BHS Performing Arts to host fundraising events this weekend

This weekend is jam packed full of events for the folks involved with Ballard High School Performing Arts.

The launch of the BHS Performing Arts Spring Book Fair will be hosted by Barnes and Noble Northgate (401 NE Northgate way #1100) this Friday, April 4 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Barnes and Noble will be donating a portion of the proceeds for any purchase made during the week of the book fair (April 4 through April 10) to BHS Performing Arts.

Barnes and Noble will also launch their first Family Game Night during the event on Friday. Games for all ages will be available and the newest Star Wars Role Playing Games will also be launched at this event.

Friday’s launch will be filled with fun for the whole family including drawing and prizes for children and families who are present at this launch event.

Make sure to mention Ballard High School at the register, or if making purchases online, use voucher# 11336278. Online purchased can be made through Monday, April 13.

BHS Performing Arts will also host their 55th annual Spaghetti Dinner this Saturday, April 5. Join members of the BHS and Greater Ballard, Queen Anne and Magnolia neighborhoods in an evening of great food, fun, and entertainment!

During this event that has become a BHS tradition attendees will be entertained by performances from all of the performing arts groups.

Tickets are available at the door and cost for $15 for adults and $10 for students.  Children 5 and under are free.

Group Health CareClinic opens at Bartell’s on Market

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The Group Health CareClinic opened last week at the new Bartell Drugs location at 1500 NW Market St. The clinic is a partnership between Group Health and Bartell Drugs to provide the local community with accessible and affordable health care solutions.

The Ballard CareClinic is one of three that have been launched in Seattle, with the other clinics located at University Village and at Crossroads in Bellevue. Group Health decided to open three as test models before rolling them out to more locations across the city.

When asked about why Ballard was chosen as one of the three, Wellesley Chapman, Medical Director of Care Delivery Innovation for Group Health, believes that it was a no brainer. “There is a lot of density in Ballard and it was a great opportunity to have the new store and CareClinic open at the same time,” says Chapman.

The idea behind CareClinic is simple yet effective. The clinic provides a drop-in service for patients that operates on a first come first served basis. Patients register at the CareClinic desk for an appointment, see the practitioner on duty and are able to fill necessary prescriptions on site. This streamlined service eliminates significant time delays commonly faced by patients when visiting clinics that are not in a retail store settings.

“Health care has not typically been driven around customer service but rather around physicians. We really wanted to up-end that and take health care out to the people,” says Chapman.  

All CareClinics are staffed by Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) and treat patients two years old and over for common ailments. The clinic provides treatments for illnesses including colds and flu, sinus infections, allergies, burns, rashes and cuts, pinkeye, sore throat, head lice, warts, sprains and strains, bronchitis, ear infections and urinary-tract and intestinal infections. Click here to check out their full menu of services.

CareClinic does not have lab or x-ray services on site, however, they can send away urine, strep and wound cultures for further analysis.

APRN Karen Sherwin, who is one of the two providers at the Ballard clinic, passionately believes in the retail clinic model. “It is a simpler set up that is effective and fills a specific niche. Patients receive fast, quality care and can easily get the meds they need after their appointment,” says Sherwin.

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Chapman and Sherwin in the Ballard CareClinic treatment room.

Chapman agrees with Sherwin’s assertions about the effectiveness of and need for retail clinics. “CareClinic puts health care out in the community where it is relevant to people, where it’s easier to get and where it’s more affordable,” says Chapman.

In terms of the affordability of care, CareClinic offers a highly competitive rate for patients both with and without insurance. “If you come to CareClinic it’s a $75 flat fee per visit, you pay the co-pay if you have insurance, and if not you know the price before you walk in. You pay onsite after the appointment and you have no surprise bills in the mail a month later,” says Chapman.

Patients also pay for their visit at the register along with any meds or other purchases.

Local resident Maureen Shallit who recently visited a Bartell CareClinic for assistance with an incessant cough spoke highly of her experience.

“I would recommend anyone to take advantage of what the Group Health CareClinic in Bartell Drugs has to offer. To say that the accessibility provided comfort and immediate help in addressing my concerns and physical needs is an understatement; the nurses were professional, thoughtful, thorough in my check-up and when my illness deemed a physician’s expertise, I was directed to my family doctor,” says Shallit.

