Seventeen of Ballard resident Celia Nicks' violin students, some as young as 4 years old, gathered onstage together to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" variations to cap off their June 2 concert at the Nordic Heritage Museum.

Originally from Michigan, Nicks has been living in Ballard for two years and teaching violin "forever."

She started playing piano when she was young but fell in love with the sound of the violin and switched to the instrument at 12.

Nicks has passed her love of violin on to countless students, including her own family. Two of Nicks' grandchildren performed in the concert, and her son, another violin player, was in attendance.

Ballard Big Picture is a column of scenes from around the neighborhood. If you would like to submit a photo for use on this site and in the Ballard News-Tribune, please send it to Michael Harthorne at Be sure to include your name and information about your photo.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Four-year-old and 17-year-old violinists alike performed "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" together June 2 at the Nordic Heritage Museum under Ballard instructor Celia Nicks.

CoolMom Monthly meeting June 2

This month’s summer kickoff meeting will be held at 7:00 pm at C&P Coffee on California Ave.
Our special guest from Seattle City Light will offer advice and answer questions about how to save energy and keep cool this summer.
We’ll also share some low-carbon-footprint vacation ideas. Kids welcome!

Those attending can create artwork to be included in our letter-writing project in support of the Clean Energy Bill.


C & P Coffee
5612 California Avenue SW
Seattle, WA

About a dozen parents and children spent their Saturday morning giving shape the the new Golden Gardens play area May 22 at the Golden Gardens Bathhouse where Seattle Parks and Recreation were presenting two potential schemes.

The first scheme for the new play area, which will be located in the field immediately east of the Bathhouse, is called Bubbles. In Bubbles, there are four partial circles of play that are segregated by age group. In the middle of the play area are picnic tables.

In the second scheme, Squid, the play spaces are less broken up. There is a plaza at the east side of the play area where Americans with Disabilities Act parking spaces would be located. Areas of beach grass, logs and rocks separated the play area from parking.

Dean Koonts of HBB Landscape Architecture said comments at the first meeting for the new play area April 7 expressed a desire for seating near play areas, paths separating age groups and proximity to restrooms.

Both Bubbles and Squid schemes are four to five times larger than the current Golden Gardens play area, Koonts said.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

HBB Landscape Architecture's Dean Koonts explains play equipment possibilities for the new Golden Gardens play area at a May 22 meeting. CLICK IMAGE TO PLAY AREA SCHEMES AND LOCATION.

With Mayor Mike McGinn's final budget decisions looming in June, the neighborhood group Save Ballard's Community Centers is starting a postcard campaign to let the Mayor's Office know they shouldn't mess with Ballard.

"We want to start sending a message to the Mayor's Office that we want Ballard's community centers to stay open and stay funded," said Amy Janas, organizer of the postcard campaign.

Ballard Sip & Ship is donating several thousand postcards for the campaign. Janas said physical cards will help the city see the impact cuts would have on Ballard.

Save Ballard's Community Centers started when outgoing Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tim Gallagher gave a television interview in late April in which he said the Ballard Community Center and Loyal Heights Community Center were in danger of closure due to budget cuts and their close proximity to each other.

In addition to drawing McGinn's attention to Ballard's community centers, Janas said she is hoping the campaign raises more awareness in the neighborhood about the danger the community centers are in.

comm centers.jpg
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Save Ballard's Community Centers

Save Ballard's Community Centers is starting a postcard campaign to ask Mayor McGinn not to cut funding for Loyal Heights Community Center and Ballard Community Center. CLICK IMAGE TO SEE THE POSTCARD.

AFS Intercultural Programs, formerly the American Field Service, is accepting applications from local families interested in opening their homes and lives to exchange students who will be attending high school in the Seattle area.

AFS is a worldwide nonprofit that has been leading international high school student exchange for more than 60 years.

More than 2,500 AFS exchange students arrive in the United States each year to be welcomed into families, high schools and communities.

Host families provide a bed and meals, share their daily lives with students, and help guide and support students as they would their own children.

Rick Bendix of AFS said Ballard families have been welcoming exchange students to the neighborhood for the past 15 years.

