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.
Mourn the loss of Bucklin Hill Road for a year beginning July 1.
That’s next Wednesday until July 1.
As a Silverdale guy, I know construction lately. I was headed
home the other night and that usually means Highway 303/Waaga Way
to the Ridgetop exit. There was lane construction happening, but a
sign said “Exit Open.”
It was not.
I had to go to Silverdale Way and backtrack. Given enough
perspective it’s not that big a deal. Nothing is a big deal if you
can find enough perspective, just like anything is within walking
distance if you have enough time and sturdy shoes.
I love new roads. I love how my car feels new on them and how
black and unsullied they love. I love the tar smell, even.
Bucklin Hill will be widened between the bridge and Mickelberry.
The culvert from Clear Creek to Dyes Inlet under the bridge will be
removed in favor of something more natural.
That means you’ll be left to find alternative paths, like
Ridgetop, which I think we can all agree could use more
This shoud be a pretty sweet deal once its done after the new
year but before we elect another president. You’ll have time to get
in at least one more “Thanks, Obama” after it’s complete.
State schools Superintendent Randy Dorn on Wednesday used the
Marysville shooting as a cautionary tale about the role of social
media in young people’s lives. Kids today live in two simultaneous
worlds, one real, one virtual, both intertwined.
“Social media is all around them, and many young people feel
safer and are more open with Twitter and Tumblr and other
channels,” Dorn said.
That’s not all bad, but it can go south quickly when rumors or
compromising photos and videos get spread online.
Dorn called out cyberbullying as a potential trigger for
real-life violence in schools, and he offered a tip sheet (below)
for parents and school staff to help them recognize warning signs
of distress or conflict online.
These are uneasy times for schools. Sadly, lockdowns are
becoming part of the routine for students, precautions against the
On Oct. 23, the day before the Marysville-Pilchuck High School
shooting, a threat by a Central Kitsap High School student put
that school on lockdown. The threat against another student
wasn’t made on campus (and it’s not clear whether cyberbullying was
part of it), but school officials were taking no chances.
On Wednesday, South Kitsap Schools briefly were on modified
lockdown, as law enforcement agencies searched for David Michael
suspect in the murder of a Port Orchard woman. Kalac, believed
to have posted pictures of the body online, was later found to have
fled the state and was arrested late Wednesday in Oregon.
Speaking of cyberbullying, a student who identifies herself as
South Kitsap High School’s “new gossip girl” began last week
posting crude and potentially embarrassing posts on Twitter. The
girl has gotten some push back from other students. And one parent
called her out on the Port Orchard Facebook group, urging students
and others to virtually shun her.
On Bainbridge Island, student Otis Doxtater took the fight
against bullying (cyber and otherwise) to the next level.
Doxtater, a junior at Eagle Harbor High School, on Oct. 21
organized students from kindergarten through 12th grade to hold a
silent procession and demonstration of unity against bullying on
the campus of Commodore K-12 Options School, where Eagle Harbor is
The students created a linked chain of paper on which each had
written something unique about themselves on one side and what they
would do to stand up to bullying on the other. The paper slips were
orange for National Unity
Day, which was Oct. 22.
Younger in life, Doxtater was painfully familiar with
“I’ve always had a stutter, so that was always something that
would be made fun of,” he said.
And this wasn’t the first time Doxtater had made a public
protest against bullying. He has spent hours in the parking lot
near McDonald’s on Bainbridge Island with a sign that reads “Love
and Equality” on one side and “Stop Bullying” on the other. On
Twitter, he uses the hashtag #stopbullying, and he has a YouTube
channel, otisdoxtater, demonstrating some of the positive uses for
The response of his schoolmates after the Unity Day
demonstration was gratifying.
“As I was walking down the hall, people were walking up to me
and said I did an awesome job,” Doxtater said. “It made me feel
really good. It made me feel accomplished and proud.”
Doxtater knows he’s putting himself out there, but he’s OK with
“I realize I am making myself vulnerable and people are going to
criticize me,” Doxtater said. “But I realize it’s something I’m
passionate about and I’m willing to get criticized for something
that I know is right.”
