Awaiting more of that fresh, tar smell in Silverdale

You have a week left to give a farewell to those pipes we all love under the Bucklin Hill bridge.
You have a week left to give a farewell to those pipes we all love under the Bucklin Hill bridge.

Mourn the loss of Bucklin Hill Road for a year beginning July 1. That’s next Wednesday until July 1.

As a Silverdale guy, I know construction lately. I was headed home the other night and that usually means Highway 303/Waaga Way to the Ridgetop exit. There was lane construction happening, but a sign said “Exit Open.”

It was not.

I had to go to Silverdale Way and backtrack. Given enough perspective it’s not that big a deal. Nothing is a big deal if you can find enough perspective, just like anything is within walking distance if you have enough time and sturdy shoes.

I love new roads. I love how my car feels new on them and how black and unsullied they love. I love the tar smell, even.

Bucklin Hill will be widened between the bridge and Mickelberry. The culvert from Clear Creek to Dyes Inlet under the bridge will be removed in favor of something more natural.

That means you’ll be left to find alternative paths, like Ridgetop, which I think we can all agree could use more traffic.

This shoud be a pretty sweet deal once its done after the new year but before we elect another president. You’ll have time to get in at least one more “Thanks, Obama” after it’s complete.

The county’s press release follows.

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Peninsular Interning: The best of Kitsap

Peninsular Thinkers, you know your towns better than anyone else. So what are the things you’d recommend to someone who’s never set foot in the Pacific Northwest before? If your relative came into town (and you liked that relative) what are the places, attractions and restaurants you would insist they experience?

That’s the position that I’m in. My name is Miranda Davis and I arrived in Kitsap County about two weeks ago to spend my summer interning at the Sun. The plot twist? I’m from Kansas. I’m a senior studying journalism at the University of Kansas and I drove two thousand miles at the end of May and before that, I’d never been west of Denver. Everything I thought I knew about the area before arriving was from Grey’s Anatomy and Starbucks. I know, I’m awful.

When I tell people I’m new here they say I’m so lucky, because summer is the best time to experience the area, and I completely agree. It also appears as if I brought my pink rain boots for nothing.

So send in the things you think I have to see, eat and experience before August 1st, and I’ll give them a try. Ideally, I want to experience the things that you think of when you think of the word “home,” so hopefully that includes a mix of tourist attractions and things that are off the beaten path.

My rules:

  1. I am willing to drive up to two hours each way if It’s something I can do for the majority of the day. I also like taking the ferry to Seattle but I plan on trekking it on foot once I get into the city.
  2. I’ve already been to the Space Needle and Pike Place Market (It was so busy! There was too much happening around me! I ate a really good grilled cheese!)
  3. I have no diet restrictions and I will eat almost anything. Seafood is growing on me every minute I’m up here. (However, bonus points if you recommend an awesome cheeseburger, and double bonus points if you recommend barbeque)
  4. I’m not afraid of heights but I really dislike roller coasters. Please don’t make me go on a roller coaster.
  5. While mountains and large bodies of water are new to me, I like hiking and swimming, but do not expect me to run a half marathon.
  6. I want to attend festivals and events and I’m 21 years old (so yes, I would really like to know what craft beer I should be purchasing at the grocery store)

I’ll post about the best of my experiences on the Peninsular Thinking blog, where you can see what I think of the best Pacific Northwest and weigh in from the comments section or on social media.

Send all ideas to Miranda.Davis@Kitsapsun.com, or find me on Twitter @MirandaDavisUDK. That’s also where I’ll be posting photos, videos and unrefined thoughts from my adventures.

Online fundraising used to help Bremerton, Kingston families

Rifes

Kailey Rife quickly started a GoFundMe campaign for her parents who lost everything but their family in a Bremerton house fire late Saturday night.

Rife’s mother came home around 10:30 p.m. Saturday night to find a couch in the basement on fire, and was able to get her husband and two children out of the home.

The Rifes have five children and two of them still live at home.

Rife’s mother stays at home to take care of the two youngest children and her father is a retired Navy veteran with 22 years of service, according to the fundraising page.

The online campaign has raised more than $1,000 in a day with a goal of $10,000.

Another local GoFundMe campaign continues to fundraise for a Kingston family involved in a car wreck on March 11.

Jim Norberg, 53, and his daughter, Kayli Norberg, 14, were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center with critical injuries, according to the campaign website.

Kayli had head injuries and a broken femur in the wreck, and her father had  head injuries, two shattered ankles, a shattered femur and a lacerated liver, along with multiple other broken bones.

