Warmest day of the year arrives just in time for Hicks Lake barbecue

August 20th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Hicks Lake, North Highline Fire District, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on Warmest day of the year arrives just in time for Hicks Lake barbecue

(Photos by Deanie Schwarz for WCN)
Big summer for Gloria and Art Peters, photographed this afternoon at the Hicks Lake barbecue in White Center. They were grand marshals of the West Seattle Grand Parade four weeks ago. They’re 49-year residents of White Center, and WCN contributor Deanie Schwarz says Art’s “Rat City” T-shirt “might be a collector’s item – about 15 years old!” Also at the barbecue, Dick Thurnau of Friends of Hicks Lake and Liz Giba of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council:

From the North Highline Fire Department, from left: Battalion Chief Paul Frey with Firefighters Ed Marrs, Bob Lawson and Dan Crossman. Deanie reports they had a great time explaining the NHFD equipment and showing it off to barbecuegoers of all ages.

Also enjoying the midday cookout, Nhan Nguyen, who just said goodbye to the White Center Community Development Association, along with White Center Food Bank Executive Director Rick Jump and WCCDA’s Peter Chum:

Another big event is ahead for Lakewood Park, where you’ll find Hicks Lake – the Technology Access Foundation learning-center groundbreaking, 10:30 am next Friday, August 26th.

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Date announced for Technology Access Foundation groundbreaking at Lakewood Park

July 29th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Education, Hicks Lake, Lakewood Park, White Center news Comments Off on Date announced for Technology Access Foundation groundbreaking at Lakewood Park

It’s been a long time in the making, but Dick Thurnau of Friends of Hicks Lake tells WCN Technology Access Foundation has announced August 26th as the groundbreaking date for the long-long-awaited learning center in Lakewood Park (home of Hicks Lake). They have raised 92 percent of the $13 million needed for the three-story, 25,000 square-foot building, where students will have access to science, technology, engineering, and math (often shortened to STEM) coaching and learning. The building will be south of Lakewood Park’s upper parking lot; enter from SW 108th; the August 26th event is set for 10:30 am-noon, all welcome.

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Hicks Lake meeting TONIGHT at White Center Library

March 22nd, 2011 Tracy Posted in Environment, Hicks Lake, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Hicks Lake meeting TONIGHT at White Center Library

Just a quick reminder – the meeting about potential county action to try to help with Hicks Lake‘s water-quality problems is at 6:30 pm tonight at White Center Library. Here’s the original announcement with details.

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Will Hicks Lake finally get county help? Meeting set

March 11th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Environment, Hicks Lake, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN file photo of Hicks Lake)
Neighbors led by Dick Thurnau have worked a long time to try to get the county to do something about Hicks Lake water quality. Now there’s word a plan’s in the works – and a meeting is set. Here’s the county announcement:

King County is developing a plan to help improve water quality in White Center’s Hicks Lake so that people and pets are safe from potentially harmful algae blooms in the small lake.

The King County Water and Land Resources Division has set a public meeting for March 22 at the White Center Library to share information on a scheduled treatment of aluminum sulfate in Hicks Lake. The meeting is set for 6:30-8 p.m. at the White Center Library, 11220 16th Ave. SW, Seattle.

The Washington State Department of Ecology has identified Hicks Lake as having “impaired” water quality because of excessively high phosphorus concentrations, which promote frequent algae blooms in the lake.

These algae blooms have produced biotoxins that are potentially harmful to people and pets that come into contact with the water. As a result of the algae blooms, warning signs have been posted along the Hicks Lake shoreline during the recreational season to alert people of the potential danger of contact with the water.

To address this ongoing water quality problem, King County has received a permit to treat the lake in May with aluminum sulfate to lower phosphorus concentrations in the water and “cap” the phosphorus-rich sediments. A similar action was taken at Hicks Lake in 2005.

