All posts by Amy Phan

Play a role in the future of Kingston

The Greater Kingston Economic Development Council is asking for the public’s input in figuring out Kingston’s future.

The 12-question survey will be used to help the group figure out how to serve the interests of visitor and residents of the area better. The survey ends Oct. 15.

The group, which was formed earlier this year, is working on how best to market the rural community, GKEDC chairman Jerry Kirschner said.

“We’re looking at tourism and retail support for businesses in core area in Kingston,” he said. “We’re not interested in big box stores, but supporting entrepreneurs in community.”

Another survey administered a few weeks ago asked for public input on two Port of Kingston properties. That survey produced 90 responses and revealed green space and open space were the top priorities for the  two properties, according to Kori Henry, the port’s executive director until Oct. 9. She’ll become the public information officer for the North Kitsap School District at that time.

Cancer survivor from Germany stops in Poulsbo

POULSBO — Poulsbo Inn and Suites sales manager Courtney Cutrona was a little skeptical while listening to a scruffy, older German claim he was on a worldwide bike tour with his two Alaskan malamutes.

Randolph Westphal said he stopped in Poulsbo last week as part of his sixth bike tour to inspire others to not give up in the face of challenges. It’s a story he’s lived through, he told Poulsbo Inn staff, after nearly dying from skin cancer in 1987. He’s had 28 surgeries to remove the cancer and today, bikes around the world sharing his story.

In-between his tales, Cutrona was able to slip away and do a quick internet search on the 55 year old, who is from Frankfurt, Germany.

The information she found confirmed Westphal’s story.
“Sometimes we get some people with interesting stories, but this kind of struck me as different,” she said.
Cutrona and the general manager of Poulsbo Inn decided to let the bicyclist stay at the hotel Tuesday night for free.
Westphal said he relies on the generosity of strangers to help him and his dogs while on his bike tours. (And finding Subway locations because the sandwiches are cheap, he added.) He plans to log almost 25,000 miles on this trip.
The Canadian media has detailed Westphal’s tour, which started in May. The Peninsula Daily News wrote about another tour in 2008.

He started traveling around the world on his bike to inspire others to “never give up,” he said. He uses a cart to bring his traveling companions — two Alaskan malamutes — along for the ride. He sometimes does motivational speeches along the way.

Westphal said he’s never heard of  the area until last week.  His stay in Kitsap was brief — he left for Seattle the next day and made plans to hit Oregon after that.

“He’s an exuberant guy,” Cutrona said the day after Westphal left. “It was an interesting interaction.. He deserved some sort of recognition for what he’s doing.”

South Kitsap woman reunites lost dogs with owners

Juliua Stroup with Zsa Zsa and Bell shortly after the two dogs were found in Poulsbo

PORT ORCHARD — Juliua Stroup has been reuniting lost dogs with their owners for only two months, but she’s already lost count of the number of reunions she’s done.

There was Brewster, a dog from Gig Harbor missing since June 15. Stroup found him in Port Orchard Friday. A chihuahua-mix found in Belfair that was reunited with its East Bremerton owner last week. A Port Orchard bulldog at the animal shelter Stroup delivered to its owner.

But if she were to see the dogs once again, she’d remember each story.

“When I’m done with one, I just move on to the next,” said the 50-year-old Port Orchard resident.

Stroup keeps track of lost dogs in the county by spending 8 to 10 hours everyday working toward rescue efforts. That means spending hours on the internet, comparing found postings to lost dog ads to match dog and owner.

Her efforts are being honored Sunday by PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap at the annual dog-celebration event, WagFest.

A retired information technology specialist at Keyport, Stroup said she got involved in reuniting dogs and their owners in early July after noticing an increase in the number lost pet ads after the 4th of July holiday.

“I was just going to help a little, but then I got pulled in,” Stroup recalled during a phone interview from her Port Orchard home.

Stroup was recently involved in a reunion between two Boxer dogs and their Port Ludlow owners.

The dogs had escaped from the Viking Kennels in Poulsbo while David and Maisie Wheatley and their family went on vacation in July.

The problem was made worse when Viking Kennels staff revealed the dogs, Zsa Zsa and Bell, had been missing about a week before the family returned.

