Monthly Archives: August 2009

Bainbridge student diagnosed with swine flu

A member of the Bainbridge High School marching band has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of swine flu.

Letters went home to band parents about the case. The students have been meeting to practice for the upcoming marching band season.

Bainbridge schools spokeswoman Pam Keyes said no other cases have been detected. The student was well and back practicing with the band by Friday. Keyes did not know when the student had been diagnosed.

Man seriously injured after fleeing police on BI

A 46-year-old Silverdale man who had been fleeing a Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy was seriously injured in a car crash Tuesday night on Highway 305, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Bainbridge Island Police Department.

The man was apparently thrown from a 1973 Mercedes convertible when the car left the road and hit a ditch near the highway’s intersection with Lovgreen Road. He was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, police reports said.

A Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy spotted the Mercedes driving south on Suquamish Way near Totten Road around 9 p.m. The deputy believed the other car was going about 90 mph in a 40 mph zone, reports said.

The deputy tried to catch up to the driver, who crossed the Agate Pass Bridge onto Bainbridge Island. The deputy used his lights and sirens, but the man did not pull over, reports said.

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Police blotter: McDonald’s employee threatens Dane Cook impersonators


In this week’s blotter, a fed-up employee at the Bainbridge Island McDonald’s threatened to shoot up the car of his teen tormentors.

Police say the two Bainbridge teens were doing a rendition of comedian Dane Cook’s Burger King drive-through routine (see it here). Repeating the comedian’s words, the kids uttered the word “pickles” in a “funny voice” several times into the drive-through speaker. The employee, a Suquamish resident, didn’t think it was so funny. He asked the kids to pull forward and talk face-to-face but the teens backed out of the drive-through line and began making fun of the employee in the parking lot. That’s around the time the employee dropped a one-liner about killing their car.

Also this week, a woman’s stolen sailboat returns after a brutal Alaskan adventure. Read on for more.

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Four men break-in and beat BI resident at his home

A Bainbridge man was beaten in his home by four young men just after midnight on Saturday, according to the Bainbridge police department.

At about 12:30 a.m., four suspects, between the ages of 18 and 20, entered the Day Road home after kicking in its front door, police said. They allegedly kicked and punched the 21-year-old man in his house for several minutes, then out on a deck, where large blood stains were found by police.

The man suffered several injuries, including abrasions on his face, a large bruise on the side of his head, swollen lips, a large abrasion on his back and scuffed knuckles.

The suspects also reportedly threatened the man’s mother, who hid in a closet during the beating, and assaulted a second male in the home, according to police. Police did not report injuries for the second man.

The suspects, all Bainbridge residents, were angry that the man had allegedly accused one or all of them of thievery, police said.

The man and suspects had been socializing and drinking beer together earlier that evening. After they parted ways, the man noticed that an iPod, pack of cigarettes and a DVD were missing. He drove to one of the suspect’s homes to confront him. Finding that the suspect was not home, the man told the suspect’s mother about the theft and returned home.

One of the suspects, 20, was arrested Monday and has been cooperating with investigators, police said. He was taken to the Kitsap County jail and booked on suspicion of burglary and assault, with bail set at $40,000.

The three other suspects remain at large. One of them has fled to Hawaii, according to police.

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call (206) 842-5211.

BGI earns accreditation

bgilogoAfter handing out diplomas for almost seven years, Bainbridge Graduate Institute has finally earned its cap and gown as a fully-accredited college.

Established in 2002 as the nation’s first business school focused on environmental sustainability, BGI has produced 200 graduates and developed a growing reputation among academic and business leaders.

“Becoming accredited is a big step in the evolution and the growth of the school,” BGI president and co-founder Gifford Pinchot III said in a statement.

BGI was notified of its accreditation by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools on Tuesday.

Accreditation would broaden BGI’s fundraising reach and allow students to transfer credits and obtain government financial aid.

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UPDATED: City loses key shoreline planner

City shoreline planner Peter Namtvedt Best has resigned just as the city prepares for the daunting task of updating its shoreline master plan.

Best, who joined the city in 2001, turned in his resignation late last week. He will continue on a part-time basis until mid-September.

“This is a big loss to me and the department,” Planning Director Kathy Cook said. “We’re working on a transition plan now because he was working on so many big projects. We want to keep him on a part-time basis as long as we can.”

Best said he’s leaving the city to be a stay-at-home dad for his twin toddlers.

“It’s with a lot of mixed emotions that I’m leaving, and I have a lot of hope and pride for the projects I’m working on, but my kids will only be this age once,” he said, noting that he might be open to returning once his children are older.

Best’s position is an important one for a city that boasts 53 miles of shoreline.

He lead shoreline research, reviewed shoreline permits and was successful in obtaining shoreline restoration grants worth millions of dollars.

As founder and coordinator of the city’s Shoreline Stewardship Program, Best led a corps of volunteers and professionals on hands-on conservation and environmental education projects. The program’s 2005 salmon study startled marine biologists with data that debunked old notions about regional salmon migrations and revealed that some federal and state protections were falling short for the most sensitive salmon species.
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Vancil, Lester, Hytopoulos lead in early primary election results

Here’s my story on the early results posted at 8:15 p.m. today:

Bainbridge voters narrowed their choices from nine to six City Council candidates on Tuesday.

Of all the candidates, Councilwoman Debbie Vancil drew the largest share of votes in early returns released Tuesday night. Vancil, who is seeking a third term, garnered almost 42 percent of the 1,558 votes counted in the North Ward. She will advance to the general election with former councilman and mayoral candidate Bob Scales, who earned almost 32 percent of the vote.