The driver of the 1994 Toyota Camry who crossed the center line and hit the Norberg’s Jeep died.

The online campaign has raised more than $5,000 for the Norbergs in two months.

Norbergs

How Winifred Atchison salvaged my education

“Does not work up to her potential.” This was a common theme on my early elementary school report cards.

I was easily distracted, overly sociable and a little bit mischievous, just the kind of kid that puts a snag in every teacher’s stocking.

Day in, day out, I must have worn on Miss Atchison’s nerves, but she never let it show. Winifred Atchison was the quintessential schoolmarm, with sensible black pumps, a wool skirt just below the knee and a cap of leaden curls.

Miss Atchison brooked no nonsense, and I believe I spent more time out in the hallway than in the classroom during my fourth grade year. Our classroom was off a landing, and I can remember my older sister — well behaved, neat, punctual, studious — taking the stairs to the cafeteria with her friends, pretending she didn’t know me.

I was one of two girls in a remedial handwriting class, a fact of which I was probably not sufficiently ashamed. Things haven’t improved much to this day.

I hated math and didn’t get the point of history (too many dates to memorize, so long ago). I lived for recess, PE and lunch.

The one part of the instructional day I came to love was read-aloud time. Right after lunch, Miss Atchison would read to us in her thick Irish accent.

I don’t recall any of the books she read, but I do remember they had a profound effect on me. Lying my head on my arms — which was allowed — I relished the sound of the words and marveled at how they strung together. Miss Atchison could have been reading the phone book in that mellifluous brogue and I’d have been hooked.

Now, some time during the year, someone (not me, probably one of the guys) had brought in a lump of clay that got divvied up, loaves and fishes style, until everyone had a little pinch. Miss Atchison knew about the clay, and allowed us to have it in our desks — the old hinge top kind — as long as we didn’t take it out during class.

One day during read-aloud time, when Miss Atchison’s eyes were on the book, someone sneaked their clay out and started making tiny ramps on the desktop, which was slanted, and a tiny clay ball to roll down the little maze.

I would love to take credit for that bit of brilliance, but I have to say it was probably one of the guys, or Cornelia Adams, who was both artistic and subversive. Pretty soon everyone in class was making clay mazes on their desks.

Miss Atchison quickly became aware of the new trend, but instead of squashing it, lo and behold, she tolerated it. Pretty soon our classroom economy revolved around the clay, which grew in volume like currency, traded for erasers, pencils and pennies. We had a virtual clay Mafia, of which I was not part. But I had my share of the goods, a raquetball-sized wad.

The mazes got bigger, more elaborate. We had unspoken contests for who could keep the little ball rolling the longest. And yet read-aloud time grew utterly quiet; none of the usual wiggling or whispering. Even kids who used to squirm through the stories, settled down and maybe even listened.

My lifelong love of words began with read-aloud hour, a blissful interlude marked by the lilting sound of Miss Atchison’s voice, the softness and earthy smell of clay, and the sight of the little ball rolling, dropping, rolling and dropping.

In the months and years to come, I developed a voracious appetite for reading and also found I was a pretty decent writer. Over months and years, I settled down, knuckled down and became a decent student, and later in life a journalist.

For all this, I credit Miss Atchison, who was old in the 1960s, when I went to elementary school, and is surely dead by now.

Did I ever tell her, “thank you?” I can’t recall. It seemed a given; we loved Miss Atchison and she loved us. She knew what made each of us tick. She knew when to push us and when to indulge our childish sense of play.

Now, that was brilliant.

On Sunday, we’ll hear from this year’s high school graduates about teachers who changed the trajectory of their education, and we’d like to hear from you, too.

Starting today, post your thoughts, memories, photos and videos on the social media platform of your choice with the tag #bestteacher. Our goal is to collect reader responses through Facebook, Twitter and other social media and share them when the story is published online at www.kitsapsun.com.

If you’re using Facebook, make sure we can see the post by following these instructions: Click on the blue drop-down menu to the left of the “Post” button. It reads, “Who should see this?” Click on “Public.” Making your post public will allow it to be included when we aggregate the responses.

Whatever platform you’re using, remember to use the hashtag #bestteacher.

Officer faces second round with brain tumors

Doug Dillard is a name we’ve seen a lot here in the newsroom. With the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office for 30 years, Dillard was most recently was tasked with monitoring the county’s sex offenders. That also meant organizing meetings with residents when, as Josh Farley wrote, “Level 3 sex offenders change addresses.”

