Monthly Archives: September 2009

Sportsman’s Club sets sights on another 80 years


The Bainbridge Island’s 80-year-old Sportsman’s Club may seem like a place locked in the island’s past, but a lot’s going on these days.

Thanks to the efforts of vice president Steve Korn, the club has seen a recent flood of grant dollars to improve safety, expand the pistol range to accommodate increasing use by Bainbridge police, build a new archery range and fix an old clubhouse where islanders have gathered for the better part of a century.

“A lot of what this club does dates back to a different time, but it’s always been a cross-section of Bainbridge,” Korn told me for a recent story about the club. “It’s one of the few places where everyone can gather.”

Recognizing the club’s place in Bainbridge history, the city Historical Preservation Commission recently gave unanimous approval for its inclusion in the local register of historic places.

One thing that struck me while hanging out during the retiree’s trap shoot on Friday was that the topics of discussion between the members didn’t touch upon guns or gun issues all that much. Mostly they talk about failing body parts, old friends, dead friends, the weather and the club itself. They’re proud of it, and the role it serves in the community – from hosting holiday dinners for seniors to fishing derbies for kids.

Our video of the trap shoot and a tour of the clubhouse is below.

For more about the club, click here to read my story and see a photo gallery shot by Larry Steagall.

Below is the city’s draft recommendation for the club’s inclusion on the historic registry. It includes a history of the club and notes on the clubhouse’s architectural significance.

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Candidate debate touches on ratepayer lawsuit

If you haven’t yet, go here to read my coverage of Monday night’s City Council candidate forum.

One aspect of the discussion I didn’t have room for in my story was the candidates’ position on the Bainbridge Ratepayers Alliance lawsuit. The suit, brought in part to stop the city from using sewer plant bonds for other projects, may lead to a double or tripling of Winslow area sewer rates.

A forum attendee asked the six candidates’ to say whether they supported the lawsuit and what they thought should be done to resolve it.

South Ward candidate Kirsten Hytopoulos, who took the question first, noted that the lawsuit was not a matter for the council or potential council members. She then stressed that the Constitution allows citizens to sue their city.

“It’s a fundamental right,” she said.

Hytopoulos’ opponent, Tim Jacobsen, staked out a clear position against the lawsuit.

“It’s not the right thing for the community,” he said.

Picking up on Hytopoulos’ comments, Jacobsen agreed citizens have a right to sue their city, but they also have the right not to.

“One freedom of choice we have in this country is to not exercise the all the rights we have,” he said, urging citizens to sue or not sue with consideration for what’s best for the community.

He likened the lawsuit to a game of chicken between the alliance and the city.

“It’s not being played on a deserted road,” he said. “There’s a lot of bystanders.”
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Wildlife shelter growing by leaps and bounds


Bainbridge Island’s West Sound Wildlife Shelter unveiled the first phase of a major expansion this week.

The shelter has added a large flight cage and plans to build a water fowl enclosure in the near future.

Three eaglets were released into the flight cage as part of Saturday’s dedication.

“This flight cage will serve as the gym,” said Mike Pratt, the shelter’s director of wildlife services. Until the roomy cage was built, the shelter’s big birds were confined to enclosures so small they could only perch.

Read Rachel Pritchett’s full story here.

City manager latest key staffer to resign

City Manager Mark Dombroski is the latest senior manager to turn in his resignation.

Dombroski, who was hired last year, has accepted a consulting job with a Washington D.C. firm. His last day with the city is Oct. 31.

His departure and the recent elimination of the mayor position will leave the city without a leader amid significant financial and legal troubles.

The City Council plans to convene an emergency meeting this week to begin searching for Dombroski’s replacement.

“We need to bring in an interim (manager). It’s crucial right now,” Councilwoman Debbie Vancil told me yesterday. “We need somebody who can come into an impossible situation and bring our organization back from the brink.”

Here’s the list of prominent resignations since last year:

Shorelines planner Peter Namtvedt Best, 2009
City Engineer/Interim Public Works Director Bob Earl, 2009
Public Works Director Randy Witt, 2009
Police Chief Matt Haney, 2009
Deputy Finance Director Carol Badzik, 2008
Planning Director Greg Byrne, 2008
City Administrator Mary Jo Briggs, 2008

For more on Dombroski’s resignation, click here.

Artisan bakery coming to Lynwood Center


Port Townsend-based bakers Pane d’Amore is setting up shop between Lynwood Theatre and the Treehouse Cafe.

I just got an e-mail from the bakery’s future manager, Elliott Yakush, who says he plans to open in early February, after the building’s renovations are completed.

Until then, the bakery’s truck will serve up fresh bread and pastries in front of its future location every Monday from 12 to 4 p.m. starting Oct. 5.

