West Seattle, Washington
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’s 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.”
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.” 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.”
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) — and with three months left in the national headcount — 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.
Hundreds of people of all ages commemorated Pride Sunday in West Seattle with a “mini-march” along a few blocks of California SW in Morgan Junction this afternoon. Some brought flags and banners, big and small:
As announced by organizers Autumn Lovewell and Monica Colgan, who just took over Morgan Junction’s Youngstown Coffee, there was a special focus, “honoring and remembering Black and Indigenous Trans/Queer Lives, the creators of Pride”:
As they also noted in the announcement, “the first Pride was a protest, not a parade” – a reminder of the Stonewall uprising that began with a police raid in New York, 51 years ago today.
Though there have been major victories for LGBTQ rights, from marriage equality to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, today also carried the reminder “there is so much work to do.”
Whether marching or not, supporters were invited to help with that work by donating to the Ingersoll Gender Center.
Thanks to Amber for the photo from another West Seattle Pride event today, a neighborhood walk in Admiral! Sorry this wasn’t in our daily preview list – we didn’t hear about it in advance, but our list does include the Morgan Junction mini-march for Pride, set to start from Morgan Junction Park, 6413 California SW, around 2:15 pm.
11:56 AM: Today and tomorrow, 60+ rainbow flags line the heart of The Junction, as this year’s Pride month concludes. Volunteers placed them this morning:
Above, West Seattle Junction Association executive director Lora Radford and King County Councilmember Joe McDermott were part of the crew.
This is the second year for the flags, which were all “adopted” as a Junction Association fundraiser (WSB is among the adopters).
The flags will be removed at 8 pm tonight and re-placed at 8 am tomorrow – helpers welcome (meet up on the northeast corner of California and Alaska).
ADDED 1:49 PM: The artist and his creation (photo courtesy WSJA):
Great day for a walk! That’s what Lou Cutler (with support team Denise and Juli) is doing right now – 11.5 miles around the peninsula, to celebrate his 69th birthday and raise money for Make-A-Wish!
As noted in our preview – not to mention annual coveerage! – Lou usually celebrates his birthday a few weeks early by returning to Pathfinder K-8, where he taught PE before retiring five years ago, and running one lap around the field for every year of his new age, with students and staff joining him throughout the day. This year, the campus was closed, so he’s walking one big “lap” around West Seattle. We caught up with him at Lowman Beach.
You can support Make-A-Wish – which brings hope and joy to seriously ill children – via Lou’s page, here.
A West Seattle woman wrapping up a distinguished education career got a surprise parade on Tuesday.Jennifer Annable is retiring after a decade as executive director of the Academy for Precision Learning, which describes itself as “an independent K-12 school with the mission of providing a nurturing and individualized learning experience for students across the autism spectrum alongside their typically developing peers.” Before that, she led the UW’s Experimental Education Unit for a quarter-century. APL is in the University District, and that’s where Annable was surprised with a drive-up/walk-up celebration:
Annable’s achievements include a national award – in 2010 she was honored with the Division of Early Childhood’s Rose C. Engel Award for Excellence in Professional Practice.
A few rainbow flags remain available for “adoption” for the nonprofit West Seattle Junction Association‘s June 27-28 display, we learned today from WSJA executive director Lora Radford – five left as of midday. If you’re interested in one or more, go here – that’s also where you’ll find more details and a list of adopters so far (businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, couples, individuals, and we here at WSB adopted one again this year too).
Ruth DeGabriele had a big reason for that big smile this afternoon: She’s celebrating her 100th birthday.
As has become custom in this pandemic spring, her celebration was outdoors – decorations outside her North Admiral home, friends driving and walking by for greetings at a healthy distance:
Ruth has had quite a life:
Her daughter Michele DeGabriele shared Ruth’s story:
She has been a West Seattle resident since 1942!
My mom was born in Beattie, Kansas. Her parents lost their farm in the Dust Bowl and the family traveled out west in 1937 in the “truck house” – a truck her father converted to a mobile home for them to travel in.
She was the first woman bellhop in the Pacific Northwest (the Washington Hotel in Portland, Oregon):
She met my father, who was an identical twin, when she lived in the apartment above the twins’ grocery store ‘Ray and Al’s Fine Foods,’ on the corner of California Ave and SW Walker St.
They married in 1950 and started their family in 1951, having four children within five years. All 4 of us children are WSHS alums!
She is still living in the same house they bought in 1950 and is a pillar of the neighborhood. Their house on the 1900 block of 41st Street was a voting precinct for about 60 years … until mail-in ballots in Washington were instated.
She has survived all her siblings, most of her friends, and one granddaughter.
As you might imagine, a bigger party was planned, with many family members traveling to be part of it, but COVID-19 canceled that. Happy hundredth, Ruth!
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.
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!”