Construction workers hoisted the last roof beam of Swedish Ballard’s new outpatient and emergency care building into place at 11 a.m. on Jan. 11.

Erection of the building began in mid-December and is slated to be finished by fall 2010.

The new five-story building will house an emergency healthcare department on the first floor; medical imaging for x-rays, sonograms and MRIs on the second floor; primary care facilities on the third floor; and specialty physicians’ office space on the fourth floor.

The new building is part of a larger renovation plan for Swedish Ballard. The hospital was having difficulty recruiting new specialists, and the building is part of the effort to attract new hires and demonstrate to the community that Ballard Swedish is a permanent part of the neighborhood, said Rayburn Lewis, M.D., executive director of Swedish’s Ballard campus.

So far, Ballard Swedish has hired a new ear, nose and throat team, as well as new obstetrician/gynecologists, midwives, urologists and general surgeons.

Lewis said the new hospital building is exciting for both the hospital and the community.

Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Swedish Medical Center

The final roof beam is hoisted into place on top of Swedish Ballard's new emergency building on Tallman Avenue Jan. 11.

Introduction to Meditation

Tuesday evenings, doors open at 7:15 p.m., beginner’s meditation instruction 7:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., sitting meditation and dharma discussion 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Shambhala Meditation is a simple mindfulness-awareness meditation, based on the teachings of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Drop-ins welcome, no experience necessary. $30 for the four-class series or $10 per class.


Soma Yoga Studio
1423 N.W. 70th St.

Emotions Anonymous

Every Saturday. For information call James at 467.9027 or visit


St. Paul's Church
6512 12th Ave. N.W. Room 1

Swedish Medical Center is looking for anyone born at Swedish 100 years ago as they could be the "oldest baby" born at the hospital.

Since opening its doors in 1910, approximately 200,000 babies have been born at Swedish Medical Center. Last year alone, there were more than 7,400 born at Swedish’s Ballard and First Hill campuses.

On Jan. 6, in honor of its 100-year-old baby-birthing crown, Swedish launched its search for the oldest living person born at any birthing center now part of Swedish Health Services, including Swedish Hospital (Swedish First Hill, Swedish Ballard and Swedish Cherry Hill), Doctors Hospital, Seattle General Hospital, Ballard General Hospital and Providence Seattle Medical Center.

As the medical center gears up to celebrate its 100th anniversary, it is Swedish’s hope that the “oldest baby” will be the hospital’s “spokes-baby” for the year. Swedish’s spokes-baby will be featured in a full online profile as well as a Web video.

In celebration of its own 100-year birthday, Swedish will honor Swedish-born babies of all ages by encouraging involvement in its I’m a Swedish Baby campaign.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Swedish Medical Center is looking for the the oldest person to have been born at any of its locations in the past 100 years.

Swedish/Ballard’s first baby of the new year – and the medical center’s centennial year – was born at 12:21 a.m. on Jan. 2.

Henry Alvin Ramirez – who weighed in at 8 pounds, 3 ounces and a little over 20 inches long – was welcomed by first-time parents Mary and Dan Ramirez of Crown Hill.

For having the first baby of Swedish’s centennial year, the Ramirez family received a newborn gift basket from the Swedish Auxiliary, a baby receiving blanket from Swaddle Designs and a manicure-pedicure set from ButterLondon.

In addition, Henry – and every baby born at the First Hill or Ballard campus throughout 2010 – will receive a souvenir ‘I’m a Swedish Baby’ one-piece.

“We knew we wanted a natural childbirth, but also wanted the security of being at a hospital," said Mary Ramirez. "After meeting with the Certified Nurse Midwives at Swedish/Ballard, we realized their philosophy on childbirth matched ours perfectly."

Recognizing the New Year’s baby is an annual tradition at Swedish, but it is even more special this year because 2010 represents the medical center’s 100th anniversary.

First Baby of 2010.jpg
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Swedish Medical Center

Parents Mary and Dan Ramirez of Crown Hill with Henry Alvin Ramirez, the first baby of the new year delivered at Swedish Medical Center's Ballard campus.

The 50-member is in its second year of serving the West Seattle community. The ad-free site includes a directory of health and wellness practitioners with educational links. Visitors to can find service descriptions, photos of practitioners, contact information, and links to practitioner sites.

Categories include Acupuncture to Yoga. Some of the services include medical and dental, mental health and well being, coaching, complementary and alternative medicine, body work and fitness, youth care and other “community care” services, and more.

