Discussing the significant loss of tree canopy over the last 15
years — from small developments to large, such as the Visconsi
shopping complex — will be part of the Association of Bainbridge
Communities’ 13th annual Environmental Conference.
The event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at
the Waterfront Park Community Center, located at 370 Brien Way.
The conference will focus on:
— the importance of trees on islanders lifestyles,
— what the city of Bainbridge Island is planning,
— what is needed as part of a comprehensive tree retention
— what other cities and counties are doing, and
— how residents can participate in the process.
Speakers included Kathy Wolf from the University of Washington’s
School of Forestry, Olaf Ribeiro, an internationally recognized
expert on tree health issues, Ben Thompson, urban forestry
specialist with the Department of Natural Resources, and Nolan
Rundquist, a Seattle City arborist, who will talk about the city’s
efforts to retain trees.
The event will also include citizen activists from Whidbey
Island, Jon Quitslund, a member of the Bainbridge Island Tree
Ordinance Committee, and break-out sessions.
For more information, contact the Association of Bainbridge
Communities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
***This story has been updated to include cost of the
disposal, towing and other expenses, condition of the boat and the
court date for the ship’s owner, 8:30 a.m. April 17.
The historic tugboat Chickamauga is no more.
Likely doomed by its poor condition and the prohibitive costs
needed to restore it, neither individuals nor organizations could
be found to rescue the troubled tug from being scrapped after it
was towed 38 miles from Bainbridge Island’s Eagle Harbor to a Port
Townsend marina Jan. 31.
America’s first full diesel-powered tugboat when it was built in
1915, the Chickamauga was disposed of the week of March 24 in Port
Townsend, said Toni Weyman Droscher, the communications manager for
the Aquatics Program of the Washington State Department of Natural
Resources. The contract for disposal was for $20,000, plus tax,
said Melissa Ferris, the director of the state’s Derelict Vessel
Daily pumping, checking on the vessel, towing, escort through
the haul-out process, decontamination of the boom, etc. was
$25,435.35, Ferris said. Haul-out and storage at the Port of Port
Townsend was $2,674.80, she added.
DNR took control of the derelict boat Jan. 16 under the state’s
Derelict Vessels Act, which gives it the authority to take custody
of a vessel when an owner allows it to become derelict or
abandoned. Absent Chickamauga owner Anthony R. Smith did this when
he failed to pay moorage and utility fees for nearly a year to
Eagle Harbor Marina, totaling $8,560.30.
In addition to what he owes the marina and in legal fees, Smith
also owes the Coast Guard for its expenses in responding to the
Chickamauga’s October sinking, which total $140,000, and the
Department of Ecology’s expenses for coordinating the spill cleanup
with the Coast Guard, which total $2,000.
Smith was charged Jan. 15 with three criminal counts from the
state attorney general’s office. His trial is set to begin in June
23 in Kitsap County Superior Court.
The Chickamauga sank Oct. 2, leaked about 400 gallons of
petroleum and 10 gallons of lube oil in the waters of Eagle Harbor
and was lifted by a crane Oct. 10.
“The 70-foot hull (of the Chickamauga) was deconstructed with an
excavator,” Droscher said. “All recyclable items were separated.
Debris was placed in a 30-yard container and handled by the local
waste contractor, DM Disposal.”
The boat’s helm and throttle controls were saved and delivered
by DNR to the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum in Tacoma this week to
be restored and eventually put on display. The historical
significance of the boat that Smith purchased for $1,000 in 2009
was important to retain for Joseph Govednik, the museum’s curator
of collections and volunteer manager.
“It is important to preserve this, and all historic vessels, as
they are subjected to less than ideal conditions being exposed to
the elements of nature,” Govednik said. “Ultimately, all wood boats
turn to dust, it’s a matter of time, so it is very important to
preserve, protect and maintain these boats.
“I hope this can be a lesson and reminder, that these vessels
require constant care and monitoring,” Govednik added. “Although
the vessel is lost, we are very fortunate to take possession of the
throttle controls and helm.”
Govednik said the museum doesn’t have immediate plans to display
the Chickamauga artifacts, but hopes to use them in a future
exhibition on tugboats to support stories of the region’s working
In addition to the throttle controls and helm, the silohette of
the shell and ship’s log were likely some of the few original
things remaining on the Chickamauga by the time the state took
possession of the vessel. In fact, DNR had its marine archeologist
and others inspect the ship and found the engines weren’t the
original ones and that because there had been “so much retrofitting
and renovation that it was really a shadow of its original self,”
“The engines were 671s, which were designed specifically for the
landing craft for Normandy in World War II and they don’t have any
historical value since they were stamped out (for mass
production),” Eagle Harbor Marina Harbormaster Doug Crow said.
