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West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 updates, plus a van to watch for

Just off the phone with the Southwest Precinct — handcuffs_2.jpgupdates on 3 cases: FIRST — The Freshy’s robbery yesterday (original report here) — police say they know who they’re looking for and at least one suspect should be in custody soon — plus there’s a strong likelihood, as posted in the comments on the Freshy’s report, that the main suspect also was involved in a similar robbery at Cupcake Royale Monday night — “exact same M-O,” police say — ask a question about a bus route, grab a laptop and bolt. At least one witness from Freshy’s knew the suspect’s name; separate from that, regarding the discussion about descriptive factors — light-skinned black male, 17 years old, 6’2″, 190, is what’s on the report. No good description of the other suspect(s). SECOND ITEM: The Admiral rock-throwing suspects, as reported here and here: A second suspect has now been arrested; just one more left to go. (No description but police in this case too say they know exactly who they are after.) THIRD ITEM: Police are putting out two photos of a van linked to a wallet-snatching at South Seattle Community College three weeks ago, hoping it might lead to some tips:

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That’s a light blue or gray ’90s Dodge Caravan with tinted windows, used as the getaway vehicle after the robbery at 7 pm January 17. Police say a woman who works in the campus library had just parked her car and was walking to work when a suspect described only as a black man in his 20s asked her for 50 cents. She thought he was a student, so she pulled out her wallet and was going to loan him the money after a promise he would find her in the library and pay her back; he then grabbed her wallet and ran, with four other suspects (no description) suddenly appearing and fleeing with him. (No description of them.) If you have any information on the van, or anything else about this robbery, here’s who to call: Detective Jim Rodgers in the Seattle PD Robbery unit, 262-2515.

“Atomic Boys” update: Almost there

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As we first told you a week and a half ago, the former Hart’s Gifts on Admiral just west of California is becoming Max and Quinn’s Atomic Boys Shop-O-Rama, featuring “retro and nostalgic” merchandise. After seeing the sign go up (as shown above), we just checked with owner Kent Sadow regarding progress toward opening; he says it’ll be within the next few days, adding (for everyone wondering about retro candy possibilities), “Spent the better part of yesterday pricing Sugar Daddys, Good & Plenty, Chuckles, Candy dots (on paper) and a lot more.” He promises he will let us all know as soon as the “open” sign goes up.

63rd/Alki: New turn of events

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The city Transportation Department says it’s looking at ways to convince more people to turn off northbound Alki Ave at 63rd, where the yellow “residential street” sign shown above seems to be too subtle a clue that the arterial ends there, instead of continuing up and through the narrow stretch where it becomes Beach Drive at Alki Point. Sandra Woods of SDOT tells WSB that might even include physical changes to the intersection, “to make the turn more obvious.” This is part of the next stage of the process regarding pedestrian improvements west of that intersection, now that the city has told concerned area residents it won’t do anything that would take away their existing non-parallel parking in the sidewalk-less zone. (That’s the proposal that brought an upset group to the Alki Community Council last month, as we reported here.) Woods emphasizes the sidewalk plan isn’t dead — it was the result of a neighborhood application/planning process — but will likely turn into some kind of what she calls a “nonconventional walkway.” Right now, the city is developing “conceptual drawings” to be presented at a future public meeting, likely late March/early April.

Another West Seattle apartment building for sale

February 6, 2008 6:03 am
|    Comments Off on Another West Seattle apartment building for sale
 |   West Seattle housing | West Seattle news

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We always note the bigger commercial listings, and this one just turned up: The Limrock 11, 4501 Admiral (map), listed at $1,750,000.

Reward info now posted on Pasado’s Safe Haven website

February 5, 2008 4:50 pm
|    Comments Off on Reward info now posted on Pasado’s Safe Haven website
 |   How to help | Pets | West Seattle news

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Thanks to OP for that photo of one of the flyers (weatherbeaten as they can get) that’s up alerting people about the poison concerns at two local parks. As previously mentioned, the locally based animal-advocacy group Pasado’s Safe Haven (whose post-Katrina rescue had included Mo, the West Seattle dog that got sick last week) is offering a $5,000 reward, and there are now details on its website, including a flyer you can download to print and post. (P.S. A pet-helping side note: This Saturday and Sunday, 20 cats and 40 kittens will be available for adoption at Kitty Harbor next to ActivSpace on Harbor Ave, 11 am-7 pm both days. KH has found new homes for more than 500 felines in its first four months in West Seattle! 11 am-7 pm both days; call 935-1919 or go here to find out more.)

