. But in the short run, the headlines:

DENNY-SEALTH: West Seattle’s school board rep Steve Sundquist announced he’s “leaning toward Option 2,” the “go ahead with the shared campus but add $10 million for a few more Sealth renovations” option that district staff is officially recommending the board approve. However, Sundquist reiterated that it’s the board’s decision, and he invites EVERYONE to spend the next two weeks letting him and other board members (three of whom were at the meeting) know what they think. 10:30 PM ADDITION: Just in from Steve Fischer, president of the Westwood Neighborhood Council, which presented tonight’s meeting – results of the unofficial, voluntary straw poll they took (via secret ballot) after the meeting: Zero for Option 1, 16 for Option 2, 52 for Option 3. (100-plus people were there tonight.)

VIADUCT: This open-house-with-open-mike was part of the process leading up to a decision in about a year regarding what will replace the “Central Waterfront” section of The Viaduct. Some of those who offered open-mike comments urged reconsideration of the notion of NOT tearing it down, but retrofitting it instead.

Again, much more to come, including some video, from both meetings.

City Light tree-trimming: Extra area added after feedback

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Spotting this Seattle City Light crew at work in Fairmount Springs a little while ago reminded us we want to share an update from Scott Thomsen at SCL, who says feedback at the open house a few weeks ago (WSB coverage here) has led to an addition to the plan:

Several of our customers who attended that meeting were served by a 4 kilovolt conversation bank on feeder 2744 out of the Delridge Substation. Their biggest concern was the two block stretch that was in the unimproved alley between 37th Avenue SW and Fairmount Park. Before the meeting that area was not on the schedule for trimming.

We’ve taken a look at our work plan for the year and have decided to add that entire feeder to the mix. It’s a short feeder coming up the hill from the Delridge Substation and going directly over to the Fairmount Park neighborhood. We’ll begin work there after we do the Alki feeder (2746) and the North Admiral feeder (2740) that you saw on our maps at the meeting.

We’d like to thank everyone who came to the meeting for their comments, ideas and interest. As you can see, we were listening and appreciate what our customers tell us.

By the way, if anyone still wants to see a digital copy of the map shown at that meeting – the one in the photograph shown with our meeting report – we’re having a little bit of trouble uploading it but can e-mail it to you; send us a note.

Libraries aren’t just for quiet time: “Wonderful Ones”

Time to toss out that old mental image of your local public library as a hush-or-else quiet temple of bookshelves. Today’s libraries have a lot more going on. Last weekend, for example, we told you about an adult Wii-gaming class at Delridge Library — nice turnout, we’re told, and now we have another activity at that branch — one of four Seattle Public Library branches in West Seattle – that we want to tell you about: “Wonderful Ones.”Read More

Denny-Sealth: District answers; protest signs; meeting tonight

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Several signs like those just turned up at 35th/Thistle, one day after district staff announced it’s recommending the school board approve Option 2 – building a new Denny Middle School on the Chief Sealth High School campus, while adding $10 million more in Sealth renovations than were originally proposed. Meantime, the Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting about the project is tonight, 7 pm, CSHS Commons. And the district has just posted a new section on its website with the answers to all the questions posed at last week’s meeting (WSB coverage here) as well as other information on the project — you can read it all here.

Another caucus followup: Official precinct-by-precinct results

As promised, the 34th District Democrats have posted the official list of precinct-by-precinct results for West Seattle (plus Vashon and the rest of the 34th). Find it here. (P.S. The 34th DDs’ monthly meeting is 7 pm Wednesday night, The Hall @ Fauntleroy.) The King County Republicans only break it down by legislative district (see that here) – the 34th GOP ended with 66 McCain delegates, 44 Paul, 40 Huckabee.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Mail-forging, converter-cutting…

