Hi-Life celebrating 101st anniversary of Old Ballard Firehouse 18 tomorrow

Tomorrow, Saturday, September 29, the Hi-Life in Ballard will celebrate the 101st anniversary of the Old Ballard Firehouse 18 with the 2nd annual Pancake & Chili Feed and Seattle Firefighter’s Chili Cook-off to benefit Seattle’s Bravest Charity and David H. Jacobs Foundation.  The old Ballard Firehouse (5425 Russell Ave NW) was built as Seattle’s station 18 in 1911. After being retired in the 1970’s, the building has been home to many things, including the current tenant, The Hi-Life restaurant.

The Pancake Feed starts at 8:30 a.m. and goes through noon. It costs $10 for adults and $6 for children, and includes buttermilk pancakes, eggs and bacon.

From noon to 5 p.m., five teams from the Seattle Fire Department will compete in a chili cook-off to with the “Golden Ladle.” The cook-off will happen outside, in front of the restaurant, and the judging starts at 4:30 p.m. The Chili Feed starts at 5 p.m., and all chilies will be available. The dinner costs $12 for adults and $6 for kids and includes a bowl of your choice of chili, cornbread and salad. Or, if you just want to try the chili, you can get a bowl for $6.

To learn more, click here.

Sustainable Ballard Festival is this weekend

Sunday, September 30 is the Sustainable Ballard Festival at the Ballard Commons Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

From a previous year’s festival

The festival, in its ninth year, is using “community building” as its theme. From the event info, “Similar to barn raising, this homegrown, hands-on, human-powered festival offers visitors the chance to come together for a day of work and play to help create a more sustainable community.”

Among the exhibits will be solar installations, urban farming, rain gardens and cisterns, heath and well-being and alternative forms of transportation. There will be electric and cargo bikes available for test-driving, solar mini-car races, and the always popular “Undriver Licensing Station.”

Streets around the festival will be closed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The following streets will be closed: NW 57th St between NW 22nd & NW 24th, and 22nd Avenue NW between NW 57th & 58th. There will also be increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic in the area, as up to 6,000 participants are expected.

For more information about the festival, click here.

City’s largest non-residential rain garden is in Ballard

Ballard is now home to the city’s largest non-residential rain garden at Trinity United Methodist Church (6512 23rd Avenue NW). There will be a celebration and ribbon cutting on Sunday, September 30 at 12:30 p.m. at the church.

Photo courtesy of Trinity United Methodist Church

The rain garden, designed by Back to Nature Design, will infiltrate rain water from 5,000 square feet of roof area, according to Mary Beth Lambert from the church. “The rain garden includes native, food-producing plants and trees, as well as a rain water cistern for irrigating the church garden,” Lambert writes.

The RainWise Program, started by Seattle Public Utilities, works to utilize storm water by retaining, filtering, and cleaning the water using native plants, according to their website. To learn more about how to start a rain garden for your home or business, visit their website.

Reminder: Metro overhaul starts tomorrow

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the first day of Metro’s numerous changes to their service, affecting multiple neighborhoods all over the city. In addition to deleting routes 15, 17 and 18, a handful of new routes, including the RapidRide D Line, have been added to the Ballard area. For a complete list of the service changes, click here. To see a list we compiled of the changes affecting Ballard, click here.

Take a book, leave a book – sidewalk library in Ballard offers book trading

On the sidewalk of a sleepy side-street in Ballard, a small, glass- and wood-case bookshelf holds a couple stacks of books. A sign just below the bookshelf reads, “Neighborhood Library” and “Take a Book.”

The library, which is near the corner of 13th Ave NW and NW 77th, has a small booklet for people to write about what they’ve taken, left behind, or read.

Thanks for the tip, Signa!

Enjoy ‘Wine, Chocolate, and Art’ at the Ballard Senior Center tonight

The Ballard Senior Center’s “Wine, Chocolate, and Art” event is tonight, and there are still tickets available. The event is from 5:30 to 8 p.m. tonight. According to the center, attendees will “taste fine wines, have delicious hors d’oeuvres, sample fantastic chocolates, enjoy many forms of art and listen to a live jazz trio.” The event usually sells out, but they have room for walk-ins this year.

The event is $20 at the door, and the money will go to support the senior center. The event is open to the whole community. Learn more here.