AFS differs from many other exchange organizations thanks to its network of thousands of volunteers in the United States, many of whom have hosted themselves or studied abroad with AFS.

In addition to paid staff, more than 300 local volunteers for AFS-Greater Puget Sound support families, their hosted students and schools to ensure everyone gets the most out of the hosting experience.


Join the Ballard High School girls varsity soccer coaching staff and players at Ballard High School for a week of soccer this summer.

New this year is a middle school camp geared toward the middle-school soccer player wanting to take their playing ability to the next level.

At all camps, the coaches will work with the players to improve their technical, tactical and mental skills needed for high-level soccer.

The goal of the Beaver soccer camp is to provide great role models for the campers, help each camper build a road map for future success, and have fun.

For more information and to register, click here. Camps fill up quickly.


Taproot Theatre Education Director Sara Willy isn't just in charge of overseeing the Greenwood theater company's new Drama With Your Mama class, she's also a member.

Willy took her 2-year-old son to the first Drama With Your Mama class, an acting workshop for children ages 1 to 3, May 10, and even with a "drama person" for a mom, Willy didn't know how her son would react. Would he like it? Would he respond? Would he be shy and clingy?

"He went crazy," Willy said. "He loved it so much."

Taproot Theatre, located at 204 N. 85th St., offered classes for adults and children 4 and older, but nothing for what Willy calls "the little ones."

She said there are gymnastics classes, music classes and more for 1-year-olds to 3-year-olds, so why not a theater class?

She and Drama With Your Mama teacher Jessica Brady put together a curriculum that will get young children use their imagination and act without knowing that is what they are doing.

Willy said the little ones get a lot out of the class. Future actors are learning skills that will serve them in that pursuit, while other children learn how to use their voices, bodies and space while being aware of others, she said.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Teacher Jessica Brady applauds the three slithering snakes in front of her during Drama With Your Mama, Taproot Theatre's acting class for children ages 1 to 3.

The Ballard Boys and Girls Club, located at 1767 N.W. 64th St., is hosting summer basketball camps for boys and girls ages 8 to 12.

The boys camp runs from Aug. 9 to Aug. 13. The girls camp runs from Aug. 23 to Aug. 27. Each day lasts from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with extended morning and afternoon supervision available.

Each camp session costs $135.

Campers are asked to bring basketball shorts and shoes, water and lunch.

Visit to register, or call 206.783.5775 for more information.


Today, May 4th, at 2:20 pm I was one of many who watched in horror and amazement as 15 to 20 (middle school ?) kids, rode their bicycles North, thru the intersection of 42nd and Edmonds. RIGHT PAST A STOP SIGN!. What was so awful about it, was that they were being led by an adult, and he didn't even look to see if they had stopped for the sign. Once the leader went through the intersection, the rest barreled thru like Lemmings, and you all know what happens to Lemmings! Who ever was in charge of the group needs to have a "rules of the road" talk with those kids.
I was at first, happy to see them all out riding their bikes (with helmets on), getting fresh air and exercise, but at the risk of what could happen, I guess they DO need to get back in front of their TV's and Wii's. What a shame!

Patty R.


The economic recession is affecting everyone, especially nonprofits, and the Don Jones Foundation was learning that firsthand.

The foundation, which provides gifts and food for the holidays to Seattle families in need, was forced to cancel its sixth annual garage sale because of low donations and a lack of a yard to host it.

"Unfortunately, many of our donors have been impacted by layoffs and other financial strains, so fundraising is much more difficult," said the Don Jones Foundation's Mollie Overa.

That all changed when Overa responded to a post on an online Ballard community forum from a resident who was complaining of having too much clutter.

“I had mentioned that we were low on donations and our host yard was unavailable," Overa said. "In a few hours, we had received a message that a yard was made available to us, and emails have started coming in with donations. We are so appreciative of the support of our community members.”

The garage sale is one of the Don Jones Foundation's two yearly fundraising events. Without it, they would not be able to offer support to Seattle families, Overa said.

Photo credit: 
Courtesy of the Don Jones Foundation

A letter to the Don Jones Foundation from a child who received a gift from the nonprofit.

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