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Patriotism abounds at decommissioning ceremony for former military housing

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
Ethan Fowler/Special to the Kitsap Sun Jim Walkowski, right, talks about former Government Way housing resident Tony Watson, a U.S. Navy underwater diver who was on the 1985 hijacked TWA airplane of Flight 847, during the March 20 Government Way decommissioning ceremony.

Ethan Fowler/Special to the Kitsap Sun
Jim Walkowski, right, talks about former Government Way housing resident Tony Watson, a U.S. Navy underwater diver who was on the 1985 hijacked TWA airplane of Flight 847, during the March 20 Government Way decommissioning ceremony. From left, Bainbridge Mayor Anne Blair, Kathryn Keve, Jon Quitslund, Greg Lotakis, Karen Vargas and Fred Scheffler listen to Walkowski.

Tom Vargas said giving a proper closure to a subdivision that served as government housing was one of the best things about participating last Thursday in the decommissioning of a Bainbridge street formerly known as Government Way from 1957 to 2007.

Tom, and his wife Karen, lived on the street for 10 years starting in 1992. Tom donated an American flag that was used on the USS Alabama submarine at Bangor. The flag was used during Thursday’s ceremony to conclude the event.

Karen, along with Kathryn Keve and others, worked hard to collect the names of former residents, other stories and historical facts that were tied to the 16-house street. Karen retired from the Army.

Tom served on the USS Alabama with frequent Government Way visitor Brian Moss, who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terroristic attacks while working at the Pentagon. The two friends enjoyed barbecuing together.

“It’s pretty cool,” Tom said after the decommissioning ceremony. “A lot of stuff gets closed and not a big deal is made and you come back a year later and it’s gone. This gives me closure because this was the majority of where I lived during my (military) career.”

Bainbridge Mayor Anne Blair said the ceremony was “nicely done all the way around.”

“Home is where our stories begin and this was a day of stories and it will continue to be,” Blair said.

Ross Smaaladen, a construction worker with PHC, thought the ceremony was “awesome” and appreciated learning some of the interesting history of the homes and residents. PHC employees are dismantling the 16 rambler style homes on the street to make way for the new 5-acre second phase of the Grow Community. The new development literally will be situated on what is now John Adams Lane and will feature 3 acres of open space that will be mixed with fields, orchards and light forest groves.

“We’re helping to build the next stage of history for the community and it’s great to be a part of it,” said Seppi Gorecki, another PHC construction worker.

Six of Bremerton High School’s Navy Junior ROTC members also participated in the decommissioning and conducted the flag-folding ceremony. Michael Shiflet was the cadet that presented the flag to American Legion Post 172 Commander Fred Scheffler at the event’s conclusion.

U.S. Army recruiter Sgt. Clarence Jennings drove from Silverdale to also attend the ceremony.

“I’m honored they asked us to do this and that’s what we do – leadership in the community,” said Sr. Chief Anthony Jones of Bremerton High’s Navy JROTC.

Greg Lotakis, project manager for Asani Developments on the Grow Community project, said he was appreciative of everyone who made the street’s decommissioning event possible.

“Karen and Kathryn are amazing,” Lotakis said. “Community organizers never get enough credit and they said, ‘This is what we want to do.’ And we said, ‘Absolutely,’ and they got it done. It’s a nice close to it.”

Lotakis said trails and a community center will be included in the new Grow development, which will also acknowledge the history of street and its residents with signs.

Ethan Fowler/Special to the Kitsap Sun Members of Bremerton High School's Navy JROTC unit present American Legion Post 172 Commander Fred Scheffler with an American flag that once was previously used on the USS Alabama submarine at Bangor to conclude the Government Way decommissioning ceremony.

Ethan Fowler/Special to the Kitsap Sun
Members of Bremerton High School’s Navy JROTC unit present American Legion Post 172 Commander Fred Scheffler with an American flag that once was previously used on the USS Alabama submarine at Bangor to conclude the Government Way decommissioning ceremony.

Ethan Fowler/Special to the Kitsap Sun Brandon Keller of PHC Construction, right, goes over the designs for new 5-acre second phase of the Grow Community with real estate agent Keith Hauschulz after Thursday's Government Way decommissioning ceremony.

