ADA makes provisions for miniature horses as service animals

Today we’re reporting on a guide dog in training at Green Mountain Elementary School that called on Central Kitsap School District to examine its policy on service animals. District officials agreed that Bridget, a 7-month-old yellow lab, did not fit the definition of a service animal because she is not yet trained and or assigned to a person with a disability. For lack of a policy, the dog, who has many fans at the school, was banned from the classroom from November through late January. A revised policy allows for guide dogs in training at the discretion of the school principal with a written agreement.

Covering this story got me to wondering what does qualify as a service animal, especially since I have heard about miniature horses used to help people with disabilities. Just how does the Americans with Disabilities Act define “reasonable accommodation?”

Service animals perform many tasks from guiding the blind, alerting people are who are deaf, and calming a person with PTSD to pulling a wheelchair and protecting a person who is having a seizure, according to the ADA.

A revision to the ADA effective in 2011 refined and clarified the definition of “service animal” in light of wider use of service dogs and the advent of using miniature horses to perform tasks for people with disabilities.

As of the revision, only dogs are recognized as service animals under Title II of the ADA (state and local government services) and Title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities). A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Generally, under Title II and III, service animals are allowed to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where the public is allowed to go.

A person with a disability may not be asked to remove his dog from premises unless it is out of control and the handler doesn’t take immediate, effective action, or if it is not housebroken.

Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.

Dogs not specifically trained to perform tasks related to a disability, but whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA, but are recognized under the broader definition of “assistance animal.” The Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Act allows for assistance animals as a “reasonable accommodation” where housing facility rules would otherwise prohibit them.

Miniature horses, which range in height from 24 to 30 inches at the shoulders and from 70 to 100 pounds in weight, have their own regulations. Entities, like schools, covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses as service animals “where reasonable.” A four-part test determines what’s reasonable: whether the horse is housebroken; whether it is under the owner’s control; whether the facility can accommodate the animals size, type and weight; and whether the miniature horse’s presence “will not compromise legitimate safety requirements” for operating the facility.

Here’s a map of the revised Phillips Road ULID

As we reported this week, West Sound Utility District has shrunk the boundaries of a proposed Utility Local Improvement District that, if approved by WSUD commissioners, would extend water and sewer along Phillips Road.

People who want to develop their land, including the owner of the Ridgeline development a the far end of the ULID, initiated the process. Originally more parcels were included, but a number of property owners objected to the assessment, saying they either didn’t plan to develop their land further, and/or they already have functioning wells and septics.

In response, WSUD took many properties off the map, but not all of those belonging to people who object. For example, the Clover Valley Riding Center is right on Phillips Road; it’s still in the ULID. The assessment on the property was reduced, however, since owner Jill Seely contested the calculations used to define how much of the property could be developed.

Here is a document showing the ULID boundaries for both sewer and water. The document shows acreage and how much can be developed, as well as assessments (total over 20 years) for each property.

The ball is now in the court of the ULID proponents, who must get a petition showing support from owners of at lest 51 percent of the acreage. WSUD commissioners will be looking for a much higher level representing “overwhelming” support, WSUD manager Michael Wilson has said.

I’ll be following up at the March 16 WSUD meeting the see if there is a petition forthcoming.

Any questions, concerns or thoughts, email me at chenry@kitsapsun.com.

Poulsbo parks board gives bike track, softball field thumbs up for Little Valley Ball Field

Residents and supporters cram into the Poulsbo City Council chambers to hear proposals for what the Little Valley Ball Field should become.
Residents and supporters cram into the Poulsbo City Council chambers to hear proposals for what the Little Valley Ball Field should become.

Poulsbo’s park board will be recommending two of four proposals for Little Valley Ball Field — a bike track and softball field — to the City Council.

The board ranked the proposal after every organization presented Monday night at Poulsbo City Hall where a crowd of residents and supporters spilled out into the hallway.

“We certainly know this process works,” said Mary McCluskey, Parks and Recreation Department director. “That was the best part of it. Know what? We could do this again if we had another piece of property.”

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance West Sound Chapter proposed a bike pump track, while the Diamond Dusters wanted a “home” softball field. North Kitsap Little League also wanted to leave the property as a ball field to use for practice, and Kitsap Children’s Musical Theater wanted a new facility for rehearsal space.

The board did not discuss why the bike track and softball field proposals were chosen over children’s theater or the little league field, although McCluskey said it was likely a combination of factors, such as timeline, cost, support and the organization’s need.

