Longtime Ballard pastor passes away

After battling lung cancer for more than a year, Reverend Malcolm Unseth of Ballard First Lutheran Church passed away last Saturday evening.

Rev. Unseth, pictured here during the 2008 Blessing of the Fleet, was instrumental in the development of the Fishermen’s Memorial and chaired the Memorial Committee. Heidi Eriksen emailed us:

Anyone who was a part of ‘Old Ballard’ knew Malcolm Unseth. He was the longtime Pastor at Ballard First Lutheran Church were he blessed the fishing fleet, cooked salmon at the Seafood fest and was an integral part of the Ballard community. “Pastor Unseth” as I knew him, was a part of my family for over forty years. My parents were married by him over 35 years ago, I was baptized by him as an infant and he helped my family say goodbye to several lost loved ones. He was and is, a true part of the Ballard community and will be deeply missed!

According to Rev. Unseth’s obituary, a “Celebration of Life” service will be held Saturday, May 2, at 2 p.m. at Ballard First Lutheran. Memorials may be given to Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial Scholarship Fund, Dearborn Park Elementary School 2nd Grade, or to ELCA Hunger Relief — designate “life-giving water” or “God’s global barnyard.”

‘Dine out for Life’ in Ballard

A handful of Ballard restaurants are participating in the 16th annual “Dining Out For Life” event this Thursday. BalMar, Hattie’s Hat, King’s Hardware, Pasta Bella, Ballard Brothers Seafood and Burgers, Ray’s Boathouse, Ray’s Café and Volterra are all participating: 30% of your breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or drinks bill will go directly to the Lifelong AIDS Alliance, and the fight against illness and hunger in our community. Check here for more details on participating restaurants and which meals apply. (Full disclosure: Ballard Brothers is a sponsor on My Ballard.)

Meet Ballard’s highest-tech commuter

We’ve all seen Segways here and there, even at the Ballard Farmer’s Market. But we watched this gentleman, clad in a suit and tie, effortlessly cruise along the side of Phinney Ave. and drop down into Ballard like he does this every day.

And he does. The man told us, through our open window, that he commutes every day between his home near Swanson’s Nursery to Pioneer Square.

Update: The high-tech commuter has added more details in comments below. “It takes me about 40-50 minutes for my 8-10 mile commute (depends on which streets I take). I have been commuting this way for about 8 months and have clocked about 1400 miles on the Segway,” he writes. “It really is great fun!!!”

Makeover planned for Old Ballard building

For nearly 80 years, the Kolstrand Marine Supply Company worked out of this building just south of Ballard Hardware at 4743 Ballard Ave NW.

Last summer, the building sold, and workers have been busy stripping the inside, but they’ve been careful to leave many original touches: exposed hand-painted brick, masonry block walls and exposed old growth re-sawn lumber.

Developers are planning to adapt the early 1900’s structure to include a retail and restaurant space, as well as offices and work/loft units. The plan includes adding another floor. Here’s a look at a preliminary sketch:

The developers are still waiting for approval on city permits, but this Friday they’re inviting the public to attend an open house. “They’d love to get feedback from locals and suggestions about what they’d like to see in the building, which is why they’re holding the open house so early in the process,” said Abby Calvo, who sent us a press release on the event. Graham Baba Architects and developers evo Properties and CD-Dev will be on hand to discuss the project. That’s this Friday, 3 to 9 p.m., at 4743 Ballard Ave. Refreshments will be provided.

You can see a lot more photos and details on The Kolstrand Building’s website.

All-star cast at new French restaurant

We’ve been covering the transformation of the old Obermaier Machine Works building on Ballard Ave. into Bastille Cafe & Bar, a new French restaurant.

Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson has the scoop on some of the big names behind the project. The owners are Deming Maclise of Caffe Fiore and James Weimann, who started El Camino and Peso’s, among others. And the executive chef, Shannon Galusha, has worked at Veil, Campagne, French Laundry and Rue Balzac. And that’s not all: Peter Lewis, the founder of Campagne, will help with day-to-day operations. It’s enough to Leson write that Bastille is “set to be this year’s Major Restaurant Opening.” Bastille will feature seating for 165 people in the restaurant and bar, a takeout window, authentic French furnishings and a huge rooftop garden. Lots more on Leson’s blog post right here.

Greener Lifestyles is saying goodbye

After nearly six years on Ballard Ave, Greener Lifestyles is closing.

We spoke with the owner today who says that she’s been living a schizophrenic life, jostling between the retail store and her manufacturing business. With the economic downturn she’s been motivated to choose one or the other. She chose to keep manufacturing the sustainable furniture that her shop sells. “What I’ll miss the most is the community. The people. It’s almost like Cheers,” as she breaks into song, “Where everybody knows your name…” Tomorrow night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. she’s throwing a “gratitude gathering” to say thank you.

She doesn’t know what will replace her, but she wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a restaurant since that’s the trend these days. The space also comes with a good-size backyard that has been unused for years.

Whittier Elementary to get new principal

Whittier Elementary is getting a new principal starting the 2009-2010 school year. Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and Chief Academic Officer Carla Santorno have confirmed Linda Robinson to the post. Ms. Robinson has served six years as principal at Bryant Elementary and as assistant principal and head teacher at Kimball Elementary. She received her BA in English Literature from the University of Oregon, her K-12 certification from the University of Hawaii, her reading endorsement from Seattle Pacific University and her principal certification and a Masters of Education from UW.

New outdoor seating in Ballard

Just in time for the sun, several Ballard eateries have opened outdoor seating areas. The deck to the right is at La Carta de Oaxaca on Ballard Ave. We’re told it has a peek-a-boo view of the Ship Canal and heating for those cooler days and evenings we’ve been having. The long communal table can be reserved.

Honore, the French bakery at 14th & 70th, is taking advantage of the sunshine. They opened this small patio in back a few weeks ago.

Given Honore’s limited seating inside and their popularity, people we talked to are excited about this. And as we’ve reported, Hamburger Harry’s on Market has applied for sidewalk seating, so stay tuned for that.