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Update: Hearing Examiner expects to make Visconsi decision no later than March 10

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Story updated 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – Attorneys involved in the proposed Visconsi shopping complex were requested by Bainbridge Hearing Examiner Stafford Smith to submit their briefs by Wednesday, Feb. 12, and Visconsi attorney Dennis Reynolds to submit his reply by Monday, Feb. 17.

Smith’s request on the final day of his hearings about the Visconsi project on Jan. 28, followed the Bainbridge Planning Commission voting 7-0 in November to recommend denying the proposed 62,000-square-foot shopping center. To be located on High School Road across the street from McDonald’s, the 8-acre complex would have a two-story medical facility, bank, drugstore, restaurants and other retailers.

Smith is looking at three parts to the Visconsi issue, a conditional use permit, a site plan review and a State Environmental Policy Act, Hearing Examiner Assistant Debbie Rose said.

Rose stated in an email Wednesday that Smith planned on having a decision in the case by March 10.

“Legal briefing by the parties is scheduled to be completed by 2/24/14 and the hearing examiner expects a decision to be issued within two weeks of that date,” Rose said.

When Smith reaches a decision on the Visconsi project it, Rose said will be posted on the city’s website.


Quick facts on the Bainbridge bag ban

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

The island’s ban on plastic shopping bags begins Thursday. We’ve posted some of the basics below. Let us know what you think of the bag ban by taking our poll below or leaving a comment.

Why a bag ban?

The City Council unanimously approved the bag ban this spring as a way of reducing litter and unnecessary waste, while promoting reusable bags. Bainbridge is the fifth Washington city to ban plastic bags and the first in Kitsap County. Seattle banned plastic shopping bags in July.

What are the rules?

Starting Thursday, retailers are no longer allowed to provide those thin, single-use plastic bags at checkout. Paper bags will still be available, but the ordinance requires retailers to charge 5 cents for larger paper bags (this doesn’t apply to qualifying low income shoppers).

There are a few exceptions to the ban. Plastic bags are allowed for restaurant take-out food, produce, greeting cards, small hardware items, newspapers, dry cleaning and waste.

What stores does this apply to?

Short answer: All of them. This ban applies to all retailers across the island, not just supermarkets. It also applies to farmers markets and vendors  at festivals. Food banks can still use plastic bags.

Where can I get reusable bags?

Reusable bags are available at island grocery stores and some other retailers. The city is handing out a cloth “Bainbridge Bag” tonight during the Winslow trick-or-treat event from 4-6 p.m, and at the library and City Hall starting Thursday.

Where can I get more information?

The city has more details and links on its Sustainable Practices page. If you’re interested in the nitty gritty, you can read the ordinance here. Watch for a full bag ban story Thursday in the Kitsap Sun.

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Photo credit: Larry Steagall/Staff Photo


Helpline House: How best to help with food shortage

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

(Volunteer Reed Thomas, 14, stocks Mac & Cheese at Helpline House food bank last week).

Food banks across the county are struggling with high demand and low donations this summer, as we reported Wednesday.

Since the story ran we’ve received a few inquiries from readers asking how they can help, including an email this morning from local Les Schwab manager Brett Clark. Donna McKinney of Helpline House responded with some tips:

Thanks for your very prompt response to the article in the paper!  We appreciate donations of just about any foods, but there are certain items that we are especially low on and/or are distributed so fast that we cannot keep them in stock.  At this time, this is the list:

— Canned beans for cooking

— Cereals

— Assorted pasta

(more…)


A chilly start for sales in downtown Winslow

Friday, September 7th, 2012

The unveiling of a “friendlier” Winslow Way hasn’t sparked a resurgence for downtown businesses. At least not yet.

Sales tax figures released for the first six months of 2012 showed receipts from downtown Winslow were down 1.9 percent compared to the same period last year ($211,718 compared to $215,863). That figure might seem insignificant until you recall what Winslow Way looked like in the first half of 2011:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sales were lower from January to June this year than in 2011, when shoppers braved a jungle of barricades and traffic cones to visit shops. Downtown continued to lose businesses as well, down to 172 from a total of 201 in 2011.

(more…)


Cash mob set to strike on Bainbridge

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

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.


Bainbridge promo video hits airwaves

Friday, November 11th, 2011

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.


Hitchcock plans expansion, lunchtime menu

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Despite the economy and the upheaval caused by the Winslow Way reconstruction project, at least one Winslow restaurant is doing well enough to expand.

Hitchcock, a local foods fine-dining restaurant that opened on Winslow Way last year, is in talks to expand into the next-door space recently occupied by a bath supply boutique.

“I’ve got some big plans for a business that would be an extension of Hitchcock, philosophically, but deliver the products we’ve worked so hard to procure over the last year to consumers in a different way,” said owner/chef Brendan McGill.

He said he’ll divulge specifics once a deal for the space is finalized.

