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 josh.farley@kitsapsun.com.

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Hale’s plans July opening in Bremerton

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 

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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

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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 josh.farley@kitsapsun.com

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Story Walk: Bunkers and barriers at Marine NAD Park

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The Naval Ammunition Depot along the shores of Ostrich Bay might’ve closed in 1959 but evidence of its former life remains. Around 20 bunkers still protrude the dense forest that has grown back in the years since the Navy left its shores.

One bunker.
One bunker.

Thanks to the 75 or so of you who came out for the Kitsap Sun’s latest Story Walk Saturday. (If you couldn’t make it, the park is located at 1900 Shorewood Drive and is open from dawn to dusk. There’s a trail uphill from the parking area that leads to the bunkers; a waterfront paved pathway that runs perhaps a quarter-mile; and shoreline access.)

Regardless of a few showers — one walker referred to it as another “Slosh with Josh” — we got a nice hike in and took a closer look at the controversy surrounding a locked gate that now separates the park from The Landings, formerly Jackson Park.

Here’s a brief timetable of NAD Park, which dates back more than 100 years.

1902: The U.S. Government appropriates money to purchase the land, around 250 acres, of what we now know as the park, Jackson Park and the other portion of NAD Park nearer to Kitsap Lake. The land is purchased for about $14,000.

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Photo by Greg Salo.

1908: The “magazine depot” is commissioned; it wouldn’t be until 1916 that it becomes known by the name we know it as today. Picture ships filling Ostrich Bay, waiting for munitions, as there was no water or electricity to the area.

1940: The depot has come into its own, with a wharf, railroad access and around 40 buildings to its name. World War II sees its height as an ammunition depot.

1959: With not much room to grow and new depots developing at Bangor and Indian Island, NAD closes.

1965: Jackson Park Housing is created, named for the US Senator “Scoop” Jackson. Years later, Highway 3 cuts NAD in two when it is built.

More recently: NAD includes a former garbage dump and was classified as an EPA Superfund Site. The Army Corps of Engineers also does cleanups here. Just this month, the Navy is still detonating old munitions found in the tidelands below.

June 11, 2016: A bunch of eager learners head to Marine NAD Park for a Story Walk! Thanks again for coming.

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Photo by Greg Salo.
Photo by Greg Salo.
Photo by Greg Salo.
Photo by Greg Salo.
Massive Doug Fir! Photo by Greg Salo.
Massive Doug Fir! Photo by Greg Salo.

 

Beat blast: A park bench, fatherhood, and the pines fall

Whenever you see a park bench named for someone, there’s a story behind it. I had been wondering about who Michael Bartlett was until I met Candiya Mann, his longtime girlfriend. His name graces a green bench at Bachmann Park, the site of filming for this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast.

And yes, there’s a story behind it, as you’ll learn.

Elsewhere on the blast, you’ll find out:

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How ‘Ladies Night Out’ will take over Bremerton this Thursday;

About the meteoric rise of a new author (who’s worked at the Sun, and will appear at Liberty Bay Books in Bremerton Saturday);

The felling of towering white pines on Gregory Way;

The details of our Story Walk Saturday at Marine NAD Park. RSVP here

Questions? Comments? I love the feedback. Email josh.farley@kitsapsun.com.

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The songs they play in Bremerton each day

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At first, I naively thought I just had a staunchly patriotic neighbor, whose alarm clock would play the National Anthem each morning at 8 a.m. It was 2007 and we had just moved to Winfield Avenue in Manette. What I didn’t know was that music was coming across the Port Washington Narrows from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, which plays it each and every day.

And Bremerton residents know that isn’t the only song played for all the town to hear.

If you’re downtown, you hear the Carillon Bells from high atop the Chase Building, a tradition that dates back to the early 1970s (and even further when the bells were atop the Methodist Church on the same site).

But there’s also another tune we hear from the yard. Yes, the National Anthem is played each day at 8 a.m. But what you hear from the Yard as night falls is different.

Evening Colors,” also known as “Retreat,” “Day is Done” or “Tattoo,” is played year round as well but not at the same time, according to Shipyard Historian Cristy Gallardo.