More information about lake stewardship in King County is available at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wlr/sections-programs/science-section/lake-stewardship-program.aspx./blockquote>

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SPU students back to help clean up at Hicks Lake again this weekend

September 20th, 2010 Tracy Posted in Hicks Lake, How to Help, Volunteering, White Center news Comments Off on SPU students back to help clean up at Hicks Lake again this weekend

Once again this year, students from Seattle Pacific University are on their way to help clean up around White Center’s Hicks Lake. (Our photo is from 2008.) It’s part of a regional effort on September 25th in which the college sends nearly 800 freshmen and transfer students to various sites for a “community-service orientation” known as CityQuest. Between 10:30 am and 2:30 pm on Saturday, you’ll find students working to pick up litter and take out invasive plants. (That’s not the only White Center site where SPU students will be working that day – SPU also tells us that Neighborhood House in Greenbridge will have visiting students to “help with administrative organization, fall cleaning, and brainstorm ideas for future classes.”) You are also welcome to come join in the cleanup, by the way.

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Hicks Lake barbecue brings together neighbors, community activists

August 29th, 2010 Tracy Posted in Environment, Hicks Lake, North Highline UAC, Parks, White Center news Comments Off on Hicks Lake barbecue brings together neighbors, community activists

Story and photos by Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for White Center Now

A picnic with free barbecue brought out a hungry and hardy crowd to enjoy Hicks Lake at Lakewood Park on a slightly chilly Saturday afternoon. Smoke billowed from burgers on the grills as neighborhood folks milled around the tables to chat and learn about where things now stand with Lakewood Park and where they might be headed.

Frana Milan, program manager for the Enterprise and Partnerships Unit of King County Parks and Recreation Division (pictured above with civilian-attired King County Sheriff’s Office community officer Vary Jackson), was available to receive first hand the feedback from the community about the proposed trail improvement around the north and west side of the lake.

In a conversation with community members, Milan explained the different responsibilities for different county agencies discussing the future plans for Hicks Lake and the surrounding natural systems. It is the Water and Land Resources Division within the Department of Natural Resources and Parks that addresses the stormwater management issues and has lake-ecosystem experts on staff.

Milan explained further, “I always like to say that Water and Land takes care of nature for nature’s sake and Parks takes care of nature for people’s sake.” A map was available to instruct the picnicgoers and the other groups present about the complex context of neighboring stormwater systems, wetlands and lakes.

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council president Christine Waldman led a large contingency from the North Highline group working their way through the tables. She observed that Friends of Hicks Lake‘s Dick Thurnau had successfully brought together for the first time these varied groups which can together face a long-standing problem which they all agree must be addressed. “It’s been long enough. Something really needs to be done.”

Thurnau’s passion for the Hicks Lake area is legendary around here. Many other group representatives nodded and spoke in agreement about the need for some kind of formal recognition for the tireless decades of volunteer work he has done on behalf of the area. His two daughters were on hand assisting him in his work during Saturday’s event. One had flown up from California to help him with the coordination and planning because, she says, “It is so important to him.” Dick, along with Sherry Williams (with him in the photo above), enjoyed the crowd’s anticipation as they drew raffle tickets for a much desired prize of smoked sockeye salmon. A number of other items were raffled off as well to some lucky picnicgoers.

Williams is deputy director of TAF (Technology Access Foundation) and said the groundbreaking for the new TAF Community Learning Space is still on track for next April, with completion of the “warm shell” by the following fall of 2011. To be located in the northeast quadrant of Lakewood Park, the building will be built green and developed in phases following the initial structural development. ( The term “warm shell” describes the future large building edifice and its completed systems, but does not include specific classroom equipment or furnishings.)

Additional feedback on plans for Lakewood Park, Hicks Lake and/or surrounding parks can be provided to the county through this website: parksfeedback.com.

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Reminder: Hicks Lake barbecue today!

August 28th, 2010 Tracy Posted in Environment, Fun, Hicks Lake, White Center news Comments Off on Reminder: Hicks Lake barbecue today!

Lakewood Park, 11 am-2 pm, be there. Find out more about the present, and the hoped-for future, of this needs-help White Center gem, and meet local neighbors and community leaders. Here’s our original preview.

