West Seattle, Washington
Proud mom Diana Piggee tells the story of a Junction incident just before 10 pm tonight:
My two daughters were on their way home when they saw someone banging from the inside of the post office. They stopped and one of my daughter’s ran to the door. The post-office worker had locked herself inside. The police then pulled up behind my other daughter who was driving and were questioning her since she abruptly stopped in the center lane and put her hazard lights. She then let the two police officers know that the postal worker was locked inside. My two daughters were allowed to leave and came told me the story.
My daughter Kaela Piggee was the one driving and noticed her pounding. My other daughter Daeja Piggee ran to her to assist.
Kaela works at Seattle Fish Company across the street, although she wasn’t working tonight. She knows the area pretty well.
I just thought they were some heroes and Kaela was paying attention to her surroundings.
Just yesterday, we were bemoaning a shortage of stories about people doing positive/interesting things. Though most news is inherently bad news, we usually have more stories of helping, gratitude, etc., to break it up, but right now we seem to be experiencing a shortage. So when Krystal Kelley‘s video landed in the WSB inbox late last night, it seemed fortuitous. That, in fact, is what her video’s about – a small action to try to chase off dome of the negativity that’s already spilled into the two-weeks-old new year. Krystal – who has been a small-business owner herself – visited some local businesses with a “Surprise Smudge.” She explains, “Smudging is traditionally a ceremony for purifying or cleansing the soul of negative thoughts of a person or place.” 2021 is off to a shaky start, so anything might help.
P.S. Krystal adds, “If you are out and about today, we will be playing meditative music in Lincoln Park down by the water from 1-2 or 3 … depends how long we stay warm. We started a band called Krystal Kelley and the Woo-Woo‚Äôs. We play soft, gentle music intended to heal.” She also says, “I want to declare 4/20/21 World Smudge Day to help with the healing of Mother Earth.”
Before 2020 is too much further back in the rear-view mirror, the West Seattle Food Bank is sharing these words of thanks:
We want to take a moment to celebrate you and all our neighbors who have supported us throughout 2020. Through your time, helpful words and actions, and donations, you have shown that the West Seattle community is here for one another.
While this past year has been one of the most challenging in our history, we have seen so many neighbors work together to find thoughtful and creative ways to get food and financial assistance into the community.
You have brought us so much joy this year and helped us stay hopeful through all the ups and downs. In 2020, over 3,000 neighbors gave their first-ever gift to the West Seattle Food Bank, joining our resilient network of supporters. We missed many longtime volunteers who were kept away by COVID-19 but have been fortunate enough to have roughly 240 new volunteers step in during this time. Nearly three times as many people donated in lieu of presents for birthdays or other holidays. We received gifts from as far as Germany and as close as the apartments upstairs, reminding us that our West Seattle community is more than a geographic location.
Together in 2020 we have:
-Expanded our Home Delivery program from 100 deliveries per week to 400 deliveries per week
-Increased our financial assistance program for rent and utilities by 200%
-Adapted our food distribution to an outdoor shopping model so neighbors can choose the groceries they need while staying safe and distanced
-Adjusted our Clothesline hours so neighbors have more flexibility to shop
-And, most importantly, helped our neighbors stay safe, fed, housed, and healthy.
As the late Mr. Rogers once shared, when looking to find comfort in scary times, his mother told him to ‚Äúlook for the helpers. You can always find people who are helping.‚ÄĚ This past year has shown that West Seattle is a community of helpers. Seeing this commitment to helping others warms our hearts and bolsters our spirits as the work continues. We are grateful every day to be part of such a strong and caring community. Thank you all for your dedication to supporting your neighbors!
If you’re able to continue helping … or if you need help … all the info’s on the WSFB website.
The Diversity Center of Washington has moved to West Seattle. We got the announcement from its founder and CEO, Jean Craciun. “We are activists for change,” Craciun explains. “Our focus has shifted to corporate Seattle,” a reason for moving north from Burien. The nonprofit’s work has included events meant “to highlight marginalized community members and advocate for action” – among them ‚Äú10 Chefs and Causes‚ÄĚ and the ‚Äú1st annual Humanitarian Awards: They did something!‚ÄĚ The center’s everyday work, Craciun says, is with “organizations & institutions that are seeking authentic change. Groups who truly desire change and want a more DEI (diversity equity inclusion) workplace.” (In the photo above, that’s Craciun at left, outside The Diversity Center’s Morgan Junction HQ, with musician Chamel Simmons; the decorations are by Shileah Corey from Ballyhoo Theatre.)
