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Video: Rotary Club of West Seattle’s Christmas Shopping Spree

We’re at SODO Sears – where that video shows the bustling scene in just one room where the Rotary Club of West Seattle‘s Christmas Shopping Spree is in full swing right now. It’s an annual holiday tradition for the Rotarians, who gather dozens of volunteers – today, including students from Mercer Island High School and the University of Washington — to share a fun morning with kids from local schools. As Rotary’s Josh Sutton explained, they rotate the participating schools year to year – this morning, kids are here from Alki, Concord, Gatewood and Roxhill Elementary Schools, plus Pathfinder K-8 (whose principal David Dockendorf was here to help greet them). Kids are matched with volunteers; their shopping spree is bookended by breakfast and lunch in the store’s cafe. First they get coats, jackets and socks, in the room shown in our first clip – then it’s off to shop in the store, up to $100/child (and Sears provides a discount). Santa and a singalong will be part of the fun too. (added 9:26 am, Santa with a student and volunteer)

Even if you’re not here – LOTS of ways you can make this a merrier Christmas for others – the West Seattle Holidays page has a long list of giving trees and donation drives. ADDED 8:50 AM: We talked with the leader of the MI student group about the goodie bags they made, filled and donated:

Post-Thanksgiving West Seattle tradition: The “Idiot Bowl”

November 27, 2009 10:02 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle video | WS & Sports

The action on Alki Playfield at midday today might have looked like just another flag football game – but this was no average game – it was the 10th annual Idiot Bowl, replete with celebrity hosts, including State Sen. (and County Council hopeful) Joe McDermott and Seattle Times (WSB partner) sports columnist Jerry Brewer. “The Commish,” Paul Leonardo, took a moment to explain (with a young helper) what the game’s all about:

Still checking on the final results. Added 10:24 pm – From Paul, the results:

The Farmville Freaks beat Squadron C by the final score of 49-23 to win the Commissioner’s Trophy. MVP went to Zach Eastey and Rookie of the Year to brother Luis Eastey. A good time was had by all with no injuries and fun all around.

WSB side note: This story marks the debut of HD video here, courtesy of the recently procured replacement for our first-ever video camera, which gave up the ghost after 2 years of intensive use. We’ll still probably use our non-HD camera more often, but are interested in your feedback on this one … thanks!

Beer Church Turkey Bowl in West Seattle: And the winners are…

At West Seattle Bowl tonight, the big winner at the Beer Church‘s 11th annual Turkey Bowl bowling benefit was the West Seattle Food Bank – organizers Kendall Jones and Kim Sharpe Jones, above, reported easily double the food donations of last year; the event itself (with co-sponsors including WSB) sold out way in advance, and even had a waiting list! Then, there were the trophy winners in a couple of challenges – Elliott Bay Brewery took the brewers’ trophy – claimed here by proprietor Todd Carden:

And the Pub Challenge trophy went – for the third time – to West 5, announced by Kendall and accepted triumphantly by proprietor Dave Montoure:

Dave also took a moment to pose with Pete Spalding, who’s president of the West Seattle Food Bank‘s board (among many other things):

So what else does the Beer Church do, you ask? Find out at beerchurch.com. And if you didn’t get to the Turkey Bowl to donate food to the WS Food Bank – here’s its holiday schedule – and you can donate $ online. ADDED 2:02 PM: Kendall from Beer Church sent this note out to participants asking them to share with everyone “in their group” – so we’re sharing it with everyone in WSB’land – read on:Read More

West Seattle’s weekly Marination Mobile needs your vote – today!

This wasn’t just another routine West Seattle Saturday for Marination Mobile, the self-described “Korean-Hawaiian taco truck” that sets up at 35th and Graham in High Point almost every Saturday (11 am-2 pm) – today’s the one-day vote for a national TV contest: MM is up against three other street-food vendors nationwide for Good Morning America’s “Best Food Cart in America” contest. We asked ’em to give us a reason on camera why people should vote for them – MM’s proprietresses insisted the reason come from their cook Drew Airone, because, they said, “he’s more photogenic”:

Not sure exactly how long voting will be open – but you can go here now to cast your vote. The winner is to be announced on Good Morning America Weekend tomorrow (channel 4, 7-8 am). 6:03 PM NOTE: Looks like voting has closed (the MM folks suspected it was only going till 5 pm but weren’t 100% sure), as discovered by Kevin. So now – we wait and see! 12:46 AM SUNDAY: Reading back on MM’s Twitter feed – apparently they DID win and will be on-air live to the East Coast at 4:15 am from a location in Seward Park. Congrats!