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Free barbecue at Hicks Lake this Saturday!

August 26th, 2010 Tracy Posted in Hicks Lake, North Highline UAC, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news 2 Comments »

This Saturday’s the date for a big, free event to which you are invited: A barbecue at Hicks Lake! 11 am-2 pm Saturday, just be at Lakewood Park and join in to meet neighbors and find out more about cleanup efforts. The event is co-sponsored by White Center Community Development Association, North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, Technology Access Foundation, and Friends of Hicks Lake.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council talks annexation(s)

February 5th, 2010 Tracy Posted in Annexation, Burien, Hicks Lake, North Highline UAC, White Center news 28 Comments »

From Thursday night’s meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, held as usual in the North Highline Fire District headquarters on SW 112th – The meeting included discussions of both the impending Burien annexation of North Highline South (NHS), and the possible Seattle-annexation vote in what we suppose we can call North Highline North (NHN).

BURIEN ANNEXATION UPDATE: Burien City Manager Mike Martin took centerstage to provide updates to NHUAC – first, what’ll be happening before the scheduled April 1st date for NHS. During “the last three weeks of March,” Martin said, there’ll be a survey in the area, including door-to-door canvassing, to make sure residents know what’s ahead. City finance managers will be presenting an “annexation budget” soon. Burien leaders plan to “sit down with the community and talk zoning” soon, since obviously moving into a new jurisdiction means different standards and different jurisdictions. Martin also said Burien is pursuing money in the “second round of (federal) stimulus” to repave “most of the streets in the annexation area”; that could cost up to $5 million, he said, but it’s a “shovel-ready” project, so they are hopeful they’ll get the grant: “It would radically change many of the roads up here almost instantly.”

He also said the King County Sheriff’s Office is “doing some reorganization to meet the needs of the annexation,” but overall vowed to keep a promise made during the public forums that preceded the annexation vote – “This is going to be seamless … the level of service up here will be equal to or better than it was before,” with policing services likely featuring “the same people driving the same vehicles, just with new decals on them.”

Not so seamless, he said, is the transition for the parks, following the kerfuffle over Puget Sound Park, plus some transition issues, he said, involving the new county administration. And he noted that for the first time in years, Burien is hiring a fulltime city attorney. (Side note, Martin was not the only Burien leader present at the NHUAC meeting; City Councilmember Kathy Keene was there too.)

SEATTLE ANNEXATION? Martin spoke to this a bit before finishing his NHUAC briefing: “Just buckle up … this is going to be one of those times when rumors fly.” He alluded to being a bit mystified as to how this suddenly emerged on a Seattle front burner, with a move under way to have an election in the north section of North Highline as soon as this November, since his perception from previous conversations was that it “wasn’t really high on Mayor McGinn’s agenda. … But I think the (Seattle) council for whatever reason wants to take a shot at it, and we’ll see where it goes.”

Later in the meeting, NHUAC members discussed the new twist during the “new business” section — a more formal briefing/discussion is planned at the March 4 meeting, when the point person for the Seattle mayor’s office, Kenny Pittman, will attend the North Highline meeting. A considerable amount of semi-heated discussion centered over what NHUAC could officially say/do to remind the Seattle government that it’s on record as recommending the entire North Highline area become part of Burien; the contents of a letter reportedly sent to Seattle a few years back was the topic of intense discussion between members Russell Pritchard and Heidi Johnson, until some research could be finalized, and it was determined that it wouldn’t be a violation of NHUAC’s contract for them to remind Seattle that after community surveying and research, they had recommended the Burien alignment, so a letter to that effect will go out. (While Pritchard wanted to be sure the message was sent in the strongest possible terms, Johnson reminded her fellow councilmembers that they are required to stay away from whatever could be construed as political advocacy.)

ELECTIONS: It was noted along the way that the day the annexation is to take effect, April 1st, is a meeting day for NHUAC; part of its membership, including president Greg Duff, lives in the area to be annexed. The public vote for councilmembers will be coming up in the third week of May, and an official announcement will go out soon.

