What’s on this weekend

It is the weekend again and with the amazing weather we have been experiencing it’s time to get out and about in Ballard. Check out the list below of events happening in our neighborhood:

Friday March 29:

  • Comedy Sportz Seattle show at 2220 NW Market Street at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Click here for more details and to buy tickets.
  • “Gershwin Straight up with a Twist” at Egan’s Ballard Jam House (1707 NW Market St). Two shows will be performed at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. For more information and to book tickets click here

Saturday March 30:

  • Simple Home Remedies Course at Dandelion Botanicals (5424 Ballard Ave NW #103) 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. This week is the start of the 5 week course on how to make your own home remedies. Cost is $25 per class or $110 for the 5 week session. For more details and to sign up click here.
  • Seattle Children’s Theatre Drama Story at Secret Garden Books (2214 NW Market St) from 11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Drama Story is an interactive retelling of a play that involves everyone in fun and super-imaginative ways. This week drama story is featuring Adverntures with Spot. All are welcome and the event is free. Click here for more information.
  • Comedy Sportz Seattle show at 2220 NW Market Street at 2 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Click here for more details and to buy tickets.

Sunday March 31:

  • Ballard Farmers Markets are being held this Easter Sunday on Ballard Ave from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Click here for more information.

Don’t forget to check out our post on all of the Eggs-cellent Easter activities happening in our area this weekend.

    BHS “Viking Robotics” compete at Seattle Regional Robotics Competition this week

    Ballard High School team “Viking Robotics” are competing in the Seattle Regional FIRST Robotics Competition this week at CenturyLink field.

    Over the last six weeks, 64 teams of high school students have built remote-controlled robots from the scratch in preparation for the event. During the competition, students will test their robots against other teams to see who will be crowned champion. The robots will be tested on their ability to throw Frisbees into goals. Winning teams will then advance to FIRST National Championship to be held on April 24-27 in St. Louis, Mo.

    Viking Robotics was founded in 2008 by BHS engineering teacher Craig Nielsen with the goal of sparking student interest in engineering and technology. The team is now 40 members strong. “As excitement takes root, we hope more students will embrace engineering and technology studies in high school, university, and their careers,” wrote Nielsen on the team’s website. According to Nielsen, the team name choice was obvious, with our neighborhood’s roots and connections to Scandinavian countries.

    This week’s competition is hosted by FIRST, a not-for-profit organization which is dedicated to inspiring young people’s interest in science, technology and engineering. It is the second regional that Viking Robotics are attending, after they attended the Central Washington Regional last week where they seeded 10th.

    Nielsen is confident about Viking Robotics chances and is proud of the success of the team.  “Since its creation the team has allowed students to explore their interest in mechanics and technology,” wrote Nielsen on the team’s website.

    To learn more about Viking Robotics, check out their Facebook page here.

    We will update readers on the results of this week’s competition. Good luck Viking Robotics!

    Photos courtesy of Viking Robotics.

    Superintendent Banda gives update on MAP testing

    MAP testing has been an issue of contention for the Seattle Public Schools community this year. Teachers across Seattle have been protesting about the legitimacy of the MAP tests and calling for Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Banda to review the issue.

    Locally, as we reported in an earlier post, 18 teachers from Ballard High School boycotted the MAP tests and held a boycott rally back in February.

    Superintendent Banda has been investigating the issue and released the following letter to the members of the Seattle Public Schools community this morning:

    Dear Seattle Public Schools community,

    Our community has engaged in a deep discussion during the last two months about the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment, which provides data used for screening and analyzing student achievement and measuring growth over time.

    While we know the MAP assessment has its strengths and limitations, it’s important for educators to use a variety of data sources to help inform classroom instruction.

    For many of our teachers and principals, the MAP assessment provides critical information to help screen our academically at-risk students so we can identify additional supports and provide more personalized attention, as well as measure their academic growth and improvement over time.

    The latest testing period wrapped up on Feb. 28, and I wanted to share details of this assessment, as well as provide an update on future testing.

    First of all, I want to thank our staff and schools for their ongoing work in administering assessments. I am pleased to report that every school administered the MAP assessment and met the testing deadline.

    There will be no discipline of any test administrator. Those teachers who publically said they refused to administer the test either did not teach a tested subject, or they were not a test administrator.

    However, I want to reiterate my hope that in the future, we seek to address our concerns and issues in a more constructive manner, in a way that puts our students first.

    Overall, nearly 30,000 students in the required grade levels (1st to 9th grade) completed the MAP assessment during the winter period. We did see a higher than usual number of high school students and families who opted out of taking the test.

    Districtwide, a total of 459 parents and 133 students opted out. Of these opt-outs, 265 parents (58% of total) were from two district high schools (Garfield and Ingraham), and 129 students (97% of total) were from one high school (Garfield), A detailed accounting of winter MAP participation can be found here.

