Unique items up for grabs at annual Auktion

Organizers are busy putting the final touches on the annual Northern Lights Auktion, the largest fundraiser of the year for the Nordic Heritage Museum.

Many auction items carefully labeled and ready to go.
The 26th annual event is this Sunday and those attending can expect “wonderful silent auction bidding,” one of the organizers tells us, “then it’s a scrumptious dinner, wonderful entertainment and live auction.” Eric Johnson of KOMO-TV will be the Master of Ceremonies for the evening and there will be a special tribute to Bert Lundh, former Board President and current honorary trustee of the Nordic Heritage Museum.

There will be about 350 lots in the silent auction and 40 to 50 lots in the live auction. Auction items include everything from rosemaled goods (shown right) and Scandinavian glass (shown below) to a private tour of the Royal Palace in Oslo. Organizers tell us that the highest valued item is a full set of Royal Copenhagen dishes, valued at $8,000. Other unique items include a cruise aboard the Nordic Heritage Museum’s 200-year-old Viking ship The Nordic Spirit; a barbecue and tour event aboard Captain Sig Hansen’s famous Deadliest Catch vessel The Northwestern; dinner for six at the home of the Swedish consul in Medina; a superb vintage rustic Norwegian carving; a Reykjavik, Iceland Spa trip including airfare; a Boeing 787 Dreamliner Tour; and an opportunity for two to attend Governor Chris Gregoire’s annual holiday reception.

Last year the auction brought in around $300,000 for the museum, organizers are hoping for the same this year. The money raised is used for the operation of the Museum’s programs. Tickets for Saturday’s event at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Ballroom are $125 per person. Click here for more information or call the museum at (206)789-5707.

El Camión wants to be ‘Seattle’s Top Taco’

Get your appetite ready. This Saturday is the 107.7 The End “First Annual Top Taco Truck Challenge” and Ballard’s El Camión (5314 15th Ave NW) is ready for the competition.

“We will be serving up most of our menu items but will be primarily focused on tacos …. lots and lots trucking good tacos,” owner Scott McGinnis says. “We will be ready to show our stuff and let the people decide.”

McGinnis tells us that eight to ten local taco trucks will “put their best foot forward to earn bragging rights of being called Seattle’s Top Taco.” There will be a margarita garden ($5 entry), live music and other entertainment. The event starts at noon, rain or shine, at the South Lake Union Discovery Center lawn (101 Westlake Ave N (between Denny Way & John St).

Saturday, April 30th The End prepares for Cinco De Mayo at the South Lake Union Discovery Center lawn beginning at 12pm with the 1st Annual Top Taco Truck Challenge. Voting for the top taco ends at 5:30 p.m. with the winner announced at 6 p.m.

Related: Can Rancho Bravo in Wallingford take “Top Taco Truck”

Savour applies for outdoor café permit

Once the sun comes out, the owner of Savour (2242 NW Market St) wants to add outside seating. “The outdoor café is a chance to expand our seating area, at least during the warm weather months, without taking more retail space in the store,” owner Holly McLean tells us. “Also, we’re excited to have customers enjoy items from our menu with a glass of wine or beer in the sunshine, as we know how Seattleites worship the sun!”

The 16 to 20 seats in the outdoor café will be the entire length of the storefront. “I want the outdoor space to have a European feel and will achieve that with beautiful flower planters and wrought iron railings and furniture,” McLean says. The culinary leader at Savour is putting together a small plate menu to pair with wines and beers, “and designed specifically to enhance our outdoor dining experience.” McLean is currently working to add the outdoor addition to the Savour liquor license by the time the café opens in May.

Ballard company fined more than $80,000 by Department of Ecology

A Ballard furniture-stripping business is facing an $82,200 fine by the Department of Ecology for improperly storing and disposing of hazardous waste.

On two dates in May of last year the Department of Ecology, Seattle Public Utilities and the King County Wastewater Treatment Division’s Industrial Waste program investigated several possible violations at a now-closed business called Furniture Spa (4813 8th Ave NW). The same owners own Ballard Refinishers and the former Furniture Spa location is now an annex of that business.