Thanks to Susan Weir for the photos and report from atop Genesee Hill:
You‚Äôre never too old to clown around! That‚Äôs the motto of Patricia (Pat) Nelson, age 93, and Elaine Katz, age 68. If you‚Äôre out in the sunshine and happen to be driving by the intersection of Genesee and 55th Ave. SW, you may see these ladies waving, smiling, and putting smiles on the faces of those who drive by. Pat and Elaine routinely clown around on this corner. Please smile, honk, and wave back!
Tonight and every night for the rest of this week, temperatures are expected to drop into the 30s. If you know someone – or see someone – who needs a place to get in out of the cold, the West Seattle Veteran Center has opened its doors. From Keith Hughes:
The West Seattle Veteran Center Cold Weather Shelter opened this evening and will remain open at least through Friday night. The Center is open to all that need a warm place to sleep, veteran or not. It is beautiful with the newly painted walls and newly refinished maple hardwood floors.
The center is in The Triangle at 3618 SW Alaska (here’s a map).
The photos and report are from Karen Vegors:
I wanted to share with you what some scouts from Troop 284 have been up to this month. The nuclear Narwhal Patrol has spent the last three weeks designing, building, and decorating a Little Free Toy Chest for the neighborhood kids. It started with a discussion about the Little Free Libraries and how there should be some thing for little kids who are stuck at home with school out. The kids found an old hutch and ups cycled it by adding legs and painting it. Today they put on the finishing touches and moved it out to the sidewalk. Then they filled it with toys and treats that they donated!
I‚Äôm super proud of these boys for thinking of this and putting in so much time and effort! The toy chest is located on 18th Ave SW between Trenton and Cloverdale.
That photo is the inspiration for the newest signal-box portrait painted by West Seattle artist Desmond Hansen – this time, commissioned as a surprise for the couple in the photo.
That’s Sue Turner, retired Sanislo Elementary School PE teacher, who worked at the school for more than 30 years. She “touched a lot of lives,” according to the group of Sanislo alumni who gathered Saturday morning to surprise her with the box, which is on 16th SW just north of SW Holden, just half a mile from Sanislo:
The portrait depicts Sue with her husband Bud Turner (who was not well enough to be there Saturday). He is a retired educator too and led the Seattle Public Schools PE department until the early 2000s. Together the Turners founded SCATS, a legendary program described this way by The Seattle Times in 2002:
… a child acrobatic team featuring the most skilled tumblers, jump-ropers, unicyclists, jugglers, and handwalkers at Seattle’s Sanislo and Dearborn Park elementary schools. You may have seen them at Sonics and Husky halftimes. Little kids juggling toilet plungers, zooming on unicycles tall as basketball backboards, leapfrogging through each other’s legs (upside-down) while jumping double-Dutch rope.
The Turners’ influence spread beyond Seattle, too – they wrote six well-regarded books for PE teachers.
Seattle musician and School of Rock West Seattle teacher Payge Turner wowed the coaches during her blind auditions on season 19 of NBC’s The Voice and joined Team Gwen! Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Payge has lived and performed in the Seattle area for a few years and teaches part-time at The School of Rock in West Seattle. An electric performer, Payge sings and plays keyboards and guitar. She is known for her emotion-filled vocals and her passionate approach to singing and teaching.
Still an independent artist, Payge’s music can be found on Spotify, YouTube and other outlets. Visit her website at www.paygeturnermusic.com for more information.
:”The Voice” is a musical-competition show that airs on NBC Monday and Tuesday nights. Here’s how it works.
Looking for some good news? Despite the COVID-19 economic crunch, generosity is running rampant. We have an update on Arbor Heights-based Cub Scout Pack 799‘s recent Scouting for Food door-to-door drive, courtesy of parent Jason T.:
Please let everyone in West Seattle know that Pack 799 has concluded its food drive, including returning for any initially missed pickups as we were notified.
We are sincerely grateful for the broad support we experienced in performing our service activity, and look forward to sustaining and improving the health of West Seattle in our own small way in the future. According to Karla and all the extremely helpful folks at the West Seattle Food Bank, Pack 799 was able to facilitate the collection of 3,221 pounds of food and household goods — nearly three times the amounts we’ve collected in past drives!
It is really heartwarming to have that level of community support, which gives solid encouragement to our young Scouts who chose to serve their communities in the midst of all the challenges, through a little adaptation and innovation.
Today is the 32nd annual National Coming Out Day – and the Human Rights Campaign is marking it with a nationwide campaign including the video you see above. One of your West Seattle neighbors, Gay Gabrilska, is among the people you see and hear in it. She emailed about it, saying, “Now more than ever, it is important for the lgbtq community to be seen and heard.” We asked how she got involved with the video; she said the co-producer, Alex Costello, is the daughter of a longtime friend, and has done other HRC work she admires and supports. “She reached out last Wednesday so it was a quick turnaround. Luckily my pals Wendy, Sydney, and Mike were able to help. It re-energized me to see so many wonderful lgbtq people in the video and reminded me that doing good is really what it‚Äôs all about.”
