West Seattle people 2365 results

WEST SEATTLE SCHOOLS: Teacher Craig Parsley retires, but will continue to educate

(WSB file photo)

Friday was the last day of school for most local students who weren’t already out for summer – and for some educators, it was the last day of their classroom career. Among them: Craig Parsley, a founding teacher at Louisa Boren STEM K-8, who spent the past 10 school years there – from its start – after a long run at Schmitz Park Elementary. He sent us this announcement:

(Friday), I retired from Louisa Boren STEM K-8. It was a good run and I really appreciate our West Seattle Community’s support of STEM education.

Many parents have asked what is next for Mr. Parsley.

I plan on supporting STEM Schools in Seattle and across the state in developing Project-Based Learning Programs that are cost effective and Standards-Based. If my time at Louisa Boren STEM K-8 has taught me one thing, it’s that STEM education is not merely a pedagogical decision, it’s a investment in our country’s future. I want our education decision-makers to know that STEM is not a financial burden…it’s a commitment to inspiring innovation, craft, invention, and optimism.

I’m very proud of all the engineers, architects, astrophysicists, bioengineers, civil and electrical engineers our program has inspired, some entering college and a few soon to graduate from these programs. Perhaps, we really did make a difference.

Last year we reported on an award given to Parsley for what the STEM PTA described as his “life-changing” work.

HELPING: Camp Second Chance residents go shoe-shopping with Fauntleroy Church assistance

(WSB photo)

We’ve reported before on Fauntleroy Church‘s support of Camp Second Chance, the city-sanctioned tiny-home encampment in southeast West Seattle. The support led to a shopping trip at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Westwood Village on Friday, which provided major discounts for church contributions to help buy shoes for camp residents. Fauntleroy Church volunteer Judy Pickens tells the story:

Picking out new shoes that fit just right is a rare luxury for people living on the edge of homelessness, but three tiny-home residents of Camp Second Chance got to do just that Friday at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Westwood Village.

The shoppers are among the 40+ people living in the sanctioned camp at 9701 Myers Way S. Managed by the Low Income Housing Institute, the camp provides a supportive bridge between the streets and long-term housing.

In 2018, Fauntleroy Church, United Church of Christ (9140 California Ave. SW), began enriching camp life with such amenities as towels, bedding, and electric blankets. During the height of the pandemic, the church also provided games to encourage socializing and art supplies for creative expression.

On Friday, donations from church members financed the first of several shopping trips to fit residents with comfortable, practical, and NEW shoes. Members of the congregation’s homelessness task force met the residents at Big 5, where staff were eager to serve them. The church gave each shopper a dollar limit, which the store extended with a discount.

More camp residents will get their turn at shoe shopping as the camp’s case manager identifies those most in need.

In our photo above are church volunteers Joan and Cathy (at left and right) with case manager Marjorie (second from left) and CSC residents.

CONGRATULATIONS! Courts of Honor for four West Seattle Eagle Scouts

Momentous day for four Scouts in West Seattle – thanks to Eric Linxweiler for sending the report and photos:

Today two Eagle Scout Courts of Honor were held for four new Eagle Scouts.

The first, at Camp Long, was for Asher Morgan, Emmett Weber (both with Troop 282) and Cap Linxweiler (Troop 284). They have been together since early in Cub Scouts and always had the goal of earning their Eagles together. Today, that achievement was celebrated. Guest speaker was King County Executive Dow Constantine, who is also an Eagle Scout from West Seattle. Over 100 scouts, friends and family attended a wonderful event. All three are headed off to college next year (Oregon State, Temple University-Tokyo, and Washington State, respectively), and are looking forward to more success ahead based on what they’ve learned in scouting..

Immediately following this, another Eagle Court of Honor was held at Our Lady of Guadalupe for David Ovalles Hutchison. David earned his Eagle in the middle of the pandemic, and could today be honored in front of his family and friends. David is finishing up his first year at Washington State University

One interesting note about the first event – Dow spoke to these boys as third graders (Cap on the far left, Emmett and Asher on either side of Dow), and continues his commitment to scouting by regularly supporting all scouts in West Seattle.