Ethan Fowler/Special to the Kitsap Sun
Brandon Keller of PHC Construction, right, goes over the designs for new 5-acre second phase of the Grow Community with real estate agent Keith Hauschulz after Thursday’s Government Way decommissioning ceremony.


Flying over Kitsap: More comments and more flight tracks

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

blog.skinny.Traffic From Other Airports

We received a lot of feedback after my story on increased air traffic over Bainbridge ran earlier this month.

I’ve reached out to FAA and King County International Airport officials to get a more complete picture of air traffic in the area, and I’ll post whatever information they provide. In the meantime, I’ll share some of the additional reader input and flight track graphics we’ve received.

Comments posted in response to the story online were mostly of the “those islanders always find something to complain about” variety, but I also heard from a number of Bainbridge and North Kitsap residents who had concerns and observations regarding airplane noise. Here’s a sampling:

“In the twelve years we have lived here, this past summer is the first time we have been bothered by the noise. As I noted, this year the frequency of the flights has increased greatly and the planes are flying at lower altitudes than in previous years.” – Kathy, south Kingston

“My concern is these flights are too low for one thing.  At night the strobe lights up my back yard on approach as I’m on a hill and I know the plane is closer than 2,000 ft at my house off Eagle Harbour.  I believe our senator and US Congress reps should be involved but it’s King County Airport where the flights are coming in over my area.” – Jim, Bainbridge Island (more…)


Input sought for Bainbridge community radio station

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Sustainable Bainbridge hopes to bring a community FM radio station to the island. The nonprofit group plans to submit an application for a low-power broadcasting license in October.

Tonight, Sustainable Bainbridge is gathering ideas on how a radio station could serve the island and what types of programs islanders would like to hear. A meeting is scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Waterfront Park Community Center.

You can find more information on the Sustainable Bainbridge website. Written comments and letters of support can be sent to info@sustainablebainbridge.org.

We’re interested in hearing your ideas as well. Please take our poll and or leave us a comment below.

What would you most like to hear on a Bainbridge community radio station?

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Here’s an excerpt from our recent story on the group’s quest for a community radio station: (more…)


Islanders hold vigil for peace

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

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About 65 islanders gathered for a peace vigil outside Bainbridge Island City Hall Monday evening. The vigil was held, in part, to protest potential U.S. military strikes in Syria.

blog.vigil4Organizer Norm Keegel, 74, said it seemed the nation was marching toward another war this summer.

“Lately I’ve felt a sense of helplessness,” Keegel said. “What can a person do?”

He reached out to representatives in Congress  and discussed Syria with staff from Rep. Derek Kilmer’s office. Keegel felt a vigil would show solidarity for a non-violent resolution.

“What a wonderful way to show (Kilmer) there are people on the island who care about peace,” Keegel said.

Participants in the Monday vigil gathered in a wide circle and shared their thoughts on the conflict. They stood for 10 minutes of silence, then sang and danced as the evening grew dark.

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Rep. Derek Kilmer and Sen. Patty Murray remained undecided on action in Syria as of last week. You can read their statements on the issue here.

(Photos by Tad Sooter)


Blakely Rock yoga sculpture takes a tumble

Monday, September 9th, 2013

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The Blakely Rock yoga sculpture finally lost its balance.

Artist Ethan Currier sent us a photo (right) of the fallen remains his 1,600-pound rock creation Monday morning. The 12-foot-tall, unauthorized public art piece had stood on the reef outside Eagle Harbor since late December.

It’s unclear when or why the sculpture fell. Currier hinted at possible vandalism in his email. He said he was confident the sculpture wouldn’t have fallen on its own, and noted the weather has been calm lately.

“I’m glad nobody was hurt,” he added.

Currier said he planned to clean up the rubble as soon as possible.


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

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

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.

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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. (more…)


More images of Bethany Lutheran on its centennial

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

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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:

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Island girl picks name for Woodland Park otter

Friday, July 12th, 2013

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A Bainbridge Island girl can point out the otter she named when she visits Woodland Park Zoo.

