Category Archives: Celebrations

10 Stories from my 10 Years at the Kitsap Sun

This job is never boring, let me tell you. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN
This job is never boring, let me tell you. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN

Today marks my 10 year anniversary at the Kitsap Sun. It’s a milestone that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’ve witnessed a dramatic transformation in journalism this past decade. Not all has been positive: the newsroom staff is half the size it was when I got here, reflecting an era of massive media consolidation. (That’s the nice way to put it). But I am also part of a new era, where the most creative and industrious minds will prevail in an age where anyone can publish a story.

I wanted to take you back through this decade, for a trip through the stories that fascinated me most. Many of these, you will notice, are from my first seven years on the job, when I was the Sun’s crime and justice reporter. But Bremerton, as home to the Sun and those I’ve covered, has always played an integral role.



1. After 62 years, death comes six hours apart

Amazing stories that are told on the obituary page nearly everyday. So I was especially curious when my editor, Kim Rubenstein, came to me with a rather unique one: A couple whose obituary ran together, in the same article.

I phoned the family, wondering if they would be interested in telling their parents’ story. It’s a phone call that never gets easier, having to call someone coming to terms with death, but it’s a call I feel is a newspaper’s obligation. In doing so, I’ve always tried to explain I’d like to give the community a chance to know the person they were in life, and if not, they were free to hang up on me. Everyone grieves differently but some people view the opportunity as cathartic.

In this case, the family was thrilled and invited me to their home in Kingston.

I learned of a very special love story — a couple through 62 years of marriage did everything together. Everything. Even getting the mail.

When they were buried, they were placed side by side, in the same casket.

It’s a story that not only touched me emotionally, but apparently others as well. Few stories I’ve ever done attracted broader attention. I got calls, emails and letters from all over the country, and was even interviewed by the Seattle P-I about doing it.


2. The CIA is doing what in Washington state?

Undercover police officers have their identities concealed for a reason: they are often conducting sensitive, and sometimes high risk, investigations that warrant it.

But what about when police chiefs, who use their government issued vehicles mainly for the purpose of driving to and from work, start using those undercover license plates?

That line that line of inquiry got me started down a path that revealed that in Kitsap County, and indeed all of Washington, there are a lot of confidential license plates driving around.

But nothing could prepare me, months after the initial story, for a call from Austin Jenkins, NPR reporter in Olympia, who’d been hearing testimony in the State Legislature about these license plates and changes to the program.

The story had revealed not only the confidential license plate program, but that the state’s Department of Licensing was also issuing confidential driver’s licenses.

I teamed up with Jenkins and we went to Olympia to interview the DOL. Amazingly, Gov. Jay Inslee and Gov. Chris Gregoire before him, didn’t even know about the program.

The biggest shocker of all came when a spokesman revealed that many of those confidential driver’s licenses were going to the CIA.

“Yes, that CIA, “the spokesman told us.

Later, the DOL would backpedal and say that they had no authority to release information about those “federal agencies” that have the licenses. But it was a fascinating discovery, an amazing story to work on and I am glad we were able to help bring the program to transparency.

Wikipedia photo.

3. The Pentagon’s calling, and they’re not happy

Ever wonder what it’s like to have The Pentagon angry with a story you did? Well, let me tell you.

You may recall the story of Naval Base Kitsap’s highest enlisted man being convicted in a sting not dissimilar from To Catch a Predator. He served his time, but I had wondered what kind of discipline he faced from the Navy, and that became the subject of a story months later.

Through a public records request, I got hold of a Navy document that reported he’d received an honorable discharge from the Navy — something a former Navy JAG told me was unheard of following a sex crime conviction. We ran the story.

The following Monday, The Pentagon called.

“Your story is wrong,” I was told repeatedly. “Are you going to correct it?”

“How is it wrong?” I asked.

I couldn’t get an answer because those records were private, I was told.

“So how can I correct it?” I wondered.

Round and round we went, for what felt like an eternity. Newsroom meetings were held. I freely admit it does not feel good when the Pentagon is not happy with you.

Eventually, others at The Pentagon and the local base released information that showed the man had received an “other than honorable” discharge. To this day, I am uncertain why I saw reports that contradicted each other.

Photo by Meegan M. Reid.
Photo by Meegan M. Reid.

4. Burglary victim becomes the suspect

Imagine coming home from a trip to find your home has been burglarized, and yet you’re the one getting hauled off to jail. That was the situation Luke Groves faced in 2009. A felon, he’d broken into a school in Shelton at 18, and now, at 37, police found his wife’s guns in their Hewitt Avenue home.