WEST SEATTLE SCENE: Laps With Lou 2022

At Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point, Laps With Lou 2022 is on! For almost two decades, now-retired PE teacher Lou Cutler has raised money for Make-A-Wish by doing a lap for every year of the age he’ll be when his birthday arrives later in June. Students join him throughout the day. This morning, before taking to the field, Lou spoke to the school via the PA system:

This year he’ll be turning 71, so he plans that many laps – plus one for a bonus, to bring the total distance to 12 miles. Students have been going out to the field in groups, starting with photos.

Lou’s been a Make-A-Wish volunteer even longer than he’s been leading this annual fundraiser – for more than a quarter-century!. You can support his quest to grant more wishes by donating here.

ADDED FRIDAY NIGHT: He did it again! Thanks to the Pathfinder parent who sent photos from the end of today’s laps:

REUNIONS: Three notes for West Seattle High School alums

Summer is reunion season, and we’ve received a few announcements for West Seattle High School alums.

NO WSHS ALL-SCHOOL REUNION, BUT THERE’S STILL AN AFTER-PARTY: The WSHS Alumni Association has to cancel the All-School Reunion again this year, explaining in its announcement that “the Seattle Public Schools district is not allowing external use of school grounds during COVID.” However, next Saturday there’ll be an “after-party” at Whisky West (6451 California SW), starting at 6 pm, with live music from The Nitemates and other special guests. Then on the following day – Sunday, June 5th – all alums are invited to join the Class of 2002’s gathering on the Lincoln Park shore, second fire pit/picnic area from the south entrance, 9 am-2 pm, BYOE (Bring Your Own Everything). Questions about the beach gathering? Email Heather at stampedhah (at) gmail.com.

WSHS CLASS OF 1957: Also happening this weekend, the Class of ’57’s 65th reunion! Above is what the yearbook looked like that year. The classes of ’55 and ’56 are invited too. It’s happening 2-6 pm Sunday (June 5th) at Glen Acres Country Club (1000 S. 112th in North Highline). $50/person, “hearty appetizers” and a no-host bar. Email Beverly chochosan29 (at) hotmail.com or Gwen gfraser49 (at) msn.com ASAP to RSVP and get the address for sending your check.

WSHS CLASS OF 1970: The 50th reunion had to be postponed for the pandemic, but this class now declares it’s “never too late to party!” So this year, they’re having a reunion under the banner “West Seattle Class of ’70 turns 70.” It’s set for 4 pm-10 pm Saturday, August 27th, also at Glen Acres. RSVP required by August 5th. $65/person includes a buffet dinner and birthday cake, “and hopefully a few surprises.” For RSVPing info, email pjkloster52 (at) gmail.com.

Got a reunion coming up? We can mention yours too – email info to westseattleblog@gmail.com – thank you!

RETURNING: Laps With Lou for Make-A-Wish this Friday

(WSB photo from 2018)

For almost two decades, Lou Cutler has raised money to help grant kids’ wishes via a unique birthday-celebration run at Pathfinder K-8, where he taught PE before retiring. Most years, it was a giant group run throughout the day, with students joining Lou as he took one lap around the school field for every year he was celebrating. Then came the pandemic; in 2020, schools were closed, so Lou did a “lap” around the peninsula instead; last year, students joined him in small groups over two days. This year, when Lou takes to the Pathfinder field on Friday (June 3rd) in celebration of his upcoming 71st birthday, it’ll be a little more like the events of years past. He explained to us via email:

This year, rather having me communicating with everyone with a megaphone on the field, I will address the school from the office at 9:00 and then grade bands will come out in staggered time frames every 15 minute or so and I will take pictures with each class before they go on the field. All classes will stay out until the entire school is on the field at the same time and I believe everyone will stay on the field for 15 minutes or so and from that point some classes may go in while those who want to see how many laps they can run, will stay out and run to their heart’s content.

Make-A-Wish alumni are invited to join in the festivities, as are MAW staff and volunteers and Pathfinder parents, so I hope we have a tremendous turnout for the day.

As for me, I will be 71 on June 25th, so this year I will walk and run, though mostly walk, 71 laps, 11.8 miles, and add on a bonus lap to make it a full 12 miles because I love round numbers.

