North Seattle schools to gain from new budget

The state legislature has passed a new capital budget, and about $20 million of it is headed to Seattle schools — mostly to schools here in North Seattle.

The money is earmarked to “relieve some of the most critical capacity and safety needs created by a decade of extraordinary enrollment growth,” the district said in a press release. “North Seattle schools are experiencing some of the worst overcrowding.”

Of the funding, $6.7 million will go toward adding 10 classrooms to West Woodlands Elementary School. The next biggest chunk, $6.6 million will complement the $30.4 million in local funding to reopen Magnolia Elementary, a historic landmark that has been closed since 2007. Another $1.9 million will complement $39.2 million in local funding for the ongoing expansion of Loyal Heights Elementary (pictured above from the construction webcam).

“I’m particularly pleased by the historic level of funding devoted to invaluable school construction projects, such as the reopening of Magnolia Elementary in 2019, that will build a better Washington for our children and continue to make the 36th Legislative District a great place to live and work,” said Sen. Reuven Carlyle, who represents the Northwest Seattle area.

Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign the budget measure.

Water main break turned tap water brown

Several members of the My Ballard Facebook Group reported seeing brown water from their faucets today. Another resident said The Lockspot Cafe lost water altogether.

We called Seattle Public Utilities, and they said a contractor hit an 8-inch cast iron water main this morning, at 28th Ave. NW and NW 54th St., while moving a street drain inlet. That maps to the Nordic Museum’s construction site.

The pipe has now been repaired, and water color should return to normal quickly, said Andy Ryan, SPU’s spokesperson. He said running your water for a minute or two may help, and he added that the brown water is harmless.

Fremont Brewing to debut geeky beer

It’s fun to watch our local breweries spin up new beers for any occasion. For instance, Fremont Brewing just announced they’re bringing back the “Official Beer of Emerald City Comic Con,” designed for the geekiest drinkers out there.

Called Dark Heron, it’s described as a “loud, expressive IPA” that “stands as a beacon of light and justice.” The beer features artwork created by Seattle artist Jeffrey Veregge.

And yes, it is the official beer of the Emerald City Comic Con (March 1-4), complete with a joint press release with ReedPOP, the organizer of the event. This the third year of the partnership.

Fremont will unveil the beer at its beer garden on February 1.

Last month Reuben’s Brews brought back its Crush the Dark Side beer — complete with Yoda in the artwork — timed to the release of the latest Star Wars movie.

What’s on this weekend in Ballard and beyond

Here’s the list of what’s happening this weekend, including the Smokey Brights (above) rocking the Tractor on Saturday night. Have fun out there!

Friday, January 19

Saturday, January 20

  • SEATTLE WOMEN’S MARCH: Thousands of people will march in support of women’s rights from Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill to the Seattle Center, beginning at 10 a.m.
  • LOCUST CIDER: Ballard’s newest taproom is throwing its official grand opening party with special ciders, giveaways and more, 5-10 p.m., 5309 22nd Ave. NW
  • SECRET CRUSH: Reuben’s Brews is debuting its new IPA, Secret Crush, both on tap and in 4-packs of cans, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., 5010 14th Ave NW
  • BATTLE OF THE BANDS: High school bands duel in a fundraiser for the Ballard High School mountain bike team, Ballard Elks Lodge, 7-10:30 p.m., 6411 Seaview Ave NW
  • OVERTON BERRY: Local jazz legend Overton Berry comes together with special surprise guests at Egan’s Ballard Jam House, two shows at 7 and 9 p.m., $15/$25
  • SMOKEY BRIGHTS: With “crackly and warm guitar-driven rock,” Smokey Brights, Sleeping Lessons and Tellers are playing the Tractor, 9 p.m., $8

Sunday, January 21

Have a Ballard event? Post it for free in the My Ballard event calendar.

Natural gas leak leads to evacuation

Update: The fire department is back out there again after residents reported smelling gas again just before 2 p.m. (Thanks Cass for the tip.)

Earlier: Firefighters responded just before 8 this morning to 1537 NW 56th St. — the address of the Keelson apartments — for a report of a natural gas leak.

When they arrived, they detected enough gas in the air to begin evacuating the 7-story building, according to the scanner. Puget Sound Energy arrived to scene to investigate.

By 9:45 a.m., the leak was contained and fire crews had packed up and left.

(Thanks Silver for the updates!)

Starbucks closes store in Interbay

The Starbucks next to the Red Mill on West Dravus in Interbay closed for good on Sunday.

“As we continue to take steps to make sure we’re meeting customer’s needs, we’ve made the difficult decision to close our location at 1609 West Dravus Street in Seattle,” the Starbucks press team told My Ballard when we asked what happened. “We’re happy to confirm that all Starbucks partners (employees) working at that store have transferred to nearby locations.”