Prosecutors, who charged him with felon in possession of a firearm, had offered him no jail time in exchange for his guilty plea. But Groves took the case to trial, was convicted, and could’ve faced years in prison over it.

The case was one that former Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge and I had butted heads about. He felt we’d cast the prosecutor’s office as the bad guy in a case which they could not just “look the other way” on a weapons charge.

I followed the trial from start to finish, including Hauge himself handling the sentencing — something I can’t recall on an other occasion in my seven years covering the court system here. Hauge told the judge that Groves should ultimately get credit for time served for the crime, and Groves was released.


5. Squatter’s ‘meticulous’ highway home

I never met Chris Christensen. But I feel like in many ways I knew him following his 2008 death in the woods off Highway 3 in Poulsbo.

The story started with a scanner call for a DOA (dead on arrival) near the road in Olhava. I inquired with the police sergeant, who told me that the death was actually a pretty interesting story — certainly not something I expected to hear. I headed north, parked, and followed a little trail into the woods where I found “The Shiloh,” Christensen’s home among Western Red Cedars.

It was a “meticulously organized world,” I wrote. “A campsite with finely raked dirt, a sturdy green shed and a tent filled with bins of scrupulously folded clean laundry and cases of Steel Reserve beer.”

In the subsequent days, I learned all about his quiet life and penned this story. Most satisfying to me was that Christensen’s family had lost touch with him. Without the story, which thanks to the Internet made its way across the country, his family would’ve never found him. He got the dignified burial he deserved.

Nametags of those who went through Kitsap Recovery Center who later died or went to prison.
Nametags of those who went through Kitsap Recovery Center who later died or went to prison.

6. Heroin’s ugly grip on Kitsap, the nation

I’ve probably put more energy into covering the opiate epidemic than any other single topic in my decade at the Sun.

Heroin, in particular, was virtually nonexistent when I got here. But following the explosion of opiate medicines for pain, drug cartels seized their chance to feed a spreading addiction more cheaply.

The story has taken me all over Puget Sound. I interviewed a man at McNeil Island prison who had an 8-pill a day OxyContin habit and was bringing sheets full of “Oxy” from California to Kitsap; I visited a woman who was literally injecting opiates near the knuckles on her fingers in Suquamish. I’ve hugged mothers whose children were lost forever when they could not kick the habit.

It is a problem that remains unsolved.


7. Bad math on jail’s good time

I’ve received a lot of “jail mail” over the years, and while there’s usually an interesting story, it is, shall we say, not always one I would pursue in print.

When the letters started coming from Robert “Doug” Pierce in 2010, I was skeptical. He was convinced that Kitsap County had miscalculated his “good time” or time off for good behavior, and that he was serving too long a sentence from his current cell, at Coyote Ridge in Connell.

He was right.

Now I will tell you I am a journalist and not a mathematician. But the basic gist was that jail officials here were calculating his good time by simply dividing his time served by three, rather than tacking on an additional to his overall sentence. The result was he would serve 35 extra days.

Small potatoes? When you consider that at the the time it cost about $100 a day to house a prison inmate and that there were 548 inmates from Kitsap in prison, it’s actually quite an expense. After our story ran, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office corrected his sentence, along with everyone else’s, and fixed the policy.


8. ‘Where can we live?’

A criminal past can often haunts someone for the rest of his or her life. That was certainly true for Ed Gonda, a man who moved his family to Bainbridge Island and had heard it was a “laid back, forgiving kind of place.”

It turned out to be anything but for his family.

His crime was a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. He admitted to it, did time for it, paid more than $10,000 in treatment for it — and had lived a clean life for 15 years, to include starting his own family.

But under Washington state law, he had to register as a sex offender, though he was not a pedophile. And somehow, after making friends at a local church and at his daughter’s school, word got out.

“The news traveled fast, and people who they thought they knew well acted swiftly,” I wrote. “His daughter could no longer play with friends down the street, he said. The church pews around them were vacant on Sundays. They more or less stopped going out anywhere on the island.”

“We’re treated like we’re diseased,” his wife told me.

It was the start of a three part series I knew would be controversial, but I felt was important. We want to protect all people in society, especially children. But is there ever a point when we’ve gone too far and it has infringed on the rights of those who have already done their time?