“Everyday it’s sounded at the official sundown time, so it changes by a few minutes throughout the year,” Gallardo told me.

She points out the evening tune is not “Taps,” which now is mostly limited to military funerals and memorials.

As you might’ve guessed, the songs are programmed to play automatically through the Shipyard’s “Port Operations” post. It “doesn’t require human interaction at all,” she said. “It just does its thing.”

How far back this tradition goes is uncertain. Gallardo told me it’s been the practice at military installations since before the Civil War. She suspects that the Marines, who actually arrived before the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard opened in 1891, probably even started something given their devotion to tradition and propensity to carry a bugler.

There’s no plans to discontinue this time-honored practice, she added. Just think, if we were near an Army post, we might hear “Reveille” every morning instead.

 

COUNCIL SCORECARD: New conference center contract, a parks boost and more

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There was plenty to do at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting. The Council approved a new contract for the Kitsap Conference Center, a boost to the parks department’s maintenance staff and even accepted a $20,000 donation from the son of a fallen Council member. Here’s my full report:

Four more years for Columbia at Conference Center 

The City Council approved a nearly four-year agreement for Columbia Hospitality to continue operating the Kitsap Conference Center. Columbia has done so since the facility opened in 2004.

Columbia will be paid $7,500 monthly and receive 1.5 percent of gross revenues. That’s an increase of $500 per month.

Several Council members expressed displeasure that they didn’t have long enough to review the contract; Councilwoman Pat Sullivan mentioned that the city hasn’t competitively bid the contract for managing the conference center but said that at this point “I don’t believe we can afford to lose the momentum we have gained.”

The conference center has rarely been in the black financially (see chart). There was talk that the Great Recession and the government shutdowns of the past few years took a toll.

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Council Members Dino Davis and Leslie Daugs voted against the extension. Davis complained that the city hadn’t done its “due diligence” while Daugs wondered if the city was “subsidizing a business.”

Council President Eric Younger, in addressing that point, said few conference centers are profitable and that most are an “economic tool.” He asked Arne Bakker, the conference center’s general manager, if he was right about that.

“For a conference center this size, it’s very difficult to make money,” Bakker replied.

Columbia also manages the city’s golf course. And McCormick Woods.

Parks gets boost for boots on the ground

Readers of this blog and the Kitsap Sun know that Bremerton’s parks department has struggled to keep up with maintenance needs. The promotion of Jeff Elevado to parks director following Wyn Birkenthal’s retirement meant Elevado’s former position of recreation manager remained open.

Instead of filling it, Mayor Patty Lent’s administration chose to follow an analysis’ recent recommendations and beef up the front desk at the Sheridan Community Center — making part-time front desk staff member full time — and is adding a full time maintenance worker.

Not all Council members were happy with the move; Greg Wheeler and Leslie Daugs voted against it. Wheeler felt the position of recreation manager was important “long term,” and not filling it would be detrimental. Daugs said frankly, “I don’t like eliminating positions.”

Elevado had support from the other five members and reiterated why he’s supportive of adding staff at the maintenance level.

“Our maintenance staff is really beat up,” he said.

Arends Park?

Jack Arends, son of longtime Bremerton Councilwoman Carol Arends, gave a $20,000 check to the Bremerton Parks Foundation. His mother, who passed away earlier this year, was particularly fond of Forest Ridge Park, which she lived by for many years, he said.

Carol Arends.
Carol Arends.

He’s hopeful the Council would consider renaming Forest Ridge for his mother.

“I wanted to do what I could to honor my mother’s memory,” he said. “She loved that park.”

Jailing to continue in Forks

The Council approved unanimously continuing a contract with the Olympic Peninsula city of Forks for jail beds. Why? The city saves about 50 percent on the cost of sending someone sentenced in Bremerton Municipal Court to Forks instead of Kitsap County Jail. A bed night at Forks costs $41.45, for prisoners who have year-long sentences.

The city also contracts with Chelan for jail beds.

