Just when you
thought there wasn’t anything else that could be turned pink in the
battle against breast cancer, look at this. That’s pretty. Not only
that, but proceeds will will pay for breast cancer screenings
and follow up tests for women with limited or no insurance through
the state Department of Health’s Breast, Cervical, and Colon Health
Beginning Oct. 16, you can bid on the first batch of breast
cancer license plates before they go on sale to everyone in
January. The auction runs through the end of the month, which is
Breast Cancer Awareness Month. More information about the auction
and how to bid can be found here.
After this month’s auction, breast cancer license plates will be
available for purchase in January for $60 through the state
Department of Licensing.
Under the Affordable Care Act, nearly all health insurance plans
cover breast cancer screening. Breast cancer is the second leading
cause of cancer death among Washington women. A regular mammogram
is the best way to find it early and make sure women get a head
start on treatment when it’s most successful, according to the
state Department of Health and my old pal Kelly Stowe.
The name Illahee that many of you readers selected through this
blog has a 12.5 percent chance of winding up on the next 144-car
Eight names were formally submitted to the state
Transportation Commissionby last Friday’s deadline. They are
Illahee, Cowlitz, Suquamish, Sammamish, Chimacum, Taima, Tukwila
Taima is the name of the Seattle Seahawks mascot.
I had no idea what Nawt-sa-matt was. Had to look it up. Turns
out, now I can’t find it. Oh, here. It’s a a new regional coalition
of Native Americans and non-natives banding together to protect the
Salish Sea from corporations seeking to turn it into a fossil fuel
The other six are all places with Native names.
Your Illahee didn’t get a great deal of support from local
municipalities and officials. Oh well, it’s strength is it was the
choice of you people, hundreds of you.
The deadline is Friday for submitting nomination packets to the
state Transportation Commission to name the third Olympic-class
ferry. So far, I know of three others besides Illahee, which you
readers chose through a competition on this blog. I sent that to
Olympia on Monday.
The other three are Suquamish, which was your second pick, Cowlitz
Cowlitz and Sammamish are resubmissions from two years ago, when
Tokitae and Samish were chosen. They’re the work of Cowlitz County
Sheriff Mark Nelson and the city of Sammamish, according to those
areas’ community newspapers.
Other finalists then were Ivar Haglund, Hoquiam and Muckleshoot. I
haven’t heard anything about them, but it wouldn’t take much to
resurrect them. Ivar, proffered by Seattle Times columnist and
former Kitsap Sun reporter Ron Judd, stole the attention last time,
but didn’t sway commissioners.
A key, according to the commission, is to show support from
community and state leaders. We sought the backing of most of the
area’s movers and shakers, including the Suquamish Tribe. We won’t
be getting that one.
So far, the city of Bremerton is backing Illahee. Sen. Christine
Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, and Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge
Island, support both Illahee and Suquamish. The city of Bainbridge
and Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, went with Suquamish. Both are
good names. There’s still time get behind one of them.
The names will go through a review and public
comment process and we’ll get the outcome at the commission’s Nov.
19 meeting in Lakewood.
Tons of people rode the ferries to the Seahawks’ season-opening
pummeling of Green Bay Thursday. The number paled in comparison to
those who went for the Super Bowl parade in February, but it was
More than 27,000 rode the Bainbridge and Bremerton boats for the
Packers game, which might be the second-busiest day ever at Colman
Dock, behind the “unprecedented,” as Washington State Ferries put
it, 40,000 who crowded through the terminal on Feb. 5.
The system isn’t built for those kinds of hordes. Parade day was
insane. You couldn’t even get into Bremerton, much less find a
parking spot. Our maintenance guy extraordinaire, John, was chasing
people out of our lot when I drove in. I knew it was going to be
wild, but never imagined anything like that.
Last Thursday, fans traveled throughout the day so there weren’t
lines going up to Sixth Street like for the parade. Also, WSF put
on extra terminal staff and security to help with the crowds, and
communicated more with riders through tweeting and travel alerts. A
round trip to Bremerton was added that night.
The Seahawks don’t have any more prime-time home games on the
schedule. They all start between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., although
times could change. Two nationally televised night games are on the
road — Monday, Oct. 6, at Washington and Thursday, Nov. 27, at San
Francisco, so the ferries won’t be affected. That 49er game is on
Thanksgiving, by the way, at 5:30 p.m., so the turkey and
cranberries time to settle.