The reference in the title of this blog post is to the book of
children’s poetry by the late Shel Silverstein. Our topic of the
day is neither children nor poetry but rather the intersection of
public and private property and the maintenance thereof.
Act I: Earlier this week on kitsapsun.com, Ed Friedrich reported on
a series of unfortunate events that started with a city of Port
Orchard road crew and an overambitious blackberry bush. Workers
mowing a Bethel Avenue ditch June 4 sliced a utility pole guy-wire
hidden in the brush. What happened next was like a Rube Goldberg
machine gone wrong.
The high-tension cable sprang up and smacked a power line,
sending a surge to a home on Piperberry Way. The surge blew up the
meter box and traveled to the breaker box in a bedroom, starting a
fire. No one was injured. The city’s insurance will pay to repair
the homes and another nearby that shared the same power source.
Stuff happens. Sometimes it’s news. Sometimes it’s not.
Act II: The story of Jack Jones and his six lost lavender plants
may not be front page material or even fit for the inside Code 911
section. But it pertains to Kitsap County’s roadside vegetation
maintenance program, a topic I’m guessing will engage property
owners far and wide.
In the interest of full disclosure, I know Jack. He’s my Tai Chi
instructor. I made a couple of calls to Kitsap County on his
behalf, when he couldn’t seem to get a response about six mature
lavender plants by his mailbox that had been whacked to the ground
on May 28. A couple of plants close to the mailbox were left
standing, giving the appearance that the mower operator stopped
when he recognized they were ornamentals.
Jack had already taken the first step and called Kitsap 1, the
county’s central operator system, where staff give basic
information and direct traffic on questions and complaints
(360-337-5777). When he didn’t hear back within the three
business days allotted by the county for a response, I agreed to
poke around. I’d do the same for a stranger.
But before you start calling me about your problems with Kitsap
1, here’s who you really want to talk to. Public Communication
Manager Doug Bear, email@example.com, is in charge. I’m not
saying Kitsap 1 is rife with problems, just here’s what to do if
you have one. After all, there are human beings on those phone
lines. Stuff happens.
Doug connected me with Jaques Dean, road superintendent for the
county’s public works department, who gave me a link to
the county’s detailed policy manual on roadside vegetation
maintenance. The purpose is to maintain sight distances within the
county’s right-of-way, promote drainage off the road, remove
vegetation growth that can degrade pavement and remove unsafe
overhanging branches. Methods include mowing, use of herbicides and
fertilizers, and promotion of native plants over invasive species
and noxious weeds.
The document goes into great detail about steps taken to protect
the environment and people. You can sign up to be notified when
spraying of chemicals is to occur, and you can opt out altogether.
You can also opt out of roadside mowing under an “owner will
“Our maintenance crews are very cognizant of the sensitivity of
this issue,” Jaques wrote in an email to me on June 3. “When we
encounter private plantings that need to be cut back for roadway
safety reasons, every attempt is made to contact the owner before
the work is completed.”
That didn’t happen in Jack’s case.
“In this particular occurrence, the operator simply did not
recognize that these were ornamental plants,” Jaques said. “They
were planted within the right-of-way immediately adjacent to the
asphalt pavement, they were not permitted, the owner had not
requested to maintain, and to add to it, the owner was not
maintaining the area and surrounding weeds. The plants blended into
the high grass, blackberries, maple branches and appeared to be
immature Scotch Broom.”
The operator, who was new to the area, had stopped before the
mailbox since it was close to quitting time, intending to return
the next day to trim up the rest with smaller tools, Jaques said in
a follow up call to me on June 11.
road log shows that Chico Beach Drive, where Jack lives, was
mowed in August 2009, September 2010 and October 2012. Previous
operators left the lavender intact along with plantings of several
of his neighbors, Jack said, contributing to confusion over how the
county’s policies are implemented.
