Beat blast: Land of the tides, high-end syrups & gamers

There’s a lot of brainpower inside 603 Fourth Street. That’s where intense battles play out over many hours on large tables filled with strategy games.

And on this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast, you’ll learn that Blue Sky Hobbies, the host of those games, is upping the ante. The store is adding 5,000 square feet of gaming space in its basement, to go with more retail — including a brand new comics section — upstairs.

The grand re-opening is set for 11 a.m. Friday, and festivities will run through the weekend.

Elsewhere on the beat blast, you’ll hear about:

This week’s free Story Walk, where experts will teach you about the mysteries of the tidelands at Lions Park;

A new business in Manette that specializes in syrups that enhance cocktails, mocktails and cooking;

The arrest of a sex offender who allegedly attacked two women in Stephenson Canyon;

Who is vying to be South Kitsap Commissioner, in a district that includes parts of Bremerton.

Questions? Comments? I am all ears. Send them to

Beat blast: A fountain fix, food truck hub and a whole lot of beer

Bremerton’s fountains are getting fixed— and soon. The city’s prized fountains have been off all of spring and summer while city officials awaited approval from the state’s Department of Health for a massive overhaul of plumbing, electrical and filtration systems.

Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent confirmed the project will soon go forward, and she expects them to be back on in a matter of weeks, as you’ll see in this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast.

Elsewhere on the blast:

Find out what to look forward to at this year’s Kitsap Pride festival, taking place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Evergreen-Rotary Park.


Check out the newest 160-unit Bremerton apartment project that’s slated to get going on the east side soon.

Learn about possibilities for a food truck hub in Bremerton.

And last, but not least, get the details on this year’s Bremerton BrewFest, to be held from 4-9 p.m. Friday and Noon to 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Questions? Comments? I love the feedback. Write me at


2 days, more than 120 beers: the return of Bremerton BrewFest


Bremerton has some big parties each year, but none is bigger than BrewFest. The sixth annual event is just around the corner on the city’s Louis Mentor Boardwalk.


This year for the first time, you have not just one day to sample more than 120 locally brewed beers, but two. Enjoy some tasty brews on Friday night before the festival’s traditional main day on Saturday.

And yes, about that beer: 34 breweries, including a strong West Sound contingent, plus a chance to sample Rainier’s first beer brewed in Washington in two decades.

This will be the second year the BrewFest will be held on the boardwalk. In its first four years, Pacific Avenue was fenced off between Burwell and Sixth. But the Washington Beer Commission, which organizes it, had to pay a lot of money in just fencing alone. Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent asked to move it to the boardwalk a year ago.

Eric Radovich, the beer commission’s executive director, said that adding a second day hopefully will alleviate some “congestion” experienced last year.

“It’s a very popular event but it was a little tight on the boardwalk with the beer lines,” said Radovich, noting almost 3,000 people came in one day. “Our goal is to spread it out a little bit.”

He’s hopeful some new attendees will give it a try on Friday as well, perhaps some ferry commuters capping a long work week with a tasty beverage.

Lent said she’s excited for this year’s expanded schedule.

“The more people that get exposed to Bremerton through this event, the better,” she said.

You can purchase tickets here.

In Bremerton, sometimes helps comes across the water

Mitch Watland (left) and Joe Campbell (right).

I don’t need to tell you that we live in a community surrounded by water. Our geography sometimes makes us neighbors not only with those next door, but to others across an inlet perhaps, or a passage, or even a narrows.

Anne Stamper and Joe Campbell are two such neighbors. Campbell lives on Marine Drive while Stamper’s on Madrona Point. They live 11 minutes by car from each other, but live just across the mouth of Oyster Bay from each other — a five minute kayak paddle, easy.

Their proximity across Puget Sound had life-saving implications early Tuesday.

As Campbell and friend Mitch Watland wound down their Fourth of July celebration with some Rainier beer on the beach by his home, they looked across Oyster Bay. From the distance, it appeared like a fireball was growing in an area near Stamper’s house on Madrona Point.

“I thought ‘that’s an awfully big flame,’” Campbell said.

Reality sank in. The pair decided to act fast. Watland hopped in a kayak. Campbell started calling neighbors he knew. He got one one on the phone; Watland began yelling for help as he got to the other side.

Campbell hopped in another kayak and headed to help, too. Watland got hold of a neighbor’s hose and started to spray the flames. By the time firefighters and police responded, the flames were out.

“If we had hesitated another two or three minutes, the whole house would have been engulfed,” Campbell said.

It appears as though the fire may have started due to fireworks. The Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.

Stamper, who was sleeping, was grateful. She recalled Campbell as a teenager, coming over to help with landscaping at their home. Her husband, Larry, who has passed away, even once told Campbell that he needed to “take care” of his wife when he was gone. Stamper said Campbell’s held up to that promise.

