Zoo euthanizes last ostrich in African Savanna

The Woodland Park Zoo no longer has ostriches in the African Savanna exhibit.

Ozzie the ostrich, shown in forefront, courtesy Dennis Dow.

This week, Ozzie the 12-year-old male ostrich was euthanized after an apparent fall into a water tub in the African Savanna. Although veterinary staff tried to stabilize him and treat his injuries, the ostrich was in obvious pain. “The bird progressively declined and euthanasia was the most humane option for this 250-pound patient,” said Dr. Darin Collins, director of Woodland Park Zoo’s Animal Health. Preliminary necropsy findings confirmed leg and head trauma with extensive soft tissue muscle damage.

The female ostrich in the exhibit was euthanized less than two weeks ago after a critical leg injury during a diagnostic medical procedure to treat a chronic fungal infection. According to the zoo, a post-mortem examination confirmed a pelvic bone fracture and a life-threatening systemic infection of the reproductive tract.

The zoo is looking into options but has no immediate plans to replace the ostriches.

Ballardite finds new use for old gear in South Africa

Before 2005 Ballard High School grad Chris Kaimmer arrived in Mtubatuba, South Africa, young soccer players in the little town in the KwaZulu-Natal province didn’t have the right gear for the game.

A Mtuba soccer player in a borrowed green jersey.

Kaimmer is a volunteer with Grassroot Soccer, a non-profit that uses soccer-based activities to teach South African kids about HIV/AIDS. He also volunteers as a coach with the U-10 team at the Mtbua Football Academy. Kaimmer, a soccer player himself, started playing here in north Seattle, played varsity for BHS and went on to play at Yale before graduating last spring.

“When I first started coaching at the academy, I noticed they really lacked even basic equipment, especially for the level of soccer these kids are playing at (true talent out here and committed coaches),” Kaimmer says. The eight and nine-year-olds he coaches wore often unwashed green jerseys lent to them on game days by the primary school. “Although this was a fantastic situation for any of the Sounders fans among the MFA U-10 squad,” Kaimmer says, “it was actually really embarrassing for the boys because the official team colors are Red, Royal and White and they were the only team in the Academy that didn’t have the right gear.”

Kaimmer contacted his soccer friends back home in Ballard and the response was overwhelming. “Gear that’s old or unwanted back home can get so many more seasons’ mileage over here,” he says. We “ended up getting a huge amount of viking ship-emblazoned Ballard Youth Soccer Club jerseys, goalie jerseys, gloves and soccer boots donated to the cause and dropped at my folks’ house. Then one of my old coaches from the BHS soccer team, Dan Shiels, did a fundraiser to raise money to ship all that stuff down here to South Africa.”

Kaimmer and Mtuba Football Academy players.

“The boys’ reaction was overwhelming on the day the jerseys arrived. I dumped the jerseys out on the grass so they could see them, and the 8- and 9-year olds erupted into a rush to locate the jersey with their favorite South African player’s number on it.” Kaimmer remembers, “It was awesome. I think they were just so happy to have something that was specifically for their team, since the U-10s are always at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to equipment.”

“Despite the great equipment we now have, there are other items we still need and constant expenses involved in supporting the Academy’s poorest players,” Kaimmer says, so he has created a donation section on his blog dedicated to the Mtuba Football Academy. “Any donations will be processed securely through Google Checkout. Though funds donated in this way normally go to a general fund to support my year as a volunteer, I’ll assume that any donations which come in from now on are for the Mtuba Football Academy, and I will ensure they go towards Academy-related projects. Or people can get in touch with me through my blog to request that their donation go to a specific item or project,” he tells us.

“Given how much I love my home neighborhood, I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart to see little Zulu kids in deep, rural South Africa running around playing soccer in Ballard soccer jerseys,” says Kaimmer.

Woman attacked with stun gun in North Beach

MyBallard has learned that a woman in North Beach is one of three victims of a group that’s been attacking women with stun guns.  The attack in our area happened May 19 in the 9300 block of 22nd Ave NW.  The woman had just returned from a trip to the grocery store when the group tried to use the stun gun on her.  They missed, but she fell and hit her head.  The group took her wallet and fled in a silver sedan.

The same thing happened to a woman in Fremont on May 17 and a woman in Greenwood on May 20.  Seattle Police tell us they believe the same people are responsible for all 3 attacks.  The suspects are described as a black man in his mid 20’s with a slender build, a heavyset black woman in her 20’s, and an Asian woman.  In each case, they fled in a silver sedan.  That car, which turned out to be stolen, was later found abandoned.  The search for the attackers continues.

Community Center postcard campaign underway

The “Save Ballard’s Community Centers” postcard campaign is getting city-wide attention.

This morning we met up with Amy Janas at the Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave NW) just as she was finishing up an interview with Chris Sullivan of KIRO-Radio. Sullivan tells us this campaign will be featured on the air Wednesday morning.

Janas says that it has been a good day so far. Before noon she tells us she’s handed out nearly 200 postcards to people dropping their kids off at Adams Elementary, driving by or heading into the community center for an activity. Up at the Loyal Heights Community Center (2101 NW 77th St), Mindy Terence tells us that she has distributed about 150 cards. Both plan to take a lunch break but will set up their tables again this afternoon. Terence says she’ll be sticking around LHCC until about 6 p.m. to get people as they’re coming home from work.

