Monthly Archives: October 2008

More on the Craigslist bike thief and the sting that caught him

A Bainbridge couple used a bike thief’s ‘own tricks’ to lure him into a police sting in Portland this week.

To read the story, click here.

There’s more to the story than I had room for in the paper, such as how the victims, Robert and Hadley Hill, figured out where the crook lived before they and team of undercover cops busted him outside Powell’s bookstore on Monday. Also not in the story is Hills’ advice for Craigslist shoppers. You can also find that below.

Web sleuths
After stealing the $2,700 Cervelo racing bike on Friday, 24-year-old Jason Adam McDonald of Tacoma posted the bike on Portland’s Craigslist for $3,000. Tipped off to the thief’s ad by a sharp-eyed Craigslist shopper, the Hills not only recognized their bike, they also recognized the tree it was leaning against.

“We saw the tree and the area around it and realized that we used to walk our dog in that park every day,” Hadley said. The Hills recently moved to Bainbridge from a house in Tacoma that is a block from the park pictured in the ad.

The family also just happened to be in Tacoma visiting friends when they got word of the new ad.

“I went straight to the tree and looked up the picture on my blackberry, and was lining (McDonald’s) pictures up with where I was standing,” Robert said. I said ‘Hadley, I’m looking at the exact same scars on the tree.”

The revelation was a bit creepy for Hadley, who said her family didn’t know McDonald before the theft.

“I just about hit the floor,” she said. “The bike, the thief and the victims were within a few blocks of each other.”

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Sun endorses BI parks levy

The Kitsap Sun gave a thumbs up to the Bainbridge parks levy proposed in your ballot. Read the endorsement below.

EDITORIAL: Bainbridge Parks Levy Is a Good Call

Bainbridge Island residents love their open space, and want to preserve what they have.

Of course, the same thing can be said about money.

On Nov. 4, Bainbridge Island residents will be weighing those two priorities in a levy lid lift request by the Bainbridge Island Metro Park and Recreation District.

The issue would raise the district’s tax levy from the current 58 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to 75 cents in 2009. For a median-priced $600,000 Bainbridge Island home, the increase would amount to about $102 per year.

If approved, the request would generate an estimated $1.1 million to $1.2 million in additional revenues for the district.

The district would use most of the money — a minimum of 75 percent — to purchase, develop and improve property for parks. The funds also would be used to enable work by a citizens committee to advise the district on property acquisitions.

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Guterson pays tribute to “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Bainbridge author David Guterson will speak tonight at the Bainbridge Public Library about “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the 1960 novel on which Guterson loosely based his bestselling “Snow Falling on Cedars.”

Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is Kitsap Regional Library’s featured title in its “One Book, One Community” program. KRL used a state grant to purchase more than 700 copies of the book to facilitate wide readership and discussion of the Pulitzer prize-winning novel.

Guterson will discuss why “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which deals with race issues in the American South, is still relevant and popular nearly 50 years after its publication.

“I owe a lot to ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’ Guterson said during a 1995 reading, shortly after “Snow Falling on Cedars” was published. “I followed very much the same structure and addressed the same concerns. I’m glad that book was part of my life.”

Guterson kept “To Kill a Mockingbird” in heavy rotation at Bainbridge High School, where he taught English.

Similar to “Mockingbird,” Guterson’s “Snow” mixes racial tension with courtroom drama.

“No other book had such an enormous impact,” he said. “I read it 20 times in 10 years and it never got old, only richer, deeper and more interesting.”

Guterson’s lecture is at 7 p.m. tonight at the library’s meeting room.

Island’s ‘Master of Disaster’ hit by economic storm

Ed Call has spent the last year and a half getting Bainbridge Islanders ready for natural disasters.

But before an earthquake rattled the bridge or a storm knocked out the island’s power, a man-made disaster struck, and Call one of its first victims.

“When I saw the economic condition of the city, and then the country, I knew the writing was on the wall for me,” said Call, the city’s emergency preparedness coordinator.

