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PROTESTS: Highland Park today, Admiral & Junction Saturday

(WSB photos)

6:02 PM: Local anti-racism advocates gathered at 16th/Holden this afternoon for West Seattle’s latest peaceful protest in solidarity with what’s happening coast to coast.

As was the case Tuesday in The Junction, participants spanned a wide age range.

Organizers chose the location for visibility, since Holden is now a major detour route because of the West Seattle Bridge closure.

This group chose not to announce their demonstration publicly in advance. But for those who want to join an organized event, we have heard directly from organizers of two on Saturday afternoon (June 6th): One is a march from Admiral (we’re awaiting the time), gathering at Anytime Fitness (California/College) to join up with the previously announced 2 pm gathering in The Junction at California/Alaska.

ADDED 7:02 PM: More info on the Saturday march from Admiral:

Meet at Anytime Fitness at College/California. 12:30 gather, 1 pm march. Goal is to join up with the protest happening at 2pm at the WS Junction at Admiral.

This is a peaceful march from the Admiral Junction to support our brothers and sisters protesting police brutality and the systems that support the oppression of the black communities in West Seattle and around the world.

Please join us at in the Admiral Junction (exact location will be updated asap) @ 1pm. We’ll peacefully march to the Alaska Junction and join the Seattle Junction BLM Protest https://twitter.com/junctionprotest by 2 pm.

To be very clear: the hosts of this event do not support any destruction or violence towards people or businesses.

We are still in midst of a global pandemic. Please stay home if you are sick or feeling any symptoms of Covid-19. Wear protective gear, bring your signs, and keep safe distance from those not in your family/group.

UPDATE: Small, quiet Black Lives Matter demonstration in The Junction; another planned Saturday

2:12 PM: That small, quiet gathering of people at California/Alaska is all that’s going on in The Junction right now. Rumors of something more turbulent were circulating on social media today but were unfounded.

2:22 PM: Our crew’s still there, as is the small group, walking across All-Ways with the signal (as did a group during the street-corner demonstrations on Saturday afternoon). For those who have asked, there have been many rumors of other protest times/places but so far we haven’t seen any credible actual announcements.

2:56 PM: A few more people have shown up, according to scanner traffic, estimating about two dozen people. We just looked at the live traffic camera – same group that we saw. Adding photos from our crew, including a passerby expressing appreciation:

3:40 PM: Still checking the camera. About a dozen people still walking back and forth across Walk All Ways.

4:02 PM: As we noted in comments, the mayor is speaking at 4:15 pm. We’ll cover that separately. (Added: That’s been delayed – 4:35 pm and it hasn’t started yet, but we’ll publish a separate story as soon as it does. … Update, mayor now delayed until 5:30 pm.)

6:02 PM: We’re covering the mayor’s remarks separately. Meantime, we’ve heard from students who are organizing a 2 pm protest in The Junction on Saturday (June 6), the next confirmed event we know of.

7:35 PM: We drove back through The Junction a few minutes ago; still several demonstrators in Walk All Ways.

HELPING: Scouts from West Seattle assist in downtown cleanup after ‘virtual campout’

Thanks to Troop 284‘s Eric Linxweiler for the report and photos:

This weekend, we had a “virtual campout” which included some scouts actually outside in tents. Campfire complete with skits, jokes, and more on Saturday night, and cooking demonstrations Sunday morning:

Boil-in-a=bag omelette, and breakfast burrito. Nice demonstration, even without the smell of a campfire.

Then, after the morning ended, a few scouts emailed around, and decided to earn some service hours by helping clean up downtown.

Spent two hours helping, and feeling really good about seeing our city come together and clean up.

Lots of people thanked them, but one downtown business owner stopped his truck to thank the scouts, who really appreciated it.

PHOTOS: Anti-racism ‘peaceful show of support’ on West Seattle corners

(35th/Dawson – photo sent by Gregory Dean)

In contrast to the protest downtown, in West Seattle this afternoon, anti-racism demonstrators stood quietly in the rain on multiple street corners:

(WSB photos from here down; California/Myrtle)

Thanks to Jena for the last-minute tip about this, organized on social media as “a peaceful show of support for our black and brown community” as anti-racism protests continue nationwide in the wake of the Minneapolis killing of George Floyd.

