Monthly Archives: March 2016

County’s first ‘fiber-service’ coming to Bremerton

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The county’s first large-scale fiber-optic Internet service is coming to Bremerton. 

Or, as you can see from the map above, pockets of it. CenturyLink recently informed city officials of a summer project to extend fiber-optic lines throughout many areas of West Bremerton and Manette.

While fiber-optic cable forms the backbone, or “trunk” lines of Kitsap County’s high-speed network, it’s not been delivered to neighborhoods in Kitsap before, according to Paul Avis, Superintendent of Telecom for the Kitsap Public Utilities District. Avis applauded their efforts as an improvement for the city’s residents.

“From the PUD’s standpoint, it’s outstanding,” he said.

Many other companies, including CenturyLink and Comcast, have been operating on copper cable or telephone lines. The result can be slower service. CenturyLink has been mailing postcards to some city residents boasting of speeds of up to one gigabyte fiber Internet service.

In terms of delivery, Avis uses a water utility analogy. A two-inch water pipe and a 10-inch water pipe will have the same pressure. But once multiple users begin to consume, 10 inches goes a lot further than two.

Of the improvements, a company spokeswoman would only tell me this: “CenturyLink is working on plans to extend  fiber services to thousands of homes in the Bremerton area. We hope to make those services available to customers at the end of 2016.” No word yet on what that home service will cost. I’ll keep you posted as I find out more. 

Beat blast: The ads of yesteryear, the ‘compass’ intersection and loads of flowers

The more things change, the more they stay the same. A World War I-era advertisement featured at the Kitsap History Museum  claims “your government has warned — of a necessity for purchasing a winter fuel supply now.”  And of course, there’s the names of vendors right below the ad to help you in the right direction!

Yes, many of the advertisements featured in “Your Ad Here,” an exhibit currently showing at the museum, showcase the technologies and skills of their time, but the strategies used seem similar to today, don’t they?

The history museum is also hosting a scavenger hunt this Friday — and the entire museum is open to the public free of charge, all day, including for art walk that night. (It’s normally $4 for adults.)

The museum is located at 280 Fourth Street.

Also in this week’s blast:


A consultant is recommending that the managers at the parks department no longer clean toilets;

The city says it is not OK to cross that compass at Fourth and Park “diagonally;”

Bremerton’s famous, burgeoning baker needs help to buy equipment;

Springtime in Bremerton means gorgeous pictures and video.

Feedback? Yes, please. Reach me at

In defense of a bathroom ribbon cutting

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Yes, there was a ribbon cutting at a new bathroom at Gold Mountain Golf Club. No, I did not go. Reporters don’t generally get too excited about such PR events; they’re often a political photo-op about a subject we’ve already covered.

In this case, I have to admit that cutting a ribbon — well, in this case, cutting toilet paper — seemed subpar for the course as ribbon cuttings go (pun intended). But several city leaders told me this was not just any bathroom.

Daryl Matheny, general manager of the club, said in an email that replacement of the old bathroom was “LONG overdue.”

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“The new bathroom has been a long time coming, and yes there are many golfers out here (as well as my entire team) who are extremely excited about our new edition,” he said.

The city actually put a contract out for the bathroom replacement; bids came in more than double what the city estimated it would cost. So the city constructed the new loo in-house for about $36,000, according to interim parks director Jeff Elevado.

That’s not the only improvement at Bremerton’s municipal golf complex. Gold Mountain’s also adding a new outdoor wedding venue in time for summer and extending the 5th hole on the Cascade course to make it a par 5, Matheny told me.

Gold Mountain, which is managed by Columbia Hospitality, is known as one of the premier clubs in the northwest but is still saddled with a heavy debt load of around $5 million.

As for the bathroom: I’m told that several golfers were happy to christen the new restroom upon the completion of the ribbon cutting. OK, I’ll stop now.


Beat blast: Sushi, donuts and some towering white pines

It’s one thing to just miss the 10:30 p.m. ferry sailing to Bremerton from Seattle, knowing you’re in for a two hour, twenty minute wait. But it’s entirely another to get there on time and be told a rather empty vessel can’t take any more passengers.