Jaques explained to me that operators typically work the same
area of road in a given part of the county and become familiar with
neighborhoods, working around plantings whenever possible even when
there is no “owner will maintain” agreement. A few daffodils by the
ditch are no problem, he said, but the county can’t guarantee
they’ll be left standing. Kitsap County is responsible for 900
miles of roadway, double that considering there are two sides to
“Those people need to be aware the county needs to maintain the
roadway and they need to do it efficiently,” Jaques said.
If you’ve got big plans for a rock wall, a fence or a large
hedge, the county needs to hear from you before the installation to
make sure you don’t obstruct the ROW, he added. These are the types
of plantings for which owner-will-maintain are most
On June 11, Jack finally heard from road crew superintendent Ron
Coppinger, who had not had the correct phone number and who came
out to Jack’s house to discuss the plantings. Ron offered to
replace the lavender, but Jack’s neighbors had already brought him
new plants. Jack and Ron settled on a load of beauty bark as
compensation. But more important to Jack was the personal contact
from Coppinger from which he took a sense that the road crew is
indeed “very cognizant of the sensitivity of this issue” after
If anyone has questions about navigating the lines of
communication with Kitsap County or other local government entities
(including schools), you can email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
only a few Tracyton residents attended Monday’s meeting about the
potential closure of the volunteer firehouse in Tracyton, a
majority of those that did attend argued for keeping the station
“I don’t want to see it go,” Bob Kono said.
Bob and his wife, Kay Kono, have lived in Tracyton for
47 years and were both part of Tracyton’s Fire District 11 before a
string of mergers that lead to today’s Central Kitsap Fire and
Rescue. Bob was the assistant fire chief when he left the Tracyton
Station in 1981, while Kay was a volunteer at the station for 11
“It was the heart of the community,” Kay said.
Station 44, on Tracy Street, is the original building
made from masonry blocks in 1963.
Now, it requires about $500,000 in repairs, according
to a report by Paul Anderson, CKFR repair and maintenance
Parking lot repairs and stormwater requirements would
each cost an estimated $150,000 of that amount.
Other repairs included settling issues, electrical
updates, chimney removal, kitchen remodeling and lighting, among
Tracyton resident Gary Keenan argued that the repair
costs were estimated too high.
“I feel these numbers are grossly exaggerated,” he
said. “I don’t feel like these are things that should be presented
to us as things we need to do.”
Keenan also argued that the cost of keeping the
station open is relatively inexpensive.
Basic utilities cost the district about $4,380 per
year, but that does not include routine maintenance and upkeep,
Last year, CKFR reviewed its facilities and vehicles
to determine what maintenance and repairs needed to be done, and
where money should be invested while the district deals with
balancing its budget.
CKFR projects a $1 million shortfall in its 2015
budget if expenses are not reduced.
A majority of the fire district’s revenue comes from
levy’s based on assessed property values, which have been
decreasing for the past six years, resulting in a loss of more than
One Silverdale resident, Ed Stebor, suggested closing
the Tracyton Station and selling the land to make money.
If this does happen, Bob Kono, who also lives close to
the station, said he is concerned with what will happen to the
CKFR will be looking into and considering the
station’s zoning location and how much the land could potentially
make the district, according Fergus.
CKFR also is considering the community’s safety in the
decision to potentially close the Tracyton Station.
Response times will not be significantly impacted,
according to the district. Tracyton’s volunteer crews were the
first on scene for about 60 of the 3,404 calls in their response
The station’s coverage area also overlaps with
Meadowdale and North Perry Station 45 on Trenton Avenue. Both
stations are staffed with career firefighters.
If the Tracyton Station closes, residents will not see
a change in insurance rates because of the station overlaps,
according to Ileana LiMarzi, CKFR public information officer.
And Tracyton Station volunteers will be reassigned to
Meadowdale Station 41 on Old Military Road.
The district has not made a decision, Commissioner
Dave Fergus stressed during Monday’s meeting, but the Tracyton
Station will definitely be an agenda item in the future.
