FOLLOWUP: Top Hat quarantine/isolation site still in holding pattern

April 23rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Top Hat, White Center news 1 Comment »

(King County photo)

Seven weeks after it was announced, King County’s Top Hat quarantine/isolation site hasn’t opened, and doesn’t appear close to opening – not because it’s not ready, but because the county still has plenty of room in the facilities it’s already opened. As we do most weeks, we listened in on the weekly communtty phone meeting Wednesday, led by Calli Knight from King County Executive Dow Constantine’s office. She noted that the four facilities the county has opened – Shoreline, Kent, Issaquah, North Seattle – are currently hosting 74 people. A community member told Knight that neighbors would like to be provided with PPE before this site opens because of fears about possible airborne transmission; Knight and a Public Health rep on the call said that didn’t seem as if it would be necessary. A community member told Knight that legal action to stop the site from opening was still a possibility. The call ended otherwise uneventfully with a reiteration that there’s “no clear opening date” for the facility.

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BUSES: Third round of cuts in Metro service

April 19th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Metro, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on BUSES: Third round of cuts in Metro service

A third round of cuts for Metro started taking effect this weekend and continues today. Here’s the full news release:

As the region continues to respond to COVID-19, King County Metro will reduce weekend bus service beginning Saturday April 18, and further reduce weekday bus service starting Monday, April 20. Water Taxi and First Hill Streetcar will continue to operate on previously reduced schedules.

This revised Reduced Schedule provides a core network of public transportation services to maintain access to critical supplies, services, and worksites across the region. Details about weekend changes will be posted online Thursday; canceled trip details weekday service will be revised and updated online Saturday.

Overall, Metro will operate with approximately 42% fewer buses, 36% fewer transit operators, and 27% fewer service trips than typical weekday service. Weekend trips will be reduced by 15% on Saturdays and 4% on Sundays.

“To reserve transit for those who need it most, we’re calling on riders to travel only if absolutely necessary and to wear a face covering to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” said King County Metro General Manager Rob Gannon. “Adjusting our weekend and weekday service allows us to continue to operate a reliable network of service for essential travel needs – for food, medicine, and work – while responding to decreased ridership demands and to the overall availability of Metro’s workforce. Our goal is to continue to serve the community, and we’re grateful for and commend our frontline staff.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Big response, small fire at Yarington’s Funeral Home in White Center

April 15th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news 1 Comment »

Big response but ultimately it turned out to be a small fire at Yarington’s Funeral Home at 16th/107th this past hour. We headed there to check it out after a tip and some units were already leaving; we stopped by the North Highline Fire Station shortly thereafter and they told us it turned out to be a small fire toward the building’s rear. No injuries were reported.

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WHITE CENTER CRIME WATCH: Robbery suspects arrested

April 14th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 2 Comments »

Thanks for the tips. That was part of the scene at 16th/112th as a King County Sheriff’s Office search wrapped up early this morning. We asked KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott for details:

The Ladybug Espresso at S. 126/ Des Moines Memorial Drive was robbed at gunpoint at 5:20 AM by two suspects who fled in a car. A short time later, the same suspect car crashed into a fence at SW 112/ 16 AVE SW; the suspects fled on foot. They were both caught a short time later by deputies and arrested. They were both booked into Jail for investigation of robbery.

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WHITE CENTER ART: More murals

April 11th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Arts, White Center news Comments Off on WHITE CENTER ART: More murals

Just south of the Sarah Robbins murals we’ve shown, on the Beer Star etc. building, new ones by “Paz,” including this one:

The artist is on Instagram here.

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LIBRARIES: How you can use KCLS online

April 8th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Libraries, White Center news 2 Comments »

Haven’t explored your King County Library System online? Here’s what they want you to know:

Following stay-at-home orders from Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, the King County Library System (KCLS) will extend its System-wide closure until further notice, to continue to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Our libraries may be closed, but KCLS is still open online,” states KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum.” We encourage residents to take advantage of our expanded digital collection and array of online programming, events and resources while closures are in effect.”