West Seattle streetcar? Start thinking up the acronyms now

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Per the P-I, city councilmembers officially voted this morning to spend money on studying six possible streetcar lines to follow the SLU…etc., including one that potentially would head out our way. (Interesting history culled from a websearch: The county looked into studying a WS streetcar more than two years ago, says this link; and of course The Junction takes its name from the fact two streetcar lines crossed there.)

Charlestown Cafe fire cause

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(Photo courtesy Scott Kratz) We just checked with Helen Fitzpatrick of the Seattle Fire Department re: the cause of the Charlestown Cafe fire; “fire in the deep-fat fryer,” she confirms. As we reported last night, cafe owner Larry Mellum told WSB a few hours after the fire that they’d need “days” to get the restaurant back in shape – we’ll keep checking on how things are going. (Original coverage from last night is here and here, with JetCityOrange‘s fire video here. Just last week, we’d reported promising news about CC’s future.)

Happening tonight: West Seattle Relay for Life kickoff party

February 5, 2008 11:04 am
|    Comments Off on Happening tonight: West Seattle Relay for Life kickoff party
 |   How to help | West Seattle news

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Luminaria like those grace the field at West Seattle Stadium one night every summer as part of the Relay for Life, an overnight event that brings together local people whose lives have been touched by cancer. Tonight, organizers are inviting you to the Relay for Life of West Seattle kickoff party, 6:30-8 pm at Fauntleroy Children’s Center; map here. (The actual Relay for Life happens 6 pm Friday, June 27, through noon Saturday, June 28.) To get more information – even if you can’t make the party tonight – call Karee Boone at 206/674-4105, Melissa Bazala at 206/281-3738, or Diane Redenbaugh at 206/937-2291.

Denny/Sealth meeting: What was seen, what wasn’t heard

Click for a few seconds of video panning across the full 150-plus crowd at the Chief Sealth High School cafeteria last night for the last district-presented meeting in West Seattle before the School Board makes its decision on the intensely debated Denny/Sealth construction project’s future.

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That’s a photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Matt Durham, showing parent Gail McElligott at the meeting. What was seen – lots of PowerPoint slides – and what wasn’t heard – answers to audience questions – dominated the night. See most of the slides for yourself (since the district didn’t promise they’d be up online any time soon), and more, ahead:Read More

West Seattle Crime Watch: Teen robbed, pump hit-and-run

Wanted to get this info out before finishing the Sealth/Denny meeting report — we were handcuffs_2.jpggathering this at the Southwest Precinct when the Charlestown Cafe fire broke out, and from there, it was right off to the school meeting. Anyway, from the latest police reports — we start with a robbery involving teens: A local middle-schooler was at the bus stop by KeyBank at California/Alaska this morning, playing with his GameBoy, when another teen sat down next to him, said “Hey, that’s a cool game, I used to play that on Nintendo G4,” edged closer, then suddenly grabbed the boy’s game and ran. The victim chased him for a while; then the robber turned on him and pushed him into a fence before getting away. The victim wasn’t badly hurt; he continued on to school, where he told administrators, who called police. Next — the gas-pump hit & run:Read More

Tonight’s Denny/Sealth meeting: Quick toplines

Much longer report to come. But here are the bullet points from the meeting in the CSHS cafeteria:
–Meeting lasted 2 1/2 hours.
–Big turnout; at least 150 people. School Board president Cheryl Chow and superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson were there for a while at the start; West Seattle’s School Board rep Steve Sundquist, of course, stayed for the duration.
–District Power Point presentation featured lots of sales points for Options 1 and 2 (current version, current version plus $10 million extra Sealth work) and the barest of bones for Option 3 (rebuilding Denny on its current site, doing the bare minimum of required safety improvements for Sealth).
–Lots of audience questions, zero answers. Audience was broken into 4 groups to ask questions for half an hour; the questions were written down by facilitators; audience was reconvened so that each group’s questions could be read to the entire audience. The answers? The district will try its best to get them posted online before the Westwood Neighborhood Council’s Denny/Sealth meeting on Feb. 12, one day before the district’s recommended option is “introduced” to the school board. Much more to come, including the presentation details, some of the audience questions, video, photos.

Charlestown Cafe fire update: How long it’ll be closed

February 4, 2008 9:16 pm
|    Comments Off on Charlestown Cafe fire update: How long it’ll be closed
 |   Charlestown Cafe | West Seattle fires | West Seattle news

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Went back to the scene a little while ago, and we caught up with Charlestown Cafe owner Larry Mellum. He told WSB that work will start tomorrow to get the cafe up and running again following today’s fire (above photo by Christopher Boffoli; see more coverage below; direct links here and here, video link here) — workers are already in there tonight evaluating things — he says it will be closed for “days” but it’s too soon to say how many days.

