Upgraded way to watch which ferry is where

Found out from the WSDOT Twitter feed that Washington State Ferries has upgraded its “Vessel Watch” feature, which uses GPS to show which ferry is where. You can see it here.

Video: Back-to-school assembly pitches “college pledge” at Denny

September 3, 2008 4:09 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | West Seattle video

That’s video of the Denny Middle School Marching Band — directed by Marcus Pimpleton. The band was the opening act this morning for the biggest media event of Seattle Public Schools‘ first day of classes, with a guest list including district Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson, Mayor Nickels, West Seattle school-board rep Steve Sundquist, not to mention a sizable contingent of cameras, as you can see in the video. (We brought you a brief update on this shortly after it happened; now, here are full details.) The most important guests of all, the audience — Denny’s brand-new sixth-grade class, which had the school all to themselves today, since the 7th and 8th graders don’t arrive till tomorrow. With two exceptions: Two 8th graders spoke as part of a presentation about a college-scholarship program — read on to see what they had to say:Read More

Bulletin: “Costco detour” closure of lower EB Spokane pushed back


If you use lower Spokane Street from 1st eastward (usually accessed by West Seattleites getting off the Spokane Street Viaduct at 1st Avenue So.), listen up: The city has just pushed back the start date for that street closure (and the above detour) till week after next, though a parking change WILL kick in next Monday, according to Elaine Yeung:
From a meeting this morning, we found out that we will not be closing eastbound S Spokane St until September 16th. The reason is that currently the re-paving work on 1st Ave S, south of S Spokane St is using eastbound S Spokane St as a detour route, and they will not be finished until a week later than we had expected.

To enable the contractor to stage and mobilize equipment, there will be no parking beneath the (Spokane Street) viaduct between 2nd and 4th beginning on Monday, September 8th.

The closure will be for utility work that marks the start of the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project, which will double the width of the elevated roadway between 99 and I-5, plus change the ramp configuration, over the next three years. Catch up with WSB coverage in this archive (newest to oldest).

Suspected serial bank robber caught on camera

September 3, 2008 2:40 pm
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 |   Crime | White Center

Just posted at partner site White Center Now: Surveillance photos from the FBI, showing the man who held up the White Center Washington Mutual Bank yesterday. The FBI thinks he’s also to blame for two Burien robberies earlier this year.

Bus-proposal postscript: Here’s the map


That’s a section of the map distributed at yesterday’s media event announcing the county’s plan to add bus service when major Alaskan Way Viaduct construction kicks in (WSB coverage here and here). The electronic copy of that map (showing specific bus routes that are “candidates for service enhancement” countywide) wasn’t available till just now, so we wanted to share it: Here’s the link to the full map. You may notice something we didn’t catch when we saw the printed-out version: the mention of potential RapidRide “early enhancement.” Might that mean West Seattle RapidRide would start sooner than 2011? Councilmember Dow Constantine‘s staff says we’ll know more when County Executive Ron Sims‘ full proposal gets to the council for review.

Welcoming a new WSB sponsor: Seattle Wellness Programs


(Left to right, Carolyn Welch, Ms, Lac, RN – Dr. Elissa Mullen, ND – L. Jane Barnes, ND – Leah Bowman, LMP)
That’s the staff of Seattle Wellness Programs, which we’re welcoming today as WSB’s newest sponsor. As with all new sponsors, we offered them the chance to introduce themselves to you, and here’s what they want you to know: “Dr. Elissa Mullen, ND, practices general adult medicine and specializes in chronic disease. Naturopathic Medicine is a branch of healing that combines centuries-old natural therapies with the current understanding of health and human systems. It encompasses all aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care, and emphasizes prevention and self-care. Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) embrace six major philosophies; the three that best summarize the foundation of the profession are Vis Medicatrix Naturae (healing power of nature), Primum Nocere (first do no harm) and Tolle Causum (remove the cause of disease). This refers to their belief of using the healing power of nature and the least invasive methods to treat the cause rather than just symptoms of disease. Naturopathic Medicine focuses on supporting the body’s innate ability to heal itself with supplementation of herbs, diet and nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy and lifestyle management.” The rest of the team also wants to let you know about their specialties (including programs for businesses!) – read on:Read More

