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Testing Prep Picks Table Post

Games this week: Nathan Joyce Jeff Graham Chuck Stark Annette Griffus James Ritchie
Klahowya at Chimacum Chimacum Chimacum Chimacum Chimacum Chimacum
Bainbridge at Kingston Bainbridge Bainbridge Bainbridge Bainbridge Bainbridge
Central Kitsap vs. Olympic Central Kitsap Central Kitsap Central Kitsap Central Kitsap Central Kitsap
Decatur at Bremerton Bremerton Decatur Bremerton Decatur Bremerton
Forks at Port Angeles Port Angeles Port Angeles Port Angeles Port Angeles Port Angeles
Meridian at Sequim Sequim Sequim Sequim Sequim Sequim
North Kitsap at Centralia Centralia Centralia Centralia Centralia North Kitsap
Port Townsend at Charles Wright Charles Wright Port Townsend Charles Wright Port Townsend Port Townsend
South Kitsap at Tahoma Tahoma South Kitsap South Kitsap South Kitsap South Kitsap
Washington at North Mason North Mason North Mason North Mason North Mason North Mason
Syracuse at Washington Washington Washington Washington Washington Washington
Montana State at Washington State WSU WSU WSU Montana State Montana State
49ers at Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks 49ers 49ers Seahawks
Last week: 12 — 1 10—3 10—3 8—5 6—7
Season 12—1(.923 10—3(.769) 10—3(.769) 8—5(.615) 6—7(.467)

Saying Farewell to Seeking Silverdale

This will be my last post to the Seeking Silverdale and Central Kitsap blog.

Yesterday, I was appointed the Community Relations Director for Kitsap Regional Library. It’s now a four-day a week job rather than a half-time job as KRL’s strategic planning manager. And in this role, I’ll be in charge of the library’s public relations and community relations efforts.

So even if I felt I had the time to continue blogging, it’s no longer appropriate for me to do so.

I realize as I look back on the past few months of posts, I have written more often about the library than was probably appropriate. That’s because when I started writing this blog, I was unemployed and could devote much more time to coming up with a variety of items to mention in my blog posts. I was employed by KRL at the beginning of April, and as my work on the library’s strategic plan progressed, I found that I had less and less time to explore the topics that you as readers deserve from a community news blog. More of my posts were about the library than ever before.

I feel that every one of my posts was newsworthy. But the predominance of items about the library was inappropriate to this blog. And now that it will be my job to be guiding public and community relations for the library, the potential for me to abuse the opportunity to blog for the Kitsap Sun becomes all too real.

This final blog posting ends a 21-year relationship with the Kitsap Sun. I was hired on Halloween, 1988, by then editor Gene Gisley, to join the Sun’s staff as the city editor. Under Gisley and his successor editors, Mike Phillips, Brian Stallcop and Scott Ware, I was fortunate to serve as a newsroom manager in a variety of roles (city editor, features editor, business editor, opinion page editor and finally managing editor) for 20 years. When we were informed more than a year ago of the third newsroom staff reduction in two years, I decided to leave full-time employment with the Sun and become an early retiree.

I have great respect for the new generation of newsroom leaders at the Sun. Editor David Nelson, Local News Editor Kim Rubenstein and Web Editor Angela Dice have done a phenomenal job bringing you coverage of Kitsap County handicapped by having far fewer resources than that job requires.

When Scott Ware and I were editor and managing editor of the Sun, we didn’t feel we had to staff to do the job we wanted to do — with 45 people in the newsroom. David and Kim are now trying to do that job with 20 fewer staff members than Scott and I had, and at the same time, they are doing more with the web site. So I truly appreciate the creativity and innovation David and Kim are bringing to their jobs.

And while I’ve enjoyed continuing my relationship with the paper in my “retirement” and into my transition to a new job, I know it’s time now to move on.

I hope the Kitsap Sun will be able to find someone who can take this blog far beyond where I’ve been able to steer it. Silverdale needs the benefits of a good reporter who can be the mirror who reflects news, information and trends back to residents and can help build the sense of community Central Kitsap deserves.

Take care, and I definitely hope to see you at the library.

— Jeff

What Value Would You Place on a New Silverdale Library?

For those of you who didn’t see the story that was published on yesterday, the Kitsap Regional Library Board of Trustees has authorized the library staff to begin preparations for a possible levy vote in November 2010.

As explained in the library’s press release, but not in the Sun story, the board will wait until July to decide whether to put a measure on the fall ballot. Board members are especially cognizant of how the economy has affected Kitsap residents, and probably won’t move ahead with the proposed levy if there has been no economic improvement by then.

The library has cut its budget in the past two years and has created a sustainable spending plan for the future. Because of the foresight in budget planning, the library has not been forced to conduct staff layoffs or close branches, slash programs or furlough employees like other units of local government have in the past year.

As a result, the library won’t be coming to voters saying that if you don’t vote yes, KRL will be slashing programs or services. There’s no “threat” of takeaways from the library if a levy is defeated. It’s a pure choice for voters. It’s a referendum on the value of having a vibrant library system for our community.

