First North Beach cleanup on Saturday

The Friends of North Beach is a new group to help support the North Beach Nature Area, which is located at 24th Ave NW and NW 90th St.

Photo courtesy Luke McGuff.
This Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers are invited to help remove ivy from the trees at the entrance to the park, as much as the slopes allow, organizers tell us.

“This is the first of what is hoped to be regular work parties at the park,” organizer Luke McGuff says. “There’s a lot to do there! It’s true there’s a serious problem with ivy at the entrance to the park, but the main body of the park features a healthy understory that needs only a little TLC to be a good example of a native riparian forest.” For more information contact McGuff at

‘Nifty’ film festival kicks off today

The largest youth film festival in the country is right here in Seattle.

The Fifth annual National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY, or “nifty”) kicks off on Thursday and features 225 films created by directors 22-years-old and younger. The four-day festival is expected to draw nearly 10,000 film fans. The films have been submitted by young people from 40 states and 20 countries.

Festival highlights include:

  • Opening Night Gala at Cinerama and The Space Needle
  • Friday Night & Centerpiece Shorts
  • NFFTY Happy Hour
  • Late Night Comedy and Horror Screenings
  • Documentaries
  • Closing Night: NW Scene
  • The festival was founded by Ballard native Jesse Harris. More information on screenings and tickets can be found here.

    Dining Out For Life on Thursday

    It’s that time of year again: the 18th annual Dining Out For Life event, in which 150 Seattle area restaurants will donate portions of their proceeds to the Lifelong AIDS Alliance, is happening this coming Thursday, April 28.

    There are a number of Ballard restaurants participating in the fundraiser for either breakfast, lunch dinner, or all three. Check out the list of participating neighborhood spots:

  • BalMar (D)
  • King’s Hardware (D)
  • Le Gourmand (D)
  • Pasta Bella (D)
  • Ray’s Boathouse (L,D)
  • Sambar Bar & Lounge (D)
  • Volterra (D)
  • Wild Mountain Cafe (B, L, D)
  • Check out the full list of participating restaurants here.

    To find out more about the Lifelong AIDS Alliance and the services the fundraiser will support, watch this video:

    If you can’t attend Dining Out For Life, but would still like to show your support, donations can be made directly to the Lifelong AIDS Alliance here.

    Dive team investigates sunken vessel near Locks

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is sending its dive team to look at the remains of a 165′ light ice breaker Coast Guard Cutter Onondaga that is under 25 feet of water near the Ballard Locks.

    USCGC Onondaga, photographed during World War II, probably in Pacific Northwest or Alaskan waters.

    From the EPA release:

    The Team will inspect the vessel for any hazardous materials, batteries, fuel tanks, etc. The Cutter is lying on the bottom of the Lake Washington ship canal, in approximately 25ft. of water, near the Ballard Locks. The survey is being done to support EPA’s “Puget Sound Initiative” to help protect both fish and wildlife habitat and local residents from possible water pollution threats.

    The Onondaga was commissioned in 1934 and decommissioned in 1947. It was then sold to Foss Launch and Tug Company in 1954. According to this site, it was then sold to a private owner and was abandoned and later sank.

    Nominate a busy mom for a Mother’s Day makeover

    Many moms are so busy taking care of other people that they don’t have time to think about themselves. That’s why Susan Grace of Ballard’s Suite 300 Skincare (5424 Ballard Ave NW #300) is teaming up with Frederick’s of Greenwood (8524 Greenwood Ave N) to offer one lucky mom a makeover. “Mother’s Day is the one day a year that we show mothers how much we appreciate them,” Grace tells us. “This is just us doing our part to spread the love.”

    The magnificent makeover will include:

    A skin care consultation to determine the best treatment
    Signature facial
    Moisturizing hand and arm treatment
    Brow shaping (and possibly other face hair removal if needed)
    A hair consultation to decide on the best new look for mom
    All over color, highlights or lowlights
    Haircut and style
    AND a goody bag of products for mom to indulge in at home

    To enter, send a brief note by May 6th on why the mom you’re nominating deserves the makeover to: by May 6th. The contest is only open to moms in the Seattle area.

