Apartment fire on 15th Ave. NW

On Friday night around 9:30 p.m., firefighters responded to an apartment fire at 7043 15th Ave. NW. Fire Chief Charlie Cordova says the fire, started by a candle, was put out quickly.

When we arrived on scene, the fire had already been extinguished.

No other buildings surrounding the fire appear to have been damaged.

Thanks Silver, for the tip!

Seattle Parks releases spring programs in north Seattle

Barb Wade from Seattle Parks and Recreation has shared the following list of brochures for the spring Parks program, including drop-in sports, fitness, and toddler classes. (Thanks to My Green Lake for compiling the list!)

Adult drop-in sports, including basketball, dodgeball and volleyball:

Adult fitness opportunities:

Toddler classes and play rooms:

The full brochure, including all spring 2012 programs at the community centers and pools in northwest Seattle, is available in PDF format here.

Settlement reached in class action lawsuit against Olympic Athletic Club

Late last year, a group of Olympic Athletic Club (OAC) members filed a class action lawsuit because the Ballard gym’s new owners announced they would no longer honor their lifetime memberships. According to attorney Toby Marshall, the two parties have reached a settlement with the following terms:

  • For individuals who purchased their non-dues memberships prior to July 26, 1987, whether directly from the club or from another member, OAC will honor each such membership for the life of the current holder.
  • For individuals who purchased their non-dues memberships after July 25, 1987, OAC will honor each such membership for another 14 years.
  • Individuals who signed new memberships after receiving termination letters from the club will be given 90 days after approval of the settlement to reinstate their old membership (as modified by the settlement).

These terms will go into place so long as they are court-approved, which could take four months or more. In the meantime, members may continue to use the club. This settlement is on behalf of about 1,175 club members. Marshall says those members will, “automatically be included in and will benefit from the settlement if it is approved by the court.” Marshall says the defendants, “will pay the attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by plaintiffs in bringing and settling the suit.”

Detailed notice packets will be sent out to all members involved in the suit informing them of the terms and their rights under it, according to Marshall. He adds, “We are very pleased with the settlement and believe it is in the best interests of the OAC members.”

Search party for missing Ballard woman today

As we told you earlier this week, Heather Braaten of Ballard went missing on March 20. There has since been a widespread effort to find her, and a search party will meet this morning at 9 a.m. at the lower Woodland Park baseball field at 50th and Green Lake Way.

Braaten is described as 5’10, blonde, with green eyes. She is 35 years old, and according to the Abby and Jennifer Recovery Foundation, “was last seen in the Ballard/Magnolia area in distress and her family is extremely concerned for her welfare.”

Large retail and residential building to be built on NW Market St. near 24th Ave NW

The Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has approved a land use application for a seven-story building at 2428 NW Market St, where Archie McPhee used to be. According to the project listing, the building will contain 12,200 sq. ft. of retail commercial uses and four residential units at ground level, and 305 residential units above. There will be parking for 415 vehicles in a below grade parking garage. The current buildings at that location will be demolished.

Images from GGLO and the Seattle DPD Design Review Packet for this project

To view the full Seattle DPD Design Review Packet, click here.


Ballard High School jazz band to play at Paramount Theater tomorrow

Ballard High School will join four other Seattle high schools tomorrow night at the Paramount Theater for the “Hot Java Cool Jazz” concert, sponsored by Starbucks. Other featured schools are Garfield, Roosevelt, Mountlake Terrace, and Edmonds-Woodway. The concert is Friday, March 30, at 7 p.m.

The ticket sales from each participating Starbucks (tickets available at Ballard’s Starbucks) will be donated back to Ballard High School’s music program. This is the 17th annual Hot Java Cool Jazz concert, and since 1995, the concert has raised more than $250,000 for participating schools’ music programs, according to Starbucks. Tickets cost $20 for all ages, and can be purchased at the Ballard Starbucks, at the Paramount Box Office, or online.

New osprey nesting platform built near Ballard Locks

You may remember last fall when we reported that an osprey nest was taken down from the train trestle just west of the Ballard Locks. After some research and consideration, Seattle Parks and Recreation, in partnership with Seattle City Light, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, has built a nesting platform in Commodore Park to imitate the former nesting site of the ospreys.

