White Center businesses: Closed market to be replaced by new market

March 23rd, 2016 at 3:18 pm Posted in Businesses, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Thanks to Gill for the tip and photo: Less than two months after Phnom Khiev Market closed at 16th SW and SW 100th in downtown White Center, a new market is on the way. The big sign for C & T Asian Market is up, and small signs posted in the windows say it’s remodeling the space and will be open “soon.” State records say the company was launched in January, not long before Phnom Khiev closed, and list local ownership.

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Surplus Metro vanpool vehicles on the way to area nonprofits including TAF

March 21st, 2016 at 7:39 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Nonprofits including White Center-headquartered Technology Access Foundation are getting surplus Metro vanpool vehicles like that one; the photo accompanied this news release:

Metropolitan King County Council Chair Joe McDermott will be delivering retired Metro Transit Vanpool vans in Council District 8 to provide transportation assistance to for low-income, elderly or young people or people with disabilities.

The programs that will be receiving vans are:

South Park Senior Citizens
Navos
Technology Access Foundation
Neighborhood House

The vanpool program provides mobility for a diverse array of King County residents, supports the positive work of various local organizations, and relieves traffic congestion by reducing the need for single-occupancy vehicles. Interested organizations can contact the Councilmember representing their district for more information on applying for a vehicle.

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Annexation ‘conversation’ begins with standing-room-only event @ Dubsea Coffee

March 17th, 2016 at 10:33 pm Posted in Annexation, White Center news | 9 Comments »

(Also published on partner site West Seattle Blog)

frontcrowd

Story by Tracy Record
Photos by Patrick Sand
White Center Now/West Seattle Blog co-publishers

Just because White Center (and vicinity) voters said no to Burien doesn’t mean they’re ready to say yes to Seattle.

That was abundantly clear during tonight’s standing-room-only annexation “conversation” at Dubsea Coffee in Greenbridge, barely a block south of the city-county line.

Some in attendance loudly voiced skepticism and outright distrust of the city’s motives and even suitability.

Others asked simple questions about what changes annexation would bring.

The city’s longtime point person on annexation, Kenny Pittman, led the discussion, saying he wanted to offer “basic information” and answer questions, and promising more meetings and “outreach.”

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He’s been working on the annexation issue for 12 1/2 years, he told the crowd of 50+, which included White Center community advocates and entrepreneurs.

He recapped why it’s on the front burner now – as first reported on our partner site White Center Now, Governor Inslee has signed a Legislature-passed bill that will divert millions of sales-tax dollars to Seattle to cover the costs of taking on the added residents and acreage.

Early on, he said annexation isn’t going to happen overnight:

If the city seeks and gets Boundary Review Board permission and the county sends it to voters in what remains of unincorporated North Highline, the earliest vote would be November 2017, and a “yes” vote then would lead to annexation taking effect in early 2019. Or, the timeline could be a year behind that, Pittman said.

Arriving late due to a transportation snarl, Karen Freeman from King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s staff underscored what the county’s message has long been – that the area must be annexed, because the county is not equipped, nor intended to, provide urban services.

Some wondered why White Center couldn’t become its own city. That was studied, said Freeman, but there just wasn’t a big-enough population/tax base for that to work.

That answer did not go over well with everyone.

But the informal presentation, and Q/A, ran to the basics, too. Such as – who would provide services, if county residents became city residents? The North Highline Fire District currently serves the area; its fire station on SW 112th would become a Seattle Fire Department station, said Pittman, and services would be provided as needed from north of Roxbury as well (West Seattle has five fire stations; South Park has one).

The Seattle Police Department would add officers, Pittman said, mentioning the number 40, at one point. Several outspoken attendees clearly believed they would be needed, repeatedly mentioning concern over Seattle’s crime rate, and the fact that some Seattleites are augmenting police with private security. Safety isn’t just a matter of police, Pittman countered, saying watchful neighbors are vital too, even where he lives (which, he volunteered, is in the Thurston County city of Lacey).

For schools, the area would remain with Highline Public Schools, until and unless HPS and Seattle Public Schools sought and reached some sort of agreement, which would then require approval by the Puget Sound Educational Service District. That sort of agreement is not currently being sought, it was stressed: “At this time, we are not looking at that at all.”

Pittman suggested that North Highline would get extra educational services as a result of annexation anyway, because of what the city has added on, including the Families and Education Levy, and the new Seattle Preschool Program.

He also declared that property tax would be lower after annexation, and acknowledged that would sound impossible, given the current complaint that people in Seattle are passing tax levies nonstop. The reduction, Pittman suggested, would be because residents would no longer be paying special levies for basic services such as roads, fire, and libraries.

That last point is one of contention, because King County Library System’s brand-new White Center Library is opening soon, a library for which WC community advocates and library supporters fought long and hard, built years behind schedule. The city and county are talking now about its fate, but at the very least, KCLS might continue managing it for a while after annexation.

Other questions – What would the transition for businesses be like? The question came from Proletariat Pizza proprietor Mike Albaeck:

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The city has a business tax, Pittman acknowledged, though it’s not charged to those making below $100,000 a year. A business license is required. And while some might be concerned about Seattle’s so-called $15/hour minimum wage, it’s not up to that level for anyone yet, and small businesses currently are paying $12/hour, said Pittman.

He added that it’s not just a matter of paying and getting nothing in return, the city offers economic development. And that’s when a skeptical attendee spoke up passionately, saying White Center isn’t just “the unincorporated area,” it’s a small town, one of the last “blue-collar neighborhoods,” with a lot of pride. “I don’t want to see a Starbucks on every corner,” she declared, accusing the city of “ignoring us … forever.”

She was countered by longtime White Center resident and former Chamber of Commerce leader Mark Ufkes, who said he’s been talking with Pittman for the dozen or so years that Seattle annexation has been an on-and-off possibility.

ufkes

But, he warned, if Pittman was going to be the only Seattle rep evangelizing annexation, “(it) will be voted down.”

More skepticism followed. The first questioner declared she considered the Seattle City Council to be “weird.” (The council would have to sign off on sending annexation to North Highline voters.)

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Questions about zoning veered into concerns that developers would “run amok” as they are perceived to have done in Seattle, and would densify the area. What would happen to zoning? Pittman was asked. Freeman suggested that was a bright spot, as Seattle has a community-planning department, which the county does not have, though it did just hire a planner to work on Vashon Island issues.

Pittman added that the planning would involve adjacent neighborhoods as well, such as Highland Park and Roxhill, as had been requested by the nearest West Seattle community council, Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC (here’s our coverage of the recent meeting at which that was discussed; Pittman had spoken there about the annexation process’s status).

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Members of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, the potential annexation area’s lone community council, were there tonight, and asked pointed questions too.

(corrected) Another attendee wondered if Seattle would increase the amount of low-income housing in White Center. Pittman said the area is not and would not be a “dumping ground.”

How would annexation affect transit? an attendee asked. The county is responsible for it, but the city has been paying extra to buy additional service, Pittman mentioned, funded by the Seattle Transportation Benefit District‘s sales tax and car-tab tax.

What about parks and the birds they draw? Pittman replied that they would be transferred to the city.

Seattle would not take over all utilities, though – the areas served by sewer and water districts would keep that service (some of the potential annexation area has water service from Seattle Public Utilities, and that would continue).

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A mix of information and consternation continued until the meeting closed at 6:30 pm as promised; Pittman thanked everyone for taking time “on a beautiful day” to show up and speak up.

WHAT’S NEXT: No schedule yet for the promised additional meetings. Pittman said the city will have a website and other ways of obtaining information. You can also watch the Boundary Review Board’s site for meeting agendas – proposed Seattle annexation would have to show up there, and go through board hearings and decisions, long before getting to voters.

P.S. A Seattle Channel crew recorded the meeting; we’re checking with SC to find out about plans for broadcast/webcast.

