Don’t forget your bags – plastic bag ban starts on Sunday

On Sunday, Seattle retailers will no longer be handing out plastic bags at the checkout stand. In December, the Seattle City Council voted to enact the ban, which eliminates thin plastic bags and charges a 5-cent fee for paper bags. Our news partner, The Seattle Times, reports that Seattlites use 292 million plastic bags a year but recycle only 13 percent of them, according to Seattle Public Utilities (SPU).

Some stores are making a big push to help customers transition. SPU is partnering with several Seattle retailers, including all 16 Safeway stores, to give away more than 32,000 free reusable bags to shoppers — half from Safeway, half from SPU — while supplies last. The bags will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis, starting Sunday morning.

Town & Country Markets, which includes the Ballard Market, has been in support of the ban since the get-go. “Getting plastic out of the system is the right thing to do,” Tony D’Onofrio, sustainability director for the Town & Country Markets told the Times. “The ordinance is simple enough to implement, and the 5-cent fee will offset some of the costs to grocers.”

The ban includes the following mandates, according to SPU:

  • Single-use plastic merchandise carryout bags are banned. This includes plastic-like bags claimed to be compostable, biodegradable, photodegradable or similar.
  • Customers must be charged 5 cents per large paper bag. (Typically equivalent to large grocery bags — 882 cubic inches — with flat bottoms greater than 60 square inches.)
  • Large paper bags requiring the 5-cent charge must be a minimum of 40 percent post-consumer recycled fiber and the fiber content must be marked on the outside.
  • The 5-cent bag sale is taxable and must be shown on sales receipts. Retailers retain the revenue. Smaller bags may be provided with or without charge at the store’s discretion.
  • Thick plastic bags — 2.25 mil or greater — are deemed reusable and may be provided with or without charge at the store’s discretion.

Similar plastic bag bans have been approved in Portland and several California cities, including Los Angeles. “From our conversations with local retailers, and from what we have seen in other Washington cities that have adopted bans on throwaway plastic carryout bags, we are expecting a smooth transition when the new law takes effect here on July 1,” said SPU program manager Dick Lilly in a press release.

Ballard Church hosts neighborhood block party tonight

Tonight is the Ballard Church’s (1460 NW 73rd St.) neighborhood block party, which is free and open to the public. They’ll be shutting down the church’s block of NW 73rd St., and will offer bouncy castles, face painting, and food and drink.

The party will include access to the church’s Funland, and a family movie. They’ll be serving up espresso, hot dogs, popcorn, slushies and sno-cones, all for free. The party is tonight from 4 to 8 p.m. More info can be found on the church’s website.

Upcoming blood and donor drive at the Ballard Boys & Girls Club

On July 8, the Ballard Boys & Girls Club will host a blood and donor drive to support the Cryans, a Ballard family. Two years ago, Louisa had a stem cell transplant for her leukemia, and now her father, Sean, needs the same procedure to cure his Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a cancer of the bone marrow.

Sean Cryan in his biking t-shirt

The Cryans are unable to receive donations from siblings or other relatives because of an underlying blood condition, but have been able to find matches from donors, according to Sean Cryan. Cryan says getting on the donor roll is easy, all that’s needed is a questionnaire and a cheek swab to get genetic material. From that, tests can be done to get information ready when the need arises for donors. The age limits are 18 t0 60, and the whole process usually takes about half an hour. No advance sign up is necessary.

To give blood, you must sign up in advance online. You must be 16 or older to give blood, with a permission form from parents if the donor is 16 or 17. Donors should allow an hour for the process, and should bring juice and something to eat to get energy levels back to normal afterward.

Cryan says when his daughter Louisa was undergoing her treatment, she used a total of 69 units of blood products. “Each donation is divided into three units, so each donor can help save three lives! Summer is the slow season for blood donations, but the fast season for injuries requiring blood, so this is a great opportunity to donate while the need is great!”

Seattle Creative Arts Center opening party Saturday

Last week, we told you about the new Seattle Creative Arts Center that has opened at 2601 NW Market St.  Tonight Saturday night, they’ll be throwing an opening party, open to the public, from 4 to 10 p.m.

