Beaver Basketball hits mid-season

By Bucky Beaver

There is some great basketball being played in Ballard this season and it’s happening at Ballard High School.  Both the girls and boys varsity teams are putting together nice seasons and are set to make a run at the playoffs.

Girls Basketball

The girl’s varsity team has already won 6 games this season—the same amount as all of last year.  They have 6 wins against 5 losses (3 and 3 in conference play) putting together a nice five game winning streak (their longest in five years).  The Beavers are a young team with only two seniors on the roster and are hoping to make the playoffs for the first time in five years.  Overall the team is giving up 3 less points per game and scoring 4 more points per game than last year’s team which has contributed to their success.

The girls basketball team facing off against Garfield. Photo by Ed Tanaka

The Beavers have a balanced scoring team with five different players scoring over 15 points in a game.  Juniors Nancy MacGeorge (11.6 points per game [ppg], 6.7 rebounds per game [rpg]), Beverly Verduin (11.5 ppg, 4.3 assists per game [apg]) and Shelby Bailess (8.4 ppg) lead the team in scoring.  Senior Sam Hall has been a beast on the boards hauling in 7.2 rpg to go with here 5.5 ppg.  Junior Imani Bender has contributed 4.6 ppg and 5.4 rpg; Sophomore Tessa Sechler is averaging 2 steals per game.

The girl’s varsity plays the Australian National Team Wednesday evening at Ballard at 5:45 pm and then jump back into conference play hosting Skyline Friday night.  Follow the girl’s basketball team at their web site: www.girlshoops.ballardathletics.org

Boys Basketball

The boy’s varsity team is coming off winning the Les Schwab Holiday Classic going 3-0 winning each game by double figures.  The boy’s team is 6-4 overall (2-3 in conference), with three of their four losses against top 10 state ranked teams.  All of the losses have come down to a few possessions in the end.

Boy basketball team holding the trophy after they won the Les Schwab Holiday Tournament. Photo by Ed Tanaka

The boys cracked the top 10 state ranking earlier in the season.  The Beavers are lead in scoring by seniors Seth Berger (16.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg), Johnny Verduin (12.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Stuart MacGeorge (8 ppg), Raymond Owens (6 ppg, 3.3 apg), and Nate Rauda (4.3 ppg, 2 apg).  Juniors Nick Brown, Chase Deger, and Darius George have been solid off the bench.

The boy’s varsity plays the Australian National Team Wednesday evening at Ballard at 7:30 pm and then also jump back into conference play hosting Skyline Friday night.  Follow the boy’s basketball team at their web site: www.boyshoops.ballardathletics.org

Take the Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day

On New Year’s Day, some brave people will be welcoming in the new year with a plunge in the Puget Sound at Golden Gardens. It’s called the Polar Bear Plunge, started four years ago by Ballard resident Rick Sandvig. The brave polar bears will be out at 11 a.m. this year.

Last year was a record turnout for the plunge, with over 200 suited up for the chilly dip. Sandvig says he started the tradition after seeing it happen in Vancouver, B.C. a few years ago.

Liv, who did her first polar bear plunge last year, told My Ballard that it wasn’t too bad. “It wasn’t as cold as I thought it was going to be. It was the shock, oh my god it’s so cold, but once you got out, it’s so warm out, it’s like summer on the beach.”

Click here for a video of last year’s polar bears.

Upcoming Alaskan Way Viaduct closures

This weekend and next week, crews will be closing parts of the Alaskan Way Viaduct for construction. Here are the upcoming closures, from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT):

Sunday, Dec. 30 and Wednesday, Jan. 2 through the morning of Friday, Jan. 4:

  • Crews will close the Fremont on-ramp to southbound SR 99 from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.
  • Crews will close the two right lanes of southbound SR 99 on the Aurora Bridge from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.
  • Crews will close the two right lanes of northbound SR 99 on the Aurora Bridge from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.