Residents in the KCLS service area (in King County, outside the city of Seattle) can sign up instantly for a digital eCard to access KCLS’ digital collection. For those who don’t have computer or Internet access, they may connect—live—with an Ask KCLS staff member by phone at 425.462.9600 or 800.462.9600. Staff are ready to answer questions, and direct residents to helpful resources and information.

Online Programming and Events

KCLS has made some of their most popular in-person programs accessible online—and added a few new ones! Explore daily activities for all ages, from virtual story times and book clubs, to online Cat Chats, art workshops and Junk Drawer Challenges.

Two notable events will also take place online this month:

Rhyme On Poetry Contest: April 1-30
During National Poetry Month in April, KCLS is hosting Rhyme On, an online poetry contest open to all King County residents. The winning poems will be published on the KCLS website and shared on social media channels. Contestants have until April 30 to submit a poem, and three winners will be announced in each age category: Kids (ages 5 to 12); Teens (ages 13 to 18) and Adults (ages 19 and older).

Celebrate Día Online: April 26-May 2
Celebrate 10 years of Día programming at KCLS with this weeklong series from April 26 to May 2. This nationally recognized initiative promotes literacy for children of all backgrounds, and celebrates multicultural literature and stories from around the world. This year, KCLS’ Día programming moves online to help connect children and their families to multicultural books, languages and cultures. Explore the recommended diversity materials, find resources in many languages, view Día booklists, and get more information about online events on the Bibliotecas King County Facebook page.

Expanded Online Resources

KCLS has expanded online resources for students, adults, children, teens and older adults, so patrons of all ages can continue to learn, build skills and stay entertained during this unprecedented time.

Audiobooks and eBooks

KCLS is investing more funds in their digital collection during the closure—over $350,000 each month. With more eBook and audiobook titles than ever, there’s something for everyone. The Libby app makes it especially easy to download digital titles, but patrons may contact Ask KCLS for assistance if they run into technical difficulties.

Streaming Movies and TV

KCLS’ range of streaming content is helping keep families entertained and engaged while libraries are closed. Watch HBO documentaries, BBC TV, how-to films, indie flicks and thousands more on Access Video. KCLS is also offering unlimited streaming on Kanopy, and expanded streaming credits on hoopla so patrons can enjoy even more movies and TV.

Resources for Students and Parents

KCLS’ revamped K-12 web page provides links to a wide variety of educational support resources, tips and activities, from homework help through Tutor.com, to STEM learning from Tumblemath.com.

Resources for Small Business Owners

KCLS’ Small Business Resources web page links the business community to information and resources like business.wa.gov, which includes COVID-19 information and resources for Washington state businesses. KCLS is also offering virtual counseling with SCORE mentors to help navigate COVID-19 impacts to small businesses. And, as always, residents can get help filing taxes.

Online Databases and More

KCLS offers access to databases and learning resources where residents can review Consumer Reports, learn a new language or skill, read bestselling magazines, and stay up-to-date on current affairs with free, unlimited access to online newspapers, such as The Seattle Times, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

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PHOTOS: Top Hat quarantine/isolation site, as work nears finish

April 6th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, King County, Top Hat, White Center news 3 Comments »

For the first time since the day it was announced five weeks ago, we have a close-up look at the quarantine/isolation site the county is setting up in Top Hat as part of its COVID-19 response.

These are county-provided photos taken at the site this past Saturday (April 4th).

Only one four-room modular unit was in place when the site was announcdd. The old Wilderness Technology Alliance building on the site was demolished to make room for more.

Angie Malpass from King County explains, “They are finishing setting up the rooms with supplies, and while it will be ready to open this week, the county is holding off on opening until there is demand, so the opening is TBD for now, based on numbers”

As of today, the county is housing 48 people at the three other sites it has opened so far.

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METRO CHANGES: More bus-service reductions start today

April 6th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Metro, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on METRO CHANGES: More bus-service reductions start today

Metro is cutting service again with ridership continuing at way-below-normal levels during the coronavirus crisis. Moe cuts take effect today. The full announcement is here; the 60, 128, and 131 are largely untouched, while the 120 will see some cuts.

