An inside tour of new Fire Station 35

Seattle’s newest fire station is up and and running on Crown Hill, a year after the facility’s groundbreaking at 8729 15th Avenue NW. It replaced the old Fire Station 35 which was built in 1920 at the same location for horse-drawn fire equipment. The old station lacked earthquake reinforcement.

The new station is state-of the art, and a big upgrade for firefighters. “It’s dramatically different,” said Rich Hennings, the senior project manager for the City of Seattle. “The room, the exercise facilities, the privacy, the comfort level, the beanery is much better.” The “beanery” is the kitchen, and it’s one of the places where Hennings gave us a behind-the-scenes video tour:

The fire station houses Engine 35 covering the northern end of Ballard, Crown Hill, North Beach, Blue Ridge and parts of Greenwood.

Sixteen total firefighters call Station 35 home, with 4 to a shift. Each firefighter on shift has a small bedroom slightly bigger than a closet.

One of the features of the station is this control center, which allows firefighters to control the traffic lights nearby the station.

So where’s the fire pole? There isn’t one. “To install a pole now, it takes so many safety features, they’ve become very expensive,” says Hennings. “The response time is not dramatically different using the stairs versus a pole.” We were there when a call came in, and we watched a firefighter zip down the stairs in seconds.

A sculpture called “Rescue” displays the number 35 outside the station. Created by local artist K. Kirkpatrick, it features an abstracted ladder and a neon flame, playing off the neighborhood’s 1950’s architecture.

Not only does the facility have more amenities — including a small outdoor deck with a BBQ — Hennings said it’s safer for the community. “If we ever have a major disaster, we’re going to be better prepared, by far,” he said. A dedication ceremony, complete with a visit by the mayor, is scheduled for next month.

Vera’s Restaurant and Missing Link Cafe apply for liquor licenses

It looks like you could soon have a Bloody Mary at one of Ballard’s best known spots for breakfast.  Vera’s Restaurant at 5417 22nd Ave NW has just applied for a liquor license to sell spirits, beer and wine.

Vera’s Restaurant

The Missing Link Cafe, inside the newly opened Dutch Bike Co. on 4741 Ballard Ave., has also applied for a license to sell beer and wine.  The cafe and bike company are part of the renovated Kolstrand Building.

The Missing Link Cafe inside Dutch Bike Co.

Dick’s Drive-In starts contest to open new restaurant

Dick’s Drive-In is a Seattle staple (including the location here at 9208 Holman Road), yet the five-location chain hasn’t opened a new restaurant since the Lower Queen Anne location in 1974. But all of that is about to change.

For the first time in 36 years, Dick’s is adding a new location to its ranks—it just hasn’t decided where yet. The three areas under consideration are North Seattle (south Snohomish County/Shoreline), South Seattle (West Seattle through Renton and Tukwila) or the Eastside.

The hamburger joint is putting the question to the people, with a poll in its website. Currently the race is neck-to-neck, with North Seattle at 33 percent of votes, South Seattle at 32 percent, and the Eastside leading with 34 percent. If you vote, be warned that Dick’s website is running very slow.

Library closed today through Sept. 7

Just a reminder that the Ballard Library (5614 22nd Ave NW) and all other Seattle Public Libraries are closed today and won’t reopen until Tuesday, September 7th.  Budget cuts forced the closure.  The good news is that no overdue fines will add up during this time.  For a list of things you won’t be able to do, click here.

Meanwhile, crews are pressure washing parts of the building, which explains the fencing and “sidewalk closed” signs along the north side of the facility.

Enter to get your Zoo Doo on Wednesday

It’s stinky, it’s steamy and it’s just waiting to go home with you. Dr. Doo, also known as the Prince of Poo has announced the Fall Fecal Fest at the Woodland Park Zoo – a time when local gardeners enter to purchase the coveted Zoo Doo or Bedspread.

Photo courtesy Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

According to the zoo, “Zoo Doo is the most exotic and highly prized compost in the Pacific Northwest, composed of exotic species feces contributed by the zoo’s non-primate herbivores. It’s perfect for vegetables and annuals. Bedspread, the zoo’s premium composted mulch, is like Zoo Doo but with higher amounts of wood chips and sawdust. It’s the perfect mulch for perennial beds and woody landscapes such as native gardens, rose beds, shrubs, tree rings or pathways.”

