Peninsular Thinking A conversation about Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Silverdale, Bainbridge Island, Kingston, Manchester, Seabeck, Southworth, Suquamish, Belfair, Keyport, Olalla, Bangor, Hansville, Indianola, Port Gamble, Allyn, Port Ludlow, Gig Harbor and every once in a while something about the good folks who don't have the good fortune to live here.
man TJ Wheeler will present a free workshop today at the Opal
Robertston Teen Center, 802 7th St. in Bremerton. He’ll also give a
concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at Island Center Hall on Bainbridge
Island, 8395 Fletcher Bay Rd NE; donations welcome. A 6 p.m.
potluck precedes Saturday’s entertainment.
Wheeler graduated from an alternative school on Bainbridge
Island and found music to be a grounding influence in his early
life, which was full of challenges, according to Jerry Elfendahl,
who is helping publicize the musician’s visit to the Northwest. He
has earned many awards and accolades, including the W.C. Handy
Keeping the Blues Alive Award in education.
Wheeler’s workshops combine music and inspiration. His
educational program Hope, Heroes and the Blues, which started with
a small grant from Ben & Jerry’s, has reached more than 450,000
The concert/workshop in Bremerton is sponsored by New Life
Community Development Agency. Although the workshop is aimed at
youth, everyone is welcome. There is no cost.
Wheeler’s calling his Saturday concert a 50th Jubilee, since
he’s been playing guitar for 50 years.
“The next week the Jimi Hendrix Museum AKA EMP / (Experience
Music project) have booked me to do a ‘Blues to Hendrix’ BITS
(Blues in the School) residency and concert,” Wheeler wrote in his
blog. “It is a blessing to be coming home and I hope I see all of
you at one site or another.”
Firefighters from Kitsap County and across the country, ran, jogged
and sometimes leaned against walls on their way up 69 flights and
1,311 steps in full firefighting gear, including oxygen tanks and
breathing equipment, Sunday during Seattle’s annual Scott
Firefighter Stairclimb, a fundraiser for the Leukemia &
CKFR firefighter’s eight-man team has raised more
money than any other Kitsap area team with $16,036.13, beating its
CKFR also has placed in the top 10 fundraising teams
“Now we really set the bar too high,” joked
firefighter Ryan Orseth, CKFR team captain.
Orseth himself made an impressive fundraising push. He
was $403.95 short of making the list for the top 10 individual
fundraisers. He raised a total of $5,201.05.
Although firefighters are done racing stairs in
downtown Seattle’s Columbia Center, the second tallest building
west of the Mississippi, they can accept donations until the end of
So far, 1,800 firefighters from more than 300
departments have raised about $1.55 million.
Last year, the event raised $1.44 million with the
help of 1,500 firefighters from 282 departments.
While every Kitsap area fire district and department
participated in the event, not everyone is as closely connected
with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as the North Kitsap Fire
and Rescue is.
The district lost one of its own firefighters to
leukemia on March 8, 1997, according to NKFR spokesperson Michele
Tom Kenyon died at age 33, leaving behind his wife and
six-month-old daughter, who is now a high school senior.
The stairclimb has always been close to and sometimes
on the anniversary of Kenyon’s death, Laboda said.
This year, NKFR’s four-man team has raised $2,128,
just a few hundred shy of it’s $2,500 goal.
Besides the gratification of fundraising for a noble
cause, there also is a little pride in how quickly individuals and
teams climb the stairs.
Each team can have any number of participants, but
team times are calculated from the top three fastest times.
CKFR’s team time was 1 hour, 5 minutes and 30 seconds,
while the North Mason Fire Authority had the fastest time for
Kitsap area districts, finishing in 49:09.
The average firefighter takes 20 to 30 minutes to run
up 69 flights of stairs, according to the event website.
Only firefighters are allowed to climb in the
This year’s fastest time was 11:03 by 32-year-old
Missoula, Mont., firefighter Andrew Drobeck.
CKFR is looking at improving fundraising, not speed,
Orseth said he would like to see CKFR on the top 10
This year’s top fundraisers ranged from $22,318 to
To compete, Orseth suggested pooling Kitsap County’s
resources to create a countywide team.
And he has already started campaigning for next year’s
climbers, asking CKFR commissioners to consider joining the
The July deadline is just one of several in the
recently released strategic plan from the Kitsap County Behavioral
Health Strategic Planning Team. Proposals for projects or programs,
aimed at reducing the number of mentally ill juveniles and adults
cycle through the criminal justice system and the demand on
emergency services, will be accepted from Feb. 20 to April 18 at 3
p.m. Kitsap County County Mental Health, Chemical
Dependence and Therapeutic Court Citizens Advisory Board will
review the proposals.
