Minding Your Business

Reporter Tad Sooter keeps tabs on the West Sound economy, nonprofits and health care.
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5,000 Kitsap residents enrolled in private health plans through exchange

April 23rd, 2014 by Tad Sooter

blog.kitsap.enrollmentNearly 5,000 Kitsap residents enrolled in private health plans during open enrollment for the Washington insurance exchange.

Washington Healthplanfinder released final statistics from its inaugural open enrollment period Wednesday. The enrollment period ran from October through March.

The 4,940 Kitsap residents who signed up for private health plans through the exchange accounted for about 3 percent of the 164,000 enrolled in private plans statewide.

Another 23,219 Kitsap residents signed up for Medicaid through Healthplanfinder, either as newly eligible clients (12,921) or as clients who re-enrolled (10,298).

Kitsap ranked tenth among Washington counties for total enrollment. An estimated 31,000 Kitsap residents were uninsured in 2012, according to a report from the state Insurance Commissioner. Of those, 17,300 were eligible for assistance under the Affordable Care Act.






The full open enrollment report is posted below: Read the rest of this entry »

Kitsap sees gradual job growth in first quarter

April 23rd, 2014 by Tad Sooter


Like our fickle spring weather, employment numbers in the first three months of the year showed bright spots amid some lingering gloom.

Jobs in Kitsap

Jobs are more plentiful in Kitsap County than a year ago, with about 900 more people employed by Kitsap employers in March 2014 than March 2013. But the county lagged behind the state overall in job creation over the same period (1.1 percent growth compared to 2.1 percent). And employment in Kitsap still isn’t where it was at the start of the recession.

“We dug ourselves a pretty good hole so it’s going to take a while to dig out of it,”said Jim Vleming, regional economist for the state Employment Security Department. Read the rest of this entry »

Fresh start for North Kitsap composting facility

April 18th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

A year after closing, the former Emu Composting & Topsoil site in North Kitsap has been revived under new ownership.

The Ecology Road facility was purchased by the owners of Port Orchard-based New Day Recycling, and is now open as Olympic Organics. The company will provide compost and topsoil from grass, brush, manure, wood wastes and other materials, according to a news release.

“We want to continue to offer what Emu Composting did, but with our own spin,” founder Jeff West said.

Emu Composting owners filed for bankruptcy in late 2012 and closed the business in February 2013. The Wests purchased the property for $70,000 in December, according to county records.

For information on Olympic Organics, go to www.olympicorganics.net or call 360-638-0117.

BIDA director leaving for Seattle association

April 17th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

Andie Mackin, executive director of the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association, is leaving the organization to join its counterpart across the Sound.

Mackin will take a job as resourced development manager for the Downtown Seattle Association later this month, according to a news release. She will continue to advise the Bainbridge association as it searches for a new director.

BIDA board President Tim O’Brien said Mackin helped the organization gain recognition as a “model” Main Street Program.

“I cannot be more excited for Andie to open this new chapter in her career,” O’Brien said in the release. “She’s made such a positive impact in fulfilling the mission of our Downtown Association here on Bainbridge, and I know she’ll do very well in the large market of Seattle.”

For information on the soon-to-be vacant position at BIDA, email jobs@bainbridgedowntown.org.

The full news release is posted below: Read the rest of this entry »

KEDA offers free training on government contracts

April 17th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

Kitsap Economic Development Alliance will offer a host of free workshops over the next two months for small business owners interested in government contracts.

Click here to see the full schedule: Read the rest of this entry »

Harrison announces CEO selection committee

April 17th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

Scott Bosch

Harrison Medical Center will hire a new CEO this year, after Scott Bosch announced his plans to retire at the end of July.

The hospital distributed a statement from board Chairman Jim Civilla this week, announcing the search committee selection and updating the search timeline. The committee will hold its first meeting April 21 to pick a national search firm.

According to Civilla, parent company Franciscan Health System “will accept the recommendation of the search committee with our Board of Director’s endorsement.”

Civilla’s full statement is below: Read the rest of this entry »

Tracking new marijuana businesses in Kitsap

April 17th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

blog.potIt’s not happening fast, but the state is gradually approving marijuana businesses.

A second Kitsap marijuana grow called Green Apple was given the OK for a Clear Creek Road location this week. You can read about that here.

A dozen licenses had been approved statewide as of Tuesday. The pace of approvals should pick up soon. A lottery will be held next week to help decide who receives retail pot shop licenses.

I’ll be tracking and mapping approved locations in Kitsap as they come in. We’re compiling these blog posts and all our marijuana news on a new Kitsap Sun page devoted to I-502 implementation. It’s worth bookmarking if you’re curious about the local impacts of legal pot.


Busch ad campaign features Bainbridge tugboat crewman

April 14th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

Busch Beer is rolling out an ad campaign that “celebrates everyday people who work hard at their jobs and in their communities.”

Bainbridge Island tugboat deckhand Andy Freeman fit the bill.

Freeman is one of eight workers across the country highlighted as “Busch Heroes” in the new campaign. He was honored at an event in Bremerton Friday.

Freeman is featured in a mini documentary about his work (embedded above). According to a news release, he will also appear on packaging, print ads, retail displays and regional billboards, along with the slogan “Here’s to Earning It.”

You can see more of the campaign here.

Plans submitted for Poulsbo Sonic

April 14th, 2014 by Tad Sooter



A Sonic Drive-In is one step closer to construction on Poulsbo’s Viking Way.

The city received an application for a proposed 2,148-square-foot fast food restaurant with drive-thru. The application requests a revision to the existing site plan for the property, which had been approved for a 3,900-square-foot convenience store, gas station and fast food complex.

The new site plan proposal includes just a Sonic restaurant and 30 parking spots. You can click on the graphic on the right to expand.

Patrons would have a few dining options. They could order from the drive-thru window or park in the lot and be served by carhops.  The restaurant wouldn’t have true indoor seating, but it would have covered patio seating, with garage-style doors that could be rolled down during bad weather.

JWJ Group LLC. owns the property at 21895 Viking Way and is pursuing the site plan revision. A Seattle development firm is negotiating the purchase of the land and plans to build a Sonic there. It’s one of many Sonic locations slated for the Puget Sound region.

You can see some preliminary building plans below below: Read the rest of this entry »

Silverdale ophthalmologist tops state Medicare payments list

April 11th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

Three doctors at Silverdale’s Retina Center Northwest were among the state’s top 50 recipients of Medicare payments in 2012, according to the Seattle Times.

Dr. David Spinak topped the list with more than $3 million in payments. His colleague, Dr. Todd Schneiderman, received more than $2 million.

Schneiderman told the Times the reimbursements reflect the high cost of drugs used to treat eye problems like macular degeneration.

“I’m not making $2 million,” he said. “None of us make a fraction of that money; the vast majority goes to pay for this drug.”

Medicare released the data Wednesday. You can view the full data set here.