(35th/Myrtle)

One group walked the all-ways crossing in The Junction:

(California/Alaska)

On one of those corners, the Easy Street marquee has displayed George Floyd’s name for at least 3 days – we tweeted this photo on Thursday:

VIDEO: Surprise celebration for Dr. Stephen Plymate’s national award

Huge surprise this afternoon for physician and researcher Stephen Plymate, MD, as he returned to his home near Lincoln Park after a walk. Family and friends surprised him with a classic coronavirus-era celebration – a drive-by parade in honor of a national award he’s just won.

Dr. Plymate, who has worked at the UW and the Puget Sound VA for about 20 years, is the 2020 recipient of the Middleton Award, granted annually to a VA scientist for “outstanding scientific contributions and achievements in the areas of biomedical and bio-behavioral research relevant to the health care of Veterans.” As his wife Dr. Lisa Plymate explains, he “is the 4th physician to be granted this award from the Puget Sound VA in the 58 years it has been given out. He’s the first, however, to have his awards ceremony, usually held in D.C. with great fanfare, thwarted by a virus.” But family and friends weren’t going to let the virus preclude a parade, which we recorded on video:

The pandemic has kept Lisa Plymate on the east coast, so, she explains, “Steve’s Tacoma daughter Corinne worked hard to organize this surprise. She contacted his lab and colleagues plus family and friends.”

Along with his work for the Veterans Administration, Stephen Plymate is also a veteran himself, a retired U.S. Army Colonel. A local veterans’ advocate, Seattle Police Lt. Steve Strand, led today’s parade, in his dress uniform:

Pre-parade, as he walked unsuspectingly up the street, Dr. Plymate was serenaded by one of his neighbors, tenor José Iñiguez from Encanto Arts – we caught a bit of that on video too:

More about Dr. Plymate’s accomplishments, from his wife: He “is professor of endocrinology in the Department of Medicine and director of Prostate Cancer Endocrinology as well as a founding member of the Institute for Prostate Cancer Research at the UW and Fred Hutchison. His work has focused on prostate cancer and its treatment for over 25 years. He has over 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals and is internationally known for his work,” which she says he continues to do about “80 hours per week” in addition to remaining “an avid skier and bicyclist.”

Lisa Plymate adds, “Steve’s 12-year-old granddaughter Liora compiled a montage of congratulatory videos sent by family members and colleagues from around the world. This is also a surprise he will be able to watch after the parade. The entire Plymate clan thanks all the scientists, friends, and neighbors who have helped us put this together in his honor. And they’re grateful for this bit of excitement during our stay-at-home era!”

‘Superman lives here’: Neighbors welcome COVID-19 survivor Michael Flor home to West Seattle

“Superman” is Michael Flor, who survived a life-threatening case of COVID-19 and returned home to a spirited welcome from his West Seattle neighbors today.

His story was told by Danny Westneat of The Seattle Times two weeks ago, when Flor was discharged from Swedish Medical Center. (The story didn’t mention he lives in West Seattle, but a friend told us, so we linked the story in our nightly virus-crisis roundup.) He’s been recovering at a rehab facility since then – until today.

The photos were sent by Wendy Hobson, who reports, “All of the neighbors came out to welcome him home with signs, balloon, chalk drawings, and a power-washed welcome home in the intersection” (above).

A doctor told The Times that at one point, Flor – who is 70 – was near death, “as sick as you can get.” But he survived, and is now back home to do exactly what that window sign exhorts – “celebrate.”

CONGRATULATIONS! West Seattle Chamber of Commerce announces 2020 Westside Awards

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Westside Awards, announced today by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. As shown in the Chamber-provided graphic above, here’s the announcement from CEO Julia Jordan:

Our Business of the Year White Center Glass, celebrating 50 years … Row House, our Emerging Business of the Year; Not-for Profit of the Year Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association – DNDA; and finally our Westsider of the Year, Mary Anne DeVry. Each of you make life in West Seattle that much better. Loving, caring, and openly helping our neighbors. THIS is why West Seattle, IS THE BEST SEATTLE!!!!

The winners are chosen each year by the Chamber from community-provided nominations. The criteria, and past winners, can be found here.

ADOPT A RAINBOW FLAG: 2nd year planned for West Seattle Junction display

(WSB photo, June 2019)

Though the pandemic has pre-empted the Pride parade and parties this summer, the West Seattle Junction is still planning to display rainbow flags for a second year, and you’re invited to adopt one (or more!). 60 rainbow flags will line the heart of The Junction the weekend of June 27-28, available for adoption at $85 each, which gets you a 3′ x 5′ that you can choose to keep (or not) with “a commemorative 8 inch x 6 inch rainbow flag with a desk stand. Your commemorative flag will include your name and message. Each commemorative flag will be affixed to the pole of the large 3 ft x 5 ft flag …” Interested? Go here.