62-page strategic plan, which outlines recommendations for
closing service gaps for mentally ill and substance abuse, it says
county and surrounding peninsula region had the highest number of
mentally ill boarded ever recorded in October 2013.
The plan recommends increasing housing and
transportation options, treatment funding and outreach, among other
Reporting and responsibilities
The strategic planning team makes recommendations
the citizens advisory board and establishes the strategic plan for
the mental health tax.
Proposals will be submitted to the citizens advisory
board for review. The board will make recommendations for the
proposals and funding level to the county commissioners, who
ultimately approve the proposals.
The citizen advisory board will annually review
projects and programs while receiving input from the strategic
team, and report to the director of Kitsap County Human Services,
who will present reviews to the county commissioners.
Meet the team and board
Kitsap County Behavioral Health Strategic Planning
Al Townsend, Poulsbo Police Chief (Team Co-Chair)
Barb Malich, Peninsula Community Health Services
Greg Lynch, Olympic Educational Service District 114
Joe Roszak, Kitsap Mental Health Services
Judge Anna Laurie, Superior Court (Team Co-Chair)
Judge Jay Roof, Superior Court
Judge James Docter, Bremerton Municipal Court
Kurt Wiest, Bremerton Housing Authority
Larry Eyer, Kitsap Community Resources
Michael Merringer, Kitsap County Juvenile Services
Myra Coldius, National Alliance on Mental Illness
Ned Newlin, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office
Robin O’Grady, Westsound Treatment Agency
Russell D. Hauge, Kitsap County Prosecutor
Scott Bosch Harrison, Medical Center
Scott Lindquist, MD, MPH Kitsap Public Health
Tony Caldwell, Housing Kitsap
Kitsap County Mental Health, Chemical Dependence and
Therapeutic Court Citizens Advisory Board
Lois Hoell, Peninsula Regional Support Network: 3 year
Jeannie Screws, Kitsap County Substance Abuse Advisory Board: 3
Aimee DeVaughn, Kitsap County Commission on Children and Youth:
Connie Wurm, Area Agency on Aging: 3 year
Dave Shurick, Law and Justice: 1 year
Walt Bigby, Education: 1 year
Carl Olson, At Large Member District 2: 2 year
James Pond, At Large Member District 3: 2 year
Robert Parker, At Large Member District 2: 2 year
Russell Hartman, At Large Member District 3: 2 year
Richard Daniels, At Large Member District 1: 1 year
Like many of you, I savored the Seattle Seahawks’ trouncing of
the San Francisco 49ers a couple Sundays ago, a big win and a great
start to a promising season that continued with a victory versus
Jacksonville this week.
But as heavy rains had delayed the game versus San Francisco, I
got a little worried, too.
With the delay, Bremertonians and other Kitsap County residents
who took the ferry to the game had pretty much one option to get
back here: the 10:30 p.m. ferry. (Not counting those of you who
drove to the game via the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.)
Yes, there’s a later boat, but 12:50 a.m. is just too late to
wait, especially on a school night. We’ve all been in this tight
spot before. Fortunately, the game ended with enough time to get to
the 10:30 p.m. boat. (And with ticket prices being what they are,
I’d be there for every moment myself.)
But would the 10:30 p.m. boat hold everyone? We’re talking about
a lot of fans here. I went to bed thinking good thoughts for those
coming back to Bremerton, and sent a note off to Washington State
Ferries asking about how many people climbed aboard the next
morning. I also put a note on my
To my surprise, those who responded said it wasn’t too bad. The
Walla Walla was working the route, which helped because of its
size. Everyone made it aboard, it seems.
A week later, I finally got those ridership stats. The ferries
counted 1,057 passengers on the 10:30 p.m. sailing. Not even the
Bainbridge Island boat at 10:40 p.m., which was that route’s most
populated run of the day, reached that number (it totaled 907).
Bremerton’s route carried 2,560 people altogether that Sunday
(Sept. 15), meaning that one sailing had more than 40 percent of
its ridership for the day.
The WSF’s Ray Deardorf said that even if the
Walla Walla (capacity 2,000) hadn’t been working the
Kitsap — usually the smallest boat on the Bremerton run —
could’ve accommodated the load, with a maximum capacity of
Yet had the Kitsap made the journey, some 400 people wouldn’t
have had a seat to sit on, he added. “An uncomfortable crossing,”
he said of the possibility.
Yep, those of us in Bremerton have our gripes about the
frequency of the ferry sailings. But it’s nice to know that that
boat might be bulging, but there’s lots of room on our ferry
Have you driven aboard the Bremerton ferry from Seattle, only to
find your receipt says you went to Bainbridge Island?