Video: High Point Neighborhood Center dedication celebration

About an hour ago, that ribboncutting marked the official grand opening of the High Point Neighborhood Center, the $13 million “heart of High Point” community facility that we’ve been chronicling since even before its August 2008 groundbreaking (WSB coverage here, and here’s the tour we took during construction). Hundreds of people at the celebration this afternoon – which started with an hour of tours before speeches and the ribboncutting ceremony – here’s just one small cross-section of the crowd:

Speakers included executive director Mark Okazaki of Neighborhood House, the organization that led the project, which is already famous for its solar array and LEED Gold certification – he listed some of its other environmental attributes too:

We’ve got other scenes and speeches to add later. If you haven’t been to HP Neighborhood Center yet, you can check it out during Sustainable West Seattle‘s “Money-Free Shopping Spree” pre-holiday gathering, which’ll be happening there 6:30 pm Monday – we also published a detailed preview story last Monday, with photos of some of its amazing art. ADDED SUNDAY: More photos – click ahead!Read More

Video: Tonight’s Chief Sealth Seahawk Spirit dinner/auction

The student musicians of Chief Sealth High School not only were among the beneficiaries of tonight’s Seahawk Spirit fundraising dinner/auction at The Hall at Fauntleroy, they also were the featured performers – above, video of the Chief Sealth Mariachis outside, and here, the Steel Drum Band inside:

Attendees browsed the abundant auction offerings, including the eclectic cross-section in our second photo:

Tonight’s event sold out more than a week in advance, but there are lots of other ways to help, as noted on the Chief Sealth PTSA website.

Video: Tuskegee Airmen spotlighted at Denny assembly

No classes districtwide yesterday, so Denny International Middle School celebrated Veterans Day today. Our video shows the featured guest speaker, Tommie Lamb, president of the Puget Sound-based Sam Bruce Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, who made history in the 1940s as the first African-American pilots in the U.S. military. His speech was preceded by students talking about the Tuskegee Airmen’s history and accomplishments. Denny student musicians performed at today’s assembly too.

Video: Constantine’s thanks, McDermott’s hopes @ 34th DDs

November 11, 2009 11:37 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics | West Seattle video

8 months ago, just weeks into his campaign for King County Executive, Dow Constantine won an early endorsement and donation from this area’s biggest political group, the 34th District Democrats. Tonight, as you can watch in our video above, he gave a triumphant, thankful six-minute speech to the group for its role in helping him win a “long, tough campaign” that at the start, he admitted, seemed like “a long shot.” He also laid out a few priorities in moving toward what he promised would be “fundamental reform,” and invited everyone to a swearing-in ceremony that’ll break with tradition – around 4 pm on Nov. 24th, after the certification of the election (which as of tonight has him up 59%-41%), not in County Council chambers, but likely at the historic First United Methodist Church that he helped save downtown.

Meantime, as you can hear him say at the end of the speech, his election sets off something of a chain reaction, provided subsequent events go the way the 34th DDs hope they will. They passed a resolution tonight urging the County Council to appoint State Sen. Joe McDermott to the District 8 Council seat Constantine is leaving. McDermott made an appeal to the group at the start of what was on the agenda as a legislative preview from him, and State Reps. Eileen Cody and Sharon Nelson (who in turn was mentioned as a likely State Senate successor if McDermott moves to the County Council):

This is no slam dunk for a variety of reasons: The County Council is looking at a process that would mirror what they did with the interim County Executive appointment of Kurt Triplett – seek to fill the job for the remaining year of its current term with someone who wouldn’t be interested in running for the full term next year. (They’re scheduled to take up legislation regarding the process next Monday.) Bad move, in the view of 34th DDs chair Tim Nuse: “The caretaker role doesn’t work,” he declared toward the start of tonight’s meeting. “Our interests won’t be represented as strong as possible in the council. … A year from now, regardless of the decision the council makes, Joe will be our county councilmember – he’s gonna run and gonna win – so it’s a very clear message to (the County Council) ‘let’s do it right the first time’.” That message may be coming from hundreds of voices – the resolution passed tonight called for every supporter to call every councilmember about the appointment.

