Category Archives: Bremerton

Humane society expands feral cat trap-neuter-return program to Port Orchard

In February 2013, the Kitsap Humane society launched a program to reduce the feral cat population in Bremerton. KHS calls them “community cats.”

The method (not without its critics) is trap-neuter-return. KHS vets say it’s documented to work in gradually reducing feral, pardon me, community cat colonies.

Adult feral cats can’t be socialized for placement as pets. The past approach to eradication of feral cat colonies has been to trap and euthanize the animals. But that doesn’t work well, according to KHS veterinarian Jen Stonequist.

Because feral cats are territorial, eliminating members of the colony simply creates a void that is soon filled again by new cats – and their unchecked litters of kittens. The cats who live in these colonies are generally in poor health and carry disease.

“An effective TNR program works to stabilize the free-roaming cat population in a community by preventing new litters of unwanted kittens, and reduces feline illnesses by reducing mother-to-litter transmission and transmission by fighting,” said KHS Spokeswoman Rachel Bearbower. “It can also significantly reduce the noise and odor which arise from unaltered males fighting, mating, and marking territories.”

KHS officials estimate there are more than 2,200 feral cats in the 98366 area code, where the effort is focused.

The Community Cats Program, funded through a PetSmart grant provides live traps and training on trapping to willing neighborhood volunteers.
Adults are neutered or spayed, and given a full check up and a rabies vaccine before they are reintroduced to their preferred neighborhood. A small mark on the ear prevents repeats. Kittens are taken into the humane society for placement as pets.

Over time the colony shrinks, as the animals are unable to reproduce.

The humane society also has a litter abatement program. If your pet has had a litter, you can bring the babies (dog or cat) to KHS. They will be spayed and neutered, and placed in “forever homes.” KHS also will spay the parent free of charge and return the animal to you.

Anyone with information about feral cat colonies in the Port Orchard area, or who is interested in volunteering for the Community Cats program, is asked to contact Kitsap Humane Society at CommunityCats@kitsap-humane.org or call 360-692-6977.

Does hip hop count as PE?

Anyone who’s met Debbie Lindgren is likely familiar with her bottomless exuberance. Lindgren, physical education teacher at Naval Avenue Early Learning Center, is a die hard advocate for giving kids more chances to be active in each day.

Lindgren is quoted in a story I did for today about the importance of recess for students’ bodies and brains.

She tries every which way to get youngsters moving. In one example, she brings recess to the classroom with “brain breaks” like full-body rock-paper-scissors students can do beside their desks. Teachers at Naval Avenue are now trained to lead their students in short bursts of activity that stimulate circulation and give kids a breather.

Lindgren’s latest get-moving scheme involves hip hop dancers, lots of them. Lindgren arranged for all first through third graders to learn a dance choreographed by Erica Robinson, a co-owner with her husband Ashley of the Kitsap Admirals basketball team. The students performed the dance en masse at the Admiral’s game Saturday.
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Lindgren got the idea for a school-wide hip hop dance because of her sense that some families, in particular African American families, feel a disconnect from the school.

“At first it was just, ‘What can I do to make sure we are inclusive of every culture at our school?'” Lindgren said.

Dance seemed a good place to start.

“It appears to me that our African American kids have more opportunity, perhaps, outside of school to dance within their family structure, because they come into this with better background in dance than the majority of Caucasian students,” Lindgren said. “In PE classes when the music turns on, our African American kids, the majority of them, their movement patterns are exceptional. … I thought, what can I do to celebrate their dances, their movement, their creativity?”
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Robinson is a member of the Admirals dance team the Flight Chixx. She grew up on Soul Train and affirms Lindgren’s gut feeling.

“If you think about African Americans in this culture, you think about hip hop, you think about break dancing,” Robinson said. “Some of the greatest dancers in the country have been African American.

“I think music and dance is just the way you connect,” she said.

Think of the choirs in African American churches. Music is everywhere in black culture and always has been, Robinson said.

“If you look throughout history, you see that music has really resonated with the African American community,” she said. “Music is something that has helped us through the hard times.”

Robinson appreciates Lindgren’s impulse to shine a spotlight on the hip hop genre.

