Monthly Archives: March 2008

Beautifying Bremerton, One Neighborhood at a Time

photo credit

I’m usually not one to make broad statements about things I usually don’t do, except for just now.

But I usually don’t like to write blog posts about stories I already wrote. It’s a bit cheap, I think, and strays way too far toward “marketing.” Blah.

The way I see it, if you want to read a story on, you will. If you want to spend a little time kicking it with the homies here at the Bremerton Beat, I’d like to make it worth your while by serving something fresh, not just a few lame lines of reiteration.

So this entry is a bit of hypocrisy. It might read like original content, but really it’s not, it’s just a plug for this story, which is a promo for a city program that helps residents come together to beautify their ‘hood.

Beside the obvious reasons to do such a thing, aesthetics, make new friends, get that good community feeling down in your heart, it can also boost your property values. And that couldn’t hurt, especially with economists telling us we’ll be white-knuckling it for the foreseeable future.

Plus, dope dealers don’t like neighborhoods where everybody knows each other. Planting flowers may not seem like a public safety measure, but who knows?

All it takes, really, is getting together with some neighbors over the fence, or over beers, and brainstorming. Then somebody taking the five minutes to call the city (click here for the city’s Web page for the program) and figuring out the next step.

For inspiration check out this site for the Manette Neighborhood Coalition, who has been the only group to date to actually cash in. They performed a clean-up and installed a couple benches and garbage cans.

If you happen to get a project going, drop a line.

Bremerton. Represent.

Worker Deaths “Eerily Similar”

Binion here:

The death of a road construction worker Thursday is “eerily similar” to the death of Bremerton city employee Dean Westcott last August, said Bremerton Public Works Director Phil Williams.

Ricky C. Schaaf, 53, of Graham died while working on the Highway 304 improvement project Thursday afternoon when a water tanker truck backed into him. He was declared dead at the scene. He was an employee of Ceccanti, Inc., a contractor the city had signed to work on the city’s gateway project.

Westcott, 58, of Lake Symington, was killed Aug. 22 in what has been ruled an accident.

Both men were killed when a vehicle backed into them.

Williams called it “eerily similar.”

“All of us in the city family can really feel for what Ceccanti, Inc. going through,” Williams said.

The project Schaaf was working on started last summer and is due to finish by the end of this year, Williams said.

The irony, he said, is that it is a safety project, meant to reduce the outlets for side traffic on the road.

“That’s really what drove the project,” Williams said.

Washington has an average of about 87 deaths a year, according to this research abstract.

In Kitsap County in 2007 there were three workplace deaths, including Westcott.

On April 30, 2007 an apprentice lineman was electrocuted, and on Aug. 28, 2007 – six days after Westcott died – a man was killed when he fell 30 feet down a dumbwaiter shaft, according to state Department of Labor and Industries statistics.

There were no workplace deaths in Kitsap in 2006.

Is the Kitsap Peninsula Part of the Olympic Peninsula?


Is it, or isn’t it?

Is the Kitsap Peninsula (KP) part of the Olympic Peninsula (OP)? Or is the KP it’s own separate thing?

I’m of the mind that the KP is a subdivision of the OP, but I’ve done some looking, and to tell you the truth, I can see why somebody would think either way.

In the end, just like most geographic distinctions, it’s arbitrary. A construct. Without any evidence to tell us one way or the other, we just decide.

Consider the case of Greenland. It is part of North America, technically. Culturally it’s more Scandinavian – and is a self-governing Danish state – which makes it more European. Yet, to spite us all, mapmakers continue to consider it part of North America. But, then again, what do mapmakers know? They’ve been telling us Europe is a separate and distinct landmass from Asia for years.

Greenland has more in common with Iceland, which is considered part of Europe. But Greenland is closer to North America, and Iceland is closer to Europe.

But at some point we have to draw a line. In the sand. A line that you do not cross.

We can look at a map and see clearly that the KP springs from the side of the OP, much like the Quimper Peninsula (QP) and the Long Beach Peninsula (LBP), just to name a few.

Is that enough to make it the same?

The KP is bigger than the other peninsulas, it’s more intricate, and its connection to the OP is a small strip of land near the OP’s base. Not much.

On the other end the KP and the OP are connected by the Hood Canal Bridge.

Is that enough to make it different?

Let’s complicate it further.