More West Seattle Halloween scenes, including Skeleton Theatre

Bravo to the crew of Skeleton Theatre, the ambitious animatronic production in an Admiral front yard, bedeviled last year by stormy weather and a few other speed bumps. This year, they decided to give their pirate-themed production another try, and when we stopped by to watch the 8 pm edition, it was perfect – the video snippet above is just a tiny taste. They’ll do it again tomorrow night between 6 and 9, 36th/Hanford (map) – tons of behind-the-scenes info at skeletontheatre.com. Meantime, trick-or-treating is all but wrapped up for the night (we only had one – how about you?) – Steph in Sunrise Heights sends this cute shot of a group of little ones before they went out:

The adult parties, of course, will go on into the wee hours, including “Come As You Aren’t” at Skylark Cafe and Club (WSB sponsor) and “Hive Mind Halloween” at Youngstown.

Video: Calling the salmon home to Fauntleroy Creek

There couldn’t have been a perfect place for that young salmon masquerader to play during Sunday evening’s annual gathering at the Fauntleroy Creek overlook – the rock-sculpture rendition of a stream – as more than 60 people of all ages sang and drummed to celebrate coho spawners’ anticipated return.

More than a decade after the creek’s restoration, neighbors gather each year with high hopes it will play host to spawners. Led again this year by Jamie Shilling, they sang and chanted songs of celebration and welcome:

And they told stories, enhanced with native art:

A human bridge symbolized safe crossing:

What’s next: Fauntleroy Creek Salmon Watch starts today, as creek steward Judy Pickens explained (after noting that recent Puget Sound passers-by might be delaying things):

Here’s the “salmon sock” that Judy mentioned – installed atop a pole anchored in the Darwin’s-barberry hedge on the north side of the overlook:

If you can volunteer some time to join the salmon watch, go here to find out how. It’s scheduled to last about a month, and as you heard Judy say in the video, they hope at the very least to have people on the lookout for the five hours after high tide each day.

Video: West Seattle High School Homecoming & Huling Bowl

That’s the West Seattle High School varsity football team accepting the Huling Bowl trophy – again – on Homecoming Night, after a 26-8 victory over Chief Sealth High School at West Seattle Stadium. The win put West Seattle in a three-way tie with Rainier Beach and Nathan Hale for first place in the Metro League’s Sound Division. Since that was the last regular-season game, this morning there’ll be a coin flip to determine how everything will shake out in the playoff picture. At this point West Seattle could play as early as Monday night or as late as next Friday. The Wildcats managed to pull off the win despite losing quarterback Ellison Tran early in the second half. Running back Isaiah Jenkins stepped into the QB role and kept the team moving down the field. Tran came back in the fourth quarter and was part of a flea-flicker that led to a West Seattle touchdown. While Tran sat out most of the half, Jenkins and teammate Markeem Adams split the play-calling. Coach Davis Lura talked about it afterward:

Chief Sealth scored with only five seconds left in the game. The Seahawks’ Tracy Manley caught a pass and quarterback Daniel Davis was successful on the two-point conversion. Meantime, the crosstown rivalry made way for good-spirited cheerleader and band action on the field at halftime:

Before the game, a barbecue and rally – with Tom and Steve Huling at the grill, dishing up free hot dogs:

This is the 92nd WSHS homecoming; the school’s Homecoming Dance is tomorrow night at Club One 3 One downtown.

Despite blustery weather, Lafayette’s Walk-a-Thon rolls on

Hundreds of students, staffers and parent/community volunteers teamed up in Friday’s soggy, blustery weather for another successful Lafayette Elementary Walk-a-Thon. This is a big year for the school in Admiral, as it’s added two classes and is now the most populous elementary in West Seattle, with more than 500 students. The PTA organizes the Walk-a-Thon to raise tens of thousands of dollars each year to fill school needs that the regular budget just doesn’t cover. Classes take turns throughout the day making the rounds on the playground, with peppy music:

Volunteers rounded up more than 100 business sponsors this year, including WSB. (Disclosure, we have a Lafayette alum in the house, but we’re always pleased to receive sponsorship solicitations from any local school fundraiser or other community event.)

Video: You can call it the “Jeanette Williams Memorial Bridge”

Nine months after we first reported a proposal to give the West Seattle Bridge a new name in honor of former City Councilmember Jeanette Williams, the naming was officially commemorated beneath the bridge this afternoon. Shown in the photo above with Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – who worked with Ms. Williams for years – was her son Rusty Williams (who ran for City Council himself earlier this year). At today’s ceremony, Rusty explained how proud she would be:

Ms. Williams died a year ago. She had fought long and hard to get federal funding to build the “high bridge” – that covered $60 million of its $150 million price tag.

Video: Dedication celebration for Dakota Place Park

Kids helped cut the ribbon this afternoon with Jennifer Cargal of Friends of Dakota Place Park, during a community celebration dedicating the park (map), which contains a historic substation building. As we’ve noted here, the park’s been open about two months, but the people who worked so hard to help make it happen wanted to take a moment to celebrate what’s taken more than five years to accomplish:

Though the landscaping and art are in place, there’s one more phase for Dakota Place – completion of the city-landmark substation building’s interior renovations, so it can serve as a satellite facility for Hiawatha Community Center. The Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee decided recently (WSB coverage here) to allocate $400,000 for that.

Video: Go underground with the mayor at West Seattle Reservoir

No, that’s not a rerun of the video featured here after the media tour of Beacon Hill Reservoir last year – it’s a brand-new look at the work to cover (underground) West Seattle Reservoir adjacent to Westcrest Park (map). When it’s done next year and ready to hold water, the man who had the idea to cover the reservoirs won’t be mayor any more – so he came out today for a firsthand look at part of his legacy. During the tour, we asked Mayor Nickels, now that much of the reservoir-covering work he started is done at several sites around the city, what he thinks about the decision to change from “floating covers” that originally were in the works:

The city decided to cover half of the original reservoir site (the southern half), and leave the other half as open space. The other city reservoir in West Seattle has been covered – Myrtle; it’s much smaller, but the project has taken longer because the waterproofing needed to be replaced (here’s the story we broke three months ago, and our most recent followup) – lessons learned from that will ensure that the same part of the process does not encounter the same problem here. Meantime, last time we visited the Westcrest site, in May, the uncovered half looked like this:

Now it’s been hydroseeded, and Canada geese have taken up residence on the lush grass – take a look at the difference. Bill Duyungan from Seattle Public Utilities is the voice you hear in this clip talking about it:

The grass-covered side also has special drainage features – it’s something of a swale, SPU managers explained. Though the undergrounding structure work is almost done, the entire project is more like half complete. The project manager from Seattle Public Utilities, Stephanie Murphy, gave a quick rundown on the numbers –30 million gallons capacity for the covered reservoir, with the covering work to be complete by year’s end (more concrete will be poured tomorrow; the pour’s been under way intermittently since March) and filling scheduled for next summer. She was asked how it’ll be connected with the existing park:

We also got a look at the workings inside – including the electrical vault, with pumps and earthquake protection equipment – as explained when we toured the site in May, it’s got a special setup to make sure the reservoir stays half full even if a seismic event causes it to lose some water. The vault is accessible from a set of stairs leading down from part of the north edge of the cover. Here’s part of what’s inside:

The completion of the reservoir will create 21 new acres of park space that will connect to the existing Westcrest Park; $3 million from the Parks and Green Spaces Levy passed last year will be used to design and build the park’s features – the community-involvement process hasn’t officially begun yet, but the Highland Park Action Committee will be closely involved – its next meeting is a week from tonight, fourth Wednesday of the month (7 pm, Highland Park Improvement Club building). As for the mayor – as much fun as it must be to come out and have a look at part of your legacy, a structure that will be in place for decades, he has an interesting rest of the week ahead; we asked what’s ahead for him in the next few days, and he mentioned that on Sunday, he plays host to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

West Seattle Candidates’ Forum, report #2: Details, video

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

checkbox.jpgAs Seattle’s most populous peninsula, West Seattle has transportation challenges that are widely known.


Not necessarily widely known by all the candidates who showed up at the West Seattle Candidates’ Forum at Youngstown Arts Center last night, co-sponsored by the Delridge Neighborhoods and Southwest District Councils (whose members represent most of the major community groups/organizations around the peninsula).

As noted in our first “toplines” report last night, neither candidate for mayor showed up (explained as “due to a series of events”), so the forum was focused on the four council races, from which six of the eight candidates appeared.