From their website:

To kick off our opening, Chris and Meleah Gibson have invited numerous bands to join them for an evening of music on Saturday, June 30. Doors spring open to the public from 4PM-10PM. The music will begin acoustically but promises to get louder and more celebratory as the evening progresses. Bands Include: Birds may Bite, Steve Ball, The Travis Hartnett Trio, Sgt. Bones, The Third Law, The Definitely Sting Quartet and Chris Gibson. Bring your friends!!

The event is open to all ages (kid friendly) and they will have light food and beverages available. They’ll also offer tours and info about the space.

Dakota Art Store moves to Ballard

Good news for Ballard artists: the Dakota Art Store has made the move from their old location on Roosevelt to 2000 NW Market St., where Sustainable used to sell recycled furniture.

As of this afternoon, the store’s employees were steadily stocking shelves, ready for what they hope will be a July 1 opening, according to store owner Craig Lemley. On their move to Ballard after 22 years on Roosevelt, Lemley says they were happy to relocate to what he says is a “very artistic community.” He’s looking forward to the foot traffic the location will offer, which is in contrast to their old location at 6110 Roosevelt Way NE.

Behind the counter is a huge mural that spells “Dakota,” done by artist Kevin Sensei 23, using mostly art-grade spray paint and acrylic paints. The store will have a soft opening this weekend, but hope to have a larger grand opening in a couple weeks, likely during Ballard’s SeafoodFest.

Outdoor art exhibit created at Carkeek Park

A new outdoor art exhibit was recently unveiled at Carkeek Park. It’s called “Rootbound: Heaven and Earth 4” and features 18 artists from around the Puget Sound, Vancouver, B.C., California and Oregon. The exhibit is installed along nearly three miles of trail through the park’s canyons and creeks, and features site-specific sculpture including sound art, kinetic sculptures, and landscape inventions. “All works are considered experimental: some are designed to last for the entire four month display period…while others incorporate decay and erosion,” according to the exhibit’s website. “The exhibit’s themes offer a variety of perspectives on art and nature.”

“Tree Futures” by Suze Woolf. Photo from the Heaven and Earth Exhibition website.

“From Rust to Dust” by Suzanne Tidwell. Photo from the Heaven and Earth Exhibition website.

“I will go back and not come out” by Fox Anthony Spears. Photo from the Heaven and Earth Exhibition website.

The exhibit is a collaboration of Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA), the Carkeek Park Advisory Council, Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and 4Culture Site Specific. It is up now through October 31.

From Seattle Parks:

Following a widely acclaimed debut in 2009 that received national attention, CoCA and the five organizations have partnered again to bring another exhibition to Carkeek Park in northwest Seattle. As before, the theme concerns the natural world in a time of dramatic change. Some of the art is designed to weather in place and erode, while other work incorporates movement and interactive use by visitors.

To learn more about the exhibit, visit the Heaven and Earth Exhibition website.

Ballard woman stars in Shakespeare’s King Lear

By Almeera Anwar

A local Ballard woman is starring in Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” a production by Freehold’s Engaged Theatre. Ballardite Sarah Harlett plays The Fool in the play. “In our production, The Fool is a life-size puppet!” said Harlett. “I love working with puppets and bringing them to life. I also think it’s an interesting choice for this play. There’s something about The Fool’s language and presence that is ‘other,’ he’s not quite in the court and he’s not quite in the family.”

From left to right: Annette Toutonghi, Christine Brown, Tony Pasqualini, Luisa de Paula and Sarah Harlett (holding puppet). Photo credit Dan Morris.

This production is a tragedy by Shakespeare in which King Lear, the title character, descends into madness after divvying up his estate to his children, and his actions bring about consequences for his entire family. The play has been adapted in many ways and this year, Freehold is bringing it to the stage in a whole new light.

Freehold was established in 1991 and engages independent professional artists in its productions. Its Engaged Theatre makes an effort to tour their performances in non-traditional sites. This year they are taking King Lear to communities such as Harborview Medical Center,Washington Corrections Center for Women and the Joint Base/Lewis McChord, among others.