Call’s position was cut from the city’s proposed budget in an effort to reduce spending amid sharply declining revenues. Along with Call, the city plans to cut a police officer position, six public works positions and other jobs as part of an 10 percent staffing reduction.

As a contract employee, Call considered himself “an anomaly in the fiscal program” that would likely go to the front of the line for the chopping block.

But if the city had to choose between him or another cop, Call said the city made the right decision in cutting his position, which focuses on emergency preparedness presentations and city staff training. The Hansville resident has also worked to improve emergency planning coordination and communication between police, the city, fire department and other organizations.

“The city needs to think about public safety first, and that means having officers on the job,” he said.

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Former BI coffee roaster goes a shade greener in Suquamish

They started out on Bainbridge as one of the area’s first fair-trade coffee roasters.

Now located in Suquamish, Grounds for Change has ratcheted-up their earth friendliness with the nation’s first carbon-free certification for a coffee roaster.

Read Rachel Pritchett’s story and watch Derek Sheppard’s video by clicking here.

Bainbridge breathes life into the “Living Library”

When Aileen Griffey had finished with her library book, she didn’t close its cover or drop it in the return slot. She shook its hand, wished its family well and thanked it for a glimpse into what it’s like to be a Muslim living in America.

Griffey, “the reader,” and Younes Merbouhi, “the book,” were participants in Bainbridge Public Library’s Living Library event on Saturday. As one of about 50 readers who attended the event, Griffey chose from 17 flesh-and-blood titles representing groups that are often stereotyped, misunderstood or hold controversial viewpoints.

Before selecting Merbouhi and his family, which also joined in the discussion, Griffey perused a selection of living books representing a quadriplegic, a female cop, a Libertarian, a white South African, an atheist, the mother of a lesbian and an Eagle Harbor liveaboard.

Once a librarian matches a reader with book, they sit down for half-hour conversations at tables scattered throughout the library.

“This gives people a more diverse perspective,” said Danish anti-violence activist Ronni Abergel, who founded the Living Library program and was on-hand for the Bainbridge event. “Many people have perceptions about certain people based only on the media, but they’ve never sat down one, never really talked with one. Once they do, it stretches their boundaries.”

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Island’s largest health care facility planned for Madison Ave.

The city approved plans for what will be the island’s largest medical center and one of its largest assisted living facilities. While local developers are touting the project as an answer to many of the island’s health and elder care needs, some residents are expressing concern about its size and scope.

The story below focuses on the buildings themselves and on the project’s first phase, which is likely to be the 47,700-square-foot assisted living facility.

I also talked with doctors and other folks about the planned medical building and the kinds of services the island needs, but there wasn’t room in this story for all that. Stay tuned for a story about the medical side. And in the meantime, drop me a line about where you see gaps in medical service on Bainbridge, and I’ll try to work it into the story.

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Sherman Alexie brings his literary stand-up routine to BI

In typical form, bestselling Seattle author Sherman Alexie did more than read from his book, he put on a performance based on it. His latest is “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” based not-so-loosely on his own experience growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Read the Sun’s coverage of his appearances last night in Winslow and Suquamish by clicking here. He got some interesting questions from his Bainbridge audience, including ‘Do Indians, like, have “wo-wo spirituality” where they can predict what’s going to happen?’

South Bainbridge beaches riddled with fecal pollution, study shows

Two dozen sites on Bainbridge beaches showed unhealthy levels of fecal waste, according to a Kitsap County Health District water quality report released this week.

With the city’s assistance, the health district collected over 580 water samples from eight miles of shoreline along south Eagle Harbor, Point White, Crystal Springs and Fletcher Bay between February and June. About 13 percent of all samples showed fecal bacteria levels over the district’s permissible limit. Some test sites, including four between Point White and Fletcher Bay, showed contamination levels of 15 times the permissible limit for fecal coliform bacteria, which is associated with human and animal waste.

The shoreline between Crystal Springs and Fletcher Bay had the highest concentration of contaminated areas. More than 40 percent of the study’s highly contaminated samples came from this stretch of southwest Bainbridge.

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