Lots of people have. In the words of Yogi Berra
this story is “like deja vu all over again.” The most recent
time, it was Kitsap Sun columnist Ann Vogel who took to Facebook to
vent this complaint:
“Once again, at the ferry ticket booth in Seattle, I tell the
employee that we are driving on the Bremerton ferry and he hands me
a receipt for the Bainbridge route. This time, I ask to have it
corrected and explain why. He tells me that the computer system
automatically defaults to Bainbridge for all receipts and thus, for
record keeping of ferry use. Time to write a letter. No wonder we
have so few evening ferries while Bainbridge’s are so
I asked the Washington State Ferries’ Marta Coursey about this
frequent complaint. First off, we are only talking about cars here
— pedestrians are counted at the turnstile where tickets are
scanned at Colman Dock in Seattle.
For vehicles, it is ferry policy that all sales are credited to
the correct route for each ticket sold. The ticket seller has a
choice — Bainbridge or Bremerton — and the ferry system believes
it’s important they pick the right one for the purposes of tracking
ridership stats and planning, as well as accurate accounting.
In short, Ann, it’s not OK for the ticket seller to credit your
Bremerton voyage to Bainbridge Island, and Coursey says the ferry
system is “working directly” with those sellers and managers to
“ensure staff is following procedures correctly.”
Here’s what you do if you’ve been issued a ticket incorrectly.
Take your receipt, and mail it to:
Washington State Ferries
Attn. Operations Manager Kathy Booth
2901 Third Avenue, Suite 500
Seattle, Washington 98121
The big question is whether undercounting Bremerton cars
actually harms Bremerton ferry service, the subject of
a piece by Kitsap Sun reporter Ed Friedrich a few years back.
But if nothing else, having accurate record keeping is important.
And that means Ann’s ferry trip should count toward Bremerton — not
My story on Bainbridge Island resident Patrick Warga ran in
today’s paper and online, but information regarding the Wells Fargo
bank account that was being set up to help his family was still
unknown at the time of publication.
I’ve since been contacted by neighbor Trevor Ziemba, who said
the account is up and running. Donations to help the family can now
be made at any Wells Fargo bank under the “Patrick Warga Memorial
For those unfamiliar with the story,
Warga, 46, was a tugboat captain with Foss Maritime. He was working
in Tampico, Mexico on Christmas and went with a shipmate to a
Christmas Eve service in town. The two stayed at a hotel overnight
because it was unsafe to return to the shipyard after dark. Warga
went to get tea the next morning before returning to the ship and
was robbed and brutally beaten, supposedly by a 20-year-old man who
has since been arrested, according to local news reports out of
Warga was taken to a local hospital and then flown to a hospital
in San Diego on Dec. 26. His family flew down to say goodbye and he
died Tuesday night.
He leaves behind wife Kelly and three children, including son
Adam who is set to graduate high school in 2012.
While covering Sunday’s Harvest Fair on Bainbridge
Island I saw something that will mean a lot to
fathers. It was the kind of thing that gets mothers mad at fathers,
because, you know, this never happens to moms.
I was watching kids race down what looked like an irrigation
pipe that had been split so that it would function as a slide. I
was looking for another family to interview about the overall
event, why they came, what they liked, etc. Standard stuff.
It was a well attended event, which meant lots of wandering
people and kids darting off in different directions. You take your
eye of your child for one second . . .
A man probably in his early 30s stood near the slide, raised his
hands and just as calmly as possible asked loudly for everyone’s
attention. He said his little girl was missing. “I’m sure she’s
still here. I just can’t find her.” He then described her. She was
about 3, blonde hair, wearing a green shirt and a pink jacket tied
around her waist.
Within a couple minutes people started pointing of to the right
of the slide, behind the cider press, where a little girl was
walking with what looked like the father’s friend and his child.
People applauded. One man said, “Now I can say I’m not the only
father who has done that.”
The father and his little girl calmly got back together. She was
a tiny thing, just as cute as a kitten, but clearly frightened. Dad
picked her up and she held on with a little frown for quite a while
before she was willing to walk on her own again.
I was impressed with this father. Men get a lot of criticism,
much of it deserved, for their inclination to not ask for help.
That clearly was not this guy’s weakness. Without any sense of
embarrassment he made his case to big collection of people he
didn’t know and asked for their help. What was on the line was too
serious for petty concerns. I thought about interviewing him, but
in the end I decided to leave him and his daughter alone.
Fault the guy for losing track of his daughter if you want. I
don’t know of a parent who doesn’t have a similar story.
