Loyal Heights teacher recognized as a ‘Hero in the Classroom’

Loyal Heights Elementary School first-grade teacher Patricia Magnusson was recently recognized for her outstanding teaching. She’s been selected as one of 24 “Symetra Heroes in the Classroom” during the 2012 NFL season, and was honored at a special celebration at Century Link Field.

Photo by Larry Gill

Magnusson was celebrated with the other teachers during a luncheon at the Coach’s Loft at the stadium. After the lunch, the teachers received an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium. As part of the recognition, the teachers were surprised with a customized locker in the Seahawks locker room. Each teacher’s locker featured a nameplate, and inside were plaques commemorating the awards and a May 24 edition of the Seattle Times which featured an ad saluting the 24 recipients.

Present at the recognition was Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung, who joined the teachers in the locker room where he shared a personal story about his fourth grade teachers Mrs. Howell and Mrs. Cook. “Those two teachers, they believed in me,” he said, according to a release about the event. “They took me aside and they took that extra step to get me right. They had a level of belief in me that I didn’t have in myself. The patience they showed in me paid off.”

The Symetra Heroes in the Classroom awards have been given out since 2006 in the Puget Sound Area. Each teacher received a $350 gift card to Office Max for classroom supplies and tickets to a Seahawks home game. Symetra also makes a $1,000 donation to each teacher’s school. To learn more about the awards or to nominate a teacher, click here.

Congrats to Patricia Magnusson for receiving this special award!

Today marks 106th anniversary of Ballard’s annex to Seattle

On this day in 1907, the City of Ballard was no more and it was annexed to Seattle. The momentous change added both a new neighborhood and 17, 000 people to Seattle’s population.

At the time, Ballard had increasing difficulties in providing services to the growing population and particularly had issues with the water supply. Reportedly, a dead horse was once found floating in Ballard’s only reservoir. The need for clean water was reportedly so dire that in April, 1901 Ballard City Council requested to purchase water from Seattle for a 20 year term (see document below from Seattle Municiple Archives). This plan was obviously in place before annexation was considered.

The vote to annex passed by 996 votes to 874 on November 6, 1906 and at approximately 3:45 p.m. on May 29th, 1907 Ballard officially became part of Seattle. Some residents showed their reaction to the decision by draping Ballard City Hall (pictured above) in black crepe. The flag on the city flag pole also flew at half mast to mourn the loss of the city.

106 years on it is interesting to look back at the events that shaped our neighborhood.

Photo courtesy of Ballard Historical Society. Document courtesy of the Seattle Municiple Archives.

BHS lacrosse state semifinal match to air on Comcast tonight

The Ballard High School’s state semifinal playoff Division II lacrosse match against Nathan Hale will air tonight on Comcast. The game starts at 5 p.m. tonight, and will be available On Demand on Xfinity TV for two days after the game ends.

The airing tonight is part of just four Washington state prep lacrosse games being broadcast by Comcast this year. To watch the game, select “Comcast on Demand,” then “Get Local,” then “Sports,” then “High School Sports,” and then, “Lacrosse.” The game tonight will determine who will be the finalists in Saturday’s Washington Lacrosse Boys State Championship matchup.

Good luck to our Ballard Beavers!

Pictured above: BHS senior Will Leanord. Photo courtesy Sam Hanske


Ballard Bike Street Party is on Friday

This Friday, May 31, music and bicycles will take over Bergen Place Park for the Ballard Bike Street Party. The event is part of Seattle Summer Streets, put on by KEXP and the Cascade Bicycle Club, and will include musical acts, advice from bike gurus, and even a bike fashion show.

Music by local bands Tomten and Country Lips will fill the streets between 4 and 6 p.m. After the music ends, there will be a “Share Your Style” Fashion Show, where bikers will have the opportunity to get up on stage and show off their riding outfits. There will be free food and beverages from Clif Bar, Nuun and Theo Chocolate, free bike assistance from Second Ascent and Bike Sport mechanics, beer from Ballard’s Peddler Beer Brewing Company at the BalMar, and arts and crafts for the kids.

Here’s the schedule:

  • 3:30 p.m.: Street party open!
  • 4:15-5:00 p.m.: Live music by Tomten
  • 5 – 8:00 p.m.: Happy Hour at the Balmar
  • 5:30 – 6:15 p.m.: Live music by Country Lips
  • 6:35 – 7:00 p.m.: Bike fashion show
  • 7:00 p.m.: Street Party ends

The event is free and open to the public, and there will be a large bike corral to park your bike. Children, pets and families are welcome at the event.

Get on the map for Saturday’s Whittier Heights garage sale

There are only a couple days left to get your house on the map for Saturday’s giant neighborhood-wide garage sale in Whittier Heights. If you’d like to do some spring cleaning and make a little money while you’re at it, add your house to the list by contacting Brad Wakeman at brad@lakere.com. The deadline to join the garage sale and list your address is Thursday, May 30. We’ll post a map of the participating homes on Friday.

Drink brews and raise money for Seattle Children’s at Reuben’s Brews

This Thursday, May 30, Reuben’s Brews (1406 NW 53rd St, Ste 1A) is raising money for Seattle Children’s Hospital as part of their “Thank you Thursdays” fundraisers, where $1 of each pint sold goes to a local charity.

My Ballard readers John and Ashley Love wrote to tell us about their son who receives regular care at Seattle Children’s. Because they’re so grateful of the care their little one receives at Children’s, they’re going to match every dollar raised at Reuben’s that night. “Reuben’s is a family brewery, and happens to have excellent craft beer, so what better place to host an event giving back to Seattle Children’s,” the Loves tell us.

To keep up to date on the fundraisers at Reuben’s, keep an eye on their Facebook page, or check out their blog.

