Monthly Archives: August 2013

Police Blotter: High-speed chase ends in crash, DUI arrest


An 18-year-old man led police on a high-speed chase down Fletcher Bay Road early Tuesday morning. The pursuit ended when his car plunged down a ravine at the intersection with Lynwood Center Road. The man was arrested for drunken driving and attempting to elude police.

Also this week, police arrested a 44-year-old woman for driving a van with stolen plates and  a 24-year-old woman for slapping her boyfriend outside the police station.

The blotter is below: Continue reading

Drew Hansen shares knowledge of King’s ‘Dream’ speech

UPDATE: Apparently Hansen wasn’t done yet. Here’s his op-ed published Tuesday in the New York Times. 

Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s transcendent “I Have a Dream” speech.

As the occasion approaches, media outlets across the country are striving to place the historic day in context. For help, some are turning to islander and state legislator Drew Hansen.


Few people are as intimately familiar with King’s speech as Hansen. The Bainbridge lawyer and 23rd  District representative is also author of “The Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Speech that Inspired a Nation,” a study of the meaning, context and legacy of the famous oration.

“The Dream” was published by Harper Collins in 2003 coincide 40th anniversary of the March on Washington. Hansen became a popular guest speaker after the book’s release, giving numerous talks on King and the speech over the last decade. As the 50-year anniversary of the march approaches, he is once again sharing his insights.

In a USA Today story published earlier this month, Hansen noted the “Dream” speech slid toward obscurity in the years after it was delivered. The speech returned to prominence only after King’s death in 1968, and became – “one of those things we look to when we want to know what America means,” Hansen told the paper. Continue reading

Bainbridge making strides in online outreach




As promised, new City Manager Doug Schulze has made public outreach a priority.

City Hall has taken gradual steps to up its web presence over the last year, including the launch of a city manager Twitter account this week. It’s also experimenting with new online tools for residents.

Here are some outreach improvements the city has made recently, in no particular order:

  • Schulze sends out a weekly city manager’s report via email (sign up here). It’s become useful resource for staying on top of city news.
  • Public works utilizes a system called SeeClickFix (sample pictured below). It allows residents to use their mobile devices to report hazards like oil spills and potholes, and track the city response.


More improvements are on the way. Schulze is putting the finishing touches on a communications plan to present to the City Council soon and expects to launch a new city website in late November.

A new vision for island’s Grow Community

blog.130729_Grow Site plan persp

Construction on the first phase of Bainbridge Island’s Grow Community is well underway on the corner of Wyatt Way and Grow Avenue.

Now developers are retooling designs for the second phase, planned for five acres between Wyatt Way and Shepard Drive, just west of the Pavilion complex (currently the site of John Adams Lane).


The new preliminary site plan (a rough rendering is shown above) shifts the focus from single-family homes to a mix of apartments, condominiums and townhouses. Island architect Jim Cutler has sketched plans for 87 homes clustered into two distinct neighborhoods, each centered around a common area.

Most of the resident parking will be located underground to allow for about three acres of open space above. A community center building is planned for the center of the courtyard to the south.

According to developers, the new buildings will still be built to meet the One Planet Living standards achieved in the first phase of Grow. This includes space for solar panels on the rooftops.

Developers plan to submit a revised site plan to the city for review in September.

Police Blotter: Vigilantes with baseball bat follow ferry rider


A Bainbridge man called police after two suspicious men followed him while he walked to the ferry on the morning of Aug. 15. One of the men was carrying a baseball bat. Police located one of the suspects who explained that people had been “creeping” around his house and he and a friend were checking the neighborhood.

Also this week, a California man was airlifted after flipping his car off Highway 305, and an employee of a Hildebrand Lane business used a steak knife to make a point.

The blotter is below:  Continue reading

Bainbridge honors iconic farmer Monday

blog.suyematsuFarmer Akio Suyematsu left an indelible mark on Bainbridge Island’s agricultural community.

The Japanese-American berry grower passed away last year at age 90, but his legacy lives on through the generation of farmers he mentored in his Day Road fields.

The city declared Aug. 19 “Akio Suyematsu Day” following his passing. Islanders will mark the occasion Monday with a celebration at Suyematsu and Bentryn Family Farms on Day Road East (the driveway  by the farm stand).