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FOLLOWUP: Medical Examiner identifies South Park man killed at Boulevard Park 7-11

March 14th, 2016 at 7:17 pm Posted in boulevard park, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Medical Examiner identifies South Park man killed at Boulevard Park 7-11

Following up on the deadly shooting we covered Sunday at a 7-11 in Boulevard Park: This afternoon, the King County Medical Examiner identified the man who was shot – described as having been masked, and armed with a hatchet – as 43-year-old Steven Blacktongue. His cause of death: Multiple gunshot wounds.

Our news partners at The Seattle Times have reported some details of Blacktongue’s criminal record, in this story. They also report that the man who shot Blacktongue, who allegedly had first threatened the customer and then attacked the store clerk, is declining interview requests. He has not been publicly identified.

Besides what The Times reported about the man who was killed, city and county records show that Blacktongue was arrested for domestic-violence assault on February 26th in Seattle and spent a day and a half in the King County Jail before being released. The court documents from that arrest list Blacktongue as living in South Park. While the incident is not detailed in the documents we’ve found so far, the victim is listed as an 18-year-old man to whom Blacktongue is related. Blacktongue was released on personal recognizance and ordered to return to court on March 28th.

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White Center weather: Windstorm arrives – stay safe!

March 13th, 2016 at 3:02 pm Posted in Weather, White Center news | 2 Comments »

More than 34,000 homes and businesses are already out around the Seattle City Light service area, including parts of White Center – see the latest outage map here. If you’re not on it, call 206-684-3000. Trees are falling in many areas and have even killed one person (in Seward Park) when a tree fell on her car – don’t go out if you don’t have to, until this calms down.

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VIDEO: Deadly shooting at Boulevard Park 7-11; ‘no indication of wrongdoing,’ says King County Sheriff’s Office

March 13th, 2016 at 8:13 am Posted in boulevard park, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 6 Comments »

(Photo courtesy Alisha)

8:13 AM: The King County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a deadly shooting in Boulevard Park this morning. KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West tweeted that she was on the way to 8th South/South 110th and that the early reports indicate it involved a “customer shooting hatchet-wielding masked man.”

9:31 AM: Just talked with Sgt. West at the store (will add video when we have it uploaded). She said the call came in around 5:45 am. The man who fired the shot(s) was getting coffee when the masked man came in. The man with the gun was carrying it legally, she said.

(WCN photo)
11:11 AM: While we were at the store, the King County Medical Examiner was on the scene to take away the body. Meantime, here’s what Sgt. West told us:

If you can’t play the video – Sgt. West says there was “no indication of wrongdoing” on the part of the 60-year-old store customer who shot the man – he’s a regular customer who had a concealed-pistol license – but the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will ultimately get the case for review.

11:30 AM: A news release sent by Sgt. West after our interview added two more details: The clerk, 58 years old, has a minor abdominal injury from the hatchet attack; the suspect is believed to be in his 40s but hadn’t yet been identified as of midmorning.

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Full Tilt Ice Cream launching ‘Seattle Icon’ flavor series, with White Center event April 16th

March 12th, 2016 at 7:39 am Posted in Full Tilt Ice Cream, White Center Library, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Something fun to get on your calendar for next month and beyond – a new series of “Seattle Icon” flavors that White Center-founded Full Tilt Ice Cream is about to launch. And it starts with a celebration of libraries – especially the new one in the works for White Center! – check the special event mentioned in the announcement:

Full Tilt Ice Cream is launching the Seattle Icon series this spring and summer. This series will pay homage to the people, places, and events that have made Seattle the amazing place that it is. The series will run from April to September, and span both living and existing icons as well as Icons from Seattle’s rich past. The flavors will be available in the 4 Full Tilt scoop shops for one week only.

The first Icon in the Series is going to be Nancy Pearl, Seattle’s librarian. This will coincide with National Library Week. A portion of the proceeds will be going to the White Center Library Guild to help with the new library being built. Nancy has requested a peanut butter ice cream with a fudge swirl. She will also be a guest scooper at Full Tilt’s White Center location April 16th, at 2 pm. The White Center library is also going to unveil pictures of the yet unfinished library. Future Icons in the series will include Mudhoney, the Space Needle, Richard Hugo, Sub Pop, Frances Farmer, Easy Street Records, August Wilson, and many others.