Wednesday Web-wandering: Two Big Blog links of note

Both from the P-I’s “Big Blog“: #1 – A West Seattle woman digs up photos from the beauty pageant in which she and Sarah Palin were both contestants. (Our own weird Palin side note is that someone anonymously sent the WSB mailbox a “Sarah Palin for Vice President” bumper sticker many MONTHS ago; specifically, it said MOTHERS AGAINST GOV’T CORRUPTION/GOV’T SARAH PALIN FOR VP/(smaller type) JOHN MCCAIN FOR PRESIDENT. We gave it to a friend. Next time someone sends us something random, we will remind ourselves that anything could become a collector’s item someday.) #2 – If you’re inclined to go downtown tomorrow night, we’re on a P-I-moderated panel about the neighborhood-blogging biz. Among our fellow panelists, the just-decloaked “Geeky Swedes” of MyBallard.com. (We have a side note on that one too; Cory Bergman and I both held the same management job at KCPQ TV, a few years apart — TR)

Update: Alki Statue of Liberty’s new pedestal arrives

September 3, 2008 11:47 am
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 |   Alki Statue of Liberty | West Seattle news


Update since this morning’s report: We’re at Alki, where a pickup truck pulled up a short time ago with the Statue of Liberty’s new pedestal. It’ll be placed over the metal supports seen at the right side of the photo, and topped with a bronze lantern, before the statue returns tomorrow (all in advance of Saturday’s plaza dedication).

First day of school: Denny event, report #1

September 3, 2008 10:56 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools


That’s the Denny Middle School marching band playing at the start of Seattle’s biggest back-to-school event — Mayor Nickels and district Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson speaking to a just-concluded assembly of Denny’s brand-new sixth-grade class (the 7th and 8th graders don’t start till tomorrow). Video highlights and more details a bit later – one key point of the assembly was to educate the new middle-schoolers about the “College-Bound Pledge” that could lead to big help with the cost of college, for families who otherwise would have trouble affording it. Denny Principal Jeff Clark says more students are signed up for the pledge at his school than any other school in the district — about 190.

Junction Car Show update: California to go semi-car-free, sort of

September 3, 2008 9:04 am
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 |   Fun stuff to do | West Seattle news

So everybody knows Alki SW is going car-free noon-6 pm this Sunday, right? (We’ll have another update later today, focusing on some of the official activities that are being planned.) You might not have heard as much, yet, about an event that will close a few blocks of California SW to traffic in The Junction later this month — mustang.jpgthe first-ever West Seattle Junction Car Show, 8 am-4 pm, Sunday, September 21st. Yes, even in this day and age of $4 gas, reduced parking requirements in new developments, standing-room-only buses, it’s OK to celebrate cars now and then – and here’s the proof! WSB is among the co-sponsors; we just checked in with one of the organizers, Michael Hoffman from Liberty Bell Printing in The Junction, and he says the show has clearance to close California SW in The Junction to traffic that day in these segments: from Edmunds to Alaska, Alaska to Oregon, and Oregon to the post office. 90 cars are already signed up — he notes “this is way above what car shows usually get. Especially a first-time show” — and there’s room for many more. (Got a “pre-1975 beauty”? Here’s the registration form.) We’re expecting another update after organizers meet for their next strategy session later today.

Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza construction: Finishing-touches time

September 3, 2008 7:02 am
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 |   Alki Statue of Liberty | West Seattle parks


David Hutchinson, who’s been photographically chronicling the Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza construction (you can see many of his pix in our coverage archive as well as at the project’s official website), sends these new photos this morning with an update: What you see above is the “internal steel support” for the statue and its new pedestal — he says the pedestal is likely to arrive late this morning, and the statue is expected back tomorrow (here’s our coverage with video of its 7/8 departure). A wide view of the almost-done plaza:


The dedication celebration has events scheduled all day and into the night on Saturday, 11 am-8:45 pm; the full schedule is here, anchored by the ribbon-cutting/dedication ceremony @ 1 pm. Yes, it really has been almost a full year since the last dedication ceremony at the site – when the recast statue was returned to and unveiled on the old pedestal (demolished during plaza construction) on 9/11/07 (WSB coverage with video here).