“I’m very encouraged by the results,” Vancil said, noting the 10 point gap between her and Scales. “I’m hoping it says that the community doesn’t want the status quo. I’ve always stood for change in a positive way…and I think the community’s with me.”

Scales said he has “more work to do” before the general election in November.

“Debbie has lived in the community longer, she’s run two successful campaigns and been on every committee imaginable,” he said. “She’s got more name recognition than I do, so it’ll be a challenge to get out there as much as I can before the general election.”

The third North Ward candidate, Melanie Keenan, took 25 percent and will not advance.

In the Central Ward, community activist and publisher Debbi Lester, 40 percent, and Winslow business owner Dee DuMont, 31 percent, garnered the two top spots to advance. Retired educator Virginia Paul took 26 percent of the 1,556 votes counted.

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Police blotter: Woman channels Wolverine in fight against husband


Enraged after finding her husband’s secret stash of booze, a Bainbridge woman tucked her car keys between her fingers and went at his stomach and shoulder with claw-enhanced blows.

He was apparently OK. He moved to Oregon, nursed his wounds, and recently reported the incident to Bainbridge police.

Where would someone get ideas about how to hit someone in such a nasty way? Oh, I don’t know…maybe here.

Also this week, tourists have a tough time in Winslow. A Wenatchee woman’s video camera was stolen at a Winslow Way bakery and a Colorado man got his rear-end bruised by VW Golf while crossing Madison Avenue.

The blotter’s below.

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Bainbridge distillery on KOMO News

KOMO is the latest news outlet to pickup on the organic distillery taking shape here on Bainbridge Island.

You can see their video piece above. And my story about the distillery here.

Interesting comments follow the KOMO story, which you can see on their site here.

One commenter, objecting to the reporter’s characterization of BI as “scenic” and “rustic,” has this to say:

Scenic? Rustic? When was the last time this staffer was on the island? BI is crowded, overbuilt, heavily traffic’d and half the population are rude NIMBY hippie types.

Another commenter writes:

Agreed! Entering Bainbridge Island is like entering The Twilight Zone. Something is very wrong with the general population.

It’s not just left over hippies.. It’s the now rich Hippie offspring mixed with California’s Yuppie Rejects!

There you have it. Four decades of island demography in a nutshell. The Hippies begat the Rich Hippies (who apparently gained their riches through inherited stores of patchouli and love beads). Although the Rich Hippies became quick converts to the NIMBY way, their “Not In My Back Yard” mantra apparently did not apply to the influx of California Yuppie Rejects. Intermarriage between the native Rich Hippies and the foreign-born Yuppie Rejects has produced a new generation of islander that I suggest should henceforth be called Cali NIMBY Yippies. Has a ring to it, don’t you think?

Blossom Hill development in limbo


The large Blossom Hill commercial and residential development that’s been taking shape in Lynwood Center appears to have stalled, and few involved with it are talking.

Blossom Hill’s owners, including its key developer Bill Nelson, did not return phone calls. Subcontractors, bank representatives and city leaders were also mute.

At least 10 liens worth about $900,000 were filed in the Kitsap County Auditor’s Office against the development by construction subcontractors who performed work but were not fully paid.

About 80 hillside homes and a block-long line of commercial units on Lynwood Center Road were part of the development’s plan.

For more, read business reporter Rachel Pritchett’s story here.

$3 million to clean Wyckoff lost in standoff between state, feds


While talking to the EPA about a recent health risk assessment of the Pritchard Park-Wyckoff Superfund site (see previous post), I learned that most of a recent $5 million stimulus grant for cleaning and containing the contaminated area would have to be returned.

The reasons are complicated, but it basically comes down to the state and the feds not seeing eye-to-eye on what to do with the site and its million gallons of creosote and the millions of dollars needed to maintain it.

Read all about it here.

Where NOT to play at Pritchard Park


A recent report on the health risks posed by the Pritchard Park-Wyckoff Superfund site confirms what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been saying for years: the area and its beaches are safe, but not perfectly safe.

The report, which was concluded by the U.S. Department of Health late last month, notes that the park’s forested uplands and most of the west beach, which includes the large stretch of sandy and gravel popular with visitors, are “safe for unlimited normal recreational activities such as hiking, digging, sunbathing, playing ball, etc.”

In other areas, care should be taken – especially for children, who are more easily harmed by the industrial contaminants at the site.

A tidal area of the west beach where sand and rock covers a large plastic sheet should not be disturbed. The sheet separates contaminated sediment below the beach from the clean sand capping the area.

The assessment repeats the EPA warning that children and dogs should not visit the east beach. The east beach is the section of Bill Point that faces Seattle. It is there that toxic creosote is actively seeping from the beach.

“The East Beach is not safe for use by children at this time due to contaminant levels in the
sediment,” the report states.

The report also advises visitors to avoid touching the muddy sediments on Bill Point’s north shoal. The shoal is the tidal section of the beach at the northernmost point of the park directly above the fenced Superfund area.

If you touch the sediments, the report advises hand-washing as a precaution.

I marked the areas of concern in the map above.

You can download a pdf of the report by clicking here.

So, how do you remember where to go and not go next time you visit Pritchard Park?

Speaking only for myself and my family, our general rule of thumb is to keep our shoes on and our hands off the tidal areas. And we steer clear of the east beach (even though it boasts a killer view of the city). Maybe our precautions are a bit much, but considering that the east beach’s contaminants are free-flowing and that the west beach springs creosote leaks from time to time, we figure it’s better to be safe than contaminated.