“Coming from the East Coast, we had a lot of things that celebrated black culture, Puerto Rican culture,” she said. “In Kitsap here, we don’t find a lot of that celebrated culture. There’s a lot of quieting and shunning. In celebration, if we take the time to embrace each culture, we’ll find that as a human body, we’re all the same.”

Teaching several classrooms’ worth of students a single dance was no small feat.

“You just kind of teach it in pieces,” Robinson said. “The kids pick it up a lot easier than you think. … They wanted it.”

The performance was a hit with parents.

“We had a great turnout of kiddos. It was awesome, great support,” Lindgren said.

It was so much fun. They were so cute,” Robinson said.
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And although a few beats were missed here and there, what shone through was “the joy they had as group.”

Kurt DeVoe, photographer for the Kitsap Admirals, shared these photos with the Kitsap Sun. Lindgren’s husband was the videographer.

OMG! Herman’s Hermits!

IMG_3654In our family this story has become legendary, and like most legends its truthfulness is worth questioning.

Mom swore it happened and her honesty was something you could set your watch by, and that’s good enough for me, especially because it’s about me and reminds people that I was once certifiably cute.

My oldest brother was a operating on the grass and dirt of a Southern California baseball diamond. By “operating” I mean he was playing, baseball to be precise. “Operating” just sounds more like a college word than “playing,” so I went there. Jim, the brother I mentioned earlier, played for the Twins in the Mustang League in West Covina, a Los Angeles suburb that was once home to Lee Majors and developments built on top of a cancer-inducing former landfill. We didn’t live on the former landfill, so we weren’t at risk for cancer except for all the smoking and breathing outside air.

I’m told Jim was pretty good, but I was only somewhere between 3 and 5 years old, so my interests were elsewhere. In one memorable moment my interest was going to the bathroom, so I ambled over to the portable outhouses they set up near the bleachers and went about my business. I’m guessing it was a seated affair, because I had time to sing “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” at full throat. Outside at least one man was waiting his turn as I sang. Apparently he wasn’t in an urgent state, because he was smiling.

Back then young Americans worshipped at the Beatles altar, but I was a Herman’s Hermits man, myself. My brother had a stack of albums (What you kids might call “vinyl.”) and often at the front of the pack was Noone’s face. Mom wasn’t much a fan of 60s music, Dad even less so, referring to it often as “rotten roll,” then laughing, usually with his mouth full. Jim would play his records in his room. I was sometimes not allowed in, by Mom or maybe Jim, so I would many times sit outside listening to what would become my own personal Wonder Years soundtrack.

The outhouse incident I’ve described is not one I remember. I obviously had the ability to speak, and sing, but this memory does not exist for me. Nonetheless I don’t doubt it. As I mentioned I was a big fan of Herman and his gang (I thought Peter Noone’s name was “Herman.” I’m sure people older than I thought the same thing.) and I was an even bigger fan of singing whenever the notion struck. To some degree I still do that, though it’s not cute anymore.

The memories I do have involving Herman’s Hermits include singing “Dandy” as a solo in my first-grade class. Seriously, it was sharing time, so thought it would be good to sing. I also remember my heart aching for Debbie Frazin every time I heard “There’s a Kind of Hush.” There were lots of sappy love songs in the 1960s. That song, though, had a depth even a 6-year-old could admire, a vision of an entire world so mesmerized by love that it falls silent. Poetic genius, perfectly elocuted by Noone.

That Noone and the rest of the Hermits are performing Saturday at the Admiral Theatre in Bremerton on the same weekend my oldest brother is here visiting us from Hawaii was a message from God. I saw McCartney last year and did a whole podcast afterward about how much my brothers needed to go see him. Neither Jim or I have seen the Hermits before, so this is just pefect. I predict I will probably cry like a little boy when Noone appears, not crushed like the young female Brown’s former boyfriend, but because I’ll be into something good for a couple of hours, something that has lasted almost five decades for me now.

EPILOGUE: No crying at the beginning, but when the Hermits broke into “There’s a Kind of Hush” at the end of the concert I got a little misty.

IMG_3678The music in the show was as good as I would have hoped. What surprised me was how funny Noone was. He bordered on Don Rickles humor at  times, saying some people from Belfair must have driven their in their house. I only wished he had said it about Port Orchard, the historical butt of my jokes.

My brother Jim, the bushy-mustached one in the photo here interacting with Noone, spent a few decades of his life on the radio in Honolulu. When I was taking Jim’s picture with Noone my brother asked when Noone and the rest of the Hermits would make it over to Hawaii. Noone said they don’t get over there much, but mentioned concert promoter and radio/TV personality Tom Moffatt. It turns out Moffatt is a friend of my brother’s. Noone mentioned that Moffatt introduced him to Elvis, then asked my brother to say “Hello” to Tom for him.

The Belfair reference was part of a string of local jokes. He poked fun at the airport in SeaTac, gas station attendants, and got the whole bit rolling by saying that when he was a kid he always dreamed that one day he would get to play at the “Admiral Theatre in Bremerton, Washington.” I was on vacation last week, part of it in Portland and I saw a poster advertising a Herman’s Hermits show at a casino down in Oregon. I would love to go, mostly to hear all the same jokes related to the different locale.

There was a time when we would laugh at guys like Noone and other musicians whose prime had passed, but they continued performing. I saw Paul McCartney last year and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. (I’d say one of the best I’d ever “seen,” but man we were sitting far away.) I’ll continue to go to any Springsteen concert. But neither McCartney or Springsteen are good examples, because they never lost the ability to fill arenas. I’m talking more about groups like REO Speedwagon or Three Dog Night.

In reality, it was seeing Christopher Cross that made me finally gain a renewed respect for performers whose hits are decades old. Now I think it’s wonderful that these musicians can continue to make a living by touring and performing for old and new audiences. Now that I’ve seen my first favorite band, (Noone is the only original Hermit in the current band, but he’s the most important one to me.) I’m really glad that they do.

Their defense against the jokes is their own willingness to poke fun at themselves. It’s like we’re all in on the joke. Noone said something akin to being on the tour of musicians who haven’t died yet. He asked to see if there were teenagers in the audience. He asked them if their moms made them attend, then said it was their grandmothers. He finished by joking that one of the young girls had forced her mother to go to the concert. I bet that joke will seem just as funny in Oregon.

 

BHS, KSS bands plans marching marathon

Marching bands from Bremerton High School and Klahowya Secondary School in Central Kitsap plan a marathon of performances on Saturday, starting in Bremerton’s Armed Forces Day Parade and ending in Spokane for the Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade.

KSS band director Lia Morgan, new to Klahowya this year, wanted to resurrect a tradition from years past by bringing the marching band to Spokane. The band will play recently composed music by the a cappella group Pentatonix. In the Torchlight Parade, they will crry glow sticks for effect.

On Sunday, the marathon will continue when the KSS jazz band plays at Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho. Many jazz band members also play in the marching band. The rest of the band will “support them as members of the audience,” Morgan said. Afterward, all of the students, Morgan and a number of parents who are going along as groupies will take a well deserved break by enjoying the rides.

Morgan is proud of her musicians, a number of whom have performed in and won awards in solo competitions this school year. “We have had an exciting and busy year at Klahowya this year and I’m looking forward to more years and activities to come,” she said.

This is the first time Bremerton High’s marching band has played in the Torchlight Parade.

“I thought that would be kind of fun, to do two parades in one day,” said Band director, Max Karler, who is in his first year as director of instrumental music at BHS. Before then, he taught band and orchestra at Mt. Tahoma high.

The Spokane parade starts at 7:45 p.m., but the BHS band’s staging time is 8:15 p.m. Karler figures his group will have time to make the roughly six-hour drive to Spokane in between parades.

No, it’s not by school bus. They are renting charter buses, so the kids can snooze or watch movies as long as it’s “not something I hate,” Karler said. As a student, he once got stuck on a band road trip where the flute section had this obsession with a particularly bad Bollywood movie. But I digress.

Luckily, BHS is near the front of the Armed Forces parade, so they expect to be done by noon-ish.

“When we get done there (Bremerton’s Armed Forces Day Parade), we’re going to get out of our clothes (band outfits), eat some lunch, hop on the bus and go over to their torchlight parade,” Karler said.