Now he’s got a different job, battling a brain tumor thought to have gone away 14 years ago.  According to GoFundMe page set up on his family’s behalf:

“Doug has an inoperable brain tumor called a glioblastoma . Brain cancers are extremely difficult to treat and glioblastomas are among the most aggressive tumors. Unfortunately, Doug’s is no different. His Neuro Oncologist has Doug on a treatment regimen that includes bi-weekly  infusions, daily anti-seizure therapy, and routine MRIs to monitor his brain tumor .”

Former Sheriff Steve Boyer wrote of a Dillard’s courage throughout his ordeal, saying that Dillard “never became victim,” when the tumor returned. He expressed admiration for Mary, Dillard’s wife, calling her “an angel.”

The GoFundMe page has a goal of raising $20,000 to help the family with expenses as Dillard goes through infusion treatments. “We want to show Doug how much we, and his community, love and support him,” the page’s author wrote. “We are saying, ‘Thank you for being an amazing husband, father, uncle, and friend. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your example.'”

On Friday the site passed the $4,000 mark.

Orcas make a memorable visit

The big guy got close. Photo taken from video shot by Emilee Wright Fyffe.
The big guy got close. Photo taken from video shot by Emilee Wright Fyffe.

It was May 2002 I drove up from Camas, Wash. to interview here. Another reporter had already been picked for the job I was after, but the editors told me I’d likely be luckier in the summer. I didn’t know if I would want a job here, but I knew I wanted to want the job.

The drive in was beautiful until I hit Gorst and coming into 2002 Bremerton didn’t make me feel any better. The whole time, though, I knew there had to be something cool about this place for Money Magazine to have given it the label as the best place to live in America in the early 1990s.  During lunch on the deck at the Boat Shed we watched three eagles circling our side of the Manette Bridge, which for me was a positive development. What sealed it happened after I left the office. It was the ferry ride. Within about 2 minutes I told myself, “We have to live here.”

The other notion that fascinated me was the idea that on any given day I might be near water in which I could see orcas. I had been to Sea World in San Diego as a kid, back when most of us bought into the idea that zoos and ocean parks were good because it gave us a chance to see something we otherwise wouldn’t. It took about 30 years and one viewing of Free Willy to call that idea into question. I wanted to see orcas in the wild. This was the place.

My luck there has been spotty, but within three years I saw them twice, once in Silverdale and once on the ferry to Seattle when I was headed there for work to greet a veteran coming home on Christmas Day. Those were both distant and fleeting viewings. It took several more years to spot any more, and that was a good one. One day after work I heard the whales were in Bremerton and I drove to Bachmann Park, knowing that was their likely path out. I scored as I watched them pass all too quickly.

I don’t know that it can get any better than it was on Monday, though. We had family in town from Utah and decided to spend part of Memorial Day at Point No Point Park in Hansville. While I dozed off in a camp chair I heard my sister in law yell that there was a killer whale. It was a great scene out in the water as the whales headed south, then stopped in a spot for a while. We guessed they were feeding on salmon.

And then, like a miracle, one giant orca surfaced probably 50 feet from shore. The entire beach began to follow it then, and the visitor gave us one more view.

This is one of those times we’re not only lucky to live where we do, but when we do. I had left my phone in the car, but I was the only one. There were plenty of cameras pointed at the ocean to capture the action. My thanks to Emilee Wright Fyffe for sharing the video.

If you’re among those whose luck has not been this “amazing,” have faith that your day will come.

Enjoy the video. The first 1 minute 30 seconds was the kind of sighting I had always envisioned at Point No Point. I wasn’t counting on “amazing.” The big guy makes two appearances in the last part of the video to make that happen.

SKHS grad flips out as L.A. stuntwoman

Coming up later tonight at www.kitsapsun.com, we profile a 2011 South Kitsap High School grad who is now a stunt woman in Los Angeles.

Sydney Olson, who started in gymnastics at Mile High Gym in Port Orchard and spent most of her time at Olympic Gymnastics Center in Silverdale, will appear Monday on “American Ninja Warrior.” I had never heard of it, but I learned that contestants have to navigate a strenuous obstacle course.

Olson’s skills in freerunning and parkour — both explained in the article which runs Sunday in the Kitsap Sun — helped her earn a spot on the show out of 10,000 people who auditioned.

You can read Olson’s story in print tomorrow or online tonight/Saturday when it posts at www.kitsapsun.com (I would expect by 8 p.m. or 9 p.m PST). You can see how she did in the competition by tuning in to “American Ninja Warrior” at 8 p.m. PST Monday on NBC.

You can see Olson in action in these YouTube Videos.

Wins, Fails and Grunts … in which Olson shows how much work it takes to master the moves.