HICKS LAKE NAME CHANGE? Dick Thurnau from Friends of Hicks Lake briefed NHUAC about efforts to change the lake’s name back to its original name, Hicklins Lake, in honor of Leonard Hicklin and family, who settled in the area in the 1880s. They have a hearing before the Washington State Board on Geographic Names in Olympia on May 21st and Thurnau would like to receive e-mails supporting the name change – you can write to him at:


The sooner the better!

*A few more items were on last night’s agenda – we’ll write about those a bit later.

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Photos: Volunteers team up for the annual Hicks Lake cleanup

September 26th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Environment, Hicks Lake, Volunteering, White Center news 1 Comment »

What a beautiful afternoon it was at Lakewood Park when we stopped by Hicks Lake to check on the final hour of the annual volunteer cleanup and get some photos. Note the placid scene above – then the volunteers gathered for a group shot:

Just minutes earlier, they’d wrapped up their work clearing invasives and trash, among other jobs:

Dick Thurnau from Friends of Hicks Lake summed it up this way:

Twenty-five hard-working student volunteers from Seattle Pacific University came this Saturday to Hicks Lake located in King County’s Lakewood Park to remove invasive weeds. Two dumptruck loads of weeds, tree parts and litter were removed. We wish to thank the following: Disc Golf Club, Friends of Hicks Lake, a member of the NHUAC, managing engineer of King County’s surface water, providing their help to make this park and lake a better place.

Also the King County Maintenance crew cleaning up and filling the dump trucks with this trash all deserve a large THANK YOU. These students’ performance is a perfect example of what can be accomplished with proper guidance.

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Volunteer at Hicks Lake on Saturday!

September 23rd, 2009 Tracy Posted in Environment, Hicks Lake, White Center news Comments Off on Volunteer at Hicks Lake on Saturday!

The big cleanup is this Saturday:

Please come join Friends of Hicks Lake and first-year students from Seattle Pacific University next Saturday (9/26/2009) from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM for cleanup day at and for your Lakewood Park and Hicks Lake. Location 10 Ave SW next to Cascade Middle School.

Gloves and tools will be furnished; we need volunteers plus willing hands to remove weeds, broken tree limbs you get the picture. Your help will make this park and lake a better place for our community. We appreciate your help and thank you in advance.

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While the site was down: Three updates – Power outage, Evergreen Pool, Hicks Lake

August 27th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Evergreen Pool, Hicks Lake, Seattle City Light, White Center news Comments Off on While the site was down: Three updates – Power outage, Evergreen Pool, Hicks Lake

Sorry for the “outage” here – not related to the City Light power outage – our server-management company detected a problem that required emergency maintenance, taking White Center Now (and many other sites) down for a while. Looks like it’s done now. We posted some news on partner site West Seattle Blog in the meantime – we use separate server managers for the two sites to dramatically reduce the chances both will be down at the same time, so if ever you notice this site down, please check there or check our Twitter page at http://twitter.com/whitecenternow.

Here are the updates, linking to the full stories on WSB:

-Power outage: All but a few hundred homes/businesses are back on. More here.

-Evergreen Pool: It WILL close September 1st, according to King County Council Chair Dow Constantine, who hopes that will be temporary while the agreement for WhiteWater Aquatics to take over the pool is negotiated. More here.

-Hicks Lake: Warning signs are posted because of an algae bloom. More here. Also, here’s the entirety of the note we received from King County’s Doug Williams:

We just got results back from the state Department of Ecology that confirms a blue-green algae bloom at Hicks has surpassed the safety threshold. While there aren’t likely too many people swimming there right now, it’s possible that people could let their dogs swim and/or drink from the lake. Not a good idea!

We’ve posted signs that ask people to stay out of the water, and don’t let their pets swim in or drink from the lake.

Toxic algae can have some nasty effects on people and pets. In minor cases, it can cause a rash, eye and throat irritation, etc. It’s a neurotoxin that, in serious cases, can cripple your liver, mess with your nervous system, etc. Those are pretty rare situations; you’d have to ingest a lot of the stuff to get that sick. But it’s still important for everyone to heed the warnings and keep out of the water – pets, too.

