Aurora Bridge closed tonight for earthquake safety project

The Aurora Bridge will be closed tonight while crews work to raise the bridge a 3/4 of an inch. The work is part of a project to help the 80-year-old bridge better withstand an earthquake. The bridge will be closed from midnight tonight until 5 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, May 30) morning. Northbound drivers will be detoured off SR 99 at Denny Way and onto Dexter Avenue and/or I-5. Southbound drivers will be detoured off at 39th and onto Fremont Avenue.

The retrofitting has been underway since April 2011, as crews have been under the bridge reinforcing the steel and concrete on the north and south ends. The project includes, “adding steel to the skeleton, thickening concrete girders and covering existing columns with fiber designed for shaking,” according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

From WSDOT:

Residents on the north face of Queen Anne may hear the noisy work between midnight and 5 a.m.  Free earplugs are available by contacting Jamie Holter at 206-440-4698 or holterj@wsdot.wa.gov.

Queen Anne drivers should plan for closures on 6th Avenue North between Raye and Halladay streets. Crews will close one lane Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. until the end of August. Flaggers at both ends of the closure will allow local access.

During the daytime closure, crews will work on 6th Avenue North underneath the Aurora Avenue Bridge. They are building a skeletal system for the extra steel that will be attached to the existing girders.

Free Ballard Day

Today is the 105th anniversary of Ballard’s incorporation into the city of Seattle, and Ballardites are still anti-celebrating. The city was officially annexed on May 29, 1907, when the rumor of a dead horse in the water supply persuaded our ‘hood to join Seattle.

Today, Ballard’s Hattie’s Hat will be anti-celebrating, handing out free stickers to every disgruntled Ballardite who comes in the door.

Photo courtesy Hattie’s Hat

Whittier Heights garage sale this Saturday

Saturday, June 2 is one of the biggest garage sale days of the year for Whittier Heights. Last year over 60 families set up shop for the big day. The Whittier Heights Community Council puts together a map of all participating homes, and there are only a few days left to get on the map. If you want to join the garage sale, email Brad Wakeman at brad@lakere.com. Maps will be distributed on Saturday.

Bartell Drugs hosting community food drive

From now until June 10, Bartell Drugs, in partnership with Food Lifeline, will be collecting food for local food banks. The drive is focused on replenishing supplies for food banks for the summer months, when families that normally depend on free or reduced-price school meals struggle to provide meals at home.

Bartell Drugs is suggesting food items like tuna, instant oatmeal, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, cheese crackers, applesauce and canned fruit. Other useful items to donate include baby formula, diapers, baby food (boxes or plastic tubs only) and personal care items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, tissues, shampoo, conditioner, soap and feminine hygiene products.

Adams Elementary donates hundreds to charities through ‘Penny Harvest’

Adams Elementary’s fall Penny Harvest cultivated a large crop of dollars, which the school has donated to a handful of local charities.

Photo courtesy Adams Elementary

With their motto, “Tiny but Mighty,” students from Adams “harvested” pennies in the fall, after which a student leadership group of fourth and fifth graders surveyed Adams’ student body about problems they wanted to see solved in our community. The students decided homelessness, poverty, the environment and animal welfare were the top concerns, and conducted research on local organizations that address those issues.

The organizations chosen to receive the Penny Harvest Grants are Wellspring Family Services ($300), Puget Soundkeeper Alliance ($300), PAWS ($200), and Guide Dogs for the Blind Seattle Puppy Raisers ($200). The students also are oganizing a toy and clothing drive for Treehouse for Kids between now and June 8.

Ballard High School track students celebrate victories at state competition

By Bucky Beaver

Ballard High School sent eight student-athletes to the state track and field championships at Mt Tahoma this weekend and six of them placed.

Emma Suchland in lane 4, courtesy BHS Athletics

Senior Emma Suchland placed in two events, finishing third in the 100 m dash (12.25 seconds) and second in the 200 m dash (24.97 seconds). In both events she was just 0.02 seconds away from the runner ahead of her. Emma is a senior at Ballard with a 4.0 grade point average and will run track at Brown University next year.

Mia Wrey at the finish line, courtesy BHS Athletics

Also placing was junior Mia Wrey who finished third in the 1600 m run with a time of 5:05.26. Ballard’s 4×400 m girls relay team finished 5th with a school record time of 4:00.50. This team consisting of junior Rachel Livengood, sophomore Carolyn Birkenfeld, and freshmen Cora Davies and Marie Culp will return in tack next year. Also competing at state was senior Alex Bowns in the 1600m run finishing in 16th place (4:26.30). He will run track at University of Portland next year. Junior Stuart Thomas competed in two events at state: the 110m and 300m hurdles, finishing seventh in both preliminary heats.

Garbage collection normal on Memorial Day

Seattle Public Utilities is reminding folks that garbage, recycling and yard waste collections are on a normal schedule next week, despite the Memorial Day holiday. So if Monday is your collection day, put out everything by 7 a.m. like usual. The North Recycling and Disposal Station (1350 N. 34th St.) in Fremont/Wallingford will also be open during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday.