“I came when I was called and did the best I could,” he said.
“Anybody who can look in the mirror and say that has nothing to
I have an uncle who earned a Silver Star in World War II for
what he did as American troops crossed from France into Germany.
Like many of those from that or most wars, he’s reluctant to talk
too much. I got him to share some of his stories last year, but
like Hawk, said he did what he had to do — his job.
story ran when I was out sick, so excuse my comments about it
A Bremerton school bus driver who picked up the job after he
retired so he could learn to maneuver rigs as large as the RV he
plans to use, decided to learn sign language so he could
communicate with a single student.
Although Amber Silvers, 5, has implants that help her hear, she
was born profoundly deaf, unable to perceive the sounds of her
parents’ voices or her own cries.
When Amber first boarded the bus, peering at him through
purple-framed glasses, Graden wanted to make her feel comfortable
but he didn’t know how.
Graden first learned some basics from Amber’s mother, Elaine
Silvers. Then he took classes to learn more.
“It was like he was saying she is somebody worth talking to,”
Elaine Silvers said. “It meant a lot to us.”
Two items at kitsapsun.com illustrate two local districts at
least considering following models laid out by the Bremerton School
District. In one case it demonstrates that such efforts don’t come
without some cost.
In South Kitsap the district has a $1.7 million shortfall, but
plans to add an early childhood education program called
“Ready! For Kindergarten,” using $60,000 from I-728 funding. The
district is also partnering with a new Boys & Girls Club.
In North Mason the board of commissioners
weighed adding all-day kindergarten, but the price was
increasing class sizes in grades 4, 5, and 6. Too much, it seems.
There wasn’t a formal vote, but the board appears unlikely to pass
the idea at that cost.
While the Bremerton School District still deals with a stigma of
having lower WASL test scores than neighboring districts, the
district’s move to give students a better start are getting
little but praise, so far.
Lots of papers have stories about
Washington’s population hitting 6.5 million, but the News-Tribune
in Tacoma has an
• Bremerton is the only area city to see its population decline
since 2000. Its population fell by nearly 1,500 people to
In October we had
another story about the county’s slow, but steady, population
increase. The Bremerton population decrease was given some
The biggest drop came between the 2004 and 2005 estimates, when
the population dropped from 37,520 to 34,580. In 2006, the
estimates picked back up to 35,910.
The dip, local officials say, was likely due in part to the
departure of the USS Carl Vinson and three fast-combat support
ships that were decommissioned around that time.
Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman sees the uptick in the population
of the city and surrounding areas as part of a trend that’s just
getting its legs.
“We’re starting to see the fruits of some of our labor,” he
said, commenting on the city’s efforts to increase job
opportunities. “A lot of it has to do with people’s ability to find
work and live where they work.”
Last week Ron Sher, who’s planning to redevelop the former J.C.
Penney site, said he and the Bremer Trust would hope to have the
sales agreement signed by the fall.
On Wednesday city officials said they
signed an agreement to lease parking spaces to the trust so it
can continue to meet its parking space obligations to tenants and
How significant this is in terms of the sales agreement, I don’t
yet know. I called trust officials and didn’t hear back. Sher
didn’t want to discuss details last week, but you have to consider
this to be at least one of the hurdles to overcome to get the dealt
Perhaps there’s little better evidence of healthy life choices
than almost making it to 100. Then again, I think George Burns
smoked cigars until the day he died, at 100.
Nonetheless, the woman acknowledged as Bremerton’s
most prominent “health nut” died last month at 99. On Sunday
friends and family were scheduled to have a memorial in her
“She calls me over and says, ‘I can help you get rid of that
unwanted pregnancy,’” Bruce Pregnall, 52, remembered of his first
meeting with Higgen. “She was sharp as a tack. Oh, that woman had a
sense of humor, and did a lot for the community.”
She opened a store, gave classes and sent her kids to school
with lunches that prompted their friends to tease that they were
eating “cow food.”
An assessment program that tracks children’s reading levels in
the early grades indicate Bremerton school kids are
showing marked improvement since 2002.
The kindergarten class that just ended had 92.3 percent meet or
exceed reading expectations based on the Dynamic Indicator of Basic
Early Learning Skills assessment. It’s 7.7 points away from the
ultimate goal, but it’s also 36.4 points better than the
kindergarten class of 2002 and 13.2 points better than the class of
District officials say it’s the result of increased emphasis on
early education in Bremerton.
Watch for the WASL scores later this year, because this year’s
numbers could demonstrate whether Bremerton’s efforts are beginning
to bear results.
Years ago Saturday Night Live did a skit in which a postmaster
informed the horrified masses in Beverly Hills that part of the
city would be losing its 90210 zip code and sharing one with
Apparently, some think Bremerton is comparable to Encino, which
would make Port Orchard this area’s Beverly Hills. In
Chris Henry’s story, she quotes Nicole Thomas who is moving
from East Bremerton 98312 to South Kitsap 98312.
“I just moved out of East Bremerton, and 98312 is the worst part
of Bremerton,” she said. “There’s pawn shops and paycheck loans.
There’s low-income housing. Every time you look at the Kitsap Sun,
the Code 911 is always about Bremerton. We wanted to get out of
there,” Thomas said.
She also worried that her kids would have to go to school in the
Bremerton School District and that perhaps her real estate value
would be down because it’s a Bremerton address. Alas, nothing to
worry about. Her kids can go to SK schools, where the adults just
failed another levy, where kindergarten kids are in no danger
learning Spanish and high school kids don’t have to worry about
going to a school that has too few students.
That sounds like I’m minimizing her concern. She is clearly
moving to a safer neighborhood, but mostly because it’s new and
away from activity. That it’s Port Orchard matters depending on
where. While we’ve had stories about Bremerton being the number one
violent crime city in the state per capita, Port Orchard was in the
top ten. I’m guessing your real estate agent didn’t tell you