In the bushes of Bremerton, a family mystery emerges

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Last fall, a Bremerton couple made an unusual discovery within the hedge along their driveway: numerous vintage film reels in varying shapes and sizes. 

Most of the reels contain clues to their owners: “Nov. 71, Becky’s 6th birthday,” “Florida Vacation, 1959-60,” or “Ostrander Picnic 1963.” But beyond that, it’s hard to know who they belong to — unless the owner were to recognize them.

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Bremerton Police Officer Jeff Schaefer responded to the 600 block of Roosevelt Avenue last September to collect them from the curious couple. He believes they may have been discarded there by a thief who’d broken into a nearby home, but he can’t say for certain.

He’s since tried to find the owners, but has realized that without getting word out to the masses, the reels may just end up collecting dust in the department’s evidence room.

“I knew that when the reporting party turned these reels over to me, they were someone’s family treasures,” Schaefer said. 

Schaefer says the discovery was one of the most intriguing of his career.

“Ever since I took custody of them, it’s been very important to me that I do all I can to get them back to their owner,” he said.

I’ve posted more photos below in the hopes that they’ll jog someone’s memory. Schaefer hopes so too.

“It would be my hope that someone out there would recognize the names or the events printed on the reel cans and be able to claim them,” he said. “I know that I would be elated if I had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of my family history like these films will for someone out there.” 

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Beat blast: puppets, a buffet and a new bakery

Got a quarter? You can make it stretch for half a minute or so at the Valentinetti Puppet Museum on Fourth Street. There, a rare machine will wind to life — complete with 15 dancing puppets — as you’ll see in this latest edition of the Bremerton Beat Blast.

What else is going on?

Questions or comments? I love the feedback. Write me at

A beautiful fog rolled up the Port Washington Narrows this morning.
A beautiful fog rolled up the Port Washington Narrows this morning.

Quincy Jones still speaks fondly of his Bremerton roots

Jones on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Jones on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

You can make a convincing argument that Quincy Jones is the biggest name ever to come out of Bremerton. The legendary musician and producer spent his teenage years here, and, most notably, discovered music on the shores of Sinclair Inlet.

Though born in Chicago, Jones’ family moved to Bremerton in 1943. I always enjoy hearing him tell stories about the city, and he did so most recently on CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

In the interview, the host asked Jones — winner of 27 Grammy Awards — about the first instrument he ever played. Jones mildly exasperated Colbert by avoiding answering that question for some time, instead focusing on his “gangster” youth. But Jones does indeed get to his Bremerton days.

“What happened was … we wanted to be baby gangsters and like, rule Bremerton,” Jones said. “It was Bremerton, Washington.”

What I find delightful is he just says Bremerton, like everyone knows what he’s talking about. He quickly elaborates that it’s a city within Washington. But I think it speaks to his roots here, that even beyond his time in Seattle, Chicago and elsewhere, he would still mention our city without a state attached to it, given his familiarity and memories of the place.

He goes on to tell the story of being in an armory here where there was rumors of lemon meringue pie and ice cream cones, which he and his “gangster” friends promptly ate upon discovering them.   

“That sounds like gangster work my friend,” Colbert jokes.

They also broke into all the offices inside. He mentions a Mrs. Arends by name, and it was inside her supervisors’ office that he found a piano.

“I didn’t know human beings played instruments,” he told Colbert.

“I touched it,” he said, “And every cell in my body said this is what you’re gonna do the rest of your life.”

Though he went to Coontz Junior High School near downtown, he studied music with band teacher Ron Gillespie, future Bremerton High School principal, at Dewey Junior High School (where Mountain View Middle School sits today). He would ultimately graduate from Garfield High School in 1950, according to Sun archives.

And the rest is history.

Watch the entire interview below:

Beat Blast: 5 things to know in Bremerton this week

What will become of the Warren Avenue Bridge? On Thursday, city officials are inviting residents to come talk about the 1958-built span’s future. Get filled in on those possibilities, along with these stories, in your weekly Bremerton Beat Blast:

old KFC

Where is the newest Coffee Oasis going?

Who tendered his resignation to the city this week?

What arcade will open in Bremerton within the next month?

What new video campaign is Mayor Patty Lent pushing?

Be sure to send me some feedback at


Mayor’s ‘Move to Bremerton’ campaign up and running

Move over, MxPx. Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent has started a “Move to Bremerton” campaign of her own.

The mayor hired filmmaker Mike Barnet for $5,000 to create videos promoting the city, particularly its downtown and incoming apartment units. She says in the video that 400 to 500 units could open in Bremerton in the next few years. (By my own count, 315 are projects that are a go, with more in the planning stages.)

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Footage from the video.

Her economic pitch:

“They are twice the size that the pod apartments in Seattle and across the water (are), and half the price,” Lent says.