While five proposals had originally been submitted to the city, one — a solar park proposal — was withdrawn at the request of PIE Inc. owner Pedro Valverde, who told the city via email that partners for the $1 million project did not come through.

The children’s theater proposal also had changes announced at Monday’s presentations. The Kitsap Children’s Musical Theater decided to scale back plans for a $5 million performance and rehearsal center to a $3.9 million rehearsal only facility.

The project would take about five years to complete fundraising and construction.

After the board announced its recommendation, the neighbor who shares a driveway with the ball field spoke up about concerns with being able to leave and enter his property, along with preventing contamination to the shallow wells on his and his father’s property nearby.

Maurice “Gene” Foster, who has lived by the park for 55 years, told the board he did not want to favor any one proposal, although he wanted the board and the city to consider his comments.

“I really support the children of this community,” he said. “I built that field. I built that driveway. Every time we have asked the teams to keep the driveway vacant, I’ve had to weave around cars and ask people to move.”

Poulsbo City Council will consider the parks board recommendation, although council members will review all four proposals.

The final proposal must meet building code and environmental standards, McCluskey said.

You can read more details about the proposals in my previous story.

PO: City needs help designing a logo for 125th

The city of Port Orchard celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, with a Sept. 5 shindig in the works.

The city has issued a call-out to local artists and graphic designers — and anyone else who wants to have a go at it — to create a logo for the event. The logo will be used for banners, posters, souvenirs and the like. Unlike with the city’s wayfinding signs, no monetary award is involved, but, said Sharron King, who chairs the 125th planning committee, “The designer will be part of the continuing history of Port Orchard and celebrated along with the city at the closing ceremony.”

Entries (digital or hard copy) are due to city hall by 4 p.m. March 2. The committee will review them and pick a winner that week.

The committee is also looking for photos of the city from the last 125 years and for bits and pieces you might have about the city’s history. Photos and other submissions may be used on the city’s website, Facebook page or in advertising of the event. Submit anything you have to cityclerk@cityofportorchard.us.

Poulsbo’s new bus route has started

Poulsbo Bus Route No. 44
Poulsbo Bus Route No. 44

Kitsap Transit fired up its newest Poulsbo bus route this week.

Poulsbo Central route No. 44 will be free for the first month, according to the Poulsbo city website.

The bus makes a full loop around town about every 30 minutes, giving riders access to the Doctors Clinic and Group Health, the Poulsbo library branch, Hostmark Apartments, downtown, Olympic College, WalMart, Central Market and the NK Medical Center.

Poulsbo has three bus routes running Monday through Saturday.

Kitsap Transit buses do not operate on Sunday anywhere in Kitsap County.

Read  Ed Friedrich’s story on the Poulsbo bus route changes.

#SKvsFallon: High school acting group challenges Jimmy Fallon to an Improv-off

… And they’re serious.

We at the Kitsap Sun aren’t sure what Scott Yingling, South Kitsap High School’s acting ensemble coach, put in his coffee Friday, but it clearly got him buzzed. Or is he always like this?

Regardless, an idea hit him, a rather gutsy idea, some might say.

“I’m a huge Jimmy Fallon fan, and my kids are, too,” Yingling said. “We were just talking one day, and I said, ‘You guys, you know what would be fun? Let’s challenge Jimmy Fallon to an Improv-off!”

The kids were down with it. Of course they were, they’re kids … with plenty of chutzpah of the kind kids in acting ensembles have in abundance, probably like Fallon himself at that age. The group of 17 juniors and seniors also has considerable experience with improvisation, since SK high hosts not one but four wildly popular Improv Nights each school year. I can say the “wildly popular” part is true, because my son, who graduated from South in 2013, attended quit a few and described a packed house every time. Granted it’s not NBC studios, but whatevs!

In a YouTube video shot at the school Friday and produced by South Kitsap High School’s video production class, Yingling — in a suit and tie, his minions mugging behind him — issues his challenge.

He calls Fallon “James.”Yingling

“You host a show that is very popular, and I host a show that is very popular,” Yingling says. “We have an Improv Night here in South Kitsap, and behind me is my crew, and basically right now what we’re saying, James, is that we are challenging you, OK? Yeah, bring it!

“You can come to my house or we’ll go to your house. Either way, you’re going to lose.”

Did we mention that Yingling, too, has chutzpah with a capital “B?”