“It’ll be a good way to get to know the community I’ll be selling bread and living in,” Yakush said.

Pane d’Amore’s has two other locations: in Port Townsend’s Uptown district and on 5th Avenue in Sequim.

Sunset likes the bakery. In its June issue, the magazine noted Pane d’Amore as part of the reason the town is “poised to become the Northwest’s next culinary destination.”

By the way, Port Townsend’s gourmet offerings make it the “Paris of the Olympic Peninsula,” according to Sunset. With Pane d’Amore coming to the island, what will that make Bainbridge? Why, the “Paris of the Kitsap Peninsula,” of course. Sorry Bremerton (“The Detroit of the Kitsap Peninsula), and Poulsbo (“The Leavenworth of the Kitsap Peninsula”) and Silverdale (“The Tacoma Mall of the Kitsap Peninsula”).

The new KiDiMu breaks ground Saturday


The Kids Discovery Museum is hosting a celebration at the ground-breaking of its new Winslow Way facility on Saturday.

The planned 5,000-square foot facility at the Island Gateway development at the Winslow Way-Highway 305 intersection is set to open in the spring of 2010.

The free celebration, which run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., includes a bouncy house, crafts and other activities for children. The first 150 children to attend will be given a commemorative hard hat and shovel to participate in the official ground-breaking ceremony at 1 p.m.

KiDiMu closed its Madison Avenue location in late August. It will reopen with an ancient Greece-themed exhibit at a temporary Madrone Lane location next month.

The new $2.2 million museum at Island Gateway will have have improved exhibit areas, a town-themed play area, space for traveling attractions, a science-focused area and easier access for disabled people. The building incorporates green design, including a vegetated roof, a rain garden and energy-effiecient construction.

Established in 2005, the nonprofit museum draws about 30,000 visits each year.

Call (206) 855-4650 for more information about the ground breaking event.

For more about the KiDiMu’s new building, click here.

Sun’s food critic gives Four Swallows high marks

The recent closing of Madoka, that pan-Asian fine dining establishment on the west end of Winslow Way, was “a sad blow for Bainbridge gastronomy,” writes Kitsap Sun food critic Bernard Jacobson in his most recent review.

Fortunately, the island has at least one other place on par with Madoka. Four Swallows, a restaurant combining Italian methods with Northwest ingredients, serves up dishes that are “superbly cooked and quite delicious” Jacobson writes. He also likes the setting, a 120-year-old house built by one of Winslow’s founders.

For Jacobson’s full Four Swallows review, click here.

Lawsuit could force city to triple sewer rates

The city is drafting an ordinance that would allow it to double or possibly triple Winslow sewer rates to fill a funding gap for the nearly-completed sewer plant upgrade.

A lawsuit and recent appeal from the Bainbridge Ratepayers Alliance has effectively blocked the city’s ability obtain the bond-funded portion of the project.

“The lawsuit appeal needlessly risks a financial crisis for the city and its sewer ratepayers,” City Councilman Barry Peters said.

Alliance members say the emergency rate hike would be unfair to sewer customers.

“To threaten them because we’re seeking justice and due democratic process is astounding,” said alliance member Sally Adams.

Read the full story here.

Police blotter: Spider bites make man feel “not like himself”

This week, a Hawaiian resident was found wandering near the Day Road farms in search of a hospital. The man, who did not appear drunk or crazy, said “white spiders” had bitten him, making him feel strange, and not quite himself.

Police and medics found no bites, and the man exhibited no other symptoms, such as the ability to cling to walls, shoot webs or feel a “spidey sense” warning him of attacks by costumed criminals.

Read the full blotter below…

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Islanders have calm, considerate discussion about health care reform

Sunday’s panel discussion on health care reform at the Bainbridge public library “was free of the furious outbursts seen at some town-hall events,” reports Derek Sheppard in yesterday’s Sun.

Instead, questions from the audience included “whether tort reform would significantly reduce costs, how care might be rationed, how good care can be encouraged instead of more tests, and how reform can pass with such a politically divided country and political interests corrupted by money,” Sheppard wrote.

For the full story, click here.

Islander wins Washington State Book Award

evisonmugIsland resident Jonathan Evison‘s novel “All About Lulu” is the 2009 Washington Book Award winner for fiction.

Not bad for a first-time novelist and former grunge rocker.

Evison, who worked as a laborer, bartender and caregiver before publishing his book, made the announcement today via Twitter.

“All About Lulu wins Washington State Book Award! Yay, diaper money!” he tweeted.

“All About Lulu” is an offbeat coming-of-age story that touches upon body building, hot dog vending, sibling obsession and self-destructive love.

I hope to post more about Evison’s win in the coming days.