For those who are slightly unsure about the retail clinic setting Chapman wants to set any worries straight. “We are one of the highest quality health care delivery systems in the nation. We deliver high quality and demand the same of these locations. It is the same standard of Group Health care,” he says.

Ballard CareClinic is now open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., and from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on weekends. Click here to learn more on the CareClinic website.

BHS students explore Maui on science-intensive expedition

10013770_10151909001436618_17048731_nBy John Foster

This February, twenty-seven Ballard High School students were joined by three teachers and three scientists for a life-changing two-week trip to Maui.

The science-intensive expedition comprised of students exploring the water and mountains of Maui and designing and completing their own field science experiment to receive Ecology credit for the experience.

Prior to departing for Hawaii, students were assigned various “short topics” relating to something the group was going to see or experience over the two weeks. These ranged from the importance of Taro root to Hawaiians to Madame Pele and Hawaiian mythology to the different types of lava flows. Students presented their short topics to the group when time allowed. In the evening, students either had a presentation by one of the scientists or time to work on their own experiments or homework.

Throughout the trip, students were busy learning a curriculum that included marine science, terrestrial science, astronomy, navigation, and Hawaiian history and culture. The group stayed in a camp situated in an ideal location to study marine life. Right on a beach in West Maui, Camp Olowalu sits in a bay with an extensive coral reef system perfect for low-tide walks, snorkeling and kayaking. Whales breech right off the reef, and turtles, octopus and sharks share the reef with countless fish and invertebrates, as well as a few endangered Hawaiian monk seals.

Students slept in A-frame cabins, and shared bathroom facilities. All meals were prepared in the camp’s WWII-era mess hall. Students were responsible for all meals, with each team preparing breakfast and dinner at camp and packing a picnic lunch every day.

Much of the two weeks was spent in the ocean, on the beach or hiking to freshwater streams and waterfalls. Many of the students had completed their scuba certification prior to the trip, and were able to do a number of dives, including a night dive. The group snorkeled or dove nearly every day at such sites as Airport Beach, Ulua, Kapalua, Olowalu, Black Rock, Ahihi bay and Mala Wharf.

About half of the students are members of Ballard High School’s Maritime Academy, and many were from the senior maritime Oceanography course or the Maritime Skills class. The Ballard Maritime Academy steering committee contributed thee partial scholarships to students who could not afford the full price of the trip, and the Pacific Fisherman Shipyard in Ballard contributed two scholarships as well.

At the airport on the first day, the group decided the method they would use to count off to ensure no one was left behind was to shout “Ohana,” the Hawaiian word for family. Throughout the trip, one of the leaders would shout “Ohana” and the students would begin their count-off. The final “Ohana” was on the airplane coming home, when the stewardess came over the loud speaker to ask the Ballard students to do one last “Ohana.”

Students also completed a service learning project at Maui Nui Botanical gardens, learning about the plants endemic to Hawaii, species introduced by the Polynesians and Europeans, as well as their uses and cultivation. Students worked hard to help clear a sugar cane field and then worked even harder turning the handle on the sugar cane press to extract the sweet juice.

Along the infamous Road to Hana, the students also had a chance to hike into Caveman falls and pool, an idyllic fresh-water pool and waterfall dripping with ferns, as well as the O’heo Gulch pools (aka Seven Sacred Pools). They also visited beach caves and lava tubes near the black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park.

Finally, after two weeks of wet bathing suits, minimal bathing, and sand everywhere, the group got dressed up on the last night for the “Drums of the Pacific” Luau at the Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali enjoying the Hawaiian buffet as much as the extravagant show.

After returning to Seattle, the students completed the write-up of their field experiments and presented them to the rest of the Ohana.

All involved agreed it was an incredible adventure and a non-stop learning experience for both students and teachers. Mr. Noam Gundle, the science teacher who organized most of the trip, hopes to make it an annual event, open to all students who have completed Biology.

Photo courtesy of BHS.

Ballard author and Jeopardy champ buys book store in Greenwood

According to a report by our news partners at, Ballard author and Jeopardy champ Tom Nissley recently purchased local independent book store Santoro’s Books (7405 Greenwood Ave N).