When will the algae bloom go away? That’s a good question. We’ve seen blooms last for weeks; sometimes they don’t go away until the weather cools down and the sunlight becomes elusive.

We will collect water samples weekly for analysis by DOE. Once we have two weeks where the samples come back below the established acceptable threshold for human contact, we’ll take down the signs.

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Mark your calendar! Hicks Lake cleanup date set

July 12th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Environment, Health, Hicks Lake, White Center news 1 Comment »

That’s one of our photos from the Hicks Lake cleanup last September. A date’s set for this year, according to early word from Dick Thurnau of Friends of Hicks Lake:

We have been informed that Seattle Pacific University is proposing to send 40 students this year on Sept. 26/2009, a Saturday, to Lakewood Park to help clean up this area. The blackberry bushes, Scotch broom and invasive weeds plus litter needs to be removed. They call their project City Quest — it encourages freshmen to participate in giving to the communities.

We ask Friends of Hicks Lake and all parties that enjoy the park to give us a hand in this endeavor. Realize this is an early announcement but will keep you posted. Let’s mark your calendar to volunteer to help make this facility beautiful.

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Update: Recommendations for Hicks Lake’s future

February 17th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Environment, Hicks Lake, King County, White Center news Comments Off on Update: Recommendations for Hicks Lake’s future

From Dick Thurnau from Friends of Hicks Lake — a followup to the call for ideas that we published 3 weeks ago:

Friends of Hicks Lake did a lot of research to reach what we feel are the best and wisest decisions for improvements to utilize the $25,000 allotted in King County’s budget for Lakewood Park / Hicks Lake to make it a most enjoyable place for all.

We enlisted the aid of whitecenternow.com and White Center Community Development Association asking for the community suggestions.

The responses were limited but the # 1 was a water feature in the lake. #2 was a walking path around Hicks Lake, as a large share of the present pathways are on a hillside, making it difficult for older people and the disabled to use. A Boy Scout troop volunteered to do the labor portion of the pathway. #3 was to have a fulltime caretaker in the park to oversee and control the concerning, costly problems occurring in the park — graffiti, vandalism and illegal alcohol usage on these premises.

Our recommendation is a water feature consisting of an attractive floating fountain and underwater air diffusers (bubblers) which will provide aeration to help cleanse this unhealthy water in Hicks Lake. Pricing for this equipment from Absolute Aquatics would be under $10,000, including freight with a 3 year warranty. Other services required: $7,000 for an electrical Contractor, $2,000 for miscellaneous material, $1,000 for electrical power for one year, $2,000 for unforeseen developments. Total, $20,000, using volunteer labor to construct concrete anchors (2 required) and dig a trench from power source to the Lake and place equipment leaving a surplus for other projects. Another supplier gave a quote which was much higher in pricing but did give us a listing of many users of aeration features.

Sent an information brochure pertaining to this equipment described above to King County’s Surface Water Engineering for their evaluation — the question of a possibility of electrical shock, being the sealed motor is submerged in the water. Yes, that is a concern; however, manufacturers could or would not be able to sell these units for all these years if that were the case.

The above-suggested project of aeration is an interim objective until the White Center Regional Storm Water Improvement project, which is planned for 5 years down the road, is constructed.

Friends of Hicks Lake’s purpose and goal is to have clean, healthy lake water in Hicks Lake once again for the community to utilize this facility.

We’ll keep you posted on what happens next.

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White Center’s Hicks Lake has the cash, needs ideas!

January 28th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Hicks Lake, How to Help, Lakewood Park, White Center news 2 Comments »

(WCN photo of Hicks Lake, 1/7/09)
From Dick Thurnau at Friends of Hicks Lake:

King County has allotted $25,000 in the budget for Lakewood Park / Hicks Lake improvements and has asked Friends Of Hicks Lake for suggestions. We have many; however, we wish to gather input from the community to provide the best and wisest recommendations.