Maybe, but if in some alternate universe Fallon actually hears the online yammering of the students, who have posted memes like this
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If Fallon’s own minions, perhaps, pick up on the chatter and buzz (the video has nearly 30,000 views since Friday) and, let’s imagine in our wildest dreams, they nudge the Emmy winning comedian and say, “Hey, this could be a good shtick.” Let’s say that happens. And let’s say Fallon says, “Why not, I’m already on the West Coast this week.”

What if Fallon and his film crew walked right through the doors of South Kitsap High School into the commons in the middle of lunch, the smell of chicken nuggets pervading? What if he walked up to Yingling, mano e mano, and said, “You’re on.”

What then?

“I’d be ready right now,” Yingling said. “I honestly have that much confidence in my kids. They’re an amazing group of young people. They use intelligent comedy. They’re smart. They look out for one another. Nobody in the group is all about themselves. They’re all about the group.”

Oh, and Jimmy Fallon, if you actually do take them up on their offer. Here are few things you should know. The acting ensemble is the school drama equivalent of the varsity football team. As in years past, the troupe will be taking part in the August Wilson Monologue Competition, which honors the late, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright. The preliminary round is Feb. 21 and 22 at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, with which South Kitsap’s acting program is affiliated through a John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts grant. South Kitsap’s acting ensemble has participated in the competition since 2010, and each year has had students make it into the top 10 for the final regional competition (to be held this year on March 17). Two of Yingling’s students went on to the national competition, Drew Benning (2011-2012) and Alexandra Hope (2012-2013).

Most of these kids hope to go into show business themselves some day. So, Kitsap County and beyond, if you’re so inclined, let’s augment this trend on the social media platform of your choice, #SKvsFallon.

Jimmy Fallon, can you hear us now?

CK grad and Kitsap 12 represents at his home in Super Bowl country

Note: When I first posted these photos earlier in the week, I left out most of the details because I wasn’t sure if I might include Ashtin Fitzwater in the story about 12s going to Arizona without game tickets. I posted it early because other news agencies were already getting the photo out there and I didn’t want to be too far behind them.

So here is an expanded version of Wednesday’s post, with more information I had then, and updates, including one that’s humongous! And I don’t use that word or exclamation points liberally.

Central Kitsap High School grad (as well as Ridgetop Junior High School and Emerald Heights Elementary School) represents the 12s at his home in Chandler, Ariz.
Central Kitsap High School grad (as well as Ridgetop Junior High School and Emerald Heights Elementary School) Ashtin Fitzwater represents the 12s at his home in Chandler, Ariz.

Ashtin Fitzwater left the Northwest in 2004 following his graduation from Central Kitsap High School, but remains a 12, representing in his new hometown of Chandler, Ariz.

We first posted this Wednesday, but a lot has happened since.

Fitzwater took about five hours on a Saturday to paint the home he and his girlfriend rent from her mother. I was skeptical, and so was one of my editors, that a house could be painted in five hours, but Fitzwater has skills. He graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in housing and community development and has worked in construction since. “I’ve painted a lot of houses,” he said.

The Seahawk logo on the lawn was done by hand. He set himself up to do it well, applying math to the Seahawk logo from his construction helmet to measure out a 20-foot-by-7-foot rectangle with corners staked with rebar. (And you kids say math won’t help you in life.) He used string to create the box for the bird and went to work, looking at his helmet and spraying the lawn.

This week, as you can imagine, there has been a crush of media in Arizona, including lots from Seattle. KING-5 TV was, I think, the first media outlet to post pictures of Fitzwater and his house. Fitzwater’s brother, Jeremy Hunt, re-Tweeted a KING-5 photo and mentioned he’s a CK alum, so I got him on the phone. Since then, other Seattle news agencies have been by and the Fox affiliate in Phoenix paid attention. A Spokane station, KXLY, has given him the most attention, which we’ll get to shortly.

Fitzwater said he’s seen lots of people driving by to get a look. A neighbor counted 30 cars one day. One family came by and the mom had a Patriots jersey on, so the 12s that were with her had fun and put duct tape over her mouth and wrapped a Hawk flag around her as they took pictures. The mom was a willing victim, so save the nasty letters.

Yesterday when Fitzwater arrived home he found someone had left him a jumbo bag of Skittles. He set up a camera to see footage of people responding to the setting. A lot of people have taken selfies, some of them looking around nervously as if a house that’s begging for attention is also demanding privacy. One day Fitzwater heard a woman yelling “We found it!” to her friends. They’d been out scouring Chandler neighborhoods looking for the Seahawk house.

As Fitzwater and I were talking Friday a mailman stopped across the street to get a selfie with the house behind him.

