Margaret Ryan murder: Son pleads not guilty; memorial event Saturday

November 30th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Crime, People, White Center news Comments Off on Margaret Ryan murder: Son pleads not guilty; memorial event Saturday

Thursday morning, murder victim Margaret Ryan‘s 42-year-old son Brodie Lamb appeared in King County Superior Court, pleading not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder. He remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail, and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says a case-setting hearing is set for December 13th. Before then, friends, family, and community members will gather this Saturday at 4:30 pm for a tribute to Ms. Ryan, right before the 5 pm lighting of the White Center Christmas Tree at Veterans’ Triangle Park. Investigators say Lamb confessed to stabbing his 69-year-old mother to death two weeks ago after breaking through the door of her home when she tried to keep him out.

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Remembering Margaret Ryan: 16th/Roxbury work party

November 24th, 2012 Tracy Posted in People, White Center news Comments Off on Remembering Margaret Ryan: 16th/Roxbury work party

The two county-side corners of 16th/Roxbury are getting TLC today to prepare for a tribute to community advocate Margaret Ryan, murdered a week and a half ago. Above, Vera Johnson and Aileen Sison, who convened a planning meeting last Monday night, are among those fixing up the planting areas; we photographed them on the southeast corner – here’s the work site on the southwest corner:

The tribute is expected to be dedicated next Saturday night (December 1st) before the White Center tree lighting, around 4:30 pm (the lighting’s at 5 at Triangle Park across Roxbury). Meantime, Ms. Ryan’s son, 42-year-old Brodie Lamb, is charged in her death, and awaiting arraignment next week.

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White Center ties for South Park crash victims; fundraiser set to help 2 families

November 17th, 2012 Tracy Posted in People, South Park, White Center news Comments Off on White Center ties for South Park crash victims; fundraiser set to help 2 families

(Also posted on our partner sites West Seattle Blog and White Center Now, as this tragedy touches all three communities)

Last weekend, a one-car crash in South Park took two young lives and changed three others. We are gradually learning more about those involved – including some with White Center ties.

One of the teenagers killed in the crash has been laid to rest: After her viewing in White Center and funeral Mass at Holy Family, 13-year-old Lucie Hernandez, a Denny International Middle School student, was to be buried at a cemetery in Tukwila Friday afternoon.

Viewing is Sunday and a funeral Mass on Monday at St. Mary’s in the Central District for 16-year-old Luis Martinez, who was a student at TEC High School on the Evergreen campus in White Center.

The two boys who survived the crash are also Evergreen campus students, according to Highline Public Schools, at TEC and at the Arts and Academics Academy, while the third survivor has been identified as Lucie’s sister Karla, a ninth-grader at Chief Sealth International High School.

We had previously reported an account to help Luis’s family with expenses, accessible via any BECU branch, in the name of Victor Herrera, account number 3579847581. Donations were accepted at this past Wednesday’s Denny/Sealth concert in West Seattle (coverage here from WSB). And now, there’s a benefit planned Monday night (November 19th) to help both Luis and Lucie’s families:

The event will be at Mazatlan Mexican Restaurant in Renton from 5 pm-9 pm. There will be a $10 buffet fee and a chance to drop off additional donations. Radio Variedades radio host Mercedes Garcia will be hosting the event live on the radio and encouraging the community to come and support. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to spread the word.

The restaurant is at 540 Rainier Avenue South (here’s a map).

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You’re invited to help plan a memorial for murder victim Margaret Ryan

November 16th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Crime, People, White Center news Comments Off on You’re invited to help plan a memorial for murder victim Margaret Ryan

Monday night, you’re invited to a meeting to help plan a tribute and memorial for Margaret Ryan, the local writer and community advocate murdered at her apartment earlier this week.

On Monday, November 19th at 6:30 pm we are meeting at Mago Signs on 16th SW to begin planning a dedication and memorial planting in honor of Margaret Ryan, who was murdered this week.

This week we lost a very passionate active member of our community. Please join us. Share with us any ideas, suggestions or contributions to honor one of our active members of this community. Potluck dinner. Please bring an item to share. …

This kind of violence happens randomly, in no particular demographic, and to no particular single type of person. This is the result of a disease/illness of the mind and spirit, not a reflection of the community.

Please help us to build strong community by coming together again to honor one of our local fallen heroes who was a victim of violence and say no-we will not let this go by unnoticed and we will unite, standing up against judgement and criticism.