“They weren’t maintaining it for historical value, their interest
was in keeping the boat moving and working with it. There was very
little to that boat that had significant value and they got the two
items that were easily retrievable and it would’ve given them
something to put in the museum and write about its history.”
The demise of the Chickamauga was taken hard by well-known
Poulsbo watercolor artists Michael and Sarah Yaeger, who preserved
the boat by painting it for their 2015 calendar. The couple were
holding out hope the boat would be saved.
“We are both angry!” Michael said. “This boat was on the
Historic Register and is the first diesel powered tug in the USA –
surely this DNR group could’ve tried harder in the saving of her.
This whole saga smacks of ‘raw raw expediency’ over our cultural
responsibility for our heritage.
“The DNR bylaws should be looked at for any violation that may
have occurred in this sordid mess,” Michael continued. “What’s next
– the demolition of the Arthur Foss and the Virginia V? The
Chickamauga played a more crucial – or at least equal – role in our
ISLAND – Attorneys involved in the proposed Visconsi shopping
complex were requested by Bainbridge Hearing ExaminerStafford
Smith to submit their briefs by Wednesday, Feb. 12, and
Visconsi attorney Dennis Reynolds to submit his
reply by Monday, Feb. 17.
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
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
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
“A Year of Birding in Bloedel” is a column that runs every
Friday in the Bainbridge Islander. The project is planned to
continue in 52 parts through 2014 to help readers find and identify
birds in the island’s garden sanctuary. Beginning with this
entry on the bald eagle, each column will also be published here on
the Bainbridge Conversation blog each Friday.
The author, Ted Anderson, is a retired professor of biology,
having taught at McKendree University (Ill.) for 32 years and for
the University of Michigan’s summer biological station for 20
years, where he frequently taught the biology of birds.
Anderson is also the author of “Biology of the Ubiquitous
House Sparrow, from Genes to Populations” (2006), and “The Life of
David Lack, Father of Evolutionary Ecology” (2013). Ted
and his wife Carol have been members of Bloedel Reserve for 7
years. They live in Kingston.
A bald eagle sits in a tree overlooking Eagle Harbor on
Bainbridge Island. (MEEGAN M. REID/KITSAP SUN)
Beginning in 2005, visitors to Bloedel were treated to wonderful
views of the majestic bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
at a nest near the top of a tall Douglas Fir near the shore of
Puget Sound behind the visitor’s center. The nest activity could be
viewed from windows in the visitor’s center, or, at closer range,
near the birch grove down the hill.
The former director, Richard Brown, took numerous photos of the
nesting eagles, many of which are still on display in albums in the
library of the Visitor’s Center. In July 2013, however, this
magnificent, living display ended when the nest tree snapped off,
dumping the nest and a full-grown but flightless eaglet, apparently
unhurt, onto the beach below. The adults continued to feed
their youngster on the beach until it was able to fly.
Long an important element of he cultures of many Native American
tribes, the bald eagle was chosen as the national emblem of a
fledgling new nation by the Continental Congress in 1782. This
act did not come with an order of protection, however, and later
bounties were established for the bald eagle and many other top
predators including other birds of prey, wolves, coyotes and
bears. Eagle numbers dropped dramatically due to this
persecution, and eagles virtually disappeared from many parts of
the lower 48.
Widespread use of DDT in the 1940s through the 1960s further
reduced their numbers, driving them to near extirpation in the
lower 48. DDT residues in the fat bodies of fish had a devastating
effect on many top predators in the aquatic food chain due to a
process known as bioamplification. The residues interfered
with calcium metabolism in the eagles resulting in the thinning of
their eggshells and resultant egg breakage and nest failure.
When the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 the bald
eagle was one of the first species placed on the endangered species
list. With the almost simultaneous ban on many uses of DDT the
bald eagle population began a dramatic recovery in the continental
United States. One of only a few such successes, the Bald
Eagle was removed from the endangered species list in
2007. Many Americans who had never seen their national emblem
in the wild now have had the opportunity to enjoy seeing this
The Bloedel pair is still active in the areas near their old
nest site. Listen for their high-pitched screeches emanating
from the wilderness area adjacent to the site or from the conifers
near the birch grove. They typically lay their eggs in
February and the pair is now in active courtship.
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – The derelict historic tugboat
Chickamauga is set to be towed out of Eagle Harbor Marina
at 6 a.m. Friday, the Washington State Department of Natural
Resources announced Thursday afternoon.
The abandoned tug, which sank in the harbor Oct.
2, leaked oil and diesel fuel, and was raised by a crane Oct. 10,
will be towed to Boat Haven Marina in Port Townsend.