Suggestions (including, so far):

*Water fountain with an aeration system to help cleanse the lake water and display a beautiful attraction. (will need volunteers)

*Walking path around Hicks Lake might require use of a small section of school property (safety reasons)

*Volleyball, basketball court in half of the tennis court, horseshoes

*Full-time caretaker for the park house to control graffiti, litter, illegal alcohol usage, and vandalism

We welcome the community’s input.

You can reach Dick by e-mail at hdthurnau@juno.com or by phone at 206-244-4558.

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Still lots of room for the water to rise

January 7th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Hicks Lake, Weather 1 Comment »

At White Center’s Lakewood Park, we checked out Hicks Lake at midday today. We’ve heard Dick Thurnau from Friends of Hicks Lake explain how it’s flooded in the past, so we know it’s got lots of room to rise. Great day to be a duck, though:

By the way, update on Ricardo’s post from earlier: The county now lists more than 60 roads as closed because of floodwaters. But King County has nothing on some areas further north and south, where entire towns (such as Orting) are reportedly being evacuated — follow the latest via tagged Twitter bulletins by watching this real-time search.

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Lakewood Park graffiti vandalism – again

November 19th, 2008 Tracy Posted in Crime, Graffiti, Hicks Lake, Lakewood Park 1 Comment »

Dick Thurnau with Friends of Hicks Lake reports that graffiti vandals hit various structures, including the picnic shelter and restroom, at Lakewood Park (home of Hicks Lake) on Tuesday – one day after a paintover of previous vandalism. “Even over the student-painted murals,” says Dick, who says something has got to be done about this recurring problem.

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Hicks Lake dock-removal work begins

October 15th, 2008 Tracy Posted in Hicks Lake, Parks, White Center news 2 Comments »

Dick Thurnau from Friends of Hicks Lake sent word that work on this long-anticipated project has begun in earnest; we went to Lakewood Park to get that photo this afternoon. As he points out, the railings are now off the soon-to-be-ex-dock, and work crews are setting up on the eastern shore. According to the county website, this project is costing about a quarter-million dollars. Meantime, Dick also says Friends of Hicks Lake will meet at 11 am October 27th at the west picnic shelter (10th SW entrance) of Lakewood Park, with the Pomegranate Center scheduled to, as Dick says, “give us insight on how to utilize people and organizations for funding available for Lakewood Park / Hicks Lake improvements.”

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From the White Center Now comments file

September 20th, 2008 Tracy Posted in Hicks Lake, Online, Volunteering Comments Off on From the White Center Now comments file

Thank you for starting and participating in lively discussions here on WCN, right from the start. Couple things we wanted to highlight this afternoon — First: Spirited discussions continue on threads that are now weeks old – so keep checking, if those are topics you’re interested in. In particular, our coverage of the last North Highline Fire District meeting is still drawing comments – including this one, just this morning, from “Concerned Firefighter.”

Second: Dick Thurnau from Friends of Hicks Lake just announced an event in comments on an “old” post. Before publishing it here to make sure everyone sees it, I wanted to note – if you’ve got something to announce – best thing to do is try one of these:
a) Send it to us and we’ll post: whitecenternow@gmail.com
b) Want to be a White Center Now contributor? This is a multi-contributor site – FullTilt, Ricardo, and I are the trio that launched it, but we’ve always hoped to have other participants. E-mail us at that same address, whitecenternow@gmail.com, and let us know what you’d like to write about, in general.

Now, the Hicks Lake event that Dick wants you to know about (also just added to the White Center Now Events Calendar):

Friends of Hicks Lake will sponsor and cooperate with KC Parks Evergreen Maintenance Dist for a cleanup day: On Saturday 9/27/2008 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Lakewood Park/ Hicks Lake.
Tools, gloves will be furnished — all we need is volunteers as there is a lot of work that needs to be accomplished. Students from Seattle Pacific University come annually.

This is an invite for all residents of North Highline to make a difference. Thank you in advance.
Dick Thurnau 206-244-4558

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