New Years polar bear plunge at Golden Gardens

Updated: In 20+ MPH winds on a cold, rainy day, dozens of Ballard residents took the plunge at Golden Gardens. And of course, we shot some video:

Sometimes, one photo says at all.

Officially, the water temperature was 49 degrees, and the wind was blowing at full tilt. And some folks, believe it or not, went back for a second plunge.

But most couldn’t wait to get out of the water and stand by the fire.

It wasn’t the only polar bear plunge in Seattle: our friends at the West Seattle Blog videotaped a similar event at Alki today, and over a thousand people made the plunge into Lake Washington at Magnuson Park.

Earlier: Need a little jolt to kick the year off right? Head on down to Golden Gardens at noon on New Years Day for a polar bear plunge. There will be a bon fire, hot chocolate and costumes are encouraged. Some of the events include “Dive For It” and the “Goin’ Long Football Catch” as well as “Ooops, I Forgot My Bathing Suit.” And after the festivities, participants can down a free drink at the Lock & Keel to warm up (5144 Ballard Ave NW.)

We’ll be there snapping photos, and we’ll post them here on My Ballard.

Walgreens robbery suspect arrested

Seattle Police say they’ve arrested a suspect in the armed robbery Tuesday morning at the Ballard Walgreens. Police say the man robbed the pharmacy for prescription drugs and escaped on foot.

The case is similar to a robbery at a Maple Leaf pharmacy on December 21st, and police say they believe the man is responsible for both. They’re also investigating to see if he’s linked to more unsolved cases. (Thanks Artman!)

Mimi Gelato opens on Market Street

The little corner space on Market Street once occupied by Pauline’s Pastry, in the diagonal alley between Azteca and Anchor Tattoo, is home to Ballard’s newest sweet spot – Mimi Gelato.

After a recent trip to San Francisco, the owner’s wife tried some “incredible gelato,” Will tells us. “Needless to say that was the spark that started it all.” When the space at 2315 NW Market came available, they jumped on it.

The small shop sells locally made gelato from locally-purchased ingredients. The gluten-free treats come in many flavors including chocolate, pistachio, panna cotta, hazelnut (nutella), blood orange, pear, pineapple, coffee, wild berry, rice and lemon. Starting next week Will says they’ll have two flavors designed by them: black sesame and matcha (green tea.)

There’s also a bit of local history built into the new spot. “The counter tops and benches in the shop are reclaimed wood from Ballard Kitchen. Sixty or so years ago the kitchen was the Ballard fish market,” Will says.

Mimi Gelato is open Wednesday through Sunday noon to 8 p.m.

Live music on New Year’s Eve in Ballard

Here’s a list of the live music in Ballard for New Year’s Eve. If we don’t get everything here, list them in comments or send us an email:

  • The Tractor Tavern will be celebrating both Manhattan New Year’s Eve and Seattle New Year’s Eve . The Dusty 45s plus Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands will be playing two concerts Thursday night. The first starts at 6:30 p.m., the second at 10 p.m.
  • The Dudley Manlove Quartet will be playing at the Sunset Tavern at 9:30 p.m.
  • The Ian McFeron Band will be playing at Conor Byrne starting at 9 p.m.
  • The theme at Egan’s Ballard Jam House is “New Year’s Around the World.” At 7 p.m. – Le Trio, with Michael Owcharuk (piano/accordion), Nate Omdal (bass) and Mike Dodge (clarinet/tenor sax) will play, followed by Leif Totusek and Mohammed Shaibu at 9 p.m.
  • If you’d rather be the performer, Wingmasters is hosting a karaoke night on New Year’s Eve. (Disclosure: Wingmasters is a sponsor of MyBallard.)
  • Talk with Rep. Carlyle before legislature convenes

    36th District Rep Reuven Carlyle will be hosting four coffee hours around the district on Saturday, January 9 in order to meet with community members before the start of the upcoming legislative session.

    “The Legislature convenes on January 11 and we’re again facing a massive deficit of nearly $3 billion,” Carlyle said in a press release today. “It’s critical that I hear from our community directly about your views, issues, concerns and thoughts on the budget, taxes, education and other important issues. I’m asking people to reach out and share your views so I can better represent you in Olympia during these difficult times.”

    Coffee hour times and locations:

  • Crown Hill: 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Caffé Fioré (3125 W 85th St.)
  • Greenwood: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Herkimer (7320 Greenwood Ave. N)
  • Magnolia: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Serendipity (3222 W McGraw St.)
  • Queen Anne: 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Caffé Fioré (224 W Galer St.)
  • Procession for boy who died of cancer

    A few My Ballard and Fremont Universe readers emailed us to ask about a procession of Okanogan Sheriff’s vehicles seen driving east on Market St. at 9:30 this morning. Turns out, it was a caravan escorting the body of 8-year-old Parker Brown — the son of an Okanogan Sheriff’s deputy — who died after a six-year struggle with cancer. The boy’s family along with deputies and police officers from several agencies spanning the state participated in the procession today to bring the boy home from Ballard to Okanogan. A very heartbreaking story.

    Good Samaritans help fallen cyclist

    Several Good Samaritans helped a bicyclist this morning, after falling at the railroad tracks along Shilshole Ave under the Ballard Bridge where the Burke Gilman Trail guides people at a right angle to cross the tracks.

    A MyBallard reader writes that several drivers got out and helped the cyclist after the accident around 8:15 this morning. “The biker said no vehicle was involved,” he says, “It appeared that he lost control of his bike crossing the (presumably) frozen tracks and fell on his face. The visor on his helmet was broken.” The emailer says that people helping this bicyclist commented on the frequency of these types of accidents. In fact, he saw one several weeks ago at this same location, “He was riding very carefully and going slowly. Thank goodness he was wearing a helmet. The bicyclist today was also saved from more severe injury by his helmet and visor.” (Copyright photo L..P. O’Donnell used with permission. Photo edited by photographer.)

    Viking Bank agrees to tighter oversight by FDIC

    Viking Bank (2227 N.W. 57th St.) has agreed to stricter requirements by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Washington Department of Financial Institutions (WDFI.)

    According to the Seattle Times, four more Washington banks, including Viking, have recently been placed under tighter scrutiny. The “Consent Order” for Viking Bank was issued on November 4, 2009 by the FDIC and WDFI (link to .pdf of Consent Order found on this page).

    Under the Consent Order, Viking Bank agrees to the stricter oversight “without admitting or denying any charges of unsafe or unsound banking practices relating to weaknesses in capital, asset quality, management and earnings,” the Consent Order states. The Seattle Times says,

    The orders vary in their specific terms and conditions, but in general they require banks to clear senior-management changes with regulators; increase capital levels; adopt plans to purge bad loans from their books; and reduce overreliance on certain loan categories, such as commercial real estate.

    In addition, the banks generally cannot pay cash dividends, either to individual shareholders or their holding companies, without regulators’ approval.

    Emily Wiseman, Marketing Director for Viking Bank, says that like many small-town banks, they have their share of issues. For about a year they’ve been making their own changes and the requirements by the FDIC and WDFI were not a surprise. “We’re very confident in the direction we’re going,” she says. Viking Bank has been pro-active in reaching out to their customers and Wiseman stresses that this order has absolutely no affect on the safety of customer deposits. She says that they welcome questions from both customers and non-customers alike who are looking for more clarification. (Thanks BBO for posting this in the forum.)