Monthly Archives: November 2008

Your commute…only prettier

Bainbridge ferry commuter Michael Diehl doesn’t take his cross Sound commute for granted.

With his camera at the ready, Diehl has focused his attention on what makes the ferry ride to and from Seattle a world-class visual experience. Sunsets rippling on waves, fog-shrouded skyscrapers, glimmering mountains.

Diehl has compiled his best shots into Crossings,” a photo-rich book focused entirely on the Bainbridge-Seattle run.

What Diehl has captured is the what many ferry commuters forget to appreciate. I know I did when I was a ferry commuter. Too often the ride is a taken up by naps, newspaper reading (although that is a very, very worthwhile thing to do), eating, napping, coffee drinking, napping and laptop tapping. We get plenty of this at work and at home. Lost is an opportunity to become familiar with the landscape, getting to know the mountain peaks and the swaths of land that many can identify on a map, but not when it’s right before our eyes.

For more about “Crossings,” read Barbara McMichael’s review and see a sample page below.

Bookmonger: Crossings Celebrates Our Affair with Ferries
By Barbara McMichael

Born and raised locally, I have had a lifelong fondness for ferries, and I have always regarded with suspicion those ferry commuters who seem to be blasé about their daily transits across Puget Sound.

To have those mountains! Those shorelines! The wind in your face! The ever-changing scene in the shipping lanes! The possibility of an orca sighting!

Why some people prefer to huddle inside and do a crossword puzzle or nap is entirely beyond me.
Crossings: On the Ferries of Puget Sound.

Fortunately, Michael Diehl is not one of those ho-hum types. A regular commuter on the Bainbridge Island-Seattle run, Diehl carries his camera with him, and the images he’s captured over the last few years first made their appearance as an Internet posting.

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The new deputy chief says ‘hi’

Jon Fehlman, the BIPD’s new deputy chief, was treated to a not-so-warm welcome on the online comments section of my story about his hiring.

Some comments questioned the need for his position. Others were critical of the BIPD for not hiring from within the department. One raised the issue of his California-ness.

Looks like they’ve got the internet down in Santa Rosa, and that Fehlman surfs it.

He posted a response today. Read it below.

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BI’s green business school gets a new CEO

Jon Strauss, former president of Harvey Mudd College in California, has been named president of Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

He takes the reins from Gifford Pinchot, founder and president of the six-year-old institute, which offers master’s degrees in sustainable business. Its campus is at IslandWood, the environmental-learning center on south Bainbridge Island.

Currently, 157 students are working on their master’s in sustainable business. Another 43 are working on certifications.

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Cali cop gets BI deputy chief job

The Bainbridge Island Police Department has named a California cop with emergency management and neighborhood-oriented policing experience as its new deputy chief.

Lt. Jon Fehlman, a lieutenant in the Santa Rosa Police Department’s investigations bureau, will replace retiring Bainbridge Deputy Chief Mark Duncan on Dec. 1, the city announced on Thursday.

The 23-year law enforcement veteran bested about 45 other candidates from across the country, as well as Australia and Haiti.

“All the possible candidates had the technical requirements, but after that it’s about finding the right fit for our community,” said Bainbridge Chief Matt Haney. “(Fehlman) has the experience we need at this time on Bainbridge.”

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Have your say on how the city spends money on public art

Taking a break on their business trip to sip coffee along Winslow Way, Ellissa Wieneke and Angie Glasser eyed the sculpture a few feet away.

“It’s fun,” said Glasser, nodding at the mosaic sphere tucking in the landscape near their table. “Public art like this adds some flavor and gives us an interpretation of who the people are here.”

On the island for a just a few hours to help with a local theater production, the Seattle-area costumers came quickly to the conclusion that Bainbridge likes to share art in a public fashion.

“Just walking around, you can tell this is an art town,” Wieneke said.

And there’s much more public art on the way.

The city early this year increased the public art program’s share of capital projects funding from 1 to 2 percent, increasing the annual average of $24,000 to about $66,000.

Now arts advocates are working on a six-year plan to direct the types, locations and styles of the new works.

The Bainbridge Island Arts & Humanities Council will hold a meeting on Sunday afternoon to discuss public arts planning and gather input from residents.

“We’d love to hear from as many voices as possible, and put those voices into public art,” said Janice Shaw, who oversees the city public arts program.

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Police blotter: Moth attack

A motorist was accosted by a moth this week as she drove along an island roadway. The motorist’s efforts at self-defense caused her to veer into an oncoming car, which was sent spinning around the center of the road. The moth is still at large and may strike again. Motorists are advised to keep their windows rolled up and to refrain from wearing wool.

