Monthly Archives: May 2012

State Supreme Court slated to issue opinion on proposed I-1183 repeal Thursday


The Washington Supreme Court is expected to issue an opinion tomorrow, Thursday, May 31, on a lawsuit that would repeal I-1183, the liquor-privatization initiative slated to take effect Friday, June 1.

The court’s decision may come between 8 and 10 a.m. It will be posted on the court’s website at

Call me in the morning after the decision. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts. Until 9:30 a.m., reach me on my cell at 206-498-0920. After 9:30, call me at my desk phone, 360-475-3783.

Rachel Pritchett, reporter

Bremerton workers earn 6 percent more than national average

By Rachel Pritchett

Wage-earners are better off in Kitsap County than the rest of the nation, according to data sent today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a part of the U.S. Department of Labor.

The average worker in Kitsap County earned $23.03 an hour in May 2011, the latest measurement available, which was about 6 percent higher than the national average of $21.74 an hour. The prevalence of skilled, federal-government jobs typically is cited for the reason local wages exceed the national average.

In Kitsap County, management occupations were the highest paid, at $49.44 an hour, followed by architecture and engineering occupations at $38.95 an hour.

Architecture and engineering occupations accounted for 5.4 percent of total local employment, compared to only 1.8 percent nationwide.

The average wage for production occupations locally was 49 percent above the national average.

Office and administrative support occupations in Kitsap County accounted for the largest share of local employment at 14.9 percent.

Those are the highlights. For more detail, go to Just FYI when you’re digging around the data, the Bremerton-Silverdale area described translated to the entire county.

Kitsap gas prices escalate as Memorial Day weekend begins


It’s costing $4.23 for a gallon of unleaded gas today, Friday, as the three-day weekend approaches, up from $4.07 a month ago, says AAA.

Today’s price comes closer even yet to the all-time high in Kitsap of $4.37 in June 2008. The switchover to summer blend at West Coast refineries is being blamed, along with the fire at the Cherry Point refinery at Ferndale, in Whatcom County.

Rachel Pritchett

Belfair liquor store last to close on the Kitsap Peninsula

Kitsap Peninsula’s remaining seven state liquor stores will be phased out the final four days of May to assure there’s alcohol available right up until private owners take over on June 1. 

Thirty-five state liquor stores will remain open until June 1, including Belfair’s on Highway 3. 

Closing on Memorial Day will Gig Harbor’s Point Fosdick store, followed Tuesday by those on Bremerton’s Naval Avenue and Port Orchard’s Lund Avenue, and Wednesday by Bainbridge’s Tormey Lane location, one in Poulsbo Village and a third on Silverdale’s Bucklin Hill Road.

View your Social Security information online

The U.S. Social Security Administration now allows consumers to access their Social Security earnings and benefit information online, according to a statement from the administration.

The new free service can help consumers plan for retirement, or get estimates for disability and survivor benefits.

The administration states the process is safe.

To get your information, go to You will be asked to provide information already on files with Social Security to verify who you are.

— Rachel Pritchett

Port of Bremerton decides not to raise Port Orchard Marina rates

By Rachel Pritchett

BREMERTON NATIONAL AIRPORT — Port of Bremerton commissioners on Tuesday opted not to raise rates at the Port Orchard Marina.

“We couldn’t justify it,” Commissioner Larry Stokes said.

Presently, no other local marina charges as much as the Port Orchard Marina for uncovered moorage, according to a study from the port. Boaters pay more than $350 a month for a slip.

Uncovered moorage rates among local marinas are cheapest at the Brownsville Marina, which charges less than $200 a month. The Port of Poulsbo is the second best bargain, with rates of just more than $200.

Port Orchard Marina also is the most expensive for covered moorage, charging more than $550 a month. Kingston, the cheapest, charges less than $400.

The last time the port raised rates at the Port Orchard Marina was between 2006 and 2009.

Port marinas chief Steve Slaton said the waiting list for the Port Orchard Marina is declining, due to a poor economy. About two dozen names are on the list. That’s down from before the recession, when nearly 60 names were on the list.

Since 2008, the port has “managed” the waiting list, removing names of people who died, moved away or no longer were interested, and began charging a $25 annual fee to stay on the list. That also contributed to a shorter roster of names.

The Port Orchard Marina always runs close to full.

