Photo courtesy of August Graube
August Graube, the Founder of Fort Boards.

North Seattle toy company leads in Microsoft’s National Small Business Contest

Redmond based Microsoft is in its second year of running a contest to help entrepreneurs and small businesses grow. From the hundreds of entries that the company received, a selected panel chose ten finalists, including Fort Boards, a building set for kids developed by a North Seattle man, August Graube.

Fort Boards is the only Pacific Northwest representative in this national contest. The toy company, having just recently brought its first product to market, hopes to use the contest winnings to launch new product lines.

Microsoft’s Small Business Contest is in the final round where the winner is decided by a public voting process, and the grand prize winning business will win $20,000. Fort Boards currently leading in the public voting process.

The top ten finalists include a Los Angeles company that makes fashionable protective gear for motorcyclists, an Ohio company making therapeutic bone broths, and a surf apparel company from New Jersey.

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Man arrested in Ballard after groping women

Information provide by Seattle Police Department

A 19-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after he reportedly climbed on top of a woman and groped her at a Ballard office before assaulting several other women on the street.

Just before 10:30 AM, a young woman was sitting in the lobby of an office in the 1700 block of NW Market when a 19-year-old man entered the building, walked over and sat down beside her. He then turned to her, asked for a kiss, and then straddled her as he began groping her.

The woman screamed and shoved the man away, but he remained in the lobby for a short time as he stopped and took a drink at a nearby water cooler.

The victim began shouting, drawing the attention of office staff as the suspect fled. A staff member followed the suspect out of the building.

Moments later, police received several 911 calls about the same suspect who, after leaving the office, reportedly groped and harassed two other women on the street.

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Chicago band releases songs inspired by Ballard and Fremont

Ballard and Fremont are the inspiration for two songs by Chicago band, Majungas, after band songwriter, Mike Gentile, toured the area while on vacation.

Majungas released ”The Fremont Troll” and “Breakfast in Ballard,” last month on their website,

Gentile said that he was moved to write the songs after visiting Ballard and Fremont while on a vacation trip with his family. He said that he and his wife were impressed by the sense of community in Ballard and the creative “weirdness” of Fremont.

“We started in Ballard and instantly it felt like home. Ballard has a suburban feel and the locals were very kind to us,” said Gentile.

“Ballard seems to be a proud community and vibrant with a strong sense of pride with Scandinavian roots. My original impression was a family friendly vibe, and it reminded me of the suburbs at home. … We were at a thrift store and the next thing we knew we were being led down the street by someone showing us around.”

The Gentiles had breakfast in Ballard at the Hi-Life and then visited Fremont later that day to have a look at the infamous troll.

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