The next board meeting is April 14 at CKFR’s administration
The Central Kitsap School Board has not scheduled a conversation
on the question of renaming Brownsville Elementary School after
John D. “Bud” Hawk. It will likely be on the agenda for the March
26 meeting, but I have heard from a couple of sources that some
will be at Wednesday’s meeting this week to air their thoughts. In
preparation for that conversation, in an attempt to understand
views on both sides of the question I asked the district to see all
the responses to the online survey the district conducted about the
question, particularly the spaces where people could weigh in with
I should say up front that all three of my children went to
Brownsville. One was there a few months, another a year and the
other all seven elementary school years. Given that, we do have a
sense of gratitude for the work that goes on inside the school. But
I get paid to keep my feelings about an issue to myself, so if I
had an opinion I wouldn’t tell you what it is. Besides, we don’t
live in that area anymore and my youngest goes to Silver Ridge, so
I don’t have a dog, or a bear, in that discussion.
So I leave it to the survey respondents to make the arguments.
Here are a few samples:
John “Bud” Hawk was a great man who accomplished more in his
lifetime than most people I know. He has also been recognized and
memorialized in many ways as a tribute of thanks for his many years
of service. For me personally, I feel strongly that Brownsville
Elementary should remain, and a portion of the school should be
named after Bud. Brownsville is a school with a wonderful family
vibe and supportive community. Many of our families attended
Brownsville as children and now watch their own children roam the
halls of a school they love, one that has been called Brownsville
for almost 60 years. In a time where everything moves so fast,
information is shared so quickly, names and trends come and go at a
rate most of us don’t remember them. I feel that offering some
consistency, an anchor of sorts to our youth is crucial. Let
Brownsville be that constant, that place where our children will
look back and smile, that tangible memory that lets them know that
not all things disappear … that some, very special places are kept
as they are because of the powerful and positive impact they’ve had
on so many.
When my family moved here our three grade school sons were
among the largest number of students ever to attend Brownsville at
one time. Within months Esquire Hills and Cottonwood opened,
reducing the head count to one third. Through it all Bud Hawk kept
his cool, maintained order, got to know the children and even
cooked Thanksgiving turkeys for the Thanksgiving feast. He was
phenomenal under tremendous pressure. He dealt with parents,
students and teachers in a way each was heard and respected. For
all that Bud did before he came to Brownsville and for his
exemplary leadership as principal, John “Bud” Hawk deserves to be
remembered in a lasting way. Please don’t flub this. Please name
the entire school after a man whose shoes can never be filled by
another person. Let this be his legacy.
He was an eyewitness to some of the most horrible things man
can do his fellow man. And his reaction to that was to embrace the
nurturing of children. He was motivated to make education his
career because he knew it was important to help children., that the
key to a peaceful world was happy children. His understanding of
what was really important in life and his insight into how to
change the world is at the heart of knowledge. And the heart of
knowledge in any school is the library. I think the library should
be named after him.
I attended Brownsville Elementary in the 1970s and remember
Mr. Hawk fondly. Of all my school principals, he is the one I
remember the most. What he did for our country in WWII is certainly
deserving of renaming the elementary school where he dedicated many
years of his professional life in his honor.
Nearly everyone supported naming at least a part of the school
after Hawk, so it seems clear there is large support for honoring
Now, allow me to put on my best pinstriped suit to play advocate
for the devil.
Many who opposed renaming the school spoke of how it could harm
Brownsville’s “storied history” and “legacy.” Those are kind of big
words to attach to an elementary school. What historic moment
happened at Brownsville? What legacy at Brownsville is so unique
that it couldn’t be found at other schools?
I was especially struck by the people who said renaming the
school would be harmful to the memories of people who went there,
to which I ask, “Why?” Would your memories be any less beautiful if
the school you once attended wasn’t called Brownsville anymore? Did
new people move into the house you grew up in? Did that make you
sad? Did you get over it? How do the people who went to East High
School feel about their old campus being turned into something
else? How do Seabeck and Tracyton alums feel today? If they change
the name of your school, it doesn’t change your memories.
