Monthly Archives: March 2009

Kordonowy still undecided on reelection bid

kordonowymugsmallMayor Darlene Kordonowy remains undecided on whether she’ll seek a third term.

Kordonowy said in early February that she’d make her decision by March 31. But today – her self-imposed deadline day – Kordonowy said she has not yet “come to terms.”

“I’ve been pushing myself to do it, but I’m not quite ready to make a decision,” she said. “I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking and talking to people about this.”

Former city councilman Bob Scales, a critic of Kordonowy, remains the only candidate to have formally announced a bid for mayor.

Voters will decide on May 19 whether to abolish the elected mayor’s office and replace it with a manager position under the control of the City Council. If the measure passes, Kordonowy would become an eighth councilor until her mayoral term expires at the end of the year.

Bainbridge isn’t trading police for sheriff’s deputies any time soon

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There’s been some rumors circulating that the city may eliminate the Bainbridge Island Police Department and contract with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office for routine patrols and all other law enforcement matters.

According to Interim Police Chief Jon Fehlman, the rumors are just that.

“That’s just the rumor mill,” he said today. “I don’t want to add credence to a rumor so I’m not going to address it.”

Fehlman said there has been no talk between the BIPD, the city or the county on the possibility of swapping police for deputies.

The idea has been floated by some residents and a few City Council members who are trying to find ways to make big cuts to fit a rapidly shrinking budget.

The sheriff’s office confirmed this week that they’ve received a few calls from island residents who’d like to explore the possibility of having deputies patrol the island again (as they did before the island incorporated in the early 1990s).

“There have been some inquiries made, by a number of citizens of (Bainbridge), to determine if the sheriff would be available to discuss law enforcement issues,” sheriff’s office spokesman Scott Wilson told Kitsap Sun crime reporter Josh Farley.

While the sheriff is open to talk, his deputies have plenty to keep them busy without patrolling the island’s 28 square miles and serving its 24,000 residents.

“A challenge would certainly be presented to us if KCSO was asked to assist Bainbridge Island with law enforcement responsibilities,” Sheriff Steve Boyer wrote in an email sent by Wilson. “It is not, as some might perceive, empire building… we’ve got enough on our plate as it is. But if it would result in a beneficial change for the citizens of the county, then I would be enthusiastic about undertaking such a challenge.”

Fehlman said the BIPD has one of the fastest emergency response times in the county. He declined to speculate how response times or other matters might be affected if the department his replaced.

What do you think? Would you rather cut costs and depend on deputies, or keep the island’s own force intact? Vote on the Bainbridge Conversation’s new blog poll over to the right.

Police blotter: Attack of the “baseball bat-wielding felon”

Nope, the header was not referring to Pete Rose. Sorry sports fans. “Baseball bat-wielding felon” was how the victim of a truck window bashing described the suspect in a call to police this week.

Also in this week’s blotter is heart-warmer for all us journalists with shrinking newspapers. A man reportedly threatened his neighbor with a beating if his newspaper was stolen again. Now there’s a man who truly appreciates his local fishwrapper.

Blotter’s below….

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Fight over Blakely Harbor dock ban goes back to court

Two couples who wish to build docks on Blakely Harbor have appealed their denials to the Washington State Supreme Court, environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan writes in today’s Sun.

The case involves the construction of docks in south-end harbor. The City Council had approved an amendment to its shorelines management program banning all docks planned for exclusive use of a single property owner. Under the amendment, only two joint-use and one community dock will be allowed in the future.

Read the full story here.

Rockefeller under consideration for EPA post

State Sen. Phil Rockefeller was named this week as a candidate to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s four-state Northwest region.

Rockefeller, a Bainbridge Island Democrat, said he’d likely take the job if it’s offered to him.

“I’d be honored,” he said. “But I love my current job and I’d be happy to stay in the Legislature.”

A strong advocate for environmental protections, Rockefeller said he’s not been informed who or how many other candidates are in the running for the EPA post. He is also unsure when a decision will be made.

“It’s a long process,” he said. “And I’m just one of many candidates for the position.”

Rockefeller has made protecting the environment a hallmark of his two Senate terms and three terms in the state House of Representatives. He helped develop the Puget Sound Partnership, which is leading renewed cleanup efforts, and toughened auto emission standards.

As administrator of the EPA’s Region 10, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, Rockefeller would oversee enforcement and implementation of federal environmental rules and regulations. Region 10 includes 650 employees and has an annual budget of $500 million.