West Seattleite Stephanie Gerding was in for the fight of her life after two strokes in the middle of the night sent her to the hospital.
While there, she says in this online profile, she wondered if her life was about to end, too soon – until her husband put a photo of their 10-year-old daughter at her bedside. “That was the moment I knew not fighting for my life, not being there as her mom, was not an option. This was not the end for me.‚ÄĚ
That was three years ago. But stroke recovery is not the same as simply getting over an illness: “I wish doctors told us recovery is a lifelong journey so we would have a more inclusive and optimistic outlook.‚ÄĚ Nonetheless, she sets goals – and one of those was to be in the Puget Sound Heart and Stroke Walk, raising money for the American Heart Association. Last year was her first one. This year, it’s happening virtually, culminating this Saturday, and she’s participating again. Her husband Patrick Gerding wanted us to know, describing his wife as “a local hero.” You can support her, or participate yourself. As Stephanie describes it, it’s a matter of investing “in hope for a future with fewer strokes.‚ÄĚ
P.S. Knowing the symptoms of stroke can save your life or that of someone you love.
The pandemic-fueled economic crunch means too many are struggling to keep themselves and their families fed. Along with the organizations that fight hunger year-round, other community helpers are doing what they can – like the West Seattle Eagles, who have been receiving periodic deliveries of food to distribute. They’re doing it again tomorrow (Wednesday, October 7th), starting shortly after noon, which is when the distribution truck is scheduled to arrive. Coordinator Doris Goulet says, “The combo boxes will each have dairy, meat, fruit and veggies.” You can drive/ride/walk into the Eagles’ lot at 4426 California SW. (And if you don’t need food but are interested in helping by volunteering or donating, you can email Doris at topstamp (at) msn (dot) com.)
P.S. We also routinely mention distributions and donation drives in our nightly pandemic-news roundups, so check those out if you are looking for ways to help and/or get help.
It wasn’t just those helmets that saved Connie Wolf and her son after a spill on Saturday. She sent this as an open letter to thank everyone who came to their rescue:
On Saturday afternoon I completely wiped out on my bicycle in front of the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal bus stop. It was a helmeted-head-hitting-the-concrete kind of fall.
My husband abandoned his own bike and came running to tend to me and our son, who was riding in the seat behind me.
Our only thoughts were for our 8-year-old and so we never got a chance to thank the beautiful people who supported us through what could have been a truly tragic accident. Thank you for stopping traffic for us, for staying with us until you knew we didn’t need an ambulance, and for just being there. We luckily escaped that scary experience with some aches and a few scabs.
Today I’m full of gratitude for all of the patient drivers and caring pedestrians at the scene who made sure we were okay. So many good people in the world, and West Seattle is especially blessed.
12:42 PM: A reader mentioned that West Seattle activist/writer/comedian Georgie Bright Kunkel is about to turn 100 years old … and today, two days in advance of her milestone birthday, we happened onto her pandemic-style celebration! Driving through Westwood, we saw signs and a canopy, and pulled over for a photo. (Last year, we covered her 99th birthday gathering here.) Among Georgie’s many achievements, she was a “Rosie.” If you’d like to congratulate Georgie on becoming a centenarian, drive by the 3400 block of SW Trenton before 1:30 pm!
4:12 PM: Mark Jaroslaw sat down with Georgie a few years ago to talk about her work as a writer, and emailed the link today:
Just wanted to share the (almost) final result. I need to let this dry and then touch up where it was gouged.
Pretty pleased with the progress and hopefully it inspires others in the community and if nothing else is a bit of good news. I had no idea how much this mural meant to folks.
“Good neighbor!” That’s how Kay describes Brooke, who you see above in a photo taken after Kay spotted Brooke working to clean a vandalized mural. It’s on the south side of the NB 35th SW bus stop near Thistle, depicting the faces of President Barack Obama and Albert Einstein, shown below via Google Street View:
You might see Brooke back at the bus shelter tomorrow – Kay reports she was trying multiple solvents to try to find something that worked, and was planning on “going to the hardware store to ask their advice.”
That’s West Seattle High School senior Jonah Elbaum, and if you listen to 88.5 KNKX between 8 and 9 pm tonight, you’ll hear him as a guest jazz DJ! His mom Mindy Elbaum explains, “His band director Ethan Thomas reached out asking if Jonah would be interested in hosting the monthly student DJ segment on KNKX School of Jazz with Abe Beeson. Typically students go in studio to record but because of the pandemic, Jonah recorded from his kitchen table!”
All from the WSB inbox (thank you!)
