Monthly Archives: January 2015

Fences and street lights come to Lower Wheaton Way

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You may have noticed the two cyclone fences that were added to Lower Wheaton Way recently, as part of the city’s $3.4 million improvement project there. The fences were added at East 16th Street and where the road crosses Schley Canyon (pictured).

This week, the project’s prettiest feature will begin to be installed: the road will be dotted with 30 foot tall decorative street lamps that look a bit like the ones on the Manette Bridge.

UPDATE, Jan. 15: The lampposts have been delayed again due to a late shipment from a supplier. They’re estimated to be installed now sometime after Jan. 22.

The project, which began late last spring, has installed a behemoth of a sidewalk down one side of the road (and a smaller one on the other side) to go with other pedestrian improvements. In the spring, the stretch will get paved as temperatures warm and bike lanes will be installed.

The goal of the project is to further solidify the city’s Bridge to Bridge trail concept.

Here’s how I characterized all the work getting done in an earlier story. Most all of this work has been completed, unless otherwise noted:

— A new sidewalk will be added on the eastern side, along with crosswalks at 18th and Schley Boulevard (to go with the existing one at 14th). The crosswalk at 18th will include flashing yellow lights to warn motorists of a pedestrian crossing. Work on the sidewalks is expected to begin in mid-August, though the city has scheduled earlier work on portions outside a select number of businesses along the stretch to be less disruptive to them. Work on both sidewalks will begin in August.

— Lights on the corridor will more than double to 37 from 17. They’ll be 30 feet tall, decorative — similar to the ones on the Manette Bridge — and come with LED lights. They won’t be installed until October January, late in the project.

— A new intersection will be built where Lower Wheaton meets Cherry Avenue and Lebo Boulevard, near Harrison Medical Center. The traffic light there will be deactivated Friday and converted to a four-way stop. Additional intersection work won’t take place until August.

— Lower Wheaton’s two intersections with Winfield Avenue and 14th Street will become one. Winfield and 14th will merge together and form a new roadway that will cut a small triangular park in half where it meets Lower Wheaton. The idea is to make it so Lower Wheaton pedestrians and bicyclists only have to cross one intersection, not two. The former road ends of Winfield and 14th will be landscaped with trees. That work is slated to begin in August.

— Like the intersection above, the one where 18th Street and Marlow Avenue come into Lower Wheaton also creates a triangular green space. Instead of making a new road, 18th will be reshaped toward the south to meet Lower Wheaton perpendicularly, and Marlow, between Lower Wheaton and 18th, will be closed. That work, too, will start in August.

— Much work will occur underground as well. Pipes that connect to the city’s sewer main that runs under the road will be replaced, though only a 50-foot portion of the main itself, near 14th Street, will be replaced. That work likely will occur in July.

— The road’s water main will largely be untouched, determined to have much useful life left in it. But crews will be installing one new portion of the main, near the intersection with 14th, this summer as part of a separate project.

— New stormwater catch basins will be added to Lower Wheaton, between the Manette Bridge and 16th Street, to give the road better drainage. That work begins immediately. Once it’s complete, crews will move to the other end of the project and install a new 650-foot stormwater main at Lower Wheaton’s intersection with Campbell Way, also to improve drainage.

— Paving the road surface is slated for October Spring 2015.

Bremerton police blotter, Jan. 1-10

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Welcome to the first police blotter of 2015. One of my new year’s resolutions is to bring you the blotter each week, without fail. But enough about promises; here’s the latest on the Bremerton crime front.

Let’s start with some trends.

Lower Marine Drive: thieves have really been targeting the road lately. Since Dec. 4, eight vehicle prowls have been reported there, with three coming on one day (Dec. 14) alone. The latest one was Jan. 7.

Bremerton YMCA: In case you missed it, we reported this past week that three cars had been stolen from the fitness center since Dec. 15 (though all three vehicles were quickly found nearby) and a total of six cars had been prowled in that time. This does not appear unique to Bremerton, however, with thefts being reported from athletic facilities all over Kitsap County.

I’ve been hearing of some break-ins and thefts in the downtown area recently too, including a burglary of tools at the site of the Salvation Army expansion just before New Years Eve. I spoke with Bremerton Police Detective Crystal Gray about the case; she said it’s still under investigation. Anyone with information can call detectives at (360) 473-5228.

Here’s a few incidents to tell you about:

Vehicle prowling, 2500 Burwell Street: A man parked his van at the Burwell 76 station Dec. 26 and when he returned, he found his electrician tool bag gone from the van. It contained about $600 worth of tools. Police have no suspects.