The meeting is at 10032 16th SW. You can RSVP via the Facebook event page, here. Meantime, Ms. Ryan’s 42-year-old son remains jailed in connection with the killing; prosecutors are expected to decide today whether to charge him.

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Happy anniversary, Spencer’s Automotive – party till 3 pm

September 22nd, 2012 Tracy Posted in Businesses, People, White Center news Comments Off on Happy anniversary, Spencer’s Automotive – party till 3 pm

Congratulations to the Spencer family – Rich, Joan, and daughter Rachel – as the family business reaches a milestone today: Half a century! Spencer’s Automotive is the Shell station/auto-repair shop at the corner of 15th and 107th:

Till 3 pm, it’s party central:

Bouncy house, climbing wall, Full Tilt Ice Cream treats, and on the east side, hot dogs:

Rich Spencer bought the business from his dad – who died just last February – back in 1989, according to posters that are up at the station, explaining its history.

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White Center Salvation Army welcomes Captains Jennifer and Raymond Erickson-King

August 20th, 2012 Tracy Posted in People, White Center news Comments Off on White Center Salvation Army welcomes Captains Jennifer and Raymond Erickson-King

Just announced by the Salvation Army – new White Center leadership:

The Salvation Army Northwest Division announces the appointment
of Captains Raymond and Jennifer Erickson-King, to the Seattle White Center Corps. Prior to this
appointment, the Captains managed the Youth & Young Adult Programs at The Salvation Army
Intermountain Division (Denver, CO). In White Center, they replace Majors Maynard and Kathy Sargent,
who retired.

The news of their appointment didn’t surprise the Captains Erickson-King. As Salvation Army Officers,
they expect to be reassigned throughout their careers. The commitment of being an Officer includes
moving your family frequently, and accepting reassignments based on career development and filling
the needs of The Salvation Army locations. The assignment at White Center is an acknowledgement of
their ability to manage a large community center and congregation.

The Seattle White Center location is among the largest and most active Corps in The Salvation Army
Northwest Division. It serves more than 6,000 individuals per month. Among the variety of programs
and services offered to the community are community lunch for seniors; food pantry; rent/utility
assistance; after-school tutoring, athletic leagues, and music lessons for kids and teens; summer
overnight camp; summer day camp for kids, and holiday assistance.

Originally from Dallas, Oregon, Captain Raymond received an Associate of Arts degree in Ministry from
The Salvation Army College for Officer Training in Crestmont, CA, in 1998. Throughout his career, he has
managed many Salvation Army locations, including Waimea and Honokaa, HI; San Pedro, Long Beach,
and Merced, CA; and Tri-Cities, WA. He is an alumnus of Corban University (Salem, OR), and holds a
Master of Business Administration and has earned two Bachelor of Science degrees in Psychology:
Family Studies and Business Administration: Management and Communication.

Captain Jennifer was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in Los Angeles. She received an Associate
of Arts degree in Ministry from The Salvation Army College for Officer Training in Crestmont, CA, in
2005. She served with Captain Raymond at the appointments in Tri-Cities, WA; Merced, CA; and Denver,

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Trusted Advocates’ storytelling, this Friday: ‘Our Stories, Our Voices’

June 14th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Cultural Center, People, White Center news 1 Comment »

Just might be the most interesting thing you do all weekend – check it out:

You are invited to the monthly TRUSTED ADVOCATES Storytelling Program


Friday, June 15th

The White Center Community Cultural Center
9421 – 18th Ave SW
(& SW Cambridge) – Hillborn Room

5:30 Light meal from presenters culture/heritage
6:00 Storytelling Program
– followed by Q/A segment

Our Special Guest this month:
ABUZAR KACHIYEV (an Ahiska or Meshketian Turk)
and translated by YASEMIN SAN

Abuzar Kachiyev arrived in the city of Kent as a refugee from Russia seven years ago.

He and other Ahiska (or Meskhetian) Turks living in the Krasnodar region of Russia suffered significant human rights violations until the US government reached out to this community. A limited number of Ahiska Turks, like Abuzar’s, were granted the right to resettle in the US. Abuzar, has worked as a civil engineer and has a large family that is very attached to their cultural norms.

Abuzar will talk about the unheard story of a community, the Ahiska Turks of Russia; people without a land, people with no documents, families hiding from ruthless authority … AND their journey to an unknown land, the USA.