Full Tilt Ice Cream is a family-owned ice cream shop that started in White Center, Washington in 2008. All of Full Tilt’s ice cream is produced using local cows, and as many local ingredients as possible. Now with over 30 flavors in pints available at grocery stores all over the Pacific Northwest, and hundreds of flavor possibilities at the local scoop shops as well as restaurants and hotels around town.

The first special flavor will be available starting April 11th, FT tells WCN.

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FOLLOWUP: Governor signs annexation tax-credit bill

March 11th, 2016 at 8:24 am Posted in Annexation, White Center news | Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Governor signs annexation tax-credit bill

Governor Inslee has signed SB 5864 into law. That’s the bill that would divert millions of dollars in state sales-tax money to the City of Seattle to cover the costs of annexing unincorporated North Highline (see its history here). We first reported the bill’s passage last week. Seattle’s annexation point person Kenny Pittman had told a West Seattle community council last month that it was progressing through the Legislature and that its finalization had to happen before the city would consider proceeding with the proposed annexation.

Next step: Activating the city’s on-hold application to the King County Boundary Review Board. We’ll be checking this morning on the timeline for that.

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FOLLOWUP: Two arrested in Cascade Middle School arson

March 10th, 2016 at 5:22 pm Posted in Crime, White Center news | Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Two arrested in Cascade Middle School arson

arsonsign
(WCN photo, February 18th)

Just in from the King County Sheriff’s Office:

King County Sheriff’s Fire Investigators arrested two teens this morning for the arson that occurred February 18th at Cascade Middle School. The two boys, both 17 years old, were booked in the Youth Services Center for Investigation of Arson, Burglary and Vandalism.

One of the boys was arrested just before 8 am at the Evergreen Campus, where he attends school. The other was arrested at his house in the White Center area.

Detectives said the pair broke into Cascade Middle School after midnight on February 18th, vandalized the school, and started at least 2 fires.

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New White Center restaurant: Saigon Corner

March 3rd, 2016 at 6:42 pm Posted in restaurants, White Center news | 4 Comments »

Thanks to Gill for the photo and report about a new White Center eatery: “Saigon Corner on the SW corner of 15th/100th is now open. Nice, comfy space inside. Besides the cooked food, they sell other snack food.”

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Seattle annexation? 2 new developments: Tax credit passes House; gathering set at Dubsea

March 2nd, 2016 at 5:40 pm Posted in Annexation, White Center news | 15 Comments »

Two developments regarding the possibility of Seattle annexing what’s left of unincorporated North Highline:

TAX CREDIT PASSES: The bill that would provide funding for the costs of annexation, by diverting some state sales tax to an annexing city, passed the State House on Tuesday, 64-33 (with both representatives from this district, Rep. Eileen Cody and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, voting yes). It had already passed the Senate – where it was sponsored by the 34th District Senator Sharon Nelson – so the final step is for it to be signed into law.

‘IF’ GATHERING ON MARCH 17TH: We don’t know where this has been officially announced, but we just happened onto it via social media – the City of Seattle’s annexation point person Kenny Pittman is hosting a conversation at Dubsea Coffee in Greenbridge at 5:30 pm on March 17th, “If White Center Were to Become a Seattle Neighborhood.” Here’s the Facebook event page, which says a county representative will be there too – e-mail Pittman at kenny.pittman@seattle.gov with questions. He had told a West Seattle community council earlier this year that the prospect of moving ahead with annexation was on hold pending the passage of the aforementioned tax-credit bill, but that if all factors aligned, the issue could be sent to North Highline voters as soon as next year.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: What’s planned for March meeting

February 29th, 2016 at 9:36 pm Posted in housing, North Highline UAC, White Center news | Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: What’s planned for March meeting

This Thursday, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council invites you to its March meeting. From NHUAC’s Barbara Dobkin:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting
When: Thursday, March 3rd @ 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112th Street – parking and entrance is in the back)

Please join NHUAC for an informative community meeting as we learn about an important way to help brighten North Highline’s future. The meeting will begin with videos about the Fair Housing Act and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2015 rule, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. We hope you will join us Thursday night as we begin this educational journey toward community empowerment.