    I want to thank the members of the Task Force on Assessment and Measuring Progress. This group of principal, teacher, student, family and community representatives has met four times since February and is charged with reviewing District assessment programs, including MAP, and making recommendations for next year and beyond. You can review the meeting minutes and agendas, as well as the names of task force members, here.

    The task force is expected to make a recommendation to me in May regarding assessments for the 2013-14 school year.

    In the meantime, our spring assessments will be held from April 22 to June 7. Beginning this spring, the District recommends that students enrolled in an Algebra 1 course take the NWEA Algebra End-of-Course (EOC) exam instead of Math 6+ test.

    Based on a preliminary review of MAP by staff, we’ve made the following adjustment to our testing policy: For 9th grade, only students below standard based on the state reading assessment will be required to take the MAP reading test. It will be optional for 9th-graders who are at or above standard in reading.

    Again, I want to thank the teachers and community members for the ongoing dialogue about assessments, and I appreciate the Task Force’s commitment. I am pleased that we have been able to use this issue as an opportunity for us to all work together on a solution that best benefits our students.

    Sincerely,
    José

    Easter Weekend set to eggs-cellent in Ballard

    Easter events are happening all over Ballard this weekend. Events ranging from egg hunts to Easter animal encounters will be sure to entertain everyone in the family.

    Sweet Mickey’s candy shop are holding the 1st Annual Sweet Mickey’s Egg Hunt and Games at Ballard Commons Park (5501 22nd Ave NW) on Saturday, March 30 at 11 a.m. The event is free and open to the public. In addition to the egg hunt, a raffle will be held in support of Blessings in a Backpack.

    Woodland Park Zoo (6532 Phinney Ave N) will host Bunny Bounce on Saturday, March 30 from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm. The annual Easter event will feature egg hunts for children 1-8 years old, bunny encounters and special Easter zoo programs. Cost for zoo entry is $8.75 to $12.75, children under 2 enter free.

    A Spring Egg Hunt will be held at Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave NW) on Saturday, March 30 at 10 a.m. The event is free and all are welcome. Guests are advised to arrive 15 minutes early to find their age group.

    An Easter Egg Hunt will be held on Saturday, March 30 at 10 a.m. at Webster Park (3025 NW 68th St). The event is free and sponsored by Sunset Hill Community Center.

    An Easter Egg Hunt will be held at Loyal Heights Community Center (2101 NW 77th St) on Saturday, March 30 at 10 a.m. Click here to find out more.

    Crown Hill Pet Supply (9053 Holman Rd NW) will host their 1st annual Egg Hunt in store from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday, March 30. There will be eggs for cats, dogs and humans. The golden egg will be hidden in the store on Saturday with a gift certificate and other goodies.

    Do you know of another Easter event happening around Ballard this weekend? Send us an email at tips@myballard.com and we will add your event to the list.

    Ballard Boys and Girls Club van catches fire in front of North Beach Elementary

    A Ballard Boys and Girls Club (BBGC) van caught fire in front of North Beach Elementary (9018 24th Ave NW) at approximately 3:40 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The van caught fire outside the school as a BBGC staff member arrived to pick up students. No one was injured during the incident.

    According to BBGC Operations, Program and Teen Director Alison Soike, staff member Dena noticed that the van smelled like smoke on her drive to pick up the students from North Beach Elementary. When she arrived, she turned off the van and opened the doors to air the van out. It was at this point that the van caught fire with large visible flames.

    Dana was not hurt and no students were in or around the van when it burst into flames. All students were evacuated inside the building and into the back playground as 911 was called.

    According to My Ballard reader Lisa Geisness, “Mr. Rhett Hartmann, the beloved P.E. teacher there, grabbed a fire extinguisher and emptied it on it (the van).  Parent Mary Hayes had the foresight to have the Boys & Girls Club move a second van parked immediately in front of it to so help prevent it from getting involved.  She also posted herself at the front entrance to prevent kids from wandering out there – she let them exit to the right (away from incident) with a parent.” Reportedly, the Principal was not on site at the time of the fire.

    Two fire engines, Units E18 and E35, responded to the scene and extinguished the van. Soike revealed that the van was “a complete loss and caused damage to a few other vehicles.”

    BBGC released a letter to parents this afternoon confirming the details of the incident and stated that child safety was their number one concern. “We wanted to give you all the facts so that you weren’t caught unaware if your child came home with a story.  Please let us know if you have any questions and we will do our best to answer them,” wrote Soike.

    We have contacted Seattle Fire Department for more information in relation to the cause of the fire and will update the post when more information is known.

    Thank you to readers Tracey Frye, Patrick Trainor and Lisa Geisness for tips and photos.