From our most recent round of report-reviewing at the Southwest Precinct: A couple in the 2600 block of 52nd SW called police after discovering an alarming anomaly in their bank account: handcuffs_2.jpgIn late January, they wrote a $30 check to their newspaper carrier, put it in the self-addressed envelope he provided, and put it in their mailbox for pickup. Unfortunately, someone else apparently got to it first; in early February, they discovered their bank account was running a lot lower than it should have been. Checking online, they discovered the $30 check had been forged into $800, and that the payee name had been altered too. Next: Car-cutting, indecent exposure, and more:Read More

The Viaduct: While you drive over it, what’s going on under it

Those are our first clips from a media tour this afternoon of ongoing Viaduct strengthening work that’s been under way since fall beneath the section of the Viaduct that’s just south of Columbia. This is the part – site of the old Yesler Mill, long ago, according to WSDOT’s Matt Preedy – that’s settled several inches, and WSDOT isn’t sure why this section settles more than the rest, but they’ve got a couple months more work to keep it from getting worse. Here’s his progress overview:

Another WSDOT spokesperson told us this event was meant not only as a media update on the work but also as a reminder of tomorrow night’s meeting at Cooper Elementary, which will focus on the big piece of the Viaduct puzzle – what might be done with the “Central Waterfront” section. WSDOT confirms that it will be open-house format 5:30-6:30, then open mike @ 6:30 for you to have your say on what you hope will happen. (And another reminder, the next weekend closure of the Viaduct is March 22-23.)

Speaking of keeping kids out of trouble …

February 11, 2008 1:22 pm
|    Comments Off on Speaking of keeping kids out of trouble …
 |   Crime | Safety | West Seattle news

It’s been on our Events list page but in case you missed it, the Seattle/King County Gang Prevention and Outreach Group will be at Delridge Community Center 6-8 pm tonight for a community forum. Be part of the solution. Here’s the flyer; here’s the agenda.

Admiral rock-throwing arrests: How police cracked the case

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What you see in that photo is the aftermath of one of dozens of rock- and brick-throwing incidents that targeted residents and drivers in West Seattle, mostly the Admiral area, over the past few months – in this case, the brick was thrown through the glass door of a home, causing almost a thousand dollars damage, as well as a psychological toll. The victim tells WSB, “The greatest impact was not the financial aspect but the random act of vandalism and violence. The sound of the brick through the glass and not knowing what it was. Then the fear and uncertainty. My poor dog was traumatized and has been jumpy since.” It’s a miracle none of these incidents hurt anyone; in past cases in other areas, this sort of attack has been deadly. We told you about the first two arrests; now we know that Southwest Precinct police have identified and talked with four suspects in all — three are 13 years old, one is 14. But what we didn’t know till talking further with the folks at the precinct is the backstory of how Officer Patrick Chang cracked the case, if you’ll pardon the phrase – it involves confessions, MySpace bragging, and more:Read More

Taking care of business: Time to choose “Business of the Year”

From Shannon Felix at Avalon Glassworks — which was honored as the 2007 West Seattle Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year — it’s time to nominate the West Seattle business you think deserves that award next:

We ask your readers to promote their favorite local businesses by nominating them for this award!

The Chamber is now accepting nominations from the public for the local businesses that exemplify innovative and ethical business practices and contribute to the greatness of the West Seattle community. One business will receive this exclusive honor at the Chamber’s Annual Awards breakfast on April 9, 2008. Print a nomination form at www.wschamber.com or e-mail your nomination directly to pmullen@wschamber.com. All nominations must be received at the Chamber office by March 7, 2008. Nominations may be submitted by any individual … you can even nominate yourself. Visit the Chamber web site for more information, www.wschamber.com, or phone 206-932-5685.

By the way, the Chamber’s monthly lunch meeting this Wednesday (11:30 am, The Hall @ Fauntleroy) has an intriguing program focusing on transportation — with guests from Metro and the city Transportation Department. This will be the day after Tuesday night’s communitywide public meeting (5:30 pm, Cooper Elementary, but public comment doesn’t start till 6:30 so you can be “late”) about the fate of the “Central Waterfront” section of The Viaduct, so there’s much important info bound to emerge in the next few days about future transportation challenges — and opportunities.