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White Center businesses: New veterinary clinic opens

February 25th, 2016 at 10:19 am Posted in Businesses, Pets, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Another new White Center business – Cascade Heights Veterinary Center:

Cascade Heights Veterinary Center has officially opened its doors to the South Seattle community. The clinic is located next to the Hung Long Asian Market and across from Big Al Brewing. The owner and primary veterinarian, Dr. Kathleen Paulson, has been practicing medicine for almost ten years – the last four of which have been under the mentorship of Dr. Timothy Kraabel and Dr. Elizabeth Fritzler at Lien Animal Clinic in West Seattle.

Dr. Paulson says, “From the age of 8, my dream was to be a veterinarian. Now that I have achieved that goal, my dream is to help as many pet patients and their families as I can. Opening a practice in such a wonderfully diverse and growing community is an amazing opportunity and one I take great pride in.”

Cascade Heights Veterinary Center is open six days a week, and is equipped to provide high quality medicine to dogs, cats, and small furry mammals. Designated dog and cat waiting areas help ease stress for you and your four-legged family members.

The address is 9832 15th SW.

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UPDATE: Greenbridge shooting victim identified

February 18th, 2016 at 9:54 pm Posted in Crime, Greenbridge, White Center news | 9 Comments »

(UPDATED FRIDAY AFTERNOON with victim’s identity)

ORIGINAL 9:54 PM REPORT: King County Sheriff’s Office reports one person shot near 9th SW and SW 100th. We’re on our way to find out more.


10:53 PM: We just talked with KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West at the scene – here’s the video:

She confirms the victim is dead – still in the street, wrapped in a tarp. She says he’s a black man who appears to be in his 40s. Detectives are just starting their investigation so the intersection of 9th and 100th will be closed for a while, and they won’t be calling the Medical Examiner to get the victim’s body until they are done with their work.

A nearby resident tells us he heard two gunshots around 9:10 pm.

12:41 AM: Sgt. West now says the victim appears to be “late 30s – early 40s.”

2:41 PM: Just checked with Sgt. West and she says there’s no official new information. (See the comment section for updates from nearby resident RJ.)

3:25 PM: The King County Medical Examiner has identified the victim as 42-year-old James Nickerson, Jr.; cause of death, “multiple firearm injuries.”

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UPDATE: Burglary, fire at Cascade Middle School

February 18th, 2016 at 6:43 am Posted in Crime, fire, Schools, White Center news | Comments Off on UPDATE: Burglary, fire at Cascade Middle School

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6:43 AM: From King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West:

Just before 1 am, King County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a burglary alarm at Cascade Middle School in the 11200 block of 10 Ave SW in White Center.

When deputies arrived, they found at least 2 windows had been broken out and it appeared the suspect(s) were still inside the school. The suspect(s) ran as deputies entered the school.

While searching the school, deputies found 2 small fires that had been set. (North Highline Fire District) responded to extinguish the fires.

King County detectives are investigating the burglary and arsons and said the school had been broken into once before within the last couple of weeks. A fire had been started at that break-in also.

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10:12 AM UPDATE: We went by the school, which is open. Out front, we saw both the “ARSON” sign shown atop this story, and the multiple school-security cars in the photo above this line. We’ll be following up with KCSO later today.

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White Center businesses: Company Bar announces it’s closing

February 15th, 2016 at 10:06 am Posted in Beverages, White Center news | 3 Comments »

After five years, Company Bar in downtown White Center will close in two weeks, its proprietor Jesse Lovell just announced via this Facebook post:

Ok folks. Here goes. It has been an amazing five years serving this community, being a part of this community and growing with this community and I am endlessly grateful to all of you who have been a part of my life here at Company Bar in beautiful downtown White Center. I’m guessing you know where this is going, if you don’t know already, but it’s true, Company Bar is closing.

