Tell me about that one-in-a-million person


I’m compiling a list of local people who’ve done something great and spectacular with their lives and have contributed to making West Sound a better place. I’ll be writing profiles about them in the months to come. Who do you think deserves some recognition? While most of the people I know are in the business and social-services communities, due to the beats I cover, I’m sure you know of a deserving person that I haven’t though of. Give me a call or email me. Thanks.

Rachel Pritchett, reporter

White Horse clubhouse opens to public Sunday


The big new clubhouse and events facility at White Horse Golf Course opens to the public Sunday, March 17. Overseers plan St. Patrick’s Day-themed food specials all day long, from 8 a.m. to dusk. I’m always interested when something of this magnitude comes online in West Sound, and since this is in my stomping grounds, I think I’ll stop by early afternoon. So if you see me, say hi and tell me how I’m doing here in my 29th year at the Sun.

Here’s the story about the facility that’s Port Madison Enterprise leaders hope attracts the same wedding and conference traffic that the very successful Hood Canal Vista Pavilion at Port Gamble enjoys, to say nothing of the golfing crowd, which is small but growing.

Here’s the story I wrote about the facility:

Rachel Pritchett, business reporter

Sequestration could close Tacoma Narrows Airport tower


The Tacoma Narrows Airports has a control tower and Bremerton National Airport doesn’t. But under sequestration, Tacoma’s could close, according to a Tacoma News Tribune piece today. Some local pilots say a control tower draws corporate-jet traffic. Would that even the field? Here’s Steve Maynard’s story:

Rachel Pritchett

Gas-price relief in sight

We’re paying $3.93 on average for a gallon of unleaded gas today in Kitsap County, up 3 cents from a week ago, but down from the $4.09 we were paying this day last year.

Some relief is in sight. Analysts now are backing off their “$4 by spring” mantra. A short-term energy outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is predicting that the average gas price nationally, now at $3.85, will bump up to around $3.90 in April, but then follow a slow decline through the rest of the year. In December, the price should be around $3.20, the Administration predicts.

You can read more here.

— Rachel Prichett

How SKIA stacks up to other industrial areas

How does the South Kitsap Industrial Area stack up with other industrial areas in Puget Sound? On the smaller side, far less developed side, I’d say. As you may know, SKIA consists of the Olympic View Industrial and Business Parks on the west side of Highway 3, Bremerton National Airport, and the vast mostly undeveloped area east of the runway. SKIA covers 3,690 acres and has 39 firms in it for about 1,000 jobs, according to the Puget Sound Regional Council.

PSRC compared it to the seven other designated industrial areas that include Ballard/Interbay, Duwamish, Frederickson, Kent, North Tukwila, Paine Field/Boeing and the Port of Tacoma.

It found that SKIA has more acreage than the average of the eight, which was 3,178 acres. It had far fewer jobs than the average, which was 20,309, far fewer firms present in it (average was 557), and far fewer parcels. SKIA has 148 parcels and the average is 593 parcels.

Which I suppose means room to grow. It’s kind of an unfair comparison. Some of these industrial areas are as old as Seattle. SKIA’s still new, though there’s been little interest in it by potential businesses to date.

Rachel Pritchett

More on my identity-theft article


Deanne Montgomery, advocate for Crime Victim Assistance Center, called me to say her group stands ready to help local victims of identity-theft, including mail theft. While the Port Townsend case in enormous, unfortunately it’s far from unique, she said. All services are free. The daytime number is 360-874-8270 and the weekend and nighttime number is 800-346-7555.

Rachel Pritchett

My story’s on the home page now at

Kitsap gas prices where we were a year ago, but rising very fast


The average price for a gallon of unleaded gas in Kitsap County today is at the exact same level it was a year ago. That would be a pricey $3.69, and it’s going up very rapidly.

Just in the past month, the price has risen 26 cents; just in the past 24 hours, it’s gone up 2 cents, says auto club AAA. Nationally today, we’re at $3.71.

Analysts say no turnaround’s in sight for all of 2013, when we’re expected to hit $4 a gallon.

Therefore, here are some tips for saving gas from and myself.