Karler is impressed with the group’s can-do attitude and eagerness to try new things.

“It’s totally awesome, just lots of support,” Karler said. “The kids are very capable, lots of strong players and strong leaders.”

Karler let the students suggest the playlist. They’re going with the top three tunes: the BHS fight song (to the tune of “Anchors Aweigh), “Take on Me” (by The A-ha) and “Conga” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine.

“I’m really excited for it. I think they’re going to do really well,” Karler said.

BHS performed earlier this month in the Sequim Irrigation Festival and won first place for AA and AAA school bands. Go Knights!

PO Beats Poulsbo on “best small cities” list

The online publication citiesjournal.com has taken a David Letterman approach to the “top small cities” in Washington State. Port Orchard ranks 6th in the journal’s list of 14 (not Letterman’s 10), as noted on Facebook by PO locals Matt Carter and Todd Penland.

And look at us go. Port Orchard, with its maritime ties and eclectic downtown mix of eateries, boutiques and salons (hair, nail, tattoo, piercing) beat out Poulsbo, with its Nordic theme, a longtime solid formula for that town.

“As stated on its website, Poulsbo has a completely unique and different history from its neighboring communities. Unlike other small towns and cities in the local area, this small city was founded by Norwegian settlers,” citiesjournal.com reports.

Poulsbo came in 12 of 14, ahead of Moses Lake and Chelan. Beating out Port Orchard, in slots five through numero uno, were Bellingham, Sequim, Oak Harbor, Hoquiam and Friday Harbor. Nothing against Hoquiam, but, really? (The article cites the city’s low taxes related to depressed values on its “nice but old” homes.)

Poulsbo, the journal continues, “may not have a great deal to offer when it comes to ultra-modern and latest conveniences, but it does enjoy a close community that values friendship and a rich cultural heritage. People who place greater priority on these aspects than what modern society has to offer will find Poulsbo the ideal place to live.”

The next time you’re in Poulsbo, look for that horse and buggy.

I’m figuring the author who wrote about Pullman is a Cougar. The entry on this city, which ranked 9th, reads, “Pullman has so much going for it that it is hard to know where to start.”

Port Orchard is described thus, “The city is blessed with an abundance of marinas filled with boats of all shapes and sizes which provide comfortable accommodations for visitors to stay. The downtown area offers fine dining, shopping, and cultural sites to explore.”

Too bad they illustrated the article not with a picture of the marina but of the Kitsap County Courthouse … on a cloudy day. The courthouse, and in fact the whole county campus, is fine and all and very much part of the city. But PO, we can do better. They should have checked in the day we posted all those rainbow pictures. Oh, my God!

“Port Orchard is but a ferry ride away from Seattle and Bremerton,” the journal continues, “making excursions to the area quite accessible for those wanting to escape …”

Oh wait, there’s more, ” … “for a day or entire weekend.”

“Port Orchard residents are also quite proud of their military heritage as perceived by the nearby Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.”

We won’t tell them the shipyard is in Bremerton, which apparently is too big to be considered for the Top Small Cities list. And yes, we all are proud of our military.

Silverdale was not mentioned on the list of Top 10 Cities that Do Not Exist.

The citiesjournal.com is big on lists. It’s got rankings for other states, and informational pieces on cities nationwide and worldwide. The journal covers a wide range of topics, including “Top 11 Most Haunted Cities,” “13 Best Cities with the Word ‘City’ in Them,” and “Top 12 Cities Aliens Should Colonize.” Detroit tops the list.

So now, we seriously need to suggest a “Top 10″ category in which Bremerton will place. I’ll put out “Top 10 Cities that Enable Raccoons,” for starters.

The ball is in your court.

Bremerton-born blues man performs locally Friday and Saturday

So, got any plans at 4 p.m. today (April 4)?

Bremerton-born blues 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 students nationwide.
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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.”

Kitsap area firefighters raise more than $46,000 in annual stairclimb

CKFR's Lindsay Muller at the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle on Sunday, March 9.
CKFR’s Lindsay Muller at the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle on Sunday, March 9. Contributed photo

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 & Lymphoma Society.