This has been an extremely difficult and painful decision for me to make, but it is the right choice for me and my daughter. Anyone who knows me understands that I have given this bar everything I have and more, but the circumstances of my life are such that I can’t give it everything it needs and it is time for me to step away. I am so proud of what we as a community have built here: our softball team, Rat City Recon, Rat City Royals, the concerts, the fundraisers, the art shows, the friendships formed, the eating and drinking and good times and all of the rock and roll. So much rock and roll. It has been a wild ride, to say the least, and it hurts my heart to walk away, but please trust that this is the right thing for me and the right thing for the bar.

I am currently considering some attractive offers and I’m confident that the right person or people will take the reins. February 29th will be our last day and I will do everything I can to facilitate a smooth transition for the bar to reopen quickly under new ownership. Until then, it will be business as usual. A huge thanks goes out to my fiercely loyal crew and together we are going to pack as much fun as we can into these next two weeks and we hope you join us in closing this chapter with a bang.

Love always,
Jesse

Company opened to much acclaim in January 2011.

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UPDATE: Mini-mart fire response in Top Hat blocking SW 112th

February 13th, 2016 at 2:03 pm Posted in fire, top hat, White Center news | 3 Comments »

(WCN photo)
2:03 PM: Big fire response in Top Hat this afternoon, at the convenience store in the 11000 block of 1st Avenue South. Along with North Highline Fire District, the Seattle Fire Department sent help via mutual aid. Our crew is there and says there’s not much damage visible from outside but crews are using fans to ventilate the mini-mart. Also, SW 112th is blocked right now because of the response. Regional media is at the scene too and we’re expecting a briefing shortly with details of what happened.

2:27 PM: Firefighters tell us that the fire involved vehicles behind the mini-mart, which explains why nothing’s obvious from the front. Our crew is finding out more from the chief at the scene right now.

ADDED: From comments – Erik’s video taken early on during the fire:

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4-vehicle crash at 16th/102nd, no serious injuries

February 11th, 2016 at 3:39 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | Comments Off on 4-vehicle crash at 16th/102nd, no serious injuries

Thanks to Gill for the tip – we just checked out a crash that blocked northbound 16th SW for a while at the intersection with SW 102nd. King County Sheriff’s Deputies told us at the scene that four vehicles were involved but no one was seriously hurt. Right now, as of 3:40 pm, they’re about to tow the last vehicle, so the intersection should be fully open again shortly.

P.S. Breaking-news tips for White Center (and West Seattle) are welcome at any time – text or call 206-293-6302 – thank you!.

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White Center scene: Ballot van at Greenbridge

February 9th, 2016 at 1:25 pm Posted in Election, White Center news | Comments Off on White Center scene: Ballot van at Greenbridge

joemary
No voting for this area today, but the King County Elections ballot van is at Greenbridge as usual, until 8 pm – just over the line in the Seattle Public Schools district, today is a special election for two levies. We stopped by to photograph Joe and Mary at the van, 9720 8th SW; as of noon, they had received 49 ballots.

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Southwest Little League registration today

February 6th, 2016 at 3:36 am Posted in Sports, White Center news | Comments Off on Southwest Little League registration today

From Southwest Little League – it’s signup day!

Registration for the Southwest Little League begins Saturday, February 6th and 13th, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, at the Log Cabin at Steve Cox Memorial Ball Park. All boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 16 are welcome. If your child lives or attends school between SW Juneau St. and 128th St. SW you are probably within the Southwest Little League boundary! Divisions include T-Ball, Coach-Pitch, Minors, Majors, 50/70 and Juniors. Tryouts for Minor & Major divisions will be held Saturday, February 20th, 2016, at Steve Cox Memorial Ball Park. Please visit www.southwestlittleleague.org for more information about signing up for Southwest Little League.

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