McGill is also expanding Hitchcock’s hours to include lunchtime service. The focus will be on traditional Neopolitan pizzas made in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven.

“Lunch is a good excuse to crank the oven up for pizzas – good, fast lunch food,” he said.

Lunch service is offered now on weekends. Once the reconstruction project is done this fall, Hitchcock will begin serving lunch during weekdays.

I profiled Hitchcock last year when three restaurants specializing in local foods opened at the same time in Winslow. One of the restaurants closed a few months after opening. Its space will soon open as a wine bar. Local Harvest is still going strong in the Pavilion. You can read about the little boom in local food restaurants here.

In other Winslow food news, Greg Atkinson (chef, author, regular NPR guest) is opening a French restaurant on Madrone Lane, near Mora ice cream. Read more in Rachel Pritchett’s recent story.


The digging portion of the Winslow’s ‘big dig’ begins

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Now that a lane’s worth of pavement has been stripped away, work crews began digging into Winslow Way today.

For our latest story on the reconstruction project (about its impact on downtown businesses), head over here.


VIDEO: Port Madison Home’s goodbye

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Port Madison Home owner John Hays produced a short YouTube video (see above) to discuss the closure of his Winslow Way furniture store.

In it, he urges islanders to support local businesses because they have a more of a stake than off-island chain stores in the health of the community.

“If our downtown is important to you, please consider what it takes to keep it,” Hays says in the video.

For more about Port Madison Home’s closure and the impact it may have on downtown, head over here.


A “new” Blackbird and other restaurants opening in Winslow

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Despite the shaky economy and the challenges the Winslow Way reconstruction poses for businesses, five new downtown leases were signed last week, including three for new eating establishments.

Blackbird Bakery’s customers have long wished the nearly-always-crowded coffee and lunch hangout would expand. That wish will come true by mid-April with the opening of Fork and Spoon, a new restaurant that borrows from Blackbird’s menu while expanding it to include meat dishes, salads, beer and wine.

“This started as a way to grow our lunch business, which was held back by seating capacity,” Blackbird co-owner Jeff Shepard said.

Fork and Spoon will take over the nearby Madrone Lane space formerly occupied by Victor Alexander winery.

There will be no indoor connection to Blackbird’s Winslow Way space, although the new restaurant will make use of Blackbird’s kitchen.

The new location will have outdoor seating in an enclosed courtyard.

Shepard said Fork and Spoon will use many local ingredients, including Bainbridge eggs and vegetables.

Also set to open soon is Radish, a high-end restaurant run by the former owners of Real Foods, which closed closed a few months ago.

A new sandwich shop is set to open soon in Winslow Mall, but I have little more detail than that.


Sage staying put, Rolfes backs gay marriage

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Sage fly fishing

Sage is sticking around

Head over here to read my Sunday story about Sage, an iconic fly fishing rod manufacturer that was founded on Bainbridge 30 years ago.

Sage is a bit of a rarity on Bainbridge. It’s a company that makes things – real things that you can actually hold in your hands.

And despite the challenges of manufacturing on Bainbridge (let alone the United States), Sage says it’s staying put. Sage may, in time, move its distribution wing, but the hands-on work of making high-end rods will remain on Day Road.

Even if that happens, Sage will probably remain the island’s largest private employer. Sage has 180 people working for it; the runner-up, Messenger House, has just under 100.

Gay marriage
Bainbridge Rep. Christine Rolfes and other Kitsap legislators are throwing their support behind a gay marriage bill. It appears to be gaining momentum in Olympia.

Lock your doors
Several unlocked homes were burglarized in the Commodore neighborhood this week. Police are urging islanders to lock their homes at night and when they are not at home.

Ah, Bainbridge
The romance of Bainbridge Island was mentioned in an MSN article about love-inspiring destinations.

BPA minds its manners
Kitsap Sun arts reporter Michael C. Moore has a story on Bainbridge Performing Arts’ ‘Philadelphia Story.’

“…there is much to be taken from Barry’s comedy of manners — make that a mannered comedy, if you will — including witty dialogue, classic screwball plot machinations and a pointed observation or three about the social upper-crust: mainly, why we less crusty folk are so enamored of it,” Moore writes.

Read more here.


Inslee on the deficit, Dederer on the yoga mat

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Head over here for my coverage of Rep. Jay Inslee’s Monday night speech at a Rotary of Bainbridge Island meeting. He touched on several issues, including health care, the defense of the Clean Air Act and the ballooning federal deficit, an elephant-in-the-room issue he said Republicans and President Obama are avoiding.

And then drop by the Vashon Beachcomber. They have a story about Bainbridge author Claire Dederer’s visit to their island, and about the success of her new book, “Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses.” Its recent stint on the the New York Times’ Bestseller List pushed it into a second printing a few weeks after its initial release, according to the ‘Comber. There’s been plenty more written about Dederer’s book, like this and this.


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