Yasemin San moved to Seattle from Turkey in 1979. Upon her arrival, she was immersed in the Turkish community and created a folk dance group, which still performs in festivals and other special events. She was also one of the pioneers of the Ethnic Heritage Council, an umbrella organization for ethnic communities and arts organizations. Yasemin works as a legal interpreter and is an active volunteer in the Turkish immigrant and Turkic refugee communities. She has organized cultural events for the last 32 years.

Yasemin will briefly talk about the Turkish and Turkic peoples (who they are; where they live) and their immigration stories going back to the very early times. She will refer to the cultural aspects of Turks, including some folk customs and rituals.



Get out of your house and venture into the neighborhood and meet new people.

They really are quite interesting.


Any questions call: Nancy Calos-Nakano 206.795.0833 or

Stay tuned, next Month: Sam Mitsui on Japanese Internment – Friday, July 20th

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White Center man to serve as business rep for Machinists Union

May 9th, 2012 Tracy Posted in People, White Center news Comments Off on White Center man to serve as business rep for Machinists Union

From the Machinists Union comes this announcement of a new role for a White Center resident:

Rich McCabe of White Center has been appointed as a Business Representative for Machinists Union District Lodge 751, based in Everett.

In his new role, he represents the interests of roughly 2,500 Machinists Union members working for the Boeing Co., particularly those working in the Everett wire shop and Interiors Responsibility Center.

Before becoming a business rep, McCabe was an IAM Work Transfer Representative in Renton, charged with proposing alternatives to convince Boeing to keep work in-house instead of outsourcing it.

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Former Evergreen player Senio Kelemete drafted by NFL’s Cardinals

May 3rd, 2012 Tracy Posted in People, Sports, White Center news Comments Off on Former Evergreen player Senio Kelemete drafted by NFL’s Cardinals

Highline Public Schools sends the news that former Evergreen football star Senio Kelemete has been drafted by the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals:

Former Evergreen High School football standout Senio Kelemete was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft this week, going to the Arizona Cardinals as the 151st pick overall.

Kelemete led Evergreen to a 9-2 record during his senior season in 2007, helping the Wolverines make the state playoffs for the first time since 2001. He was also honored as the Seamount League’s Lineman of the Year on both offense and defense.

As a University of Washington Husky, Kelemete started all 13 games at left tackle this past season and was named a team captain for the second straight year. He earned All-Pac-12 honors for the second time in his career and was awarded the Fred Jacoby Sportsmanship Award at the Valero Alamo Bowl in December.

Here’s his page on the Huskies’ website; his UW career concluded in the 2011-2012 season (here’s a December 2011 profile from our partners at the Seattle Times).

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White Center community leaders participating in Gathering of Neighbors

April 19th, 2012 Tracy Posted in People, White Center news 1 Comment »

This Saturday, West Seattle community advocates, volunteers, students, and more are coming together for the Gathering of Neighbors, but it’s not just about WS – White Center leaders are participating in a special pre-event. Before the GoN officially opens to the public at 11 am Saturday in the Galleria at Chief Sealth International High School (2600 SW Thistle, not far from White Center at all!), a 10 am leadership panel will include four speakers – two from White Center. They are Sili Savusa, new executive director of the White Center Community Development Association, and Aileen Sison, who has brought business owners together with White Center B.O.S.S. (business owners of sustainable support). During the open Community Resource Fair 11 am-3 pm, participants will include the White Center Chamber of Commerce, and we’ll be there on behalf of WCN and partner site West Seattle Blog. See you there!

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Memorial service April 19th for longtime White Center advocate Mickey Kraut

April 9th, 2012 Tracy Posted in People, White Center news 1 Comment »

“She did a lot for Rat City.” That’s what one of the new-generation White Center advocates, Full Tilt Ice Cream‘s Justin Cline, told WCN, as he relayed the news that longtime community advocate/volunteer Mickey Kraut had died. And according to what we’ve found in research, that’s an understatement; Ms. Kraut worked for decades to help make White Center a better place, including involvement in White Center Jubilee Days and the WC Chamber of Commerce, among other things. According to her memorial page on the website for Yarington’s Funeral Home in White Center, Ms. Kraut died last Friday, at 80 years old. Her visitation and funeral are both planned for next week – the former, 2-5 pm on Wednesday, April 18th, the latter, 11 am on Thursday, April 19th, both at Yarington’s (10708 16th SW).