Over the previous 18 years we have raised $86,000 for MAW and as always, my hope is that we can raise as much money as possible, as I have seen the power of a wish in the boosting of spirits and hopes for wish kids and families over my 26+ years as a MAW volunteer!

You can support Lou’s Make-A-Wish quest by donating here.

VIDEO: West Seattle centenarian’s short tip for a long life

Anne Czelder celebrated her 100th birthday at Daystar Retirement Village (WSB sponsor) today, and the folks at Daystar asked her about her advice for living to the century mark. Her reply – just four words – is in the short clip above. Happy birthday, Anne!

WEST SEATTLE WEEKEND SCENE: Hundreds volunteer for ‘Day of Service’

(Photo sent by Althea Chow)

Junction Plaza Park was one of the hubs of volunteer activity in West Seattle today during the first One Seattle Day of Service decreed by Mayor Bruce Harrell. The Junction Association‘s executive director Chris Mackay reported more than 200 volunteers signed up for beautification work.

Co-sponsors of the Junction cleanup included Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate (WSB sponsor). Other West Seattle events on the citywide Day of Service lineup ranged from Alki in the north to Highland Park in the south, as shown on this map.

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle ultra-runner Riley Nachtrieb conquers Olympic Discovery Trail

(Photos courtesy Riley Nachtrieb)

On Friday, we previewed 20-year-old West Seattle-based ultra-runner Riley Nachtrieb‘s plan to run the Olympic Discovery Trail, which she last attempted in 2019, forced to stop two-thirds of the way along the 132-mile trail because of an injury. She started early Saturday morning and this time, made it all the way – 41 hours, according to her Instagram updates. Supporters dropped in from checkpoints along the way:

The Olympic Discovery Trail runs from Port Townsend to LaPush – you can see maps here.

CAN YOU HELP? West Seattleite crowdfunding at start of journey to be ‘one in a million’

You might know Anthony Nelson. He describes himself as “father, son, brother, friend, artist, bartender [at Maharaja], storyteller, and one of the many faces of cancer …” a disease he rues “is doing all it can to take me away from all of that.” But, Anthony adds, “I recently read that each year in America more than 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer, and nearly 600,000 will die from it. For once in my life, I am happy to think of myself as one in a million. I choose to be one of the people who live through and get to tell the past tense story about how I beat cancer.” In hopes of helping with that, his friend Morgan pointed us to Anthony‘s crowdfunding page, where he explains:

My worst fear is to be a burden on my community and especially to those I love. Although I have a remarkable support system of people, the realities of cancer (the loss of revenue due to incapacitation and the astronomical expenses associated with the years of anticipated treatment), and the fact we are not made of money, I am faced with either not being able to follow through on what I need to survive or not being able to meet the financial challenges I will accrue. This is why I need your help.

Anthony’s radiation treatments for throat cancer just began Friday, and his GoFundMe page includes an update.

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle ultra-runner trying Olympic Discovery Trail again this weekend

Tomorrow while hundreds if not thousands of people put on jackets and head out to sell or shop at garage sales, one West Seattleite will be taking on an intense challenge a few hours from home. Riley Nachtrieb sent this announcement of what she plans to start tomorrow morning, no matter what the weather is:

20-year-old West Seattle-based ultra-runner Riley Nachtrieb will be re-attempting to run the first recorded Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the 135-mile Olympic Discovery Trail this Saturday, May 14th. An FKT is a speed record for a running route. It is not a race; there is no competition or award for completion. They are self-organized and ran solo with a support crew.

The ODT spans from Port Townsend to La Push, and Riley is aiming to complete the 135 miles in under 30 hours. The trail is 90% pavement, mostly on the side of the highway. She first attempted to run this route in 2019, but her Dad made her stop at 82 miles in 21 hours because she got a stress fracture in her foot. Despite this undesired ending to her first attempt, Riley, also an aspiring filmmaker, turned her story into an award-winning short film, “Broken premiering at the Auburn Adventure Film Festival (watch it here).

Ever since stopping in 2019, Riley has been hungry to complete it. As a lead-up training run last month, she set the first women’s FKT on the 55-mile Whidbey Island Traverse, in 11 hours, 10 minutes.