West Seattle music legend Donn Weaver lost to COVID-19

(Photo courtesy Jim Edwards: Donn Weaver, with son Doug in the background)

Opening this afternoon’s media briefing about mask-wearing, King County Executive Dow Constantine expressed condolences for those lost to COVID-19 – saying a West Seattle music legend was among them, Donn Weaver. Mr. Weaver, 87, was a longtime music teacher – including 12 years at West Seattle High School – and spent 19 years as leader of the West Seattle Big Band. The band’s current leader, Jim Edwards, says, “Donn made music a passion for many here in West Seattle,” Jim included. “For the West Seattle Big Band, in his 19 years as musical director, he set the foundation for what has become a highly respected group that continues to give back to the community the joy and the love of music. And we in turn continue to share that with the student musicians at all the schools we collaborate with. His passion for music, and his love of teaching, have made all of us better people because of it. He will be missed.” We featured Mr. Weaver in 2015, when he was honored with the West Seattle Grand Parade‘s Orville Rummel Trophy. We hope to have a longer tribute to him soon.

NEIGHBORHOODS: ‘Little Free Love Letter Pop-Up’

First Little Free Libraries; now, the “Little Free” movement has expanded in a variety of ways, and here’s another one! The report and photo are from Brad:

My partner has installed a shoebox full of love letters for neighbors inside our Little Free Library. She’s deemed it the Little Free Love Letter pop-up and it’s pretty adorable, full of kind, funny, thoughtful cards for anyone to take and enjoy. She’s always been a serious card-giver, but here she’s taken it to a new level. She knows people are struggling out there, big problems or small; she’s sending some handmade love. So please, stop by and grab a letter! If you’re feeling inspired, feeling the love, drop one off for a random neighbor! 3224 61st Ave SW

GRATITUDE: Offshore assistance

Ann Anderson sent the photo and story of a small act of kindness on this sunny Saturday:

Wanted to send out a big thank you to these West Seattle residents who were taking a row off of Duwamish Head early this morning. Their lifeboat was called into action when a photographer dropped her camera into the water off the small pier near Salty’s. After unsuccessfully attempting to get the attention of nearby scuba divers, the lifeboat rowed over and stood by while the photographer (me) jumped in and dove down retrieve the camera from under the pier. It turns out that the familial group – Hayden, Emily and Katherine – were out celebrating not one, but two birthdays today (in a quiet, isolated, C-19-responsible way) when they so kindly assisted a stranger in distress.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! A milestone

The photo is from Kim Mickelson west of The Junction: “Making the best of our son’s 21st birthday in quarantine.” Happy birthday, Tristen!

WEST SEATTLE SCENE: Happy 91st birthday, Nancy!

Life goes on, with adjustments. The video and report are from Bill Schrier:

Nancy Morrison is a long-time resident of the North Admiral District. Today a bunch of her neighbors got together to sing her Happy 91st Birthday, from the street and with social distancing.

SCOUTING: Carrying on despite virus crisis

Among the groups that have found a way to carry on in the coronavirus crisis: Scout troops! Above are Scouts from West Seattle’s Troop 284, during an online class. We asked for the image after hearing from Chance Mason, who emailed us this report:

I am 12 years old and a Scout in Troop 284. I thought you might be interested in reporting on how Scouts are continuing o operate during self-isolation. Although we are not able to go on campouts or meet to work on projects together, we are meeting over Zoom. We just held our troop and patrol elections. We are also working at home on merit badges such as Family Life, Cooking, and Radio.

Chance’s merit-badge counselor Eric Linxweiler adds, “We’re trying to take advantage of this time to continue scouting journeys while we can’t do it outside in the environments we like so much. We really can’t wait to get back to our community service also, especially our annual Scouting for Food, which has been suspended for now.”

P.S. This story from the WSB archives reminds us, Troop 284 has a century-plus o history!

HELPING: Our Lady of Guadalupe’s ‘Angel Buddies’

Alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely. Helen at Our Lady of Guadalupe sends word of one reason why:

Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish has a team of “Angel Buddies” ready to check in on our neighbors!

During this difficult time of uncertainty and staying home to stay safe, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish has a team of volunteers who are making weekly calls to check in on our community members and neighbors in West Seattle, offering messages of Hope that we will get through this pandemic crisis together! If you know of someone who would like to receive a call from one of our “Angel Buddies” contact Marion Kari at Our Lady of Guadalupe, via email, at: marionk@olgseattle.org.