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TODAY: Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee

April 5th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Myers Way, White Center news Comments Off on TODAY: Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee

The volunteers who meet monthly to talk about the Seattle-supported encampment on Myers Way, the Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee, will meet today, online, at 2 pm:

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 767 249 272
Password: 9701
or
+1 253 215 8782
Meeting ID: 767 249 272

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FOLLOWUP: Top Hat quarantine/isolation site opening delayed

April 3rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, Top Hat, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Top Hat quarantine/isolation site opening delayed

The opening of King County’s quarantine/isolation site in Top Hat has been delayed. The County Executive’s Office announced Thursday that it would not be opening Friday as originally planned. County spokesperson Angie Malpass provided WCN with some additional details, saying site work is likely to be complete sometime Saturday, so the site could be ready to open “maybe as soon as early next week. It just depends on the need… Currently the three sites open today — Kent, Issaquah and Aurora — still have capacity, so we may hold off.” According to the Friday update from Seattle-King County Public Health, those three sites are housing a total of 41 people. Malpass says the Top Hat site will have 24/7 security – “no walk-ups and no visitors. All patients are triaged by Seattle-King-County Public Health, and the assessment is taken to DCHS who then assigns/places and transports the patient.” The county will eventually have nine sites, including this one – quarantine/isolation in Kent, Issaquah, Aurora open, Harborview Hall and Top Hat soon, and assessment/recovery centers coming to Shoreline, Interbay, Eastgate, and SODO.

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WHITE CENTER ART: 2nd panel of new mural

April 3rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Arts, Businesses, Coronavirus, White Center news 3 Comments »

We’ve been checking back at 16th/98th since Sarah Robbins‘ first panel of mural art outside the Beer Star (etc.) building – and today, we finally caught the second panel. Note the small message at right – “call your mom”!

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QUARANTINE SITE UPDATE: Might open Friday, might not

April 2nd, 2020 Tracy Posted in King County, Top Hat, White Center news 2 Comments »

Will the county’s quarantine/isolation site in Top Hat open Friaay as projected? County reps on Wednesday’s regular weekly community-update call couldn’t say for sure, but promised an email update by week’s end, one way or another. That’s the only real information that emerged from the call. The county has three other sites already in operation – in North Seattle, Issaquah, and Kent – with a total of 23 people now staying in them. The county says this one will have nursing staff on site when it opens.

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VIRUS CRISS: 4 White Center organizations among recipients of new grants

April 1st, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, White Center news 1 Comment »

Four White Center organizations are getting a share of a new fund. Here are the details, via a county news release:

Public Health—Seattle & King County has assisted the Seattle Foundation and United Way of King County to identify areas of need for over $10 million in grants to community organizations working with vulnerable workers and families impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

More than $10.1 million in grants will support vulnerable families and workers during COVID-19 crisis, through cross-sector partnership hosted by Seattle Foundation.

A new fund is bringing needed support to vulnerable workers and families in the Puget Sound region who were affected first and hardest by the coronavirus crisis. Public Health—Seattle & King County is assisting Seattle Foundation and United Way of King County to identify where the need is greatest and where funds can have the biggest impact.

The COVID-19 Response Fund – hosted and administered by Seattle Foundation – has made over $10 million in grants to 128 community-based organizations, Seattle Foundation announced yesterday. Public Health’s Pandemic Community Advisory Group, which consists of more than 40 local leaders and experts, helped identify grantees. The Advisory Group, Seattle Foundation, United Way of King County, and a diverse set of Fund partners tapped into deep community knowledge to elevate nonprofits that aligned closely with the focus on emergency assistance within disproportionately impacted communities.

With the novel coronavirus, we know there are communities that are most negatively impacted — including people of color, immigrants and refugees, low-wage workers and older people — both in terms of the virus itself as well as the economic impact. With broad representation from many sectors, we were able to focus the funding where the needs are greatest and support our strong, resilient communities,” said Matías Valenzuela, director of Equity and Social Justice for Public Health and a member of Public Health’s Pandemic Community Advisory Group.

The Fund prioritized supporting low-income residents without health insurance and/or access to sick days, low-income workers in healthcare and the service industry, gig-economy workers, communities of color, people experiencing homelessness, as well as people with disabilities, greater health risks, limited English proficiency, and others.