Are you willing to say yes to a 1 percent increase in your property tax bill to get more library services, more books, more media, better technology, more user convenience, and — of great significance to CK — new library facilities in Silverdale and Kingston and library facility improvements at every other branch?

I’m sure some people will say no. Especially in these tough economic times, people will say no to tax increases. Some will say no because they are financially strapped. And some will say no because they choose to spend their money in a different way.

But some people will say yes because they recognize that library usage is at an all-time high in Kitsap County, just as it is across the country. They will say yes because they recognize that for the cost of one new hardcover book at publishers price they can get free access to all the books that have been published; to CDs and DVDs; to thousands of journals and magazines, popular and obscure, through the library’s subscription databases; and to free wireless internet at all the library’s branches.They can get better services through the library’s web site, and enhance the nine branches that offer library service across the county.

If you ever wonder about the value of the library, there’s a handy calculator on the library web site. All you have to do is fill in some information about how many books, CDs, movies, or other items you borrow from the library each year, and mark whether you use library programs or services. The calculator will compute the value of those things that you get at the library for free.

For Central Kitsap, the ballot question will have special significance. The Silverdale branch library serves the largest population of any branch in the system, yet it’s one of the smallest branches. There is inadequate parking for library patrons there. The children’s area, the bank of adult computers, the magazines, the books and the reference desk are all shoved together in one crammed space. Kitsap’s “right-sized” libraries, have about 1 square foot of space for every 2 to 2.25 people in the area it serves. By this measure, the Silverdale branch is the most undersized library in the KRL system, with 1 square foot for every 10 people in the area it serves.

So what value would you place on a new, much larger Silverdale library located next to the new YMCA on the Silverdale Community Campus?

— Jeff

Part III — Securing Kitsap Regional Library’s Future

In my previous post, I explained that the new strategic plan for Kitsap Regional Library will include goals that can be accomplished with the resources the library has now, and also some goals that can only be accomplished if the library has more resources.

Since 95 percent of the library’s revenue comes from property taxes, having more resources means voters approving a tax levy increase.

The library asked Kitsap County residents to approve levy increase in May, 2007. At that point, the library had used up its cash reserves over a period of years as spending grew faster than revenues. The levy proposal was defeated, with about 45 percent of county voters approving the measure, and 55 percent voting no.

After that levy defeat, the library didn’t react the way most governments do. It did something different. Continue reading

Part II – Some Ideas for the Future of Kitsap Regional Library

Yesterday, I promised you that I would lay out some of the ideas that are in the early draft of Kitsap Regional Library’s new strategic plan. These ideas have been discussed internally with KRL leaders, but they have not yet been approved by the library system’s Board of Trustees.

The board is made up of five members who represent the the constituent areas of Kitsap County: South, Central, North, Bainbridge Island and Bremerton. They will have the final say on what goes into the strategic plan.

So you’re getting a sneak peek, and things could change between now and when the Vision 2015 plan is ultimately approved.

The strategic initiatives the plan addresses include an increased emphasis on services for children and teens; initiatives to make the library an enrichment center for Kitsap adults; proposals to make library services more convenient; suggestions for improving library facilities; and ideas to make the library more effective with the tax dollars it receives.

Here are some of the specific ideas.

Continue reading

Part I — What You Think About Your Library

As my regular readers know, I’m not a full-time blogger about Central Kitsap. I used to work for the Kitsap Sun, but now I work as the strategic planning manager of Kitsap Regional Library.

In that capacity, I invited all of you several months ago to get involved in the library’s strategic planning process. You could attend a public meeting about the library, which was the choice of more than 100 people at branch libraries across Kitsap County in September. Or you could go online to take a public survey about the library’s programs and services.

If you were one of the more than 1,800 people who took the survey, I’d like to thank you. And also, I’d like to let you know that we shut the survey down today to compile the final results.

If you’re interested in knowing what people think about Kitsap Regional Library, at least the people who participated in the survey, KRL has now posted a summary I wrote today that gives many of the results.

Unfortunately, I can’t summarize the most important results we received. The comments people added in responding to some of the questions, and the answers people gave to several open-ended questions at the end of the survey, gave incredible insight into how people view the library, what it does well and where it comes up short. But there are literally thousands of individual responses, far too many to summarize. I do want you to know, however, that we’ve read every response, and the ideas that were contained in those responses have been considered as I’ve framed the strategic plan. We at KRL will eventually put all the results up online, so everyone can examine them, along with notes from all the public meetings we had. They will be part of the supporting documentation for the strategic plan.

An initial draft of the plan is due to the KRL Board of Trustees later this month, and after revisions, we expect the final version of the plan to be approved in March.

I’m going to do a second blog post about some of the ideas in the plan tomorrow. Some are pretty simple, and some are pretty involved, and will cost money. Those that have a significant additional cost will not be possible to achieve unless the library wins future voter approval of a levy increase. I’ll talk more about that in a third blog post on Thursday night.

In the meantime, take a look at the survey results. I think you’ll find them interesting.

— Jeff

Turkey Thursday, Black Friday, Gray Saturday

Things seem quiet this morning on the Ridgetop.