On the flipside, let me still represent the devil in arguing the
other case. A few brought up that the school is actually in
Gilberton, some saying that calling it “Brownsville” was a
compromise to appease people who really did live in Brownsville and
were disappointed the school was not located there. I haven’t
verified that. Despite all that, even though Brownsville Elementary
School is in Gilberton, that argument ended a long time ago. The
school has been there for years with that name, and renaming it
Hawk isn’t going to right an old wrong.
Let me tell you a little of my history. Forty years ago I
graduated from an elementary school named after a street. That much
I knew then. What I didn’t know was the street was named after a
former whiskey maker and rancher who helped settle the San Gabriel
Valley in Southern California. That’s something I found out about
an hour ago, thanks to Wikipedia. The school’s website didn’t have
any info on it. Nor did the high school named after John A.
Rowland. I still don’t know who my junior high school was named
after. This request is coming at a time when the emotions about and
the memories of Bud Hawk are fresh. Years from now as more people
pass through the class-picture-lined halls of the school there is
the threat that the passion to remember the school’s namesake will
Naming a school after a hero is the most a school district can
do, but it’s not nearly enough for what John D. “Bud” Hawk did.
There have been principals, few of them maybe, who can match his
impact on students. But as CK’s Superintendent Hazel Bauman said at
a previous board meeting, there are not that many principals who
were previous Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. When I read
Hawk’s World War II story I was legitimately flabbergasted. Ed
Friedrich, explained Hawk’s wartime exploits well in the story he
wrote when Hawk died.
“On Aug. 20, 1944, German tanks and infantry attacked Hawk’s
position near Chamois, France. He fought off the foot soldiers with
his light machine gun before an artillery shell destroyed it and
wounded him in the right thigh. He found a bazooka and, with
another man, stalked the tanks and forced them to retreat into the
woods. He regrouped two machine gun squads and made one working gun
out of two damaged ones.
“Hawk’s group was joined by two tank destroyers, but they
couldn’t see where to shoot. So he climbed to the top of a knoll
with bullets flying around him to show them where to aim. The
destroyer crews couldn’t hear his directions, so he ran back and
forth several times to correct their range until two of the tanks
were knocked out and a third was driven off. He continued to direct
the destroyers against the enemy in the woods until the Germans,
500 strong, surrendered. He would receive four Purple
Then he came home and became a teacher and a principal. Or as
the survey respondent quoted above said, “He was an eyewitness to
some of the most horrible things man can do his fellow man. And his
reaction to that was to embrace the nurturing of children.”
Whatever decision the district makes, this conversation should
spark one commitment out of anyone interested in the question. No
matter what decision is made about the renaming of the school, the
students who go to school there should know well the story of what
John D. “Bud” Hawk did in war, and then what he did in peace. For
all the distinction and symbolism there is in naming a school or a
part within the school after a hero, the greatest way to honor
someone is to emulate someone. Whatever the district decides to do,
the decision should be made answering the question that as students
walk the halls Bud Hawk walked, what decision will more influence
them to walk the life he walked, too.
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
superfan Zana Gearllach was 10-year-old when she met her NFL hero,
wide receiver Steve Largent.
It was 1988, the year Largent was nominated for Walter
Payton Man of the Year and the same year he smiled back at fans
from Wheaties boxes.
Gearllach arrived with her mother and grandmother at
Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport for a welcome-home party as the Seahawks
returned from an away game.
Gearllach waited with a half-empty Wheaties boxes in
hand for Largent to sign, but he never came through the
Gearllach said she had hoped to see Largent, but
wasn’t sad she didn’t meet him.
While waiting at the airport she spoke with reporters,
and the next day Gearllach and her mother were surprised to
hear from Seattle media about a heartbroken little girl who missed
her chance to meet Largent.
As the story circulated through multiple publications
and TV stations, Gearllach’s mother turned away reporters, not
wanting to make the Seahawks look bad, she said.
Eventually the team called, wanting the young Seahawks
fan to meet with Largent.
Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue is under scrutiny from
a self-described grassroots organization.