Hartlett, who stars in the show, has lived in Ballard for ten years. She was introduced to Ballard while touring with a performance group in the mid-90s; the space they performed in is now a sushi shop. She has loved witnessing the change and growth in Ballard since then.

Harlett started acting when she was five years old and performed in a school pageant. By the time she was eight, her parents had enrolled her in acting classes and she hasn’t stopped since.

As The Fool, she plays a trusted companion to King Lear and the clown of his court. However, this is not like all the other clowns we see in Shakespearean works; the role of The Fool is to make the King see the truth of his actions rather than to entertain him, says Harlett.

The puppet was created by Annett Mateo, the puppet master at Seattle Children’s Theatre. The production also involves live musical accompaniment.

Harlett thinks the play is very easy to connect to because it has to do with friends, family and staying true to your bonds. They have to learn compassion, humility, forgiveness, and to love in the face of certain loss. Harlett says she feels lucky to have been a part of this production and privileged to work with this theatre company.

The show opens next week on Monday, July 2 and runs through Sunday, July 15, with various show times and locations. Tickets are free but donations are encouraged so the company can continue its work.

Reservations are requested and can be made through Brown Paper Tickets, or for more information, visit the Freehold Theatre website.

4th of July bike parade tonight

Why wait until the 4th to celebrate Independence Day when you can do it tonight? As a reminder, the Loyal Heights Community Center (2101 NW 77th St) is getting a head-start on celebrating the 4th of July this year; they’re hosting a bike parade tonight. They ask riders to bring a picnic a bike, trike or wagon to decorate at the community center at 6 p.m. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m., followed by lawn games, a children’s bounce house, and treats.

Rooftop garden tour of Bastille tonight

Tonight, Bastille (5307 Ballard Ave NW) is offering a tour of their rooftop garden, where they grow greens, herbs and tomatoes for the restaurant.

Colin McCrate of Seattle Urban Farm Co will be leading the tours of the garden, which has been featured in Bon Appetit magazine as one of the 10 best roof-to-table spots in the country. The tour is from 5 to 5:45 p.m., and tickets are $10 and include a seasonal rooftop-inspired cocktail. Reservations are recommended and can be made through Bastille at (206) 453-5014.

Greenpeace boat to follow, protest oil rigs in Alaska

As we reported a few weeks ago, the Greenpeace boat Esperanza was lingering around North Lake Union and heading in and out of the Ballard Locks as it waited for Shell’s oil rigs to travel up the coast to Alaska. As part of the “Save the Arctic” movement, Esperanza  is heading north today to follow is monitoring two of Shell’s vessels, the Kulluk and the Noble Discoverer, as they head north in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

Esperanza passing through the canal, photo credit Ron Lloyd

The Esperanza will travel along with activists and scientists aboard, documenting the process of drilling in the Arctic. They’ll observe every part of the process at the Chukchi drill site, using an observational drone and inflatable rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs).

In a press release, Greenpeace Senior Oceans Campaigner Jackie Dragon said, “Shell has spent $4 billion buying its way into the Arctic, but now a global movement is mobilizing to protect this region for good.While America suffers the impacts of global warming from Florida to Texas, Shell wants to exploit melting sea ice in the Arctic to drill for more fossil fuels. We’re on our way up to Alaska’s pristine waters with hundreds of thousands of others to draw a line in the ice and say ‘no further’. This is now one of the defining environmental battles of our age.”

According to our news partners, The Seattle Times, a preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason requires requires Greenpeace to stay at least a kilometer (about 3,280 feet) away from Shell’s two Arctic drilling rigs, and half that from accompanying Shell support vessels.

Shell Spokesman Curtis Smith, in response to the efforts from Greenpeace, told KPLU , “If we couldn’t do this safely and responsibly, we wouldn’t consider doing it.” He says their drilling rigs have been retrofitted to have the “smallest possible impact on the environment, for example, by making sure they capture the mud and cuttings from drilling, so the waste is not discharged in the path of migrating whales.”