“Running 135 miles will not be easy,” she says. “I do these hard things because I want to show people that women can do hard things. I run ‘insane’ distances to disrupt the narrative society knows, not only about running but how capable women are. As a young female in the sport, I’ve had many experiences of people doubting my abilities- But these experiences only light the fire within me to show how capable we are as women, if we dare to try.”

She starts running in Port Townsend at 7 am on May 14th. A crew full of family and friends will meet her at checkpoints. You can track her live using this link: share.garmin.com/rileynachtrieb

And you can see photo updates on her Instagram, @rileynachtrieb.

Riley adds that she’s thankful for the community support she’s received over the years.

GRATITUDE: Roadside help from one West Seattleite to another, 60 miles from home – but who was that ‘angel of a human being’?

That’s what happened to Susan‘s car, 60 miles from home. The person who pulled over to help her happened to be practically a neighbor – but she doesn’t know his name, and asked if we’d help her find him. Here’s her story:

Driving home from Crystal Mountain on Sunday, my tire literally blew apart on Highway 410 outside of Greenwater. This angel of a human being (a fellow West Seattleite) stopped and helped me jack up and replace the blowout with the spare, in flip-flops and ski pants, with his 10-year-old waiting in their car. This was no easy feat, as the spare is wired in underneath the car, and apres-ski traffic was whipping by at 60 mph. After replacing the tire, he followed me to Highway 18 to make sure I was safe. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get your name, but your kindness is so greatly appreciated and I’d love to treat you and your daughter to a Menchies!

Thank you so very much.

If you’re the mystery helper, you can comment below, or email us and we’ll forward your contact info.

NEW LEADERSHIP: Maggie Kase becomes executive director of Southwest Seattle Historical Society

May 3, 2022 5:34 pm
|    Comments Off on NEW LEADERSHIP: Maggie Kase becomes executive director of Southwest Seattle Historical Society
 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news | West Seattle people

More leadership news today – this time, from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

The SWSHS Board of Trustees is happy to announce that Maggie Kase has been appointed Executive Director of the historical society. After nearly two years as Curator, Maggie had been serving as Interim Executive Director since the resignation of former ED Michael King.

As a result of a nation-wide search, the Board felt that Maggie’s experience in senior leadership, in curatorial and interpretive work and in her commitment to local history best suits the society’s goal to embrace and preserve the history and stories of all the residents of the Duwamish peninsula, both past and present.

Maggie is the key programmatic lead for the society’s highly acclaimed current exhibit “The Spirit Returns 2.0: A Duwamish and Settler Story” in partnership with the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center.

The society is also please to announce the election of two new trustees: Carol-Ann Thornton and Megan Simkus. Carol-Ann has been a member of the society’s Advisory Council and played an important role in the history of West Seattle, having been the first African American student at Alki Elementary School. Megan, an Amazon executive, brings valuable strategic planning skills to the board through her business and non-profit experience.

SWSHS is headquartered in the city-landmark Log House Museum at 61st/Stevens. The museum’s 25th anniversary will be celebrated at the SWSHS “Bridging Our Communities” event June 3.

CONGRATULATIONS! ‘Heart and soul’ of West Seattle Discovery Shop, Michele Rhilinger, honored with national award

(WSB photo: Michele Rhilinger with regional Discovery Shops coordinator Michael O’Sullivan)

If you haven’t been to the Discovery Shop in the West Seattle Junction, you might not realize that it’s a volunteer-powered day-in-day-out fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. In an after-hours ceremony at the shop last night, the organization presented longtime volunteer Michele Rhilinger with its national Denise Noel Discovery Volunteer Award. From the announcement:

The heart and soul of the local Discovery Shop for more than 10 years, Michele Rhilinger is well-known throughout the West Seattle community as a representative of the American Cancer Society. Through her talents in merchandising, she has created a standard for a very high level of appearance of the shop and an exceptional level of customer service. Despite retirement from her professional career, Michele stayed in the volunteer role and has dedicated countless days for the benefit of the shop and ultimately for cancer patients. Michele’s support of the Discovery Shop and American Cancer Society’s mission is unmatched and respected by many in the community.

Here’s what she told those who were gathered to celebrate:

The Discovery Shop (4535 California SW) had a particularly tough time in the pandemic, Michele reminded us – it had just reopened after a remodeling closure when everything had to shut down.

CONGRATULATIONS! Circa, Highland Park Corner Store, Neighborhood House, Keith Hughes honored with Westside Awards

The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has announced the winners of this year’s Westside Awards, chosen from nominations sent by community members:

(WSCC photos from visits to notify recipients)

Westside Business of the Year: Circa
Westside Emerging Business of the Year: Highland Park Corner Store
Westside Not for Profit of the Year: Neighborhood House
Westsider of the Year: Keith Hughes

If you don’t know them already:
*Circa is a longtime Admiral District restaurant
*Highland Park Corner Store opened last year in a refurbished former mini-mart
*Neighborhood House is a regional nonprofit with a major services hub in High Point
*Keith Hughes is commander of American Legion Post 160 and hosts a severe-weather shelter there, among other community-leadership work

All will be honored at the West Seattle Chamber’s breakfast event at 7:30 am Tuesday, May 10th, at Brockey Center on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. Tickets are available at the early-bird rate through next Friday (April 29th) – go here. Past winners (including WSB in 2010) are listed here.

READER REPORT: West Seattle Scouts go undersea

The report and photo are from Troop 282‘s Jay Brock:

Springtime means more adventures to be had in the SCOUTdoors. Troop 282 and Troop 284 of West Seattle would like to congratulate 5 of their scouts for completing their Scuba Open Water Certification and their Scuba Diving Merit Badges. On Sunday Aprit 3rd these scouts joined a number of Scouting divers that now can do conservation projects on land as well as under the sea. It was no easy task for them while still in school. The had to complete 15 hours of online learning, a couple of classroom hours, several hours training in a pool and four dives in the open waters of Puget Sound. A big shout out goes to Duncan as the Dive Instructor and Seattle Scuba for the course.

Troop 282 meets on Tuesdays at 7:30 at West Side Presbyterian Church and Troop 284 meets on Mondays at 7:00 at Explorer West Middle School. Now is a great time to join and be part of the action.

READER REPORT: West Seattle ultra-runner Riley Nachtrieb takes on Whidbey Island

Another achievement for Riley Nachtrieb, whose running and filmmaking achievements we’ve noted in recent years. The report and photos are from her family:

On Monday, 20-year-old West Seattle-based ultra-runner Riley Nachtrieb set out to run non-stop from the northern tip of Whidbey Island, Hoypus Point, to the southern tip of the island, Possession Point. The route was established by Greg Nance as a 54-mile FKT (fastest known time) Route where Greg set the male FKT of 10 hours 7 min, on January 15th, 2022.

Riley started the route at 7:30 am on April 4th, with the intention of setting the first female FKT. Although an FKT is a “solo” run, food and water support can be given. Riley was supported by friend and local WSHS student-athlete Herman Meyer, who followed her in a truck with food, water and moral support, as well as jumping out to pace her into the finish.

After 11 hours and 10 minutes of constant running, Riley succeeded in being the first woman to record the 54-mile FKT, which will soon be officially recorded here FastestKnownTime.com

Riley is the Social Media and Community Manager for the West Seattle tech startup SetJetters.com and a prolific runner in West Seattle often running with the “West Seattle Runner” group organized by Lori and Tim McConnell of the West Seattle Runner store. This coming May on the 14th and 15th, Riley will be attempting to run 135 miles non-stop across the Olympic Peninsula from Port Townsend to La Push setting the first overall FKT, male or female, which she was forced to abandon at mile 82 in 2019 due to a fractured foot.

Riley will soon announce her ODT (Olympic Discovery Trail) FKT website, where you will be able to follow her live. If you see her running around West Seattle or hanging out with her sister at West Seattle Runner, she’s always down to share miles with you!

UPDATE: Missing woman found

6:45 PM FRIDAY: Heidi’s sister confirms she’s been found, safe.


Read More

VIDEO: Denny International Middle School students march/rally against gun violence

12:26 PM: As noted in our daily previews, a student-organized protest march is happening right now. It’s organized by 8th-grade students from Denny International Middle School, who say they “want to publicly make a statement that we as students want stricter gun laws to ensure that we no longer must live in fear of gun violence.”

