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August 19, 2011     West Seattle Herald
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August 19, 2011

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West Sea00'00 White Cel NEWSPAPER SINCE 1923 217 W COTA ST Friday, August 9, 201 Vol. 93 No. 33 50 Nearly 200 rapp.el ltalnler Tower West Seattleites organize and operate event to raise funds for Special Olympics By Steve Shay Some call it the "upside down pencil", others "the flower vase building", but whatever its nick- name, the 514-foot Rainier Tower, the one with the "bite" taken out of it at the bottom, presents a chal- lenge for the nearly 200 participants who each raised at least $1,000 to rappel 1301 Fifth Ave. The event is called "Over the Edge". Friday, Aug. 12 was "Press Day", while on Saturday and Sunday the building hosted the bulk of brave amateur athletes and donors. Spe- cial Olympics Washington has raised over $233,000 for this event. Last year they raised $181,000. Sponsors include Root Sports, a group of regional sports net- works owned by DirecTV Sports Networks, affiliated with the over- all Fox Sports Net system and K2 Sports, which officially moved off Vashon Island and is now at 4201 6th Ave. S., two blocks east of the 4th Avenue South Costco. Roughly one third of K2 Sports' over 250 employees live in West Seattle. "This is our second year spon- soring Over the Edge," Mike Gutt, Global Marketing Manager, K2 Sports and Lowman Beach resi- dent. 'q'his event is in our backyard and we wanted to be a part of it. We have been supporting Special Alki resident Mike Powell rappels Rainier Tower for the Special Olympics' 2nd annual "Over the Edge ". He is with K2 Sports that co-sponsored the event which raised over $200,O00 Aug. 12-14. Photo s by Steve Shay West Seattle residents Mike Gutt, top and Mike Powell, lower left, rappel Rainier Tower for the Special Olympics'2nd annual "Over the Edge". They are colleagues with K2 Sports that co-sponsored the event that raised over $200,O00 Aug. 12-14 weekend. Olympics Washington since 2006 with other activities and sponsor- ship?' Gutt has guts and went over the edge both last year and this year. "I enjoyed going down it again," said Gutt. "My plans for the future include drinking that can of beer over there as fast as humanly pos- sible?'  I am very proud this building is hosting the event. This is exciting.  Laura Thomas, Building manager for Rainier Tower He began the descent with co- worker and Alki resident Mike Powell, Ski Team Manager and Marketer for K2's Inline Skate division, which, he said, rounds out their winter ski equipment busi- ness. Gutt help organize the event, while Powell is emcee and armed with a mike and large speakers, gently taunts the rappellers to the delight of their family members with heads cranked skyward. He emceed a large ski jump event a year ago 4th of July in front of Caesar's Palace. "This was my first time," Powell said of his descent. "It's a lot more scary dropping off the building than standing on the ground talking on a microphone?' Sarah Thibaudeau lives near the Morgan Junction and is stationed at the Tower helping out all week- end. She is with Special Olympics' development department. Laura Thomas, also of West Seattle, is the building manager for Rainier Tower, a Unico Property. She keeps track of activities on the roof but said she is not planning to rappel. "I am very proud this building is hosting the event;' she said. "This is exciting." Mandy Wohr lives near West- field Village and volunteered for the weekend fundraiser. "I love the Special Olympics" she said. "I volunteered in high school and col- lege. I read about last year's event and thought it was a great idea." Norm Smith, a West Seattle High School class of '74 grad, will be racing up and down the elevator this weekend helping out and tak- ing pictures from the roof. Smith has been on the Special Olympics Board of Directors for nine years. "My son, Ian, rappels on Sun- day," Smith said proudly of his 25 year-old, adding, "My 24 year-old son Zachery is a Special Olympics athlete and will be sworn in as a Special Olympics Board Member August 18.'" Steve Shay can be reached at steves @ L-IIG: III IIIIIIkltJ. Village Green Nursery holds an =ce cream socml. Vera Johnson's home and business are awaiting a Bank of America decision By Patrick Robinson Vera Johnson of White Center's Village Green Nursery has become something of a poster child for banks vs. the people in the last few weeks with attention from the media focused on her fight with Bank of America for a loan modi- fication. Last week she delivered 10,000 signatures to the bank from an online petition hosted by She learned at that meeting that while her home and business are not yet in foreclosure proceedings; her ultimate fate is still undeter- mined. That petition has now risen to more than 13,100 signatures and is still going. "The day after that meeting they called me and said they were missing a very important part of information. They need it in writ- ing when my spousal support ends. I get it for another year and they wanted to know if they could use it as part of my income so I told them, 'No, don't use it because it ends.'" The spousal suppoa helps care for Johnson's daughter Johanna and son Rowan. In the meantime friends, neigh- bors and customers attended an Ice Cream Social at the Nursery on Aug. 13 featuring Full Tilt Ice Cream and music by Squirrel But- ter. Full T'dt's Justin Cline was on hand to serve up raspberry cones and others were on hand to help sell the 50% off perennials the nursery was featuring. Johnson should learn the banks decision this week but she's not standing still. "I'm going to start Patrick Robinson Vera Johnson, owner of l411age Green Nursery was happy with the support she has got- ten in her fight with Bank of America for a loan modifica- tion on her home and busi- ness. Justin Cline (upper right) of Full Tilt Ice Cream was on hand lending his support. writing Fannie Mae because they are the servicer of my loan,' Johnson said, "I'm just going to go right to the source" She hopes they will intervene or otherwise get involved. Her sense oftrust in Bank of America is gone largely because her numerous attempts to get a loan modification for the past 18 months have been unsuccessful. When she asked the bank at her last meeting for something in writing on this upcoming decision they refused. "They told me to trust them. That was exactly what they said. 'You're just going to have to trust us.'" Patrick Robinson can be reached at You're invited to 00Prudential Northwest Realty Associates Open House Weekend Saturday & 19th 21st 3 to 6 pin & Sun. 1 to 4 " For listings, go to 932-45oo 47oo 42nd S.W., Ste. 6oo