Monthly Archives: March 2010

More about mother-in-laws

Last week, I wrote about the attention the first annual Bainbridge Tour of Architects was paying to mother-in-law homes (or “accessory dwelling units,” as architects and city planners call them).

In the backyard or above the garage, mother-in-laws can encourage stronger family connections and greener, more diverse communities, say the tour’s architects. They’re also a good source of revenue, which can be a “lifesaver” in this economy, as tour organizer Liz Gadbois told me.

Read the story here.

And click down below to read an essay about mother-in-laws by Bainbridge architect Peter Brachvogel. The essay appeared on the tour’s website,

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BI phone numbers used in nationwide scam

People around the country have been receiving threatening calls from telephone numbers with Bainbridge prefixes, according to the Bainbridge Island Police Department.

The callers are demanding personal information like Social Security numbers from whomever answers the phone, police say.

The calls aren’t coming from the island, Bainbridge Police Lt. Sue Shultz said.

Shultz said their investigation found that a Colorado company owns the Bainbridge phone numbers and leases them to a New Jersey company. That company leases the numbers over the Internet to anyone “with a credit card” and “limited subscriber information,” she said.

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More about the plans to expand the Grand Forest

Yesterday, I mentioned that the Bainbridge park district’s Parkland Acquisition Committee is recommending that the first batch of levy funds go toward the purchase of a 31-acre property between Grand Forest Park’s west and east sections.

Got the full story for you on that. Read it here.

There’s nothing better than a map to show you just what this property is and what it will do for the park. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a mapped location of the property before deadline.

But, courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, I can pop one into this here blog. Click down below to see it. It’s no mere “trail easement.” The property, referred to as the “Hill Top Tree Farm” by BILT, would create a wide bridge between the Grand Forest’s two largest sections.

A few notes on the map:

–The narrow gap between Hill Top and the east portion of the Grand Forest is actually a private dirt road. I’ve seen maybe one car on the road during dozens and dozens of visits there. Probably won’t disturb the flow of walking from one section to the other.

–The “Heart of the Forest” property you see on the map is another Grand Forest link BILT is in the process of paying for. It will connect the west and north portions. Along with the Hill Top property, the Heart of the Forest will finally link up all of the Grand Forest sections.

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Mossback: Threatened BI landmark also an important part of Seattle history

The 94-year-old Moran School building near Rolling Bay is slated for demolition next month. Photo: Tristan Baurick

The plight of the Moran School theater building has come to the attention of Seattle columnist Knute “Mossback” Berger.

At the top of his recent Crosscut column, Berger asked: “Is a building a landmark if no one can see it?”

Tucked behind tall trees on a narrow north-end side street, the four-story building comes as a surprise to the few who stumble upon it. Now that the owner plans to demolish it next month, Berger wonders if many people will rally to save it.

“It is tough for communities to hang onto their history even if their landmarks are well known, harder if they’re somewhat obscure and off the tourist track,” Berger writes.

For Berger, the building is important enough to be saved. As a precursor to Seattle’s prestigious Lakeside School, the building has historical value beyond Bainbridge.

“…perhaps the Lakeside connection might give ideas to those who seek to preserve it: perhaps support could be found for saving it beyond the island, which some say treasures its “ruins”, especially among people who value how an obscure structure that few know about has ties to some of the beneficiaries of the kind of independent “modern” private education the building embodies.”

Read Berger’s full column here.

Have breakfast with Ed Viesturs


High altitude mountaineer and Bainbridge resident Ed Viesturs will be the featured speaker at a breakfast fundraiser for Bainbridge schools on Friday.

Viesturs, who summited Everest several times and was the first American to climb the world’s 14 tallest peaks without an oxygen tank, will discuss how he has overcome mountain climbing challenges.

The event is free, but organizers are asking attendees to bring their checkbooks. Proceeds from the event will help bridge the funding gap for the 2010-2011 school year.

Viestur’s two recent autographed books will be available for purchase at the event. A percentage of profits will be donated to the Bainbridge Schools Foundation.

The event begins at 7 a.m. at Woodward Middle School.