    “The Bitter Roots” release new music video shot in Ballard

    Local Ballard band The Bitter Roots released their latest music video “More Pretty” last week. The video was shot in Ballard and is the latest single for the band that formed in our neighborhood in 2008.

    The band comprises of trio Jeff Stetson, Ben Koostra and Don Allen. The Bitter Roots formed in 2008 when long time friends Koostra and Stetson reconnected in Seattle, after being long time friends in their hometown of Missoula MT. “I had a new batch of songs I wanted to do something with and when he (Koostra) got to town I played them for him and we got it all going from there,” said Stetson.

    The band has strong ties to our neighborhood and the trio refer to it as their “home base”. The connection to Ballard started when Stetson and his wife Amy moved to our area in the late 90s. “It was the most affordable neighborhood at the time that reminded us the most of home. We love it here,” said Stetson.

    Their first two albums, one self-titled and the next “Moral Hazard”, were recorded in Stetson’s Water Works Hill Studios right here in Ballard and mixed and mastered by music industry veteran Floyd Reitsma in Fremont. This latest single comes from the band’s third album “Chiaroscuro”. The band is proud of the progress of the album as it reached as high as number 26 on the iTunes New Rock Release chart and was on the College Music Charts across the country from October last year.

    The Bitter Roots’ music can be described as “soulful rock, guitar oriented and diverse, with vocal harmony and tight rhythms,” said Stetson. The band have been influenced by the Punk, Metal, Garage and Melodic Rock from all over the world. Fans can hear influences from The Cure, Janes Addiction, REM, Deftones and Nirvana in their original music. “It is quite a diverse sound both rhythmically and melodically,” comments Stetson.

    The Bitter Roots are unique not only in their sound, but in the way they record. Unlike most other bands these days, they record all songs live to Analog Tape. They shy away from the common uses of Auto Tune, Click Track or samples. “If it took 54 takes, it took 54 takes. This we believe is the best way to make the Rock,” wrote the band on their website.

    When asked why the band chose to shoot their latest music video in Ballard, Stetson is quick to answer. “Ballard is great place to shoot film, you can pretty much find any backdrop you want to work with in the neighborhood.” The band are currently editing their next video which was also shot in our neighborhood.

    Their latest track “More Pretty” can be described as a fast paced rock song about celebrity culture. Stetson revealed that fans will be entertained by the humorous side shown in the music video. “Director Ricky Pharoe turned it into a funny story about a bad girl (played by Mary Jo Reynolds) that takes over my spot in the band, it is really quite funny,” said Stetson.

    Since releasing the video, The Bitter Roots have been rehearsing for their future shows at Skylark Cafe (3803 Delridge Way SW) on Saturday, April 6 and at Cafe Racer (5828 Roosevelt Way NE) on Saturday, May 18th.

    Click here to check out “More Pretty” and learn more about the local band.

    Harbor Church community garden on the lookout for local gardeners

    Harbor Church (9204 11th Ave NW) are looking for local gardeners interested in being involved with their community garden this spring and summer. The garden is located on the corner of 92nd and 11th, just around the corner from Dick’s Burgers.

    The community garden currently has two open plots and Harbor Church welcome any locals who want to participate in the planting and maintenance of the garden. Cost of participation is free. “We’d love to get some more of our neighbors involved in our garden,” said Minister of Outreach and Family Ministries Jana Koh.

    The community garden also features a 12 ft. x 14 ft. plot which is dedicated to growing vegetables that are donated to the Greenwood Food Bank.

    If you are interested in being involved with the project contact Jana Koh at jana.koh@gmail.com or call (206) 414-5022.

    Photo courtesy of Harbor Church.

    Ballard 7-11 store robbed at gun point

    Ballard 7-11 store near Ballard Locks (32nd Ave NW and NW 54th St) was robbed by a man at gun point in the early hours of Thursday morning, March 28. Despite coordinated efforts of the SPD and King County’s Guardian One helicopter the man escaped. Check out this statement released on the SPD Blotter:

    A suspect entered a Ballard 7-11 store at 32nd Avenue NW and NW 54th Street just after midnight and pointed a handgun at the clerk, demanding cash. After getting some money, the suspect then fled the store.

    Despite a quick and large police response, including King County’s Guardian One helicopter, the suspect was not located. A possible suspect was detained on the south side of the Ballard Locks but neither the clerk or a witness could positively identify the detained person as being involved.

    The suspect description is: Middle Eastern male, unknown age, 5’8″ tall, skinny. He was wearing a green jacket with stripes, black “track” pants, and tennis shoes. He was armed with a black semi-automatic handgun.

    The Robbery Unit will now handle the follow up investigation. Anyone with information on this crime or the suspect is urged to contact Seattle Police.

    If you have any information relating to the robbery contact SPD North Precinct at (206) 684-0850.

    We will keep readers updated with the progress of the SPD investigation.