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White Center Community Development Association: Warm welcome for Sili, fond farewell for Aileen

March 24th, 2012 Tracy Posted in People, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on White Center Community Development Association: Warm welcome for Sili, fond farewell for Aileen

If you don’t know them already, that’s outgoing White Center Community Development Association executive director Aileen Balahadia at left, with her successor Sili Savusa at right, photographed during the Friday reception/celebration at Greenbridge. Savusa started work at WCCDA a few days after her new role was announced March 15th; she had previously worked at West Seattle-based Southwest Youth and Family Services, whose executive director Steve Daschle was among the reception’s attendees (at right in the next photo with White Center Storefront Deputy BJ Myers):

Balahadia announced her departure back in December, and leaves after eight years of WCCDA growth described in the announcement we published then.

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One-Night Count finds 55 homeless people without shelter in White Center

January 27th, 2012 Tracy Posted in People, White Center news 2 Comments »

Organizers say they know it’s not the full number, but they do the best they can to muster a huge volunteer force to roam the county one night a year for the One-Night Count. It happened this morning, and White Center is among the areas that were visited. You can see the results here – including 55 people counted in White Center.

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‘Help protect my neighborhood’: A public plea in White Center

December 28th, 2011 Tracy Posted in People, White Center news Comments Off on ‘Help protect my neighborhood’: A public plea in White Center

Outside Jimenez Signs in White Center, a new sign this afternoon – asking for help in protecting WC, following this morning’s deadly shooting across the street at Seattle Roll Bakery. Carlos Jimenez, a longtime community leader and entrepreneur, has campaigned against violence before, and says it is time to make a stand again.

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‘Chicken Friday Christmas’: The party that gave a priceless gift

December 27th, 2011 Tracy Posted in People, White Center news 10 Comments »

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier this month, a special event at The Barrel in Top Hat brought a holiday-season boost to the White Center Food Bank. We didn’t know about it ahead of time, or would have covered it – but out of nowhere, we received this story telling the heartwarming tale. Thanks, Joe – and everybody who made the event happen.)

Story and visuals by Joe Heisler
Special to White Center Now

There was no mention of the White Center Food Bank in The Seattle Times‘ recent report on hardships and headwinds facing small nonprofits though they lost $50K in government funding this year, a perfect case-in-point for the newly released Nonprofit Research Collaborative findings.

The cuts come as community needs increase, but the volunteer-driven organization is responding to challenges with extended hours and expanded services. The Baby Pantry is just one example and one recent day, a dozen children were among those lined up outside, braving the cold and waiting for doors to open at 1 p.m. Volunteers readied provisions and took stations inside. With only two paid staffers, the WCFB coordinates 20,000 volunteer-hours to serve more than 60,000 people a year.

“You have to understand,” said Executive Director Rick Jump, “Our average donation is $25, maybe $50, and we do have generous donors who give $50 every month. So when Irish came in (one recent) morning with $4,100, we were just blown away.”

That’s Irish McKinney, a charismatic barrel-chested mountain of a man, full white beard prominent, with a commanding voice and easy smile –– his better-half’s patch says “my old man is one bad apple.”

Marjorie and Irish keep four motorcycles, including the vintage ‘59 Panhead Harley he bought fresh out of the Army in Minneapolis (1974), and “rode back to Seattle by way of Dallas.” He knew the biker clubs of the time, but took a detour for school and a year as a VISTA volunteer. Irish earned his degree from the University of Puget Sound in 1980 as a business major.

As a pro sound tech, Irish found a path that led to work with Arlo Guthrie, Leo Kottke, David Crosby, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Jerry Miller of Moby Grape, Mudhoney, Alice in Chains, and The Presidents of the United States of America, among others.

Of his time at the bygone Backstage in Ballard, Irish recalled, “It was a third-line venue that booked a lot of acts either on their way up or on their way down.”

There were many great encounters, but after ten years the crowd seemed to be getting younger, so Irish shifted gears again, and as a top-producing Enrolled Agent for a regional H&R Block office, stayed for thirteen years before opening his own successful practice, Top Hat Taxes. “They took a chance on me,” he said, reflecting with a smile, “I’ve looked like this for a long time.”

Along the way, the Apple Dumpling Gang (ADG), a regional motorcycle club, proved to be a great fit for Irish. Predominantly veterans with a strong sense of community and belonging like a lot of other clubs, but “they put work and family first,” he said. “And that made the difference.”

Meeting friends at The Barrel Tavern on Friday evenings (fried chicken special) became a tradition for Irish and Marjorie through the years, and one that continues today –– pulling tables together to accommodate all, and making a night of it. In 2008 they made a wonderful Christmas party of it for legions of friends.