According to county records, the property sold to Six to One LLC in late December. This property listing said the small lot sold for $875,000.

As you can see from the map above — that green dot in the middle of Interbay is the store that closed — Magnolia is down to one location. Central Ballard has 5 Starbucks (3 are inside other stores), and the newest location on 15th gets a heavy amount of drive-through traffic.

“From time to time we make adjustments to make sure we’re providing the right blend of both convenient and premium options to choose from,” Starbucks explained. “Nowhere does this show up more clearly than in Seattle where our stores can feature the convenience of the core Starbucks menu, our immersive coffee bars and the premium Starbucks Roastery on Capitol Hill.”

Of course, there are many other coffee shops in Ballard and Magnolia — many of them independent — so there are always plenty of places to get your coffee fix.

(Thanks Kay for the tip!)

Friday is Diagon Alley’s last day

That’s right, after many thousands of visitors over its nearly three-month run, the Diagon Alley Project in Ballard is coming to an end. It’s last day is tomorrow, January 19th.

“My family needs their privacy back at some point,” creator Jon Chambers said last month when he announced the closure date. (And neighbors will probably be happy to get their street back from all the Harry Potter fans searching for parking.)

Since Chambers donated Diagon Alley to Camp Korey in Mount Vernon, it’s not going away forever. Once its shipped, Chambers says “stay tuned” for information about public events the camp will hold at the new-and-improved alley.

In the meantime, Chambers plans to donate the Leaky Cauldron along with Gringott’s Bank at the Whittier Elementary PTA auction this April. And he’s exploring a brand new project in a undisclosed location in Snoqualmie Valley: building the Burrow, the magical family home of the Weasley family. That is, if he can get the permits.

We’ll wait until after the final day before we publish the tally of how much money the Diagon Alley Project has raised to help fight pancreatic cancer.

Diagon Alley is located at 7514 13th Ave NW.

Briefs: Thunder, mystery noise, Subway bike robbery, Captain America and more…

THUNDER: Did you hear all the thunder last night? A lightning strike was detected in Wallingford near the QFC, but no damage was reported. There were no strikes detected in the Ballard area.

MYSTERY NOISE: My Ballard reader Noreen sent us a note asking about all the noise near 65th and 24th in the morning hours. “It sounds like a leaf blower, only louder,” she says. Adds Gabrielle on Twitter, “(It) sounds *exactly* like the opening of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song.” Any ideas?

SUBWAY BIKE ROBBERY: Police responded to the 4500 block of 9th Ave. NW on Tuesday night for a report of a robbery. According to the scanner, the Subway was robbed at gunpoint, and the suspect was seen escaping on… one of those green rental bikes. (Thanks Silver for the tip.)

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Speaking of bizarre crimes, a suspected package thief caught on camera in Phinney Ridge was carrying a Captain America shield. “Most superheroes you don’t think of stealing people’s mail,” the victim told KIRO TV.

MISSING LINK: There was a big turnout for last night’s Missing Link get-together at Peddler Brewery, featuring councilmember Mike O’Brien, the Cascade Bicycle Club and others supporting opening (closing?) the Missing Link in 2018. (Here’s our earlier story.)

PHINNEY APARTMENTS: The city has approved a rezone for the Phinney property at 7009 Greenwood Ave. N., boosting the high limit up to 65 feet. An apartment complex is planned.

FREMONT OFFICE: That prominent Fremont corner where Stone, 34th and Northlake come together — right next to the Burke Gilman trail — will become the site of a new office development. It will feature a pass-through for pedestrian and cyclists and a rooftop deck.

EL CAMION TRUCK: It took us awhile, but we noticed the El Camion burrito truck has moved across the street and down a bit, next to the drive-through Starbucks on 15th.

(Photo from the Seattle office of the National Weather Service).

Nordic Spirit boat moved to new Nordic Museum

It’s not every day you see a mid-1800s fishing boat traveling down Market St.

With the help of Ballard Transfer Co., the Nordic Heritage Museum has moved the boat, the Nordic Spirit, from the old facility to its new digs on Market St., about a mile away.

The boat is now resting in a brand-new cradle in the museum’s East Garden.

The Nordic Spirit was originally built as a fishing boat in northern Norway in the mid-1800s. In the 1970s, it was taken to Sweden, where an artist added the dragon head and tail (which were removed as a precaution during the move). The boat was later featured in a Volvo-Penta advertising campaign before the museum acquired it in 1980.

Ballard Transfer is also planning to move a Finnish sauna built between 1904 and 1918 by a Finnish-American family in the Finn Hill community near Bothell. Due to height restrictions, they’ll remove the roof and transport it separately.

Construction crews are making good progress at the new museum, which is on schedule to open in early May. The Nordic Museum recently made the NY Times’ list of 52 Places to Go in 2018.

(Photos courtesy of the Nordic Museum.)