Hannah Deets, 7, was one of two winners of the zoo’s contest to name its new pair of Asian small-clawed otters. More than 1,000 contestants suggested names from the Malay language. Winners were picked by a panel of zoo judges.

The chosen names were: Guntur (“thunder”) and Teratai (“water lily”).

The zoo announced Hannah as a winner of the contest Thursday, alongside sisters Megan and Nicole Green of Renton.

Hannah is a good person to know. One of her prizes is a visit from an ice cream truck for her and 100 of her closest friends.

According to the zoo, Guntur and Teratai are currently off exhibit while they raise four newborn pups. They’re expected to return to the Bamboo Forest Reserve in August. In the meantime, you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about Asian small-clawed otters here.

Photo courtesy Woodland Park Zoo


Flying camera captures unique view of Bainbridge Fourth parade

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Kelvin Hughes posted this aerial footage of Bainbridge’s Grand Old Fourth parade through Winslow. The video was produced by Airpix Northwest as one of its “Fly Like an Eagle” films.


Bainbridge gears up for Third, Fourth festivities

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

A packed schedule of Third and Fourth of July events begins tonight on Bainbridge. Volunteers were busy this afternoon blocking off Winslow Way  for the Street Dance and BBQ, which starts at 6 p.m. Fourth of July festivities will begin early Thursday morning and continue into the night.

Bainbridge police issued this traffic advisory for the holiday:

Due to holiday events expect heavy traffic, some delays and increased pedestrian activity.

Be aware of runners: 5K Fun Run 7:30am to 10:30am various routes from High School Road and south throughout downtown area

The following streets will be closed:

July 3rd from 3pm to 11:30 pm: Winslow Way between Madison Ave and Ericksen Ave. Street Dance

July 4th from 6am to 5pm: Winslow Way between Madison Ave and Ericksen Ave. Parade and street activities

July 4th from 11am to about 2:30pm: Madison Ave between Winslow Way and High School Rd. Parade

July 4th from 3pm to 5pm: Brien Drive/Bjune Drive. Pedestrian activities

Fireworks over Eagle Harbor July 4th begins at dusk. Limited parking nearby, heavy pedestrian traffic.


Waterfront Park planning continues Sunday

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

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Planning for a revamped Waterfront Park will continue Sunday with a second community workshop. The event runs 1:30-4:30 p.m. at Waterfront Park Community Center. Islanders can join a walking tour of the park and dock at 1 p.m.

The city and Sustainable Bainbridge launched the planning effort with a well attended community meeting June 1. Prolific walkable communities consultant Dan Burden helped guide the conversation. Participants brainstormed ideas for the park and voted on their favorite design elements (you can see the voting results here).

Sunday’s workshop will include presentations from specific user groups. Bainbridge Island Rowing has a proposal for a new boathouse. The city’s advisory Harbor Commission is promoting designs for an expanded city dock.

The city dedicated $1.8 million of a Washington State Ferries settlement to reinvigorating the downtown park and will seek additional grants. A request for qualifications from design firms was recently issued for the project.

 


Bainbridge joins Marina Day celebration Saturday

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

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Bainbridge Island is one of three Kitsap cities hosting National Marina Day festivities Saturday. Similar Marina Day  recognitions will take place across the country this weekend.

Events are scheduled at Waterfront Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. One unique activity planned for Eagle Harbor is an “anchoring with a local” workshop. Boaters will partner with an island mariner to learn how to anchor in 30 feet of water.

blog.marinaBack of Beyond Outfitters will offer a free “small boat mess-about” all day. There will be a rodeo for small non-motorized boats, demonstrations, and canoe tours of the harbor. Participants can bring their own craft or rent one on-site.

Other Marina Day activities will include free vessel examinations, a flare demonstration, sailboat rides, ROV hull inspections and rigging lessons.

Eagle Harbor also welcomed a special guest this week. MV Lotus (pictured above) is anchored off the Harbour Marina. Lotus will be on hand this weekend and on June 15-16 for the Bainbridge Wooden Boat Festival, according to the Lotus page on Facebook. Lotus was launched in 1909 and has plied Puget Sound and the Inside Passage for more than a century.

(Tad Sooter photos)

 


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