The initial group of grantees includes Asian Counseling and Referral Services, Byrd Barr Place, Casa Latina, Chief Seattle Club, Eastside Refugee & Immigrant Coalition, Seattle Indian Health Board, White Center CDA, and many others. The full list of grantees can be found at www.seattlefoundation.org/COVIDGrants.*

The COVID-19 Response Fund expects to make multiple rounds of grants as the pandemic unfolds. The Fund is supported by a broad coalition of 3,000+ online donors alongside more than 45 partners from philanthropy, business, and government, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the City of Seattle, Connie and Steve Ballmer, King County, Macklemore, Microsoft, Pivotal Ventures, and Seattle Seahawks. Individuals and organizations can donate and find additional information about the COVID-19 Response Fund via www.seattlefoundation.org/covid19.

*Here are the four White Center-specific recipients listed on the Seattle Foundation site:

WestSide Baby, $50,000: WestSide Baby provides essential items to local children in need by collecting and distributing diapers, clothing, and equipment.

White Center CDA, $250,000: White Center CDA promotes a vibrant White Center neighborhood for residents and stakeholders through authentic leadership opportunities and community-led neighborhood initiatives.

White Center Food Bank, $50,000: The White Center Food Bank works to minimize hunger while nourishing community, nurturing self-reliance, and embracing rich cultural diversity.

YES Foundation of White Center, $50,000: The YES Foundation of White Center exists to address the social, economic, educational, physical, and spiritual needs of youth in the White Center area.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: ‘Stay home – stay safe’

March 30th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: ‘Stay home – stay safe’

From the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council:

In keeping with Social Distancing, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council will not be holding the Thursday, April 2nd meeting.

If you have questions or community concerns please contact:

Liz Giba: lgiba@northhighlineuac.org

or

Barbara Dobkin: bdobkin@northhighlineuac.org

Stay Home – Stay Safe

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NEW MURAL: Brightening a boarded-up business

March 30th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Arts, Businesses, White Center news 3 Comments »

While out checking on a few things, we stopped in downtown White Center, where West Seattle muralist Sarah Robbins was working on the boards covering the windows at Beer Star and its (also closed) co-housed businesses. She told us she’s working on the next panel (to the south) after this.

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PARKS: More King County closures

March 25th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Parks, White Center news Comments Off on PARKS: More King County closures

Just announced:

As part of its ongoing efforts to protect public health and curb transmission of COVID-19, King County Parks is closing parks beginning Wednesday, March 25, when parking lot and trailhead gates will be locked, and restrooms will be closed. King County does not have the resources at this time to actively enforce Parks closures and social-distancing guidelines and will rely upon the public to follow the guidelines.

The closure comes on the heels of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, which included guidance to further restrict groups from gatherings.

While visitors will still be able to walk into parks and back country trails and walk and bike on the regional trail network, King County is asking all residents to do their part in stopping the spread of the virus and help save lives by abiding by these closures and all social distancing guidelines. King County also urges visitors to not park illegally on roadways near parks and trails, or block park gates.

On March 20, King County Parks closed all active spaces within parks – including play areas, ballfields, sports courts, and picnic shelters, where appropriate social distancing guidelines would be difficult to maintain.

Find the latest information about any changes to Parks facilities and programming on the King County Parks Plog at kingcountyparks.org/.

King County Parks visitors are encouraged to practice Public Health’s guidelines in preventing the spread of this virus:

Stay at least 6 feet away from others at all times.
Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid contact with people who are sick.
Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

Visit kingcounty.gov/covid to learn more about the virus and how to prevent its spread. Keep updated on the latest developments on the Public Health – Seattle & King County blog at publichealthinsider.com.

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SEEN IN WHITE CENTER: Looking ahead

March 23rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Coronavirus, White Center news 3 Comments »

Seen on Sunday, downtown.

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PARKS: What’s off-limits at King County Parks now

March 23rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Parks, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN photo)

Signs of the times at the Steve Cox Memorial Park tennis courts on Sunday, two days after this joint King County/City of Seattle announcement:

To follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines established by Public Health—Seattle & King County and the Washington Department of Health, King County Parks and Seattle Parks and Recreations are closing sports courts, playground equipment, and other active recreation areas where it could be difficult to maintain recommended social distancing guidelines.

