All posts by brynn grimley

Update on Kitsap County Coroner’s crib for kids program

Brynn writes:

At the end of July I wrote about Kitsap County Coroner Greg Sandstrom and his involvement in a national program targeting families that need a safe place for their children to sleep.

At the time Sandstrom had five Graco Pack ‘n Play portable cribs to give away. Shortly after my article was published all the cribs were spoken for, but the list of people needing the portable cribs was growing. It wasn’t long after the article ran that Sandstrom was contacted by the national nonprofit organization Cribs for Kids — the agency he partnered with to help combat the high number of accidental baby deaths — who let him know if he could raise $2,500 from the community the organization would match that amount and send him more cribs.

Last week Sandstrom sent me an email saying he’d met the financial match thanks to generous donations from the community. That means 75 more cribs are headed to Kitsap County for low-income families that otherwise do not have a safe place for their babies to sleep. If a family is given a crib they also receive education about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep guidelines for infants that include always placing a baby on its back to sleep and keeping things like blankets, pillows and toys out of the crib to reduce a baby’s chance of suffocation.

Sandstrom credits donations from individuals, the East Bremerton Kiwanis Club, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, Bremerton fire fighters and the Boilermakers Local 290 for helping reach the $2,500 goal.

“For several years now, our office has been providing public education to schools and the Navy, participated in high school mock crashes (which are sponsored by MADD) and instructed other agencies on the proper way in investigate infant deaths.  This gives us an opportunity to provide a tool along with the training that will aid in safe sleeping,” Sandstrom said in a news release.

Once the cribs arrive, Sandstrom will work with Kitsap Community Resources to identify families in need. KCR will distribute the cribs, he said.

Silverdale: It’s time to revive the monthly art walk

Brynn writes:

It appears Silverdale is restoring its tradition of hosting art walks. The newest variation — the Silverdale ArtWalk — is scheduled for the first Thursday of the month — yes that means tomorrow.

There used to be a monthly art walk that was spearheaded by Maria Mackovjak, owner of Old Town Custom Framing and Gallery, and other Old Town business owners that helped build the Old Town Art Walk . Mackovjak has since moved her business from Old Town and it seems the art walk sort of fell off the radar.

Its revival is slated for tomorrow with the showing of “Rockitdog”, a 7-foot tall sculpture that will be on display in the lobby of the Oxford Inn and Suites. The event runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and refreshments will be served. Anyone and everyone is invited to attend.

The sculpture at the center of the walk is the work of Karsten Boysen from Port Orchard. Boysen’s sculpture, described as a “brilliant yellow” made from “River Run” steel, will be surrounded by other pieces of art from local artists Lisa Stirrett, Debbie Drake, Lori Balter, Rebecca Westeren, Joan Wells, Darell Severson, Cathy Kelley and Elizabeth Haney, according to a press release sent by Boysen.

Boysen was one of 17 featured artists recently sponsored by Vigo Industries, Gunderson, Esco and other port companies to attend a Port of Portland Seaport Celebration. His work is displayed in Alaska and Washington through different communities “1 percent for the arts” campaigns, and his work is the center of many prominent private collections. Boysen is a former art instructor for the University of Washington and the University of Alasaka- Juneau and was a Washington State Arts Commission artist in residence at the Seward Park Art Studio in Seattle.

The new Silverdale ArtWalk is sponsored by the Lisa Stirrett Gallery, Oxford Inn and Suites and Reid Real Estate on Silverdale Way.

Next month’s First Thursday Silverdale ArtWalk will have a breast cancer awareness theme because of October being breast cancer awareness month. More than 25 artists will be featured and will highlight a Harrison Medical Center fundraiser scheduled for Oct. 3.

How does Pierce County’s gun ordinance affect Kitsap?