Sensing an opportunity to leverage the good feeling, they decided to underwrite a holiday party to help feed people in need. So with Top Hat Taxes as sponsor, and partners in The Barrel Tavern and Rat City ABATE (national motorcycle legislative awareness/activist organization A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments) to host and post the event respectively, Chicken Friday Christmas was born.

Marjorie reports that the first ‘official’ Chicken Friday Christmas in 2009 brought in $1,300 for charity. The net reached $2,000 in 2010. But this year was extraordinary.

On party night The Barrel sparkled. Vincente’s team tended the gorgeous buffet throughout the night and the food was incredible. Diners filled long, elegant banquet tables and volunteers sold raffle tickets in the aisles. It was standing-room-only before long. From a festooned head table facing the room, Irish gestured or said something that hushed the boisterous crowd at once.

He introduced a ‘brother,’ as bikers tend to regard and call each other, who delivered a heartfelt benediction to bowed heads nodding in agreement, followed by polite applause.

Taking the microphone, Irish continued with recognition for troops returning from Iraq and gratitude for their service punctuated by long moments of silence and reflection for the fallen. This was the weekend troops were coming home en masse –– and the gravity of sentiment of Vietnam-era veterans who faced a much different homecoming was lost on no one.

“Let’s feed some people!,” Irish’s booming baritone filled the room, without the mic this time, and to greater effect. “What are we doing?,” he bellowed, and the crowd responded in unison, “Feeding People!”

Next up was the amazing Orville Johnson to play a few sets of acoustic blues freeing Irish to work the room –– he was on all night and the crowd was with him all the way, even when he doubled-down and took to reciting holiday poems. It was an amazing production, lots going on and no lulls in the action.

And as the Third Annual Chicken Friday Christmas gave way to Saturday morning, all left happy and entertained, feeling good for doing good.

“Please just say how grateful we are, how truly grateful.” The food bank director’s refrain hung in the air as he searched for words –– he was speaking for a lot of great volunteers who work very hard every day. And for those in need, on their urgent behalf, he was speaking for them.

But Irish never was in it for recognition. He agreed to talk, but largely to thank a lot of people for the hard work and support that made it successful. “Dana and Deanna (sisters, proprietors of The Barrel) are incredible. They sold ribbons all month and exceeded all expectations. They were not passive, they made it happen.”

When he stopped by The Barrel early Saturday morning it wasn’t for congratulations, just some help to deliver two truck loads of brand-new toys to Childhaven in Burien. “And it took everything I had to get there.” But that’s another story.

He’s not a proud man, but a lot of people are very proud of him. And so it goes –– sometimes the good guys wear black…

Joe first sent this to us in a creatively laid-out PDF. We couldn’t reproduce that on a web page, but you can click here to download and see his original creation.

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Mourning former Evergreen High School teacher Lois Baldwin

December 18th, 2011 Tracy Posted in People, White Center news Comments Off on Mourning former Evergreen High School teacher Lois Baldwin

Lois Baldwin lived a life of education – given and received – as well as creativity and adventure, as detailed in this remembrance shared by her niece, Vicki Burr-Chellin:

Lois Elaine Baldwin, former English teacher and guidance counselor at Evergreen High School from 1955-1976, died peacefully on December 11, 2011 in West Seattle.

Miss Baldwin was born on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1920 in Winlock, WA to Lee Ernest Baldwin and Yola Barrett Baldwin, both from pioneer families. (She claimed to love pumpkin pie because her mother had been eating pie on the day she was born.) The Baldwins moved to Oregon. where their father owned timber and operated a sawmill and their mother was a career public-school teacher, and they raised 4 children.

Miss Baldwin graduated high school in Cottage Grove, OR; she received her BA in Education from the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR (1944); and her MA in Education (English Literature) from the Colorado State College of Education at Greeley, CO (1955). She was a published poet and a student and teacher of Shakespeare. Her published poem in Poems of the Beaver State 1948, A Thanksgiving Prayer follows:

Grant that there be
Within my soul,
I pray –
Calm, cool strength that
Lends a peace
To this – Thanksgiving Day.

And – then – dear Lord,
Let there be
And with it
Faith to know
That by this quality we live
And by this Truth
We grow.