And so it has gone, but that’s not the biggest news yet. Hunt is, as of this writing, traveling down to Arizona to watch the game with Fitzwater, but that’s not the biggest news either.

KXLY caught the big news, Fitzwater proposing to his girlfriend, Melissa Duke, at night as both are standing on the Seahawk logo. The two have been together eight years and have been talking about marriage. They’ve been talking about it so much, in fact, that Duke kept telling Fitzwater that he couldn’t surprise her.

She was wrong.

A friend asked Duke on a scale of 1-10 how surprised she was by the proposal.

Can you guess her answer?

Hint: She’s a Seahawk fan, too.

Second hint: Look to the roof of the house, or any car with a flag waving anywhere near Seattle.

Standing behind them in the KXLY video were a pair of friends, Adam Collins (also a 2004 Central Kitsap High School grad) and Christina Adams. They’ve been engaged two years and have been having trouble figuring out where to get married and what kind of arrangements to make. According to Fitzwater they now plan to get married Sunday morning, on the Seahawk lawn.

Duke, for her part, has always dreamed of a destination wedding, so she and Fitzwater are beginning to make their plans for sometime in the future.

My suggestion: San Francisco, early February 2016. If all goes well they could be there to witness the birth of the Three-Hawks.

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Four candidates vie for Poulsbo City Council seat

Poulsbo City Councilwoman Linda Berry-Maraist announced her resignation in December. She was an advocate for the city's parks and area trails. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN
Poulsbo City Councilwoman Linda Berry-Maraist announced her resignation in December. She was an advocate for the city’s parks and area trails. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN

city logoPoulsbo City Council will interview four candidates and appoint a new member Wednesday night to Linda Berry-Maraist’s vacant seat.

Berry-Maraist announced her resignation at the end of last year to focus on family and starting her career back up. Her term did not end until December 2015, along with three other council members’ terms.

Boone Eidsmoe, Hunter McIntosh, Kenneth Thomas and Shane Skelley are vying for the seat.

Each candidates said they would like to run for election in November.

Council members serve four-year terms and earn $6,000 a year.

BOONE EIDSMOE

Eidsmoe, a recent graduate of North Kitsap High School, is a sale associate at Dahlquist Fine Jewelry in Poulsbo. During his time at North Kitsap High he was the drama president where he helped budget for projects and productions, his application says.

Eidsmoe also is the youngest Poulsbo Lion’s Club member, joining last year. His volunteer work includes helping rebuild trails around Raab Park.

His three highest priorities for the city would be dealing with the issue of drugs and homelessness, along with bringing more businesses to Viking Way.

HUNTER MCINTOSH

McIntosh is the managing director with The Boat Company where he has worked since 2000, with a two-year stint in computer communications from 2006 to 2008. The Boat Company is a “nonprofit educational organization offering luxury eco-cruises through Southeast Alaska,” according to its website.

McIntosh’s career has been spent working with environmental policy for nonprofits, his application says.

His earned his bachelor’s degree in political science, communication and marketing from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut in 1999.

McIntosh has lived in Poulsbo for two years, and half of his community involvement is in Alexandria, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. He served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, the Environmental Policy Commission and the Youth Policy Commission.

His three highest priorities would be redeveloping Viking Avenue, create a “college town” with Olympic College and strengthen the city’s position as a destination local via water access.

KENNETH THOMAS

Thomas bought a Poulsbo home in 2009, before becoming a full-time resident there in 2012.

He is a retired Naval officer, working with the Navy for about 20 years and was most recently responsible for a maintenance training program in the Puget Sound region last year.

Previously he taught high school and middle school in Arizona from 2001 to 2005, after working with the Navy since 1982.

He also served as an elected Goodyear City Councilman in Arizona from 1977 to 1979.

Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Arizona State University in 1991 and a master’s in secondary education from the same university in 1997. He also earned a bachelor’s in history at Regents College in New York in 1991, and “completed graduate-level courses in public administration,” which was taught by city managers, his application says.

His top three priorities as councilman would be preparing the city for review of its urban growth areas in 2016, ensuring public safety with a well staffed and trained police department, and maintaining Poulsbo’s quality of life and character..

SHANE SKELLEY

Skelley is a general contractor and owner of Skelley Works LLC in Poulsbo, which he started in 1998.

His company does bid on public works projects, his application said, and it has helped with city projects, including the educational amphitheater at Fish Park.

Skelley has lived in Poulsbo seven years, graduated from North Kitsap High School in 1993 and attended Clatsop Community College in Oregon from 1993-1995.

