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.

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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.

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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)

Homeowner shoots suspected burglar

Seattle Police say a homeowner in Loyal Heights shot a man attempting to break into his home just after 4 a.m. on Sunday.

Detective Mark Jamieson told My Ballard that the homeowner in the 6700 block of 25th Ave. NW discovered a man inside the mud room of his home attempting to break into the house. The homeowner fired a single shot through the door, striking the man, who fled the area. The homeowner called 911.

Seattle Police said a neighbor reported seeing a dark-colored station wagon leave the scene.

Ten minutes later, Swedish Ballard reported that a man with a gunshot wound to the abdomen had arrived in the emergency room. Responding officers discovered the station wagon parked nearby with fresh blood, possible stolen property and a man and woman inside, Jamieson said. The man had an outstanding warrant and was arrested. The woman, who is the sister of the man who was shot, was questioned and released, police say.

The man with the gunshot wound is currently at Harborview Medical Center. Police are waiting to talk with him.

(Our thanks to several neighbors, including Silver, who tipped us and posted in the My Ballard Facebook group.)

44th annual SeafoodFest and Viking Days bring thousands to Ballard

The weather couldn’t be more perfect for the annual Ballard SeafoodFest, which has completely taken over downtown Ballard. It’s a loaded weekend for events in the neighborhood, with Viking Days also happening at the new Nordic Museum.

The Nordic was busy on Saturday afternoon, with the Viking encampment out back and plenty of musical performances throughout the day.

Just a few blocks away, the SeafoodFest was humming with people streaming in from all directions for the seafood extravaganza.

The mainstage at Ballard Ave. and 22nd was buzzing; below, Lanford Black played to a growing crowd in the early afternoon.

The Crab Shack and salmon grill maintained a steady queue, with the classic salmon smoking station parked just next door.

Ballard Commons Park was turned into the Kids Deck and Festi-Bowl at the skate park. The slalom race ripped down the middle of the park in the afternoon and the popular open contest drew a crowd in the early evening.

As the heat abated in the evening, the crowds grew – as did the lines for king crab legs, oysters, and the famous Penn Cove mussels.

The festival continues on Sunday with the always popular Lutefisk eating contest at 3pm in Bergen Place Park and the weekly Sunday farmer’s market happening on Ballard Ave.

For the full line-up of events, visit the SeafoodFest’s website here.


SeafoodFest and Viking Days combine on Ballard’s biggest summer weekend

Get ready for an action-packed, sun-filled weekend that’s expected to draw more than 75,000 people to Central Ballard.

The 44th annual SeafoodFest is back with all the fixings — live music, salmon BBQ, lutefisk eating contest, beer gardens, kids events and more — and for the first time, Viking Days will be held at the same time a few blocks away at the new Nordic Museum.

The weather will be quite warm, with the forecast calling for temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s.

The SeafoodFest kicks off tonight (Friday) at 7 p.m. with a concert featuring #All4Doras and Nite Wave near the belltower on Ballard Ave. You’ll see a full beer and cocktail garden as well as food trucks Nosh, Off the Rez, Paella House and Where Ya At Matt.

Then on Saturday morning at 9 a.m., the Viking Fun Run gets the day started at the new Nordic Museum (2655 NW Market St.) Participants are encouraged to wear “Norse seafaring attire” (which every true Ballardite has in their closet duh), and prizes will be awarded for time winners and best costumes. You can register right here ($40).

SeafoodFest gets underway at 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, taking over Market St., Ballard Ave., 22nd Ave., Leary Way, Bergen Place and Ballard Commons Park. (In other words, do not attempt to drive through Central Ballard this weekend.) Here’s the map:

SeafoodFest’s big draw is the food, of course. Dozens of food vendors will line Market St. between 20th and 22nd Ave. As always, Trident Seafoods will be BBQing its alder-smoke salmon on 22nd just north of Market. New this year, they’re also offering Penn Cove steamed mussels at the Clam and Mussel Shack along with those king crab legs at the Crab Shack. To pay, buy tokens at the information booth or in the beer garden.

One of our favorite annual events is the lutefisk eating contest. This year will be a particularly taxing event for those 10 unlucky participants: they’ll be inhaling that disgusting slimy fish sludge under a hot afternoon sun. The event begins Sunday at 3 p.m. at Bergen Place.

The music mainstage is at Ballard Ave. and 22nd, and here’s the music lineup with headliners Blitzen Trapper and All Them Witches on Saturday evening.

Just south of the mainstage on Ballard Ave. is Game Plank, an activities space featuring the Miss Homestreet Seafair hydroplane on display, aerial performances by Arcadia Seattle, giant Jenga, corn hole, ladder balls, bucket ball, badminton and a doggie splash. On Sunday, this space turns into the Ballard Farmers Market.

The arts and crafts booths will be on Market St. to the west of 22nd Ave. and along Leary Way.

Up in Ballard Commons Park, you’ll find Kids Deck, which has a packed schedule of events. Seattle Fire’s Engine 18 will be there with bouncy houses, face painting, bubbles and a lot more.

Also at Ballard Commons, the skate park turns into Festi-Bowl on Saturday — the largest all-ages skateboarding competition in Seattle. It will also feature clinics, lessons and live music.

Wait, there’s more! Viking Days has its own schedule of events from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday — if you have yet to explore the new Nordic museum, now’s your chance. The always-popular Swedish pancake breakfast will be served both days from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There’s a full entertainment lineup, plenty of Scandinavian food, crafts, a Viking encampment, kids activities and a beer garden, to boot.

If your head is spinning with all this weekend’s goodness, we’re still not done. Here are a few more tidbits to watch for:

  • It’s not opening until this fall due to permit delays, but the Skål Beer Hall at 5429 Ballard Ave. is holding a sneak peek during SeafoodFest. Doors will be open Saturday from 12-4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Old Ballard Liquor Co. will be hosting its annual food booth, Tumble Swede, with Scandinavian sandwiches “alongside a brand new treat special for this year: lobster tail corndogs!” Oh my. The booth will be located on Market Street, in front of Camera Tech and Lil’ Woody’s.
  • The Salmon Bay Eagles are hosting an open house membership drive on Saturday to coincide with SeafoodFest. “The community is encouraged to come on down during the fest and enjoy drink specials on the patio and free live music later on in the evening.” Kids are welcome. Located on 20th Ave. between Russell and Leary.

Is there anything we’re missing? Feel free to add in comments, and have fun out there!