Good point

Today’s WS Herald editorial takes a sensible tack on one of the other hot issues Seattle Public Schools bosses are wrestling, school choice. (Although taking a detour early in the editorial accusing the Pathfinder K-8 community of having “huge egos” is a cheap shot; their only sin is that they care A LOT about what happens to their program, and if they didn’t fight ferociously for it, they would have been roadkill long ago. This page says they’re planning a show of force at tonight’s school board meeting, by the way.) Anyway, on school choice, the Herald suggests it stay just the way it is, with one big exception: Make parents who want their kids to go to non-neighborhood schools figure out how to get them there. Here in WS, we know a few families already traveling that path — driving their own kids from their home on the north end to their chosen school in the south end, or vice versa. They consider it their responsibility, and arrange their schedules to make it work.

Heap o’ hype

Noticed a fair amount of signs around WS lately touting “Verge Condominiums.” Didn’t realize till a morning drive along Harbor Avenue today that “Verge” is the building across from the piles o’ harbor stuff we always referred to as the “slag heaps” (caveat, I can’t find proof of exactly what’s in those piles). What’s more, it’s got an over-the-top marketing campaign. Signs in front of the building mention (paraphrasing now) “smelling salt spray,” among other fantasies. Checked out the Verge website after the drive and it’s really almost funny. For one, the waves on the home page are open-ocean, “surfing Waimea” type waves, not the “ferry wake” wavelets of Alki. For two, the typestyles are beautiful but they really needed to hire a proofreader (helloo, it’s macchiato, not machiatto; 2 misspellings apiece on this page and this page; then on this page, besides the misuse of “it’s,” the photo of the guy staring quizzically at the Fine Cuisine is good for a laugh).

Redevelopment can be a fine thing. However, you’d think they could sell these condos quite nicely without trying to paint the neighborhood as the next best thing to the OC.

Another deadly crash with a West Seattle link

October 3, 2006 8:17 am
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 |   West Seattle news

First the Alki Avenue crash that killed two young men … then the 35th SW/SW Graham bicycle-van crash that killed recent West Seattle arrival Susanne Scaringi … now the Times reports that two of the four USS Lincoln sailors who died in Saturday night’s South Seattle smashup had been renting a house in WS.

‘Cause it would make too much sense, THAT’S why

Someone on the P-I editorial board must be a kindred spirit. In tomorrow’s paper, they ask, why is the Water Taxi nothing more than a “seasonal oddity”? Why aren’t our waterways jumping with little ferryboats that can get people downtown without putting down one single solitary additional ribbon of concrete?

Heck, if we get just a few thousand more people from the relentless wave of teardowns-to-townhomes, the bridge backups will force some of us to consider swimming.

Starbucks watch

October 2, 2006 6:33 am
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 |   WS beverages

-Remodeling work’s over at the Morgan Junction SBUX. No sign of the “sidewalk cafe” (perhaps just a retroactive permit for the outdoor tables?), but the counter area’s been expanded and reconfigured for two registers. The decor and furniture have been swapped out too; no more wall hangings of coffee trees and Italian scenery, it’s all much more, well, non-coffee-related. I’d love to see the company’s decorating budget. Seems like they revamp “the look” at least every couple years.

-Keeping an eye on the ex-Rainier Roaster to see how soon the Starbucks signs go up. No sign of change Sunday, on Transition Day 1, but I doubt Schultz & co. are in that much of a rush.

Of institutions and men

–The Mars Hill-West Seattle blog puts turnout for Official WS Debut at 600 people, 90% adults, 10% kids. Can’t help but wonder how this will affect other evangelical Christian churches in WS, such as Calvary. And is everyone from the taken-over Doxa turning out for MH-WS? (Some interesting past posts from other bloggers with some sort of firsthand involvement: here, and here, and here.) UPDATE (10:17 pm): Tomorrow’s P-I covers the service and includes a mention of about 50 ex-Doxa people present.

–Speaking of assimilation … the Save Seattle Public Schools blog has been trying to unravel new confusion over what will really happen if and when, pending school-board approval, Pathfinder moves into Cooper. Maybe some light will be shone when the next round of public hearings starts this week. Or not.

That billboard again

October 1, 2006 11:07 am
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 |   West Seattle schools

Guess a billboard right over a school will naturally lend itself to more placement problems. Last time we mentioned the billboard over WS Montessori School, it was about a double-entendre; this time, it’s a business conflict … the billboard right over this private school is currently rotating an ad for a rival WS private school. Heh. (P.S. If you ever feel the need to know who owns a certain billboard, here’s another one of the city’s cool search tools.)