I have one that you’d have a hard time convincing my wife
couldn’t have ended much worse than what I saw Sunday. I took my
eye off my then 2-year-old son, Apollo, for about five seconds,
once, and he fell into a swimming pool.
Another time I had driven about four or five miles before I
realized that I had put my daughter, Sarah, in her car seat, but I
hadn’t buckled her in. Both times I felt like I was probably the
worst father in the world. I read police reports, so I know that’s
not true, but when that stuff happens it’s hard for me to feel
Today I wrote about the South Kitsap Skatepark Association
receiving $75,000 for its planned facility at South Kitsap Regional
Park. The grant came from the C. Keith Birkenfeld Memorial Trust
managed by The Seattle Foundation.
Birkenfeld is frequently mentioned in the Kitsap Sun. A
Bremerton High School graduate, Birkenfeld was a teacher and later
administrator in the Bellevue School District. He lived on
Bainbridge Island most of his life and was active in community
His will provided $14 million to establish a trust that would
inspire other donations. To date the trust has distributed $3.9
million in funds, mostly to organizations benefiting Kitsap County
residents. According to spokeswoman Claire Bishop, Birkenfeld, a
single man, was frugal and invested his money with care, and so
amassed a substantial nest egg in his 66 years.
Besides the skatepark association, other recipients of major
awards in 2011 are:
Bainbridge Land Trust, a $250,000 grant toward the purchase of
Hilltop, a 31-acre parcel connecting two sections of the 541-acre
Grand Forest on Bainbridge Island; www.bi-landtrust.org.
Seabeck Christian Conference Center, a $150,000 contribution to
the Seabeck Centennial Campaign to re-build guest houses and to
install an outdoor amphitheater; www.seabeck.org.
Hope in Christ/Coffee Oasis, a $125,000 grant to purchase and
convert a building into a teen shelter in Bremerton;
SK Skatepark Association, a $75,000 grant to cap off fundraising
for a world-class skate park in Port Orchard;
Other Kitsap County projects will receive pre-development
funding to assist with planning new large projects with Kitsap
County-wide impact. Another $33,000 set-aside from the trust each
year finances the
Humanitarian of the Year Award, administered by the Bainbridge
Thanks to Doug Miller and his quick shutter finger, we have
proof that the elusive Port Orchard bear was trying to escape Port
Orchard for better digs on Bainbridge Island.
Miller sent the email this afternoon and unless there’s another
bear walking around out there with a dart in its hindquarters, I’m
guessing this is the same bear that was hiding out in the greenbelt
off Mile Hill Drive earlier this week. I have to say, it looks a
lot bigger here than it did when it was running at me on
Monday…what do they put in those darts, steroids?!
Miller spotted the bear this morning swimming across Rich
Passage, headed for Bainbridge off Point Glover. Here’s what he
said in an email:
We saw him swimming out in the middle of the channel. A boat
stopped to check him out and he got spooked and decided to swim
back to our side I guess.
Last I heard from wildlife Sgt. Ted Jackson was that the bear
still hasn’t been captured, but that it is being spotted all over.
The hype over the bear has hopefully gone down now that its not
running across Mile Hill Drive and bounding over the fences of the
nearby Orchard Heights Elementary and Discovery Alternative High
I’m guessing Jackson and the other wildlife officials are also
hoping the bear quietly fades into the woods, so they don’t have to
try and relocate it.
Without further ado, here’s the photos. (Look close in this
first one, you can see the dart sticking out his right hind
After a weeklong stay at Rep. Christine Rolfes’ Bainbridge
Island home, a lost black-and-white show pigeon from Port Orchard
was ready to go home.
Rolfes said her husband found the bird in their backyard last
Friday. Her kids went and got bird food and lured the bird into a
Rolfes contacted several pigeon clubs in the area, attempting to
find the bird’s owners.
But the Bainbridge Democrat wasn’t having any luck.
For a week, the bird, which the Rolfeses named “Anthony”, lived
with the family’s other pets including chickens, cockatiel and
“Everyone got along fine,” she said.
After failed attempts at reunited Anthony and its owner, Rolfes
said she got on Craigslist to see how much a pigeon cage would cost
— she figured the family would adopt Anthony as a rescue pet.
Rolfes clicked on the lost and found section of the Web
“It was the first link on the page — lost, white and black
bird,” she said.
The Port Orchard owners said their bird flew out of their open
On Friday, the owners traveled to Rolfes’ Bainbridge Island home
for the reunion.
Rolfes was glad the owner and her pet was reunited.
“It was a fun adventure with no long term commitment,” said
Rolfes, laughing. “It was a nice animal, but we really didn’t want
another pet in our home.”