That’s exactly what Danielle Maloni encountered this past weekend. Because there’s only one ferry traversing Rich Passage at that time, the Coast Guard cuts drastically the vessel’s capacity on those late runs, as Ed Friedrich found out.


That’s just the tip of the iceberg in this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast.

You’ll also learn:

Where you can get sushi in downtown Bremerton;

What four massive pine trees the city soon plans to chop down;

A place to soon find donuts on the westside of town;

A notorious city property that finds itself once again full of litter.

In one other news item, the Evergreen-Rotary Park boat launch was declared open for business last week. Here’s footage from the ribbon-cutting.

Questions or comments? By all means, that’s what I am here for. Send them to

Story Walk: the persisting Illahee Preserve

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Photo by Steve Fisher.

The most important thing about the Illahee Preserve in Mike Taylor’s mind? “Simply that it persists,” he said.

Passersby of the more than 500-acre forest off Highway 303 might assume its enduring legacy is secured. Not so. For much of Taylor’s life, he’s watched the land be logged, used as a garbage dump and as a haven for off-roading vehicles.

The 500-year-old tree.

Today, that forest has largely been cleaned up and returned to its pristine past. Its location in one of the densest areas of Kitsap County makes such forestland invaluable, say the stewards who help maintain it. Some, including Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent, see it as a kind of Central Park for Bremerton as the city grows to encompass it in the coming years.

About 110 of you ventured to the woods of Illahee Saturday for the Kitsap Sun’s latest Story Walk. That includes Taylor, who has lived nearby for most of his life. It includes Jim Aho, a forest steward whose involvement in all things Illahee has given rise to his nickname as its mayor. And finally, it includes Vic Ulsh, who has headed East Bremerton Rotary’s involvement in keeping up the forest since that organization adopted the woods as a major project in 2005.

But as I mentioned, it did not have to be this way. In the early 1700s, a fire burned down most of the woods there, giving rise to some more diverse conifers including white pines and Western Hemlocks (to go with the Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedars and Madrona we all know and love). It was logged at least twice since. It became federal trust land before it was turned over to the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

On at least three occasions, it could have been sold for development but neighbors fought back, according to Ulsh. Kitsap County took it over in 1999. Aho, Ulsh and others have been maintaining it since.

But they’re not stopping at its current boundaries. Last year, a successful effort to purchase what became known as “The Lost Continent,” brought in another 25 acres. The stewards hope to extend the preserve all the way to Illahee State Park one day, to create a wildlife corridor and a stream — Illahee Creek — that can remain in its natural state.

Already, the forest is home to some treasures of nature, including this 500-year-old tree that got its share of hugs Saturday afternoon.

Photo by Steve Fisher.
Photo by Steve Fisher.

COUNCIL SCORECARD: Car tab fees, police pursuits & March madness


The Bremerton City Council voted on three items Wednesday evening that might not be front page news. But they will have an impact on how government business is done in the city and county. 

Here are the three items the Council passed:

Taxicab regulations: Bremerton City Attorney Roger Lubovich introduced two updates to the city’s taxicab regulatory framework, passed in 2014. First, the city will not be regulating “transportation network companies” like Uber and Lyft. And second, the police chief now has the authority to immediately suspend a cab license without an appeal period. Lubovich said that was necessary to get the driver off the streets should public safety be threatened.

“If we have an incident — a public safety issue — we need to be able to revoke that immediately,” he said.

RESULT: Passed unanimously.

CenCom changes to Kitsap 911: As you may have read in the Kitsap Sun recently, CenCom (or Kitsap County Central Communications) is becoming Kitsap 911. The county’s dispatch service is becoming a standalone agency separate from Kitsap County. Like other agencies that use the dispatch services, that involves moving assets to Kitsap 911 so the switch can occur.

Councilman Greg Wheeler noted that the public will notice no change to 911.

“Everything you’ve come to expect will remain the same,” he said.

RESULT: Passed unanimously.

Car tab fees: The Bremerton City Council is the board which oversees the pot of money that is our accumulated $20 car tab fees. But under state law, the Council had to hold a separate meeting of something called the Transportation Benefit District board to discuss the funds and how to use them. No more. In a vote Wednesday, the Council has effectively merged the benefit district with the Council itself.

