Monthly Archives: November 2011

Deadly Bainbridge fire highlights need for smoke alarms

The Bainbridge Island Fire Department issued a statement on its Facebook page urging islanders to install and maintain home smoke alarms.

A smoke alarm might have saved the woman who died in a fire at her Bainbridge home this week. Investigators found no smoke alarms in her home.

Below is the BIFD statement.

While investigators have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of Saturday morning’s fatal fire on Washington Avenue, they have identified several factors that contributed to the incident’s devastating consequences.

The investigation revealed that the house was likely not equipped with smoke alarms, depriving the occupant of vital early warning of fire.

Investigators also believe that a large volume of personal belongings inside the small structure may have provided additional fuel for the fire and compromised the occupant’s exit routes.

Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a critical role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. Having working smoke alarms reduces the chances of dying in a fire by half. If you or someone you know lives in a residence without smoke alarms, Bainbridge Island Fire Department (BIFD) will provide and install smoke alarms free of charge. Contact the BIFD at (206) 842-7686 to schedule an appointment.

When fire strikes, it’s too late to start developing a home fire escape plan. Officials urge residents to maintain clear escape routes and to practice finding the way out of the home, crawling or staying low to the ground, and feeling the way to safety. Make sure everyone in the home knows at least two ways to escape from each room. Select one meeting place outside so household members can quickly and accurately be accounted for. Smoke alarms provide the minutes needed to escape a fire safely. Home fire escape planning and practice ensure that everyone knows how to use that time effectively.

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Police blotter: Woman escorted from symphony after yelling “Boring!”


Police removed a woman from a symphony performance after she yelled “Boring!” and then refused to leave. The woman’s teenage daughter was one of the symphony’s musicians.

Also this week, a woman busted open her husband’s lip with a beer bottle, a woman got her leg trapped between two taxis and police were called to a rowdy Winslow bar twice in one night.

The blotter is below.

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Final Bainbridge election results

The Kitsap County Auditor released the official results from the Nov. 8 election today.

None of the Bainbridge races were close, so there are no surprises here.

At Large City Council
Steven Bonkowski: 4,873, 53.12%
Barry Peters: 4,267, 46.52%
Write-In: 33, 0.36%
Total: 9,173

North Ward City Council
Anne Blair: 5,015, 57.90%
Melanie Keenan: 3,626, 41.86%
Write-In: 21, 0.24%
Total: 8,662

Central Ward City Council
David Ward: 4,714, 55.39%
Joe Levan: 3,773, 44.33%
Write-In: 24 0.28%
Total: 8,511

South Ward City Council

Sarah Blossom: 4,549, 53.42%
Robert Dashiell: 3,924, 46.08%
Write-In: 43, 0.50%
Total: 8,516

Port of Bainbridge Island
NO: 7,138, 73.95%
YES: 2,515, 26.05%
Total: 9,653

For results from all Kitsap races, head over here.

Bainbridge chicken tales

By popular demand, I’ll be posting freelance reporter Tad Sooter’s stories from the Bainbridge Islander on this blog. His Islander stuff is currently found nowhere else but on the printed page.

This week, Tad explores a new book about Bainbridge’s chicken enthusiasts.

What Came First – Chickens or Their Stories?
By Tad Sooter
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – Two friends met by chance downtown this summer and ― as often happens when imaginative minds come together ― a plan was hatched.

“Many of the creative things I’ve done in my life have originated from things I’ve talked about on Winslow Way,” said Nancy Rekow.
Rekow is an island publisher, poet and writing consultant. The friend she bumped into that day was Jo Ann Trick, organizer of the yearly Tour de Coup, who floated the idea for an anthology of stories by chicken owners.

Their collaboration became “Chicken Raising Tales,” a collection of 23 stories by chicken enthusiasts featured in the first three years of the Bainbridge Tour de Coop. The stories were compiled by Trick and Rekow and published by NW Trillium Press, which Rekow owns with her partner Everett Thompson. The book will debut with a reading and signing event on Nov. 27.

In “Chicken Raising Tales” contributors tell of the joys and trials of backyard farming, of eccentric chicken abodes built and lessons learned from chicken husbandry. In 56 pages there are enough heartfelt stories to satisfy peckish readers.

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Police Blotter: Theft by tweezers


A Bainbridge man used tweezers to steal cash from a parking lot pay box this week. It didn’t work that well. The few bills he managed to extract suffered rips and end-to-end tears. Plus, the whole tedious process was a little too obvious for passersby. And then there’s the fact that the police station is a block away, which greatly diminished the thief’s chances of a clean getaway.