Malicious mischief, 1300 Elizabeth Avenue: A woman reported Jan. 1 that someone had spray-painted “move it” on her vehicle. Police are still investigating.

Vehicle theft, 600 Washington Avenue: A man reported that his wife’s car, a Nissan Sentra, was stolen around 2 p.m. Jan. 2. The woman had only gone inside a nearby residence for 10 minutes when it was taken. Police are still investigating.

Theft from residence, 1700 Sixth Street: Police said a Tacoma man staying at a residence on the block may have taken $400 in change, some small electronics and 20 grams of medical marijuana from the home’s other residents on Jan. 1. Some neighbors said the man had tried to sell them pot after the theft. Police are still investigating the case.

Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan described this fraud case in his recent weekly update:

This week, Officer Jacob Switzer had been following up on a complex case started by Officer Chris Faidley.  The suspect in this investigation had stolen a debit card from the victim, who is a resident of a convalescent center.  The guy had depleted much of her savings with over thirty transactions totaling just over $3400 in a period of three weeks.   Officer Faidley had been able to identify the suspect from surveillance photos.  We did not have a current address for the suspect, but Officer Switzer began checking social media and determined the suspect is connected to a local organization.  He went to the location and found the suspect.  An interview was conducted and the man was booked into jail for Theft and Possession of Stolen Property.  Officer Switzer also got enough information to charge the man on a fraud case handled by the Sheriff’s Office in which the victim is the man’s girlfriend.  Not sure who is going to visit this guy in jail…

And finally, here’s the police department’s “High 5” list of wanted criminals and “Filthy 3” for houses. Have a good week.

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The road that divides Evergreen

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Highland Avenue, which runs downtown from Sixth Street before snaking its way down and through Evergreen-Rotary Park, may soon get a lopping.

I snapped this picture (above) from the Warren Avenue Bridge this morning. It gives the perspective as to how Highland Avenue pretty much cuts the park in two, from its new addition on the left, to the old portion, on the right.  (You can see the beams of the Kitsap 9/11 memorial too.)

Under a plan proposed by city officials that I wrote about in the Kitsap Sun today, Highland would be taken out and truncated at 13th Street. Why? Because that little red building in the photo, a sewer pump station, is going away. An old sewer line running along the beach will be abandoned, replaced by one running under city streets (including Highland Avenue).

For more about the history of the park’s new half, click here.

Harold T. Lebo: the man behind the East Bremerton boulevard

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Q: Who is Lebo Boulevard in East Bremerton named after? 

A: Harold T. Lebo (1892-1990), a Tacoma native who owned and operated furniture stores around Puget Sound, including in Bremerton.

Bloggers note: In November 2015, the city was awarded nearly $5 million to reconstruct Lebo Boulevard between Lower Wheaton Way and the northern city limits past Lions Park. This entry is a historical post about the man the road is named after.

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Joan Derry, Lebo’s granddaughter, has been seeking information about him and has come across some wonderful Bremerton history. Lebo, a World War II veteran, and his wife, Wilda “Billie” Sarah Mildred Smith, had seven acres off Tracyton Beach Boulevard, Derry says. They came to Bremerton in 1936.

The Bremerton store he owned, called Kaufman Lebo Furniture, moved from the 200 block of Fourth Street out to Wheaton Way. I’ve attached the Bremerton Sun article showing the move, below.

But there’s still a bit of a mystery: why was the boulevard named for Lebo? Derry says he’d made some substantial donations to charity, including to Harrison. And Lions Park was at one time named Lebo Field, too, which appears tied to him as well.

Derry is also seeking additional information about her grandfather. If you have some you’d like to share, email her at reflex8@comcast.net. Email me too at jfarley@kitsapsun.com and I will post an update.

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PHOTOS: A peek inside the squalor of Old East High School

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It’s been about seven years since kids last took their seats to learn at the old Bremerton Junior High and East High School campus off Wheaton Way. To put it plainly, the school’s in really bad shape, as we documented in a story in the Jan. 1 Kitsap Sun.

To me, it appeared to be a kind of Chernobyl, where, minus a nuclear disaster, school could still be in session, minus its years of decay.

Organizers of the Youth Wellness Campus need about $5 million to tear down 125,000 square feet of the old school, built in the 1950s. It is now routinely vandalized, broken into and even set ablaze from time to time.

Meanwhile, the other side of the property — including its storied, air hangar-like gym — is being remodeled and will be included in the new campus.

For now, here’s a look around.

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The gym will remain.

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As will the weight room next to the gym, those this bulldog is going to soon be painted over.

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Shoulder pads from football practices years ago remain stacked in a closet.

 

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The old boiler.


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Scenes from the courtyard.

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Remember pay phones? Neither do I.