She also talks up the city’s World War II-era housing stock, saying “sturdy” homes make “great fixer-uppers” for young families. It’s an “old city with a new look,” that’s pedestrian-friendly, she says. And there’s no comparison between an I-5 commute, and a “much more relaxing,” ” fun,” “and a beautiful ride,” the ferries provide.

“We invite you all to come live in Bremerton,” she concludes.

Lent told me Friday that she’s hopeful that some employees of Seattle’s biggest companies will want to move to town, and that if enough of them come, the Boeings and the Microsofts will even want to pay for faster ferry service to Seattle.

Check out the other videos Barnet has made here.

Oh, and, let’s give credit where credit’s due, to the original “Move to Bremerton” campaign:

Beat blast: 5 things happening around town this week

This week, it’s time for you to meet to Anima. I’ll give you a hint: she lives downtown. In just four minutes, you’ll be properly introduced, and up on all the news in Bremerton, including:


The women’s comedy film festival coming to Bremerton

The new public art going up at intersections

The downtown Bremerton building that’s for sale 

The big meeting coming up over the bark park 

The lawn-troversy at 11th and Warren

And, as a bonus, tell me what you think of Anima! Shoot me a note at


The evolution of the Evergreen Park neighborhood

Photo by Patrick Kerber.
Photo by Patrick Kerber.

Despite a relentless rain shower, we had one heck of a turnout for Saturday’s Story Walk of Evergreen-Rotary Park. The park — and the neighborhood around it — is changing rapidly. Here’s a rundown of all the things we learned Saturday:

The park — back then just the 11.5 acres closest to Park Avenue — was leased to the city by Warren Smith in 1901, and formally became a park in 1908 or 1909.

The old pavilion at Evergreen.
The old pavilion at Evergreen.

An early pavilion constructed there was known as a “blind pig” and “bawdy house” due to the drinking and other debauchery that took place there.

The city’s first power plant was a lumber mill that existed near Smith Cove. The lumber mill’s operators would burn refuse that would operate a primitive turbine that generated power.

The park had campgrounds following World War I; during the war years, it was taken over by the federal government for training and housing military personnel.

The Bremerton Memorial Swimming Pool was constructed there (outdoors) in 1953, thanks to an $80,000 donation from the Lions Club. It would remain open until an indoor pool was built in East Bremerton in 1979.

Photo by Patrick Kerber. Thanks, Patrick!
Photo by Patrick Kerber. Thanks, Patrick!

The “other side” of the park — where the 9/11 Memorial exists now — was once an industrial zone. Steam laundries, coal and gravel bunkers, and bulk oil storage abounded. One of the oil tanks was actually an old submarine torpedo boat once known as the USS Fox. It would take years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, to cleanup the area, to include the Chevron site.

In recent years, the park has seen a number of improvements. The 9/11 memorial was completed in 2013 with private funding. The All-Accessible Playground was completed in 2014 with a combined $523,000 in grants and private funding. This year, close to a half-million dollars is going to revamp the boat ramp and launch, a combined project by the state, Port of Bremerton and city.

Trish Williams, developer of the Evergreen-Pointe Apartments near the park on Sheldon Boulevard, was on hand Saturday to answer questions. Her project, which she says will start “going vertical” in the late spring, will have a 95 unit complex and a smaller 14 unit one off Sheldon Boulevard. Williams said she’s working with the city to establish a public walking path through the middle of the project.

Evergreen Pointe apartments rendering.

Williams also touched on some retail possibilities in those spaces she’s constructing, to include a wine bar, bike store and donut shop.

The Quonset Hut on 13th Street near the park continues to develop as Saboteur Bakery (which also just opened a location downtown).

The city’s Washington Avenue reconstruction contractor, RV Associates, continues to mend the two sides of what will now be a larger park together. Thanks to shutting down a beach sewer line, crews have been able to remove a sewer pump station, roadway and power lines. In their place will be more grassland, walking pathways and a way to relax and enjoy the waterfront.

Photo by Patrick Kerber.
Photo by Patrick Kerber.

Inside Honor Bar, where we warmed up following the rainy walk, Chef and Owner Alan Davis explained why he and his wife Jodi opened the restaurant in Bremerton — and also gave an overview of Paella (as he makes a crazy good version of it).

Also, a special thanks to CJ’s Evergreen General Store for giving us a starting point for the walk.

And as for that rock with the face on it? We couldn’t find it Saturday, but here’s the story about it.

Thanks to all who attended!


Saboteur Bakery to open Fourth Street location

The new home of Saboteur Bakery.

We won’t have to wait for Bremerton’s newest bakery to open in its destined space near Evergreen-Rotary Park. Matt Tinder, the acclaimed baker behind Saboteur, confirmed to me this week that he’s opening up a retail space at 245 Fourth Street, in the heart of downtown.

Tinder said he’s excited to open as soon as Feb. 1 in his first permanent space in Bremerton.

“I can’t just be doing popups,” Tinder told me. “I want to start doing something more than that.”

Tinder and his fiancee Kate Giuggo will share a space with Envy-Fit, the pole dancing studio run by Adrienne McLaughlin. Classes will still be held there toward the back of the building, with Saboteur occupying the front. Patrons can look forward to “a nice mixture of pastries” and bread, to include bagels and croissants. The product will be mostly “savory and healthy,” he said. They’ll also serve up coffee.

The couple really likes Fourth Street, to include new brewery Wobbly Hopps and the iconic Roxy Theater. Tinder, who grew up on Kauai, recalls fondly a Roxy theater there too, that has sadly since been demolished.

The couple’s longterm plans are to move in to the Quonset hut off 13th Street near Evergreen-Rotary Park. But it will take some time to remodel the steel drum-shaped structure and, as Tinder said, they’re eager to get going. Currently, he’s baking at a facility in Redmond for the pop-ups he’s been hosting — a daunting commute.


It’s going to get a lot shorter. Tinder plans to bake at Evergreen Kitchen just down the street.

And even when the Quonset hut has been transformed into a commercial bakery, Saboteur would like to stay downtown. He sees an emergence of nightlife on the street and is contemplating cooking up pizzas to satisfy nighttime appetites.

If you can’t wait ’til February you’ll want to be at LoveCraft Brewing Company, 275 Fifth Street, at 4 p.m. Saturday. Saboteur will open a pop-up there at that time. I’ll be near downtown for my monthly Story Walk and plan to stop by. Hope to see you there.

In Bremerton, a license to cat?

Grover in unlicensed times.

I must admit, I was feeling some guilt at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting. On the agenda was a new contract for service with the Kitsap Humane Society, part of which included a new “lifetime” license for cats and dogs. Owners of such pets are required to have them licensed each year.

And then it hit me. I had become a scofflaw.

My wife and I adopted Grover, our precious 007-like tuxedo cat, from the humane society in 2009. The organization was a different place then; our cat was sleeping in a litter box when we came upon him. Euthanasia rates, now at 2.5 percent, were closer to 50 percent back in those days. But I recall walking out the door with our new kitty, having licensed him for a nominal fee.

Kitsap Humane Society Executive Director Eric Stevens explained to the Council Wednesday that a new “lifetime” fee — $25 for cats and $45 for dogs — would make it easier for pet owners by eliminating a $12.50 annual fee for dogs and $7.50 for cats.

I hadn’t paid for our license since that fateful day we adopted our kitty. I didn’t know it but I was skirting the law!

Upon hearing the news, Grover — who we named for America’s 22nd and 24th president — just gave me a blank stare. I tried to convince him this was a big deal, but he wasn’t interested in much else other than a tummy rub.

My cat’s lackadaisical attitude made me wonder: what good is a pet license for him, anyway? And how many other pet owners out there had also failed to keep up their licenses?

Hiding in plain sight.
Hiding in plain sight.

First, take the number of cats and dogs that reside in Bremerton. While impossible to quantify exactly, Stevens said most communities average two pets per household. Thus, with 26,000 households, that puts our pet population somewhere around 52,000.

Roughly five to 10 percent of those are licensed.

“So we’ve got a little way to go on our licensing?” Councilman Dino Davis asked Stevens on Wednesday.

Stevens said that 820 licenses were issued for Bremerton pets in 2015, an increase of 63 percent. That’s still a far cry from covering all pets in the city, he acknowledged, but he anticipates the number rising higher with the new “lifetime” option. Plus, more people are choosing to adopt from shelters, and animals that leave there must be licensed, he added.

But what’s the point? Stevens said licensing makes it easier to return pets to their rightful owners if they get lost. He called it a kind of “insurance policy.”

The Council approved Wednesday a new contract with the humane society to handle animal control services. The contract, which goes through 2020, increases two percent each year, from $202,000 to almost $219,000 annually.

Licensing revenues go to the humane society, not the city. You can register your pet online here. I know I plan to get Grover properly licensed — and back within the confines of the law — myself.

Beat blast: 5 things you’ve gotta know in Bremerton this week

Leading off this week’s blast are the ongoing changes happening in the Evergreen-Rotary Park neighborhood. Hope you can join us this Saturday at 1 p.m. for our latest Story Walk there; if not, here’s my weekly newscast to get you up to speed on the goings-on in town. Among them:

1. The evolution at Evergreen-Rotary Park
2. Don’t leave Lebo Boulevard in limbo
3. Bremerton Marina’s numbers are up
4. The school district’s February levy
5. The Stennis has pulled out of Bremerton

Questions or comments? I love them. Send them my way!