As part of my series on the 20th anniversary of the Community Protection Act, I also ventured to McNeil Island with Photographer Larry Steagall to see the state’s civil commitment center for sexual predators. Such a beautiful and pastoral setting for such a hideous complex. I am fairly certain Larry will never forgive me.

Yes, I have ridden in the back of a cop car. MEEGAN REID / KITSAP SUN
Yes, I have ridden in the back of a cop car. MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN

9. Bremerton’s plunging violent crime rate

Let’s face it: Bremerton has a gotten a bad rap over the years, following the demise in the 1980s of its retail downtown core. An increasing violent crime rate followed, and in many ways the reputation was earned.

When I was hired in 2005, the city had the highest per capita violent crime rate. During my interview, which was just weeks after two murders blocks from the Kitsap Sun’s office, I was asked how I would take on the story. Aggressively, I said.

I spent a lot of time in a patrol car — every shift including graveyard — and was introduced to Bremerton’s seedy underbelly before meeting any other part. It was a scary place: I saw lots of people high on meth, fights between police and drunkards, violent domestic abusers whose victims would try to shield their attackers from the cops. And I wrote extensively about it.

But in the years since, that violent crime rate plummeted, for reasons I documented in a story last November. The tide, in my eyes, is turning: the city is making a turn for the better.

If you live in Bremerton, you know that each time we do have a tragic, violent episode — even if far outside city limits — it reinforces the stereotype.

But followers of this blog know better. There are many positive signs of a community improving: Increasing ferry traffic. Volunteers embracing parks. Home improvements being made. Developments downtown.

We’ll see how long it takes for the rest of the world to notice.


10. Walking the story in Bremerton

Any reporter will tell you that we spend a lot more time with the story than what ends up in the paper. But what about those people who want to know more, who are curious for every last detail?


This January, I found myself thinking about those two big Sequoia trees on Veneta Avenue. In writing about longterm plans to save them but close the road their roots are destroying, I came to the realization that nothing — not a story in print, online or even a video — would compare to the experience of going there, and seeing the story for yourself. I invited experts who I’d interviewed for the story to come along.

And thus was born the thing I’m most proud of since taking over the Bremerton Beat: my monthly Story Walk. It’s been such a satisfying journey taking the story to the community, rather than the other way around. We’ve walked all over town and I have gotten to know so many great people in the city in doing so.

There’s momentum for many more to come, too.

Here’s to 10 years at the Sun, and a hope that the next 10 will be just as exhilarating.

Friday’s festivities in Bremerton

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 12.14.02 PM



Here comes Friday night. I’ve already mentioned many of the big festivities downtown tonight, as well as the appearance of chef-restauranteur Renee Erickson. But there’s much more going on, and here’s a running list to help you out. Did I forget something? Please let me know.

Fingers Duke Design Studio presents the artwork of Sean Dietrich (pictured), 523 Fourth Street. Bottom line: the ‘Industricide’ artist is ridiculously talented. Time: 6-9 p.m.

FROG Soap‘s grand opening and ribbon cutting, 530 Fifth Street. (Here’s a story the Kitsap Sun wrote about this environmentally conscious business.) Time: 4 p.m.

Admiral Theater Presents Livewire Theater, 515 Pacific Avenue. Tickets are $18 to $55 and a family pack is $40. Dinner’s 5:30 p.m. and show’s at 7 p.m.

Ish Vintage Clothing & Costume‘s Sixth Annual Art & Craft Show Local, handmade goods paired with live music and window models. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Mistarian Roses‘ Second Annual Student Art Show, 519 Fourth Street: first exhibitions by Stephen Voyles, Chloe O’Laughlin and Maggie Babb, students from Olympic College and NCAD. Live music to go with. Time: 5-8 p.m. 

Isella Salon & Spas Eighth Anniversary, 530 Fourth Street: Gift and service specials, live music, sample spa services and giveaways. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Viva Flow Yoga‘s Christmas Party, 515 Fourth Street: Complete with free Henna for guests. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Bremerton City Nursery’s Holiday Social, 912 Adele Avenue: Enjoy hors devours, Harvey’s Hot buttered rum and assorted desserts at the annual event. There’s also going to be a drawing for a $50 gift certificate. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Corner Coffee & Cafe’s Open Mic Night, 435 Pacific Avenue, plus the music of The Folkers. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Tami Sioux’s Open House, 658 Pleasant Avenue. Gathering at her home and studio. Time: 4-8 p.m.

