Daily Archives: August 13, 2009

American Marine smarts after taking a $20 million hit

Bainbridge-based American Marine Bank is suffering from nearly $20 million in losses during the first part of 2009. The cause: several real estate loans – mostly to home builders and developers – that fell into default.

Predicting that 2009 was going to be a tough year, the bank began laying off about a dozen people and reduced employee hours.

“Our problems are focused on a specific number (of) loans,” President and Chief Executive Officer Renzo Lucioni told Sun business reporter Rachel Pritchett.

For more, read Pritchett’s story here.

Council finally passes ordinance for green + affordable housing

Rendering of the Ferncliff housing project
Rendering of the Ferncliff housing project
The two most politicized words on Bainbridge Island are “density” and “water.” *

Having those two words attached to a proposed ordinance aimed at encouraging sustainable design and affordable housing ensured it would go through the wringer of staff revisions, several City Council-ordered rewrites and intense public scrutiny.

After about a year of work, the version that arrived before the council on Wednesday was trimmed and polished enough for unanimous approval.

Some supporters still worry that the ordinance, which establishes density bonuses and flexible design standards to encourage the construction of earth-friendly housing affordable for to middle-income people, may now have limited appeal to developers.

And critics say the ordinance may alter the island’s small town feel with high-density developments that draw down limited groundwater supplies.

The ordinance is likely to achieve one of it’s key goals: allow the Housing Resources Board to move forward with its planned 48-unit project on Ferncliff Avenue.

For more, read my story here.

*There’s also “Winslow Way,” but that’s a combination of two words.

Islander not returning as Puma’s coach

John Wedge
John Wedge
The Kitsap Pumas professional soccer team announced this week it would not renew island resident John Wedge’s contract as head coach.

After helping to build the team from scratch, Wedge coached the Pumas through 13 wins and just two losses. The Pumas ended their first season in the Premier Development League late last month with a playoff loss.

Wedge, who served as director of the Bainbridge Island Soccer Academy, told Sun sports reporter Jeff Graham that the team’s owner, Robin Waite, was unhappy with the Puma’s 1-2 loss to eventual league champion Ventura County.

“(Waite) felt we had a team that should have done better,” Wedge said. “To me, those expectations are unrealistic.”

Pumas executive director Ben Pecora, also an island resident, declined to say why Wedge’s contract wasn’t renewed.

Players expressed surprise at Wedge’s departure but noted that practice sessions sometimes lacked a professional feel.

For more, read Graham’s story, here.