Car tab money gets dialed in 

Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin explained where all the money generated from $20 car tab fees will go this year. See below:

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Yes, Austin Drive is being repaved this year. Also, a new guardrail will go in where a young woman tragically died earlier this year. And finally, all those cut-up curbs on Warren Avenue and Wheaton Way were largely paid for by the state, but the city must provide some matching funds. The road, collectively known as Highway 303, will be repaved next year. The Council approved the plan unanimously.

Public path from Gorst to Kitsap Lake gets funding 

Last but not least, the Council passed unanimously, but did not discuss Wednesday, $30,000 in funding from the city forestries department to pitch in with Kitsap County for a design study of a trail spanning Otto Jarstad Park in Gorst to the south end of Kitsap Lake. It may be the start of efforts that have sputtered in the past.

Beat blast: Tony’s 50th, a whale of a mural and the case of the disappearing foil

If you’ve lived in Bremerton for a long time, chances are you have a polaroid on the wall at Tony’s Pizza. The venerable restaurant, one of the longest-running in the entire state, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

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Learn all about the restaurant and its history in this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast.

Also on the Blast, you’ll learn:

What one business did to stop drug users from constantly stealing aluminum foil;

Where Bremerton’s newest mural is taking shape;

The details of the creatively anachronistic Medieval Faire coming to Bremerton this weekend;

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What special brews Arena Sports Bar & Grille will be serving up Friday (and that you’ll never be able to taste again).

Questions? Comments? I love the feedback. Send it to josh.farley@kitsapsun.com.

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Mailbag: Free swims at the Y and manhole covers

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Here’s a question I’ve been hearing a lot lately. “I am not a member of the Bremerton YMCA, but I’ve heard you can still swim there for free periodically.”

There have been doubts cast about whether this is true, so I went to the source: Bremerton Parks Director Jeff Elevado and YMCA Director Jane Erlandsen. Both confirmed that once every quarter, local residents can use the pool for free, as part of their operating agreement (the YMCA runs the pool but the city owns it).

In fact, it’s not just the pool. Elevado told me.

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“The Bremerton YMCA provides voucher for one visit per quarter,” he said. “The visit provides full access to the Y, including the pool.”

To print out the voucher, click here.

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Felicienne Griffin-Matheson asked me recently on Facebook why there are so many manhole covers on Trenton Avenue. “If anyone has driven Trenton they know what the difference between a drunk driver and a man hole avoider is. Why is there 50+ man hole covers between 11th and Stone on Trenton? I have been wondering why for so many years!”

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Others commented that Lower Wheaton Way has a whole bunch of them too.

For the answer, I consulted Wayne Hamilton, the city’s utility operations manager. He printed maps showing the city’s network of water, sewer and stormwater pipes that snake under the road.

The short answer, Felicienne, is that the street is old and has seen a lot in its lifetime. The more elaborate answer is that, as time and development of the street has gone on, more underground utilities have been needed, and added.

Anytime one of the pipes under Trenton has needed a new branch, a manhole cover has to be added, Hamilton said. Also, anytime a pipe turns at a 45 degree angle or higher, a manhole cover must be added. The reason is that clogs in those pipes are most likely to be found at the corners, so they have to be easily accessed by crews to get them unclogged.

“If things get plugged, you want to have access to it,” he told me.

Also, the city embarked on a utility project there about 25 years ago that separated sewer flows from runoff — or stormwater — ones. The reason: each time we have a big storm and lots of rain, it overflows the city’s sewer treatment plant, causing sewage to be spilled into Puget Sound. By creating a new system for the runoff, you keep it from going to the sewer system, but you also get more utility covers on the street above.

“That all adds up to a lot of man holes,” he said.

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Several people have asked about the foundation on a plateau off Kitsap Way near Westbay Auto Parts (see picture). 

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For the answer, I asked the city’s community development department. The foundation is actually a part of the construction of a private home with a large garage. Larry Taylor, a local resident who fixes bikes as a hobby, is the applicant.

Got a question for the Bremerton Beat’s Mailbag? Send it to josh.farley@kitsapsun.com.