The Kitsap Community Food Co-op at Toro Lounge, 315 Pacific Avenue: The co-op is hosting an art show this month, to include a piece it inspired. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Bremerton Civil Rights Pioneer Immortalized

I’m posting the press release from the Secretary of State’s office without making any “ha-ha” remarks to my good friends who live and work across the Sinclair Inlet from Bremerton. Isn’t that big of me?

This is the second Kitsap resident to be honored in this way be the state. The first was former Bremerton Sun writer Adele Ferguson.

I’m hoping to interview Ms. Walker on Monday.

`Legacy’ honors civil rights pioneer Lillian Walker

OLYMPIA – A 95-year-old Bremerton civil rights pioneer is the latest Washingtonian to have her life story told by The Legacy Project, the oral history program established in 2008 by the Office of the Secretary of State.

Lillian Walker helped found the Bremerton branch of the NAACP in 1943 and went on to serve as state NAACP secretary. She was conducting sit-ins and filing civil rights lawsuits when Martin Luther King was in Junior High.
A biography and an oral biography based on sit-down interviews, plus photos and other materials, have just been posted at

A rollout ceremony is planned for 2 p.m. on August 11 in Secretary of State Reed’s office at the Capitol, featuring remarks by Congressman Norm Dicks, Reed, chief oral historian John Hughes, and Dianne Robinson, Bremerton councilwoman and co-founder of the Kitsap County Black Historical Society. The ceremony will be televised by TVW and available on streaming video at

The Legacy Project e-publishes oral histories and biographies of Washingtonians who have been instrumental in shaping our history. The materials are published online and are free for easy click-on reading or downloading. They are excellent resources for school and college projects.

In the past nine months, The Legacy Project has offered up profiles of Charles Z. Smith, the first ethnic minority on the State Supreme Court; pioneering female journalist Adele Ferguson; rocker-turned-civic activist Krist Novoselic; former Chief Justice Robert F. Utter; and trailblazing federal judge Carolyn Dimmick, who was the first woman on the State Supreme Court.

Soon to be published are the oral histories of former first lady Nancy Bell Evans and astronaut Bonnie Dunbar. An oral history with former Governor Booth Gardner is in preparation, and a biography of the late Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn also is in the works.

“It is a real privilege for Washingtonians to learn more about the inspiring Lillian Walker story, which is emblematic of the work of so many in this state for racial equality and equal rights for all,” Reed said. “It also reminds us that the clock is ticking if we don’t want to lose the chance to preserve these stories. The Legacy Project, which is part of the planned state Heritage Center on the Capitol Campus, is hard at work, on a shoestring budget, to preserve this part of our history and our heritage.”

Mrs. Walker and her late husband, James, arrived in the Navy Yard city of Bremerton in 1941 together with thousands of other African-American wartime workers who thought they had left racism behind in the South and industrialized cities of Midwest and East. But many Kitsap County businesses, including cafes, taverns, drug stores and barber shops, displayed signs saying, “We Cater to White Trade Only.”

In a landmark case, the Walkers took a soda fountain owner to court and won. They also discovered there were “a lot of righteous white folks” in Bremerton. Sixty-five years later, the centennial year of the NAACP finds Mrs. Walker still in the trenches, “reminding people about The Golden Rule.”

She is a charter member of the YWCA of Kitsap County, former chairman of the Kitsap County Regional Library Board, a 68-year member of Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church, and a founder and former president of Church Women United in Bremerton.

Lillian Walker exudes dignity, pluck and perseverance. One of 11 children born to a mixed race couple on a farm in rural Illinois, she dreamed of becoming a doctor, but she was the wrong color and the wrong gender at the wrong time in the wrong place. Still, there’s no bitterness over the fact that she and her late husband took on an assortment of part-time janitorial jobs for 40 years to make ends meet and give their kids a better life. Their son graduated from Stanford University, went on to earn a Ph.D. and is an epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control.

Someone once asked her, “Why are you always smiling?” “Frowning and cursing,” she replied, “that’s not going to make you any friends.”

Welcome to O’Bremerton’s

(Carolyn Yaschur | Kitsap Sun)
(Carolyn Yaschur | Kitsap Sun)

Even though the archrival Bremelog scooped the Beat on this one, I’ll be big enough to pass along the invite join Sustainable Bremerton folks at Sixth Street’s Hi-Fidelity Lounge for St. Patrick’s Day. Sending Beat readers elsewhere means swallowing my pride, but I can live with it since there’s a chance of swallowing some green beer as well.