Billy Beach serves up succulent sushi in Ballard

Billy Beach Sushi and Bar (5463 Leary Way N) opened with a bang earlier this month at its Leary Way location. We reported the opening of the eatery, owned by Japonessa owner and chef Billy Beach, in early May and thought it was high time to go in and check it out.

The My Ballard team went in last Sunday night to sample both the menu and the atmosphere of Ballard’s newest sushi spot. Let’s just say, we weren’t disappointed!

Upon entering we found the restaurant packed with Ballardites wining and dining on Beach’s varied, unique and well-priced menu. The traditional sushi and sashimi options can be found in amongst Beach’s signature rolls such as the Super Bad Boy Roll and the Bad Brother Roll. The presentation was fantastic and the taste even better.

In addition to the food menu, Billy Beach Sushi and Bar offers an extensive cocktail list served up by Bar Manager Cameron Hagg and Bar Tender Jawn Wakefield (pictured below). “We aim to have the best cocktail program in Ballard, keeping it fun and real,” says Wakefield. Hagg reports that during the opening month business has been “really steady, really busy.”

Enhancing both the menu and the cocktail list is Billy Beach’s version of happy hour, dubbed “Beach Time”. It runs all day Sunday and everyday from lunchtime to 7:30 p.m. After a quick break it returns at 10 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday. During Beach Time patrons will discover a multitude of well priced options such as signature rolls for $6, sashimi plates for $10 and drinks at very reasonable prices.

Billy Beach Sushi is sure to be a staple of the Ballard restaurant scene this summer. Pay them a visit for lunch from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Sundays. For dinner check it out Sunday to Wednesday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday 5 p.m. – 12 a.m. The restaurant is closed for lunch on Saturdays.

To find out more about this exciting new eatery click here to check out their Facebook page.

Learn how to ‘Stay Sweet Without the Sugar’ tomorrow at a free class at the library

Tomorrow night, a local holistic health coach will be putting on a free class to learn about about sugar addiction at the Ballard Library. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m., and will feature Brook Sorgen, a Ballard-based holistic health coach. According to Sorgen, the hour-long class will be, “fun, informative and interactive.”

“This is a shame-free, health-positive environment.  We will discuss a little history, a little science and everyone will leave with a ‘next-steps’ guide for changing their behavior around sugar cravings,” Sorgen writes on the “Staying Sweet Without the Sugar”  event page. Sorgen tells us the space is limited, so if you plan on going, RSVP here.

Free concerts at the Locks start this week

This week starts the first round of free concerts at the Ballard Locks as part of their 24th annual summer concerts series. The first concert will feature the Seattle Civic Band on Thursday, May 30 at 7 p.m.

The concerts will happen every Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. from June 1 through Sept. 2 in the Carl S. English Botanical Gardens at the Locks. Throughout the summer, they’ll have a handful of special performances, including concerts on the 4th of July and Labor Day.

The concerts are free and open to the public, with limited seating on a first-come basis. The first weekend concert will happen this Saturday, June 1, featuring the Boeing Employees Concert Band and the Cascadia Jazz Band will perform on Sunday. For a calendar of the concerts, click here.

Ballard athletes succeed at state track and field competition

By Bucky Beaver

Ballard High School had eight student-athletes competing in eight events at the Washington state track and field competition this past weekend at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.  On the boys side senior Stuart Thomas competed in the boys 110m high hurdles and the 300m hurdles placing 7th and 5th in the finals, respectively.  Senior Dominique Smith competed in the 100m dash and the long jump placing 6th in the long jump.  Senior Mia Wrey competed in the girls 800m placing 5th in the finals.  Junior Carolyn Birkenfeld competed in the 200m dash, just missing qualifying for the finals.

BHS girls winning 4×400 team with their medals. Left to right: Emma Onstad-Hawes, Nicole Godbout, Carolyn Birkenfeld, Mia Wrey, Cat Banobi, and Jamie Smith.

In the last event of the meet, the girls 4x400m relay team consisting of freshman Nicole Godbout, Wrey, senior Cat Banobi, Birkenfeld, senior Emma Onstad-Hawes, and freshman Jamie Smith, won the state competition!  This is the first state victory since 2004 and the first girl’s victory since 1998.  The relay team broke the school record four times this year.  In all, Ballard student-athletes broke school records in the girls 800m (Wrey), 300m hurdles (Thomas), 4×100 relay, and 4×400 relay.

Third year head coach Bob Mirenzi was very excited about his team’s performance this year.  He noted that “many kids come to track as a second sport, to stay in shape or get in shape for their first sport.   This unique thrill they experience when they start to beat kids and get recognition is often the hook that brings many athletes to see themselves as track and field people.”  He was especially proud of Ballard’s state championship relay team. “Relays are great”, said Mirenzi, “they give the athletes the thrills of competition and success on an individual basis and at the same time draw on the team support and critical aspect that everyone needs to do their best.” “It takes advantage of the full palette of skills the kids bring to the table”, he added.

The relay team showed a lot of maturity from the older girls.  “This team has three seniors, one junior and two freshman.   Both of the freshman girls, Nicole and Jamie, are very great athletes,  both were able to experience, perform and excel at a very high level competition while, in a sense, being mentored and protected, by the older girls Cat, Emma, Mia and Carolyn, from the great stress and pressures dumped on them,” Mirenzi pointed out.

Mirenzi hopes to build on this year’s success in track and field.  He’s already received calls from incoming 8th grade parents hoping to get their kids involved in the program.  The proud Mirenzi concluded, “it’s pretty cool to be able to witness a group of kids realize that they are very good, not by some new thing they were able to develop on the track, but by their ability to understand and employ the great things they bring to the track from the years they have spent on the soccer field, the basketball court, the tennis courts, the football field, the orchestra pit, the jazz ensemble, the chess board.”