Brynn writes:

Last week I set out to learn how the recent approval in Pierce County of an ordinance protecting shooting ranges might affect the work being done in Kitsap on a similar topic. What resulted was a different story entirely. I learned the county hopes to have an expert come in to talk to its committee tasked with updating the shooting range ordinance. The expert will talk about sound and how it travels, and conduct sound studies at the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club, Poulsbo Sportmans Club and Bremerton Trap and Skeet Club.

The story that ran Sunday, Aug. 18, focused on the noise and not the action taken by the Pierce County Council. But while talking with committee members for that story I asked how the decision in our neighboring county might affect the work they’re doing.

It’s also a question that’s been posed by readers. Why didn’t Kitsap do what Pierce County did? I haven’t read the Pierce County ordinance, but I read both stories written by The News Tribune, which covered the vote. (Those stories can be read here and here.)

After reading the articles, it appears the measure was approved to protect the five gun ranges in Pierce County’s unincorporated area from potential noise and nuisance complaints and lawsuits. The TNT article cites the lawsuit between Kitsap County and the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club as an example. That lawsuit included noise complaints, but also safety concerns and land use allegations that the range expanded its operations without a county permit.

Kitsap’s Department of Community Development Director Larry Keeton said the Pierce County measure is a replica of legislation proposed in Olympia . Proposed in 2011, House Bill 1508 passed out of the house in February 2012 but hasn’t gained enough traction to get final approval. (Read a summary of the bill’s history at

“One thing to be aware of in Pierce County, unlike Kitsap County, is their ranges don’t have the same issues necessarily that we do,” Keeton said.

He cited the Paul Bunyan Rifle and Sportsman’s Club, located near Graham, noting the club made a large financial investment by installing baffles to help reduce sound leaving the range and stray bullets.

After the Pierce County decision, Marcus Carter, KRRC executive officer, sent an email to the county requesting the information about the approval be circulated among the members of the shooting range ordinance update committee. Carter says he never received a response and hasn’t seen the information circulated via email like he asked.

“We’re following what happening in Pierce County,” he said of KRRC. “If the same thing had been enacted in Kitsap County it would have prevented the county from suing us.”

It’s doubtful Carter’s assertion that passing similar policy in Kitsap would have prevented the lawsuit because the suit filed against KRRC covered more issue than just noise concerns by neighbors.

Doug O’Connor, President of the Poulsbo Sportsman Club, thinks Pierce County’s action “preempted state law in the reverse order,” he said. “They’re doing more than what the state law proposes.”

Reviewing the ordinance at the committee level will “put another wrinkle into the deliberations, good, bad or indifferent,” he said. O’Connor, along with Carter and a representative from Bremerton Trap and Skeet sit on the committee with three county commissioner appointed representatives.

Committee chairman and Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Chief Gary Simpson has asked the county’s legal team to look into obtaining a copy of the policy approved in Pierce County. The document will be brought to the committee for discussion, Simpson said.

“We know it’s there, we know it’s something that’s different,” he said. “It’s something we’re going to want to investigate and look at how it is applicable to our discussions.”

You can click here to read the Pierce County ordinance — the bottom of the document list is where you’ll find the final document.

It was also brought to my attention that Kitsap County deputy prosecuting attorney Neil Wachter submitted comments to the Pierce County Council before members voted. Watcher clearly states in his comments to Pierce County that he’s offering comments as a private citizen and not in his legal capacity as counsel for Kitsap. He also lays out his expertise and involvement in the lawsuit against KRRC in his email, offering full disclosure.

“My comments made in the arena in Pierce County are strictly of those as a private citizen,” Wachter told me. He said it would have been irresponsible for him not to say something because of his legal experience and knowledge of the subject matter.

Changes coming to animal control, read the full report here

Brynn writes:

On Monday Kitsap County Commissioners heard recommendations from a nine-member citizen advisory committee that has met since February to find ways to streamline animal control services in the county. The committee’s review included a look at how animal control, provided by the Kitsap Humane Society, functions in the county, ways to increase pet licensing compliance and the need to update fees based on 2013 numbers.