Councilman Dino Davis, who serves as chairman of the benefit district board, hailed the move. He said the benefit district was “redundant.”

“More government and more boards … just make for more work for an already overtaxed staff,” he said.

RESULT: Passed unanimously.

Also during Wednesday’s meeting:

Fisher’s departure: The Council bid adieu to Bremerton Police Lt. Pete Fisher, who is taking the job as Fife Police Chief. I have a full profile of Fisher here.

Strachan with Fisher.

The curbs are coming: Mayor Patty Lent acknowledged that this year, all of the curb ramps at intersections on Warren Avenue and Wheaton Way will be replaced and modernized. The state is doing the work in preparation for repaving the thoroughfare — Highway 303 — in 2017. I have more background on this process here.

Chief’s report: Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan produced some interesting statistics. Arrests are up in the city from 155 in the month of February 2014 to 210 this past February. He blamed many of those on offenders who skipped court dates (therefore they’re not new crimes). Thefts ticked up in the same period in the city though, from 39 in February 2014 to 53 last month.

Strachan also pointed out police are stepping up efforts at the intersection of 6th Street and Park Avenue. Between January and early March, there had already been 11 assaults there.

Strachan introduced his department’s professional standards report, which documents officer discipline and use of force, among other things. He noted the department has adopted a more strict policy when pursuing eluding vehicles — basically they can chase someone by vehicle suspected of a violent felony. He does not believe the chases are safe on city streets, and Bremerton has the most strict of pursuit policies. The numbers showed what that can do: pursuits were down from 21 in 2014 to 8 last year. You can read the whole report here.

Quote of the night: The honor goes to Mayor Patty Lent. In describing a Puget Sound Energy outage map app, Lent described our recent stormy weather this way: “March madness. It isn’t just basketball.”   


Beat blast: Noah Turns 40, A bizarre bicycle recovery & a tunnel-bound parade

Around 100 Philly Cheese Steaks are consumed each and everyday at Noah’s Ark. And now that the restaurant has turned 40, some simple arithmetic is all you need to determine they’ve made the popular sandwich more than a million times.

You’ll learn more about Noah’s Ark’s 40th birthday and a whole lot more on this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast, including:

The coincidental reappearance of a bicycle found in the same place it was stolen two years later;

The first event at the Roxy Theater since it came under new ownership;

Why the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade goes through the Bremerton ferry tunnel;

The sale of one of Bremerton’s largest apartment complexes.

Oh, and don’t forget to sign up for our latest Story Walk Saturday at the Illahee Preserve!

Other news and notes this week around Bremerton:


Work continued Tuesday on the new dock at Evergreen-Rotary Park with some paving.


A project is underway that is installing seismic cutoff valves to the city’s water system where it crosses the Port Washington Narrows. Work at the Warren Avenue Bridge has been completed; work is going on at the Manette Bridge now.


And finally, I had to snap a photo of the non-fruiting pear trees blooming on Fourth Street Tuesday. Remember all the controversy about them from a few years back?

Please send me feedback about the Bremerton Beat Blast. I am always happy to have comments and criticism. My email is

Bremerton police lieutenant takes job as Fife chief

Lt. Pete Fisher.

Bremerton Police Lt. Pete Fisher, who was often the face of the department in times of crisis in the past decade, is set to become the police chief of Fife. 

Chief Steve Strachan announced the news in a department email this week.

“That is a loss for us but a great selection by Fife,” Strachan wrote. “Pete is a very talented leader and we have been fortunate to work with him.”

Fisher, 44, started as a line officer in Bremerton in 1998. He made sergeant in 2004 and lieutenant in 2006, where he’s remained. The job includes a lot of administrative work, including making shift schedules, conducting serious collision investigations and performing disciplinary reviews. Fisher also served as liaison to Redflex, the company that runs the city’s red light photo enforcement cameras.

“This has been a great city to work for,” Fisher said Friday. “I’ve had a lot of support and mentorship here. It’s given me the drive to want to become a chief. And I’m at the point in my career where I’m ready to try the next challenge.”