We took a walk down to the Silverdale Post Office yesterday, leaving the house about 11 a.m. I figured that I had no stomach for the Christmastime Silverdale traffic congestion, so walking in the rare sunshine that blessed us Friday seemed like the better plan.

We were surprised as we walked down Ridgetop Boulevard that the traffic wasn’t backed up the hill like it so often is during the holiday shopping season. The parking lots at Best Buy, Costco, and some of the other stores we passed seemed pretty full, but traffic on the streets just wasn’t as stuffed as I expected it to be. The Sun’s story on Black Friday reported lots of shoppers in the early morning hours, but some readers who commented said the crowds thinned considerably by mid-day, when we were walking around. That would seem to be confirmed by the lack of traffic we observed.

And, even more surprising, when we appeared at the Post Office about 11:40, there was only one person in line in front of us. I’ve never been to the Silverdale Post Office, at the slowest times, let alone during the holiday season, and seen fewer people waiting in line. Maybe it was because there were more postal employees at the counter and the customers were being served faster than normal.

To be honest, I’m not sure why anyone would wish to camp out all night for a chance to get a special deal on some kind of item. The chance of one of the few items that are on special sale are actually on your Christmas list seems pretty remote. Add to that the fact that it’s unlikely you’d actually find that item in stock by the time you get inside the store (it is well documented that retailers actually stock only a few of the items that are outrageously under-priced, in a modern version of bait-and-switch).

I’m all for supporting the economy, and for buying local when you can, but I’d just as soon stay out of retail stores during the next month.

— Jeff

Seeking Central Kitsap Woodworkers … a Personal Post

OK, forgive me for this one. I’ve been frustrated at not finding a way to link up with something, and so I thought I’d use my blog to ask all of you for suggestions.

I am an amateur wood worker. I’ve never taken any classes or workshops on the subject, but my learning style allows me to learn by reading, and so I’ve read quite a bit on the subject and I regularly look at the articles in Fine Woodworking Magazine. I also have watched a lot of the woodworking how-to shows on television, including “The Woodwright’s Shop” (no power tools) and Norm Abrams “New Yankee Workshop” (all power tools).

Since I live on in one of the housing subdivisions on the Ridgetop, I don’t have a lot of space for a shop. I built in two work benches in my garage, one of which houses a radial arm saw. I have an old chop saw. I have a nice router with a router table. I have a biscuit joiner. I have a belt sander and a finishing sander.  And I have a circular saw and a jig saw. And I have a friend who occasionally lets me borrow his surfacing planer and a small joiner/planer that he owns. It’s not a plethora of tools, but it covers most of what I do.

My woodworking projects have mostly been simple furniture. I don’t do any wood turning and I haven’t done any gift items like boxes. I just did my first cutting board this month to replace the bread board that came with the kitchen cabinetry of our house.

2009-04-23 at 17-59-44 This table has been my most ambitious project to date, and the one that I’ve felt best about as well. It’s made up mostly of figured maple from the Olympic Peninsula, with walnut legs.

After doing this project, I decided to try my hand at doing a dining table. It will be of similar design, again using figured maple boards for the top. But this is where my project bogs down. I have three maple boards that are six feet long. One is about 10 inches wide; the other two are more than 15 inches wide. I need a pretty heavy duty piece of woodworking equipment to prepare the edges that will be glued together to make the tabletop.

So here’s my question. Do any of you know of a place where I could get access to a wood shop around here? Olympic College doesn’t have one. I once understood that they had a woodworking shop for Bangor residents, but I don’t have base privileges.

Do any of you know of a local wood workers cooperative? I’ve heard that in some places, a group of woodworkers have gone in together to purchase equipment for a wood shop and then they share the cost and each has use of the shop. But I’ve never heard of something like that around here.

Any help would be appreciated.

— Jeff

Interesting Phone Call About CK Schools

I just got off the phone this evening after an interesting phone call about Central Kitsap Schools.

My caller ID told me the call was coming from a local business. The caller identified himself as representing an organization that supported Central Kitsap Kids, and asked me if I was willing to take two minutes to answer a couple of questions. I said I would.

“If you had a chance to grade the Central Kitsap Schools, would you give them an A, B, C, D or F?”

“The Central Kitsap Schools will be seeking voter approval for a levy replacement on the ballot in February. Would you support the levy renewal, oppose the levy renewal, or are you not sure?”

I gave them my answers. I’d be interested in hearing yours. Are you happy with the performance of the Central Kitsap Schools? Do you plan to support their levy renewal in February?

Let’s have a discussion.

— Jeff

Take a Role in Planning Central Kitsap’s Heritage Park

You’ll have a chance Thursday night to participate in the planning process for the new Central Kitsap Heritage Park.

It’s not every day, or every year, or even every decade that a community has a chance to create a major park. In this case, the park will be about 1,000 acres in west Central Kitsap between Newberry Hill Road and Seabeck Highway. For more details on the park, check this previous blog entry.

Now that the county has secured the land for the park, it’s time to start planning how the park will be developed. Thursday’s meeting is part of a rare opportunity to be part of the creation of a large park that will serve the public for many years in the future. Hope you all make maximum use of this opportunity and make your voice heard on the park’s future.

— Jeff