Eric Baker, special projects manger for the county, presented an overview of the committee’s recommendation to commissioners at a work study. Highlights of his presentation include:

Stray animals: Strays make up the majority of the costs facing animal control services (60 percent, according to Baker). The costs come from housing the animals and providing care, including medical attention if they are injured and giving vaccinations to make sure they are up to date on shots.

The Humane Society holds animals for 96 hours for an owner to come claim them. If the owner doesn’t come during that 4-day period, the agency takes ownership of the animal and puts it up for adoption.

The committee recommended changing the amount of time animals are held, differentiating between licensed and unlicensed animals. A licensed domestic animal will be held 7 days, while unlicensed animals will see their hold time reduced. Adult dogs and cats will be held for 72 hours, puppies and kittens under 6 months old will be held 48 hours and litters only 24 hours (litters rarely come in which is why there is such a short hold, according to the committee).

Another recommendation is making pet owners pay for the time their animals are held. If a dog escapes and is captured by an animal control officer, if the animal is licensed, microchipped or has some form of identification, often animal control officers try to return the dog to its home without a visit to the shelter. When that happens the owner isn’t charged.

The committee has recommended a $45 civil infraction for owners whose pets escape but are returned without a visit to the shelter. If an animal is at the shelter the committee proposed increasing the fees to more accurately reflect the financial burden felt by the Humane Society. Those proposed increases include a $45 impound fee (up from $25); $45 vaccination fee (same); $20 boarding fee per day (up from $15); $30 for a microchip (not applicable now). Medical costs would be case dependent.

Pet licensing: The story I wrote in today’s paper covers this in detail, but essentially the committee would like to see incentives in place to encourage people to license their pets. Humane Society Executive Director Eric Stevens compared the licensing to an insurance policy, saying if a pet is lost or escapes it is one more step toward hopefully being reunited with the animal.

“The faster we can return the animals to the owners the better it is to the animals, and the better it is to the owners,” Stevens said. “And it keeps costs down.”

License fee increases for animals that haven’t been microchipped or spayed/neutered are proposed and can be found in the committee’s report (a link to the pdf is at the end of this blog). The committee also recommended to offer a 3-year and lifetime license option and a way for people to renew their licenses online.

Investigations: Animal control investigations are heard in Kitsap County District Court, but often the cases take a long time to make their way through the legal process. In one case an animal was held at the Humane Society shelter for 11 months while waiting for legal proceedings.

The committee recommended moving the animal control infractions investigations to the county’s hearing examiner process to capture more of the paid penalties — when paid through District Court most of the money goes to the state.

County commissioners were happy with the committee’s recommendations and agreed to begin the process of implementing the changes. In some cases that means county code will have to be amended. When that happens public hearings will be held to get feedback before commissioners vote on the proposed changes.

“There may be some tweaks that we want to make in future years, but I am more or less OK with the recommendations and I think we should implement them as soon as possible as it is feasible,” Commissioner Josh Brown said.

To read an executive summary of the committee’s report and recommendationspresented to commissioners Monday, click here for the pdf: Animal Control Citizens Advisory Committee recommendations.

What’s being built on Bucklin Hill Road in Silverdale?

Brynn writes:


Whenever a new building goes in on a busy road in Silverdale, people start talking about what business is moving to the area.

That’s the case with the latest building that is nearing completion at 3150 NW Bucklin Hill Road, not far from the road’s intersection with Silverdale Way and across the street from Taco Time and Hop Jack’s.

A quick search of county records shows the tax statements go to Barber Investments Bucklin LLC with a Redmond PO Box. I found a similar name, Barber Development LLC, on permit data tied to the property and looked it up to find owner Andy Barber who has a business address in Kirkland.

I called Barber a few weeks ago to see what businesses he had lined up to fill the building and he asked me to email him my questions. We got off the phone and I sent him the email. I’m still waiting for his response.

Impatient and wanting to answer people’s questions (more than a few of you have “Facebooked”, emailed and called about the property), I started looking through the county’s records to see what I could find out about the property.