The event will include a walking tour, live music, locally-grown food and refreshments, and a memorial display. The celebration is scheduled for 6-9 p.m.

Above, Akio Suyematsu in 2007. Photo by Carolyn J. Yaschur.


Rockaway Beach Road repair requires three-month closure

blog.rockawayLong awaited repairs on crumbling Rockaway Beach Road will begin next week, accompanied by a road closure.

A traffic detour will be in effect for the duration of the stabilization project, according to a Wednesday bulletin from the city. The city expects the road to be closed near Creosote Lane from about Aug. 21 through the end of November.

A map of the detour route is below. More updates are available on the Rockaway Beach project page.

Rockaway Detour by tsooter

Internationally recognized composer set for Bainbridge homecoming

Composer  and musician Jherek Bischoff has played concerts at some of the nation’s most venerable venues (Lincoln Center most recently). But he’ll give one of the most meaningful performances of his career Friday at Bainbridge Performing Arts.

The island concert marks a homecoming for Bischoff, who first took to the stage in Bainbridge High School and BPA musicals. Since then he’s released an acclaimed album of orchestral music and toured internationally.

Bischoff took the time to respond to a few questions by email this week for a Kitsap Sun/Bainbridge Islander story. Here’s what he had to say about the Bainbridge concert: Continue reading

Bainbridge advertises for public works director

Bainbridge Island’s public works director vacancy is now being advertised nationally.

The listing is posted on the website of search firm Strategic Government Resources. SGR is giving the public works position the same treatment it gave the city’s manager and police chief openings. Consultants hosted a forum to gather community input and developed this glossy profile:

Bainbridge Island Public Works Director by tsooter

Requirements for the public works position include at least eight years of experience in public works, a bachelor’s degree in engineering (master’s preferred), and a professional engineer’s license. The salary will vary depending on the applicant’s qualifications. Former Public Works Director Lance Newkirk earned $131,000 a year.

Newkirk announced his resignation in April, but only recently left the city’s payroll. The city hired John Cunningham as an interim public works director at a rate of $100 an hour.

The deadline for applications is Sept. 3.

Police Blotter: Motorcyclist flips off driver, crashes


A 21-year-old Bainbridge rider was reportedly giving the finger to the driver of the car ahead of him July 30 when his motorcycle crashed on Blakely Avenue. The rider claimed the car slowed sharply, causing him to clip its bumper and lose control. Police suspected the rider’s alternative use of his braking hand may have contributed to the wreck.

Also this week, vandals destroyed a sign at the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, and a deer-shaped archery target lost its head.

The blotter is below:   Continue reading

More images of Bethany Lutheran on its centennial


Photo on left courtesy the Bainbridge Historical Museum; photo on right by Tad Sooter.

Bainbridge Island’s Bethany Lutheran Church is marking its centennial this year. As part of the celebration a group of congregants spent Sunday afternoon revisiting the original Bethany Lutheran, a 1913 church house on Pleasant Beach Drive.

blogbethany5There are still a number of Bethany Lutheran members who attended the old church (Bethany relocated to Finch Road in 1961). Some were baptized there, confirmed there, and even married there. Today the church is a private residence.

Shirley Jenkins (formerly Ostrand) recalls when her extended family filled several pews at the Pleasant Beach church. In the early days the Ostrands drove a horse cart south from their Manzanita homestead to attend services.

Though the exterior of the building remains largely unaltered (see the photos above), the interior has been remodeled by a succession of owners. Jenkins offered to share a few pictures of how the church house looked inside when it was still a church:

blog.bethany2 blog.bethany3

Roethke died in a Bainbridge swimming pool on this day 50 years ago



Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning poet Theodore Roethke died in a swimming pool on what is now Bloedel Reserve on August 1, 1963.

Oddly enough, the reserve is throwing a sellout garden party this evening. It’s doubtful Roethke’s name will receive official mention.

There’s nothing marking the spot where Roethke died of an apparent heart attack while visiting his friend, Prentice Bloedel, the son of a Northwest timber baron.

The pool was filled in after Roethke’s death and is now the reserve’s popular zen rock garden (above).

For more on Roethke, head over here.