But that’s next week. Before our city’s green living movement celebrates the green holiday, I’m checking my Swedish heritage at the door (but not my distaste of Notre Dame football) for two events this weekend: The Main Stream Association’s annual downtown St. Pat’s parade — Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on Pacific, YouTube of the 2008 version here — and a St. Patrick’s Day Dash 5k at Jackson Park, 9 a.m. Call Lisa Bertolacci-Starich, (360) 315-2134, if you need more information on the run, show up early if you want to join the parade. Organizers are looking for cyclists — moto or bi — to join the parade this year. Be at Sixth and Pacific by 10:45 to line up if you’re interested.

— David Nelson

Update: Missed one event. The Admiral Theatre will also get shamrocked this weekend, with traditional Irish music and dance from An Dochas. Saturday night at 8 p.m.

On Again, Off Again at Bremerton Library

The entry below comes from current Sun intern Angela Lu. My seat in the newsroom has a view of the downtown library’s front entrance, so I’ve watched with mild curiosity the past few weeks as a plaque by the front door was covered, then uncovered, then covered, then uncovered. (I also watch with curiosity every morning when a guy walks by, like clockwork, with either an 18-pack of Budweiser or Coke in his hand. But I digress.) Here’s a little story on the plaque go ’round.
— David Nelson

The Kitsap Regional Library’s downtown Bremerton branch, named for Martin Luther King, Jr., planned on unveiling a new plaque dedicated to the civil rights leader last Monday.

The library used to have a wooden sign in its front lawn to honor King, but last fall felt it had “gotten to look a little worn and needed some refreshing” according to Carolyn Neal, branch manager of the downtown location. The new plaque is on the outside of the bright stucco building, immediately right of the front entrance. King’s face is engraved on it, with opening dates and dedication dates of the building, over the words “I have a dream.”

After it was installed in January, the plaque, about three feet by a foot and a half, was covered with duct tape and plastic. But library staff felt it would be disrespectful to keep the plaque covered over MLK holiday weekend, and uncovered the plaque to zero fanfare on January 19, the holiday that honors King. The covering never returned, and the plaque could be seen by any patron.

That was until Monday. The library planned on a formal unveiling that evening with members from the local NAACP chapter, and Neal dutifully re-covered the plaque with a black veil.

However, after waiting for 20 minutes, the NAACP still hadn’t shown up, and a light rain that had been on and off through the afternoon had started. Neal had no choice but to take the veil back down, in fear that someone would steal it.

Joan Ferebee of the NAACP said the group had visited the library earlier that day, but seen scratches on the plaque. They decided they couldn’t unveil it in that condition, so they called the library and told another librarian that they were not coming. Apparently Neal did not get that message.

Ferebee said she’ll be talking to the library to set a new date for the unveiling. And the covering may go up just once more.

Hey, Ken, Where’s Our Schrammie?


Local heartthrob Ken Schram has noticed Bremerton, and bashed the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce for telling a veterans for peace to go dig a fox hole. It doesn’t want any peace lovers in its parade celebrating military veterans.

Schram takes them to task, and that’s all well and fine, but in his commentary, Schram does not mention anything about giving the chamber a Schrammie.

A Schrammie is a small statuette of himself that he gives to people in the news that he disagrees with.

(My cat does something similar. We’re hesitant to give him wet food because of it.)

I’d like Schram to explain why exactly the Chamber didn’t get a Schrammie. I, and the rest of Bremerton, are a little cheesed off. Sure, read the story on, or read a bland rewrite by a wire service, then go on television and bash the chamber, and then don’t follow through with the $5, made-in China bobble-headed doll that sort of looks similar to Schram. That’s real nice.

Talk about getting rode hard and put away wet. Instead of a Schrammie we get a “Schram on the Street,” known in the Grateful Dead-like cult that worships Schram like a god as “the poor man’s Schrammie.”

Listen, Schram, I’m mad as heck and I’m not going to take it. I want an explanation.

Where is our Schrammie?

Don’t Be Afraid, It’s Only Art

The Living Statue Lives
The artwork gracing the patio in front of the new police station will officially be dedicated May 22 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The police station, known as the Art Morken Law Enforcement Building, is the first city building to receive money for public art.

Read the Sun’s story about the pieces here.


Now, I’d like to slow things down a bit and present you, dear Bremerton Beat reader, with a few helpful bits of advice for dealing with creative artistic types. You’ve probably been operating under the assumption that personal hygiene, respect and good manners are all that you need to make your mark among the ivory tower elites that rule America’s cultural landscape with a macramé fist. And you are incorrect.