    Loyal Heights Elementary honored for overall excellence

    Loyal Heights Elementary is one of ten schools in the Seattle School District honored this morning for winning the statewide Washington Achievement Award for overall excellence. The schools were selected based on their statewide assessment data for the three previous years. Loyal Heights won the same award in 2009.

    Other Seattle schools honored at a ceremony at Lincoln High School in Tacoma this morning were:

    • Catharine Blaine K-8
    • Bryant Elementary
    • Concord International School
    • Frantz Coe Elementary
    • John Hay Elementary
    • McGilvra Elementary
    • Mercer Middle School
    • Montlake Elementary
    • Schmitz Park Elementary

    Three other Seattle schools were recognized in language arts, math, and extended graduation rate.

    Point Hotel site facing foreclosure

    It looks like one of the proposed hotels for Ballard isn’t going to happen.

    According to our news partners, the Seattle Times, Columbia State Bank filed notice last week that it intends to foreclose on the site of the proposed Point Hotel at Salmon Bay. The 166-room hotel, which we’ve written about in the past, was supposed to be built in the parking lot of the former Yankee Grill. According to the Times, Ballard Hotel LLC hasn’t made a payment on their loan since November. A trustee sale is scheduled for July 22, the Times is reporting. You can read more from the Seattle Times here.

    The owner of the Olympic Athletic Club is still moving forward with the proposed hotel on Ballard Avenue.

    Officers injured in fight disturbance at 2 Bit Saloon

    Two officers were injured on Monday night after a bar fight in the 4800 block of 17th Avenue NW. According to police, a call came in that someone was fighting the bouncer, but when the first police arrived on scene the two male suspects had already left. Two more officers arrived on scene and began walking eastbound in the 1500 block of NW 49th Street when they encountered one of the suspects getting ready to fight another man, police say.

    From the police blotter:

    One of the officers attempted to escort the suspect away from the other man when the suspect spun away from the officer and swung at him with a closed fist. The officer was able to hold onto the clothing of the suspect. As the suspect turned to run, he knocked the other officer down to the ground, causing her to hit her head on the sidewalk. The suspect broke free from the officer’s grasp and ran a short distance. The officer was able to chase after him and caught him after approximately 30 to 40 feet. As the officer attempted to take the suspect into custody, the suspect began throwing multiple punches and elbow strikes. The officer was able to fend off the attack and eventually take the suspect into custody.

    Seattle Fire was dispatched to 4818 17th Ave NW, the 2 Bit Saloon. They treated the officers and transported them to Harborview Medical Center. One of the officers was scratched up and sustained a mild concussion, the other was also scratched up and received four stitches on his hand. Both officers were treated and released from the hospital.

    A 23-year-old man was booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Assault. The second suspect was never located.

    Murray talks about workforce legislation

    Senator Patty Murray is working on two new bills to help workers get and retain jobs. “I hear from business owners all the time, who want to hire, that they can’t find workers with the kind of skills and training they need to fill the positions that are open,” Murray says at a press conference in Ballard.

    Senator Murray tours Pacific Fishermen Shipyard in Ballard with general manager Doug Dixon.

    This morning the Senator toured Pacific Fishermen Shipyard (5351 24th Avenue NW) and stopped to discuss the new Promoting Innovations to 21st Century Careers Act. “What this legislation does is create public/private partnerships to help bridge that gap between high school and post-secondary education and the actual work place,” she says. “It makes sure that our students have an opportunity to gain real world work experience that’s actually linked to rigorous academic learning even as young as middle and high school.” The goal of the bill is to connect employers with possible employees in the communities where they live. It will also give established employees the updated job skills to keep their jobs.

    Senator Murray talks with a former Wamu employee who received the training needed to work at Pacific Fishermen Shipyard.

    Senator Murray will soon introduce another piece of legislation that will update and reform the nation’s primary workforce development system, which is critical to retraining workers, including those who have been laid off. “Everyone knows that if we want America to out-innovate and out-build our global competition, we’re going to have to out-educate and out-train and out-work them. And that’s exactly what the Workforce Investment Act that I will be introducing will do,” said Senator Murray.