Walter’s leaving Sunset Hill spot later this year

A longtime community hangout in Sunset Hill, Walter’s Cafe has been given until the end of November before it needs to find a new location, the business said.

A few days ago, the deadline was much sooner: the My Ballard Group discovered that Walter’s had been given a notice to vacate their spot at 6408 32nd Ave. NW by the end of the month.

“Nooooooo. We’ve been going there for over a decade. We love Walters!” read one of the many comments. Another commenter encouraged neighbors to email the landlord to ask for more time.

And it worked.

“We are now guaranteed thru the end of November,” said Kim at Walter’s on Facebook last night. “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our friends, family, and community. Thank you for your fast and furious response to the recent notice to vacate.”

With the extension in place, some neighbors are now wondering what can be done to keep Walter’s around beyond November.

“Please spread the word that we will be serving up your favorite coffee, ice cream, and beer as usual for another few months. We could not have done this without you,” said Kim on Facebook.

Just down from Walter’s at the corner, a new restaurant is planning to open in early November. There’s no word what’s planned for Walter’s current space.

We’ll keep you posted.

Update: Walter’s responded to our earlier request for comment: “At this time we don’t have any plans to move to a new location after November. We will continue to provide updates for the neighborhood on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Stay tuned and thanks again!”

New Ballard resident offers $2,000 to find cat

Update: Nala has returned home after she went missing a week and a half ago. Here’s a note from Charlie Shin, who posted on the My Ballard Group about Nala a week ago:

“After a harrowing week and half…Nala just showed up last night and walked up to her mom in the back porch. I received a FaceTime call from Sonya and couldn’t believe my eyes. I think the last time I had tears was when I was 10.”

Shin thanks everyone for their help in looking for Nala. 

Original: We’ve seen a lot of lost pets over the years, but a new Ballard resident is pulling out all the stops to to find her missing cat — including offering a $2,000 reward.

On the same day she moved to Ballard, Sonya says her timid calico cat Nala escaped her home at 65th St. and 10th Ave. Since then, Sonya has been canvassing the area, putting up posters, visiting shelters, installing surveillance cameras and posting the news on just about every social media account and message board she and her friends can find.

Members of the My Ballard Group have kicked into gear as well, offering ideas, spreading the news and even helping put up posters around the neighborhood.

The cat escaped on July 21st, and Sonya believes she could be hiding nearby.

If you see Nala, here’s the number to call in this Facebook post.

Former BHS football player charged with sexual assault in school bathroom

An 18-year-old student sexually assaulted another student in a Ballard High School bathroom back in March, according to charging papers obtained by both KIRO 7 and the Seattle Times.

Prosecutors allege that Demonte Rigney, a former BHS football player, invited the student to a co-ed bathroom, blocked the door and sexually assaulted her, according to court documents. He was arrested and subsequently charged with third-degree rape, KIRO and the Times reported.

“District staff worked closely with the Seattle Police Department to immediately investigate and make sure all involved were supported and made aware of their legal rights,” Seattle Public Schools said in a statement, but did not provide details due to the ongoing investigation.

Grey’s Anatomy to film in Old Ballard

The TV show Grey’s Anatomy will be filming in Old Ballard near Ballard Ave. and Shilshole Ave. all day and into the night on Thursday.

The Seattle Film Office distributed an advisory to neighbors in the area about some “no parking” areas on Shishole Ave. and the presence of uniformed police officers. The advisory didn’t provide specific locations. Filming is expected from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

While the film office didn’t reveal the TV show in question, a well-placed source tells us it’s Grey’s Anatomy. Not to mention, the show is already in town, filming at several other locations. A few of the actors attended yesterday’s Mariner’s game.

Set in Seattle, Grey’s Anatomy is filming it’s 15th season, and the premiere is slated for Sept. 27th on ABC/KOMO.

(Our thanks to Alan in the My Ballard Facebook Group for posting the film advisory.)

Old Ballard Liquor Co. to shut down and reopen as Nordic bar and restaurant

For the last six years, Old Ballard Liquor Company has been operating a nano distillery on Shilshole Ave. near the Ballard Bridge, specializing on a Scandinavian favorite: aquavit.

Owner Lexi, who goes by her first name, announced this last week that the distillery is shutting down at the end of the month. Old Ballard Liquor’s inventory is now 50% off, and the distillery is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day until it closes for good on July 31st. (It’s at 4421 Shilshole Ave NW.)