Reaching right through the mail slot

On the eve of Mars Hill Church‘s official West Seattle debut in the temporary digs at Chief Sealth HS, the mail brought a postcard inviting us (little ol’ US? well, probably you too, since the card’s addressed to the everpopular “resident”) to join them. The postcard bills MH as “the nation’s 15th fastest growing church” and its main preacher Mark Driscoll as “one of the 25 most influential pastors in America” and “one of Seattle’s 25 most powerful people.” (What was that again about, the meek shall inherit the earth?) The MH-WS blog says more than 400 people showed up for last week’s trial run at CSHS. They will of course join an already-vibrant community of churches in West Seattle, such as (random mention here) the UU’s, who meet in the Masonic Temple on 40th SW; here’s what they’re up to.

One more season finale

September 30, 2006 6:50 pm
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 |   Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway

Thinking of going to Emerald Downs tomorrow for the last day of “live racing.” The 10th horse in the 10th race is named West Seattle Boy, so if we go, he gets a few of our bucks whether he’s the odds-on favorite or the 3,987,650-to-1 longshot.

September’s swan song

September 30, 2006 7:19 am
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 |   WS culture/arts | WS miscellaneous

Some eclectic events (and thanks to those who’ve e-mailed us about some of this happenings): Megawatt’s “Chautauqua” tonight … a health fair at Freedom Church today (little signs have been up on my side of WS for weeks) … yard sale season is winding down; this one today sounds interesting … live tunes tonight at venues including the lively Skylark CafeHS football tonight with Ingraham vs. West Seattle @ WS Stadium … an “educator reception” at Westwood Village Barnes & Noble today with editors and writers of books for “young adults” … my last plug for the Water Taxi’s final day (check the video link on this page; a report from yesterday, kinda cute) … still bored? peruse the offerings at our local community centers — like Alki CC (fall brochure here) … See you out and about!

Another Friday night Junction stroll

September 29, 2006 10:19 pm
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 |   Seen around town

Always lots to see; here’s some of what we saw: Village Woodworks has a notice up on its door, addressed to its fellow Junction businesses, alerting them to watch out for a shoplifter that hit VW this afternoon, described basically as a 20-30 y-o white guy, average height/build, blue windbreaker. (Describes about two-thirds of the guys we walked past down the block, standing outside the various Junction restaurants creating clouds of smoke.) Meanwhile, two months after the eviction notice went up on the window at Emily Ann’s Dollar Boutique, the place is finally, finally cleared out. And right in the middle of the road — repaving is progressing; the center of The Junction’s southern block is filled with new asphalt — big dig right in front of Pagliacci, Clementine, Red Cup, and Natureway, though!

One story of sadness, another of hope

Sadness: Drove home just after 7 pm, headed up 35th (not our usual route) in hopes of seeing the gathering for Susanne Scaringi at 35th & Graham. Even more striking than the growing group we saw in that bleak lot (decorated earlier by mourners, as shown in this photo e-mailed to us tonight) was the line of bicyclists making their way after dusk, up the first big post-golf course hill on 35th, to get to the memorial. Learned even more about Susanne in this article today; a recent arrival in West Seattle, gone much too soon. Godspeed.

Hope: Another media account (video link here) brings us up to date on Cheryl Stumbo, the West Seattle woman who was among the survivors of the Jewish Federation shooting attack downtown two months ago. Good to hear about her recovery.

1 beginning, 2 endings

September 29, 2006 6:40 am
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle businesses | West Seattle restaurants

-A visitor wrote to tell us that Swee Swee Paperie (just east of Cupcake Royale) is now open in The Junction (though its website is lagging; what is it with new businesses and site lag, like the Talarico’s site advertised in the Hi-Yu booklet two months ago, but as of this am still not up?).

-Reminder, tomorrow’s the last day for the ’06 Water Taxi as well as Rainier Roaster (future site of the first WS drive-thru SBUX).

Another memorial at Alki

P-I says there’ll be one for the West Seattle bicycle-crash victim tonight, after a tribute that apparently will be part of the monthly Critical Mass bike ride.

Not just another crash statistic

September 28, 2006 8:49 pm
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 |   High Point | West Seattle news

The original pictures were just a wrecked bike on the ground. Now we can see the face of, and hear about the life of, the woman killed while riding her bike near High Point on Wednesday morning.

From the papers

September 28, 2006 7:04 am
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 |   West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

Cool article from the latest Seattle Weekly (if the link doesn’t work for you, try it later; the SW site seems a little quirky this am) about an artist whose striking work we saw during breakfasts at Easy Street earlier this year. Seems West Seattle’s Most Famous Musician saw them too, and … the rest is history.

-WS gets a brief mention in a Times piece today by the guy we consider the funniest writer in the local newspaper world, Ron Judd. It’s an imagined Q&A explaining the NW to a non-local, including:

Q: What should I know about West Seattle?

A: It’s lovely, and sort of an island unto itself in a social sort of way. Unfortunately, after the next big earthquake, it very likely will be an island unto itself in a physical sort of way.