Stroup and a team of volunteers went into rescue mode, scouring the internet and making phone calls and visiting area animal shelters on a daily basis.

It also was the first time Stroup herself physically walked and searched an area for a missing dog, despite still recovering from hip surgery at the time.

Zsa Zsa was found 11 days later while Bell was found 21 days later.

Callers noticed Zsa Zsa darting in and out of traffic near Gunderson and Stottlemeyer Roads and Bell was found hiding in a wooded area near Lincoln and Widme Roads. Other than dehydration and a few cuts and scraps, the two dogs were in good shape, Stroup said.
She calls Zsa Zsa and Bell her godchildren now.

The best part of reuniting owners with their dogs is being part of the emotional reunion, Stroup said.

Reunited dogs with their owners is just one of the ways Stroup gives back to her community.

After leaving her job at Keyport a few years ago, Stroup started collecting wood from various sources to give to the poor.

The 50 year old also volunteers for equine non-profits around the county, using her trailer to transport horses from one location to another.

“People need to know you don’t need to do something really huge to help,” she said. “You just have to be a bit inconvenienced. You don’t have o have a lot of money, but just put in the effort.”

She’ll be attending Sunday’s Wagfest with the Wheatleys and her four-legged godchildren.

Photo: Maisie Wheatley of Port Ludlow with Zsa Zsa

Maisie Wheatley of Port Ludlow with Zsa Zsa
Maisie Wheatley of Port Ludlow with Zsa Zsa

New school in the future for NKSD? Maybe, depending on development

Could a new school be in North Kitsap School District’s future?

That answer  will likely depend on unbuilt, but approved, homes that’s on the books for the city of Poulsbo.

NKSD officials and city leaders  discussed what the effect of these proposed neighborhoods would be on school capacity and boundary lines during a joint meeting last week.

About 18 subdivisions are proposed for the Poulsbo area, Mayor Becky Erickson recently said. Most of the developments have been approved, while others are waiting for approval.
Some of those developments are sizable. In the case of Mountain Aire near Noll Road, Erickson said, the city went through final approval status last week for 150 units in that particular neighborhood.

These neighborhoods aren’t going to be built tomorrow, Erickson said, they’re going to take many years to develop.

It would bring about 1,800 more homes to the area, she said. Poulsbo currently has a population of 9,500; the new developments could bring in an approximately 4,500 more to the area.

North Kitsap School District Board President Dan Weedin said information from Poulsbo will come in handy in the district’s long-range planning.

Board member Tom Anderson said a few years ago the district was looking at building a school, before the economy tank.

District superintendent Patty Page said it takes at least three years to build a school, from start to finish.

Below is a map detailing where the proposed neighborhoods would go.

Poulsbo Map of Future Neighborhoods

Traffic engineering terms in Hansville speed tables study explained

The first installment of a two-day traffic-calming series looked at a $57,000 traffic study completed by Kirkland’s Transpo Group.
There were two traffic engineering terms — 85th percentile speed and collision rates — in Sunday’s story that deserve further explanation because, as Jon Pascal from Transpo Group, put it, “those are engineering terms (that) are hard to describe.”
The first term, 85th percentile speed, refers to the number of drivers who traveled at or below the recorded speeds, Pascal said.
It’s one of the ways traffic engineers determine what the average traveling speeds of drivers are. The 85th percentile model presumes that the remaining percentage of travelers will always speed excessively, regardless of road engineering.
On Hood Canal Drive, the study said, “The 85th percentile speed ranges between 42 to 46 mph prior to speed tables and 35 to 46 mph after the tables were installed.”

What this means is that 85 percent of travelers on Hood Canal drove at 42 to 46 mph or below before the tables were installed, Pascal said. The speed range was given to account for the three speed study locations placed on Hood Canal Drive for the study. So hypothetically, of the 85 percent of drivers, a number of them could have been going under the 42 to 46 mph speed range. The same logic would be applied to the 85th percentile speed  for the 35 to 46 mph speed range after table installation.

Collision rates presented in the study were also perplexing.

Engineers came up with numbers such as 0.3, 0.7 and 1.7 collisions by dividing the number of annual collisions by the number of years the study looked at, which in this case was three years before the tables were installed and three years after installation.