So far the only business on record is Little Caesar’s Pizza, which applied for a commercial tenant improvement permit and a commercial concurrency certificate from the county. Both were approved July 15.

Barber applied to the county a year ago in August for a site development activity permit to build on the 0.77-acre lot that is zoned regional commercial. Specific businesses were not named at the time of the permit, but Barber indicated the 6,760-square-foot building would be equipped to handle general retail, office space and/or restaurant uses, according to the application. Forty parking spaces will go in behind the building and a rain garden to handle the stormwater run off.

If I hear back from Barber that he has other tenants lined up I’ll write an update, but until then hopefully this helps answers some of the questions.

Kitsap County Coroner needs more cribs

Brynn writes:
Last week I wrote about a program Kitsap County Coroner Greg Sandstrom is implementing locally that gives cribs to families in need of a safe place for their baby to sleep. Sandstrom is doing this as part of a national Cribs for Kids program that works with law enforcement and first responders to reduce the number of infant deaths from suffocation or other, unexplained reasons.So far Sandstrom is the only coroner in the Northwest to join the program.My story ran online July 31 and in the Aug. 1 print edition of the Kitsap Sun. At the time it was published, Sandstrom had five portable Graco Pack ‘n Play cribs to give to parents, or caregivers, who called and requested them.By 2:20 p.m. on Aug. 1 I received this email from Sandstrom:

Just as a follow-up, I had had several requests come in for the cribs, so I need to order more in a hurry!  (Not a bad problem to have.)  I also just found out that the headquarters for the “Cribs for Kids” Program will send me 100 cribs for $2,500.00, because of a matching grant they have. I didn’t know it would be too late to put that information out to your subscribers or not, but that comes to just $25.00 a crib!  It would be wonderful to provide that information to someone wanting to donate to this life saving need.

I assumed the story would appeal to parents who want their baby to have a safe place to sleep, but I didn’t think Sandstrom would see the cribs snatched up so fast. Sandstrom just started this program, so he hasn’t yet had a chance to appeal to the community to help raise the money needed to buy more cribs. He makes sure before buying them that they are safe and not on any recall lists. Sandstrom also provides educational information with the crib reminding parents about safe sleep environments for children, including placing infants and babies on their backs to sleep in a crib that hasn’t nothing else in it — no blankets, no stuffed animals, no toys, etc.
If you’re interested in donating money to help Sandstrom meet the $2,500 needed to buy 100 cribs from the national program, contact Sandstrom’s office at 360-337-7077.

Poulsbo restaurant makes national news for well-behaved child discount

Brynn writes:

It was brought to our attention this morning that Poulsbo’s Sogno di Vino restaurant has been making national news lately. Although it largely hasn’t been named beyond being called a “small restaurant in Poulsbo, Wash.”

As the story goes a picture of a receipt from an evening out at the restaurant has made its way to the Internet and as a result national news organizations jumped at the chance to opine about the story (see Fox News, Huffington Post, Reddit, Babble, et. all.)

A local woman, who goes by the name LauraInk on the Reddit site, wrote on her “beer after tea” blog about the dinning experience where she and her husband, along with their three children (ages 2, 3 and 8), received a “well-behaved child” discount. It sounds like this is the first time the restaurant has offered the $4 discount for well-behaved “mini diners”.

Here’s excerpts from Laura’s blog post explaining what happened and her response to all the national attention about the discount:

“We were seated at one of the last available tables around 6pm and were greeted happily with menus and bread. We sat and discussed planets, racecars, zebra jokes and “Freckle Juice” until we ate our pizzas, pasta and aforementioned ragu. The food was lovely, our oldest, who is clearly in a growth spurt, ate her share and mine, and our littles munched happily while periodically stopping to notice the small fireplace in the corner and the window paintings on the wall of grapevines in Italy.

