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.
Joseph Rohrbach, a resident at Ballard Care and Rehabilitation Center, should be a popular guy at the center in Crown Hill.
Rohrbach won $1,150 for Ballard Care in the national SunBridge Healthcare holiday art contest. The money is being used for a new high-definition television for the residents.
Every year, SunBridge Healthcare holds a holiday art contest at its care centers. Artwork is created by the residents and then voted on by SunBridge employees.
Rohrbach's piece, "Winter Cabin Under a Starry Night," chosen over submissions from SunBridge's centers in 25 states.
"Winter Cabin Under a Starry Night" has been framed with a brief biography of Rohrbach and displayed in Ballard Care's main foyer.
The Holiday Art from the Heart contest has been offered to residents of SunBridge Healthcare since 2000.
Each year, four resident drawings are chosen to be the company's holiday card.
Residents look forward to this annual tradition so that they may share their own vision of the holidays, according to a SunBridge press release.
As a teen, Rohrbach traveled to Europe with his parents, where he developed inspiration to create art.
The Market Street Singers helped raise $780 to benefit the Ballard Northwest Senior Center by performing in “Sister's Christmas Catechism” at ACT Theatre Dec. 6 and Dec. 13.
Donations were collected from the audience following the show in which the chorus provided several musical numbers.
Chris Vincent, director of The Market Street Singers, presented the donation to Carlye Teel, director of the senior center, Dec. 16 during the center’s annual holiday lunch.
“The performance at ACT Theatre could be described as a holiday mystery extravaganza,” Vincent said during the donation presentation. “Sister solved the mystery of what happened to the Magi’s gold. She used audience members to create a hilarious living nativity while employing forensics to solve the mystery.”
This donation to the senior center is one way The Market Street Singers has worked to cultivate neighborhood pride this year, Vincent said in a press release. It builds on last year’s donation of nearly $700 to the center.
The Metropolitan King County Council adopted a supplemental appropriation to King County’s 2009 budget that included $20,000 for the Ballard Northwest and Greenwood Senior Centers Dec. 14.
Funding for senior centers was cut in order to balance a $56 million budget gap in the county’s recently adopted 2010 budget.
Additional revenue in the 2009 budget from lower than expected costs and federal and state reimbursements allowed the council to appropriate funding to some of the human services organizations that were cut in the 2010 budget.
Councilmember Larry Phillips advocated for the Ballard and Greenwood Senior Centers to receive funding.
“Our senior centers rely in part on money from King County every year to keep providing essential programs for vulnerable seniors,” Phillips, who represents Ballard and Greenwood on the county council, said in a press release.. “Getting this funding late in the 2009 budget will help these centers make up for the loss of county funding they would have otherwise seen in 2010 due to the deep cuts taken to balance the budget.”
The Ballard NW Senior Center needs the help of neighborhood theater-lovers.
The Dec. 1 showing of Taproot Theatre's "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," was meant to be a fundraiser for the senior center. But, after an Oct. 23 arson damaged Taproot, it was unclear if the show would go on.
Ticket sales for the show stopped, and now the senior center needs to sell 100 tickets in the next few days, Sue Allegra at the Ballard Chamber of Commerce said in an email.
"It's a Wonderful Life" is taking place at Stage One Theater at North Seattle Community College. Tickets are $25 for the 7:30 p.m. show or $35 for the show and a 6 p.m. wine reception.
"There's great parking at NSCC, a wonderful cast, an excellent way to spread good cheer and help out a wonderful Ballard institution as well," Allegra said.
Tickets for the Dec. 1 fundraiser show are available only at Ballard NW Senior Center, located at 5429 32nd Ave. N.W. They can be purchased over the phone at 206.297.0403. If calling over the weekend or Thanksgiving holiday, leave a name and phone number.
The Ballard Senior Center is hosting a fundraising event this Thursday, Oct. 8 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. called Wine, Chocolate and Art, although the title order varies depending on personal preference.
Tickets are $20.00 available in advance and in person at the center, which is locates at 5429 32nd Ave. N.W.
The center (profiled more fully in this week’s At Large in Ballard) funds 72 percent of its operating costs through fundraisers, such as annual concerts and rummage sales.
This year, instead of trying to fill a venue like Benaroya Hall, they’re converting their own space into an art gallery for the evening along with wine tasting and Theo chocolate sampling.
Sommelier Buddy Dunn is pairing wines with Theo chocolates. The works of six local artists will be on display and available for sale for just the one night.
A new, first-in-the-state, community program will make the detection of memory problems and doctor follow-up widely available to seniors the Greenwood and Phinney Ridge.
An informational kick-off will be held at the Greenwood Senior Center on Monday, Oct. 19 at 12:30 p.m.
"We have formed an exciting collaboration between Greenwood Senior Center, local doctors and Screen Inc. -- a memory testing company headquartered in Seattle," said Cecily Kaplan, director of Greenwood Senior Center.
"Through the Greenwood Memory Monitoring Program, we will make memory testing and follow-up widely available to our seniors," said Kaplan. "We are tremendously pleased to be part of this important community initiative."
With a grant from the Harvest Foundation, the Greenwood Senior Center purchased Screen Inc.'s Onsite Memory Testing System. This testing system was designed by Screen Inc. to provide an easy way for seniors to take a battery of tests that were able to detect the slightest changes in their cognitive abilities.
The King County Housing Authority (KCHA) has won a national award honoring superior assisted housing and community development programs for the design of the Nia Apartments in White Center.
The 2009 Award of Excellence comes from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), and will be officially presented on Oct. 6 at NAHRO’s National Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C. The KCHA is one of 18 programs nationwide to receive the 2009 award, out of an original pool of 212 merit winners.
Nia Apartments were designed with the White Center area's older, diverse community in mind, according to a release from the NAHRO.
It offers easier access to services and friends, as well as simple living. Sixty-four of the development's units are for seniors, and 17 are for younger disabled individuals. It is built into a hillside, offering increased street presence, retail space and a lower-level lobby, and thus creating a more active urban streetscape.
The mixed-use community offers 40 units with public housing subsidies, and 41 units with project-based Section 8 subsidies.