Daily Archives: February 20, 2009

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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Suquamish Tribe diversifying its economic base

The Suquamish Tribe’s reliance on the Clearwater Casino for revenue has shrunk over recent years as new business enterprises have taken shape on the reservation. And more economic diversification is on the way, said the CEO of the tribe’s business wing at a Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday.

Russell Steele said the Clearwater’s profits made up 92 percent of the tribe’s business revenue in 2001. Today, the casino makes up only 68 percent of the revenue.

An on the horizon is an expansion of the Agate Pass Business Park, a larger retail division and improvements in downtown Suquamish.

Read Angela Lu’s coverage of Steele’s talk here.