According to a release from the Department of Ecology, “City inspectors called in Ecology almost a year ago after finding that furniture-stripping waste put down the drain into the sewer. Some of the waste leaked into the ground from a damaged private sewer that connects to the city sewer.”

From the release:

Hazardous waste violations found during Ecology inspections include:

* Improper storage: Furniture Spa used a floor sump (a paved pit) as storage for waste methylene chloride used in furniture stripping. The sump did not meet storage tank requirements for hazardous wastes, and the company provided no secondary containment system to hold spills or leaks of liquid waste. Waste remained in the sump more than 90 days, the maximum time allowed under state and federal hazardous waste laws.

* Failure to designate hazardous waste: State and federal law require businesses to assess their process wastes, identify those that are hazardous – a process called designation – which determines proper storage, handling and disposal. Furniture Spa had not designated wastes from work areas that used methylene chloride, sodium hydroxide, soy-based solvents and the contents of the floor sump.

* Illegal disposal: Furniture Spa discharged waste from the floor sump into the sanitary sewer. Disposal to the sewer requires a discharge permit from the King County Wastewater Treatment Division.

* Failure to notify: A business that generates 220 or more pounds of hazardous waste must notify Ecology. The agency found records indicating that Furniture Spa shipped dangerous waste through a licensed dangerous waste disposal contractor by falsely identifying itself as exempt from this reporting requirement.

The Department of Ecology’s Toxic Cleanup Program has placed this location on the list of “Confirmed and Suspected Contaminated Sites” for contamination that entered soil and groundwater from the damaged side sewer line.

The company has 30 days to appeal the penalty.

Shilshole Marina home to a piece of history

Nearly two years ago, a sailboat named Orion began its journey north from San Diego to Seattle.  Only, it didn’t make it all the way.  Almost 200 miles into the trip, after poor weather revealed a leaky deck and eroded fuel tanks made it impossible to go on, Orion’s captain Kevin Campion loaded her onto a big rig, and Orion made the rest of the trip north on the back of a semi-truck up Interstate 5.

Photo by Kris Day

“She was over-height, over-weight, over-width, and over-length,” laughed Campion, remembering the nail-biting trip north from Ventura, California. Campion is founder of Deep Green Wilderness, a floating classroom aboard Orion.  “It wasn’t quite the glorious return to the northwest we’d planned,” Campion said, smiling.

Orion’s Captain Kevin Campion

Boat designer Olin Stevens built Orion on City Island, New York in 1934.  The first owner was Rudolph Schaefer, of the F & M Schaefer Brewing Co. in New York.  Orion was named Edlu back then, and she won the famous Newport Bermuda Race the same year she was put in the water.  Her design shed a new light on boat construction.  Orion was built lighter than most yawls in the 1930s, and surprised the sailing community with the way she danced over high waves and raced through high winds.

Now, nearly 80 years since her first sail, Orion lives at Shilshole Marina in Ballard.  In the spring and fall, Campion offers chartered trips around Elliot Bay and up to the San Juan Islands.  During the summer, Orion can be found with groups of high school students on-board, learning how to sail and studying the ecology of the Salish Sea.  This year, Campion will take groups of high school students out for two weeks at a time, where they’ll learn about the ecology of the Canadian inland waters and new regulations concerning the endangered southern resident orcas in the San Juan Islands.

“I strongly believe in the power of a sailboat and the sailing experience to inspire people, whether it’s students or adults.  It’s a powerful thing to learn how to sail a boat like this,” said Campion.  “You go to sea on a boat, and you become part of a crew of people, and you learn about the boat and you learn about the ocean and you leave the boat a different person.”

Kris Day, First Mate on Orion

Campion wants his program to be more than just a summer camp.  Indeed, the research the students do on board will be presented to a policy-maker after the trip.  He said the end goal for the students is to create their own research project that they’ve designed with the staff’s help.  “Whether that’s a research paper, or a photo-journal, or a radio story of what they did, they will present that data to the public and to policy-makers,” Campion explained.