Well, at least we already have ferry service.

A truly tragic crash

We might have forgotten to mention this West Seattle traffic tragedy if not for a note we got tonight. A woman riding a bicycle near High Point got hit during the morning commute. I hope the person who wrote me doesn’t mind me using this excerpt — she knows someone related to the victim, but I’ve excised that detail and another personal point:

Early this morning on 35th Ave SW, a 27 year old woman riding north on her bicycle hit a van headed north that turned onto SW Graham in from of her. As she had the right of way, the van driver either didn’t see her or thought he was faster. She’s in Harborview with “life-threatening” injuries. … I’m just thankful my (child) was so entranced by the sight of all of the flashing lights that he didn’t see her bicycle and helmet there on the road.

This makes us think about all the brave folks we see bicycling to work or school or the store, even though we are sadly lacking in bike lanes and other accommodations. Just this morning, Hizzoner stood up and talked about fighting global warming by encouraging more alternative forms of transportation, such as bicycling. Is this just lip service, or will he really make the roads safer for people like this lady who are already trying to do their part?

Money, money, money

-Is one of our best-known West Seattle day-care centers in danger? Could be, according to the last item in the new fall newsletter from the Fauntleroy Community Association. The nonprofit group that runs the Fauntleroy Children’s Center at the former Fauntleroy School (uphill from the business districtlet) gets a break on rent from Seattle Public Schools, but apparently the new push to get more $ out of closed school properties (as SPS prepares to close more) could bust that deal. (Seems like the district’s being penny-wise and pound-foolish these days.)

-On the other side of the coin(s), belated props to West Seattle’s Most Famous Politician for stashing some anti-graffiti $ in his new budget (near the end of the first list of bullet points in this city news release). If you’ve been dropping by here a while, you know we think graffiti vandalism is evil. So we don’t mind seeing a few of our tax dollars spent to fight it, although we would also like to see some thought given toward creative restitution — perhaps force graffiti vandals to create actual art that could be auctioned, with the $ to fill a paintout fund? Just an idea.

This week’s grand opening

Scrolling signboard at Viking Bank (which took over the former Burger King location on the east edge of The Junction) says its “lobby” opens this Thursday. We’ve been thinking about exploring alternatives to the Locally Based SuperMegaBank that inertia’s kept us with for years, but a click on the “fee schedule” link on Viking’s home page doesn’t show anything attractive — $33 per overdraft, for example, is worse than Locally Based SuperMegaBank.

Other local “brewers”

We are by no means Starbucks-bashers. You’re bound to find us going thru the new WS drive-thru every so often (especially since it’s right on our path to the bridge). But just for grins, we want to give a shoutout to the many other fine non-mega-mega-chain coffee providers around town (including those for whom coffee is not the main business). This is strictly from memory (and Googling), so please leave a comment to let me know who I’m missing:

Caffe Ladro, Hotwire, C & P, Tully’s on Alki and in Morgan Junction, Diva, Red Cup, Capers, Freshy’s, Bird on a Wire, Al’s Deli & Espresso, Thriftway, Metro Market, Revolution Coffee & Art, Uptown in The Junction and on Delridge, Sleepless, Alki Bakery, Coffee to a Tea with Sugar, Easy Street, Bubbles, Homefront, Zatz, Bikes and Brew, PCC, Verite/Cupcake Royale, Infinity, Alki Mail and Dispatch, and of course the ever-salubrious Java Bean.

Bad ad placement

September 26, 2006 5:16 am
|    Comments Off on Bad ad placement
 |   West Seattle news

You may get a different ad when you click this link for a followup to the Alki Avenue crash, but I have to say that a “” ad box in the middle of a story about a vigil for a kid who died driving drunk (and the friend who died with him) just sucks. Here’s the screen grab:


And this makes … nine and a half?

Months after we first got a tip that Rainier Roaster at Fauntleroy & 35th would be transformed into West Seattle’s first drive-thru Starbucks … it’s finally about to happen. After a reader wrote to tell us that RR has a sign up saying it’s closing as of this Saturday, we checked the city permits … and there it all is, plain as day. Let’s see … Alki, Admiral, Morgan Junction, Westwood Village, three Safeways, Westwood QFC, and the “half” would be WV Barnes & Noble. Don’t we need just a few more?

Biz boom barrels on

You may have noticed already — the Junction boutique Clementine is now open in the former tanning-salon spot next to Pagliacci, with a sign/awning as its facade’s finishing touch. Across the street, in the old Neilsen Florist space, the city’s just accepted the construction-permit application for the food/drink spot that’s been posted for months as the future “Think Tank”; same thing’s just happened a bit to the south for the future Garlic Jim’s. Busy fall ahead (and all this amid the repaving project; a pain now, but how lovely it will be when that’s all done)!