Monthly Archives: July 2012

Kitsap Bank reports increase in profits

PORT ORCHARD — Kitsap Bank reported a 10 percent increase in profits for the first half of 2012.
Profits from January through June totaled $3.96 million, according to a statement from the Port Orchard-based bank.

Assets as of June 30 remained $909 million, stable from a year ago.

Deposits increased $15.5 million to $780 million on June 30, compared to that date a year earlier.
“We are very pleased with our first half performance,” said Steve Politakis, chief executive officer. “Earnings are on the rise, asset quality is the best in years, and we have money to lend.”
Kitsap Bank has 21 locations.

One more note on Harrison Medical Center and its reduction of infection rates


When I was researching my story about the reduction of infection rates at Harrison Medical Center on Friday, I called the Washington State Hospital Association. I wanted to know whether Harrison’s experience was typical among hospitals — if putting infection rates out there in front of the public four times a year actually did result in hospitals improving their performance.

I didn’t hear back from the hospital association in time — employees there were on a retreat. Today, spokeswoman Cassie Sauer called to say that yes, indeed, infection rates among hospitals generally have fallen in the few years the information has been more readily available to the public. She said Harrison’s dramatic improvement in such a short period of time was exceptional, however. I’ll continue to check up regularly on the rates.

Here’s Saturday’s story:

Rachel Pritchett

P.S. Many of you have been asking about any update on Harrison’s discussions to affiliate. I have nothing new at this point. I expect an announcement this fall, perhaps October. — Rachel

Lange’s Ranch Park is open

Owner Juel Lange was found to be in compliance by health inspectors this morning. The lifeguard is on duty. Regrettably, the weather is like January today, so there isn’t a single living soul at Lange’s Ranch Park this afternoon, outside of the staff and Lange. Look for my story soon. I’ll post here first, so as not to make anyone madder than they usually are at me.

Rachel Pritchett, reporter

Kitsap County unemployment rate steady in June

By Rachel Pritchett

The loss of 500 government jobs in Kitsap County in June failed to have much impact on the unemployment rate, which stood at 7.5 percent in June, down from 7.6 percent in May.

Most of those lost jobs were from schools letting out for the summer and staffers heading home, according to Elizabeth Court, economist with the state Department of Employment Security.

Helping to offset the summer loss was the gain of 400 jobs in the private sector at the same time. Those gains appeared to be mostly seasonal, as well. Of the 400 jobs, 100 were in construction, and many more were in tourism-related occupations. One hundred were in retail.

Those changes put the number of jobs in Kitsap County at 84,300, a hundred fewer than in May.

The June unemployment rate in Mason in June was 10.5 percent. In Jefferson it was 9.5 percent. Statewide, the rate stood at 8.3 percent, slightly higher than the national rate of 8.2 percent.

Liberty Bank Bank of Poulsbo ranked among nation’s safest

By Rachel Pritchett

POULSBO — Once-troubled Liberty Bay Bank of Poulsbo has been ranked among the safest banks in the nation.

The tiny bank started in 2009 was among 359 of the nation’s 7,300 safest banks determined by a well-known gauge that also has been used to predict failing banks.

Liberty Bay Bank was among three in Washington that received the distinction, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal and

The gauge, called the “Texas ratio,” was developed by a banking analyst in the 1980s and continues to be widely used today. It divides a banks’ nonperforming loans and distressed-property holdings by its equity and loan-loss reserves. The top 359 banks, including Liberty, had a “zero,” or perfect rating. The higher the number, the more likely the institution is to fail, using the formula.

After opening, Liberty Bank soon found it difficult to find qualified borrowers. Bill Fogarty, who raised $11.8 million to start the bank and who became its first president and chief executive officer, was let go in 2010. Darrow came on in early 2011, promising change.

Kitsap Credit Union, meanwhile, has been named among the top five credit unions in the Puget Sound area by the Puget Sound Business Journal.

The ranking was in terms of assets, and the Bremerton-based credit union, with $901 million in assets and 83,507 members, came in fourth.

