Preschool program moving out of Ballard High

After six years, the partnership between Ballard High School and the Casa Maria Montessori preschool, which has been housed at the school rent free, is coming to an end. Tight budgets and a new program means the preschool has to move out the end of June.

BHS Principal Phil Brockman tells our news partners, The Seattle Times, that a new program for students with autism needs the space. “We feel badly that the early-learning program will no longer be housed at Ballard, but we really do not have a choice,” Brockman tells the Times.

The executive director of the preschool, Gail Longo, tells the paper that parents of both preschool students and some high school students are writing Brockman letters not to close the preschool.

The preschool program at Ballard was the last of its kind at Seattle Public Schools, in the wake of two similar programs closing at Nathan Hale and Ingraham. The partnership gave high-school students the opportunity to observe preschool students and learn about early childhood education. Students could even intern at the preschool for one period during the day.

You can read more about this partnership in this Seattle Times article by Andrew Doughman.

Garbage collection normal on Memorial Day

Seattle Public Utilities is reminding folks that garbage, recycling and yard waste collections are on a normal schedule next week, despite the Memorial Day holiday. So if Monday is your collection day, put out everything by 7 a.m. like usual. The North Recycling and Disposal Station (1350 N. 34th St.) in Fremont/Wallingford will also be open during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

Beach naturalists at local beaches for low tide

The Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalists will be at Golden Gardens and Carkeek Park for the low tides expected this weekend.

Kids exploring the tide pools during a 2009 low tide.

“Grab your boots and get ready to learn all about the animals that call our local beaches ‘home,'” the website states. Beach Naturalists will be on hand Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday from noon to 3:30 p.m. and Monday from noon to 3 p.m. “We are here to educate and inspire folks, in hopes that providing knowledge of the creatures and their habitat will lead us all to care more about their habitat and fight to preserve it,” says Beach Naturalist Coordinator Janice Mathisen. Although Beach Naturalists won’t be out on Friday, a low tide of -2.7 is expected at 11:45 a.m. (Disclosure: The Seattle Aquarium is a sponsor of MyBallard.)

Molly Moon’s Ice Cream to hit the road

Our sister blog in Wallingford,, has let us know that after spending the weekend at the Sasquatch Music Festival at The Gorge the roaming Molly Moon’s Ice Cream truck will make its Seattle debut.

They’ll serve up popular flavors such as Salted Caramel, Scout Mint and Theo Chocolate to ice cream-deprived areas of town. The question from Molly is, where should the truck stop? If you’d like it to stop in Ballard, add your suggestion to the growing list on Facebook or send Molly a tweet.

Murder/suicide in Ballard after domestic dispute

Police statement (6:30pm, 5/28): Tonight, Seattle Police released a statement saying they had previously responded to this residence twice before.  No police report was written on those occasions due to a language barrier.  The Office of Professional Accountability is now reviewing the circumstances to see if all procedures were followed.

Updated: Two people are dead after police say a man killed a woman and then killed himself.

Around 10:15 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to a domestic dispute in the 2400 block of NW 57th St. According to police, the 74-year-old suspect beat the victim with a hammer and possibly other objects. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

The suspect jumped to his death from an apartment window on the south side of the building. “It’s nearly impossible to see, but on the sixth or seventh floor, a screen on window is broken outward,” said My Ballard reader Robby, who sent us photos from the scene. Police noticed the screen and then discovered the body below. Investigators believe the two lived together.

Both Homicide and CSI were called to the scene to gather and process evidence. (Thanks Robby for the photos.)

What does Seattle want? How about a nude beach?

Mayor Mike McGinn is asking citizens what Seattle needs. In the “Ideas for Seattle” forum, people are allowed to submit ideas or vote on ideas submitted by others. Taking the top spot with more than 2,000 votes is “Expand as much light rail and subway as possible.” In second place with more than 1,500 votes is “Legalize marijuana and tax it.” Third place is “Set aside park beach areas for European-style, clothing optional recreation (sunbathe + skinny dip).”

Seven suggestions posted on the site have already been completed, including making the “Ideas for Seattle” site an official way to reach out to the city. Four other suggestions are planned.

District Council concerned about Route 44 changes

The Ballard District Council is raising concerns after a presentation to the group by the Seattle Department of Transportation. During the talk, Bill Bryant with SDOT highlighted proposed changes to Metro route 44 and Market Street. (Read about it here.) This week the president of the council sent a letter to Peter Hahn, the director of SDOT, with some concerns about the proposed changes.

An SDOT rendering of a curb bulb

We are concerned by the following proposals:
1) 11th Ave. and Market St.– curb bulb
• A condominium driveway may pass through the curb bulb. This makes the proposed bulb less safe.

2) 14th Ave. and Market St. – stop to be eliminated
• This stop serves those shopping at Ballard Market and Safeway. Without this stop, shoppers will need to cross both Market St. and 15th Ave., or walk to the 11th Ave. stop with their groceries.
• A new high rise 238 unit apartment (Avalon Bay) building will be constructed on the 1400 block of NW Market, increasing demand for bus service.