CKFR firefighter’s eight-man team has raised more money than any other Kitsap area team with $16,036.13, beating its $12,000 goal.

CKFR also has placed in the top 10 fundraising teams per capita.

“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 the month.

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 Laboda.

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 event.

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, next year.

Orseth said he would like to see CKFR on the top 10 fundraisers list.

This year’s top fundraisers ranged from $22,318 to $68,976.99.

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 team.

They declined with laughter.

“There’s paramedics on scene,” Orseth said.

“You’re good.”

 

Local team results

Bainbridge Island Fire
Time – 58:12
Team members – 7
Raised – $4,835.96
Goal – not listed

Bremerton Fire
Time – 55:34
Team members – 7
Raised – $3,678.12
Goal – not listed

Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue
Time – 1:05:30
Team members – 8
Raised – $16,076.13
Goal – $12,000

North Kitsap Fire and Rescue
Time – 1:19:47
Team members – 4
Raised – $2,128
Goal – $2,500

North Mason Regional Fire Authority
Time – 49:09
Team members – 4
Raised – $2,045
Goal – $5,000

Poulsbo Fire
Time – 54:03
Team members – 8
Raised – $6,269.60
Goal – $10,000

South Kitsap Fire and Rescue
Time – 50:12
Team members – 14
Raised – $11,348
Goal – $25,000

Strategic plan, timeline set for mental-health tax

Up to $3 million from the local mental-health tax will be doled out July 1.

A sales tax of 0.1 percent dedicated for local mental-health services went into effect Jan. 1 after being approved by Kitsap County commissioners in September.

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.

The citizens advisory board also is asking for community input on what residents what to see funded by the sales tax via an online survey.

In the 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 suggestions.

 

Reporting and responsibilities outlined

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 Team

  • 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 term
  • Jeannie Screws, Kitsap County Substance Abuse Advisory Board: 3 year
  • Aimee DeVaughn, Kitsap County Commission on Children and Youth: 3 year
  • 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

The Bremerton City Council’s 2013 in Verse

CityCouncil_2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josh Farley writes: 

Q: How does one sum up the life of the 2013 Bremerton City Council?

A: In verse, of course. Happy holidays, everyone.

***

Bremerton’s City Council, which started with nine,
in January became eight, when Roy Runyon resigned.

The Council acted quickly to replace the space,
Wendy Priest, they found, to be a familiar face.

There was much work to be done, too many parks to fund,
so former Mayor Bozeman was put under the gun,

To find a solution, a way to sustain parklands,
and luckily for the city, volunteers would lend a hand.

The city faced a choice, when Craig Rogers retired,
and found a new police chief, who vowed to catch frequent flyers.

In public works, the city said,
the payments weren’t enough,

So they pushed utility rates up,
without much of a huff.

Too many homes abandoned, Councilman Younger decreed,
So Council mandated they be licensed, and it passed with esprit.

And not only them, the Council the wished to heighten,
the requirements for landlords, and for them to be licensed.

A groundswell then formed, to study the city auditor,
They started to wonder, what city did he monitor?

They discussed all the merits, but they couldn’t get past one,
the public would react, like they were pulling a fast one.

So the auditor stayed, said the conference center was bleeding,
The city responded with what they felt it was needing.

The city said an expansion, would bring in lots of revenue,
it was only losing money, because growing it was overdue.

And speaking of downtown, the trees on Fourth Street,
had to go, the city said, for they were tearing up concrete.

But a backlash ensued, and tree huggers raised hell,
and a tree group was formed, to find which would be felled.

The Council then decided, that regulations were too tight,
drive-thrus could come back, to the car lover’s delight.

But pedestrians and bikes, they would have victories too,
Lower Wheaton and Washington, will get multimodal avenues.

Grants would cover those, street maintenance they could not,
so the Council decided, that utility fees could be brought.

And all this despite, an election fight that pressed,
one the mayor and the judge, and all council members would address.

Patty Lent and Todd Best, did battle for the mayor,
in the end, Lent prevailed, despite the naysayers.

The Tourism Bureau, the Council decided,
wasn’t pulling its weight, and ought to be chided.

