Monthly Archives: September 2008

Inslee brokers deal that may save Internet radio

Is there anything better to do at the office than read the Bainbridge Conversation blog?

If you answered “do actual work” you are probably too productive and hard working to care about Internet radio. According to leading Internet radio provider Pandora, most of the 7 million folks who snap their fingers and tap their feet to their online service are sitting at a cubicled computer.

It’s for those folks that Rep. Jay Inslee has some hopeful news. The Bainbridge Democrat (who once admitted to me that KEXP frequently streams into his D.C. office via the Net) earned unanimous approval in the House this week for a measure that may save Internet radio stations from crippling rate increases.

Read my story below.

While you’re at it, read my story from last September about Inslee teaming up with Indie rockers to save Internet radio.

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Can Washington state help stop global warming?

In a 23rd Legislative District Senate debate Tuesday, the Republican candidate let loose this provocative comment:

“I think it’s very arrogant at the taxpayers’ cost to think that the state of Washington can make any kind of difference in global warming,” said Connie Lord, a Poulsbo city councilwoman seeking to unseat state Sen. Phil Rockefeller, a Bainbridge Island Democrat.

And, according Steven Gardener’s coverage of the event, Lord asserted that the science is still out on the global warming issue, and that Kyoto Protocol standards proposed nearly a decade ago would have little impact.

Rockefeller, who has championed legislation to curb greenhouse gasses, disagreed.

“The science is not still out,” he said. “It is overwhelmingly clear that we are having an impact and it’s not a good one.”

Marshall: ‘This digital immigrant vows to fight irrelevancy’

Islander columnist Becky Fox Marshall reminisces about the old days, before “digital natives,” Facebook, IMing and LoL-ing.

Reclining on the dentist’s chair after a particularly intense session last week, I was coming down off the effects of nitrous thanks to a thorough flushing of oxygen when the dentist took over from the hygienist.

He explained to this relative newcomer to the office that I was “an old timer.” He mentioned that I often write about the “old days” and frequently say “I remember when…”

I just about choked on my gauze.

An old timer? Seriously? Have I become one of those? When did THAT happen?

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Inslee bucks his party and votes against the Wall Street bailout

Rep. Jay Inslee on Monday helped kill President Bush’s $700 billion bailout of some of the nation’s biggest financial institutions.

The Bainbridge Island Democrat’s vote in the narrow, 228-205 defeat ran counter to the urgings of both parties’ leaders.

“For all the talk of protecting the taxpayer, there were only limited promises that the taxpayers’ $700 billion investment would be paid back and there were no provisions to help struggling homeowners,” said Inslee in a statement released shortly after the House vote.

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Police blotter: Drunk driver suspects “little Republicans” are at play in his arrest

This week, a California man arrested for drunk driving attempted to root out the GOP leanings of his arresting officers. Not only is the Bainbridge Island Police Department full of “little Republicans,” the Republican conspiracy against drunk drivers appears to permeate the entire state, slurred the tipsy suspect.

Also this week, evidence that perhaps crime sometimes turns inward on itself (or that Bainbridge teens are on the cutting edge of a new DIY fashion trend). Teenagers were nabbed by police after taking part in a little tagging downtown. Turns out they were not spraypainting walls, windows or cars, but their own clothes.

Read on for these and other police blotter items….

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Reviving a flavorful piece of the island’s living history

I met “Coming Home to Eat” author and local foods advocate Gary Nabhan at a conference I covered in April. He had just given a talk about the nation’s dying food traditions, and mentioned the Marshall strawberry, a variety that was once a central part of Bainbridge Island’s identity, economy and landscape, but has almost disappeared over the last half-century.

He snatched the notepad from under my arm when I mentioned I planned to one day write a story about the Marshall.

“Here’s my email…’s my cell phone number,” he said, scribbling on my pad. “We need to tell this story.”

But when to write the story? It seemed like the best time to write about the Marshall is when the little red berries were popping on the vine. I called Karen Selvar, the island’s last remaining strawberry farmer, in July to see when the Marshalls would ripen.

That was weeks ago, she said, adding that the Marshall’s got “a real short” season.

Short as in two-weeks short. Blink and you’ll miss them. I figured I’d write about the Marshalls next year. But, about a month ago, Bainbridge Island Historical Museum director Hank Helm mentioned that Marshall starts would be sold at this year’s Harvest Fair, giving me an earlier-than-expected reason to delve into the berry’s history. The museum, through the work of volunteer Carol McCarthy, and a government lab in Oregon are the last two places making a serious effort to preserve the Marshall before it disappears. As with the last two fairs, the museum offered Marshall starts on Sunday as a way to raise funds and repopulate the island’s soil with this living piece of Bainbridge history.

You can read the story and see a short video about the Marshall at the Sun’s website by clicking here.

In writing the story I learned that the Marshall is more than just history. Thanks, in part, to two of Nabhan’s latest books, the berry is making something of a comeback. Food writers, gourmet chefs and various “slow food” enthusiasts are clogging McCarthy’s e-mail with requests for samples and starts.

But on Bainbridge, the berry is largely unknown, McCarthy said. She has scaled back the number of starts she offers at the fair. While some stop to look, few are willing to put a plant in their yards or gardens.

That’s a shame, said Nabhan.

“This is one of the most distinct berries,” he said. “It still has a place at the table.”