3) 17th Ave. and Market – stop to be eliminated
• This stop is the primary access point for the Swedish Hospital facility and surrounding medical services. Swedish will open its 6-story family clinic later this year; and has just announced its development of a cancer treatment facility to be located on Tallman Ave across from the hospitals’ main entrance.
• The 80 unit Compass Center project and other likely development activity just north of Market will add to this demand.
• The new apartment building at 1545 NW Market St. recently added 251 new housing units near the east-bound stop at this intersection

4) 26th and Market – stop to be eliminated
• These stops also serve as an additional transfer point to routes 17 and 46. Connection points are crucial to a functioning system
• These stops serve the residents of a dense multifamily neighborhood north of Market St., including the residents of Ballard House, the 85-unit Seattle Housing Authority low income senior housing project at 2445 NW 57th.
• The new Nordic Heritage Museum and other new commercial development (e.g. at the former Jacobsen boat property) is anticipated along Market between 24th NW and 26th NW.

5) 28th and Market – curb bulbs
• The design of this intersection must accommodate turning freight vehicles, access to the future Nordic Heritage Museum, and to commercial redevelopment on the north side of Market.

A look at the pilot project. “Curb lane must turn right except buses.”

The letter to Hahn also questions the planned pilot project for the right-turn only lanes for the east/west-bound traffic at 24th and Market. The letter states that further study is needed before implementation. “Peak summer traffic conditions may not be the ideal time for this experiment,” Jennifer Macuiba, the council president says. In closing, the Macuiba invites SDOT and Metro to a future BDC meeting to answer their concerns.

Pools & community centers have furlough day Friday

The Department of Parks and Recreation has another furlough day tomorrow (Friday May 28th) and next Tuesday. All Parks staff have Monday off for Memorial Day. Staff will be taking the day without pay to help fill the budget gap.

In addition to recreation facilities being closed, garbage cans won’t be emptied at parks tomorrow, nor will the bathrooms be cleaned and maintained. Normal park maintenance will occur throughout the remainder of the weekend. On Memorial Day, limited park maintenance staff will be on duty to empty trash cans and clean restrooms.

“We’ve done everything we can to limit the impacts of the furlough on our patrons, customers and visitors; however, the public will experience parks with diminished maintenance on Friday, May 28,” said Christopher Williams, Acting Superintendent. “If park patrons encounter overflowing trash cans, we encourage you to pack out your own trash. We are asking the community to help us keep our parks clean on the few days this year that we are not able to clean them ourselves.”

Among the facilities and services that will be closed on Friday include community centers (except child care and late night programs, which will still operate), swimming pools, environmental learning centers, lifelong recreation (except food and fitness programs) and the business service center. On Tuesday, administrative offices will be closed.

Other sites/facilities, including golf courses, special events, the Amy Yee Tennis Center and the Seattle Aquarium will be assigning furlough dates individually to employees to ensure that they stay open to the public.

New Ballard park selected for sustainable initiative

The new 9th Ave NW Park is one of two Seattle parks selected to participate in a nationwide sustainable landscape pilot project.

A drawing of the park design unveiled at the final community meeting courtesy Site Workshop. There is a p-patch to the left, green space in the middle and a play area to the right. While the features are the same, some of the shapes and sizes of each area have changed as the design process continues.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) is a voluntary program that uses a 250-point rating system to determine how green a park is. The rating system includes landscape design, construction and maintenance. The 9th Ave NW Park, which sits between NW 70th and NW 73rd St, is currently in the design phase. According to the Parks Department,

“This new park has been developed to reflect the site’s past and the environmentally conscious neighborhood’s future. A community garden will continue the site’s history of food production, while many site relics will be reused within the park design. At the street edge, unnecessary paving is reclaimed for use as rain gardens. These gardens will buffer the park from the road and clean and store stormwater taken directly from the street. This will benefit King County’s combined sewer system, which will improve Puget Sound water quality.”

SITES will use feedback from the 9th Ave NW Park, and 150 other pilot sites nationwide for their final rating system and reference guide. “The U.S. Green Building Council, a stakeholder in the Sustainable Sites Initiative, anticipates incorporating the guidelines and performance benchmarks into future iterations of its LEED® Green Building Rating System™,” a release from the Parks Department states.

Bradner Gardens Park is in southeast Seattle is the second park selected. KCTS 9 in Seattle and the Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens at the Seattle Center are also on the list of pilot projects.

Beware of aggressive crows

Each springtime crows become loud, aggressive and territorial.

Deepballard writes this warning in the forum:

Was walking south on 32nd, just before 62nd, when a crow dive bombed me from a tree, attacking my head. I thought someone had thrown something at my head until I heard the wings and saw the crow flying back up into the tree. Has this happened to anyone else? I know crows are territorial- so look out at that corner (west side of the street).

The crow scratched Deepballard on the head and drew blood, which the poster cleaned up with hydrogen peroxide. Deepballard asks, “Anyone know if crows carry communicable diseases?”