Monthly Archives: September 2007

Bremerton’s Rosie

Michael Moore (our Michael Moore, not the documentary guy) tells the story behind Changing Scene Theatre Northwest’s Much Ado About Nothing. This version is “Bremertonized,” taking place at the end of World War II.

“Maggie Brazelle (the daughter of cast member Derek Neigemann) was doing some research, and found out there was a song that placed Rosie the Riveter in Bremerton,” Morris said. “So we felt like we could set it locally, and our Rosie the Riveter could be working at the shipyard.”

That Rosie might be from Bremerton caught my interest. I’d pictured her in Long Beach, Calif., near where I grew up. I realize, of course, that Rosie was a symbol, but I’d not made the Bremerton connection.

This photo and the “We Can Do It!” poster appear on a National Park Service online exhibit of stories from the WWII homefront. The site indicates this photo was donated by A. Valene Couch and is from 1943 of Valene Olson, a crane operator at the Bremerton shipyar between 1942 and 1944.

Songwriter Linda Allen did, and in 1984 put Rosie in the shipyard.

I moved to Bremerton in l942
I learned to weld, I was the best one on our crew
The work was hard, the heat would burn my lungs all day
But when the paycheck came we girls would feel OK

The song comes from the album Women’s Work, Allen’s tribute to women’s contributions.

Women’s work has always been more than the jobs we do. We use our strong hands and hearts to build ships, soothe the sick, care for children in and out of our homes, to act as labor leaders, teachers and builders of peace.

Our work encompasses relationships with partners, children, grandparents and community. No less important is the work we do as spiritual seekers, keeping the vision alive.

The song itself is sad. I haven’t heard it, but read the lyrics below.

The play, however, has a happy ending, according to Moore.

As with any of Shakespeare’s comedies, there are mistaken and concealed identities, rivalries and multiple romances to contend with — all of which, somehow, end up with everyone paired off and happy.

Continue reading

Behind the Bank

Based on the comments following Tuesday’s story about Westsound Bank, some people question the truth of the core story.

To be clear, the function the company is removing is the one that sells loans to other companies, but is not giving up on lending. That’s a major part of Westsound’s business, and its president, Dave Johnson, said it will continue to be.

It may be that there’s more to the story, but it also may be that getting loans to secondary lenders will be cheaper by hiring someone else than doing it in house.

No matter what the story is, it is, as one commenter noted, a tough development for 33 people.

Legal Costs

Andrew Binion tells the story of the city’s legal battle with one of its former planners, Kenneth Lassiter.

The story began when police responded to a 911 call.

A neighbor held the telephone up in the air so even the 911 dispatcher on the other end heard some of the man’s words — in particular, those that sounded like threats to cut a woman’s throat with a knife.

Lassiter took the city to court over how its cops and legal department treated him that night, but the ongoing fight is about so much more.

Wi-Fi Speedbumps Elsewhere

According to USA Today, other cities are struggling with their Wi-Fi installations.

Plans to blanket cities across the nation with low-cost or free wireless Internet access are being delayed or abandoned because they are proving to be too costly and complicated.
Houston, San Francisco, Chicago and other cities are putting proposed Wi-Fi networks on hold.

“Wi-Fi woes everywhere you turn,” says Russell Hancock of Silicon Valley Network, a troubled Wi-Fi project for 40 towns in California’s high-tech corridor.

Bremerton’s lives on. I’m not sure what significant differences there are between what Bremerton’s doing and what these other places have attempted. Nonetheless, I’ve seen no signs of the local service going away.

Secret Pent Up Demand

Ed Friedrich has a story about the delayed addition of Wi-Fi service on the Bremerton and Southworth ferries.

Wireless Internet service on the Bremerton-Seattle ferry route has been delayed again, with the date pushed back to an ambiguous fourth quarter 2007 date to keep from further tantalizing riders.

Since I’m not a frequent commuter, I’m curious about the word “tantalizing.” Is Wi-Fi something Bremerton and Southworth riders are aching for? Is there as much pent up demand for Internet service on the boat as there appeared to be for Popeyes in Bremerton?

What’s tantalizing is the secrecy of the company installing the service.

That issue has been resolved, said Bob Davis, Parsons vice president. He couldn’t say where the antenna was placed because it is proprietary information.


It is Parsons’ policy not to disclose the number of customers have signed up, Davis said.

And let’s not forget the comment from the first paragraph:

. . . the date pushed back to an ambiguous fourth quarter 2007 date to keep from further tantalizing riders.

Yes, by all means. Parsons’ secrecy is to our benefit. Thank you. I shant question you again.

A “Little” Nostalgia

Steve Brown, the shorter one, and his cousin Scotty Lee pose outside the little store on the corner of Trenton and Stoneway in the early 1960s.

After we ran the story about The Little Store, I received the following e-mail. I asked permission to publish the letter here and requested photos. As you can see, Teresa Gillett came through.

Hi Steven,

I wanted to write to you to thank-you about doing the article on “The Little Store,” but probably not for the reason’s you are thinking of.

I grew up weekends in this store because it belonged to my Grandfather and Grandmother Jesse & May Monroe. They owned it during the time it was “just the little store.” They ran that store by themselves, 7 days a week, from early am til into the night.

Some of my earliest memories and family photos are from in front of the store during the early sixties and into the seventies They also lived there as well but it was renovated, I believe in the 90’s.

Steve Brown and his grandmother May Monroe wait outside the little store for the city bus headed downtown.

Right off the top of my head, I can’t tell you when he bought it but he had it for over 20 yrs. (Sometime in the 50’s) I learned a lot about people in that store. I also learned about kindness and tolerance and watched as my grandfather, an ex cop from Eastern Washington, took care of the neighborhood people–his people. He looked out for the whole neighborhood and gave food to those who couldn’t afford it in ways that maintained their dignity. He didn’t brag or talk about it either, that wasn’t his way, he just did it.

So many memories.

So thank-you for giving me pause and time to recount wonderful memories and moments that helped structure not only my values and beliefs, but those of my brothers and well, the people in that neighborhood and the very people who brought back the store!

Last time I went into the store, about 6 yrs ago, I felt sad for my Grandparents, my Grandpa especially because they were selling drug paraphernalia and it just made me feel incredibly sad. If you could pass this on to the new owners I would appreciate it. I live in Bremerton and one of my brother’s owns a marine hardware store in Port Townsend. He is a big Seahawks fan as well. We’d like to stop by his store and say hi.


Teresa Gillett

PS I hardly ever buy the paper anymore. But, for some reason today, I just felt like picking it up and buying it. I guess my Grandparents were feeling a little proud and wanted to share this with someone who could really appreciate the changes!

Bremerton Haiku

Over on the Speaking of South Kitsap blog they’re taking Bremerton to task, in one case because Port Orchard achieved the cultural highpoint of having a Popeyes before Bremerton.

I guess I won’t get any comeuppance until Tony Orlando returns to the Admiral.

Anyway, they’re responding with Haikus, such as:

Visit Bremerton
The view from there is quite nice
If you look beyond

C’mon Bremerton. Are you going to take that without a response? Here’s my first offering.

Bremerton new life
wanting golden symbol like
Port Orchard marquee

Give it your best Bremerton. Don’t make me be the only one to defend your honor.

Pent up Demand for Popeyes?

Quick. Who’s the new restaurant Popeyes named after?

You’re probably wrong, but then you might have guessed that just because I bothered to ask. The chain is not named after the pipe-smoking sailor with the abnormally large forearms. It is, however, named after a fictional character. Gene Hackman won an Oscar for his role as Popeye Doyle in The French Connection. Myself, I’m wondering where the name “Popeye” came from anyway, but I probably won’t find out anytime soon.

The Cajun-themed restaurant opened a location on Wheaton Way last week, adding a bright red and yellow to the street’s landscape. Most would concede that it’s better than the abandoned-building look it had prior to that.

The new Popeyes in Bremerton is drawing crowds.

We first told you in January that Popeyes was coming. The chain has had a South Kitsap location since sometime in 2006.

The chicken comes spicy or regular, but it’s the spicy that distinguishes Popeyes from its chicken neighbor up the street, KFC.

One of our editors sent me a note last week.

I went home on Wheaton Way and went by Popeyes, which apparently opened that day. When I went by (again, after 8 pm) the place was a madhouse and there were cars backed up from the drivein window all the way around the building and back out to the entrance at the street in front. A few blocks down I went past KFC. There was not a single car in the drive through and not much evidence of activity.

There must have been some huge pent up demand for Popeyes because I’ve never seen a fast food place in this town so backed up.

I drove by there around 10:30 a.m. today and shot the pictures here, and while the store wasn’t packed there was a pretty big crowd for that early in the morning. I had no idea people wanted chicken that early.

So, were you among those aching for Popeyes?

Little Store

It’s a new, old scene at the corner of Trenton and Stone (or is it Stoneway?) as former neighbors bring groceries sold in a small store back to the neighborhood.

People wishing for the success of walkable communities had better wish The Little Store does well. While it’s true that most of the items inside are designed for quick consumption, it’s also a place to get in and out of quickly when one or two are all that are necessary.

The store has had a few incarnations since opening in the 1940s, including one stint as a place to get illegal drugs, or at least the materials to make them. Now the owners are keeping it fairly simple, while planning to add barbecue and deli offerings in the future.

Time Theft

Bremerton Public Works officials believe one of their employees, Ann Lyn Beahm, stole from the city by falsifying time sheets. Her lawyer, however, argues that charging her with a felony is a bit much, even if all the accusations were true, which he says is not the case.

Sunday’s story came primarily from the Bremerton Police’s probable cause statement and attorney Clayton Longacre. Based on the police statement, Beahm’s fellow employees started keeping records of Beahm’s attendance. She does payroll for the city as well as other office duties. During a six-month period they wrote her hours on a calendar.

I don’t recall hearing of an employer taking an employee to criminal court over work time. For embezzlement they’ll do it, often to their detriment. While working for The Columbian I wrote how some employers were hiring investigators to catch people in the act of sneaking funds away from companies, then getting judgments in civil court. That way the employer gets the money back.

I checked with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and didn’t find a prosecution vs. settlement statistic specific to payroll abuse, but companies in all industries except manufacturing tend to take fraud cases to criminal court more than half the time. Payroll crime accounts for 17.8 percent of the fraud committed in small businesses and 21 percent of the fraud committed in government agencies. The dollar amounts, however, are generally smaller than in other kinds of fraud. The median payroll fraud is about $50,000.

None of the ACFE information has anything specific to do with Beahm’s case. Bremerton is accusing her of stealing about $3,800. Again it’s worth noting that she’s fighting the charges rather than settling. She said she did much of her work at home and her attorney said some of the documentation her fellow employees provided was not accurate.

Nonetheless, a couple of our readers are rushing to convict her, based on the comments I’m seeing on the story. Others are arguing, however, that what she was accused of doing is common. They’re not saying it’s right, mind you, but common.

I read comments on another blog referencing this story in which people were arguing that employers more often get employees work for free, but no one ever prosecutes them criminally for getting more work than they’re paying for.