The best of my interview with Nabhan is the story. One aspect I couldn’t fit in is his belief that promoting and celebrating the Marshall on Bainbridge could create a bit of food tourism for the island.

“For purposes of tourism, this is something that’s truly unique,” he said. “I can’t see Bainbridge not thinking of this as an edge. Why would you travel to Bainbridge if (everything there) is available every other place.”

He also suggested Bainbridge take part in an “American heritage picnic.” Last year’s picnic in Seattle featured speakers, musicians and local foods made by prominent chefs. The menu included Ozette potatoes, foraged chanterelle and lobster mushrooms, sheep’s cheese and lots of salmon. This year’s picnic is scheduled for Oct. 5 at Discovery Park in Seattle .

If you want to read more about the Northwest’s endangered food traditions, check out Nabhan’s “Renewing Salmon Nation’s Food Traditions.” It’s like a field guide, with brief descriptions of the Gillette fig, Orcas Pear, Olympia oyster, Klamath plum and over a hundred other varieties. Nabhan’s “Renewing America’s Food Traditions” has a broader focus but includes a section on the Marshall, and mentions island historian Jerry Elfendahl, the historical museum and McCarthy.

Oh, and by the way, the Marshall can sometimes surprise. I took the above photo of a Marshall plant on Friday. McCarthy was as surprised as I was to see a few ripe red berries in late September. She bit into less-than-ripe one for Carolyn Yaschur’s video (see it here).

UPDATED: Robbery at Bainbridge mini-mart

See Josh Farley’s report on a robbery at the Island Center mini-mart.

Police are looking for two men today that they believe robbed the Fletcher Bay Mart on Friday night, according to Bainbridge Island Deputy Police Chief Mark Duncan.

The men, who wore masks, are said to have gone to the store, on the intersection of Fletcher Bay and New Brooklyn roads, at about 8:22 p.m. They demanded the store employee open the cash register, and they took cash and cigarettes, police said.

One suspect had a “physical altercation” with an employee as the suspect tried to get to the back room of the store, police said. The employee had taken up a mop and was swinging it at one of the suspects, Duncan said.

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Islander’s complaint leads to auditor’s fine

The newly-elected county auditor incurred a small fine after island resident Fred Scheffler filed a complaint that the auditor filed his campaign forms late.

Auditor Walt Washington (pictured at right) replaced Karen Flynn, who retired this year. Washington, a Democrat, was challenged by Republican John Clark.

Islander Chris Van Dyk’s Bainbridge Media Group was also hit with a fine this week.

Read Steven Gardener’s story below.

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Knotweed’s spread has conservationists reaching for herbicide

Dana Coggon stabs an injection gun’s barrel into the stalk of a knotweed, pulls the trigger and gives the invasive plant a dose of blue-hued poison.

“Knotweed is a cancer on our land,” said the Kitsap County noxious weed coordinator. “Unfortunately, sometimes you have to use a little chemotherapy to get rid of cancer.”

Pulling at knotweed is futile. Hacking at it makes it worse. Mowing it spreads its growth, and digging at its roots, Coggon said, “just makes it angry.”

The aggressive Asian import has swallowed up parklands, roadsides and crept onto stream banks, where native plants and even salmon are crowded out.

The county Noxious Weed Control Board and the Kitsap Conservation District are upping the ante in their fight against knotweed with an expanded chemical spray program targeting swaths of knotweed on Bainbridge Island.

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Deputy police chief retires early

The Bainbridge Island Police Department’s first ever deputy chief will retire a year earlier than anticipated so he and his family can move to the east side of the state.

Deputy Chief Mark Duncan will end his 30-year career in law enforcement on Tuesday when he takes a nearly two-month leave of absence before his official retirement in late November.

“We plan to move east of the mountains, and that isn’t an easy commute in the winter time,” Duncan said. “I’m retiring because we’re moving out of the area, and so I’m (leaving) a year before I normally would.”

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Rolfes and Lowe debate ferries and film

Rep. Christine Rolfes and her Republican challenger Mark Lowe staked opposing positions yesterday on the state ferry system, eduction and aspects of the very debate they were taking part in.

Rolfes, a Bainbridge Democrat and former Bainbridge City Council member, objected when she noticed that island resident and Republican activist Jim Olsen (and frequent commenter to this blog) was filming the event for use on BITV.

Read Steven Gardner’s story below.

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Police blotter: parkour practitioners busted on school roof

Parkour practitioners (or “traceurs,” as they’re called in the sport’s homeland) took their fleet-footed stylings to the roof of Blakely Elementary. That is, until their practice session was halted by Bainbridge police.

Sort of like skateboarding but without a skateboard, or circus acrobatics without the tights, parkour is a newfangled French sport in which the urban environment is used as an obstacle course. Read all about it here, and see a traceur (and an angry chicken) perform here.

An officer heard me chuckling as I read the police report on the parkour-bust. I thought the four teens must have been pulling the arresting officer’s leg with the parkour excuse. Not true, the officer told me. There are actually quite a few traceurs on the island, he said. They mostly stay close to the ground, preferring planters, bike racks and benches to leap and flip over. He said hopping atop rooftops is a new development.

Also this week, harassment is spread via Harley on Winslow Way and a Point Monroe man’s grass is stolen (no, not that grass).

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