Near the end of our meal, our server visits our table to tell us how impressed the staff was with our kids’ behavior and that many of them didn’t even realize we had little ones eating with us. She then brought us a bowl of ice cream to share. When we received our tab, it had a discount listed for “Well Behaved Kids”. A pleasant surprise after a lovely meal.

We, as parents, lead by example and if we have to spell out what and how we’re doing something, we will. We don’t expect handouts for acting respectful of the folks who bring us our food. But it certainly makes you feel good when someone else notices your kids in a positive light.

It’s interesting to read some of the comments from other people who have heard this story — note the link to the Reddit and Babble sites offer more adult language than wet use here — the responses are mixed on whether a family should get a discount because their kids behave well, or as some argue “the way they should”, when they’re in public.

Regardless of where you stand on the decision to give the discount, the bottom line is a local family of five was the recipient of an unexpected act of kindness from a local business. That’s something that should make you smile.

‘Restaurant: Impossible’ wants you

Brynn writes:

Looking for 15 minutes of fame and a good meal?

If you’re free next Friday, Sept. 28, and if you feel like treating yourself to a steak dinner, you might just find yourself on an upcoming episode of the Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible“.

Chef Robert Irvine

That’s right, celebrity Chef Robert Irvine is coming to Kitsap. He and a film crew will be in Keyport next week making over Whiskey Creek Steakhouse for an upcoming show. The work will happen in a 24-hour period and when it’s all done the restaurant will reopen to patrons. That’s where you come in — the producers want to film people eating at the restaurant for its “Grand Re-opening” and are asking people to make reservations starting at 7 p.m. that Friday.

For those unfamiliar with “Restaurant: Impossible”, here’s how the show works: Chef Irvine and a film crew, along with a small army ready to employ a lot of elbow grease, arrive to a failing restaurant and assess its weaknesses. In 24 hours, and with the assistance of $10,000, Irvine and his crew get to work, updating menus, retraining staff and often revamping the restaurant’s interior  — sometimes undertaking a complete overhaul to improve aesthetics. With the work complete people are then asked to dine at the establishment and offer feedback (on camera) about the changes.

The show is in its fifth season and has aired roughly 50 episodes. Thousands of people apply, so for Whiskey Creek to make a cut is a pretty big deal. The show’s arrival in Keyport next week will be its first time in Washington.

If you haven’t seen the show, you might recognize the British host from other culinary reality television shows, including “Dinner: Impossible”, “Worst Cooks in America” and “The Next Iron Chef”. (He’s the tall guy with bulging biceps and a British accent).

So, here’s your chance to (possibly) be seen on television. All you have to do is call Whiskey Creek and make reservations for Sept. 28. There’s room for 175 reservations, which will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. The number is: (360) 779-3481.

I can’t promise you’ll meet Mr. Irvine, and I can’t guarantee you’ll make the footage that airs when the show appears on the Food Network, but if nothing else you’ll get a good meal — right?

Poulsbo gets a shout out

Brynn writes:

I follow the Three Sheets Northwest Blog, which features its own content along with other boating bloggers sharing their cruising experiences in the area.

This morning a headline (“Poulsbo’s muddy bottom”) caught my eye. The author compliments the small Norwegian town for its hospitality and good eats, but questions what exactly is up with Liberty Bay and its foul odor.

It’s been years since I last spent a weekend anchored in the bay, but it wasn’t that long ago we tied up at the Port of Poulsbo Marina — not to mention earlier this year I was spending time at the port commissioners’ floating meeting room in the marina. I don’t recall ever noticing the brown water, or a suspicious smell, but maybe things are different away from shore?

This sounds like a job for environmental reporter Chris Dunagan to look into on his Watching Our Waterways blog…

The other side of the whooping cough debate

Brynn writes:

Today I wrote a story about the rise of pertussis, or whooping cough, cases reported in Kitsap County. According to data from the Kitsap Public Health District, there have been 21 cases reported from December 2011 to March 19.

Compare that to the 11 cases reported for most of 2011 (from January to November) and you can see why health district Director Dr. Scott Lindquist referred to the jump as an “obvious increase” in usual cases.