The National Weather Service actually divides Kitsap between east and west, including Bremerton/Silverdale et al with Seattle. Shelton, Seabeck, and Hoodsport are in the “Hood Canal Zone”

Jeff Michalski, a meteorologist with the service, said the weather between the two zones is different enough to give them two distinctions. So Is the KP part of the OP?

“It’s kind of split in-between the two,” he said.

What about government agencies that serve the area? What do they think?

The Washington State Patrol lumps them all in together in a subdivision called District 8, which includes the OP, the KP, and coastal Washington down to Oregon. It’s headquarters is in Bremerton.

But start looking around and you’ll find various opinions.

At this site, a hiking guide author states unequivocally they are different. We don’t know if this is the author’s attempt to distinguish the two for would-be hikers, to reduce confusion, or as a statement of fact.

The Seattle P-I’s former Kitsap blogger, Jean Boyle, wrote (I believe) the Wiki entry that I cited earlier. Here is the whole thing.

“The Kitsap Peninsula is an arm of land that is part of the larger Olympic Peninsula in Washington state (U.S.) that lies west of Seattle across Puget Sound. Hood Canal separates Kitsap Peninsula from the rest of the Olympic Peninsula. It encompasses all of Kitsap County except Bainbridge and Blake Islands, as well as the northeastern part of Mason County and the northwestern part of Pierce County.”

I have no problem with this, and knowing now that it was created by somebody with honest intentions (not trying to win a bet by meddling with Wiki) I’m in agreement.

What do you think?

Which Way to Bremerton, Man?

Bremerton: More Hippies Than Olympia

Bremerton has made another list.

Soon we here at the Bremerton Beat might have to create a list of all the times Bremerton has been put on a list.

This time County Home magazine ranked us #22 in the country for “green living,” one notch below Salinas, Calif. and one above Duluth, Minn.

And, for the record, it’s “Bremerton/Silverdale.”

Top billing went to Corvalis, Ore., home of the Oregon State Beavers and not much else. Last on the list, #25, was Medford, Ore. (I once slept in a ditch next to I-5 in Medford, and I can tell you, I awoke feeling refreshed.)

For a list of the “also rans,” click here. It’s kind of funny the magazine lists the “best” 379 green cities. Las Vegas got #132. Is it just me, or does any list of green cities that includes Las Vegas seem a bit dubious?

Only one town in a state east of the Mississippi River was included in the Top 25, Pittsfeld, Mass. As for Washington, “Seattle metro” got #13.

“Our list comes from a formula that weighs a variety of factors key to living a more eco-friendly life,” the magazine said.

Attorney General Officials in Town Tonight

From the late breaking department:

Four officials from the state Attorney General’s Office will visit Bremerton tonight for a dinner meeting and educational seminar.

Hosted by the Puget Rental Owners Association, the officials will address eminent domain and identity theft, according to an invitation from the association.

Here’s the media release.

When: Tuesday, March 25, 2008; 6:00 PM
Where: AA China Buffet, 3583 Wheaton Way in East Bremerton.
Price: No charge for attendance
Food: If inclined to eat, approx. $10.00 + tip for the a full course Chinese Buffet


Janelle Guthrie, AGO Communications Director;
Tim Ford, AGO Open Government Ombudsman;
Mary Gould and Lisa Hanna, AGO Consumer Protection Division.

Subjects :
1. Confiscation of private property for public use (Eminent Domain) – fair market value of confiscated property; notification requirements; purposes for which eminent domain can be used; blighted property and eminent domain; US Supreme Court decisions in Connecticut and its outfall; Sound Transit acquisition in Pierce County; private sector ventures and the public good; what the state legislators have done in response to the US Supreme Court decision; what the Attorney General (Rob McKenna) has done or proposed on this subject, etc.

2. Identity (ID) Theft – who is being affected/targeted; when do you know; what to do; credit freezes; jurisdictional issues among different states; reporting, to who; local jurisdictional issues in taking reports; how do you protect yourself, etc.

You are all invited to attend and participate in this educational forum.
Dinner and discussion is generally about two + hours….

Reinventing Westpark

In the beginning …

Westpark redevelopment is chugging along, despite missing out on a $20 million federal grant. Residents are preparing for the big move away. (Read the story here for more information)

While working on the story I was struck by the long history of the housing project.

For a history lesson, click this. It is a brief rundown on how Bremerton’s housing project came to be.

