Monthly Archives: February 2009

$42 million school construction bond headed for May ballot

With much of the 2006 bond spent, the Bainbridge school district is looking to refill its capital budget with a new bond this spring.

The ’06 bond passed with strong support. Despite the ailing economy, school officials say now is the right time to seek $42 million to help build a new Wilkes Elementary and repair several school buildings.

Read my story here.

The district will host three meetings about the bond next month. Here’s the schedule:

March 5, 10 a.m., Bainbridge Public Library conference room. This meeting is geared for pre-school parents.

March 11, 7 p.m., Bainbridge High School library in the new 200 Building.

March 18, 10:15 a.m., Bainbridge senior center on Brien Drive.

For more information, contact district community relations coordinator Pam Keyes, pkeyes@bainbridge.wednet.edu or (206) 780-1398.

Water contamination alert for part of south Bainbridge

A break in a water line in the Emerald Heights Water System on Bainbridge Island has triggered a health advisory that calls for 79 water customers to drink bottled water or boil their water before drinking.

The advisory affects customers in the Emerald Heights and Deer Ridge subdivisions plus a few homes along Opal Ridge Road, all near Lynnwood at the south end of the island.

The break occurred while workers were installing a new chlorination device in the water system, according to Caroline Cox of the state Department of Health.

It is likely that the water became contaminated before the break could be repaired, she said, so the entire system is being disinfected. Residents may notice a cloudy appearance in their water.

It is fine to bathe or shower with the water while the health advisory is in place, Cox said, but the water should not be used for drinking by people or pets if there’s a strong chlorine odor or taste. Avoiding putting the water in aquariums until the chlorine odor goes away.

If there is no obvious chlorine, the water can be boiled for one minute then used for drinking, brushing teeth and cooking, Cox said. The advisory is expected to last several days.

For information, customers may call (206) 780-7850.

Two-week Highway 305 closure planned in September

Highway officials plan to close a stretch of 305 between Suquamish and Poulsbo for 15 days this fall.

The closure, which would begin Sept. 8, is part of a work plan to replace to culverts running under the highway. Traffic would be rerouted, adding just over three miles to the trip between Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo.

Local officials are concerned about how the closure will impact North Kitsap and Bainbridge drivers.

“This is going to be hell for a lot of people,” Poulsbo City Councilwoman Becky Erickson said.

Read Derek Sheppard’s story here for more information.

The future of “Strawberry Plant Park”

First off, I think we need a new name for the Strawberry Plant property. It’s kind of confusing and awkward, in my humble opinion. Park-goers might think the place once grew strawberry plants. Actually, it canned strawberries and shipped them off from a pier over the harbor.

We could name it in honor of the creosote pilings that were removed this month….maybe “Toxic Log Park”? At least that’ll keep the tourists away and leave it for the locals to enjoy. What’s your pick? Post your park name nominations here.

On to the issue at hand: the City Council and park district settled on a design plan for the park on Tuesday. View a detailed illustration of the plan by clicking here.

The design made some history-loving humans unhappy but it’ll likely make a lot of habitat-missing salmon happy.

It’s not all for the fishes. An overwater viewing platform, kayak launch and pedestrian bridge linking to a Winslow trail are in the works. The park district is beginning a public planning process for the property’s massive concrete slab and wooded uplands. Park Commissioner Dave Shorett urges anyone who is thinking about suggesting tennis or basketball courts to take a look at what the seagulls do with the slab.

Click here for my story on the council/park board decision.

Reviving “the center for all things children”

A group of moms in the island’s KidsUp! group are trying to rally support to help bring back a popular nonprofit center for kids and parents.

The old Parent Child Center boasted drop-in family counseling, an indoor play area, a parenting library and a place for moms to hang out, compare notes, tell war stories and sip coffee.

A parent fair is taking place Saturday to raise money and draw in more volunteers for the effort. It’s 10 to 4 p.m. at Woodward Middle School. See below for more info.