The more we spread the message of hope during this time of isolation, we can strengthen confidence that as a community, we will be stronger when we are able to resume our normal lives.

REMINDER: Census time! Seattle participation is already above average

Today is the once-every-decade U.S. Census day – so local leaders have sent this reminder for everyone to participate:

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Council President Lorena González, and Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda today urged Seattle residents to complete their 2020 Census form and help Seattle access much-needed federal resources. As of March 31, 2020, 42 percent of Seattle residents had completed their Census form, as compared to a nationwide completion rate of 34.7 percent.

From March 12-20, households received the first of several invitations to participate in the 2020 Census. This invitation included a unique ID code that can be used to complete the Census online. Seattle residents can go online today, with or without that code, and fill out their Census form at www.my2020census.gov. The Census form can be completed online, by phone, or by mail. A citizenship question is not included on the 2020 Census form.

Last week, Mayor Durkan sent a letter to the United States Census Bureau requesting that the Bureau extend the 2020 Census deadline from August 14, 2020 to September 30, 2020. The letter to the Census Bureau was co-led by Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, and Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose. In total, 40 bipartisan mayors from across the country signed onto the letter calling on the Census Bureau to extend the Census deadline. The Census Bureau has not yet responded to the mayors’ letter.

You can read the rest of their news release here.

GRATITUDE: A neighborly note

The photos and explanation are from Hal:

A neighbor left a nice note in my mailbox. I don’t know who left it but it was very nice. I drew a heart on a separate piece of paper and taped them both to my house’s front window, I thought maybe the person who wrote it might see that it was appreciated.

Thanks to the friend who suggested Hal share it with us, so we could share it with you!

Senior Center of West Seattle’s updated plan for programs/services, looking ahead to next week

Another update today from the Senior Center of West Seattle, looking ahead to next week:

The Senior Center of West Seattle (SCWS) shares your concerns about the rapidly evolving and expanding global novel coronavirus (COVID-19). At this time, there are no cases of COVID-19 at the SCWS, nor any staff with symptoms.

The SCWS will be closed through Friday, March 13th except for the essential programs listed below. We do not have a date that we will be reopening due to these exceptional circumstances and we are following recommendations from the King County Department of Public Health.

SCWS ESSENTIAL PROGRAM UPDATE

Community Dining – starting on Monday, March 9th we will be providing sack lunches to participants 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 10th Food Bank Distribution – We will provide prepared bags of food for pick-up starting at 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, March 11th Meals on Wheels will be delivered as normal.

Social Workers are continuing outreach and will have office hours for individuals as needed.

Tax Help Appointments – will take place on Thursday, March 12th and Friday, March 13th.

Stop and Shop: We will keep the Stop and Shop open as long as we have volunteer coverage. Communications will go out as we know more and if we have to close.

The Washington State Department of Health and Seattle & King County Public Health advise that people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large public gatherings where there will be close contact with others. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has identified that there is an increased risk of exposure for people with weakened immunity, pregnancy, and those over the age of 60 in large gatherings.

CARE FOR OUR COMMUNITY

As we continue to monitor and respond to the situation, we request your partnership in keeping everyone in the community healthy and minimizing the spread of infectious disease. To facilitate this goal, if you have symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath OR have traveled to a country the CDC has designated with a travel warning level 3 (Mainland China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, and Japan) in the last 14 days, please do not enter the buildings. We recognize that we must each do our part, individually and collectively, to provide the safest possible environment for our PNA community.

Additionally, the SCWS reminds you to exercise caution when reading and using social media responsibly. There is a great deal of misinformation on social media platforms that may alarm or mislead your family or others. You can find accurate, up to date information on webpages set up by the CDC at Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the Washington State Department of Health at Novel Coronavirus Outbreak 2020.

We will continue to communicate frequently about the SCWS response and post updates on our website (www.sc-ws.org) and our phone message 206-932-4044 and westseattleblog.com.

We’ll keep the newest Senior Center update linked on our cancellations, postponements, changes page, too.

FOLLOWUP: 8-year-old’s West Seattle Food Bank bowling challenge scores big

That’s 8-year-old Arbor Heights Elementary student Nathan Tavel, who – as we showed you Friday night – bowled his heart out to raise money for the West Seattle Food Bank. WSFB’s Judi Yazzolino sent the wrapup today:

Nathan bowled 12 games with a total of 1612 pins the first hour & 9 games & 1538 pins the 2nd hour. All teams lost to him and we raised $940! Nathan is an incredible bowler and we thank him, the teams that bowled against him, and West Seattle Bowl for donating the alley fees & drink purchases!