“She is a working piece of history, and a tangible piece of history. It’s cool for a high school student to come on board, and be able to be a part of that,” Campion said.

Photo by Kris Day

For the next two months, Campion is offering Tuesday night sunset sails and ongoing charter sails.  Those interested in the sunset sails should contact Windworks, at 206-784-9386. 

New Crime Prevention Coordinator for North Seattle

Wallingford and all of North Seattle will now have a new Crime Prevention Coordinator (CPC), Terrie Johnston, who replaces Diane Horswill and Neil Hansen. This new appointment comes after Seattle Police Department secured grant funding for a total of four CPCs through the end of this year. There had been a total of six.

The coordinators work in the precincts to educate the public on ways to reduce their risk of becoming victims, and act as liaisons between the local community and the police.

You can get more information here about the CPCs. Our partners at the Common Language Project produced a story and video on the CPCs and their role in the neighborhoods last year.

The weekend events calendar

It’s all about Easter Eggs and music this weekend in Ballard.

Here’s a look at the weekend events:

  • Friday evening is the 8th annual Ballard Jazz Walk. For venues and more information, click here.
  • Saturday morning at 10 a.m. is the spring egg hunt at both Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave NW) and Loyal Heights Community Center (2101 NW 77th St). Rain or shine, kids aged 2-10 scramble for goodies in age appropriate hunt areas. Please bring a bag or basket for collecting. They will also be collecting non-perishable food donations for the food bank.
  • Saturday is the Swedish Pancake Jazz Brunch at the Nordic Heritage Museum (3014 NW 67th St). There will be two seatings, at 10:30 a.m. and noon. Tickets include jazz vocalist Gail Pettis and all-you-can-eat Swedish pancakes. This is a fundraiser for the museum. More information available here.
  • Saturday evening at 7:30 wraps up the Ballard Jazz Festival with the mainstage concert at the Nordic Heritage Museum (3014 NW 67th St). More information can be found here.
  • Sunday afternoon at one o’clock is the Salmon Bay Eagles Easter Egg Hunt at Salmon Bay Park (map here). The annual event is open to kids younger than 13.
  • For more live music, check out the calendars for Tractor Tavern, Sunset Tavern, Picolinos, Conor Byrne and Egan’s Ballard Jam House. As always, check out our events calendar.

    Click here to add a Ballard community event to our events calendar.

    ACME Rubber Stamp & Engraving Co. leaving Ballard

    After 35 years, the ACME Rubber Stamp & Engraving Co. is packing up their Ballard store this weekend.  They will reopen at 1620 NE 179th Street in Shoreline.

    Owner Chris Browne says he received notice his building had sold in January.  He’s been with the company since Steve Lally opened it in 1976.  Browne even lived at the back of the building for a short time in the 1980s.  Much of the equipment has been there for decades; Browne still uses a 60 year-old Ludlow Typograph for making stamps.  He says he’ll have to take it apart to get it out the door.

    Of moving to the new location, Browne says, “It’s a wait-and-see thing.”  He hopes his loyal customer base will follow him after he leaves the neighborhood. (Thanks Aaron for the tip!)

    Teens arrested after attack at Golden Gardens

    Three teens have been arrested after what police are calling a “melee” at Golden Gardens just before 10 p.m. Thursday. According to the police blotter, about a dozen juveniles were hanging out at the park when three 18-year-old suspects began walking “suspiciously” around the group. The three began an unprovoked attack on the group, according to police, after they were confronted by several of the teens. During the fight, both males and females were attacked by the suspects. One of the suspects grabbed a purse and fled, the other two followed. The three climbed into a Dodge Caravan and attempted to get away, but a police officer arrived in time to block the 18-year-old suspects from leaving. The three were arrested for Investigation of Robbery. None of the victims had serious injuries. The purse was returned to the owner. (Thanks everyone for the emails!)