After nine years of running the business, previous owner Carol Santoro put the store up for sale three months ago in the hope of selling it before the expiration of her lease at the end of May.

Nissley and his wife, Laura Silverstein, are set to take over in early May and will change the store name to Phinney Books. Final preparations will then be made and the store will officially open in early June.

“I couldn’t have hoped for a better buyer or a better outcome for the bookstore,” Santoro said in a press release. “After nine years owning Santoro’s Books and 29 years in the bookselling business, it’s time for me to make a change. I feel completely confident that Tom will take the bookstore in an interesting new direction. He’s extremely knowledgeable and well-connected in the bookselling world – it’s a perfect fit.”

My Ballard featured Nissley’s stint as an eight-day Jeopardy champion back in 2010 and his performance as runner-up in the Tournament of Champions in 2011. He is making an apparent on the show this  week as part of the “Battle of the Decades.”

Since his time on Jeopardy, he quit his job at Amazon and is now a full-time writer. His latest book, released in November last year, is titled “A Reader’s Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year.”

“We’re living in a digital age, but it’s become clear in the past couple of years that many readers still want to read physical books and want to buy them at local, independent bookstores, which are thriving in Seattle,” Nissley said in the press release.

Groundswell NW annual meeting to feature Mayor Ed Murray

Groundswell NW invites Ballard residents to their 2014 Annual Meeting next Tuesday, April 8 from 6:30 –8:30 p.m. in the library of the Ballard Landmark (5433 Leary Ave NW).

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will be the featured speaker at the free, public event that is set to discuss future funding of Seattle’s parks system, including the proposal for a Metropolitan Parks District. The meeting will also feature other hot topics including the Missing Link and Neighborhood Greenways.

At the meeting Groundswell NW will also present its “Local Heroes” awards, which recognize individuals and groups who have made outstanding contributions to parks and open space in Ballard. Groundswell NW’s major 2014 initiative to update the Ballard Open Space Plan will also be discussed.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for an open house and Mayor Murray will begin speaking shortly after 7 p.m.

“Come meet their affiliate groups and find out more about our projects. We would love to have your help in enhancing open space in Ballard,” says Groundswell NW President David Folweiler.

Click here to find out more about the event.

Ecology Youth Corps seeks teen applicants for summer jobs

Are you or do you have a teen that is looking for a summer a job that is both in the outdoors and helps the environment?

The Department of Ecology invites all local youth to apply for summer jobs in the Ecology Youth Corps (EYC), which helps clean up roadsides and other public areas.

Youths ages 14 to 17 can apply to work for a 3 to 4 week session with a litter cleanup crew based in King county. Crews also will learn how to better care for the environment while earning $9.32 an hour. Applications are available online.

EYC expects to hire 237 teens for its summer crews this year, 117 of them in Western Washington. EYC is an important part of an overall Ecology-coordinated effort that each year removes more than 3,500 tons of litter and illegally dumped materials statewide.

To learn more about the program check out the Ecology Youth Corps website. Applications close Friday, April 4.

My Ballard readers celebrate April Fools’ Day in style

Happy April Fools’ Day! This morning we received a few fantastic April Fools’ in our inbox and thought we should share one of our favorites with you.

In light of the development situation in Ballard, we thought readers would appreciate this one!

Demo Team Gets The Wrong House

Imagine the surprise awaiting a Ballard resident upon her return from work. It seems there was a mis-communication and the wrong home was torn down between the time she left for the office and when she got back.

The contractor apologized profusely but there was a dyslexic error on the work order.

April Fools!

Thanks to all who emailed in their great stories! Do you experience an interesting April Fool in Ballard? Email it in to

SPU’s Spring Clean Your Neighborhood initiative set to start today

02_014078SPU’s Spring Clean Your Neighborhood initiative kicks off today and runs until May 31.

During Seattle’s premier community cleanup event locals are invited to participate in some important spring cleaning projects and do their bit to make Ballard clean and beautiful.

Help pick up litter, stencil storm drains, paint out graffiti, or remove invasive plants, in your community. All Spring Clean projects are on public property and volunteers receive free litter cleanup bags, gloves, safety vests, and waste disposal permits.

Get a group together and get started today! For more information call (206)233-7187, or register online.