So here it is, priceless excerpts from Andy’s Handy Dandy Guide to Manners and Mannerisms for the Artistically Disinclined.

-Attending a jazz concert, a gallery opening or experimental theater can cause some anxiety in people who make their living by producing useful things for society. First, keep in mind that artistic people are deep thinkers, very progressive. They will immediately judge you by your appearance.

So don’t forget these essential items for these high society events:

Jazz concert – a monocle

Poetry reading – a cigarette holder

Elvis Impersonator at the RV Show – an ascot.

-If you are at an art gallery and are confronted by an artist, try to make yourself as big as possible by crowding close together with your spouse/partner/siamese twin, raising your arms above your head and making grunting, rooting noises. Don’t look them directly in the eye, as artists can become aggressive when confronted by sincerity. If asked an open ended question while viewing a painting, respond only in these two approved ways:
1) “I like it”
2) “It’s good.”

-Here’s a tip for talking about art: if you refuse to admit that you don’t get it, everyone else will think that you do get it and they will begin to question their own intelligence. The trick is to admit nothing. Suspicious? Think this will never work? OK, smart guy, answer me this: why do you think “No Country For Old Men” won Best Picture?

-Often gallery openings serve free wine. They do this so other artists will show up. Don’t be afraid to overindulge.

You’re saying: OK, Andy, you’ve given me these tips, but what about on the ground, in real time, when the rubber meets the road, what do I do then, huh? What do I do when an amateur novelist is bashing the corporate media and I’m afraid the living statue in the corner is actually a homicidal statue?

First, don’t panic. Artistic types can smell fear (through the patchouli haze).

Second, here is another excerpt from my book, that you really need to think about buying. It’s only $25.

Here’s the scenario:

You’re standing in an art space watching a grown man pour chocolate pudding on his head while he recites the Crispy Critters cereal jingle with a heavy Austrian accent.
Do you say:

1) You know, my friends and I do this all the time. I never knew we were artists.

2) By drowning his fears of a strong paternal figure with the dark, creamy substance of denial, the artist bridges the juxtaposition of verisimilitude and conjecture by arousing the fleeting and facile spiritual infrastructure that bogs down existence with the saturated fat of ennui.

3) Pour it on! Yeah! That’s right! That’s what daddy likes! Shake it over here and I’ll put a Lincoln in your leotard!

4) So, uh, what happens to the pudding when he’s done? You’re not just going to throw it away, are you?

The correct answer is: none of the above. Remember, we went over how to talk about art, and the secret is to not talk about it. Try to appear aloof and slightly drugged.

How the Whirl Churns

Somehow I doubt that this would be the first place you’ve heard of the Bremerton guy who put the Santa on the Cross. I’m pretty confident of that, because if you didn’t see it first on another blog entry, the original story, you could have seen it

on Q13 FOX,
on KING 5,
in the News Tribune,
on Yahoo!,
in The Seattle Times,
in the Spokesman-Review,
on Free Republic,
on Drudge,
In Illinois,
in Michigan,
in New York,
in Texas,
in Canada,
or in China.

I wrote the story later Friday and when I got home I checked the Web to find the comments. By Saturday the story had been published in Germany and Australia. I got an e-mail from a radio reporter in Norway.

Monday I called Art Conrad, he said he’d been interviewed by stations in New York and was was scheduled to speak with Neil Cavuto as his last interview. He wished me a merry Christmas.

Crossing Santa

Santa looks down in a display that’s sending a message from Art Conrad’s front yard.

Several times I’ve driven by a house on 11th and Highland that is lit like the Griswalds for Christmas. It made me think I’d like to drive around town and capture some of the other noteworthy displays. Perhaps I still will.

In the meantime, however, I received an e-mail tipping me off to an odd sight in West Bremerton.

The other night I was walking home when I came across a home on Olympic Ave. between fourth and Burwell. In the front window you can see a nicely done tree for the holidays. The odd thing about this house was what was on the front porch and out in the front lawn. On the porch was a life size decapitated Santa Claus holding a knife. In the front yard is a 20 foot tall cross with another life-sized Santa nailed to it.

Thursday night I drove by the house and saw what he was talking about and sure enough it’s as he advertised.

Friday I went back to the house, had Larry Steagall shoot a couple photos, talked to some neighbors and passers-by and came back to the office. Later I was able to get in touch with the owner. Surely there had to be a story behind it. There is.

Read the story and tell me whether you think Art Conrad belongs on the “naughty” or “nice” list.