A new look for an old pub

Since early July, Conor Byrne has been undergoing a transformation. Now the facelift is almost complete.

General manager Diarmuid Cullen tells us that they were inspired by the original Owl Saloon (shown below).

The new facade even includes a revolving window above the door like the old pub.

In case you can’t remember what Conor Byrne used to look like, here’s a photo.

Turkey Trot raises thousands for Food Bank

Although the final numbers aren’t in yet, Nancy McKinney thinks that last week’s Turkey Trot raised thousands for the Ballard Food Bank.

McKinney, the director for the Ballard Food Bank believes the 3rd annual Thanksgiving 5k raised much more than last year’s $2,500 donation, “I suspect it will be over $15,000. We feel so blessed!” she tells us. The participation fee wasn’t the only way people could donate. Dante (shown above) brought out his cart for the hungry runners and walkers. “Dante not only brings his cart quarterly to the food bank to give lunches to people – no charge; he also brought his cart to the turkey trot and for a $5 donation he gave out a juice and a sausage sandwich,” McKinney says. (Thanks Nancy for the photo!)

Buy in Ballard and you could win a shopping spree

This holiday season if you shop in Ballard, you could find yourself going on a shopping spree worth $1,000. As part of the Holidays in Ballard campaign, the In Ballard Merchants Association is hosting a scavenger hunt from now until January 2, 2010. Look for one of these tags at these participating businesses (.pdf) and enter to win a Ballard shopping spree worth a grand. The drawing takes place on the final day of the scavenger hunt.

Food Network shoots show in Ballard

After postponing their shoot for a week, the crew for the Food Network show on street foods came out to the Ballard Farmers Market yesterday.

Robby sent us this photo and says he was their around 10:30 a.m. We’re told that they profiled Veraci Pizza while at the Farmers Market.

Later in the day, the Food Network crew showed up at Sip and Ship where folks were lining up at Skillet, which was parked in the driveway. “The buzz was all about their “bacon jam” which is also on Martha Stewart’s best gift list for the favorite foodies in your life. The Skillet has been shipping their bacon jam all over the world,” Sip & Ship owner Diana Naramore tells us. She says Skillet will be back in their driveway sometime in December. (Sip & Ship is a sponsor of MyBallard.)

House fire in Sunset Hill

Update 5:20 p.m. Firefighters quickly extinguished a basement fire this evening in a home on 65th St., just west of 34th Ave.

Fire crews reported smoke coming from the Sunset Hill house when they arrived at 4:50 p.m. A few minutes later, the fire was out.

A large dispatch of fire units lined 65th St. from nearly 32nd Ave. down to the fire scene. We heard one of the fire crews talking about water pressure issues with one of the engines, which may be due to this afternoon’s water main break that has resulted in low water pressure in Sunset Hill.

Dozens of neighbors watched firefighters put out the blaze. Fortunately, there’s no report of any injuries.

Water main break impacting Ballard area

Update 5:30 p.m.: Seattle Public Utilities says Ballard customers should expect reduced water pressure and mild discoloration until approximately 9 p.m. tonight. “The water remains well within safe drinking levels,” explains Jenna Franklin with SPU. “This type of break typically occurs during cold and rainy weather when waterlogged ground soil shifts and the cold ground pipes can’t accommodate the added pressure against the sealed joints.”

Update 2:45 p.m.: A large water main broke along Leary Way this afternoon, and many residents in the Ballard area are experiencing low pressure and seeing brown water come out of their faucets. Most of the reports that we’ve seen have come from the Sunset Hill area.

Seattle Public Utilities says the break is under Leary Way and 39th St. in Fremont (above). Crews have dug into the street to fix the break.

Public Utilities told us there’s no estimated time to fix it, and My Ballard reader Jen says they told her it will take a few hours, then a bit longer to flush out the brown water. If you’re seeing brown water, they recommend you avoid running hot water to minimize filling the hot water tank with turbid water. If you are washing clothes, it is better to stop the cycle while it is full and wait until clean water is available to finish. More information about brown water here.

Traffic along Leary Way in Fremont is diverted down to one lane in each direction. At last check, traffic was backed up a couple blocks in both directions. (Thanks Karen and Jen for the tips!)

Christmas tree lots start popping up

Once again this holiday season, Boy Scout Troop 100 will be setting up its annual Christmas tree lot in the St. Alphonsus Church parking lot.

Most of the trees are hand picked by some of the troop’s fathers and sons. “This scout is working with one of our many growers to hand-select some of the trees that we’ll begin selling this weekend. Selection work begins way back in August!” tree lot manager and Boy Scout dad Dan Cress tells us. This is the one and only fundraiser for the troop and has been a tradition for nearly 60 years. The trees go on sale this Sunday through December 20th.

Just up 15th, Jimmy Wild will open his Christmas tree lot at Top Banana today, the day after Thanksgiving. He’ll have eight different varieties of trees for sale.

Whale spotted near the Locks?

My Ballard reader Dan said he spotted what appears to be a small gray whale just west of the Ballard Locks around noon on Wednesday, and he sent us this photo. He said it was there for about 20 minutes and then disappeared.

We called the Army Corps at the Locks as well as Shilshole Marina, but both said they hadn’t seen or heard about a whale in the area. It’s not out of the realm of possibility: a gray whale was seen near the Locks several years ago.