DEMONSTRATIONS: Scott from Puget Ridge Cohousing, partnering with Hate-Free Delridge, is organizing two more streetcorner demonstrations this week, this time at 16th and Holden, 4-6 pm Tuesday and Thursday: “Come show support for BLM and ending systemic racism. Hold signs, meet neighbors and stand for racial justice. Signs available.”
BAKERS AGAINST RACISM: Baked in The Admiral District is selling a selection of treats to raise money for Black Lives Matter SKC and Creative Justice. Pre-order through tomorrow, curbside pickup (2604 California SW) Saturday. Go here to order.
DISCUSSION/PRESENTATION: From West Seattle Democratic Women chair Karen Chilcutt:
This Thursday July 23rd, West Seattle Democratic Women will hold its second in a series of three meetings on Racism. It’s an evening meeting via Zoom from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm. We’ll complete our first day’s focus on Ijeoma Oluo‘s book, So You Want To Talk About Race, begin determining just what Institutional Racism is and how to recognize it, and thirdly, will have Dr. Theresa McCormick, WSDW member and Professor Emeritus of Iowa State University (where she taught for 20 years multicultural and gender studies) speaking on “Then and Now, The Ebb and Flow of the Social Justice Movement”.
If you wish to register for the Zoom meeting to obtain Zoom codes or should you have questions, please email email@example.com or call Karen 206-920-2231. The deadline for registering is Thursday, July 23rd at 4:00 pm.)
The photo and report are from Eric Linxweiler with Troop 284:
This past weekend, Troop 284 held another “virtual campout” complete with skits, campfires, and tents (in scouts’ backyards) and some safe outdoor activities. In working to earn the Historic Trails award, we explored Camp Long. which was originally built for scouts and has many legacy projects left over from service over the years. We also had scouts in Schmitz Park and Duwamish Site 1 as well, and rotating through the parks – again to keep group sizes down.
It’s great to see Scouts – boys and girls – continuing on through what’s been a very underwhelming summer so far (all camps have been canceled, including a planned trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico).
When last we heard from Troop 284 at the end of May, they had followed up a virtual campout by joining the cleanup downtown.
Sixth-grader-to-be Ian Scharks has just finished a marathon, one mile at a time. This afternoon, supporters showed up at Hiawatha as Ian walked the final mile-plus of his inequality-fighting fundraiser for Black Lives Matter (as featured here Thursday).
One spectator brought special recognition for Ian – West Seattle Runner (WSB co-sponsor) co-proprietor Tim McConnell, below with Ian’s mom Genya Scharks, brought him a WSR hat and T-shirt, and plans to talk with the Seattle Marathon about a finisher’s medal for Ian, declaring “he deserves something for the effort.”
Ian’s BLM fundraiser (find it here) is well past his $10,000 goal, with more than $14,000 as of this writing.
Responded to the U.S. Census yet? If so – you’ve helped our area beat the national average! We received this sampling of stats from Census rep Toby Nelson:
West Seattle neighborhoods are currently eclipsing both the city and statewide response averages.
*In Tract 96 (roughly corresponding to North Admiral), 75.5% of households have responded
*In Tract 97.01 (roughly corresponding to Alki), 75.2%
*In Tract 97.02 (roughly the area between Schmitz Preserve Park and California Ave. SW) – 84.4%
*In Tract 98.01 (roughly the area between Harbor Ave SW and California Ave SW) – 80.3%
*In Tract 98.02 (roughly the area between the West Seattle Bridge and California Avenue SW) – 80.3%
Overall, Seattle is the second-best responding major city (defined as the top 50 cities for population) in the United States, edged only by Louisville. Approximately 71% of Seattle households have responded to the 2020 Census. The national response average is 61.8 percent.
Washington state today hit a major milestone in the 2020 Census. As of (Wednesday) ‚ÄĒ and with three months left in the national headcount ‚ÄĒ Washington has now equaled its self-response rate from the 2010 Census, ten years ago, making it the second state to do so. Approximately 2.2 million Washington households, or 67.1% of the state, have submitted their census questionnaires. This also makes Washington the sixth best-responding state in the United States and the best-responding state west of the Rockies.
If you haven’t answered it yet: “The Census Bureau strongly encourages the public to respond online at 2020census.gov. Households can respond online in English or 12 other languages or by phone. Households can also respond by mail using the paper questionnaire.”
Not only is Evan Smith celebrating graduating from West Seattle High School, the bowler also has a national honor to celebrate – mom Bri’Anna Smith sends word that Evan made the High School All-American Team presented by Dexter Bowling – here’s how the announcement describes her achievements:
The senior, who took honors classes in biology, language arts and world history, also is part of the concert and marching bands at West Seattle High School. She led the charge to have a bowling team at her school and helped the team to the state tournament in its first year in 2019-2020, where she finished 12th in the individual standings. She also serves as a director on the Greater Seattle USBC board.