Ballard preschool selected for city-wide program; Fremont preschool catches fire

At the beginning of the month, The Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) Implementation was passed unanimously by the Seattle City Council. The Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) selected only a handful of preschools to provide high-quality preschool services come September; of their selected locations is North Ballard’s Creative Kids (10525 3rd Ave NW).

Mayor Ed Murray announced the ten 2015/2016 providers and their locations on Monday, July 6. While two of the locations will hold two classes and serve over thirty kids, the majority– including the Northern Ballard provider– will hold just one class and serve 20 kids.

In choosing the program providers, DEEL involved a panel of City staff across departments and community members. On November 4, 2014, Seattle voters approved Proposition 1B (Ordinance 124509) which will fund the four-year demonstration phase of the Seattle Preschool Program, and build toward serving 2,000 children in 100 classrooms by 2018.

The SPP anticipates that enrollment for this first year will be limited, however all 4-year-olds in the city (regardless of income level) are eligible to apply. Additional information can be found online regarding Enrollment requirements and the program’s timeline.

SPP start-up timeline
SPP start-up timeline


Meanwhile, Fremont preschool Orange Tea School caught fire on Friday, July 10 at 5:30 a.m. Firefighters speculate that the misfortune, which started under the back deck frequented by transients, may have been due to a trespasser’s cigarette.

Fire crews responded to the flames without anyone getting hurt, however the pregnant owner Kerry McMannis, who operates the school and inhibits the building, was forced to flee during the incident.

The school at 3623 Fremont Ave N. is grateful of the encouragement it has received and intends on getting back on its feet. “The community is wonderful and everybody is just, ‘How can we help?’” said McMannis, according to a kiro7 news report.

Orange Tea students hosted a bake sale at the location yesterday from 3-5p.m. to raise proceeds for the recovery of their school. In addition to the impressive $744 raised at the bake sale, McMannis and Teacher Andrew Forrayi have started a gofundme campaign started in an effort to get the school up and running again and to provide childcare in the interim.

Orange Tea School fire damage/ Photo by kirotv
Orange Tea School fire damage/ Photo by kirotv

Donations collection for puppy mill dogs

Seattle Natural Veterinary Center at 65th and 8th Ave. here in Ballard is taking donations to help out the more than 600 dogs that have been rescued from suspected puppy mills in Skagit and Snohomish counties last month. All donations will be given to Saving Pets One at a Time (SPOT), a rescue organization in Skagit County, which is currently providing care for the majority of the rescued dogs. You can see a list of the most-needed items right here. You can also bring donations to Mud Bay Granary at 8211 Greenwood Ave. N.

Icy snow blankets area, school start delayed

A thin layer of crunchy, compact snow and ice is covering the area, especially East Ballard, Sunset Hill and Crown Hill.

Seattle Public Schools are running two hours late, there’s no kindergarten, Head Start or door-to-door programs today as well.

6:32 a.m. update: If you’re a Microsoftie, or otherwise heading to work on the Eastside, 520 across Lake Washington is closed due to accidents in BOTH directions. Check your traffic before you head into work today (as of 6:50 a.m., one eastbound lane is open, but traffic is very backed up).

Some Metro bus routes are on snow routes, but none are reported in our area so far. Despite that, Metro warns service could be slowed.

Burglars hit multiple Fremont businesses

Blue Flavor, a web and mobile design company based in Fremont, is one of several businesses that have been burglarized since the beginning of the year. In fact they’ve been broken into three times — the last two burglaries occurring within three days of each other in late August. “An alarm system alone is clearly not good enough to protect you,” says Blue Flavor’s Nick Finck, who says they’ve taken extraordinary steps to beef up security.

It’s all part of a burglary spree that was first reported back in July — as many as 45 burglaries in the Fremont area in one month alone, from Blue Moon Burgers to Quizno’s (pictured above in security video). An overnight burglary at Ballard’s TigerTail may be connected. And an email sent by the Fremont Neighborhood Council lists several brazen residential burglaries, too, some taking place while residents were asleep inside.

Seattle Police are being very tight-lipped on the burglary spree, which may or may not be the work of the same burglars. Renee Witt, a public information officer for the department tells us that they won’t release any information on whether these crimes are all connected or if there are any persons of interest. She says detectives don’t want to jeopardize the investigation. If you have any information on the case, you’re asked to contact the police department.

Two-story house moves across Fremont

A little after 2 a.m., a house pulled out of its parking spot on Palatine Ave. in Fremont and headed to its new home ten blocks away. Literally.

As you might imagine, it was a slow, painstaking process. The truck moved only a couple miles per hour, and it stopped every few feet as crews checked the house, surrounding trees and overhanging wires from every angle.

It moved down 36th St. and up Phinney Ave. to its new home at 4020 Evanston.

While it was scheduled to arrive at 7 a.m., crews began backing the house into the lot at 11 a.m. Lots more coverage and photos on Fremont Universe.

Our latest blog,

We’ve received many emails over the last few months from our Fremont readers about expanding to their neighborhood. So we’ve launched for the Center of the Universe. We’ll continue to post the occasional Fremont story on My Ballard, but everything else will go on Fremont Universe. And if you see something happening in Fremont, please drop us a line at If you’re curious, by the way, this is our last new blog for the immediate future.

By the way, we’ll be on a City Club panel this Thursday evening with a few other neighborhood bloggers. More info here.

Boutique switch-a-roo in Ballard, Fremont

If you look in the windows of what used to be Olivine along Ballard Ave., you’ll see bare floors and empty walls.

The popular boutique in Old Ballard closed late last month. The owner moved to Fremont and just opened a new shop called Show Pony on 36th St.

And now a Fremont boutique is planning to move into Olivine’s empty space. Horseshoe is a women’s boutique on 35th St. (photo above) that’s busting at the seams. When it’s owner, Jill Renae Anderson, heard that Olivine was closing, she jumped at the chance to move into the larger space. She plans to close the Fremont shop at the end of the month and open in Ballard in October.

Update: While Show Pony appeared to be open when we went by on Labor Day, the website and voicemail both say the boutique will open on the 13th.

A dumpster-free Fremont? Maybe.

To curb drug use, drug dealings and other crime in alleys, Mayor Greg Nickels is proposing a dumpster-free downtown. Starting in the spring, the downtown area may test a program that will replace trash bins with colored plastic bags for recycling and waste. The plan is to then expand to other neighborhoods such as Fremont. Businesses have concerns that range from cost ($5 a bag) to the mess caused from rodents and birds. Police, on the other hand, tell the Seattle Times that it makes the alleys safer, “from a public perspective, it looks safer. They can see what they’re walking into.” Lt. James M. Fitzgerald says.

A dumpster and assorted trash across from the Rocket.