Monthly Archives: July 2012

Bainbridge farming icon Akio Suyematsu dies at 90

Longtime Bainbridge farmer Akio Suyematsu died this afternoon. He was 90 years old.

His friend, Gerard Bentryn – who grew grapes next to Suyematsu’s Day Road berry fields – said Suyematsu passed away at a Seattle care facility surrounded by family.

Bentryn and other island farmers credit Suyematsu for keeping farming alive on Bainbridge.

“Though his sheer stubbornness and talent, he’s made farming keep going,” Bentryn told me in 2007, when Suyematsu was still farming at 85. “Akio’s the core of it all.”

You can read more about Suyematsu here.

He was born on Bainbridge in 1921, when the island was one of the state’s largest producers of strawberries.

He was sent to an internment camp with other Japanese Americans during World War II. Shortly after his release, he was drafted and then trained for the all-Japanese-American 442nd regiment, one of the most decorated in the history of the U.S. armed forces. The war ended when he was on furlough, and he was shipped off to Germany to serve as a military policeman.

He returned to the island in the late 1940s and has farmed ever since. Most of the island’s full-time farmers credit Suyematsu’s generosity and practical know-how for making them the farmers they are today. Mostly, they say, he led by example, putting in long hours without much rest and no complaints.

Bentryn said Suyematsu was in a great deal of pain shortly before he died. He was recovering from surgeries to treat problems with his heart and stomach.

“Nobody wants to die, but he didn’t want pain,” Bentryn said.

Bentryn expects a memorial service will be announced in the coming days.

“Not having Akio… it’s a big change for us,” he said.

PHOTO: Lenna Himmelstein, Kitsap Sun (2005)

POLL: Where does Bainbridge need the biggest cellphone boost?

The Bainbridge City Council wants to tackle the island’s cellphone tower ordinance in the hopes it will lead to better coverage around the island.

The ordinance hasn’t been updated in 15 years, making it outdated and overly restrictive, according to cellphone companies.

If the rules are loosened, what area of the island would you most like to see get a coverage boost?

Cast your vote in the poll over to the right.

For the results on our last poll about the Ostling trial verdict, head down below.

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Body of diver recovered near Bainbridge

The body of a state Department of Natural Resources diver was found today after a three-day search off south Bainbridge.

Here is the Bainbridge Island Police Department statement:

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, July 27, 2012 – Bainbridge Island Police confirm that today at approximately 1:20 pm, the body of missing diver David Scheinost was recovered. On Tuesday afternoon, while working as a diver for the Department of Natural Resources, Scheinost failed to surface and presumably drowned off Bainbridge Island. The cause of the accident is still being investigated.

Representatives from the Bainbridge Island Police, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, United States Navy, Coast Guard and volunteer divers searched for Scheinost for the past three days. A submersible, owned by Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, located the body of the 24-year-old Puyallup man while searching the area he was last seen diving. Pierce County marine officers will be assisting with the further evaluation of the accident.

The family of Scheinost has been notified.

“I believe I speak for all rescue personnel involved when I say we are all very saddened by this tragedy,” said Commander Sue Shultz.

Cash mob set to strike on Bainbridge

The Kitsap Cash Mob is planning a hit at a Winslow Way retailer this Saturday.

Don’t worry, this mob plans to spend money (and lots of it) rather than extort it.

The Kitsap Cash Mob is part of a national movement in which a group of shoppers come all at once and flood a locally-owned business with some much-needed revenue.

You can read my story about a Kitsap Cash Mob event in Kingston here.

The mob has hit several places around the county, but this is their first one on Bainbridge.

The target: Paper Products, a Winslow office, art and gift store that has seen more lucrative years.

Here’s what Paper Products had to say on the cash mob’s Facebook event page.

“2011 was a tremendously tough year on our business. The Winslow Way project was nine months of absolute stress. We averaged 165-250 customers in our store daily. During the peak of the construction period, we were lucky to get 30 customers in the store/day. As a result, we had to make cuts in hours, inventory, and extra services. We lost staff and regular customers. The recovery has been slow. We are also expecting a baby boy September 1st so we are committed to the hope that our customers will continue to support us – particularly through the slower summer months (which are often the toughest for our business).”

Anyone can join in on the hit. It starts at noon and ends at 3 p.m. Once the shopping’s done, the mob plans to gather at Lynwood Center’s Salmon Canyon Cafe for a post-hit meal.

Police Blotter: Passerby tucks pillow under roadside drunk

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A drunken woman napping alongside a Winslow street was treated to a little kindness from a stranger this week. Police who were called to assist the sleeping woman found that an unknown passerby had tucked a pillow under the woman’s head.

Also this week, a woman rearranged a man’s face with a mighty kick, a septic worker survived being run over by a tractor and a man informed police that he had been “choked to death” by his roommate.

The blotter is below.

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Police Blotter: Man spots burglars from across Agate Pass

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A sharp-eyed Suquamish man spotted a Bainbridge burglary in progress from across Agate Pass. He was even able to count the number of stolen items and provide hair color and a clothing description of the suspects.

Also this week, books were burned, a sleepy driver knocked down a utility pole and a drunken teen tried (very sloppily) to steal some whiskey.

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Bainbridge Police Blotter: “It’s not my poop!”

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This week, a pantless man denied producing the “considerable amount” of feces on a porch that he was apparently using to stage an early morning caterwaul.

Also this week, a cyclist threatened to kill a inconsiderate driver, a motorist used engine noise to harass a pedestrian, and a wooden horse made a mysterious getaway.

The blotter’s below….
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