— Rachel Pritchett

1. Comparison-shop for cheap gas.
2. Change the way you drive. Most cars set set to run most efficiently at 55 mph. Go for that and accelerate and brake gradually.
3. Find the right type of station. Some stations are always the price leaders in the area. Oftentimes wholesale clubs, grocery stores or department stores with gas stations will sell gas close to cost or at a loss, in order to get people into the stores where they may buy other, higher margin items.
4. Take advantage of discounts. Many stations have coupons available for discounts on gas purchases. These coupons can be found in various places, like the back side of grocery store receipts, in the mail coupons, internet coupons.
5.Find other ways to get to work, including carpools, transit, walking and biking.
6. Purchase a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Many vehicles are getting worse fuel economy than vehicles of the past. Auto manufacturers are putting larger engines in bigger vehicles, which results in unsatisfactory fuel economy. Many SUV’s get 15-20 mpg (some even worse).
7. Stay home.

AWB chief says we’re forgetting the benefits of hydropower

A column by Don C. Brunell, president, Association of Washington Business

When Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1942, it was called the Eighth Wonder of the Modern World. With its 151 mile-long reservoir and ability to produce 6,809 megawatts of electricity, no one could imagine a bigger or more powerful dam — and no one realized the scope of economic development that low-cost, reliable hydropower would create.

Actually someone did. China.

This year, China completed its gargantuan Three Gorges hydroelectric project with triple the power generation of Grand Coulee. The controversial project is the largest dam in the world. The Chinese government defends it and other proposed hydro projects as critical to curbing disastrous flooding on the Yangtze River and generating electricity needed to power China’s economic growth.

New mega dams are also planned on the Amazon and Mekong rivers. What’s behind this renaissance of hydropower?

First, hydropower produces no greenhouse gases and generates large amounts of electricity in one spot. The electricity produced by the Three Gorges Dam is equivalent to the output of 15 nuclear reactors. The comparison to wind and solar power is even more striking. It takes thousands of acres of wind turbines and solar panels to produce an equivalent stable supply of electricity and that generation occurs only when the wind blows or the sun shines.

Second, electricity powers manufacturing which, in turn, creates economic growth and family-wage jobs. Like wind and solar, it is clean energy but it is more reliable because water is stored behind the dams, available for use on demand.

In Peru, former President Alan Garcia believes his country can increase its electricity generation eight-fold by harnessing the tributaries to the Amazon River. In turn, Peru would use the power to expand its manufacturing and agriculture base and export a big chunk of that electricity to neighboring Brazil and Chile.

Peru is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, averaging 6 percent GDP growth since the turn of the century. Garcia’s plan is to use energy, particularly electricity, to diversify its economy, spur investments in manufacturing, create jobs and increase wages.

Halfway across the world, the Laotian government is proposing a network of 11 dams on the lower Mekong River, similar to our Columbia and Snake River hydro network. China already has dams along the upper Mekong and is building more.

Laos’ centerpiece is the mammoth and controversial 1,260 megawatt Xayaburi dam on the lower reaches of the Mekong River. Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam say the dam violates a 1995 treaty for shared use and management of the Mekong River Basin. Still, Laos is pushing ahead because of the dam’s potential to spur economic growth.

We often overlook the importance of hydropower in our state. Roughly three-quarters of our electricity comes from our dams. Low-cost, reliable hydropower is the foundation of our state’s manufacturing sector, and it heats and lights schools, hospitals, nursing homes, office buildings and homes throughout the state. In fact, our hydropower advantage offsets other higher costs in Washington.

Even so, some people think we should remove the dams, particularly the four dams on the lower Snake River. But those dams are integral to our river transportation system, and they produce the electricity that pumps irrigation water into Eastern Washington vineyards, orchards and fields. Removing them will cripple our economy and kill jobs.

Unlike the controversial Xayaburi and Three Gorges dams, our Columbia and Snake River network did not cover millions of acres of farmlands and forest, nor did they displace millions of people. Over the years, we have learned to balance fisheries, flood control, power production, transportation and irrigation needs.

We should realize that we have what the rest of the world is seeking: a reliable source of clean, affordable, renewable energy.