BODYPOP, Official Music Video, in which she appears with social media entrepreneur Cassey Ho. That’s her on the right in the first frame.

Red Bull Art of Motion Submission 2014, in which she shows her stuff, like running up trees and flipping over backwards.

This post has been edited. The original version misstated Sydney Olson’s last name on first reference.

Celebration of Shane Zimmardi’s Life Saturday

Check out this picture. See the kid in the top row, second from right, the one with the big smile? That’s Shane Zimmardi.
Shane
Shane played with my son Daniel (bottom right) on the legendary Blue Angels. The team had a reputation in South Kitsap Soccer Club for kicking butt and taking names. They were the team to beat in their age division in the mid-2000s.

Shane was a ball of energy, always with that great big smile. It could be raining sleet sideways, and you’d think Shane was out for a day the beach. And fast! That kid could run.

I was heartsick on May 13 to see that Shane had died at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma. The cause of his death, as reported by a close friend, was a drug overdose.

On May 8, Shane attended a rave in Tacoma and consumed a drug he thought was “molly.”

“MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), also known as ecstasy or molly, is an amphetamine derivative that has both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Although MDMA is an illicit substance, it is used recreationally, including at electronic dance-music festivals, and can cause adverse health events. These include hyperthermia (spiking body temperature), seizures and organ failure among other effects. The drug, which is often laced with other substances, has been linked to a number of deaths across the country.

According to a KOMO story on Shane’s death, nine people were transported by the Tacoma Fire Department from the Life in Color event where Shane became ill.

Ashton Soete, a close friend of Shane’s, posted on Facebook about the availability of test kits that can quickly and cheaply screen for contamination. Like prophylactics to prevent STDs and pregnancy for people who are sexually active, the use of these kits should be encouraged among people who do use drugs, Soete said.

I can’t speak to that, although a doctor quoted by KOMO said the tests are unreliable.

The CDC reported on an electronic dance music festival in New York in 2013 where twenty-two people suffered adverse effects from the heat of the event, drugs and alcohol. Nine people became severely ill and two of those people died. The two who died both had MDMA in their system.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene investigated and as a result, the department and festival promoters together “developed multiple interventions including implementing a surveillance system for adverse events and safety measures (e.g. roaming teams of peer volunteers, stricter entrance procedures, procedures to reduce heat exposure, and required viewing of harm reduction messages before entering the festival).”

“These interventions might help prevent adverse health events at future electronic dance-music festivals in New York City and elsewhere,” the CDC states.

Shane’s brother Forrest has an email where you can send memories and pictures of Shane, Inmemoryofshanezimmardi@gmail.com.

A celebration of Shane’s life will be held at 1 p.m. at Olalla Bible Church, followed by a gathering open to all at the Zimmardi home, 11132 Banner Rd SE Olalla, WA 98359.

Golf in South Kitsap goes to the dogs

Kerris, the yellow lab who works at the Kitsap County Courthouse, started the weekend early with a round of golf Friday morning at Trophy Lake Golf & Casting.
Kerris
Perhaps you remember the story I did on Kerris in 2010. The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s office brought her on as a courtroom therapy dog to put witnesses at ease during difficult testimony, and generally to diffuse the tension. Her handler is Keven Kelly, chief of District Municipal Court.

The two were golfing for charity at the Kitsap Humane Society‘s Fore the Animal’s golf tournament. This is the third year of the tournament, which is notable for allowing animals to tag along.

I love imagining dogs in plaid knickers and spiked shoes, wagging their little tails as they get ready to tee off. Alas, it doesn’t work like that. The dogs pretty much just ride in golf carts, slobber and shed.

There were 100 golfers and seven pooches signed up for the tourney, said Rebecca Johnson, the Humane Society’s event coordinator and executive assistant.

Their goal was to raise $15,000 for KHS.

Nigerian firefighter dies after training with local firefighters

Olumide Ogunubi
Olumide Ogunubi

Edward Wright, owner of Targhee Fire in Poulsbo, learned Tuesday that one of the Nigerian firefighters he had helped train recently died in the line of duty.

Olumide Ogunubi, a Lagos State firefighter, died Saturday during a “deep well rescue,” Wright said in an email.

Ogunubi was one of 90 Nigerian firefighters who Wright and several regional firefighters trained through Targhee Fire.

“Nigerian firefighters face risks and challenges that are hard to fathom for those in the West,” Wright said. “We send our thoughts and prayers to the Lagos State Fire Service family and the family of firefighter Olumide.”

Olumide was assigned to the Ikotun station in Lagos State.