“I think what they did was heroic,” she said.

Campbell said he was just being a good neighbor, but he also wanted to keep his word to Stamper’s husband.

“I gotta live up to the promise,” he said. “We made sure she was alright.”

Beat blast: Marvin Williams, high heels and a new grocery store

It’s been quite the week for Marvin Williams. Not only did the Bremerton native sign a four-year, $54.5 million contract with the Charlotte Hornets, the center that will bear his name will start construction Thursday. (5 p.m. start at 8th and Park.) 

You’ll hear about the Marvin Williams and Birkenfeld Empowerment Center in this week’s beat blast, but you’ll also learn of four other stories including:

-What event will have men walking a mile in heels on Saturday at Evergreen-Rotary Park;

What new apartments are being constructed in downtown Bremerton;


-The latest in Pablo’s tricycle theft case;

-And last, but not least, the possibility of a new grocery store in East Bremerton appears to be coming to fruition.

Questions? Comments? Email me at


Beat blast: A country legend performs, a secret garden grows and opossums!

Friday night, you have a chance to see a legend in his element. Manette resident Patrick Haggerty, who released country music’s first gay album in 1973, will perform at Fingers Duke (523 Fourth Street) as part of art walk (5-8 p.m.). He’ll be there to support friend and fellow artist Pat Moriarty, whose works will be on display. Two other bands will also perform.

Even if you can’t go, you don’t want to miss Haggerty perform the title song “Lavender Country” on this week’s Beat Blast.

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Meegan M. Reid photo/Kitsap Sun

That’s not all. You’ll also learn in this week’s blast:

What Olympic College’s “secret garden” is all about;

What phone number 911 dispatchers hope you’ll call for fireworks issues this Fourth of July;

Where some baby opossums were given a new home;

And what some recently demolished shacks in East Bremerton could mean for development on the Port Washington Narrows.

With apologies for a late beat blast this week; I came down with a stomach bug midweek. I’ll even show you the doctor’s note if you like.

Questions? Comments? I love feedback. Write me at

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Meegan M. Reid photo/Kitsap Sun




Beat blast: a double decker bus, barrelhouse and one long octopus mural

It might just be the longest mural ever installed in city history. And you can have a chance to help paint it. Join a dedicated group of Bremertonians Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to help paint the back of the Peninsula Community Health Services building.

Elsewhere this week on the Bremerton Beat Blast, you’ll learn:

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Why Mike Hale decided to open a barrelhouse and tasting room in West Bremerton;

When you can ride a double decker bus between downtown and Manette this summer;

What new signal, never before found in Bremerton, is coming to 6th and High;

How to volunteer for a $112,000 parking study that’s starting up in Bremerton this coming month.

Questions? Comments? I love ‘em. Send them to

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Hale’s plans July opening in Bremerton









There’s a special place in Mike Hale’s heart for English culture. As the longtime Washington brewer prepares to open his newest location in Bremerton, a cherry red London-style double decker bus sits in its driveway; inside a tasting room in the English pub tradition is taking shape at 15th Street and North Wycoff Avenue.

Mike Hale.

He calls the location of his brand new barrelhouse one nestled in a “middle class, beer drinking neighborhood,” that he’s proud to join. “Nothing but good vibes here,” he said.

Hale was looking for a warehouse space in Kitsap that would make it easier to get beer to market. His company self-distributes. What would cost millions in Seattle can be bought for a fraction in Bremerton. The barrelhouse is a way to go “deeper” within the local market, rather than expanding wider. He’ll become the fifth brewery doing business in Bremerton.

The location is another move west for Hale and his wife Kathleen, whose brewery churns out about 10,000 barrels each year. What started in North Spokane about 33 years ago moved to Kirkland in 1987, then to Seattle in 1995. There was a brief stint at the Kitsap Mall that didn’t work out for a variety of reasons. “My hubris caught up to me,” he joked Monday.

The barrels are in.
The barrels are in.

With brews like Supergoose IPA gaining a huge following, I asked him if he’d ever want to go bigger.  Absolutely not, he told me. He loves being locally owned and made — the beer is fresher, the company happier, and that includes himself, he said.

The city told him its zoning code would require a retail element; Hale gladly obliged. His tasting room is just under 750 square-feet — any more would’ve required a massive overhaul to bring the building into modern standards.

Hale plans a soft opening to coincide with the annual Volkswagen van fest at nearby Hi-Lo Cafe July 9.

15th and Wycoff.

There will be 23 beers on tap to choose from, including — you guessed it — English style hand pumps and three nitro taps. Many of the beers will be barrel-aged. Hale envisions hours from 3-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays as a start.

