(click on photo to see more pictures)
Over the past two weeks, the Ballard Rotary Club been distributing dictionaries to 3rd graders at four local schools: St. Alphonsus, Adams, Loyal Heights, and Whittier.
“These dictionaries are a gift from the Rotary Club and celebrate the message of reading and literacy. This is a yearly tradition that the club makes the donation to the local schools,” said William Rodgers, a Rotary Club member.
Ballard Rotary is a local service club with a mission to make a difference in the larger Ballard community and in the world by promoting international understanding, goodwill, peace, and to live through service and fellowship.
John Deasy, former president of the Ballard Rotary Club, said that this is the fifth year that Ballard Rotary Club has handed out dictionaries to the schools.
“The kids love it. They get to write their name on the plaque in the front cover and for many it’s their first real book they own themselves,” Deasy said at the distrubition at Loyal Height on Thursday, Dec. 9th.
Western Washington's blood supply has reached critical levels in O-, A- and B- blood groups, according to the Puget Sound Blood Center.
A blood group is labeled critical when it is less than a two-day supply. A four- day inventory is considered operational.
Due to the recent snowstorm and icy weather, Puget Sound Blood Center has lost over 1,200 donations from those not able to donate.
Also, as the blood center moves into the holidays, it is entering a time of year when donations are traditionally down.
It takes over 900 donor registrations every day to maintain an operational blood supply in Western Washington.
For the safety and care of patients, the Blood Center urges donors stop by one of the 11 donor centers or the over 100 blood drives held each week.
Schedule an appointment with Puget Sound Blood Center by calling 1-800-398-7888. Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are also welcome. Visit www.psbc.org for donation center hours of operation and driving directions and a complete listing of blood drives throughout the region.
Two of Burien's biggest non-profit organizations serving children and families have combined into one organization.
On Nov. 1, Ruth Dykeman Children's Center (established in 1921) became a part of Navos, one of the largest providers of community mental health services to low income people in King County.
After planning and consideration by the agency's Board of Directors and senior staff, Ruth Dykeman Children's Center (RDCC) made the decision to join with Navos. Operating as a single and larger organization will create efficiencies as Navos has earned a reputation as a well-administered organization with strong financial management and support services, according to Dykeman board members.
Jim Dykeman, grandson of the founder, Judge King Dykeman and a long time RDCC Board member, endorsed the agreement to combine agencies, commenting, "I am very pleased about this new relationship with Navos. By integrating our resources during these difficult economic times, RDCC will have additional capabilities to provide programs and services to the more vulnerable children in our community.
Barb Balden lives in her vehicle on the streets of Ballard. She works but can't afford rent and homeless shelters are full.
It's a noisy and difficult arrangement – parking enforcement officials target and harass homeless people, having to move her vehicle every 72 hours uses up her gas supply, and there are few places left to park due the the proliferation of "No Parking 2 a.m. to 5 a.m." signs, she said.
Ballard Homes for All Coalition, started by State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson in 2007, is launching the Congregation-Hosted Safe Parking for People Living in Vehicles project to create a safe place for homeless people to park their vehicles and have access to restrooms, waste disposal and showers.
"Everybody has to be someplace," Sally Kinney, a member of the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness, said at the first meeting for the project June 3. "Even though we don't like the idea of people living in vehicles, we have to give them someplace to live."
The Safe Parking project is reaching out to 34 Ballard-area churches and religious organizations to convince them to host a small number of car campers on their property.
With 2009 coming to a close, here is a look back at some of the biggest stories of the year. Click the image above for a slideshow of the year in photos.
Ballard thief arrested
By Michael Harthorne
A 46-year-old man suspected of stealing from numerous businesses in Ballard in the past weeks was arrested Dec. 31 near 20th Avenue Northwest and Market Street for an outstanding warrant in Missouri.
According to victims, the man is suspected of entering businesses on Market Street and Ballard Avenue during business hours and taking money from back offices, safes and employees’ purses.
“I’m glad he’s been caught,” said Kylee Harris, owner of Cugini Café on Ballard Avenue. “But, I think the real thing we need to figure out is how to bust him for what he’s stolen.”
Macefield house to be sold
By Michael Harthorne
The house once belonging to Edith Macefield that has stood empty in a cocoon of new development since her death in June will be sold by its new owner, Barry Martin of Ledcor Construction.
Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess, chair of the Public Safety, Human Services and Education Committee, showed support for increased police presence in the neighborhood and more services for homeless individuals at the Dec. 9 Ballard District Council meeting.
Burgess attended the meeting to discuss the progress of the city's Safer Streets Initiative, which the council passed in summer 2008. The initiative includes a dozen steps to address street crime and social disorder.
He said the city council has recently implemented an ordinance that allows the city to move against problem properties, such as drug houses and certain hotels on Aurora Avenue, with better efficiency.
The city council is taking an aggressive posture toward child prostitution by making Seattle only the fourth city in the country to provide a safe haven for the estimated 300 to 500 children younger than 17 being abused, Burgess said.
Most importantly, the city council is continuing to work toward staffing up the Seattle Police Department, he said. The city spends 54 percent of its budget on the police and fire department because public safety its its number one priority, he said.
Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church thanks the many community volunteers and organizations who contributed to our Thanksgiving Day meal for neighbors, including many who are struggling to make ends meet.
We are grateful for the food and expertise provided by the Ballard Food Bank, the incredible support of more than 70 volunteers (from both Our Redeemer’s and the wider community), the impromptu music, and donations from Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ and Greenwood Fred Meyer.
More than 200 people shared the Thanksgiving meal together. New sleeping bags were offered free after the meal.
Remarks heard during the Thanksgiving Day meal include:
“We are really glad you had this meal, there is no way we could have afforded the food. Thank you so much.”
“All my family is far away. It was good to be here for this meal.”
“The small tables, the flowers and the music made the good dinner much better.”
“Thank you for this opportunity to help today. It means so much to me.”
“I am homeless right now, and this sleeping bag will really help me. That’s why I came. Thank you.”
We thank everyone who participated.
Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church,
Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church will be closing the SHARE shelter it has been operating in the Calvary Lutheran Church building since last spring.
Jane Klausen, a neighbor and member of the shelter task force, said the announcement was made during the Nov. 5 meeting of Our Redeemer's, SHARE and neighborhood representatives.
She said Our Redeemer's offered SHARE the opportunity to conduct sex offender background checks or move out. The shelter declined to conduct the checks.
"We have requested that SHARE take responsibility for screening for Level III Sex Offender Background checks," Our Redeemer's Council President Janet Woodfield said in a letter to neighbors. "If they refuse, the shelter will close."
On Sept. 12, a sex offender living at the shelter at 7002 23rd Ave. N.W. was removed by SHARE.
Prior to the shelter moving to Ballard June 1, many neighbors had been adamant that SHARE conduct background checks on shelter residents. The organization refused, stating that their interview process was enough.
Since Sept. 12, no new shelter residents have been allowed into the shelter.
The Woodland Park Zoo will be holding a food drive for the Phinney Neighborhood Association Nov. 21 during its annual Turkey Toss.
Non-perishable food items can be dropped off outside the zoo's south entrance. Zoo admission is not required to donate food.
After donating food, zoo-goers can see snow leopards, Komodo dragons, grizzlies, lions and more carnivorous species chow down on raw, store-prepared turkeys at the Turkey Toss presented by Franz Bakeries.
The event is part of the zoo’s ongoing program to help enrich the lives of the zoo’s animals, promote natural animal behavior, keep animals mentally and physically stimulated and engage zoo visitors.
The donated food will benefit the Phinney Neighborhood Association soup kitchen program, which operates two days a week at St. John United Lutheran Church and one day a week at Calvary Lutheran Church in Ballard.
Food donations that are in demand are non-perishable juice, jam, canned fruit, beans, canned vegetables, chili, ketchup and powdered creamers.
The food drive lasts from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 21. The Turkey Toss will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Samoan community in and around the West Seattle area has been hit hard with tragedy by the recent tsunami that took the lives of some of their loved ones back in their South Pacific homeland.
You can help by contacting Southwest Youth & Family Services at (206) 937-7680 and donating specific items on their list including:
-shampoo and conditioner
-combs and brushes
-toothbrush and toothpaste
-crayons and coloring books
-pens and pencils
-paper (tablets, filler paper, notebooks)
-personal care items
The agency is also connecting with World Vision for Samoan relief.