Photo courtesy Shannon Down

Heidi Narte, the acting resource conservation coordinator for Seattle Parks, says the Parks Department consulted Chris Anderson from the Department of Fish and Wildlife when deciding where to place the structure. The old nest was perched atop a 90-year-old  telegraph tower, says Narte. The tower became a safety hazard, and was taken down by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) crews in October. BNSF and the Department of Fish and Wildlife approached the Parks Department in order to build a new nesting site. Seattle City Light has put up similar nesting platforms before, and so Seattle Parks also requested their input.

Narte says Anderson, as a bird wildlife biologist, thought the birds were habituated to the site, and there was a good likelihood the birds would utilize the new site. The 4 foot by 4 foot nesting platform was even equipped with some branches as a sort of “starter” nest, says Narte. As they were setting up the platform, they thought they spotted a male osprey circling above, which is hopeful for the new nesting site, Narte added.

Seattle Public Schools may delay Whittier Developmental Preschool move by one year

Seattle Public Schools  announced on Wednesday that it may delay by one year the planned move of the Developmental Preschool at Whittier Elementary to Viewlands Elementary.

Last week we told you that some parents with children in the Developmental Preschool were upset that the district had made the decision to move the program in January, but didn’t tell them until mid-March. Some of the preschoolers have older siblings enrolled at Whittier specifically so the family could be at one school. By waiting to notify parents until after Open Enrollment had ended, those families didn’t have the option to move their older children to Viewlands as well.

The Developmental Preschool is located on the bottom floor of Whittier Elementary.

The school district says it made the initial decision in January, after determining that Whittier would likely need an extra classroom next year. Since there are no open classrooms right now, either the Developmental Preschool or the Whittier Kids before- and after-school program would need to move. The district determined that more families would be affected by the loss of the before- and after-school program.

The district has sent home a letter with all Whittier students, stating that it will wait until April 15 to determine if increased enrollment at the school will mean it needs the preschool room for an additional home room. The letter from Pegi McEvoy, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, says that if the latest enrollment data for Whittier does not show any increases for next year, then the Developmental Preschool will remain at Whittier for the 2012-13 school year, then move to Viewlands in 2013-14.

SPS Spokeswoman Teresa Wippel told me on Wednesday that the district has an exception process for siblings who want to transfer to Viewlands but missed the Open Enrollment period. The new District Ombudsman is helping affected families with that process.

New online coupon site offers discounts for boating community

Move over, Groupon: a new coupon website has cropped up recently, geared at delivering deals for the boating community. It’s called BoatPop, and this week, they’re offering 75 percent off a boat haulout at Seaview Boatyard in Ballard.

Screen shot from BoatPop’s website

BoatPop was started just over a month ago by John Thorburn with the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) and the creators of Three Sheets Northwest, Marty McOmber and Deborah Bach. Thorburn, who also works to produce the Seattle Boat Show, saw an opportunity to serve the boating community year-round. By using a format similar to Groupon, Living Social and other daily deal sites, and reaching out to businesses that serve boaters, Thorburn secures one great deal a week. He says the NMTA works as a sort of chamber of commerce for boating companies, so it’s a great resource for finding businesses to participate. Past deals include a 12-day chartered boat trip to Alaska and moorage, both of which sold out.

Three Sheets Northwest, a local news site for the boating world, is run by McOmber and Bach, former newspaper writers. They came up with an idea for a coupon site for boaters around the same time as Thorburn, so they decided to team up. McOmber says they handle the technical side of setting up a coupon website, and they do the writing for the ads. Also, with their blog, they’re able to advertise each deal to their large audience.

Thorburn says they have subscribers in the tens of thousands, and that’s just since their February 14 start. The group hopes to market to other areas; Thorburn says they’ve had calls from boaters in British Columbia, Oregon, and even Minnesota who are interested in having BoatPop in their communities. And, it won’t just be for people who own boats; he says he hopes to offer deals like sailing lessons, and other deals for new boaters.

McOmber says it’s great because it’s a different way of serving the community. “A lot of people who have boats are willing to make sacrifices for the lifestyle,” he says. He sees BoatPop as, “giving them an option to save a few bucks on doing what they love to do.”