The Bremerton Beat

If it's about Bremerton and happening now, it's on the Beat. Written by the Sun's Josh Farley.
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New bike rack goes up at Hi-Lo’s 15th Street Cafe

August 15th, 2014 by josh farley
Tom Baker installs a new bike rack Friday.

Tom Baker installs a new bike rack Friday.

Tom Baker was looking for a way to “do his part.” The Bremerton man, who works in the city’s public works department, has become an avid cyclist. After completing the Tour de Kitsap and Seattle to Portland bike rides, he felt he had to chip into the local cycle community.

He joined West Sound Cycling Club, became its secretary, and now is helping to install 13 new bike racks around Bremerton and Kitsap County. On Friday morning, he bolted a new rack near Hi-Lo’s 15th Street Cafe in Bremerton.

The racks are important, he says, to give bicyclists confidence at their destinations.

“You want to feel your bike is secure,” he said.

As the city of Bremerton constructs more bike lanes in the city, including as part of its Lower Wheaton Way and Washington Avenue projects, more racks will be needed to accommodate the additional two-wheeled riders.

“Racks encourage you to ride your bicycle,” he said. “You’re more likely to ride if you have a place to park it.”

After installing a few outside Silverdale Cyclery, the group now has nine racks left to put in, in spots anywhere from Gig Harbor to Hansville. If you have questions about the new racks, email Baker at tombaker070@gmail.com.


Sound off: The car tab projects

August 14th, 2014 by josh farley

As you may have seen in Monday’s Kitsap Sun, Bremerton officials are ramping up construction work by utilizing $900,000 or so in “Transportation Benefit District” money. That’s a wonky way of saying that $20 fee you pay on your car tabs each year to the city is getting spent.

Two roads — Trenton Avenue and Marine Drive — will get some repaving (at a cost of $475,000). But many streets throughout Manette will get something called a “chip seal,” where they lay down rock and a sealant in an effort to make the roads last longer. (That work is $178,000.)

Many roads in Bremerton are concrete, which chip sealing won’t help preserve, Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin told me. Still, even the work in Manette is an experiment, on roads that haven’t been repaired pretty much since they were laid down in the first place.

And, let’s not forget that the Lower Wheaton Way project will get $250,000 in its ongoing reconstruction between the Manette Bridge and Lebo Boulevard.

I wanted to provide a sound-off board for what you think of the choices the city made. Were the streets selected ones you’d have picked? If not, which warrant another look? It’s important to note that the car tab fees were intended to not let roads in “fair” or “average” condition get worse, not necessarily to fix the most awful of streets. But please feel free to fire away.

 

Graphic by Scripps newspapers.

Graphic by Scripps newspapers.


Carrier Constellation rumbles toward Texas

August 12th, 2014 by josh farley
The Connie departs Friday.

The Connie departs Friday.

Were you among the droves of onlookers that bid the USS Constellation farewell in Bremerton on Friday?

I know I was. I asked some polite folks at city hall if I could come to the top of the Norm Dicks Government Center and take her picture as the 61,000 ton vessel departed.

I got a lot of photos on Facebook, which I’ve displayed below. Me and my partner in crime, Ed Friedrich (the military and transportation reporter here at the Sun) will keep an eye on her journey around the tip of South America to the scrapyards of Brownsville, Texas. Ed will keep us posted on the largest ship recycling in U.S. history as well.

So far, she’s traveling past Oregon, near Coos Bay, according to marinetraffic.com. (To find her, you must find the Corbin Foss, her tugboat escort.)

Feel free to drop me a line if you caught Connie slipping out of Puget Sound, or further along the journey.

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Photo by Beth Cochran.

Photo by Beth Cochran.

 

Photo by Joanie Reynolds Pearson.

Photo by Joanie Reynolds Pearson.

 

Photo by Patrick Kerber.

Photo by Patrick Kerber.

 

Photo by Margret Mountjoy.

Photo by Margret Mountjoy.


Behind Bremerton police’s ‘High 5′ most wanted list

August 7th, 2014 by josh farley

You may have seen our recent story about how Bremerton police officers are cracking down on the most chronic criminalsHere’s an inside look at how Chief Strachan came to the conclusion the “High 5″ list was necessary.


Edible gardens galore: the tour’s on in Manette for third year

July 31st, 2014 by josh farley
The Howell family garden.

The Howell family garden in Manette.

 

One of my favorite events of the whole year in Bremerton is the Manette Edible Gardens Tour de Coop. The third annual event returns Saturday with a dozen gardens to tour, art to see and live music to listen take in — all within a (hilly) walk.

I got a sneak peak at three gardens — two of them brand new to the event — and will give you a little taste of what you’ll see on Saturday.

The Spoon family garden.

The Spoon family garden.

1. Wheaton Way’s ‘Keyhole’ Garden 

Dave and Tanya Spoon have done a lot of volunteer work in Africa for local charity Children of the Nations, and it serves to inspire their green spaces just off Wheaton Way near the Manette Bridge. The centerpiece is a “Keyhole” garden they’ve seen in their travels around East Africa. It consists of a central composting pile that, as it degrades, serves to nourish the carrots, cucumber, kale and sunflowers that encircle it.

The Spoons also have chickens, whose run actually surrounds their garden beds. The perimeter they form keeps out slugs and bugs, which the chickens eat. The couple, which has lived at the home since 1995, also has installed a rain collector, which has offset their water use by more than 80 gallons.

 

The New Life Assembly garden.

The New Life Assembly garden.

2. The Church’s ‘Square Inch’ Garden 

A 60×20 foot slab of concrete next to New Life Assembly on Ironsides has been transformed this year, for the first time, into an organic garden. Jackie Swanson, who has attended the church for six years, had the idea in January. Already, the gray concrete has been turned to green with the area covered in raised beds. All produce grown there, including a long line of upside down cherry tomato plants, is donated to the Kitsap Rescue Mission (18 pounds of snow peas was their first donation).

Other than watering, she’s been using old coffee grounds as a way to recycle them — slugs hate the grounds and they put nitrogen into the soil.

Swanson said they’ve had a lot of help from local organizations, businesses and neighbors and plans to expand the garden as far as she can. “We’re going to use every square inch,” she said.

The Howell Family Garden.

The Howell Family Garden.

3. The Grapevine Garden 

The Howell family’s Cascade Trail home endured a failed septic system after they bought the property eight years ago, and slowly they’ve morphed their once-torn up backyard into a pastoral setting complete with a grapevine-encircled garden and a line of apple trees.

Mounds of dirt behind their house revealed debris including a chair lift. But once they cleared it, they planted the beautiful grapevines and, two years ago, installed raised beds that are now filled with fruits and veggies.

Their home is featured on the tour for the first time this year, and they’ve added some new additions on the occasion — namely, a chicken coop. One of their hens, named for Professor McGonagall of the Harry Potter world, just laid the family’s first egg.

If you go

So, how do you get to see these gardens, and nine others like them? Start at the New Life Assembly parking lot, 1305 Ironsides, between 9:30 a.m and 1 p.m. (I’d go earlier rather than later.) Bring a donation ($5 is suggested and is a small price to pay) and buy some raffle tickets for local prizes if you’re feeling lucky. You’ll get a map of the garden locations and tour button and are free to trek to each on your own.

Look for artists and gardening teachers at each site. There will also be Garden Bingo, sponsored by the Kitsap Regional Library and the Kitsap Volkssporters walking club will also lead their own walk through the neighborhood.

If you’re interested in growing food in urban spaces, this tour is not to be missed.


The view over Bremerton

July 14th, 2014 by josh farley
Photo by Robert Johnston.

Photo by Robert Johnston.

Have you ever had the privilege of flying over Bremerton? Robert Johnston, a member of the Army National Guard, has. Johnston, who also works at the Shipyard, sometimes gets a chance to fly on Chinooks and Blackhawks as part of his duty.

I thought I would share his pictures here. So peaceful and beautiful our area is from the air. Don’t you agree?

Photo by Robert Johnston.

Photo by Robert Johnston.


Bremerton police investigating mysterious ‘federal agent’

July 11th, 2014 by josh farley
The badge worn by proper officers.

The badge worn by proper officers.

A few weeks back, I got a call from Bremerton resident Chris McEwen about a pretty bizarre set of circumstances. McEwen told me that while running his dog in the Grocery Outlet parking lot off Sylvan Way, he was approached by a stranger who told him he was a “federal agent making a citizen’s arrest.”

McEwen says he has a seemingly inexhaustible dog that he works out by driving, with the dog following closely behind. The mysterious man approached his car about what McEwen was doing.

It just didn’t smell right to McEwen. He asked for the man’s badge number and agency that he worked for. “That’s classified,” the man replied. When he got suspicious, he phoned 911, and the apparent “special agent” took off in a mid-90s Pontiac Grand-Am.

That was June 30. On July 4, another report came to Bremerton police’s attention: same facts, only in the area of Elm Street and Hefner Avenue on the east side.

Bremerton police officer Robbie Davis tells me that the incidents are still being investigated. I’ll keep you posted.

McEwen points out just how scary it is to have someone claiming to own a badge when, in fact, he does not. It undermines the entire system of law and could be used quite nefariously.

“We’re trained to obey civil authorities,” he told me. “When we’re told to pull over, we pull over.”

Bremerton Police Capt. Tom Wolfe reminds residents that if you’re having doubts about who’s pulling you over, don’t hesitate to call 911 and confirm that you’re being stopped by a proper officer.


Bremerton police blotter, July 2-8

July 10th, 2014 by josh farley

IMG_2429

Here’s your weekly police blotter.

Burglary, 4500 Auto Center Way: A man reported July 3 that his storage unit had been broken into, and a welder, gaming machine and lock box were missing. Police have no suspects.

Illegal camping, E. 11th Street at Trenton Avenue: Officers were called July 5 to a forested trail where a tent was found. The tent was locked but there were two suitcases nearby. Officers took them for safekeeping. The woman who owned them soon called police. She said she’d been camping there for two weeks with no problem. Officers told her she’s not allowed to camp on any public property.

Theft of liquor, 2900 Perry Avenue: A man took a bottle of vodka from Red Apple July 5; by police got there the suspect was gone.

Church burglary, 1700 Trenton Avenue: Officers were called to the New Testament Christian Church for a burglary July 5. They found a skylight had been broken to gain entry but nothing else appeared to have been taken. Police have no suspects; the investigation continues.

Warrant suspect runs, 200 Elm Street: An officer July 7 observed a man with three misdemeanor warrants for his arrest. The man ran when the officer spotted him. Police combed the area, finding him in Stephenson Canyon park. Officers told him to come out, with one saying he’d use his Taser to “(light him up) like a Christmas tree.” The man came out. He was “very compliant” after that. He was taken to the jail.

Marina trespassing, 200 First Street: Police learned a man was using the private bathrooms for boaters at the Bremerton Marina July 7. They found the man taking a shower. He said he was getting ready for drug court. He was told not to return and signed a trespass notification.

Lewd conduct, 1000 Kitsap Lake Road: Officers were called July 7 for a man lying nude on the railroad tracks. Police arrived to find him in that state of undress while engaged in sexual activity with himself. Officers told him to put on clothes and, after finding he was wanted for a probation violation, took him to jail. A bag with him was found to contain methamphetamine and related paraphernalia.

Keep the peace, 1100 Naval Avenue: An officer accompanied a woman to her ex-boyfriend’s house July 7, where she said he was keeping a “bucket” of her clothes. The man wouldn’t let them in the house. The officer then told the man he was now investigating the case as a theft. The man then let them in. The clothes weren’t discovered, but a warrant for his arrest for theft was. He was taken to the Kitsap County jail.

Theft of a truck, 6500 Kitsap Way: Officers got a call from a tree service company July 7 for a report of a stolen truck. The company has its fleet tracked with GPS and noticed one truck began moving without authorization. The truck stopped on the 5800 block of Werner Avenue. The fuel pipe had been cut and gas was taken; chain saws, vehicle batteries, strobe lights and other items were also taken. The suspect had evidently found a secret key to gain access. Police have no suspects.

Missing boy, 3100 15th Street: Police were called July 7 for a report of a missing 4-year-old boy. Officers searched the area, finding the boy in a camper. The boy said he was playing hide and seek.

Stolen iPhone, 1200 Park Avenue: A businessman reported July 8 that his iPhone was stolen while he was working. He suspected a woman that had come into use a (different) phone. Police found that woman at Evergreen-Rotary Park but she denied taking the phone. No arrests have been made in the case. The phone was deactivated.

Refusing to leave, 1500 Fifth Street: Police were called July 8 for a report of a vehicle prowl. They found a man a witness said had indeed gotten into a car on the street. The car’s owner found nothing missing. But the man walked up the steps to a nearby home, whose residents said they didn’t know him or want him at their house. Police told him to leave, and even offered him a ride to Port Orchard. He wouldn’t leave. So police still gave him a ride to Port Orchard — in the back of a patrol car to jail, for trespassing.


Inside Evergreen-Rotary Park, a memorial to a fallen officer

July 9th, 2014 by josh farley

IMG_4271

As I browsed Evergreen-Rotary Park Tuesday for an upcoming story about the new playground going in, I came upon a memorial I had not found before. It displayed the face of a man named John Masengale, an ATF special agent killed in the line of duty on May 6, 1992.

Bremerton, with its rich Navy history, is full of monuments and memorials. I’ve come to enjoy stumbling upon them. But this particular memorial, near the basketball court, was one I’d heard of before. In my years as the crime and justice reporter, I’d heard about Special Agent Masengale, and the criminal investigation that took his life.

Seven law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty in Kitsap County history. Masengale, working a clandestine explosives factory case, had helped his fellow agents serve a warrant on a Bremerton home on May 5 , 1992. The next day, while attempting to dispose of about 300 pounds of explosive materials in the Fort Lewis area, some of them ignited and Masengale was badly burned. He succumbed to his injuries.

I’d encourage you to go check out the memorial when you get a chance.


Bremerton police blotter, June 25-July 1

July 2nd, 2014 by josh farley

IMG_3284

Why was he speeding? “His boot got caught under the gas pedal,” he told police. All that and more in this week’s Bremerton Police blotter.

Trashing a hotel, 4300 Kitsap Way: Officers were called June 25 to the Quality Inn for a report of a woman being in the hotel that has previously been banned for trashing a room. Police went to the room and sure enough, it had been trashed. The woman, found by police to have possessed a glass pipe, was taken to the Kitsap County Jail for malicious mischief, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal trespassing.

Biking with a mailbox, 15th Street and Naval Avenue: An officer June 25 spotted a man biking while holding a “curb side mailbox.” The man said he’d found it and officers couldn’t find any names or addresses on it. He was let go.

Stolen car, 2700 Maple Street: A man reported to police June 25 that his Honda CRX was stolen sometime overnight. Police have no suspects.

Spitting on an officer, Callahan Drive at 16th Street: Police were called June 26 for the report of a man on the Warren Avenue Bridge with his pants down. Officers arrived to find a man matching the suspect’s description and noted he was the same guy that had warrants for his arrest for assault, harassment and theft. The officer took him into custody and began transporting him to jail, but the suspect got angry in the back of the patrol car en route, hitting his head on the partition between the front and back seats. The officer stopped to tighten his restraints and the suspect spit in the officer’s face and eyes. More officers showed up to put a “spit hood” on his head. He was jailed.

Stolen car, 3800 Wheaton Way: Officers were called to Affordable Used Cars June 27 for a report of a stolen car. Employees at the business said a spare key was in the vehicle and that they didn’t notice it was gone because they were busy. The car, a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria, looks “like a police car,” officers were told. Police are still investigating.

Stolen wings, 2900 Wheaton Way: A loss prevention officer June 27 watched as a man walked out of Albertsons with a package of chicken wings. Police were called. The loss prevention officer told police she’d gone outside to confront the suspect who stated “what” before driving away. Police continue to investigate.

Vandalism, 3200 Spruce Avenue: Several windows were broken out by rocks and vulgar graffiti written on View Ridge Elementary School June 27. Damage was estimated to be $1,000. Police have no suspects.

Stolen car, 800 10th Street: A man reported June 27 that his Hyundai Tiburon was stolen from an alley near his residence. It has a “high end” stereo and a large luggage rack on top, he told police. He had the keys and hadn’t given anyone permission to take the car, officers said. The investigation continues.

Warrant suspect resists arrest, 200 South Oyster Bay: An officer went to a home June 28 where he ultimately found a suspect wanted for a drug warrant. The woman she was visiting from Arizona but the officer realized he’d seen her before. When the officer realized she had a warrant for her arrest while checking his in-car computer, she ran away saying, “I’m not going to jail!” The officer chased her as she ran away and finally hid in a stranger’s shed. Police found her there and she continued to struggle with them but she was eventually cuffed and taken to jail. The officer asked why she lied; she said she knew she had a warrant.

Assault, 700 12th Street: Witnesses reported June 29 that a woman had been assaulted the day before by her boyfriend, who’d allegedly hit her several times with an electrical cord. She was also slapped and punched, police wrote in reports. The woman had fled from the boyfriend and police found him a short time later and arrested him.

Vehicle in a ditch, Kitsap Way at Lyle Avenue: An officer June 29 found a motorist “nosed” into a ditch. The driver said he was “being stupid” and had tried to “four wheel” it across a property. A tow truck pulled the car out of the ditch. The officer “made it clear” to the man not to come back to the property.

Yelling man, 1700 Bayview Drive West: Officers went there June 29 after a man had yelled at a neighbor for doing some weed whacking. The man had jumped the neighbor’s fence to yell at her. The officer went to talk to the man, who said he “works really hard” and had earned relaxation free from weed whacking noise. “I suggested he close his windows or get some hearing protection,” the officer said, noting to the man he’d arrest him if he went back onto the woman’s property.

Violation of an order, 4000 Bledsoe Avenue: Officers were looking for a warrant suspect June 29 and got a call he might be on Bledsoe. Officers went to the home and knocked on the door. No one came to the door. Police announced they would be using a ram to force it open. They tried but the man came to the door and surrendered. He had five warrants for his arrest and was with a person he’s prohibited from being around. He was taken to the Kitsap County Jail.

Car prowling, 1200 Pointdexter Avenue: A woman reported to police June 30 that her car was broken into in her driveway. Police noted no forced entry and the owner said it had been locked. Keys, three beers and a phone charger were taken out of the car. It’s the second time in a month keys have been stolen out of the vehicle, police noted. The investigation continues.

Man barely breathing, 2400 East Phinney Bay Drive: Police were called July 1 to a home where a man was barely breathing and not responsive. He was taken to Harrison Medical Center. A witness said the victim uses heroin, meth and other drugs and the condition maybe drug induced. There was no followup on the man’s condition.

Reckless driving, 1000 Fourth Street: An officer observed a motorist July 1 rev the engine of his car at a stop sign and then take off westbound, through the medians at Warren Avenue. The car was going over 60 mph when the officer caught up to it near Veneta Avenue. The driver said “his boot got caught under the gas pedal,” and that’s why his tires spun out. The officer didn’t buy it, and forwarded a report to the city attorney’s office recommending a charge of reckless driving. The officer stopped the driver again after the first traffic stop, finding the car had expired registration. The driver told the officer he felt like he was being harassed.

Smoking marijuana, 300 Shore Drive: An officer patrolling July 1 noticed a man sitting at a picnic table at Shore Drive’s “mini park” at East 9th Street and smelled marijuana. The officer asked for the name of the man, who had head phones on. The man eventually gave it to the officer and asked if he was free to go. The officer said no and found a “suspected marijuana flake” on the picnic table where the man had been sitting. The officer arrested the man, who was 19, for minor in possession of marijuana (state law says you must be 21 to possess marijuana). He was taken to the Kitsap County Jail.


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