In his report Lindquist doesn’t address why we might be seeing this increase, but doing a little research online it seems the reason we’re seeing a resurgence of this disease is because people aren’t getting vaccinated against it. That includes parents who consciously choose not to immunize their infants because of the risks associated with the vaccination, or adults who were vaccinated during their younger years but never got the shot again — after a number of years the immunity of the shot wanes and needs to be re-administered.

If you’re not familiar with whooping cough, or its symptoms, here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has to say:

Whooping cough is a serious and highly contagious respiratory disease that can cause long, violent coughing fits and the characteristic “whooping” sound when a person gasps for air. It takes a toll on anyone, but for infants it can be deadly. In 2010, 27,550 cases of whooping cough were reported nationally with 27 deaths — 25 of which were infants. Worldwide, there are 30‐50 million cases of whooping cough per year resulting in about 300,000 deaths.

Yesterday I spoke with one parent who with his wife chose not to get their newborn immunized against the disease. The conversation didn’t fit into the story I wrote about Kitsap seeing a rise in cases, but I wanted to provide his perspective on why they opted not to immunize their 11 month old daughter Edythe.

Bremerton residents Kevin and Adele Connally aren’t against vaccinations, but after doing some research they decided not to immunize themselves, or go through the immunization schedule for their daughter against whooping cough.

“I’m not actually pro- or anti-immunization,” Kevin Connally said. “I’m just anti some immunizations.”

Connally said he found research that showed the whooping cough vaccine can be damaging to one’s immune system and cited statistics from a California study that showed people who were immunized against the disease still caught it.

I asked our local health district about this, and they said it’s true people who are immunized can catch the disease, but often the symptoms are milder and typically its the people who were immunized but the potency of the vaccine has waned that are susceptible — that’s because it’s been a number of years since they were given the shot.

The debate over whether to immunize against the disease is not unique to America, nor is it new. I found this abstract on the National Institutes of Health’s website. It looks like it’s from a medical journal article published in the 1980s, but its topic is relevant today:

There has been extensive debate in Great Britain regarding the risks and benefits of routine infant immunization against whooping cough. As a result of highly publicized cases of brain damage alleged to have been caused by the vaccine, immunization acceptance rates have dropped dramatically and epidemics of the disease have recurred.

On the basis of a review of the current state of knowledge on whooping cough, the vaccine, and vaccine safety, the authors conclude that the dangers of the disease outweigh any known hazards of the vaccine. Although whooping cough is less important a cause of death and disability at present, it remains a potentially lethal disease that should be controlled.

The safety of the vaccine is an especially critical question, however, since it is being advocated for use on a mass scale in previously healthy children. The results of studies such as the National Childhood Encephalopathy Study suggest DPT vaccination is associated with a greater frequency of acute neurological illnesses than would be expected by chance. On the other hand, most cases of such complications were not time-associated with DPT vaccination and may have resulted from the less purified vaccines used in the past.

The most critical element in decision making is the readiness of parents and doctors to accept the fact that active preventive measures such as pertussis immunization sometimes carry unavoidable risks that have to be weighed against the risk of nonintervention.

The Connally’s measured the risks to benefits, and decided against giving their daughter the series of shots that start at 2 months. Instead they made a conscious effort to do everything they can to keep her, and themselves, from catching it.

That includes breast feeding Edythe, which research has shown boosts a child’s immunity by passing along antibodies from the mother, among other benefits. While she’s still breastfeeding, Connally says they also feed Edythe solid foods that are known to boost her immunity, including a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, and fiber to help build “good cultures in her gut,” Connally said.

While they made the choice not to immunize Edythe, Connally was up front with me in our interview and told me they think she could currently have whooping cough. They don’t know how she caught it — possibly from kids at church or in the neighborhood, Connally said — and they won’t know until they hear back from the doctor what the test results show. They took her in on Wednesday to be checked out.