Send in a postcard between September 1 and September 19th for your chance to buy the poo. You are only allowed to send in one postcard for each drawing. For Zoo Doo, mark your postcard “Zoo Doo.” For Bedspread, mark your postcard “B.S.” Entry cards will be selected randomly for as many entrants possible. Dr. Doo will contact the lucky drawn entries only.

Send a standard postcard to:
Dr. Doo
Woodland Park Zoo
601 N. 59th St.
Seattle, WA 98103.

Include the following information:

• Name
• Day and evening phone numbers
• Preference: Zoo Doo or Bedspread
• Amount of Zoo Doo or Bedspread you’d like to purchase (anything from a garbage bag to a full-size, pick-up truck load)
• Weekday or weekend preference for pick-up

The cost for Zoo Doo and Bedspread: Pick-up truck 8×4 bed: $60; 6×4 bed: $45; 6×3 bed: $35. Limit one full truck per person. Garbage cans: $8 to $10 depending on size; bags: $4 to $6 depending on size. Two-gallon and pint-sized buckets are available anytime at the ZooStore for $14.95 and $4.95, respectively.

Pick-up dates for Zoo Doo or Bedspread begin Oct. 2 through Oct. 16. The zoo provides the shovels and the lucky winners load their compost.

Baby squirrel rescued from Ballard man’s stove

A Ballard man came home to hear a strange sound coming from his kitchen yesterday evening. “A squeaking something in the vent above my stove,” Dusty said. After getting out the flashlight, he discovered a baby squirrel had crawled down the fan vent and taken up residence next to the warm light inside.

Dusty posted a message in the My Ballard forum under the name Dweezil, asking for ideas. “Trying to disassemble the fan above my oven to pull a baby squirrel out. Anyone know who to contact? Not the exterminator.” Within a few hours, My Ballard readers had furnished links to animal rescue sites while he gave a play-by-play description of the rescue. “I managed to get the fan off. Just trying to lure him out now,” he said.

After wrestling with the fan and detaching it from the wall, he poured the little squirrel into a box, recording video of the cute little creature. “Just wondering who to take him to,” Dusty wrote in the forum. After reading the wildlife rescue sites, he had a plan. “I’m about to put him up into a tree and hope that momma will rescue him,” he described on the video, zooming in on the squirrel. “It’s kind of hard to let go of this cute little bugger.”

So up he went. “I put the baby squirrel in a box, taped it to a tree, put a sign on it, ‘Don’t Disturb,'” he explained while quietly videotaping from his back porch. “Just waiting for momma.”

Here’s the video to watch what happens next. Click ahead to 5 minutes and 54 seconds to see the heartwarming ending in the tree.

Garage sale for 3-day cancer walk

At the age of 21, Gabrielle found a lump in her breast. After an agonizing week of waiting for test results she learned it was not cancer. “Although I am free from breast cancer, I am painfully aware that I may have it in the future. My mom, my grandma, my best friend or my sister may get it too,” she writes on her Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure fundraising page.

Gabrielle hopes to raise at least $2,300 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. “I am walking for every woman who has ever been scared, sad or suffering because of this awful disease. I am walking for you, for me and for future generations of women,” she writes.

This weekend her family is holding a garage sale fundraiser at 2335 NW 95th St. to help Gabrielle raise money. Items for sale include purses, appliances (washing machine, fax/scanner machine, tvs and foot spas), novels, household neccesities like lightbulbs, tools and gadgets and beautiful glassware. (Thanks @ViaCureForCancer for the tip on Twitter!)

Track neighborhood art walks online

Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata has launched a new online resource to track the city’s many neighborhood art walks, including Ballard’s Second Saturday ArtwalkSeattle Neighborhood Art Walks currently lists 13 art walks.

“Art walks are important to neighborhoods as they inspire visitors and residents to appreciate creativity within themselves and throughout their community,” Licata said in a press release. “They also provide a convenient opportunity for people to socialize while generating revenue for artists and businesses.”

Licata said the art walks are part of the reason Seattle has a higher “creative vitality” than the national average. (In 2007, the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs’ created the Creative Vitality Index, which ranked Seattle’s overall creative vitality at roughly six times the national average.)

Reminder: Free Car Wash Day today

Just a reminder that today is the Free Car Wash Day at Brown Bear Car Wash.

Photo from the 2009 Free Car Wash Day
To celebrate their 53rd anniversary, the company is giving away free “Bear Essential” car washes at all of their “tunnel” locations in the area. This includes the one at 5111 15th Ave NW in Ballard. The car wash will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. While the line may look daunting, we’re told that it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get through the line in the above photo.