Today/tonight: School start, transportation talk, Thriller, Blayne

September 3, 2008 5:53 am
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle people | West Seattle schools

TODAY: First day of school for Seattle Public Schools (and some private schools too). Two big headlines: Chief Sealth High School starts the first of two years relocated to the Boren campus (5950 Delridge) because of renovation/construction work at its permanent campus; Denny Middle School will host Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson and Mayor Nickels at the district’s biggest media event du jour, a 10 am back-to-school news conference. (One more note: The old Hughes school on 34th SW is empty again this year; South Lake High School moved to its new building in the Rainier Valley.)

TONIGHT: The latest information on the transportation projects about to affect West Seattle in a big way are part of the agenda at the Southwest/Delridge District Councils‘ joint meeting, 7 pm at Youngstown Arts Center, everyone invited.

TONIGHT: The first rehearsal for West Seattleites who want to help “Thrill the World” next month is at 8 pm at Ginomai (SW corner of 42nd/Genesee; here’s the story behind the team, which you’re welcome to join; here’s the official blog, with links to what they’ll be practicing tonight).

TONIGHT: Right after that, same place, it’s the next viewing party for “Project Runway,” in which Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor) barista Blayne is still alive and kicking, er, designing. Show’s on the big screen at 9 pm.

More events for today/tonight/beyond are on the WSB Events Calendar. (Is yours missing? Please e-mail us!)

Door-to-door alert: Sightings from Admiral, North Delridge

Neighbors are sharing these sightings, just in case. Might be perfectly innocent. If you’re interested, read on for two reports from Admiral and one from North Delridge:Read More

Calling all artists: Fauntleroy Art Show on the way

September 2, 2008 8:48 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle religion | WS culture/arts

(updated since original publication – now that all artists are welcome, not just West Seattleites)
Earlier this summer, we brought you coverage of the many ways Fauntleroy Church celebrated its 100th birthday, from bell-ringing to beachfront vespers, and now there’s one more big event on the way. From Judy Pickens:

As a gift to the community to cap its centennial celebration, Fauntleroy Church/United Church of Christ is planning an art show and is calling for artists to participate.

The Fauntleroy Art Show will be the weekend of November 7-8. Participants should be prepared to show works (in any medium) that reflect the centennial theme, “Celebrating the Light.” Artists may display work at no cost; artists wishing to sell will contribute 15% of sales to help cover event expenses.

Details and application forms are available at ArtsWest, at the church office (9140 California Ave. SW; 932-5600), or by e-mailing info@fauntleroyucc.org. Applications must be received by October 1 for consideration.

Other Fauntleroy events include the Fauntleroy Community Association‘s monthly meeting a week from tonight, the premiere of the Fauntleroy documentary “The Fauntleroy Story: 100 Years of Community” on 9/24 (we wrote about the sneak preview in late July), and Fauntleroy Fall Festival 10/19; you can find out more about all of the above at fauntleroy.net.

Traffic alert: California/Genesee crash


That photo’s just in from WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli, who advises avoiding California/Genesee, north edge of The Junction, for a while. He said nobody’s seriously hurt but there’s some rubbernecking slowdown and a lot of debris on the road. In addition to the vehicle in this photo, Christopher says, a small black SUV (not shown) was involved in the crash. No word so far on the cause.

Details: More $ for more bus service when Viaduct work intensifies

September 2, 2008 4:45 pm
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 |   Alaskan Way Viaduct | Transportation | West Seattle news | West Seattle video


As promised, here are more details on the bus plan that county leaders announced today — yards away from the area where the Alaskan Way Viaduct’s South End work is set to start next spring — the project that will trigger extra service to areas including West Seattle:Read More

Gateway Cleanup countdown: The latest, with 11 days to go


We’re now 11 days away from West Seattle’s biggest community cleanup in a long time, after months of planning, and if you’re not already signed up, it’s not too late. If you’re just hearing about this now – the West Seattle Gateway Cleanup on Saturday 9/13 is targeting the “gateway” area at the Fauntleroy end of The Bridge, from Walking on Logs to 35th/Fauntleroy — since the date was set in early June; today, we have another update from organizer Nancy Driver of the Fairmount Community Association, who says the cleanup now will extend to 3:30 pm:

The day of the event all volunteers should meet at the parking lot at the former Huling showroom at 4545 Fauntleroy (the location of the future Gateway Center). BlueStar Management has graciously allowed us to use the lot as our staging area. One section will be reserved for parking, however, we are strongly encouraging participants to arrive by foot, bus, bike or to carpool with other volunteers – remember this is a “green” event. We will have tents set up in another area with tables for checking in volunteers, handing out safety vests, dispensing water, coffee and light snacks. The mayor will be speaking under one of the tents.

Another important piece of information is that we have extended the project by a half hour to accommodate the mayor’s schedule. He is due to arrive at 9:00 and we understand he will speak for about 10 minutes around 9:30. Tom Rasmussen, City Councilmember, will also be on hand and may want to say a few words. We will actually start moving the volunteers in the first crew down to the site just before 9:30 – people in the 9:30 crew still need to arrive at least by 9:10 to get checked in. Volunteers in the second crew should arrive by 11:10 so we can be down at the site by 11:30; third crew should arrive at 1:10 in order to get to the cleanup site by 1:30. Volunteers must check in at the staging area first and get a safety vest. Volunteers who appear down at the site without a safety vest will not be allowed on to the cleanup site.

More updates to come! If you have questions or haven’t signed up yet to help but want to, e-mail Nancy at ndriver@quidnunc.net.

Update: “New” route open through High Point

September 2, 2008 2:30 pm
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 |   High Point | Neighborhoods | Transportation | West Seattle news


The new stoplight at Lanham/Morgan is still in test (blinking) mode, but there’s an update since we reported on the start of testing last week – when we passed by a short time ago, we noticed the barricades are gone and, for the first time in years, Lanham is open for drivers to get onto/off Morgan in High Point, at the intersection with Commons Park and the new Bridge Park retirement complex. (The photo was taken on Lanham, looking south across Morgan.) By the way, as posted at highpointneighborhood.org, the High Point Neighborhood Association‘s quarterly meeting is set for Commons Park a week from Thursday, 6 pm on September 11th.)

Welcoming a new WSB sponsor: “In the Sawtooths” opens Thursday


That photo of a scene from “In the Sawtooths” is courtesy of Burnt Studio Productions, which joins us as a WSB sponsor to make sure you know all about its new play, which opens Thursday and runs through September 20th at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Here’s a special offer: Burnt Studio would like to extend a special offer to West Seattle Blog readers. Mention the WSB at the door and get $5 off your ticket! Now, about “In the Sawtooths”: The play written by Dano Madden stars (as shown L to R in photo above) Chris Bange, Scott Lendzion, and Sam Read and is directed by Brian Tyrrell. As described on the Burnt Studio site, “‘In the Sawtooths’ tells the story of Oby, Nellie and Darin, best friends who, as a yearly ritual, go backpacking in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. As their annual trip nears, their bond is unexpectedly tested by tragedy. What will become of their friendship as they navigate through an immense and unexpected wilderness? At its heart, the play deals with how friendship changes with age. The distinctive quality of In the Sawtooths, says the playwright, is the depth of its male characters. ‘It’s not a play about three men that people are used to seeing,’ Madden says. ‘I think there’s a lot more emotional depth to male relationships than most people realize. This play really delves into that dynamic.'” Burnt Studio — described as “an eclectic performing-arts organization serving West Seattle ” — also notes: “Dano Madden was recently named one of the ’50 Playwrights to Watch’ by The Dramatist.” You can see “In the Sawtooths” at 8 pm on any of these nights: September 4, 5, 6, 11, 13, 18, 19, 20. Buy tickets at the door to get that special WSB-reader discount mentioned above (otherwise, tickets at the regular price are available online at this Brown Paper Tickets link). We thank Burnt Studio Productions for sponsoring WSB, along with the other local groups and businesses you’ll find listed here (along with info on how to join them, and an update on our record-setting August traffic).