America, Mayor Bozeman; Mayor Bozeman, America


Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman made an appearance on the NBC News last night, giving America a face for the name, BREMERTON, the jewel of the Olympic Peninsula.

(Aberdeen? Please. Sequim? Bring a book. Port Angeles? Port Wha? Port Townsend? Not unless you like drum circles.)

Click here to go to the Kitsap Caucus and watch the segment.

The segment was about the lagging condo market and how a flagging real estate market could hinder the ability of up-and-coming cities to inject some life into their downtowns. Mentioned often was the surplus of luxury units on the waterfront.

Also featured was the elusive Mark Goldberg, the developer of The 400 who has plans to keep building condos on the waterfront and who has been neglecting to return calls from Kitsap Sun reporters. Goldberg apparently couldn’t pass on the chance to get on national television.

Poor Old Bridge

manette bridge.jpg

The Opening Day of The Manette Bridge

There are a few things that scream Bremerton

First, is the shift change whistle at the shipyard. It literally screams

As for images, the Hammerhead crane comes to mind.

Other than that, it’s got to be the bridge.

The poor, old Manette Bridge.

Like people later in life slow down and stop doing yard work and changing their own oil, the state Department of Transportation will implement weight restrictions on the Manette Bridge next week. (Read the story here)

Described as “both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete” by DOT, construction on a new bridge will begin in summer 2010 and will be finished 2012. (Read the DOT project page here)

The new bridge will no doubt be safer, provide more space for pedestrians and bicyclists and inspire less anxiety in those passing over Port Washington Narrows.

But chances are the new bridge will inspire less in general. It’s more than a bridge, but a link to the past, to a different time, back when Bremerton was a bustling port city and Seattle was a working class town.

Ploy Studios, the T-shirt shop/art gallery in downtown, has been producing striking T-shirts with the image of the bridge.

Ploy Co-owner Michael Abegg said even when the old bridge goes the way of affordable rent the shop will continue to produce the shirts.

“That’s what everyone remembers,” Abegg said. “You always see it coming to Bremerton.”

Abegg even remembers it as the first bridge he drove over when he learned to drive.

For more info on Ploy Studios, click here.

Memorial Service For Michele Burton

michelle burton.jpg

Michele Lee Burton
1971 – 2008

A “moment of blessing” for Michele Burton will be held near Bremerton next Wednesday, March 26 at 1 p.m.

The service will be held at the 4400 block of Panther Lake Road, according to the Bremerton Ministerial Association Web site.

A woman has been charged for Burton’s death.

The public is invited and clergy are requested to vest if possible, the site said. The service will be held outdoors.

Sir, You Dropped Your Brick

broken window.jpg

The sad story of several innocent windows being broke has certainly stirred passions.

And attracted attention.

For those of you who struggle to muster the energy to care about local news, you may recall last month a self-styled anti-capitalist tossed some bricks through some bank windows. Click here to read the story.

There are still those who are milking this act of terrorism for humor, including me.

But this fella is actually funny, unlike me. In this blog post he suggests alternative notes to include on the bricks. So this May Day, when you and your family are preparing to stick it to the man, keep his suggestions in mind.

The fella is a supporter of the brick thrower, and says so.

1. Look, I read the financial reports, its not as if you’ll be standing here a long time anyway…
2. I’ll turn myself in as soon as the attorney general I appointed charges me.
3. I would appreciate it if you would ignore this brick just like you ignore impeachment and a million dead iraqis.
4. Hey, I tried voting…
5. If life was fair, I’d get a parade and you would be locked up for usury you bankin’ bitches…
6. Hey, you said you wanted the house back because I couldn’t pay the mortgage…
7. Redline this!
8. And I’m not too thrilled with the insurance industry, either.
9. There might be some anonymous people out here who aren’t just only upset about scientology. Just sayin’…
10. This is in no way a modern day cointelpro psyop meant to trigger massive detention camp arrests, followed by subsequent rioting and thereby a legitimate “shock doctrine” excuse to cancel elections and permanently keep Bush in power. But if you need more explanation call me at NSA headquarters, across the street from the book deposity and remember the codename is “Operation Grand Slam”.
11. I’ll have you know that despite this latest attack against the evil institutions of the state I still have more respect for the law than the current president of the United States. I mean, at least I haven’t killed anybody, yet.