Denny/Sealth: Reminder about tonight; more Feb. 12 details

Last reminder: tonight is the last official Seattle Public Schools-sponsored meeting expected in West Seattle before school board members vote on whether to go ahead with the Denny/Sealth project as is, or change it to one of two other options — “Option 2” with extra money for more Chief Sealth High School renovation work, “Option 3” with a new Denny Middle School being built on its current site instead of next to Sealth. All three options are to be shown and explained tonight — a “gallery walk” with one-on-one viewing starting at 6:30 pm, presentation @ 7, Q/A expected to start @ 7:30, Chief Sealth HS Library. Also this afternoon, we have additional information about who’s on the panel for the Westwood Neighborhood Council-sponsored meeting Feb. 12, one day before a project “recommendation” is introduced to the school board. Here’s the full text of the WNC’s new announcement:Read More

Bulletin: Tentative date for 3811 California landmark review

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Last week, we brought you a followup on the landmark-consideration status of these apartments at 3811 California (just south of Charlestown), proposed for demolition as part of a mixed-use project, which we have been tracking since last April. When we checked in a week ago, the city Landmarks Board told WSB that the required application for landmark-status review still was not complete. Now, this site has landed on the radar of the advocacy group Historic Seattle; preservation advocate Christine Palmer just sent a bulletin saying that 3811 is tentatively scheduled for Landmarks Board consideration on Feb. 20 (although the site is not on the “current nominations” webpage as of this writing), and advising everyone concerned about its fate to send the board a message expressing “concern about protecting this beautiful building and guarding against insensitive infill construction if it is demolished.” She suggests that messages be sent to Beth Chave, Landmarks Board coordinator, at beth.chave@seattle.gov.

Two issues of safety along the West Seattle shore

First, from Harbor Avenue – this just out of the inbox from Jeff @ Skyline Secure Park:

We just wanted to let everyone know that the dangerous semi trucks that used to roar up and down Harbor Ave. between 7-11 and the West Seattle bridge are officially gone. The company who owned them has moved to a more appropriate home! I know a lot of people will be happy about this because there were hundreds of trucks crossing the bike/walk path every day, creating a safety issue.

And from Alki Avenue – Babs says she’s tired of risking life and limb:

I’m wondering if you can post a reminder that the Alki beach bike path is for bikes. Yes I understand other walkers/runners use it but maybe a reminder that large groups of people should not stand there and have “hi 5” meetings or discussions. I can survive a jogger here and there, a dog walker or two… but large groups blocking the path pose serious risk to all parties. I almost had to ride off the bike path [Saturday] because of a large group of rude woman joggers (who saw me coming) but continued their meeting which took over the entire path. I was rude in voice to them but it’s SCARY when people do not yield.

Next public review for Spring Hill (not the restaurant)

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It hasn’t appeared in the city’s Land Use Information Bulletin yet – the next one is due out later today – but according to this webpage, February 28 is the date set for the revised version of Spring Hill (the mixed-use project at 5020 California, south of The Junction) to go before the Southwest Design Review Board. DRB members asked for significant revisions at the first meeting on the project last month, which drew dozens of concerned neighbors. (WSB coverage is here; project materials submitted to the city before that meeting are here.)

Denny/Sealth: A Denny teacher’s view

In our ongoing quest to publish as much information and as many perspectives as possible on the Denny/Sealth project, as a final decision gets closer, we had wondered here why supporters didn’t seem to be speaking out publicly. Tonight, in comments on this post below, a Denny teacher supporting the co-located campus has spoken out – the school’s music director – and especially considering not everyone reads the comment sections, we wanted to highlight it here:

Over the past year that I have had the opportunity to work on the BEX committee, I have had numerous talks with Mr. Clark, the Denny principal regarding this project and the ongoing debate surrounding it. I know for a fact that Mr. Clark supports option 2, the “adjoined” campus, because he sincerely believes option 2 is what is best for kids. (I posted his letter on this subject in my previous comment and I have the attachment if anyone would like it forwarded to them).

Having listened to everything for the past year and having consistently participated on the BEX committee, I tend to agree that an adjoined campus is in the best interest of our students. I say adjoined and not combined because I believe that “adjoined” is a more accurate description of what has actually been proposed and I have spoken to a lot of kids (and some adults) who have misconceived notions about what was actually proposed. The only “combined” part of the campus, where the students would be regularly encountering one another, is our music department, which is largely combined already with students from Denny going to Sealth for orchestra and choir, and Sealth students coming up to Denny for steel drums.