For instance, on Twin Spits Road, the study said there were 0.3 collisions per year from 2007 to 2010. So, within that three year period, there was about one collision a year after the tables were installed. On Hood Canal Drive, there was about 2 collisions per year from 2004 to 2007 ( 0.7 collisions annually) and about five collisions from 2007 to 2010 (1.7 collisions annually.)

Pascal said Transpo Group engineers rounded the numbers for the sake of table presentation.

Here’s a link to the report: Hansville traffic calming study


Kingston Food Bank asked to leave temporary space

KINGSTON — The Kingston Food Bank will need a new home by April 22.
The move was inevitable, according to Barb Fulton, who took over the family-run foodbank after her mom, Vi Weaver died two years ago.
“I’ve known all along it was going to be temporary but I had hoped temporary was going to be just a bit longer,” she said. “We just got settled and here we go again.”
The foodbank has been using an office in the Windermere building on Lindvog Road since December, when Kitsap County officials asked the foodbank to vacate from its former building on First Street due to safety concerns. The non-profit and Windermere agreed that if a paying tenant interested in the space emerged, the Kingston Food Bank will have to relocate.
Fulton learned of the news Monday. She’s been asking building owners in the downtown Kingston area if they’d consider housing the non-profit rent-free.
There hasn’t been any offers so far, Fulton said.
Ideally she’d like to find a location in the downtown area, since most of the foodbank’s clients are walkers, she said.
If Fulton doesn’t find another location by April 22, she’ll pack the donated goods into the foodbank’s van and her 22-foot motor home and temporarily park in the area to serve her clients.
To stay updated on Kingston Food Bank news, go to its Facebook page.

Suquamish tribal members join Canada’s Idle No More movement

SUQUAMISH — A few Suquamish tribal members hope their participation in an upcoming rally sheds light on the recent clash between First Nations and its Canadian government.

The grassroots movement called Idle No More, which started in October, is over Canada’s recent passage of Bill C-45, a 400-page piece of legislation that contains 64 regulations. It’s also known as the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012.

First Nation members say the bill not only violates longstanding water and environmental treaties between Canada and its indigenous tribes, but also criticized the Canadian government for excluding tribal voice in the process.

The movement has attracted international media attention, especially in the case of Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence, who has been on a hunger strike since early December until a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and First Nations leaders occurs.

The collective Idle No More efforts and sentiments resonate loudly for some Suquamish tribal members. Some relate the Idle No More movement to the Civil Rights movement that aimed to eradicate racial discrimination, among other injustices.

If longstanding treaties are broken in Canada, other governments might copy it, Gyasi Ross, a Suquamish and Blackfoot tribal member, said of the Idle No More movement.

“Decisions Canada (is) making now, I have a feeling would affect US tribes,” Ross said.

Rallies, flash mobs and demonstrations have been popping up across the US in recent weeks in support of the movement.

Ross plans to participate in a rally Saturday near Pike Place Market in Seattle that supports the cause. This is the second rally he’s participated in recent weeks; the first one packed Westlake Mall, and an online video produced by Ross and a few of his friends has since received more than 35,000 views.

“We better get involved in the discussion because it affects both sides. We see land as a complete whole. When we see something that affects upstream, it also affects downstream,” he said.

Suquamish tribal elder Marilyn Wandrey will give the opening remarks at the rally on Saturday.

The 72-year-old said she knows many tribal members affected by Canada’s recent bill change through annual canoe journeys along the Canadian border.

“These are our friends and relatives that are part of us,” Wandrey said. “I know what hard work it’s going to take to bring everyone to the table and pray that all goes well with them. It’s going to have an impact on lots of First Nation families and generations to come.”

James Old Coyote, a Sto:lo and Hidatsa tribal member who lives in Squamish, hopes his attendance at Saturday’s rally will shed light on the movement.

Like Ross, he’s concerned about what sort of precedent Canada’s recent law passage could mean for tribes elsewhere.

“It’s not just a native issue. You see a bunch of Indians get all radical and fight the government… but it’s a much bigger picture. It’s our earth and we live in it. If the government up there has the ability to eliminate those treaties that were signed… is that going to be a trend happening down the states?” he said.