Wednesday, Jan. 2 – Friday, Jan. 4:

  • Crews will reduce Sixth Avenue North to one lane of alternating traffic between Thomas and John streets from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Wednesday, Jan. 2

  • Crews will close Sixth Avenue North just north of Denny Way from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Local access will be maintained from John Street.

Thursday, Jan. 3

  • Crews will close John Street between Sixth Avenue North and Taylor Avenue North from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Local access to John Street will be maintained from Taylor Avenue North.

Friday, Jan. 4

  • Crews will close the two left lanes on Fourth Avenue between Blanchard and Battery streets from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For detailed closures and construction updates, visit the project’s webpage.

Seattle Public Utilities sends out survey to study rainwater and sewage overflow issues in Ballard

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is asking some Ballard residents to take a survey about rainwater and sewage overflow. The survey will help the city investigate a natural drainage system to prevent sewage overflow in Salmon Bay.

The survey was sent to residents who live in what’s called the combined sewage overflow area (CSO), between NW 65th St and NW 85th St, and 16th Ave NW and 30th Ave NW. Shanti Colwell from SPU explains that when it rains, rainwater from this area flows into a pipe that carries it to a wastewater treatment plant. However, in heavy rain, the wastewater treatment pipe often overflows, sending the remaining rainwater straight into Salmon Bay. Colwell says in 2009, the pipe overflowed 73 times, sending a total of 43 million gallons of untreated wastewater into the bay.

The survey will allow SPU to get a better idea of what areas are overwhelmed with rainwater so they can build roadside rain gardens. The idea, Colwell says, is to capture rainwater and send into the ground and not into the pipe. They’ll use the results to look at locations for the rain gardens, possibly in areas that could use one to relieve some traffic issues, or to improve the aesthetics of a street or neighborhood block.

There will be an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 12 at the Sunset Hill Community Center to show the results of the survey and some upcoming soil testing results. Learn more about the project here (PDF) or on the SPU webpage about the Ballard Basin.

City to perform complete environmental study on missing link of Burke-Gilman

After nearly 10 years of stalled improvements due to ongoing litigation, the city of Seattle will conduct a complete Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the project to complete the missing link of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn joined City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) officials and Davidya Kasperzyk of the Friends of Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard today to discuss the details of the EIS and other road safety improvements that will made in the interim.

“We’re going to study, right now, everything we can study. We think that’s the most effective way to get to the end of the legal challenges,” McGinn said. “Once that study is complete, we can move forward with construction.” However, McGinn points out that the completed EIS will likely invite another legal challenge. He said he expects at least another 2 to 3 years before the legal issues and construction are complete.

“That delay is unacceptable to the safety of the people using the trail today. This corridor, from Fred Meyer to the Ballard Locks, is one of the highest accident corridors in the city. It’s one of the least safe places to ride a bicycle, but it’s one of the most heavily used places to ride a bicycle,” McGinn said.

The city plans to implement a number of improvements to the roadway between the Locks and the Fred Meyer over the next year, including the following:

  • Advisory bicycle lanes on NW 45th Street and other safety improvements on that section of roadway
  • Installation of striping and signage to create a traffic island and a 4-way stop at Ballard Avenue NW and 17th Avenue NW
  • Striping and signage at NW 48th Street and Ballard Avenue NW to improve vehicular line of sight and slow speeds.
  • Shoulder maintenance and replacement along degraded sections of the shoulder along Shilshole Avenue NW.
  • Installation of a curb ramp to allow bicycles access to the sidewalk to queue for the existing bike lane headed north on 24th Avenue NW at the intersection of Shilshole Avenue NW / 24th Avenue NW and NW Market Street. Current conditions provide very limited queuing space for bicycles.

Kasperzyk of the Friends of Burke-Gilman Trail said that safety has always been the original concept for the completion. “There have been a lot of accidents, a lot of hurt people around here. One of the main things we hear from people, especially our younger members as more and more people are coming to Ballard and being part of this residential community, is ‘Dude, where’s our trail?'”

The EIS will cost $300,000 and will be completed within six to nine months, according to SDOT. The study will begin in a few months, and McGinn added that comments from the public are welcome.