With the Obama Administration now in charge, Rockefeller foresees a larger budget and expanded role for the EPA.

“Looking ahead, I see more federal resources to clean up our water and air,” he said.

If selected for the post, Rockefeller promised to focus greater attention on the clean up of Puget Sound and the Columbia River.

Rockefeller contrasted the expansive opportunities to improve the environment at federal level with the shrinking prospects at the state level.

“Right now the state’s starved for funds,” he said, noting the state’s budget deficit of almost $9 billion.

If he vacates his Senate seat, the 23rd Legislative District Democrats would choose three nominees to serve in his place. The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners would appoint one of the three nominees to serve the remaining three and a half years of Rockefeller’s four-year term.

Like to answer questions?

….well then you may enjoy the new doodad I added to the blog.

Over in the upper portion of the column to the right is a new polling feature. No doubt all the bigwigs and muckymucks will be following it closely in the hopes of pleasing the poll-vocal majority.

To kick-off the polling fun, I decided that this week’s (or month’s, depending on when I do a new one) will focus on who or what is to blame for the city’s financial mess.

Bainbridge Island’s homegrown electric car business

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A Bainbridge man is hard at work developing a prototype three-wheeled electric that that could one day deliver your mail or your next parking ticket.

Here’s a snippet from Rachel Pritchett’s story about Bob Fraik’s island-grown Evergreen Electromotive.

He is aiming to sell his three-wheeled electric utility vehicles to government and corporate fleets.

They could be used by parking enforcers or university security. Throw a platform on them and they could be used by park workers. Put a box on them and they become delivery vehicles for pizza and groceries. Attach a hopper and they turn into small garbage-collectors.

Read the full story here.

Police blotter: No bruises, no pants, no jail?

When police arrived at a North Madison Avenue house on a domestic violence call, the boozy bruiser lounging inside slyly deflected police accusations that he had a tussle with his wife.

“There are no marks on her or I,” he said.

Indeed, police had no trouble verifying that he bore no visible injuries because he was, after all, not wearing a shirt. Or pants.

Also this week: scratchin’ and bitin’ malamutes and mastiffs.

Read the blotter below….

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Serenity House vacant and up for sale

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The Serenity House, a 95-year-old home for developmentally disabled adults in Lynwood Center, closed its doors this week and will likely be demolished once its sold.

Its 17 residents have moved on to care facilities and group homes around Kitsap County. Only two residents found new homes on Bainbridge Island. Serenity’s residents ranged in age from 21 to 94.

Serenity’s operator, the Low Income Housing Institute, announced last year that it was losing money and would have to pull out. The Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority, which owns the 3.4-acre property, could no longer afford to subsidize Serenity’s operating costs, which amounted to about $16,000 a month.

Seattle-based LIHI began assisting Serenity’s residents in finding homes last year.

Many of the Serenity’s half-dozen employees had worked at the facility for over a decade.

The property’s list price is $1.95 million.

The bulk of the sale’s proceeds will help KCCHA reimburse the state $1.5 million for its assistance in purchasing the property years ago. Remaining proceeds will go to KCCHA and LIHI for costs related to operating the facility.

KCCHA abandoned plans to redevelop the property with a new assisted-living homes.

Built as a public school in 1914, the 11,000-square-foot Serenity House had fallen into disrepair.

“It’s in pretty poor shape,” KCCHA interim executive director Debbie Braughton said. “It’ll probably have to come down.”

The building also served as a sanitarium and, for the last 40 years, a group home for developmentally disabled adults and others in need of full-time care.

Sitting on a hillside across the street from the Lynwood Theatre on Lynwood Center Road, the Serenity House boasts panoramic views of Rich Passage.

Online real estate advertisements note the property’s views and redevelopment potential. The property is zoned for six residential units and commercial use along the road, according to advertisements.

Internment memorial’s “story wall” breaks ground on Monday

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Set to take shape later this month, a wall on Eagle Harbor’s south shore will tell the story of the first Japanese-Americans who were shipped off to internment camps during World War II.

The 272-foot-long “story wall” is the latest installment in the Japanese-American memorial project at the west edge of Pritchard Park.

The nonprofit Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Memorial Committee plans to break ground with a ceremony on March 30, a day that marks the 67th anniversary Japanese-Americans were exiled for the duration of the war.

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