Photo by Peggy Sturdivant 
At the Public Forum on Safe & Healthy Communities meeting, attendees called for "real solutions." See Peggy's column on page 20.

At Large In Ballard: Table 13

By Peggy Sturdivant

I figured if a woman 30 years older than me with hip trouble was going to get herself to the Safe & Healthy Communities Public Forum hosted by District 6’s Councilmember Mike O’Brien being held at St. Luke’s on July 29, I had no excuse not to attend. After all the public, homeless, formerly homeless and currently housed, was invited to “become part of the solution” for public health and safety.

I chose Table 13 by an open exit door hoping for a breeze. North Precinct Captain Sean O’Donnell may have had the same idea.

Arriving by bicycle I saw Director of Neighborhoods Kathy Nyland arriving on four wheels. Still burning from the Mayoral decision to no longer provide DON staff support to Neighborhood District Councils I wished her bad parking karma, but she didn’t seem to have a problem. I read she’d been offered the position due to her organization of the Neighborhood Summit promised by Ed Murray during his campaign. I went to the Neighborhood Summit at Seattle Center with high hopes and left feeling like I’d just been job fair for the city during a hiring freeze.

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‘Shock therapy’ now offered at Swedish Ballard

When people hear Electroconvulsive Therapy or “shock therapy” the iconic scene of Jack Nicholson being strapped down and shocked in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest might come to mind. The scene is an exaggeration of course, but it also could not be further away from how ECT is really administered to patients today. And the surprising thing is that despite it’s reputation, ECT actually works for 80 percent of patients and is the most effective treatment for major depressive episodes. Now a clinic in Ballard is offering the procedure.

SeattleNTC, Seattle Neuropsychiatric Treatment Center, opened their center at Swedish Ballard campus earlier this month and offers ECT to their patients. Dr. Joshua Bess, M.D. showed the Ballard News-Tribune around their clinic in between patients. The treatment room is clean and well lit and much like an operating room. The ECT machine rests above a table. It looks almost like an old radio attached to metal paddles. Dr. Bess said that their machine is from the late 90s and that ECT machines haven’t changed much since the 80s as far as the mechanical function.

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At Large In Ballard: Banking on John Booth

By Peggy Sturdivant

“I’m going back to work next Monday,” Evelyn Gardner told me, “It’s going to seem so good.” Not just any Monday back to work as she’s been home for several weeks after a fall. The 93 year-old can’t wait to return to her friends at Ballard Food Bank. However an important fellow volunteer won’t be there on her return. The other 93 year-old volunteer John Booth died on June 28th, having left his shift a bit early the day before.

Evelyn Gardner and the late John Booth are just a few of the volunteers, including Thelma Anderson and Lou Mushta who have worked there 1-3 days per week for over 20 years. “I’ve been there twenty-four,” Gardner clarified. “Volunteering is fun, because you don’t have to do it.”

As Ballard Food Bank staff and volunteers learned about John Booth’s death their reminiscences shed light on the camaraderie that exists among people who have been working together by choice for decades, often starting after retirement in their 70’s.

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