DNR took custody of the tugboat — the country’s first full
diesel-powered tugboat when it was built in 1915 — on Jan. 16
after the owner didn’t to remove the vessel from Eagle Harbor
Marina. The state attorney general’s office also filed three
criminal charges against the owner on Jan. 15.
“Hooray! We’ll probably have cheerleaders with pompoms to wave
it goodbye,” said Doug Crow, harbormaster of Eagle Harbor Marina,
of the news the tugboat would be towed away Friday. “It’s a
major step in our history. Now I wish the (state) attorney general
lots of luck prosecuting the owner for abandonment, pollution and
stealing moorage from the marina.”
The public will can submit comments on the environmental impacts
of a proposed shopping center on High School Road between Friday
and July 19.
The city will open the comment period this week as part of the
State Environmental Policy Act review for the Visconsi project. The
proposed shopping center would add 62,000 square feet of commercial
building space and 261 parking spaces to the northeast corner of
High School Road and Highway 305.
Ohio-based developer Visconsi
Companies is seeking approval for a site plan and conditional
use permit for the project. The center would include a bank, large
drug store, medical offices, restaurants and other businesses. This
Visconsi’s webpage for the project.
Former Bainbridge High School teacher Rory Wilson will share
reflections and photos from his
rowing odyssey to Hawaii next week.
The presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the
Bainbridge High School commons. The event is free, and donations
will be accepted for the Bainbridge Schools
Wilson made the 44-day journey from San Diego to Honolulu
earlier this fall in a slender homemade craft powered by oars and
kites. He called the vessel “KROS,” short for kites, rowing ocean,
solar. Wilson’s math students at Bainbridge High
helped him prepare for the journey.
You can get a taste of Wilson’s adventure in the video below,
which shows KROS dancing through waves under kite power.
Wilson has posted many more amazing images on the
KROS page on Facebook.
Photo and video courtesy Rory Wilson, via Facebook
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
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
Horn has an extensive background in education. She received a
master’s degree from the University of Phoenix, magna cum laude, in
2003 and is currently working toward her doctorate in
For the past six years she has been the director of early learning
at the Marion Forsman-Boushie Early Learning Center in Suquamish.
She has been an active volunteer, including serving as chairperson
for several large fundraising events for local organizations.
She and her daughter enjoy spending time with animals, providing
a home for five dogs, three cats, two guinea pigs, a rabbit, six
chickens, a horse, a cockatiel and a parakeet.
“With Lisa’s background in education and her organizational
skills, I feel confident her enthusiastic personality combined with
your continued support will result in establishing the West Sound
Wildlife Shelter becoming a national leader in the evolving field
of wildlife rehabilitation,” said Gayle Seyl, shelter board
(photo by Dottie Tison)
Sivitz leaving KiDiMu
After three-and-a-half years, Susan Sivitz will step down as
executive director at the Kids Discovery Museum at the end of the
“Susan has been at the center of the nonprofit world of
Bainbridge Island for many years,” said Sonya Marinoni, the
museum’s board president. “She has been a great leader.”
Sivitz is moving to Boston for six months to complete her
undergraduate degree. She joined the museum as director in 2009.
She oversaw the completion of the museum’s capital campaign for a
new building the transition into a new space in the Island Gateway
Orcas swim south through Puget Sound between Fay Bainbridge
Park and Ballard at about 3 p.m. Monday. (Tad Sooter photos).
Chris Dunagan’s story on what the whales were up to.
A large pod of orca whales put on a show off the east side of
Bainbridge Island Monday — albeit a show best enjoyed with
binoculars. The whales appeared to be cruising midway between the
island and the mainland.
The Orca Network relayed
reports of the whales off Point No Point late in the morning. They
were spotted off Jefferson Head and Fay Bainbridge Park at about 1
p.m. By 4 p.m. the whales were between Elliott Bay and Eagle
Harbor, and still swimming south. Facebook users reported seeing
the whales from the 4:40 p.m. Seattle ferry.
Though they stayed far from shore, the whales caused a stir
along the waterfront. A few families enjoyed whale watching with
binoculars from the beach at Fay Bainbridge in the afternoon and a
float plane (left) zipped low overhead, making a bee line for the
pod. KING5 even
followed the whales live with a helicopter for a while.
If nothing else, it was a good excuse to head for the beach on a
spectacular October day.
If you snapped some whale photos Monday, please share them with
us. You can email Tad at email@example.com or post them on the
Islander page on Facebook.
Here’s the Friday preview: Bainbridge edition for Sept. 21.
Please feel free to give your own events a plug in the comment
section below. You can read the Sun’s regional
Friday preview here. Above, a heavy fog lifts off Eagle Harbor
midday Thursday (Tad Sooter photo). Continue reading →