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AddThis Social Bookmark Button features Tyrone Curry

November 27th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Highline School District, People, White Center news 2 Comments »

Thanks to Josh for the tip: takes an in-depth look at the tale of Tyrone Curry, whose election as Highline Public Schools board member is about to be certified – though of course, with his coaching achievement and post-lottery philanthropy, that’s only a sliver of his story. Read it here.

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White Center’s new storefront Deputy “BJ” Myers is on the job – and on foot

October 19th, 2011 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, People, White Center news Comments Off on White Center’s new storefront Deputy “BJ” Myers is on the job – and on foot

Story and photos by Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for White Center Now

On the first day on his new job as King County Sheriff’s Office Storefront Deputy for White Center, Deputy Benjamin “BJ” Myers joined the White Center Community Development Association Business Mixer Tuesday night to meet a few of the businesspeople in the community.

“I don’t come in to this job with an agenda, “ he told the group, “I come here to see what the business interests are, to see what the concerns of the people who live here are, and then start prioritizing what this job is going to be about after I learn a little bit from you all.”

He suggested that folks e-mail him, call him or stop by the storefront some time when he is around (Deputy Myers’ current e-mail info is available below).

Deputy Myers’ normal days will be Tuesday through Friday. Though there will be some flexibility, most of the hours will be in the afternoons and evenings, but if there is something he needs to be around earlier or later for, perhaps such as the bars closing, then he might be out later.

Deputy Myers told WCN that his new role, just announced last week, this is his first non-patrol assignment. His most recent assignment for the past two-and-a-half years or so has been as a patrol officer responding to 911 calls for the city of Burien as a contract KCSO deputy. Before that, he worked the unincorporated area on patrol, “so I kind of bounced around from White Center to the Skyway area,” he said.

“A couple of years ago, I got to do a little bit of work with Sylvester Middle School, ” he explained, “teaching gang awareness which allowed me to have more community involvement than simply responding to 911 calls and patrol work. I really enjoyed that. … That [experience] is one of the many things that prompted my interest in this job. I am here because I am interested in doing things that are more community involved than patrol was.”

“I am going to be walking around quite a bit,” Deputy Myers told the group, “but those of you who aren’t right here in the business district, let me know and I’ll try to stop by your shop sometime and we can talk and I can hear from you what you want my position to be about.”

Deputy Myers can be contacted via e-mail at

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Reminder: White Center Veterans’ Park re-dedication today

September 18th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Parks, People, White Center news Comments Off on Reminder: White Center Veterans’ Park re-dedication today

(Photo by Patrick Sand for WCN)
One more reminder – 4 pm today, the community, and especially veterans, are invited to the re-dedication of the White Center Triangle Veterans’ Park at the south end of Delridge. A new flag and plaque will be highlighted. If you are a veteran and are able to wear at least part of your uniform, organizers have made that request. Here’s the detailed invitation we published here last weekend.

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Update: Village Green Perennial Nursery’s Vera Johnson celebrates: ‘Keep going, just keep going’; benefit nets $1,000+

September 1st, 2011 Tracy Posted in People, White Center news 1 Comment »

(Vera, daughter Johanna, White Center Food Bank’s Rick Jump)
Story and photos by Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for White Center Now

Supportive friends, businesses and well-wishers from White Center and beyond arrived through the evening at last night’s party/rally/benefit at Big Al Brewing – to listen to music, put in bids on generously donated auction items and congratulate Vera Johnson, a local hero to many and an inspiration to struggling homeowners well beyond White Center.

Her monthly payments have been reduced on her new Fannie Mae loan and in this economy, she says, it still will be a stretch and it will still climb every year for five years to cap at 6%, she believes, but she has yet to see the actual paperwork and is hoping that she will on Thursday. Even so, the burden has been lightened so that Vera can pursue strategies for increased revenue that she hopes will include regular events at the nursery, such as weddings and music performances.

(added Thursday afternoon) Co-organizer Aileen Sison (above) says the event raised more than $1,000, in addition to Big Al’s donating a portion of the proceeds.

(Dave & Christine Spencer (of Triangle Tavern with dog Peanut, Ronda Stapleton of Full Tilt and son Zeke share in the celebration)
Vera mentioned that the first time she went to the Bank of America Customer Assistance Center in downtown Seattle, she was the only person there. The next time she went there were only a handful of people getting assistance from the five or six people she believes work there strictly on loan modifications. “I am not convinced that people know that that Center is available to the extent that they should, “ wondering aloud why that information hasn’t been made more available to Bank of America customers.

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