Who knows what’s going to happen during the playoffs. Plus I’m
thinking the Mariners are going to be hosting some postseason
games, too, so there still could be some huge ferry crowds to
Washington State Ferries topped its goals last quarter for
reliability and on-time performance.
For April through June, ferries completed 99.5 percent of 40,823
scheduled trips. The goal is 99 percent. The 206 missed sailings
were 74 fewer than during the same period the previous year.
Tides and bad weather accounted for 108 cancellations, all of
them on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route. Ten different
boats had mechanical issues that resulted in 76 canceled trips. The
ferry Issaquah, which is normally assigned to the Southworth route,
missed 11 in a single day. The route still finished at 99.4
percent. Edmonds-Kingston enjoyed the best performance at 99.9
percent completed sailings and Anacortes-Friday Harbor suffered the
worst at 99.1 percent. Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth was at 99.4
percent, Seattle-Bainbridge 99.8 percent and Seattle-Bremerton 99.7
Crewing issues accounted for 14 total cancellations in the quarter,
three fewer than the same period last year.
On-time performance also improved over a year ago, from 95.3
percent to 95.8. The goal is 95 percent.
On average, 19 out of 446 daily trips didn’t leave the terminal
within 10 minutes of their scheduled departure time. The San Juans
had the poorest mark at 90.3 percent and Point Defiance-Tahlequah
the best at 99.7 percent. Locally, Edmonds-Kingston finished at
99.3 percent, Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth at 94.0 percent,
Seattle-Bainbridge at 94.7 percent and Seattle-Bremerton at 98.5
Accordingly, complaints about on-time performance decreased from 40
The ferries enjoyed their highest spring fare revenues ever, at
$45.6 million. That’s $2.6 million (6.1 percent) more than spring
quarter 2013. Ridership was 232,400 (4.1 percent) more.
Gov. Jay Inslee wanted to buy ice cream for the 482 people
forced off the overloaded ferry Cathlamet a couple Friday’s ago,
but he couldn’t pull it off fast enough. It would’ve been cool to
see the line swing from the Bremerton ferry dock to Cold Stone
What Inslee and Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson did arrange
was to let everybody ride home from Seattle that night for free.
That was their decision, Peterson said during a ferry community
meeting Friday evening in Bremerton.
It cost $21,000, but might’ve been worth every cent in goodwill. Or
maybe it would’ve been better spend on a traffic cop at the
Fauntleroy terminal. That was just lost revenue, not including fuel
and labor for adding an extra sailing.
The ferry meetings are normally held on Saturdays, but with
Blackberry Fest and other events coming up, it looked for awhile
like August would go without one.
“We felt there were enough things going on with our ferries that we
needed to have this meeting,” Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent said of
the get-together, attended live or online by folks from the San
Juans to Vashon Island. “And it was a time when Lynn could
It was the first appearance for Peterson, who stuck around for 1
1/2 hours. She said the overloading Aug. 15 when Seahawks fans were
headed for an exhibition game against the Chargers was more
complicated than letting too many people on the boat and making
them get back off.
“We always have to be be cognizant of safety first,” Lent quoted
her as saying, “but she never wants it to happen again.”
In case you missed it, the Cathlamet can carry 1,200 passengers
based on the number of life jackets onboard and proximity to other
ferries that could help in an emergency. Crew members for some
reason thought it had a 1,600-person capacity, and loaded 1,682.
The captain pulled out, got a radio call from the dock with the
number and went right back in.
I’m working on a story that details when and how passengers are
counted, and there’s a new development in the overloading incident
I’m sure you’ll find interesting.
Last Friday, the Bremerton boats started about 15 minutes late for
the Seahawks’ bludgeoning of Chicago, but WSF beefed up staffing
and added an extra nighttime sailing so as not to suffer deja vu,
At one point there were two finalists for former ferry director
David Moseley’s job and they came to Bremerton to meet the public.
Operations and construction director George Capacci, named interim
director by Peterson in March, withdrew and former Pierce County
Executive John Ladenberg wasn’t chosen.
People won’t have a chance to talk to the next prospects, whose
application deadline is Sunday. there’s not time for a public
meet-and-greet, said Peterson, who has confidence a hiring advisory
committee that includes Lent. Peterson and Inslee will make the
“We want somebody who’s more on the administrative side, to make
those tough decisions and be bold,” Peterson told the group
The director’s salary range is $119,000 to $145,000.
Several other high-ranking positions have also been open for a
while, including director of vessels, port engineer, senior port
captain and another that WSF wouldn’t confirm Monday. When you hear
that WSF needs to clean house, well, much of it is already done.
You feel bad that Capacci’s facing a bunch of problems without a
full team. At the same time, you have to wonder why so many
executives are leaving.
Seattle TV reporters tried to tie Washington State Ferries’
current boat shortage to crewing issues during a conference call
with interim director George Capacci. While staffing has been a
problem, as recently as Tuesday, the two are unrelated.
Two boats are in dry dock undergoing scheduled maintenance. The
124-Kitsap is getting a paint job and the 144-car Yakima having
drive motor work. The jobs were planned a long time ago, and won’t
be completed until late September.
WSF schedules more maintenance during winter, when business is
slower, but it can’t all be completed without spreading into
summer. Having two boats in planned maintenance this time of year
is normal, said ferries spokeswoman Marta Coursey.
What wasn’t expected was for two of the system’s largest vessels to
break down. Ferry officials had been keeping an eye on a Wenatchee
stern tube seal while searching for a dry dock. They had to go to
Vancouver, B.C., to find one, and towed the boat there Monday
evening. The very next day, on a trip from Seattle to Bainbridge
Island, the Tacoma lost power. Capacci said Thursday they don’t
know yet what happened, except that it’s an electrical problem, and
he hopes to have a repair plan next week.
“None of our four current challenges are because of lack of crews,”
Capacci said. ” … These are operational issues with the maintenance
of the vessels that have caused these shortages.”
So does the system have enough money to properly maintain the
boats, a reporter asked.
There is a backlog of deferred vessel maintenance, but the Coast
Guard wouldn’t allow the boats to sail if they weren’t safe,
Capacci and Coursey characterized the situation as “unprecedented,”
and urged riders to sign up for alerts so they could stay informed.
Those were the themes.
The Wenatchee is expected to return Friday afternoon, but ferries
officials didn’t think they could wait that long to restore a
second boat to the Edmonds-Kingston route. They moved the 124-car
Chelan down from the Anacortes-Sidney, B.C. route at noon. That
wasn’t popular with Anacortes Chamber of Commerce director
Stephanie Hamilton, who called this the town’s biggest weekend.
Capacci said officials looked at reservations booked from Canada
and weighed them against 5,500 vehicles the Edmonds-Kingston route
carries every day. And, he added, it’s better to be without the
Chelan Thursday and Friday and get it back for the weekend.
A technicality came up Tuesday when the Walla Walla was providing
single-boat service to Bainbridge. Normally it’s allowed to carry
1,800 passengers, but it was limited to 600 seats at a time they
were needed the most. That’s the number its life rafts can hold,
and by regulation the maximum number of people the ferry can carry
without another boat on the route to help in emergencies.
Capt. John Dwyer, Coast Guard chief of marine inspection in
Seattle, happened to be in the WSF operations center when the
Tacoma stalled and gave permission to load 1,200 people because the
Sealth was nearby on the Bremerton route and could help rescue
riders. The word never got to the boat or terminal, where customers
were quite upset.
“The loop didn’t get completed,” Capacci said. “The communication
apparently didn’t get to the right person at the right time. I’m
very sorry about that.”
Staffing problems on the Fauntleroy-Vashon Island-Southworth route
Tuesday morning were only indirectly tied to boat problems. The
connection was the boat — Evergreen State — being there because of
the breakdowns. It was brought out of retirement to fill in for the
Sealth and keep the route at three boats. But dispatchers couldn’t
find a mate until 10 a.m., so it remained idle for five hours.
Capacci sidestepped the issue Thursday, but spoke generally.
“There’s a high demand for crews in the summer, but I think
we’re meeting those targets of having those crews available,”
There could be another Illahee in the state’s ferry future.
That was clearly your favorite name for the new boat that’s coming
to Bremerton in a couple years. Now I have to usher the name
through the bureaucracy and get it picked by the state
The first Illahee served the state for 59 years before being
abruptly yanked in 2007 because it was rusting away. It was
scrapped in 2009.
Over the past couple months, you sent in dozens of names. They were
whittled to three most popular — Illahee, Suquamish and Radulescu.
In final voting last week, Illahee received more than half (179),
though Suquamish (87) and Radulescu (84) also showed solid
It might’ve been more fun to crusade for Tony Radulescu, the state
trooper shot to death during a traffic stop near Gorst in 2012.
Many of you realized that would probably be in vain, however. The
guidelines state that names honoring individuals should be avoided,
but will be considered it the person has been dead for at least 20
years and has enduring fame. As beloved as Tony was, he doesn’t
meet those criteria.
Several of you mentioned he deserved to be memorialized, but in a
different way. Tony got more support from you than the votes
Radulescu also bucked the guideline that the name be consistent
with existing fleet names. With the imminent retirement of the
Evergreen State, they’ll all be tribal words.
Illahee fits. It means “land,” “country” or “place where one lives”
in the Chinook language.
It’s also a pretty community three miles north of Bremerton
overlooking Port Orchard Passage that was a former Mosquito Fleet
stop. A nearby state park also adopted the name.
The naming process hasn’t officially begun. Washington State
Ferries first has to sent the Transportation Commission a schedule
for when it needs one. Then the commission will formally
It’ll be up to me to build a case. I have to show how Illahee
conforms to the ferry-naming guidelines, provide background, and
get letters of support from local, regional and state bodies and
officials. I’ll be pushing this as the people’s choice, so it would
be great if you want to write up your thoughts and send them to
The proposals first go to the Transportation Commission’s ferry
team, which reviews them for compliance. Eligible ones advance to
the full commission, the ferry advisory committee executive council
and Washington State Ferries for review and input. They’ll be
posted on the Transportation Commission’s website for public
comment. The full commission looks at all the input and the ferry
team recommendation and makes its decision.
Those are the names you chose for a new Bremerton ferry. Now you
need to pick one to submit to the state Transportation
The vessel will be the third in the 144-car Olympic class. The
first two are Tokitae, which is supposed to begin service Tuesday
on the Mukilteo-Clinton run, and Samish, which will serve the San
Juan Islands early next year.
Two weeks ago, Washington State Ferries signed a $112.6 million
change order authorizing construction of the third boat. It’s not
expected to be finished until early 2017.
The ferries system will soon tell the Transportation Commission by
when it needs a name, and the commission will solicit them. There
will be several proposals. Seven were considered for the last two
boats. Those not selected were Ivar Haglund, Cowlitz, Hoquiam,
Muckleshoot and Sammamish. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try
I know the Manette community is campaigning for Enetai. I like it,
and we got several votes for it, but not enough to break into the
top three. Others finishing just out of the running were Angeline
There are lots of good names, but we want to propose one based on
your votes because the ferry will be serving the Kitsap area.
A couple names I really like that came in late are Kloomachin,
which means killer whale in the Sklallam language, and Sholeetsa,
who was Chief Seattle’s mother. Maybe next time.
Let’s look at the finalists:
Illahee means “land,” “country” or “place where one lives.” in the
Chinook language. A community three miles north of Bremerton, which
was a Mosquito Fleet stop, took the name, as well as a state park
in the same vicinity. A state ferry was also named Illahee from
1940 until 2009. It was removed from service in 2007 because of
hull corrosion, sold in 2009 and scrapped in Mexico.
Suquamish translates to “people of the clear salt water.” It’s the
name of a tribe that lives on the Port Madison Reservation and a
town within the reservation, another former Mosquito Fleet stop.
There has never been a ferry called Suquamish. Two are named for
Suquamish chiefs, Kitsap and Sealth.
Washington State Trooper Tony Radulescu, of Port Orchard, was shot
to death on a traffic stop by a felon in February 2012. There’s a
memorial for him at the District 8 headquarters in Bremerton.
Choosing Radulescu would be bucking the trend. The Transportation
Commission likes consistency, and all but one of the ferries have
Native American names. Its policy says it’ll consider people’s
names, but only if they’ve been dead 20 years, possess enduring
fame, and played a significant historical role in the region.
Illahee, Suquamish or Radulescu. Vote for your favorite and we’ll
tally them up in a week or so, announce the winner and start
vetting it with local groups and officials.