In a recent survey of the Denny staff (January 30, 2008) 63% of the Denny staff supported or somewhat supported what is being referred to as Option 2, the adjoined campus. 22% were supportive or somewhat supportive of separate campuses, with the remaining 15% checking a box marked neutral. The Denny homeroom representatives, in their most recent meeting saw the district’s budget comparison of Options 2 and 3, including the list of upgrades to be performed to Sealth under the two plans, and saw the drawings that have been done so far of the adjoined campus. They listened to the input of their student represenative to the BEX committee, and discussed the pros and cons of having the middle school next door to the high school. After much back and forth, the Denny homeroom representatives issued a unanimous statement in favor of the adjoined campus. They are working with the administration on plans for grade level assemblies to occur next week, to present the information to the Denny students as a whole and to do a survey to invite their input. I think this is particularly relevant because, although the vast majority of the high school students will never have to attend school in the adjoined campus, the middle school students are the ones who will ultimately have to live with whatever is decided. Although I am personally of the opinion that adults, not students, should be making decisions about what is best for kids, if we are going to consider student opinion, the middle school students support for the adjoined campus should be given special consideration and weight.

As for me personally, I support the adjoined campus because I believe it affords us with an opportunity to build a 6-12th grade “nest” around these students, to create the framework for collaboration and sequential instruction, to foster mentoring and tutoring programs between the two schools, to support the development of specialized programs for both middle and high school students, to support the maintenance of students’ relationships with positive adult figures from their middle school experience, and to work together as a community to address the real challenges faced by many of our students. While there are undoubtedly going to be challenges that come along with any change, it is clear that we need to do something to help the many kids who are falling through the gaps, for example students dropping out of school. To the extent that we can create continuity and a sense of community for these kids, it is a good thing.

One of the primary concerns I have heard expressed with this project has been a reported danger of mixing the student populations. Personally, I think the risks are being overblown. In all the pleas for evidence to support the academic benefits, has anyone presented any real evidence that bringing a middle school and a high school in close proximity will bring about the doomsday I hear so many predicting? I student taught at Chinook M.S. and Tyee H.S. in the Highline district (two schools separated by a parking lot), and I was never aware of any issues there. Is there any data to suggest that this has worked out disastrously in the many other places where this has been tried? Or, are we just assuming the worst of our students?

Personally, I would argue that adjoining these two campuses has the opportunity to actually improve the security situation as it will enable the teachers and administrators to make concrete plans for how to move students around safely, and will put directly in our face the mixing, that is already occurring, and that our two block distance has previously allowed us to ignore. Furthermore, my understanding is that as with any new project being completed now, we will have security cameras and access points with ID card readers.

Students live up or down to the expectations of the adults in their lives. If we believe in them, educate them, and demand that they live up to high behavioral standards, they will. If we are convinced they can’t, they won’t. Up until last year, Denny and Sealth students rode the same school busses to school every day with next to no incidents (and this was under the supervision of a bus driver who was watching the road). Today, the students still manage to commingle safely on the streets coming to and from school and in the after school hours at the community center and the Westwood Shopping Center.

The students at this adjoined campus will not be mixed. They will have separate schools and separate facilities, including a completely divided lunchroom facility. It is not a “combined” school, but two schools adjoined.

Having been on the design committee, I had the opportunity to travel with the group that went to New York and Boston. My observation from the visits at the schools in New York and Boston was that the kids we saw in those schools were excelling, despite the fact that those buildings were not designed with the 6-12 environment in mind. In those schools, middle and high school students shared a single building, sometimes with just a sign and a door separating high school classes from middle school ones. In at least two of the three schools we visited, over 90% of the graduating classes were accepted into colleges and universities, and none of the students I spoke to expressed any issues about having middle schoolers and high schoolers near each other. While I have heard my colleagues make the case that those are different kids and a different situation, I am convinced that our kids are every bit as good and as capable as the kids in New York, Boston and anywhere else. If kids in other schools can excel in the difficult environment of multiple ages in a single building, I know our kids can excel in a well-planned environment where they will not be sharing one building, but a large campus with separate facilities for middle and high school programs.

Thanks for taking the time to hear me out. I am convinced that as a community we can not only make this work, but we can ultimately realize all the potential benefits of better curriculum alignment, increased collaboration, improved programming, and greater continuity from middle school to high school. For these reasons, I strongly support Option 2.