Also this week was a rash of thefts from unlocked vehicles in a Winslow neighborhood.

The blotter is below.
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Poll: How would you spend the $2 million?

After sitting on the $2 million Washington State Ferries settlement for the better part of a year, the City Council recently announced it was time to spend the money (or at least begin to talk about spending the money).

The council consensus was that the money would be spent on one or more construction projects that didn’t necessarily have to be on the waterfront (as WSF had initially required). Other than that, the sky’s the limit.

Two public meetings were held this month to gather ideas, and the council got ideas aplenty. Boaters, bikers, woodworkers, road-enders, little leaguers and others came forward with spending plans. You can read more about the range of ideas here.

The Kitsap Sun weighed in with its spending ideas here.

The council will take up the issue at a not-yet-determined date in December.

So, what do you think? Over in the poll to the right are ideas reflecting the proposals presented to the council during the two meetings. Pick one that reflects your top choice and then cross your fingers.

As for the Bainbridge Conversation’s last poll, the vast majority of votes were cast against a road-improvement bond the council is considering for next November’s ballot. Seventy-four percent said ‘no’; 26 percent said ‘yes.’

From knee pads to kites to insulating walls, campaign signs can do it all

Not everybody hates campaign yard signs.

In fact, there’s a guy on the Bainbridge who can’t get enough of them.

After my recent story about the proliferation of campaign yard signs, retired sign-maker Joe Litus asked that I get the word out to local politicians (and their supporters) that he’d love get his hands on their leftover signs.

“I have projects that range from building raised garden plots, to covering a wood shed against the rain, to using them as walls for my grandson’s tree house, and using them for siding on a ‘cat house’ for the grandkids’ cats!” Joe wrote in an email.

And that’s not all.

The old signs are good for insulating basement walls, advertising garage sales, protecting old knees as portable padding and crafting home address numerals. Joe can even shape them into kites, glider planes and the foundations of entire worlds (model train worlds, that is).

And with Christmas right around the corner, why not let Joe transform all those sour memories of failed campaigns into holiday cheer?

“Ingenuity can be lent to see them recycled into Christmas ornaments!” Joe wrote.

The newfangled corrugated plastic signs are best but the vintage-style rigid paper ones are plenty good for reuse. Throw in the wooden stakes. Joe will know what to do with them.

Joe’s house is conveniently located near downtown Winslow. Shoot him an email, jmlclassic at, to coordinate sign drop-offs.

Kitsap Sun editorial calls for better police misconduct complaint system

Last week, I reported on a police accountability consultant’s assessment of the Bainbridge police department’s policies for investigating misconduct complaints.

The Kitsap Sun’s editorial board echos the consultant’s determination: that the department’s complaint system is confusing, not readily accessible and can be intimidating to citizens.

Here’s a bit from the editorial:

“(L)ast week’s unveiling of a report commissioned by the city — which will be publicly discussed Nov. 16 — points out that a culture which the community’s trust should be built upon was incomplete at the bottom. A fairly basic function — providing a form for a citizen to file a complaint or concern — is neither clear nor easy to find, according to consultant Sam Pailca, and may even be written so as to discourage that type of feedback.”

Click here to read the full editorial.

By the way, the Sun is looking for some new blood on its editorial board. If you’d be willing to volunteer and make regular trips down to Bremerton to weigh in on issues about and beyond the island, head over here.

POLL: Would you support a road improvement bond?

Drivers know the island’s roads aren’t what they used to be. Bicyclist know the roads aren’t what they could be.

Heeding calls for road repairs and new bike lanes, the Bainbridge City Council may put a multimillion-dollar bond measure on the November 2012 ballot.

The exact dollar amount and the scope of work has yet to be worked out, but one council member has floated the idea of an $8 million bond split between major road repairs and bike lane construction.

Would you vote for higher taxes if it made the roads less ragged and more safe for bike travel? Head over to the right (under the Facebook links) and have your say.

Bainbridge promo video hits airwaves

KPS_Bainbridge FULL // Final from KOMO Production Services on Vimeo.

The Bainbridge Island Tourism Alliance has produced a promotional video with KOMO TV that touts the island an “escape” for city dwellers who want a mix of rural and ritz.

You can see the full three-minute version above.

Shorter 30- and 15-second versions will show during commercial breaks on KOMO’s Channel 4.

Andrea Mackin commissioned the video for the alliance, which includes the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce and three other island groups.

She said the video is aimed at boosting tourism during the off-season.

A Komo videographer spent three days last summer shooting footage of Eagle Harbor, the farmers market, the internment memorial, wineries and downtown shops.

The video is expected to have prime-time showings on KOMO until the end of November.