This announcement details their route. Hundreds of students are participating, using sidewalks; they’re along 35th now, turning onto Trenton.

12:44 PM: They’re now gathering on the field at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex (which is across Thistle from the Denny-Sealth complex).

1:40 PM: We just left the stadium as the rally was wrapping up after more than half an hour of impassioned student speeches – some as simple as “Enough is enough!”

2:38 PM: More photos added above. Before the rally concluded, we talked briefly with two of the organizers, Addison Whited and Hazel Simper.

This was entirely student-organized, stressed Denny principal Jeff Clark, who was monitoring the event and told us, “We’re very proud of our scholar leaders, but this is their event.” In email, the student organizers said these are proposals they’re specifically advocating for:

-Waiting periods after purchase
-More thorough background checks
-Responsibility laws (parents are responsible for kids using their guns)
-Methods to report unsafe gun users effectively
-Close gun loopholes(Gun shows/Boyfriend/Charleston/Hate crime/and patchwork law gun loopholes)
-Must enforce license for open-carry firearm
-New gun safety tests to allow access to firearms (especially parents and kids)
-Mental-health screenings
-Police having stricter access to guns

Speeches at the stadium were open-mic-style, with students lining up for turns.

One asked, “How many more dead kids will it take for people to pay attention?” Another promised they won’t stop advocating until change happens. From another: “I believe in freedom … the freedom not to be in a dark room wondering if this is a drill or the real thing.”

‘Letter to West Seattle: Please stop yelling at kids’ special-ed bus’

Sent by Sarah, who sent this note under that heading, while explaining, “Just recently I have experienced several instances of road rage outside my home while getting my two children onto the Special Education Bus. People don’t understand how this system works and the buses are not all marked as Special Education. There are several contributing factors, including, no buses during COVID, reduced bus access for K-5 students forcing caregivers to drive children and be on the road with Special Education Buses.” Here’s her request to the community:

To Fellow Neighbors:

The key differences in how traditional large yellow buses operate vs smaller residential Special Education Buses operate.

First, children ride Special Education Buses for a number of reasons, some are physical and some are neurodivergent. For my family, we have two of our three children riding the Special Education bus and one fits into each category.

These buses are equipped with special seat belts and seats to ensure the safety of all the children; caregivers are REQUIRED to enter the bus and physically buckle the child into and out of the seat each day. The bus drivers are not allowed to do this, and due to certain circumstances, it may require more time to ensure the child is safely secured in the bus. I would very much like to remind impatient drivers that honking and yelling at the caregivers, driver, and kids does not make this process go any faster and instead can prolong the experience and induce feelings of fear, shame, and frustration for all involved.

There are also times that caregivers must pass on information crucial to a successful transfer to the school or for after-school pickup to the driver. This quick check-in typically occurs after the child is secured into the seat. This is not idle chit-chat, so please be patient.

Due to the fact that these buses serve several families each morning for the same school and each child can experience a range in how their day is going both physically and emotionally, it is not possible to have a set pickup and drop-off schedule. Therefore caregivers have children prepared before the bus arrives, most children utilizing this service cannot sit out and safely wait for the bus.


It is possible on a residential road to turn around if you are stuck behind or in front of a bus that needs that extra time and go down another side street. I know this my be an inconvenience, but please know that the caregivers, children, and bus drivers understand. Please, refrain from honking, yelling, or driving up onto the curb. It scares the kids, they don’t understand what is happening and it is emotionally harmful to everyone involved.

Thank you, West Seattle Neighbors! (Here) is a helpful article with some graphics and other helpful tips about school bus safety, including things are camera and ticketing.

UKRAINE: Sisters organizing help from West Seattle

Three weeks into the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian people continue to fight. A West Seattle woman and her sister, who made it out just as the fighting began, are hoping you can help their homeland.