Fisher, a New Hampshire native, spent four years in the Air Force before moving to Puget Sound with his wife Christine, who was in the Army and got stationed at Fort Lewis. He started as a reserve officer in Ruston in 1994.

Fisher’s duties as public information officer found him in the media spotlight on a few occasions, particularly during the hunt for a possible serial killer and the shooting of a third grader at Armin Jahr Elementary in 2012 (police have since found that the two fatal stabbings are likely not related).

Fisher said he learned the importance of “being able to put out a clear message to people.” He also praised Strachan, saying he’s learned a lot from his boss that he thinks he can apply in Fife.

Fisher will head a department that includes more than 33 police officers. He’ll also oversee its 34-bed municipal jail and its 12 corrections officers.

 Bremerton police will promote a sergeant to fill Fisher’s position. 

Beat blast: East High’s demolition, a fountain fix and a 75-year-old walnut tree

It is a period of transition in this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast. Lots of changes to tell you about including:

We have a tentative date for the demolition of the old East High School;


The Bremerton Harborside fountains are getting a long-term fix;

The new arcade downtown has been packed to the gills following its opening;

A new road diet has been discussed at city hall;

And a 75-year-old Walnut Tree is coming down in West Bremerton.

Questions? I love the feedback. Email them to


Harry Truman returns to Bremerton

President Harry S. Truman impersonator Michael King, of Seattle, heads up Pacific Ave. on his way to the plaque that commemorates the location where Truman spoke during a campaign stop in 1948 and the slogan "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" was coined, on Monday, March 7, 2016. King was on his way to speak to the Bremerton Rotary Club. (MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)
President Harry S. Truman impersonator Michael King, of Seattle, heads up Pacific Ave. Monday.  (MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)

Harry Truman made his second sojourn to Bremerton on Monday, venturing to the Fifth Street and Pacific Avenue spot where the former president addressed the masses on June 10, 1948 in a campaign speech. The spot is marked with a plaque and is the place where the 33rd president first heard a supporter’s rallying cry, “Give ‘em Hell, Harry.”

Truman, in this case, was Seattle attorney Michael B. King, who has taken to appearing as the president in front of Rotary groups around the state since 2012.

King appeared in front of the Rotary Club of Bremerton at the invitation of Rotary member Tim Quigley. Making the Rotary circuit, King was not aware of the significance of Bremerton on that 1948 campaign tour through the Pacific Northwest, until Quigley told him about it.

Though some have offered skepticism that the phrase was first uttered here, a member of Rotary offered a first-hand account that it was indeed.

Chuck Henderson, who manages downtown properties for developer Ron Sher, was revealed by a fellow Rotary member to have been at the speech. Henderson confirmed that he heard it.

“Everyone laughed and clapped” after the man in the crowd said it, Henderson recalls from that day. He said he was 8 or 9. 

King spoke to Rotary members — as Truman — on the topic of “Making the Tough Decisions.” Pointing out that the president is much more popular through the lens of history than he was while in office, “Truman” talked about the “paradox” of leadership in a democracy.

“Sometimes the leaders in a democracy have to be willing to tick off the people who put them in office to do what’s best for the country,” he said.

President Harry S. Truman impersonator Michael King, of Seattle, sports a polk-a-dot bowtie and a small FDR button.(MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)
President Harry S. Truman impersonator Michael King, of Seattle, sports a polk-a-dot bowtie and a small FDR button.(MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)

Three of the toughest decisions Truman had to make, according to King: His decision to remove General Douglas Macarthur from command in 1951 (“He was a little bit like the girl in the nursery rhyme — ‘When she was good, She was very good indeed, But when she was bad she was horrid’”); his decision to desegregate the Armed Forces in 1948 (“We had defeated the most racist power in the history of the globe, yet this country was stained with racism”); and the decision to drop the atomic bomb to end hostilities with Japan in World War II.

What politicians of today can learn from the Truman of yesteryear, King, ur, “Truman,” told the audience, was the importance of being in touch with the people. The president is the president – not a king, or an emperor. The people in a democracy are sovereign. There are so many layers today between our country’s top leader and the people, he said, remarking on Secret Service caravans.

 “If we could figure out some way to peel those layers back…”

The Rotary Club of Bremerton meets at noon on Mondays.