Marcus J. Pimpleton
Music Director, Denny Middle School
Director, Seattle Schools All-City Band
Denny/Sealth Alumnus

Again, this originally appeared in the comment thread below this post, where the same author earlier posted a previously circulated letter from Denny’s principal Jeff Clark (a letter from Sealth principal John Boyd was circulated last week). WSB archives of Denny/Sealth coverage are here, including reminders about tomorrow night’s meeting @ CSHS.

Reward offer reported in “Mo” poisoning case @ Westcrest

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Two days after we reported the story of “Mo” the Katrina-survivor dog getting seriously ill from suspected poison at Westcrest Park‘s off-leash area, at least two citywide media sources are picking up the story tonight, and Pasado’s Safe Haven — which rescued “Mo” from New Orleans and brought him here, where his “mom” Cammie Owen adopted him — is reported to be offering a reward, as some WSB readers hoped would happen. We are checking directly with PSH to be sure we have the facts straight, since at least one of the citywide reports so far seems to be confusing the Westcrest case with the Fauntleroy Park poison alert also circulated on Friday. But according to the e-mail forwarded to us, PSH will be posting artwork on its site for flyers to print out and post. Not there yet, but we’re keeping watch. Stand by for more. 11:40 PM UPDATE: Pasado’s Safe Haven tells us it’s working on the website update. Citywide coverage from tonight is here and here.

1 day till Denny/Sealth meeting, plus a student perspective

One day to go till what will be the school district’s last public meeting in West Seattle about the Denny/Sealth proposals before the school board vote later this month … though it’s not THE final public meeting — the Westwood Neighborhood Council is presenting a panel discussion on Feb. 12 (announcement here). If you missed it yesterday, here’s our post about the meeting (including the official district flyer), with a side note about the dearth of online information about the proposal. Meantime, there’s another perspective of note: We received via e-mail and postal mail copies of the January student newspaper from Chief Sealth, with a front-page article about opposition to the original proposal (known in the current discussion as “Option 1”). You can read it here; the headline and photo from “above the fold” over the article can be seen here. (In fairness, we should note that we don’t have copies of prior months’ papers so if there was a pro-project article, we can’t currently point you to that, but would be happy to upload it if we received one.) Back to tomorrow’s meeting: 6:30 pm, drawings & one-on-one conversation opportunities; 7 pm, public meeting begins, Chief Sealth High School Library. WEDNESDAY MORNING 2/6/08 ADDENDUM: School district legal counsel has asked WSB to remove the links to the images of the student newspaper article because of “factual inaccuracies” in the article, until a correction for those inaccuracies can be written up. We are declining the request, since the newspaper was published and circulated and that fact alone is newsworthy, but did want to note here for the record that the school district has made this request; as our lawyer told theirs, we will be more than happy to publish the correction text (and/or any other clarifying information) as soon as possible after they provide it to us.

Pothole-problem followup: City response to “Bruno” saga

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That’s “Bruno” the recurring pothole (or should we call it a potpit?) at 35th/Alaska, as nicknamed (and photographed) by Casey Crowell, who e-mailed WSB with a complaint that sparked plenty of discussion after we featured it here two weeks ago. Casey’s contention: Sure, the city will come out and fix potholes, but they don’t fix them correctly, and the repeated repairs cause even more trouble, so why aren’t they fixed properly the first time? Now Casey has sent photos plus a response he just received from the city’s top transportation boss:Read More

City hearing set for homes on “Painted Lady” property

While the “Painted Lady of Beach Drive,” aka the Satterlee House, remains listed for sale after a year and a half, city hearings are now scheduled for a proposal to build three homes on its sprawling front lawn. According to the city Hearing Examiner’s Office website, proceedings are scheduled to start March 5 with what the site describes as “testimony from David Satterlee on the appeal of William Conner from a Denial by the Landmarks Preservation Board for a certificate of approval for construction of 3 homes on property known as 4866 Beach Dr. SW.” (David Satterlee sold the property to William Conner in 2000.) The HEO site says March 10 and March 13 also are set aside for proceedings in the appeal. The short plat for the land was granted in May of last year; last word we had of Landmarks Board involvement was in July of last year. The house is one of a handful of officially designated landmarks in West Seattle (full list here).

Reader report: Westwood car break-in

Todd e-mailed to alert everyone that his car was broken into — “again” — tonight @ 21st/Roxbury. He asks, “When will these little brats learn that I keep NOTHING in that car?”