Commissioners recently also decided not to lower rates at the Bremerton Marina to generate more interest among boaters. The marina is a third full with many boats there with a yacht-sales firm. You can read that story here:

Those Kitsap gas prices just won’t stop going higher


The average price for a gallon of unleaded today, Wednesday, stood at $4.20, up 15 cents from a week ago. That not so far off from the all-time record for high prices, which hit locally on June 21, 2008, when the price rose to $4.50.

Diesel locally today is selling at $4.51 on average, according to auto club AAA. Premium was at $4.62.

Following is a discussion that AAA national analyst Avery Ash put out Monday. As you can see, prices are falling in the rest of the nation, except for the West Coast. He said it’s the annual switchover at refineries from winter mix to summer mix, creating less supply:

By Avery Ash, AAA
Declining crude oil prices and renewed economic concerns have pressured the national average gas price steadily lower since early April.

The national average price at the pump has now declined for 28 consecutive days and is 21 cents lower than the April 6 peak of $3.94. This streak of declining prices is the longest since 2010, when prices dropped 21 cents from May 7 to June 3. If the current streak is extended tomorrow, it will be the longest streak since 2009, when prices declined 23 cents from June 22 to July 21.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular self-serve gasoline is $3.73. This is five cents cheaper than the price one week ago, 17 cents cheaper than one month ago and 24 cents cheaper than one year ago.

A decline in the price at the pump has not been seen west of the Rocky Mountains, where tight gasoline inventories have sent prices higher even as crude oil prices and retail gas prices across the rest country have moved lower. While it is not unusual for gasoline stocks to decline at this time of year, as refineries undergo maintenance and the switchover from winter-blend to summer-blend gasoline takes place, current West Coast stocks, as reported last week by the Department of Energy, are at their lowest level since 1992. While 46 states and the District of Columbia have seen their price at the pump decline since April 14, Alaska (3.4 cents), Washington (7.1 cents), Oregon (8.5 cents), and California (11.6 cents) have seen prices increase.

Foreclosure activity declines, hurting investors


This from ForeclosureRadar, a service that tracks foreclosure trends. First is a discussion of what happened nationally in April. I’ve put the April statistics for Kitsap County below that. You can see that the foreclosure pipeline is slowly narrowing both nationally and locally, hurting investors. If you’d like more local detail, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Rachel Pritchett, reporter

The discussion from ForeclosureRadar:
Foreclosure Starts declined across our coverage area wiping out the small gains in new foreclosure filings last month. In California, notice of default filings are down 69.8 percent from the peak in March 2009, and 15.8 percent from April 2011. Notice of trustee dale filings, the start of Arizona’s foreclosure process, are down 59.4 percent from the peak in March 2009, and down 8 percent year-over-year.

Foreclosure sales also declined, however, foreclosure investors purchased a record percentage of the limited inventory that was actually sold. Nevada investors purchased more than 50 percent of foreclosure sales for the first time at 50.7 percent. Arizona followed with 44.6 percent and California at 41.3 percent. The low number of sales, combined with record percent purchased on the courthouse steps left very little to become Bank Owned (REO). This further depletes the inventory of Bank Owned homes as REO sales continue to outpace the addition of new inventory.

Despite investors purchasing a higher percentage of foreclosure sales, margins have rapidly declined in recent months. In both Arizona and Nevada winning bids on the courthouse steps on average equal the current estimated value of those properties. In California the discount between market value and winning bid have on average declined to 12.3 percent. This leaves investors who intend to resell their purchases with record low profits after eviction, repairs, and closing costs.

Now the local discussion:
There were 37 new foreclosure filings in Kitsap County in April.

That was a 68 percent decrease over a year ago. and a 52 percent decrease over March. This is the first step in the foreclosure process.

As for foreclosure outcomes in Kitsap County in April, the last step in the foreclosure process, 17 were canceled prior to being auctioned off on the courthouse steps. That means that the parties successfully negotiated a loan modification or the property became a short sale.

Fifteen went back to the bank, and one was sold to a third party.

Foreclosure outcomes of all sorts in Kitsap County were drastically down in April over a year ago.

Ground breaking for new Harrison ortho center Thursday

By Kitsap Sun staff

SILVERDALE — The public is invited to a groundbreaking of Harrison Medical Center’s orthopaedic center Thursday in Silverdale.

The celebration begins at 4 p.m. at Harrison’s medical campus.

The 45,000-square-foot orthopaedic center will occupy three floors and will be a wing of the existing facility, which is used mostly for women’s and children’s health care services.

The center is estimated to cost $21 million to build and is expected to open in August.

The address is 1800 NW Myhre Road.