Monthly Archives: December 2008

Snow and blackouts are only the latest problems for Winslow merchants

Doug Tolliver, a “A Shovel 4 Hire,” escorts a Winslow shopper over an icy crosswalk on Monday. Find more photos here

Shoppers squinted and blinked as they entered Lindsleys clothing store on Monday afternoon.

Somewhere among the darkened clothing racks Tom Lindsley was voicing a welcome to them. Most customers needed a few seconds to let their eyes adjust from the glare of Winslow’s snowy streets to the dim of the unlit store.

“Right now all we have is daylight,” said Lindsley, who co-owns the 17-year-old store store with his wife. “And a few flashlights people will hopefully use.”

Lindsleys was one of many downtown shops already struggling under a sluggish economy. The winter snow storm and resulting power outage made a bad situation worse.

And while the Christmas season was anticipated as a happy ending to a tough year, many stores found the snow kept many holiday spenders at home.

“The combination of the weather and the economy really makes things messy,” Lindsley said. “It hurts a lot. Our (sales) are way down. And we’ll have to close early because it’s getting harder to see in here.”

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Today’s news brought to you by…

…Island Health Foods.

Well, sort of.

With no power at Bainbridge Islander HQ, I slipped on the gaiters and wool cap and waded into the snow in search of the three necessities of news production and transmission: electricity, wireless Internet and caffeine.

The Pavilion’s new cafe was closed and dark, as was Bainbridge Bakers, Andante and Mora. Blackbird was open, but its steamy windows were nearly bursting with humanity. Predictably, T&C’s coffee shop was crowded with strangers doubling and tripling up at the handful of tables.

Calls to Mud Puddle and Pegasus went unanswered. I totally forgot about the new cafe in Flowering Around.

I headed east to the end of the Winslow world, where Trios was likely my last and final option. From a distance I saw lights! But at the door I found a sign notifying would-be patrons that the shop had closed early (about 20 minutes before I arrived). For some reason I never think about Island Health Foods as a supplier of the three necessities of news production and transmission. But there it was, only steps away from Trios, with warmly-lit tables, numerous electrical outlets, wirelessness and Americanos for the price of drip.

The friendly folks at Island Health Foods were keeping the shop open several hours after they were scheduled to close. Why? “To give people a warm place,” one of the owners said. “We know a lot of places are closed.”

Bowls of soup and chili were also handed out for free. It’s something Island Health Foods does when the temperature drops below zero.

So, thanks Island Health Foods for staying open and giving this reporter one last place to type up and send in his day’s work.

Clearing roads, restoring power

Crews were working overtime during the weekend and on Monday morning to clear snow-laden roads and restore power to over 3,000 darkened homes.

Puget Sound Energy notified Bainbridge Island Police on Monday that four repair crews would soon be joined by teams searching for downed power lines, fallen branches and other problems causing blackouts around the island.

Parts of Winslow lost power at around 5 p.m. on Sunday while surrounding areas flickered out on Monday morning. By the afternoon, a handful of downtown businesses found power restored, only to lose it hours later.

Bainbridge City Hall, which opened two-hours late on Monday, was without power all day. Many staff relied on the light coming in through windows to do their work.

Bainbridge police were inundated with calls over the weekend and on Monday to assist motorists struggling with snowy conditions.

“A lot of people are getting themselves stuck or are sliding off the roads,” Police Chief Matt Haney said.

Haney predicted driving conditions would worsen on Monday night.

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A walk into Winslow

Made the hike into Winslow this afternoon. Downtown was a lot more friendly and slow-paced today than it was on Saturday, when the hordes descended on T&C and Safeway to gather survival gear (and last-minute Christmas presents) in preparation for the Snowpocalypse.

If you’ve not yet emerged from your bunker, you can check out my tour of Winslow by visiting my new Picasa page.

Expect semi-regular updates on Picasa as I post photos related to island news stories.

City (finally) passes 2009 budget

It wasn’t easy, but they finally did it.

The City Council has wrangled for months over the 2009 budget, sometimes subjecting themselves to 12-hour budget meetings to hash out the details.

The budget was contentious up to the last minute, with Councilman Bill Knobloch again proposing a delay for the Winslow Way project. In the end, the budget squeaked by with a 4-3 vote.

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City Hall and court closed

Bainbridge City Hall was closed at 11:30 a.m. today due to the snow. The municipal court is also closed.

City road crews and other essential services are still in operation.

“Maintenance crews are hard at work sanding and plowing roadways, and the police department has additional officers standing by in case they are needed as the day continues,” said City Administrator Mark Dombroski. “We encourage residents to stay off the roadways if at all possible, and to take extra safety precautions such as using chains and carrying an emergency kit with flares and blankets.”

For updated listings on road closures, visit the city’s website at County-wide road closures are posted here.

Additional information is available at the city’s emergency phone line, 842-7633.

Snow day

The snow’s coming down thick here at the Kitsap Sun’s island outpost.

School’s out. Library’s closed. City meetings are called off.

But the snowman making contest is on. Starts at 2 p.m. at Ericksen Park (between Ericksen Ave and Hildebrand Lane).

Avoid these roads on your way to the contest:

-Bucklin Hill Road between Eagle Harbor Drive and Lynwood Center Road.
-Koura Road between Highway 305 and Meadowmeer Circle.
-Valley Road at Park Hill Place.

If you aren’t up to a making your own Parson Brown, you can read the Sun story about the icy sabotage at the Bainbridge school district bus barn, and the angry, angry comments that follow. But why do that when the snow’s falling?

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These days, even island Realtors eat at Helpline

I know from childhood experience that food banks give away a lot of 10-lb. blocks of waxy government cheese, canned pumpkin (year-round) and canned water chestnuts (try that combo, Iron Chef).

But not at Helpline House. This island institution, which is celebrating its 40th year of service, is unlike any food bank I’ve ever visited.

For one thing, people smile. Clients and volunteers alike. The place is nice too. More like a house than a bunker. People actually hang out at Helpline. Clients and volunteers were chatting on the spacious porch, on the lawn, on the the couch and at the coffee table.

And the food’s pretty good. Here’s a sample of what was on the menu last week: fresh (not powdered!) milk, fresh eggs, organic tomato soup, Tuscan-style rice, sausage gumbo and fresh pears.

The food’s moving off Helpline’s shelves faster than ever. November was a record-breaking month, as new classes of clients – professionals, business owners, even a real estate agent – find themselves financially crippled and in need of a helping hand. But enough intro. On to the story….

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Police blotter: Hit-and-run witnesses chase down suspects

Don’t mess around in Lynwood Center. A Mercedes Benz packed with teens (including one in the trunk) hit a parked car and sped away. Rather than just scribble down the license plate, a few Lynwood Centerers hopped into their cars and chased the the car down, which erupted, clown-car style, with several youngsters (including the one in the trunk) who bounded off into the woods.

Also this week, a wind-whipped tree branch nearly impales a driver, and two reindeer are spotted by police..uh, “compromising” in a front yard. The week’s only ice-related car crash was caused by an out- -of-stater. Californian? Nah, too easy. Hawaiian? Close, if you’re considering the chronology of statehood. Alaskan? Yep, a rough-and-ready northerner from The Palin State rear-ended a local and then skidded into the ditch.

And the quote of the week: “I’m going to cut you open, bro.”

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