He was a member of the Poulsbo Planning Commission and Port of Poulsbo Citizen advisory board. He is currently a member of the Poulsbo Rotary Club and Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce.

Skelley’s top three priorities would be “keeping ahead of new storm regulations,” establish stormwater fee incentives for commercial and residential property owners to reduce impervious surfaces, and help streamline permitting processes, “especially when it relates to habitat restorations and projects involving non profits,” according to Skelley’s application.

More to the Raspberry Pi story

We wrote in today’s Kitsap Sun about Bob Cairns, the Port Orchard Rotary member who is working to deliver solar powered mini-computers to school children in Kenya. The system is driven by a device called Raspberry Pi, developed in 2012 by researchers in Cambridge. The effort dovetails with Cairns’ work on polio vaccinations and education scholarships in that country.
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Here are a few other things about Cairns you might like to know:

As mentioned in a recent Forbes article on the Raspberry Pi project, Cairns could be on a cruise ship with his wife Chris instead of bouncing around barely defined dirt roads in a Land Cruiser and holing up in African hotels, some crawling with insect life. Cairns, a Manchester resident, retired in January 2014 after 28 years managing the Manchester Fuel Depot, one of the Navy’s largest and most strategic fuel installations. He served on the Kitsap Sun’s editorial board in 2012.

Cairns, with his wife, has made five trips to Africa, the most recent in October to deliver the first set of Raspberry Pi systems. He and Chris actively take part in vaccination clinics, helping to administer oral doses to children. The cause is dear to their hearts, since Chris’ brother was “the last child in Illinois to get polio.” Her brother survived but is severely crippled by the now-preventable disease.

On the trip, Bob and Chris took their granddaughter, Ashley Carter, a student at Bellingham’s Western Washington University. “We wanted Ashley to see how much we have in our world versus how much they don’t have in the rest of the world.”

For example, Collins Nakedi, a young Kenayn man with whom Cairns has partnered to aid children in East Pokot (a region of Kenya), said getting an education there is “like organizing a journey to the moon using a vehicle.” The literacy rate is a dismal 4 percent.

That’s due to lack of resources and lack of cultural support for education among the largely nomadic people of East Pokot. That’s starting to change a little bit, thanks in part to the Raspberry Pi, Nakedi said.

Here’s an interesting fact about Nakedi. As a youngster Nakedi, the son of a goat herder, snuck into a local school and talked them into letting him stay. Thus began his education, which ended in a four-year degree, against astronomical odds. Cairns is helping Nakedi write a book about his life.

Nakedi, whom Cairns calls a genius, and two other young men who attended the same university in Nairobi from which Nakedi graduated, have started a NGO to aid youngsters in Kenya’s city slums and rural areas primarily through expanded educational opportunities. Cairns has partnered with their nonprofit, Hifadi Africa, to help distribute Raspberry Pi systems and to identify students for scholarships, which are essential for attending the mostly government-run boarding schools that constitute the public education system. This year, Rotary clubs in the northwest are providing four very bright Kenyan orphans with $600 scholarships that will provide a year’s worth of schooling.

Cairns’ involvement in Africa actually started with one of the other Hifadi Africa principals, Jovenal Nsengimana. Nsengimana lost his parents and sister in the Rawandan genocide at age 4. He ended up in a refugee camp with his older brother John, then 7, who took charge of the family including another younger brother, and who later was also able to pursue an education. Cairns and his wife heard about Nsengimana through a Rotary connection and ended up sponsoring his education through university.

In addition to education, Cairns, with help from Hifadi Africa and other Rotary members, is working to bring clean water to East Pokot. The area, partially within the Rift Valley, is extremely arid. There is virtually no running water or plumbing. People become ill from drinking water fouled by animal excrement. Rotary has supported efforts to drill a well in the area, but Cairns says they’re looking at other technology that is more basic yet more sustainable and effective.

In remote areas, machinery parts are hard to come by, and the water quality is poor. Cairns and others are looking at simple collection systems for harvesting the little rainwater that does fall. Another technology, not new, is to drill “riverbank infiltration galleries,” chambers on the banks of rivers that slow to a trickle most of the year. When rains do fall, water is directed to the underground chamber for storage. It’s not suitable for human consumption, but fine for livestock, which play a central role in East Pokot life.

Like the solar-powered Raspberry Pi, the water system solutions are simple and work with what’s available, Cairns said.

Don’t look for Cairns to slow down and take the cruise-ship route any time soon. There’s too much work to be done in East Pokot and beyond.

To help, donate at http://www.gofundme.com/raspberrypiafrica.