Ballfields and playfields are open for walking and other non-team activities.

The closure includes picnic shelters, basketball and tennis courts, ballfields, and other active recreation locations. Parks, natural lands, regional trails, backcountry trails, and beaches where social distancing can be maintained remain open.

Pick-up games, picnics, and other large gatherings will not be permitted.

Restrooms within parks will continue to be open to the public, and will be cleaned and sanitized frequently.

“With schools closed and people adapting to new work habits, our parks and open spaces can provide an important break in these stressful times. It is clear, however, that we must continue to be vigilant in these places as well, and make sure all our residents put into practice Public Health directives,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Go for a hike. Take the family for a stroll. Kick a soccer ball around with your kids. But use good sense and avoid gatherings, team sports, pick-up games, and playground equipment.”

“Parks are beloved by all, but we must be smart about our behaviors during this unprecedented public health emergency. We are in a new normal. While individuals and families can bike, walk, or run, we cannot allow gatherings at Seattle’s best locations including Alki, Golden Gardens, Seward, Volunteer Park or Magnuson. Every single resident should take social distancing guidelines to heart – it could save someone’s life,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan.

“We know that parks and open space provide a critical support to our communities during this difficult time, and we want to provide these opportunities to find respite and relief in nature, but we need to be able to do so in way that does not work against our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. We encourage residents and visitors to practice social distancing and not participate in organized activities that go against Public Health guidance,” said Jesus Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent. “City and County employees will be reiterating this guidance to individuals who are not practicing social distancing.”

As noted by the National Recreation and Park Association, there are a number of specific recommendations for practicing safe social distancing when in parks or on trails, including:

Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to heading to parks and trails — wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, do not visit public spaces if you have symptoms, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, etc.

Observe at all times CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Keep it as you walk, bike or hike.

Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash, take everything out to protect park workers.

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QUARANTINE/ISOLATION SITE: County’s update on Top Hat location

March 18th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, King County, Top Hat, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN file photo)

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Nobody’s in the Top Hat quarantine/isolation facility (206 SW 112th) yet. But the county is launching weekly community phone meetings for updates and Q&A. We participated in the first one this afternoon.

John Taylor from Local Services, Callie Knight from the Executive’s Office, Brad Binder from Public Health, County Councilmember Joe McDermott were among those on the call.

Regarding the timeline, Knight said the timeline for opening is still “at least a week and a half” away. April 3rd is the target date, to be open for 8 four-unit trailers, including one unit to be used as an on-site office, added Christina Gonzales of Facilities, who joined the call latr. They’re still working on utility hookups. So no one is occupying it yet, but work crews continue their efforts. Demolition of the existing building hasn’t yet been completed – that’s needed to facilitate more modular units.

Regarding health staff on site, Knight said they’re still working on that and whether it would be 24/7 or not. No matter how that works, everyone who occupies the site will have a cell phone and would be checked on by “public health professionals” at least twice a day. If they needed to be moved to a health-care facility, they would be.

As for requiring people to stay there – we’re not in a police state situation, Knight said, but they hope the decision to not house anyone there with behavior-health or social-service needs, they hope it will reduce the possibility. They are working on “notification measures …so that quick communication could happen” if someone does leave against advisement.

Nearby residents are going to get in-person outreach starting tomorrow, with a team of 4 county workers, and they’ve been reaching out to local businesses and apartment managers as well.

Will the food provided for quarantined people come from local providers? They’re working on that, county reps said. Will local volunteers be needed? Coordination of offers of help is in progress. Call participants mentioned that – separate from this – Camp Second Chance on Myers Way is having trouble getting sanitary items.

Want to be on the next call? email cknight@kingcounty.gov

In addition to this site, the county also has opened a former motel in Kent, where three people are now in isolation, and also has leased a motel in Issaquah as well as working on other sites in Bellevue, Interbay, and North Seattle.

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FOOD: Lunches for Highline Public Schools students start today

March 16th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Highline School District, White Center news 1 Comment »

Today’s the first day that Highline Public Schools students will be able to pick up lunches. Times and locations are listed here.

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