Far and away the number-one credit union in the Puget Sound area was Boeing Employees Credit Union, with nearly $10 billion in assets and 744,354 members. BECU was followed by Olympia-based Washington State Employees Credit Union, with $1.7 billion in assets and 171,037 members. Holding the number-three position was Sound Credit Union of Tacoma, with $1 billion in assets and 107,793 members.

Behind KCU was School Employees Credit Union of Washington, based in Seattle, with $858 million in assets and 80,709 members.

Kitsap Credit Union began in 1934, lending money to shipyard workers. Its foundation of members with steady government jobs allowed it to grow. Today, it has 17 locations and 326 employees. It recently announced its intention to acquire Quimper community Federal Credit Union of Port Townsend.

ATS work with California utility signals new direction

SILVERDALE — Military and government contractor Applied Technical Systems, Inc. now has entered the commercial realm with a new contract for a large California utility.

Under the agreement, the Silverdale-based company will provide training software for more than 200 of the utility’s plant operators.

“Effective responsiveness to a variety of situations that affect power-plant performance is a fundamental necessity to ensuring a plant is safely delivering power, said Rick Leenstra, chief executive officer.

Ed Hallda, strategist for the company, declined to identify the utility. He said the small- to medium-sized contract represents a new direction for ATS into the commercial market.

Since its beginning in 1980 in downtown Bremerton, ATS has focused on Navy and Army software engineering projects, as well as work for the federal government. It currently is streamlining the way the government issues patients.

Besides its office in Silverdale, ATS has two offices in Virginia.

— Rachel Pritchett

Holdout Central Market applies for liquor license

POULSBO — The higher-ups in the corporation that owns Central Market say they’ve still not decided whether to offer liquor at their megastore in Poulsbo, although they’ve now applied for a liquor license for that location.

“We’re still in the process of testing and analyzing,” said Don Thornton, beer and wine specialist with Town & Country Markets, Inc., owner of Central Market in Poulsbo, Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island, Ballard Market, and Central Markets in Shoreline and Mill Creek.

The corporation began testing specialty liquor sales at Town & Country Market on Bainbridge as well as a full selection of liquor at Central Market in Shoreline on June 1, when the privatization initiative kicked in.

They’ve been pleased with the sales in those two locations.

“It’s going really well, actually,” Thornton said.

He said the next step for the corporation was to apply for liquor licenses for the remaining locations including Poulsbo, and then make the decision whether to sell there.

He said it takes a long time to get a license from the Washington State Liquor Control Board. If the decision is made to expand liquor sales to some or all of their remaining stores, corporate leaders don’t want to have to wait on the licenses.

“The time that it took us initially, it was over two months,” he said.

That makes Central Market the only known holdout not offering the hard stuff among local full-size grocery stores. On June 1, grocery stores with more than 10,000 square feet of space and some specialty retailers were allowed to begin offering liquor, due to voter approval of the liquor privatization initiative, I-1183, last fall.

Taxable retail sales increase 4.7 percent in first quarter

This data from the state Department of Revenue:

OLYMPIA – July 19, 2012 – Taxable retail sales increased 4.7 percent to $24.1 billion during the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, the Washington State Department of Revenue has reported.

Retail trade increased 4.2 percent to $11.1 billion over the first quarter of 2011. Retail trade is a subset of all taxable retail sales that includes retailers but excludes other industries such as services and construction. 

Among major industries, construction was up 8 percent to $3.4 billion, accommodations and food services increased 6.6 percent to $2.8 billion, motor vehicles and parts rose 9.7 percent to $2.6 billion, and general merchandise stores were up 1.9 percent to $2.2 billion.

Here’s the link to the under-water mortgages story

Sorry I frustrated you, readers, by teasing my story about one in five Kitsap homes mortgages in a negative-equity situation. I figured you’d find it on the Kitsap Sun homepage when it was posted. Here’s the link if you missed it. I can’t promise I won’t tease my stories in the future. Sometimes people see my teasers and call me with something to contribute to the story I’m producing.

Rachel Pritchett