While rebuilding the PCC is tough enough on its own, keeping it filled with supportive moms and kids may also be a challenge. KidsUp! had been working under the assumption that as many as 400 families visited the PCC each month. This week, they found that the PCC drew 400 visits a month rather than families. It’s likely that many visits were from repeat users.

Adding to the cloudy forecast is Helpline House, the PCC’s former financial backer. Helpline records show that only about 30 families a month were visiting PCC before it closed two years ago, and most families stopped by only twice a month. KidsUp! isn’t sure Helpline’s numbers are solid, and Helpline is skeptical of the KidsUp! estimates.

Turnout at the parent fair could be an indicator of the current level of interest for a new PCC. KidsUp! is trying to raise up to $100,000 to support the new PCC. Read about their effort and about what the old PCC meant to the moms who used it here.

No more docks on Blakely Harbor

The long legal battle over Blakely Harbor has apparently come to an end.

The Washington State Court of Appeals upheld the city’s ban on new individual-use docks on the south island harbor, Christopher Dunagan reported this week.

The only docks permitted in the future will be two joint-use docks and one community dock.

A lawsuit filed by two south island families argued that that dock prohibition robs of their rightful use of the harbor “under the guise of protecting the aquatic environment.”

Blakely is considered one of Puget Sound’s most pristine harbors and is important habitat for marine species.

For more information, click here.

Police blotter: Chilly Hilly’s pellet gun snipers

A pair of air gun-armed Bainbridge teens were arrested after trying to pickoff cyclists during Sunday’s Chilly Hilly ride. No one reported injuries. A female cyclist was reportedly shot, but pedaled on.

For next year’s ride, look for the new essential in Chilly Hilly riding gear: Wind resistant, moisture-wicking, Gore-Tex polyfiber-weave Kevlar bike shorts. The sales slogan: “Deflects wind, rain and BBs.” I’m filing for a patent tomorrow. Pre-orders start today.

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Water program budget slashed despite alarming groundwater report

One city councilman says protecting the island’s water supply “has got to be our number one priority.”

Island residents appear to agree, choosing groundwater as the top community concern in a survey last year.

And now hydrologists have confirmed in a recent study what many islanders have feared: Well levels are dropping, including ones tapped into the island’s largest and most important aquifers.

So why has the city cut the water resource program by more than half?

Read my story here or below…
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Group: “Fix Winslow Way for downtown and the environment”

A group of island residents and Winslow business owners drafted a letter stressing that the controversial Winslow Way repair project is a necessary fix that’s good for people and Puget Sound.

We believe there are many neighbors who care passionately about Winslow Way and its future. No other issue has stirred up more ink on paper or created more anxiety.

And rightly so.

Winslow Way is our community living room, where our family and friends stroll and meet up at the bakeries, restaurants, ice creamery, bookstore, galleries, and retail spaces. Winslow Way is where we gather for the holidays – trick or treating, caroling, parading and dancing in the street.

Winslow Way is ultimately the island’s most-used, most-shared place. We should certainly be careful and cautious to not mess up a good thing.

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Stevens: “A false majority is pushing the Winslow Way project”

City Hall watcher Rod Stevens disagrees that a majority of islanders want the Winslow Way repair project to move forward:

A few people have written that we should get on with the Winslow Tomorrow effort since the City Council has duly voted four to three to start construction. This raises interesting questions about the nature of majority rule, and how much “majority” you need to do things in a small community.

The “majority” on the council certainly think they have a mandate to act. Councilman Chris Snow has said “We have the votes”, which is similar to saying “I’m the Decider.” Councilman Barry Peters writes about those opposing the project as being in the “minority”, and while he didn’t say this, this is equivalent to saying “you’re not one of us”. A year or more ago Councilman Kjell Stoknes told those opposing Winslow Tomorrow that “the train has left the station.”

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