Missing cat near Golden Gardens

Update: Regina has been found; she was spotted nestled in a neighbor’s garden.

Original post: Regina, a black cat with white paws, has gone missing near Golden Gardens, writes one of our readers, Kara. Kara says she went missing on Tuesday evening, and is an indoor cat with no collar. The cat is female, black with white paws, and white neck and chin.

If you have seen Regina or have information about her whereabouts, you can email us at tips@myballard.com.

Marijuana, charter schools, and 36th District candidates debate

Last night at the Taproot Theater (206 N. 85th St.) in Greenwood, the 36th District candidates and representatives from two ballot initiatives debated in an open forum. The debates covered Initiative 502, which would license, regulate and tax marijuana in the state and Initiative 1240, which would introduce charter schools into the public school system.

36th District candidates Gael Tarleton and Noel Frame answer questions at Taproot Theater on Tuesday night

36th District candidates Gael Tarleton and Noel Frame

The remaining candidates for the 36th District, Gael Tarleton and Noel Frame discussed education, plans for office, and endorsements. Tarleton, a Democrat and current Seattle Port Commission president, said her 30 years of experience in working for the government would give her the knowledge and ability to serve as a state representative. Noel Frame, who is a first-time candidate and also a Democrat, said her passion for “systems change” and numerous endorsements from state legislators and Governor Christine Gregoire show her readiness and qualifications to represent the 36th District.

On the issue of higher-education funding, Tarleton laid out three ideas for helping students. First, she wants to create a low-interest student loan program, managed by the state. Second, she wants to freeze tuition at all 4-year institutions and community colleges for three years, to give the state a chance to create revenues from “new revenues,” including the potential sales tax on soda and candy. Her third idea is to develop a grant program with the federal government to secure a $25 million grant each year for ten years in which the state matches that grant for higher education. Frame’s approach to changes in higher-education funding is different, as she describes herself as more interested in changing the system as a whole. “I’m an organizer, a systems-change person. I really want us to have a state-wide conversation about where we want to go,” Frame explained. “My strength is in community engagement and organizing, and with fellow legislators, I want to go to communities all around the state and have those conversations.”

The candidates will appear in Ballard again on Tuesday, October 23 at the Sunset Hill Community Association (3003 NW 66th St) from 7 to 9 p.m. More details to come on that meeting.

Initiative 502 (concerns marijuana)

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and marijuana defense attorney Douglas Hiatt discussed I-502, Holmes a supporter and Hiatt an opponent. The bill would, according to the Washington Secretary of State voters guide, “license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over twenty-one; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues.” One of the key issues Hiatt raised was the DUI portion of the bill, under which users caught driving under the influence would be given a DUI (after a positive drug test). Hiatt said that part of the bill is a “disaster waiting to happen,” adding that the zero-tolerance aspect means he won’t be able to defend medical marijuana patients whose tolerance levels would deem them able to drive safely.

Hiatt stressed that the bill is not the key to ending marijuana prohibition, whereas Holmes argued that the initiative would “start the debate” on a federal level. By taxing marijuana, Holmes said the state could, “capture an income stream,” adding millions of tax dollars to the state’s general fund.

Initiatve 1240 (charter schools)

Eric Blumhagan and Cary Evans discussed I-1240, which, according to the voter’s guide, would, “authorize up to 40 publicly-funded charter schools open to all students, operated through approved, nonreligious, nonprofit organizations, with government oversight; and modify certain laws applicable to them as public schools.” Blumhagan represented the opponents of the bill, and Evans was arguing for the supporters of the measure. Blumhagan’s bottom line was that charter schools will take money out of public schools, which are already struggling to adequately meet the needs of students. Evans said the schools would not, in fact, take money away from students, as charter schools will be in the public school system and will therefore serve students across the board.

Another issue raised by Blumhagan was the lack of oversight and potential placements of charter schools. “What’s to stop charter schools from going to Magnolia or Mercer Island?” he posed. If the charter schools were to be built in those areas, with no transportation offered, Blumhagan argued that would not serve low-income students or target areas that need charters. Evans countered, saying the application process for schools is “rigorous,” and insisted that statistics show a huge increase in graduation rates from students who enroll in charter schools.

These measures and candidates will be on the November 6 General Election ballot. The last day to register to vote online is October 8. View more voter information here. For a complete list and descriptions of the measures that will appear on the ballot, click here.