Also this week: post-election night reprisals leave a wake of shredded bumper stickers and damaged auto bodies on Wood Avenue.

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Islander named to Seattle Magazine’s “most influential” list

Sustainable Bainbridge co-founder Neva Welton has been named by Seattle Magazine as one of the “25 Most Influential People of the Year.”

The story appears in the November issue under the heading of “Sustainability: Pied Pipers on the Green.”

Welton and Vic Oppenheimer, co-founders of Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound (SCALLOPS), are lauded for their success in orchestrating a network of grassroots community-based groups, like Sustainable Bainbridge, that help Puget Sound towns and neighborhoods develop sustainable practices.

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The island’s largest medical center may be bigger than demand

A medical center planned for Madison Avenue may be a community health-care remedy that comes a few years too late.

At 27,700 square feet, the planned Island Medical Center would be the largest medical facility on Bainbridge. It’s an ambitious project aimed at meeting the service needs and desires of a growing island population that would prefer not to ride a ferry or cross a bridge to see doctors.

But some health-care professionals say the project, which was approved by the city last month and is under development by island-based MRJ Constructors, may have trouble filling its spacious new offices.

“They have a gigantic medical facility planned without a clear cut picture of who will occupy the facility,” said Bainbridge pediatrician Frederick Walters. “There’s a lot of questions about whether it’s needed, given the current health care players on the island.”

Walters was one of several doctors whose interest was piqued when the project was first announced three years ago. He and a handful of other doctors worked for the Virginia Mason Winslow clinic, currently the island’s largest medical facility, but hoped to break away and establish competing facilities elsewhere on the island.

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An island benefit for land mine victims in Asia

A Bainbridge nonprofit organization that has helped thousands of landmine victims around the world is looking for help close to home this year.

In an effort to reach more islanders, Clear Path International is moving its largest annual fundraiser from Seattle to Bainbridge.

Set for Saturday evening, the event will feature live music, improv comedy and an auction for foreign trips and a dinner with a famous author.

“This is our first benefit on the island where we were founded eight years ago,” said Imbert Matthee, Clear Path’s executive director. “We’ve grown amazingly since then.”

Clear Path has expanded from its initial focus area in central Vietnam to assist landmine victims in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and, most recently, Afghanistan.

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At first glace, you might think this sign that spouted up on Madison Avenue might indicate the island’s most prolific sign maker had an election night epiphany, switched parties and decided to be more concise in his roadside rants.

I doubt it.

My guess is that the island’s most prolific sign maker (whose recent right-of-way exclamations include “STOP COBI SEWER TAX TAX,” “NO PARX TAX $~$&,” and “DRILL NOW”) has an imitator, albeit one whose message likely resonates with a larger number of islanders.

Fun Fact: Didja know that Bainbridge Islanders in 2008 spent almost $300,000 on the candidate emblazoned on the above sign? His Republican opponent managed to draw just $40,000.

Be a voice for BI

The Sun is offering two new ways for a few select readers to express their opinions.

One way is to join the Sun’s editorial board. The paper’s rotating out last year’s community representatives (none of which were islanders) and needs five newbies. Read this for more information, and send in your application by Monday.

The other new option for expressing your opinions is to become a Kitsap Sun blogger.

It’s a simple deal: the Sun hands you a blog and you yak it up about the liberals, your dog, other blogs, your cat, parking, taxes, corporate mind-control, your favorite casserole recipe or Sepak Takraw.

Give the Sun your best pitch, send links to any blog you already blog on and tell them what the focus of your blog would be.

Promising to blog frequently will boost your chances. There was no mention of pay, so you’ll just have to write your blog at your day job.

For an idea of how this works, check out the Seattle P-I’s reader blogs by clicking here.

Opinion Editor Jim Campbell and Web Editor Angela Dice will review your ideas and pick the would-be blogger. E-mail

Recycle your TV (or other electrotrash) for free

Starting Jan. 1, you can recycle your computer, monitor, or TV at the Goodwill at the drop off outside Ace Hardware on High School Road…for free.

Thanks to a new state law, the cost of recycling many old electronic items will be passed on to manufacturers. And the old gizmos, which contain toxic components, will be kept out of landfills.

The programs doesn’t cover everything. Cell phones, old computer mice, printers and several other items will have to go elsewhere.

For more info, read Chris Dunagan’s story here.