Read More

Video: Human, canine volunteers finish up new Westcrest feature

That video shows what you might call a victory howl for the canine volunteers at Westcrest Park Off-Leash Area this morning, as they and human companions finished spreading wood chips at the newly created “special needs” area at West Seattle’s only off-leash park – a section that’s more easily accessible for disabled/elderly users. We first reported earlier this week on Westcrest OLA steward Steve McElhenney‘s effort to make this happen; during this morning’s work party, we asked Steve to tell us more about the volunteer efforts and their result:

If you’re a Westcrest OLA user and want to keep up with other volunteer efforts (among other topics), you can join their Yahoo! mailing list by going here.

Holy Rosary centennial: A walk into history

October 4, 2009 3:01 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle religion | West Seattle video

Might just have looked like a big group out for a walk in the Saturday sunshine – but what you see in the start of that video was part of the Holy Rosary centennial celebration, as a group of parishioners walked from the church’s current location to one of its past locations, now home to St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church<. Holy Rosary was on that site 1913-1922. The pilgrimage was greeted by members of St. John’s, including its Rev. Peter DeVeau, and they viewed displays of what the area looked like a century ago:

Members of the two churches held a joint prayer service followed by lunch. The culmination of Holy Rosary’s centennial is next Sunday, when Archbishop Alex Brunett is scheduled to celebrate Mass at 9:30 and 11:30 am at HR, with a parish gathering afterward.

Happening now: Mozzarella-making, and more cheesiness

Grocery stores have lots of food demos and promotions, but the Metropolitan Market “For the Love of Cheese” event fascinated us because we heard directly from Molly in the cheese department, who’d been working for a long time helping plan and prepare for the big event, particularly the demonstrations yesterday and today. Above, that’s Molly, showing how they make hand-pulled mozzarrella, which MM manager Brad Halverson says is unique to their markets in this area. Our video is from Friday afternoon, but you’ll find cheese demos, samples and specials there this afternoon too:

Demos continue till 5 pm – schedule is here.

High-school sports update: Chief Sealth “pumped”; WSHS soccer

Looking ahead to this weekend’s high-school football games (previewed here yesterday), we checked in again with Chief Sealth High School‘s defensive coordinator Ernest Policarpio, as the team goes for its third consecutive win:

Sealth and WSHS both play at 7 tonight – Sealth at Nathan Hale, WSHS at SW Complex vs. Ingraham (which Sealth beat last week) – Seattle Lutheran at 1:30 tomorrow, homecoming, hosting Friday Harbor at WS Stadium. We’ll have coverage on Twitter as it happens (@wsblive) and here on the site later. Meantime, WSHS girls’ soccer faced Ingraham yesterday and per this comment, they won 4-1. (Send in YOUR sports reports!)

West Seattle coffee talk: Blayne says bye-bye to Hotwire

(July 2009 West Seattle Grand Parade photo by Christopher Boffoli)
Once you’ve been grand marshal of the West Seattle Grand Parade, what’s left to do on the peninsula? Two and a half months after that high-riding moment – and a year after his stint on the nationally televised reality show “Project Runway – the barista known best as Blayne is about to leave his four-year job at Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor). We caught up with Blayne late this morning to ask about his plans after his last Hotwire day tomorrow:

You can see his fashion/design work here. If you want to say goodbye in person, Blayne told us he’ll be working tomorrow morning (but that’s as specific as he’d get).

West Seattle Weather Watch: Downpour, dissected

That video is from a moment of sticking the Flip out the window while at the Fauntleroy/Alaska stoplight as this evening’s downpour began. Meteorologist-to-the-stars Cliff Mass talks about its cause in his latest online update. Tomorrow, by the way, looks quieter. Meantime, Bruce in Westwood sent this photo from the sunbreak just before things got wild – while we caught some rays here in southern West Seattle, dark clouds gathered ominously in the north:

West Seattle food news: Sneak peek inside Angelina’s remodeling

Meet Allison and “Skip” Rich (with 2-year-old son Zayne), new owners of Angelina’s in the Admiral District (map). When they took it over and shut it down for remodeling a month ago (previous coverage here and here), they said they hoped to reopen in early October, so we checked back – and found out it’s going to take a few extra weeks – they’re now targeting October 19th. We stopped by yesterday afternoon for a peek at some of what they’ve done to the space so far, with a lot of work left to do:

That short clip shows the 30-foot-long bar that dominates the northern half of the restaurant (right side, where the main entrance was); that side will be 21-up. But Skip says, “Our whole plan is NOT to be a 2 o’clock bar – we’re not going to kick people out, but if nobody’s here … We’re not here to be some crazy raucous sports bar.” See and hear about the rest of the renovations, ahead:Read More