Nathan, who’s been bowling since age 4, challenged teams to beat him in pin totals – and as Judi mentioned, he triumphed against them all.

Leadership transition begins at Senior Center of West Seattle

After six years, Lyle Evans is retiring as executive director of the Senior Center of West Seattle.

The transition just started Monday – Amy Lee Derenthal‘s first day as interim executive director; she is a West Seattleite and longtime veteran of nonprofit work who has been leading the SCWS board.

In his farewell message in the newest SCWS newsletter, Evans says:

I will be leaving to spend more time with family and friends and follow my lifelong dream of travelling internationally.

My time at the Center has been the singular best experience in my professional life. The past 6 years spent here at our “Jewel of the Junction” have enriched me as a leader and as a human being. I am extraordinarily proud of our fulfilling and important work providing a welcoming, inclusive second home where all seniors and those who love them can feel safe, included and vital. In 2019, we served over 4100 seniors in West Seattle.

We talked with Evans and Derenthal by phone; they plan to work side by side over the next two months to ensure a smooth transition.

She has applied for the permanent position and told us, “It’s my dream job.”

You’ll have a chance to say goodbye to Evans at the center’s annual fundraising breakfast, “The Joy Is in the Journey, “ on April 28th; get info and tickets here.

(WSB file photos)

GRATITUDE: Teen’s bicycle-donation drive exceeds expectations

That’s Hope Lutheran School eighth-grader Spencer Mueller with the results of his Saturday donation drive for Bike Works. We stopped by for as-it-happened coverage, after a preview earlier in the week, and he promised to send a followup – here it is, with photos:

Thank you everyone for bringing bikes to my Bike Drive on Saturday. My goal was to collect 20 bikes; we achieved that in the first fifteen minutes. In the end, we collected 89 bikes, lots of parts, and numerous helmets to donate to the nonprofit Bike Works! They will fix up the bikes so they will have a new life. Bikes that weren’t salvageable, will be taken apart and used to repair other bikes or be recycled.

I really enjoyed talking to everyone who came by and hearing the stories behind their bikes. Bike Works was ecstatic at the quality and number of bikes we collected! Thank you, West Seattle Blog, for getting the word out about my project and to the community for supporting my efforts with so many bike donations.

If you missed Spencer’s drive but have a bicycle to donate, Bike Works has a couple of dropoff spots that aren’t too far away, including the South Transfer Station.

VIDEO: 8-year-old bowls to help West Seattle Food Bank knock down hunger

That’s Nathan Tavel, an 8-year-old second-grader at Arbor Heights Elementary School, who tore up Lane 10 at West Seattle Bowl tonight with pretty much two nonstop hours of bowling to raise money for the West Seattle Food Bank. His proud dad and mom Phil and Gina were among those cheering him on:

Phll told us Nathan’s been bowling since he was four years old. He’s been known to bowl at such a lightning pace, he can pack 32 games into an hour. Tonight, as previewed, he challenged teams to bowl against him for one or both hours – if his pin total beat theirs, they promised to donate at least $100 to WSFB. No word yet on the results but three lanes were competing with him while we were there!

CONGRATULATIONS! Michael J. Scott receives MLK Medal of Distinguished Service

King County Councilmembers have presented their annual Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service awards – here’s who received one in our area:

King County Councilmember Joe McDermott has awarded West Seattle resident Michael J. Scott with the Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service, an award that recognizes individuals whose work has answered the question asked by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “What are you doing for others?”

“Michael Scott’s work at Swedish Hospital and as an SEIU 1199NW Union Delegate exemplifies the spirit of the Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service,” McDermott said. “These awards provide us an opportunity to honor unsung heroes like Michael who have shown a commitment to improving the lives of those around them, while typically receiving little recognition for the good they do every day.”

Scott has served as a union delegate for the last 15 years with the Service Employees International Union local 1199 Northwest. In his work with the union, he has fought for better patient and staff safety, high standards for infection control, and better recruitment and retention of healthcare workers, an important factor in providing the best care for patients. Most recently, Scott and his union made patient safety concerns a top priority in contract negotiations.

Scott has also served as a member of the union’s executive board, helping to set goals that improve the lives of both health-care workers and their patients. Scott is a graduate of Seattle Central Community College and lives in the Avalon neighborhood of West Seattle.

This marks the fifth year that councilmembers have each selected someone from their district whose work embodies the spirit of King’s question.