Watch, started by Ronny Smith as well as several union and
community members, emerged online, followed by eye-catching yellow
signs near Chico. Smith is vice president of IAFF Local 2819.
The group is voicing concerns about Kitsap County’s
fire districts, specifically CK Fire and
KFW has about a dozen administrators for its website,
according to Smith, who said the group members are not trying to be
anonymous. The site does not list any administrators, organizers or
members, and posts are not credited.
Smith is checking with KFW contributors to see if they
would like to be publicly named. Some members might not have
expected to be placed in the public light, Smith said.
Each station is covered by three 24/7 shifts.
Twenty-five firefighters are assigned to each shift.
The minimum number of firefighters needed districtwide
per shift was reduced from 19 to 17. Based on how staffing is
prioritized throughout the district stations, if fewer than 19
firefighters are available per shift, Station 64 in Chico will not
be staffed with career firefighters. Volunteers will remain
assigned to the station when available, according to CK Fire.
On Jan. 8, Station 64 was not staffed with career
volunteers, relying on volunteers.
“Station 64 is still staffed with volunteers at this
time and responding to calls,” Ileana LiMarzi said Thursday.
LiMarzi is the CK Fire public information officer.
The district will continue to respond to calls in
Station 64’s response area, according to a fact sheet released by the district.
Smith argues that volunteers often work day jobs and
are not available to staff stations 24/7.
No firefighters were laid off as a result of the
reduction, which the district said was necessary to reduce
increasing overtime costs.
In 2013, the district spent $886,730 on overtime,
$177,261 more than budgeted. In 2011, the district spent $625,113
Smith took issue with how quickly the reduction took
place and without public discussion at the meeting. Smith and many
residents learned about the potential reduction for the first time
when they read the Nov. 12 agenda Friday before the meeting.
“The community in Chico wasn’t allowed input,” Smith
He attended the Nov. 14 meeting, which was a “packed
house” and had standing room only.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion on how quickly
or not the decision happened,” said David Fergus, CK fire
Fergus had “quite a few conversations” with people in
and outside the fire department about the decision, and feels the
best decision was made, he said.
After public comments were not allowed on the
reduction vote, Smith wanted to provide another avenue for
community members to speak out. KFW was formed.
Smith and KFW also take issue with the fact the
reduction idea was not shared publicly before being placed on the
board’s agenda item.
At the end of last summer, the district finalized its
strategic plan, but staff reductions were never mentioned,
according to Smith. Every part of the district had a say in the
plan, including the union and Fire Chief Scott Weninger, Smith
Since the KFW signs have appeared in the community,
residents have started to talk and ask the fire commissioners about
Commissioner Dick West said he has been
During the Jan. 13 meeting he said he was “appalled”
by the signs as well as the “blogs.”
West said he had planned to resign, vacating his
position this summer, but decided to wait and see if talks and
West dissented from voting on the staffing
The district is continuing “business as usual,”
In the meantime, Smith is hoping community members
will step up to take over KFW.
“I want to let it go and let people who aren’t
associated with the fire department take it,” he said. “We have our
own political goals as a union, but the community needs a
Friends, family and interested community members have
started contacting the group and providing input, Smith said.
According to Smith, the group’s current goals are to
provide community input and gather community interest. “Right now
the group wants the commissioners to rethink their priorities,” he
According to Smith, the reduction affects response
times and the safety of the firefighters. Although firefighters
have sick leave, Smith is concerned they will go to work
regardless, worried that staffing numbers will be too low without
“They have created a culture where guys are going to
come in, because they don’t want the station to close,” Smith
Pleas to foster better communication between the
district and the union are rising.
“It sickens me what’s going on,” Steve Davison said.
Davison, a CK Fire and Rescue Volunteer, spoke publicly at the end
of the Jan. 13 CK fire commissioner meeting.
Davison said blame could be placed on both parties and
suggested a communications summit be held.
“We need to bury our differences,” Davison said. “We need to get
along and serve the public, because that’s what we are here to do —
serve the public.”
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
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
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