Kateryna Bakay is proprietor of Bend & Stretch Physical Therapy. She came to the U.S. as an exchange student in 2000 and has been in Seattle since 2010, West Seattle since 2015. Her sister Daria lived in Kyiv, the besieged Ukrainian capital, but has been here since March 1st. Katerina explains that her sister arrived “after 6 days of driving through bombings and artillery shootings. She crossed the Hungarian border by foot (could not take her car) and then her friends drove her to Poland, from where she flew to Seattle.”

They are staying in close touch with family and friends in Kyiv, as circumstances there became increasingly desperate, with food and supply shortages: “Some homes have lost heat so people are bundled up with blankets as it’s cold in Ukraine right now. Children are crying as they don’t understand what’s happening and parents are trying to normalize the situation by taking kids outside during non-curfew hours.”

They are raising money to get help to people back home: “The money we are raising will be used to sponsor local volunteer organizations that are on the ground in major cities in Ukraine, including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, where people are distributing food and water to old folks who are not able to leave their houses. Another organization is helping local military personnel with basic medical supplies, such as tourniquets and bulletproof vests.” If you can donate, they have a crowdfunding page here.

LAST CALL: Who do you think should win the 2022 Westside Awards?

One month after the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce announced nominations were open for the 2022 Westside Awards, the deadline is almost here – 5 pm Monday (March 14th). It’s easy to nominate a business/person/organization – just go here. The four categories are:

*Business of the Year
*Not for Profit of the Year
*Emerging Business of the Year
*Westsider of the Year

The winners will be honored at a May 10th breakfast event.

UKRAINE: What an exchange student in West Seattle wants you to know

(Photos courtesy Rada Myroshnychenko)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is very personal for some people here in West Seattle.

16-year-old Rada Myroshnychenko is one of them. She is from Mykolayiv in southern Ukraine [map] – 5,700 miles away – and has been here about half a year as an exchange student at Chief Sealth International High School.

After hearing about Rada from her host family, we asked if we could interview her. She answered our questions via email.

What’s it like trying to stay in touch with your family when your home country is under attack? “I’m texting my mom every day because I’m worrying so much about them, every time I’m checking the news I’m texting my family back there right away to make sure if they’re okay. It’s really scary to hear the sirens or sometimes even shooting noises in the background of her voice messages that she’s sending me and of course they’re scared as well. They’re trying to convince me that everything is pretty much alright so I will not worry so much and as I know they’re doing everything possible to be safe in there.”

What should people here know about what’s happening? “What the Ukrainian nation values the most is freedom, that’s why our country is fighting for so many years with those who want to take this freedom away from us.” Rada also thinks it’s important for you to grasp the “scale” of what’s happening: “To understand the scale of what is happening: Imagine it being like 9/11 every day for 11 days straight in every city of every state – that is what is happening in Ukraine right now.”

She is heartened by the support for Ukraine here in the USA and around the world – including a downtown rally this past weekend.

“I actually really like to see all the support from other countries, no matter what it is. I already saw a lot of Ukrainian flags around the West Seattle area and Seattle in general and I also am really thankful to my host family, friends, and just to everyone who went to the rally on Saturday. Everything that the government and the people of each country are doing for Ukraine is what I appreciate to see the most these days. I like that people from different countries are interested in what is happening in Ukraine and trying to help as much as they can, I like that people understand how valuable the freedom and safety for our country is and that they’re trying to help us protect it.”

So if someone wants to help, we asked, what’s the best way, in Rada’s view? “The best thing right now is to donate to our medical centers and hospitals who are saving those who already suffered from the war, also you can donate to our army and volunteer defenders who are protecting our land.” She suggested these two links: Army – uahelp.monobank.ua and Red Cross – icrc.org/en/donate/ukraine

Will the war affect Rada’s plans to return home? She’s not sure yet – her exchange program is still in wait-and-see mode. She “always wanted people to get to know my country – Ukraine … how beautiful our culture, traditions, language, nature, and cities are.” She is sad that while her homeland is a subject of intense interest right now, “all you see … is ruins, fire, bombs, and people who are hiding from the war.” She hopes for a happy homecoming: “I really want to see all my favorite streets in Ukraine when I come back home, I want to meet with my family and friends in the places we love in safe and happy Ukraine – as it was before all of that started. I just want all that aggression to stop, and your donation and support is the best thing that can help us!”