The new year will bring new faces to the table,
our second term mayor will hope the seven’s able.

One thing is certain, for the Council’s 2014,
a lot of energy, they will need, or at least some caffeine.

Blogger’s note: The fight over electric vehicle charging stations on the Pacific Avenue improvement project was omitted from the year in verse. On purpose.  

For Bremerton man who began charity rivalry, ‘it doesn’t have to be about bricks, banners or billboards’

Christopher Hart, with his fiance Kristina Boyd.
Christopher Hart, with his fiance Kristina Boyd.

Like so many Seahawks fans, I was none too pleased when fans of the 49ers decided to throw up money for a  billboard bragging about their previous Super Bowl victories.

My good friend Christopher Hart decided to do something about it.

Hart, once an employee of the Kitsap Sun and still a neighbor of mine in Bremerton, decided that if those 49er fans would donate their excess proceeds to Seattle Children’s Hospital, he’d challenge those same fans by galvanizing the 12th man to send their money south in support of San Francisco’s equivalent children’s hospital. He set an ambitious goal: $20,000.

He’s well on his way.

In just five days, Hart’s gotten $8,261  donations from nearly 300 people through his fundraising site. The Suquamish Clearwater Casino, where he works, has agreed to give a $5,000 match. And an anonymous donor in San Francisco, in the spirit of this competitive giving, has already pledged to match anything Seahawks fans give to the San Francisco hospital to Seattle’s — up to $100,000.

His work has resonated with fellow fans big time. Hart, with the help of former West Sound newspaperman Aaron Managhan, has appeared on various media outlets to talk about it. In his hometown paper, I wanted to give him a chance to explain, in his own words, how this thing grew from an idea to a wave of charity, and why he did it.

Q: How did you come up with this idea?

A: When I saw the story pop up about the Niners fans paying for a billboard here in Seattle, my blood boiled for a hot moment.  Then I realized that was exactly what they wanted.  I started reflecting on the direction this rivalry was heading. I was kicking around the idea of just raising money for San Francisco’s Children’s hospital as a thank you for them donating their excess billboard funds to Seattle Children’s on Facebook. After some support from my friend Aaron Managhan, I put together the YouFundMe page.

Q: This isn’t the first time you’ve put on fundraisers for children battling cancer and other ailments. Why is this particular kind of charitable giving so near and dear to your heart?

A: We started doing something called Extra Life five years ago.  It’s like Relay for Life, but instead of running or walking for 24 hours you play video games and raise money for your local Children’s Hospital.  Every year we do this I meet people who tell me about their experiences at Seattle Children’s, and how it was completely live changing. They often take children with no insurance, and that’s where the funds we raise go towards, helping them get treatment. I don’t have children of my own yet, but I have a niece and nephew that mean the world to me. If something like this were to happen to them I would be pretty devastated.

Q: Why do you think this resonated with so many donors?

A: I think a lot of people felt the same way I did. A rivalry can be good and fun, but does it need to get nasty? I think when we put this out there people started comparing the importance of football with a child’s health. I can’t tell you how many people left comments that said “Now this is how a rivalry should go down!” from both Seahawks and Niner fans.  I also think Russell Wilson and his continued visits and support to Seattle Children’s Hospital have shown people that football can really be used for something bigger than … well … football.

Q: Were you surprised this effort caught the attention of so many, and if so, what surprised you most?

A: When I started the campaign, I had hopes of it catching on.  Thanks to Aaron’s web savvy it was everywhere almost instantly.  I couldn’t believe how many people had shared it, the amount of comments it was garnishing on Reddit was really inspiring.  I think what surprised me the absolute most though was the amount of San Francisco fans that embraced it.  It’s completely painted them in a different light for me.  Even the guy that raised the money for the billboard reached out to us telling us what a great idea he thought this was.

Q: What is your ultimate goal here?

A: Our ultimate goal for this was definitely to raise money for kids that direly need it while taking this rivalry in a more positive direction. It doesn’t have to be about bricks, banners or billboards. We have a great power in the ability to do good with the things we are passionate about.

To donate, go to: http://www.gofundme.com/12thSpirit