But not to fear, Lexi said she’ll reopen in “mid-to-late August” as a Nordic bar and restaurant. After all, Scandinavian food is another of Lexi’s loves. You may have eaten at “Tumble Swede,” a pop-up restaurant, most recently as a booth at SeafoodFest. Last year, she opened a small Scandinavian cafe inside Old Ballard Liquor Company with such dishes as Tunnbrödsrulle (Swedish street food), potato leek soup and elderflower ice cream. Then earlier this year, she announced a collaboration with the upcoming Skål Beer Hall to create the food concept for the Viking bar.

So a restaurant and bar sounds like a nice upgrade.

Lexi wouldn’t tell us why the distillery is closing — she said she’ll post a “detailed essay” on her website in coming weeks — but she did allude on Facebook to challenging regulations for smaller distilleries. She’s also not sharing details yet about her upcoming restaurant.

We’ll keep you updated, and in the meantime, head on down to Old Ballard Liquor Company for the discounted liquor. Everything must go by July 31st.

Seattle PD makes arrests in fire alarm burglaries

It was an unusual crime spree: burglars trigger an apartment fire alarm, and after residents evacuate the building, they grab credit cards and other loot from unlocked apartment units.

Seattle Police say officers arrested a man and a woman connected to a spree of more than a dozen such burglaries, most in the North Seattle area. The arrest followed a burglary on NE Thornton Place in Greenwood on Sunday night.

“Police arrived and spoke with the victim who said they had to exit their apartment following a fire alarm,” explains Detective Patrick Michaud. “While speaking with officers, the victim began receiving notifications their credit cards were being used at a nearby store.”

Police then responded to the store “and found two people that matched the description of the people detectives believed to be responsible for a string of similar burglaries,” Det. Michaud said. After they were taken into custody, Seattle PD says they confessed to more than a dozen additional burglaries. They were booked for investigation of burglary, fraud and multiple warrants.

Ballard’s homelessness quadrupled last year

As we all know, homelessness is a red hot issue in the neighborhood. The Seattle Times has published an in-depth story on Ballard’s homeless, and there’s one surprising statistic shared by reporter Scott Greenstone:

Ballard is experiencing an influx larger than almost anywhere else in King County. The annual Point In Time count found a fourfold increase in homelessness in central Ballard in just one year, with 214 people tallied there on one night in January.

That tally is for Central Ballard. If you look at West Woodland and the “Frelard” area, the count was 94 people in January, up 147%. A couple other Seattle neighborhoods saw even more growth: the University District and the Georgetown area.

Why Ballard? Greenstone talked to case workers who said several factors are likely involved: avoiding the downtown area, ample RV parking in Ballard’s industrial areas and a network of organizations that help support the homeless.

But don’t just read our summary — go read the story. It brings together a lot of our previous reporting with some nuance that illustrates the complexities of the problem. And if you’d like to leave a comment, please keep it civil and constructive.

(Archive photo from April from KIRO TV)

Hale’s Ales celebrating 35th anniversary

While most Ballard-area breweries are just a few years old, Fremont’s Hale’s Ales is celebrating its 35th anniversary this month.

It all began back in 1982 when Mike Hale spent a year of apprenticeship brewing at Gale’s Ales Brewery in Horndean, England. A year later, Hale’s Ales was founded in Colville, WA, using refashioned dairy equipment to make up the brewing line. At the time, there were fewer than 100 breweries in the country, the company says.

Now Hale’s is the longest-running independently-owned brewery in the Northwest.

“We sold our first keg on July 4, 1983,” says founder Mike Hale. “We’ve been having fun ever since.”

To celebrate, Hale’s is throwing a 35th anniversary party on Saturday, July 28th from 1 to 6 p.m. They’ll have live music, vintage and rare beer samplings and brewery tours.

Police seek woman who shoved child at Ballard Community Center

An intoxicated woman made her way into the Ballard Community on Monday afternoon and attempted to access a restricted area, according to Seattle PD.

“Staff members confronted the woman, who became agitated and walked toward the exit. On her way out the door, the woman shoved a four-year-old girl to the ground,” police said.

When officers arrived, the woman was gone. The child sustained minor injuries, and police are investigating the case as an assault.

Officers have provided a rather rudimentary suspect description: “White female in her 50s, approximately 5’8, with short blonde hair, dressed in all black.”

(File photo)