Beefing up bus service: Toplines from today’s announcement


We’re in Sodo, where County Executive Ron Sims and West Seattle’s County Councilmember Dow Constantine have just finished a media briefing about plans to beef up bus service once the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s major construction work kicks in (starting with the South End project beginning next spring). We’ll have full details a bit later; toplines include: this is being paid for by $32 million in state money to “mitigate the construction impacts” – and the routes listed as “candidates for service enhancement” include West Seattle’s 21, 22, 37, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, and 116. (White Center-area routes are listed in this report on partner site White Center Now.) More to come. ADDED 1:33 PM: Here’s the official news release from the county website. Pursuing electronic copies of the collateral (including a countywide map of potentially affected routes) that was handed out at the media event.

Countdown to Car-Free Day on Sunday: The Alki alert plan


As first posted here a week ago, that’s the map from the doorhangers that went out on Alki last week with another alert about this Sunday’s city-organized Car-Free Day, which will close that stretch of Alki SW to all vehicles but the Route 773 shuttle (and local residents who can’t reach their homes any other way) from noon to 6 pm. As mentioned here over the weekend, while there were speed bumps with Car-Free Day #1 on Capitol Hill two weekends ago, general consensus seems to be that Car-Free Day #2 this past Sunday in the Rainier Valley went more smoothly. SDOT’s Rick Sheridan tells WSB today: “There were no cars ticketed or towed during the (Rainier) event. SDOT’s outreach and use of multiple means of communications helped ensure community members were aware of the event and knowledgeable about the parking restrictions.” For Alki, Sheridan says that in addition to the doorhanger distributed last week (see it here ), SDOT also is “visiting businesses in person … and using an automatic phone-dialing system to call people in the area about the event.” (Both of those methods were deployed for last Sunday’s Rainier Valley Car-Free Day; the Alki calls are to be made this Thursday.) He also says the no-parking signs are now scheduled to be “set up a full 72 hours in advance,” which means you should see them Thursday, instead of the previously mentioned Friday – the parking restrictions will be in effect 10 am-6 pm Sunday along Alki SW in the zone shown on the map above (California Way to 63rd SW). We’ll continue posting daily updates (including information on Sunday activities scheduled along Alki during the event); the city’s official Alki Car-Free Day webpage is viewable here.

Crime Watch: The case of the purloined planter (and bonsai)

bonsai.jpgIt’s been gone a while, but CSR wonders if perhaps someone in WSB-land has seen the birthday-gift bonsai (photo at left) stolen from her home earlier this summer. From her e-mail: “On the weekend of July 5th while my husband and I were away, someone entered our fenced-in backyard in the Admiral neighborhood of 48th Ave SW and Lander and stole a 30-year old Chinese Elm bonsai and planter that I had given to my husband for his 70th birthday. The tree, about 2 1/2 feet high, is beautifully shaped and was the focal point upon entering our yard. When we filed a police report, we were told that it is not unknown for unscrupulous gardeners and landscapers to steal plants (even digging them up) and sell them to their customers. We believe that someone who knows the value of bonsai trees saw ours when the gate was open and waited until the time was right to steal it. Bonsai Northwest told our insurance company that stolen bonsai sometimes show up on Craig’s List. I suspect that too much time has gone by for this post to help us recover our stolen bonsai, but I am attaching a photo to alert our community and on the off chance that someone may have bought it from the thief not realizing that it was stolen.” If you’ve got a tip, the SPD non-emergency number is 625-5011.

For early-morning water-watchers: Carrier’s final journey

kittyhawksandiego.jpgIf you’re looking out at Puget Sound, toward Bainbridge or northward, early this morning, you might see the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63; US Navy photo at left) on the last leg of what’s expected to be its final journey: The 47-year-old carrier is expected to tie up around 9 o’clock this morning in Bremerton, where it will be decommissioned (a public ceremony is expected sometime next year). The Kitty Hawk has been sailing up the coast from San Diego, where it stopped last month after a 10-year deployment to Yokosuka, Japan. ADDED 8:59 AM: Gary J got this photo before the Kitty Hawk turned into Rich Passage: