Monthly Archives: October 2011

Belfair marijuana provider seeks Shelton expansion

Mari Meds, the nearly one-year-old provider of marijuana for the surrounding medical cannabis community, has been seeking a second location in Shelton.

Not so fast, the city said, in rejecting its business license application. City officials said the business would run afoul of state and federal laws.

The denial came as a blow to Lori Kent, one of Mari Meds’ proprietors. Mari Meds has appealed the decision to the Shelton city commission; their appeal will be heard Nov. 21.

“I don’t think we’ve thrown in the towel,” she said.

Kent said her Highway 3 location has been careful to comply with state laws, even after Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a law that left so-called dispensaries “without legal recognition and more vulnerable to prosecution,” according to an AP article.

Kent said the shop is surviving by using “patient self-treatment.” It gives patients access to other patients who know how to find their state-authorized medicine.

“It puts it back on the patient,” she said. They just verify they’re a legal patient, and the people behind the counter have medical cards, so they’re sharing their marijuana.

Iowa couple married 72 years dies together, holding hands

I never tire of the beautiful story, every so often, of a couple whose love was so strong they die together.

Sounds a bit morbid, I know, but after doing one such story in 2009, I can tell you that these tales never fail to choke me up a bit. While it is in death, it seems like a wondrous happy ending.

Here’s the latest story, from ABC News:

A devoted Iowa couple married for 72 years died holding hands in the hospital last week, exactly one hour apart.

The passing reflected the nature of their marriage, where, “As a rule, everything was done together,” said the couple’s daughter Donna Sheets, 71.

Give it a read, if you get a chance.

Buy a brick, fight domestic violence

Turning Pointe Domestic Violence Services, a young advocacy group that’s sprung up in Mason County, needs your help to survive.

Their Shelton shelter will be placing engraved bricks in a park area in front of its main building. They’re inviting community members to contribute their own bricks, which can be purchased for $35 each or three for $100.

Mason County Sheriff’s Detective Bill Adam believes in the center and is helping promote the fundraiser:

Even though they are not associated with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, we help them because of their wonderful work in helping save and protect victim’s of domestic violence.

As a board of trustee’s member of Turning Pointe, I am requesting that you help get the word out about this wonderful fund raiser to help such a wonderful cause.  We need your help and support to keep the doors open to our Domestic Violence Shelter, which actually serves citizens living in many counties surrounding Mason County.  Victims from Mason, Thurston, Lewis, Pierce, Grays Harbor, Pacific, Jefferson, Kitsap are assisted by this very important shelter.

From the press release:

Turning Pointe is offering for sale decorative bricks that you can personalize. Bricks will be placed in the Turning Pointe park area in front of the main building. Purchase your Brick in Shelton at WalMart on Friday and Saturday November 4th and 5th 10 am to 2 pm or at Safeway in Belfair on Friday and Saturday November 11th and 12th from 10 am to 2 pm

Your name can become a permanent part of Turning Pointe’s park setting. Decorative bricks will be used to pave the park setting and surround the Turning Pointe Facility creating a lasting symbol and remembrance of supporters and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault/abuse, their children and their pets.

With your contribution, your personalized engraved brick will be permanently displayed along with those of your friends, neighbors, community businesses and organizations. An engraved brick is a perfect way to honor a loved one, commemorate a special occasion, and to show your support in helping to end family violence here in Mason County.

Bricks are $35 a piece or 3 / $100. The proceeds from this brick fundraiser will be used to fund Turning Pointe’s services and operational needs.

Now is your opportunity to create a lasting memory carved into a decorative brick, personalized with your name, a special message or honorarium for someone you know and love.

Contributions made through purchasing a brick qualifies as a charitable contribution for income tax purposes. Turning Pointe is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Federal Tax ID # 91-2024833.

All Turning Point Services are Free and Confidential.

Record high: 50 percent of Americans now in favor of legal pot

For the first time since Gallup began keeping count, 50 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized. That’s according to its newest poll, released Monday, which also shows that 46 percent still believe the drug should be illegal.

Nonetheless, that’s a far cry from the 1970 numbers, in which only 12 percent of Americans supported legalization.

And bear in mind, we’re not talking about medical marijuana here: this is outright legalization. A previous Gallup poll found greater strength — 70 percent in favor — for providing people pot whose pain and symptoms it could help relieve.

Gallup also broke down its data:

Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62% approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31% among those 65 and older. Liberals are twice as likely as conservatives to favor legalizing marijuana. And Democrats and independents are more likely to be in favor than are Republicans.

More men than women support legalizing the drug. Those in the West and Midwest are more likely to favor it than those in the South.

Interestingly, the numbers of pot legalization proponents have really gone up, doubling in the past 15 years. In 1995, about one in four people was in favor of it being legal. Things really caught fire in 2009. These days, even Washington lawmakers have entertained the possibility of legalizing it.

I’m curious what the sweeping approvals of medical marijuana laws around the country has done to expose the nation to the drug (some 16 states now have laws on the books). My curiosity is less about the notion there’s more legal marijuana in the country, and more about the idea that more people know someone who’s found marijuana effective in curbing their pain.

Rather than debate the age-old question of legalization, my inquiry to you, readers is this: do you believe the medical marijuana movement has advanced the wider legalization movement? Why or why not?

Wendy Davis, Bremerton police sergeant, heads north for Poulsbo’s deputy chief gig

It’s official: Wendy Davis, a 16-year Bremerton police officer, is headed north to take the reins of Poulsbo Police’s deputy chief position.

Davis, 44, has been a sergeant in Bremerton nine years and is currently the head of the police officer’s union. She’ll fill a position that’s been vacant since the beginning of this year, after Shawn Delaney took a voluntary separation agreement during city cost-cutting.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Davis said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Poulsbo Police Chief Dennis Swiney said Davis will have a lot of projects in the new role, most notably running the day to day operations of the department, which consists of 16 commissioned officers. The months-long hiring process was competitive, he added; about 40 cops applied.

“She brings a lot of experience and local exposure, and is very professional,” Swiney said. “I think she’ll be a good fit to move the Poulsbo Police Department forward.”

The position pays $87,811.

Davis will conclude her time in Bremerton later this month. She starts in Poulsbo Nov. 2. She’ll be sworn in the same night at the Poulsbo city council meeting, Swiney said.

Davis, who graduated from high school in Brookings, Ore., went into the Marine Corps and was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. Her first husband, Ron Davis, was also in the corps and then into law enforcement. He was ultimately killed in the line of duty, responding to a domestic violence call.

She herself got into law enforcement after moving to Kitsap County, become a Bremerton reserve officer in 1992. She was hired full time in 1995. At the department, she met her husband-to-be, Mark Thompson, who is still a sergeant there.

This year, Davis has been in the spotlight as head of the police officer’s union during the surfacing of controversial incidents involving police officers with an explorer. She also serves on the Kitsap County Fair board. As the photo indicates, she’s won a Healthy Tomorrow award for her involvement in the community.

There’ll be a lot to learn in her new job but she said she’s ready for it.

“It’s going to be a transition,” she said,  “But it’ll be a good change.”

FOLLOWUP: Here’s the letter Poulsbo Police Chief Dennis Swiney sent out Tuesday morning pertaining to Davis’ hiring:

Poulsbo Police Hire Wendy Davis

LIVE BLOG: Closing arguments in Olalla assault trial

The Kitsap Sun will be in court Monday morning for closing arguments in the case of State of Washington vs. Damien Walters

As you’ll recall from our previous story:

Kitsap County prosecutors Monday laid out their case against an Olalla man they say shot and critically wounded his 25-year-old roommate after a night of drinking, and then left him “for dead” on his back porch in May 2010.

But an attorney for Damien S. Walters, 27, told jurors in his rebuttal to prosecutors’ opening arguments that while numerous witnesses and much evidence will be presented, they’ll be left with an “enormous black hole in the middle.”

Only the two men were there, and neither has a memory of the late evening when the 25-year-old was shot, said Walters’ attorney, Tim Leary of Seattle.

“You are going to have to decide, beyond a reasonable doubt … what happened,” Leary said. “And we just don’t know.”

But prosecutors argued the totality of the evidence would lead the jurors to a conclusion of guilt.

The live blog of the trial’s closing arguments will commence at 9 a.m. Monday morning in this space below.

UPDATE: As of Tuesday morning, the jury was still out.

‘What are you in for?’ Assault, sex convicts the most common inmates in Washington’s prisons

Were you to check in for a stay at one of the state’s prisons tomorrow (which I hope you do not have to do), chances are great your bunkmate would have landed behind bars due to a sex or violent crime. 

More than 70 percent of more than 16,000 inmates are in for one of those types of offenses, according to data Washington state Department of Corrections Secretary Bernard Warner presented last week before the state senate’s ways and means committee.

Warner, there to educate lawmakers about the dire choices they may have to make amidst the state’s newest budget shortfall, brought with him some interesting stats, including the pie chart you see below.

You may have seen in Saturday’s edition of the Kitsap Sun our story about the cuts. What Warner presented isn’t pretty:

“A five percent cut (to corrections) would mean releasing all inmates but convicts of sexual and violent offenses 120 days early and a reduction on average in community supervision from 16 to six months. In concert with other cuts, it would mean more than $81 million in trimmings from the budget.

A 10 percent cut would mean releasing all inmates but convicts of sexual offenses 120 days early and almost the complete elimination of community supervision for just about all inmates. Combined with other cuts, it would bring down the budget more than $163 million.”

Crime reporter’s notebook: Heroin vapor, mail theft, guns in bars and more

Here’s some of my notes from the week of criminal justice:  

Heroin vapor: A Seattle man was arrested in Suquamish for a drug possession warrant Oct. 8, according to Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office reports. Deputies searched him, they found a eye drop-like bottle filled with a brown liquid. The man admitted it was heroin and that he “inhales the liquid as a nasal spray” — a method of ingestion the cop hadn’t seen before. The man said he’d gotten hooked on opiates after an appendix surgery.

Stolen mail: A witness to a car sifting through mailboxes on Sandy Hook Road NE and Dock Street NE called 911, according to sheriff’s reports. A Suquamish officer in the area stopped the suspected car and the two people inside were interviewed. A bag of mail belonging to addresses in Silverdale, Poulsbo, and along Sandy Hook Road was spotted in the car. Both suspects have been charged by prosecutors with theft.

Seattle LEADS program: The Seattle Times reports a new program, to be run by Evergreen Treatment Services (who you’ll recall are the folks that tried to bring a methadone clinic to Kitsap) will attempt to break the incarceration cycle of some hardened drug addicts. Police on the streets will be the ones choosing the candidates for it. “No one knows if it’ll work, but the creation of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) has made partners out of professional adversaries and brought shared hope to those dealing with the ramifications of the country’s war on drugs,” Times reporter Sara Jean Green reports. “Funded by private foundations, the $950,000-a-year, four-year pilot program offers hand-picked participants individualized alternatives to arrest, from inpatient drug treatment and educational opportunities to housing assistance and microloans for would-be business owners.”

Guns-in-bars advocate arrested for DUI: A Tennessee lawmaker who spearheaded a law that allows the state’s citizens to carry guns in bars was arrested for DUI this week, reports the Commercial Appeal. In Washington state, it appears guns are banned in areas limited to those 21 and over.

Deputies catch another scrap metal thief: On Tuesday, Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies were called to an Olalla Valley Road address for a possible break-in to a for-sale home. When they got there, two deputies heard “ripping” sounds and when they announced their presence, it stopped. A man jumped off a roof and one of the deputies tackled him. The Olalla man, who deputies confirmed had been selling scrap metal, was tearing off sheetrock in the home to get at flexible conduit in the walls, deputies believe. He was taken to the Kitsap County jail for burglary. The theft of metal rages on.

State to begin monitoring prescriptions for pain medication in 2012

Accidental prescription drug overdose deaths now outnumber those killed each year in car crashes in Washington. As states around the country grapple with the continuing epidemic of surging opiate abuse, our state has finally decided to fund a possible solution: simply track each prescription doled out.

Health care providers and pharmacies who dispense pain medications like oxycodone and hydrocodone will, starting Jan. 1, 2012, input each prescription into a secure database. As it grows, it will begin to reveal each patients’ use — and potential misuse of  the drugs, which can be so effective for pain but also addictive.

The law behind the database was passed in 2007 but its implementation wasn’t funded until now.

The providers can use the information to identify such misuse and recommend chemical dependency treatment, according to the state’s Department of Health. Another feature of the database is the ability to identify dangerous drug interactions.

“Having a patient’s prescription history gives prescribers a more complete view of patient care when they prescribe or dispense controlled substances,” Washington State Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said in a press release. “This new service is another tool for patient care and safety.”

I suppose, like any policy tool, there are pitfalls to its effectiveness. People addicted to opiates might attempt to have someone else get them the drugs, or they could attempt to use fake identification.

But ultimately, it could significantly help identify abusers of prescription drugs and has been successful elsewhere.

I’m curious if anyone will find it an intrusion of people’s privacy. The policy is a similar to a federal database that tracks customer’s purchases of pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in home-cooked meth. But I’ve not heard much in the way of complaints about that database.

How do you, dear readers, believe it could change the prescription abuse landscape? And do you think it too intrusive?

The law behind the database permits heath care providers, patients, law enforcement to view prescription records. For more information from the state’s Department of Health on the program and the law, click here.

Followup: Has the S’Klallam Tribe paid for 911 services … or not?

Today on the Kitsap Caucus blog, Kitsap Sun reporter Amy Phan follows up the continuing controversy over the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s contract with Kitsap County’s emergency dispatching service. 

The basic gist: when Kitsap County Central Communications (CenCom) switched to a new payment formula for agencies to use it ($50,000 per year to buy 911 services and then pro rated per call over 10,000 calls) the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe didn’t like that prospect.

That leaves the governing board of CenCom, made up of a host of delegates from local agencies, with a choice: turn off their service, or keep it going.

The tribe disputes they’re delinquent in their payments.

“The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribes does not need to arrange catch-up payments,”  Jeromy Sullivan, S’Klallam Tribe chairman, wrote in a Sept. 23 letter to CenCom. “We are already caught up and have paid our fair share of 911 CenCom services.”

For more on the topic, check out Phan’s entry on the caucus blog here.