He invites customers to bring food in from other venues to eat and share; there won’t be food service outside of maybe some pretzels, he said.

Oh, and if you want to have a ride in his English bus — which he rebuilt with an American engine — check out the Hale’s bus crawl coming up July 23. Hale will be driving it himself.


COUNCIL SCORECARD: Crosswalks and county disagreements

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Bremerton is ready for a HAWK signal, city leaders believe.

And what does that mean? The High-intensity activated crosswalk beacon is a fancy way of saying pedestrians are getting their own traffic light to cross Sixth Street at High Avenue (concept pictured).

Currently, you have to walk to either Veneta Avenue or Naval Avenue to find a safe place to cross there.

The pedestrian improvement is one of five around the city, totaling $688,000 in grant-funded projects. The Bremerton City Council approved a contractor to begin the work in July, with completion in September.

Another intersection, Kitsap Way and Harlow Drive, is due to get a crosswalk, “flashing beacon” to help with crossing and a pedestrian island in the middle of the road to make easier as well. There have been recent calls from Kitsap Lake Junction to get something to help with crossing the runway-sized street.   

More pedestrian improvements are coming to Kitsap Way and 11th Street, Charleston Boulevard and First Street and 11th Street and High Avenue.

Councilman Greg Wheeler, himself a frequent walker around town, praised the changes, which he says have “opened up opportunities” for pedestrians of all kinds to get around town.

“We’ve literally had a hard time getting folks safely across our city,” he said.

County coming to help with streets — but there’s a catch 


The most contentious issue on Wednesday’s agenda was two contracts with Kitsap County, respectively, to do road striping and paving.

That may sound like routine work, but city and county lawyers have for months been disagreeing over the language of the agreements to do the work. “The holdup has been indemnification language,” Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin told the Council.

Basically, the county, in doing the work, does not want to be held liable for anything that happens along the way, unless they are the “sole” cause of it.

Martin ultimately asked the Council to approve the contracts, even with the language. The reason: the re-striping of the city’s streets will cost about $60,000 if the county completes it. A private contract would run about $120,000 to $200,000, Martin told the Council.

That risk-reward equation divided the Council. Wheeler and Councilwomen Leslie Daugs and Pat Sullivan voted against it. The other four voted for it, so it barely passed, 4-3.

H. Emily remembered


Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent praised H. Emily Moshay, a longtime Bremerton advocate and volunteer, who passed away Tuesday night. (You can read the story I wrote about her here.)

“Our city is a better place for her having lived here,” Lent said.

Bike patrol working well

In his monthly report, Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan talked about how the department is ramping up its bicycle patrols.

The goal, he said, “is to contact people who may be causing problems in neighborhoods.”

Strachan said that in April and May, cops on bikes hit the streets of downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods. Officers made 50 arrests in two months, to go with 361 “contacts,” or face-to-face interactions.

“We’re hitting it very very hard,” Strachan said.

Councilman Jerry McDonald, who represents downtown and Manette, was appreciative of the efforts and hoped the department could do more.

“I know they’re making a difference out there,” he said.

Trees at Blueberry Park

A $7,500 grant from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources will fund the planting of 50 trees at Blueberry Park in East Bremerton, which the Council approved.

Retirement system needs more money

The City Council approved $544,000 for a contract with Regency BlueShield to pay for medical expenses not covered by Medicare for what are known as the city’s LEOFF 1 retirees.

These retirees from the city’s police and fire departments have medical expenses paid for in retirement. That changed in 1977 and now police and firefighters are covered under the LEOFF 2 plan, which does not fund health care in retirement.

The Associated Press did a three-part series on the LEOFF system, which you can read here.

Parking study moves ahead

The Council did not discuss the “most comprehensive” parking study in city history, as some have called it, but simply approved it through the consent agenda. To read more about the $110,000 study, click here.

Building codes updated

The City Council passed an updated building code Wednesday night as well. Jeannie Vaughn, the city’s building official, went over several changes, including one involving “utility basements.” Basically, owners who only use basements for utilities but seek to make them habitable for people must have an “escape” or “rescue opening”

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the full Council packet here.

Beat blast: A traffic-clogging culvert, graduation journey and a new park

It was a magical moment, watching Bremerton High School’s class of 2016 high-five every elementary school kid they could. The journey the high school seniors made to their elementary alma matters is one the Bremerton School District hopes will become an annual tradition.

You’ll see the full experience on this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast, as well as:

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What project will be making the trek south from Bremerton a nightmare at commuter times;

Who cleared a West Bremerton property upon which city officials have placed a stop-work order;

What new park in Bremerton will be dedicated Friday at 19th and Taft;

Which downtown Bremerton building is being demolished this week to make way for new apartments.

Thanks as always for watching. Questions or comments? I love the feedback. Write to