Monthly Archives: March 2014

East Bremerton assisted living facility changing hands

Cascade Living Group is finalizing the purchase of Albright House, a 39-unit assisted living facility in East Bremerton.

Cascade founder Tom Stanley said the $3.3 million deal will close Monday night. Albright House was operated by Assisted Living Concepts, a national company now apparently called Enlivant.

Bothell-based Cascade already owns two properties neighboring Albright off Pine Road: The Willows, an independent living community; and Ashley Gardens, a memory care community.

Stanley said the company plans to change the name of Albright House to “The Cottage.” Together, the three properties will be called “Cascades of Bremerton.”

“We could not be more excited to have this community as part of our company,” Stanley said. “… The Cottage will complete our campus.”

Ashley Gardens of Bremerton was the first facility purchased by Cascade after the company formed in 2006. With the addition of The Cottage, Cascade will operate 11 communities in three states.

Soap maker opens store in downtown Bremerton

The maker of F.R.O.G. Soap has hopped to downtown Bremerton.

Laura Kneib had been crafting her recycled vegetable oil soap in her home on Ostrich Bay. Today she opened a store in a space on Fifth Street connected to the Admiral Theatre (and across the street from the Sun offices).

Kneib makes and sells her soaps in the store, which smells pretty amazing. She expects to expand into another space on Fifth soon. Once she’s established, Kneib will offer classes, demonstrations and soap making supplies.

The store hours are: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and closed Sundays. Contact Kneib at or 360-337-0934.

You can read my profile on her soap making business here.

Psychologist joins Group Health in Bremerton

Rebecca Fraynt recently joined the Group Health Behavioral Health Services in Bremerton as a psychologist.

According to a news release, Fraynt came to Group Health from Kaiser Permanente in Mountain View, Calif. where she was a post-doctoral resident. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Her prior education includes a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a masters of arts in clinical psychology from UCLA.

Kitsap leads state in rate of tobacco sales to minors

blog.tobaccoKitsap County store clerks led the state last year in their willingness to illegally sell cigarettes to minors.

That’s according to a report released Thursday by the state Department of Health. The annual Synar Report uses unannounced compliance checks to track illegal tobacco sales. During the checks, underage teens, working with law enforcement, attempt to buy cigarettes from randomly-selected retailers.

The Liquor Control Board carried out 28 random checks in Kitsap last year. Nearly 40 percent of the checks resulted in illegal sales to minors. That figure eclipsed the statewide average of 15 percent and landed Kitsap atop the list of worst offenders for the year. (Click on the graphic to expand).

DOH spokesman Tim Church cautioned that the small sample size means sales at a few stores can sway the numbers from year to year. Local health agencies should use the data to identify compliance trends over time, he said.

The trend in Kitsap isn’t encouraging. The county’s compliance rate steadily worsened since 2010, when about 9 percent of random checks resulted in sales.

“It’s bad news for Kitsap County for sure,” Kitsap Public Health District Administrator Scott Daniels said. “It’s bad news for health of the kids who buy tobacco, it’s bad for the whole community.” Continue reading

Kitsap unemployment ticked up in February

The unemployment rate for Kitsap County jumped by nearly 1 percent from January to February.

The preliminary unemployment rate for last month was 7.1 percent. The revised unemployment rate for January was 6.2 percent (adjusted down from the initial estimate of 6.4 percent).

Kitsap’s workforce grew from January to February, but fewer workers were employed, according to a report from the state Employment Security Department (posted below). The unemployment rate was still well under the rates for February 2013 and 2012. These county statistics are not adjusted to account for seasonal trends.

The number of workers employed by non-farm industries in Kitsap remained steady from January at 83,400. Non-farm employment is up substantially through the first two months of the year compared to 2013.

Statewide, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate held at 6.4 percent from January to February. The steady unemployment rate, combined with slight growth in the labor force and the addition of 2,500 new jobs, is good news.

“That’s a positive sign,” state labor economist Paul Turek said in a news release. “The economy is holding its own. People are moving into the job market and actually finding jobs.”

The full February employment report for Kitsap is posted below: Continue reading

Harrison pro-techs will vote on contract Thursday

Union pro-tech employees at Harrison Medical Center are expected to vote on a contract proposal Thursday. The bargaining team negotiating on behalf of those 800 employees has recommended they vote “no” on Harrison’s proposal.

Negotiations on a new contract began last summer and stalled over the winter. The hospital and employees, represented by UFCW 21, returned to the bargaining table March 14 but did not reach an agreement. Harrison requested a vote on its latest proposal.

We’ll report on the results of the vote meetings Thursday.

“Gone with the Wind” estate for sale in Olalla

Olalla might not be an obvious place to live out a secret “Gone with the Wind” fantasy. But for just under $2 million you can live every day like Rhett and Scarlett in South Kitsap.

A Gone with the Wind-themed wedding venue and rental house went on the market recently. The 10-acre property, located east of Highway 16 off Stevens Road, includes a southern-style mansion and guest cottage. The home was built in 2009.

Owner Joe Scolari said he bought the property in a foreclosure sale and started the themed rental business, which has been well received. The venue has reservations as far out as December. The business grossed $81,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the Commercial Brokers Association listing.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response,” Scolari said.

You can see more photos  here.

Courtesy photos

Kitsap Tractor becomes Sany dealer for Washington

Kitsap Tractor & Equipment is now the Washington State excavator dealer for Sany America.

Kitsap Tractor, located at 9145 Silverdale Way, is part of an expanding network of North American dealers for the Chinese heavy equipment maker.

“Kitsap (Tractor) has a well-established track record of serving the Seattle metropolitan region as well as customers throughout Washington.” Sany earthmoving group President Eric Teague said in a news release.

Sany offers seven hydraulic excavators, ranging from 36-ton models to compact 2-ton models. Kitsap Tractor is also dealer for Kubota, Stihl, Honda and TrailMax.


Pope Resources announces $6.8 million land sale

Poulsbo-based Pope Resources announced a $6.8 million residential land sale in Gig Harbor this week.

Pope sold 63 single-family lots in its Harbor Hill development to Richmond American Homes,  according to a news release. Harbor Hill is a mixed-use development that includes residential properties, a business park and commercial properties.

“This is the second bulk sale of fully developed single-family lots we have closed on thus far this quarter,” Pope CEO David L. Nunes said in a release.  “We look forward to additional residential lot sales from our Harbor Hill project over the coming months and years as the project matures and enjoys increased interest from merchant builders.”

Pope and its subsidiaries own or manage 204,000 acres of timberland and development property in Washington.


Health exchange enrollment tops 3,500 in Kitsap as deadline nears

A total of 3,574 Kitsap residents had enrolled in private health insurance plans through the Washington exchange at the end of February, according to a report from Washington Healthplanfinder. Sign ups remained relatively slow, as they had since December.

Medicaid enrollment continued to climb steeply, with 18,369 enrolled through the exchange at the end of February. That included 10,017 residents signing up for Medicaid for the first time.

The deadline to apply for qualified private plans through Healthplanfinder is March 31. Applicants who file before 5 p.m. March 31 can qualify for coverage that activates April 1. Applicants who file before midnight can qualify for coverage that activates May 1.

The next enrollment period open from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15. Medicaid enrollment continues throughout the year.

Under the Affordable Care Act, people who don’t have health insurance after the deadline could be charged penalties on their federal income tax return. You can find more information on the federal process here.