Check out a video Ross and his friends created during the flash mob in downtown Seattle.

Support for 6-year-old cancer patient hits $53,161

Ian Gunnell

Community support for Ian Gunnell, a 6-year-old Vinland Elementary first-grader who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in September, and his family continues, recently hitting the halfway mark of a $100,000 fundraiser campaign.

The campaign reached $53,161 earlier this week

The Poulsbo family appreciates all of the support, especially Ian.

The Children’s Hospital patient attends school at the hospital on days he feels well.

During one recent class, he spoke about the support he was receiving from the community, said his mom, Tanya Gunnell.

“Even Ian realizes that the conditions we have now—that he’s comfortable and taken care of—are largely due to kids donating coins and people giving a little here and there,” she said. “He realizes that it’s the community making his life easier.”

Donations have been pouring in from businesses and community members from North Kitsap and beyond to help the Gunnells pay for Ian’s medical treatment and additional living costs. Ian, his 10-year-old sister and mom have had to move into a Seattle apartment to be closer to Children’s Hospital in case of a medical emergency. His two older siblings still live in Poulsbo, while Chris Gunnell divides his time between Seattle and Poulsbo.

Gunnell estimates the family will use an additional $5,000 a month under this new living arrangement that they will need to maintain until summer 2013.

Added to the family’s money worries, Chris Gunnell learned shortly after his son’s diagnosis he’s getting laid off from his job in March.

The 6-year-old is under a treatment plan that includes a six-month period of intense chemotherapy followed by a three-year follow-up plan.

The average cost of one round of chemotherapy is $150,000; and several rounds of chemotherapy are often required for success.

Ian was diagnosed with blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm in early September. It’s a cancer that’s typically found in older adults, there are less than 30 documented cases of this form of leukemia in children younger than 18, according to a scientific journal focused on blood diseases.

Nearly three months since his diagnosis, the Gunnells say the 6-year-old has his good and bad days.

“He’s in good spirits when he’s not sick. When he comes out of (being sick) it’s obvious,” Chris Gunnell said.

Ian is currently recovering from a two-week cold that delayed chemotherapy, and left him emaciated and weak, Gunnell said.

The family relies on community support to get them through challenging times, Tanya Gunnell said.

“I hear all these amazing stories (of) people going out of their way, and using their talents to enrich our lives, which is amazing. We (have) rocky times with Ian, so it’s nice to fill that with love and support and be bolster by that,” she said.

Contributed photo

Family friend Melisa Holmes submitted upcoming community fundraiser events for Ian Gunnell.

PFM Refreshment Stand at Julefest

Saturday, 4-6 p.m.,

Poulsbo Waterfront Park, 18809 Front St. NE, Poulsbo, warm drinks and candy will be offered for $1/item donation to Ian’s fight.


Gateway Fellowship

18901 8th Ave. NE, Poulsbo

Dec. 7, 6 p.m.

Ian’s Carol: An Interfaith Jubilee of Hope and Voices

Concert benefiting Ian. Suggested donation of $15 per ticket or $50 per family. For more information e-mail Cheri Starnes at


Mor Mor Bistro & Bar

18820 Front St. NE, Poulsbo.

Dec. 9, 5:30 p.m.

A festive evening of music by Ranger & the Re-Arrangers (, drinks, a silent

auction, gifts, appetizers and raffle items. Cost is $20 to attend, if you buy your tickets in advance. Call (360) 697-3449 for more info


The Crocodile Back Bar

2200 Second Ave., Seattle,

Dec. 9, 7 p.m.

Music by Vigilante Santos with support by The Ames.

Open to all ages. Suggested door donation $15.


Kitsap Mall

10315 Silverdale Way NW, Silverdale.

Dec. 14, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Gift-wrapping for suggested donations.


North Kitsap High School

1780 NE Hostmark St., Poulsbo

Dec. 14, game times at 5:30 and 7 p.m.,

Door donations will be accepted with a half-time free throw



North Kitsap High School

1780 NE Hostmark St., Poulsbo

Dec. 21, game time 7 p.m.

Dance following NK boys basketball game. Door donations will be accepted with a $5 dance entrance fee.