Reserve a seat online at

Click below to see Viesturs’ recent appearance on the Colbert Report.

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First levy-backed park purchase may make the Grand Forest grander

I got word this weekend that the Bainbridge Parkland Acquisition Committee has finally settled on a property.

The committee, which was tasked with deciding how to spend the park district’s new levy-backed property acquisition fund, has recommended the purchase of a large parcel that would connect the two largest Grand Forest Park properties.

The 31-acre property, referred to as the Hill Top Tree Farm, stretches between the Grand Forest’s east and west sections, and includes forest, trails and a 7-acre meadow with views of the Olympic Mountains. It also includes an unoccupied cottage and a large barn.

The park district would use $500,000 in levy funds to match a $500,000 state grant. The combined $1 million would help the Bainbridge Island Land Trust make the full $2.75 million purchase.

BILT plans to turn over all or most of the land to the park district.

The property’s meadow could be used for an off-leash dog park, community gardens or open play areas, according to committee members.

I’ll have more on this later.

Bad week for affordable housing

Efforts to create and preserve lower cost housing options on the island suffered two recent setbacks.

First, the City Council decided to de-fund the city’s Housing Trust Fund, which supports local affordable housing projects.

Then came news that the Housing Resources Board was delaying the start of the Ferncliff community land trust project by one year. Later phases will likely be delayed a three or more years.

New poll: Where would you have made budget cuts?

Head over to the right column to cast your vote on where the City Council should have larger cuts to the 2010 budget.

You can see the latest list of cuts here. The council is scheduled to approve the reduced budget at tonight’s meeting.

As for the Bainbridge Conversation’s last poll, results showed strong opposition to the Bainbridge Ratepayers Alliance lawsuit. Fifty-eight percent of the 178 votes cast were against it, and 42 percent were for it.

It’s the pocket – not the pot – that’ll get you in trouble

Unlike almost everywhere else, Bainbridge Island has no rule against possessing a small amount of pot.

Yet, people get busted for having misdemeanor amounts (under 40 grams) of pot just about every week on the island.

How do the police do it?

“We can arrest someone for having drug paraphernalia,” Scott Weiss, an island officer, told criminal justice reporter Josh Farley. “But not for the marijuana.”

And what if the person has some pot but doesn’t have a bong, pipe or other common pot-smoking accoutrements?

“Even if they have marijuana in their pocket, then the pocket becomes the paraphernalia,” said Kitsap County deputy prosecutor Claire Bradley.

So, whatever the pot is in – baggie or back pocket – is considered “paraphernalia,” and could carry a 90-day jail sentence.

Last week, the Bainbridge Police Department asked the City Council to finally put misdemeanor pot possession on the books. They change, police say, will give a more accurate and honest description of a person’s criminal conduct.

The council has asked for more information about how many drug paraphernalia cases are filed in county’s district court, and will likely decide how to proceed later this month.

Read more here.

BPA has ambitious aims with ‘Grapes of Wrath’

Photo: Bainbridge Performing ArtsBainbridge Performing Arts’ upcoming production of Grapes of Wrath is going to be big.

Big for BPA, at least.

Considered a departure from its usual smaller, community theater-scale productions, BPA’s Grapes of Wrath will do its darndest to encapsulate John Steinbeck’s epic Dustbowl tale.

“It’s a big show,” Director Kate Carruthers said in Kitsap Sun story about the play. “There’s — what — 27 actors and musicians, lots of people and music. I know the last thing I did was (Yasmina Reza’s) ‘Art,’ with a cast of three.”

And some of the cast members are doing double, triple, quadruple duty to fill out the array of characters that pop in and out of the Steinbeck’s 1939 novel.

I recently ran into local author and super nice guy George Shannon, who has volunteered his talents for the play.

“What part are you?” I asked him.

“I play seven,” he said.

“Uh….who?” I asked

“I play seven parts.”

“Which one’s the biggest?”

“Well…one of my parts dies at the end…”

I’m a little more than halfway thought the book right now, so I asked George to reveal no more. I should be ready for George’s death scene by opening day, March 19.

For more about BPA’s Grapes of Wrath, check out Michael C. Moore’s story.