The goal of the postcards, which are addressed to Mayor Mike McGinn, is to let city officials know that the community wants both centers saved from budget cuts, Janas says. She tells us that postcards should be sent by June 1, when Mayor McGinn is expected to make budget decisions.

Updated:: Organizers have dropped postcards off at the following locations:

Sip & Ship Ballard, 1752 NW Market St. (in front of the coffee prep/coffee machine)
Ballard Community Center (tucked away in the lobby and in the tot room.)
Sunset Hill Green Market, 6405 32nd Ave NW (at the register and near the fresh bread)
Walter’s Coffee Shop, 6408 32nd Ave NW (under the window with the community info)
Sunset Hill Barber, 6404 32nd Ave NW (Ask Gene!)
Cafe Fiore, 32nd NW & NW 85th (in the community area)
Adams Elementary (in the office in the community area)
Ballard Library (in the lobby)
Larsen’s Bakery (8000 24th Ave NW)

You can reach this group via email at: saveballardscommunitycenters@gmail.com.

Stowell bringing a little ‘Staple & Fancy’ to Ballard

Named for a newly-exposed old brick wall in the Kolstrand building (4742 Ballard Ave), chef Ethan Stowell is opening “Staple & Fancy” in the refurbished building on Ballard Ave.

Stowell, who hit the Seattle restaurant scene a few years ago with Union, has opened several more restaurants around town including Tavolata, How to Cook a Wolf, and Anchovies & Olives.

According to our news partners, the Seattle Times, the new restaurant will have 35 seats in the dining room with eight more at the bar. You will either be able to order off the ala carte menu or order the chef’s mutli-course dinner. Stowell will be the head chef at Staple & Fancy and tells the Times, “We’re going to heavily encourage people to put themselves in my hands.”

You can read more on Staple & Fancy in Nancy Leson’s piece.

Last week: Award winning chef to open oyster bar in Ballard

Ballard Bridge inspected after small quake

1:15pm update: Crews have finished their inspections and found no damage.

Original report: You probably didn’t feel the 3.4 quake near Duvall around 5:20 this morning, but that small shaker has crews out inspecting the Ballard Bridge and the Magnolia Bridge.  SDOT calls those bridges “indicator posts” that show if further inspections need to be done across the city.  While some crews may be seen on the deck on the Ballard Bridge this morning, most of the inspection of the Magnolia Bridge will take place under the structure.

SeafoodFest 2010 seeking volunteers

The annual Ballard SeafoodFest is just around the corner and organizers are looking for volunteers.

The crowd at SeafoodFest 2009

“We are looking for help with set-up and tear-down, selling raffle tickets, being part of the ‘green team’ for recycling and trash, ice wrangling, music stage volunteers and working with children in the Kids Zone.” Joanne Orsucci the SeafoodFest 2010 volunteer coordinator tells us. “With expanded hours, we’ll also be adding a couple of new ‘Team Shifts’ to the Information Booth and Salmon BBQ.”

Individuals, organizations and businesses are welcome to volunteer or provide four or eight volunteers for the available shifts. If you’re interested you can email seafoodfestvolunteer@hotmail.com. You can also keep up with information on SeafoodFest on their Facebook page.

This year’s event is two weeks earlier than in years past. Mark your calendar for July 10th and 11th.

Fish ladder closed for cleaning

The fish ladder at the Ballard Locks is closed for its annual cleaning.

Photo Courtesy of USACE/Historical Collection Lake Washington Ship Canal

“Most of the fish ladder plaza area and the ramp to the viewing room will be closed to the public,” states the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) website. The cleaning, which got underway yesterday, will wrap up on Friday, June 4th.

Each spring the USACE gets the fish ladder ready for thousands of adult salmon to migrate upstream to spawn. According to the USACE, approximately 33,702 sockeye, 5,082 chinook and 20,732 coho adult salmon made their way up the fish ladder last year on their way upstream.

Friends of the Ballard Locks has a great write-up on the history of the fish ladder and timing for salmon migration.

New tavern & gelato shop to open on Ballard Ave

Two businesses on Ballard Avenue are close to opening. The Noble Fir will celebrate its grand opening on Wednesday and D’Ambrosio Gelato is hoping to open on Friday.

Ellen Kelly and her husband Rick are owners of The Noble Fir at 5316 Ballard Ave NW. Ellen tells us that the new bar is a “neighborhood beer, wine and hard cider tavern featuring trail guides, hiking maps and atlases to plan your next wilderness adventure.” They’ll serve small plates like meats and cheeses, bread, sandwiches and chocolates. “Our idea is that the food compliments the beverage,” Ellen says, “We are really focused on the beer, wine, cider (and of course the wilderness guides) but if you get a little hungry, you can have something other than pub food and fries.” Once open, The Noble Fir will be open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., “and for the thirsty Ballard Farmer’s Market goers, we’ll open at noon on Sundays,” Ellen adds.

Although the brown paper is still up on the windows of D’Ambrosio Gelato (5339 Ballard Ave NW), Marco D’Ambrosio tells that they’re hoping to open on Friday afternoon. “Things are moving fast and we are expecting several final inspections this week,” D’Ambrosio says, “Possibly we can get Health Department approval sometime on Thursday morning which could allow us to open on Friday afternoon.” When we spoke to the owner back in March, he told us that he decided to open his gelato shop on Ballard Avenue because it reminds him of a little Italian street.