To celebrate their second year as a community wellness resource, health and wellness professionals at have been talking about the special things they personally appreciate about West Seattle. With the perfect storm of economic pressure meeting typical holiday stress, the gratitude antidote is especially valuable.

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This summer, third-generation Ballardite Mike Erstad will be climbing the 14,410 of Mount Rainier to raise money for the American Lung Association as part of the 23rd Climb for Clean Air.

For Erstad, an avid backpacker and hiker who scaled Rainier in 2006, lung health is a personal issue worthy of support.

His oldest son suffers from asthma and his grandfather died of lung cancer.

Erstad's goal is to raise $4,000 in pledges for the American Lung Association. The group of about 50 climbers embarking on the Climb for Clean Air in July have an overall goal of $200,000.

The Mount Rainier climb is going to be a treat, Erstad said.

"I'm a Northwest guy, so I love getting outdoors," he said. "When you get out, it's just so beautiful. I can't get over the scenery."

In addition to the views, Erstad will get to spend some time with the Whittaker family, mountaineering legends.

"It's like hanging out for a few days with Michael Jordan for a basketball player," he said.

Lou Whittaker, founder of Rainier Mountaineering, Inc., led the first successful American summit of the North Col of Mount Everest.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Mike Erstad, at work at National Drycleaners on Holman Road, will be scaling Mount Rainier this summer to raise money for the American Lung Association.

Ballard residents Laura Hornung and her boyfriend Joshua Slagle had just returned from a trip to Denver and San Antonio Nov. 1. By Nov. 4, H1N1, or swine flu, struck Slagle. Two days later Hornung caught it. Their roommate got it the following week.

It took Hornung and her boyfriend 10 days to recover, and their roommate, who has asthma, is still fighting it.

"I think we caught it on one of those flights," said Hornung. a planning purchaser at K2Sports in Seattle. "We had aches, pains, a sore throat and couldn’t get out of bed. I felt like I couldn’t handle the pain. Our skin hurt to the touch. I was sleeping 12 to 15 hours a day. I didn’t eat a whole lot, maybe broth, crackers and pho. I couldn't move for seven days. It took energy just to get up to walk to the bathroom."

Hornung went to her doctor at Virginia Mason.

"The doctor looked at me, felt my face, and said, 'Don’t cough on me,'" Hornung said. "He then had me see an urgent care doctor. My temperature was 104 for a day and a half."

She was given Tylenol and Advil and said Tamiflu, the antiviral drug, is only effective if you start within two days of being diagnosed.

Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

A now healthy Laura Hornung and her boyfriend Joshua Slagle had just returned from a trip to Denver and San Antonio when they got hit with H1N1.

State Sen. Karen Keiser, chair of the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee, and state Rep. Eileen Cody, chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, brought the national healthcare debate to Ballard and the 36th District Oct. 27.

The town hall meeting at the Swedish Medical Center was markedly different than what Keiser and Cody experienced while touring elsewhere in the state over the summer.

"This room is a lot different than the rooms we had in July and August," Cody said. "There were a lot of people concerned over whether we should do this at all."

Of the 26 Ballard, Magnolia, Belltown and Queen Anne residents at the Oct. 27 meeting, only one expressed concern over healthcare reform and the possibility of a federal healthcare system.

"It's almost incomprehensible that we don't have universal public healthcare," said one attendee.

"I'm pretty disgusted with the way it's gone on national level," said another.

Keiser said she thinks there will be a healthcare reform bill on the President's desk for approval by Christmas, though it will not include everything members of the 36th District want.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Mary Lou Dickerson, 36th District Representative, introduces State Senator Karen Keiser (left) and State Representative Eileen Cody (center) at an Oct. 27 healthcare town hall.

To quote Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, “[Government entitlements] have become the worst sort of fool's bargain—at least for everyone but the politicians who take credit for handing out money to a pliant population.”

This past September, I finally got hear our Congressman Jim McDermott speak on healthcare reform, and his vision of the ‘public option.'

He stated at that time: “My druthers – the public option would be a single-payer option."  In defense of instituting a public option, he referred to Medicare and its successes as an example of how the government got it right. 

My question to him is, “OK… at whose expense?” 

Congressman McDermott is either ignorant of the facts or dishonest about the burden which entitlement mentality places on us and future generations.  But I seriously doubt the former. 

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and the Prescription Drug entitlement have already dragged this country to the brink.  In my opinion we are already doomed if how the federal government operates, and how Americans perceive its role, are not radically changed.

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