Peninsular Thinking

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Archive for the ‘City of Port Orchard’ Category

Lighthouse restaurant closed, seeking new backer

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

The Robert Earl Lighthouse, open in late May, closed Monday, disabled by criminal charges against owner Eric A. Smith of Bothell. General manager Brookes Konig is looking for new financial backing, according to bar supervisor Linda Martens of Port Orchard, who came out of retirement to work with Konig.

Smith, a Seattle Police officer, was charged July 2 in Snohomish County with three counts of first degree child molestation. Business, dropped off after the charges came to light, said Martens, who was at the empty restaurant Wednesday, awaiting delivery of final paychecks for the remaining employees. Initially, after Smith’s legal troubles were reported, 20 of the roughly 55 Lighthouse employees were laid off. Smith struggled valiantly to keep the restaurant afloat, Martens said, and the hope is that a deal in the works might still be brokered.
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Martens had high praise for Konig, who has a long career in the food and beverage industry. “He’s such a wonderful man,” she said. “He cares about his employees like they’re his family.”

Konig preferred to be call “coach” by employees, Martens said. “He doesn’t want to be the boss, because he feels like his strength is coaching.” She added that Konig “moved heaven and earth” to make sure the final paychecks were cut.

Martens also praised the team Konig assembled to re-open the landmark restaurant, which had sat shuttered for a number of years. “I’ve never seen a group of people so dedicated to one person, and that was Brookes,” Martens said.

Smith, doing business as Robert Earl Enterprises LLC, had leased the Lighthouse from property owner Tim Tweten, whose parents opened the original Tweten’s Lighthouse in 1984. Tweten’s was a destination, special occasion kind of place. Konig wanted the new Lighthouse to be more of an every day, gathering place for the community, Martens said.

Martens hopes the Lighthouse, named for Smith’s father, can outshine the tarnish of the accusations against Smith, who was placed on administrative leave from Seattle PD. “It’s up to this town if it does come back to step up,” she said.


Where the sidewalk ends: the sequel

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Last week, I wrote about public works mowing mishaps that resulted in damage to private property. And our theme of the intersection of public and private land continues.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Port Orchard City Council discussed a disconnect between its own code, which calls on private property owners to maintain and repair sidewalks, and the city’s practice of making repairs on its own dime.

At the same meeting, the council considered the question of sidewalk bistro tables. Bay Street Bistro, earlier this year got permission from the city to place tables on the sidewalk, European cafe-style. The request was screened by the public property committee and later approved by the council.

In the past, the city has regulated things like sandwich boards, tables of merchandise and other temporary sidewalk accoutrements as an accessibility issue overseen by the code enforcement officer. ADA rules require at least four feet of passage on sidewalks. Bistro tables must adhere to that regulation, as well.

With the Bay Street Bistro’s request, and a later request from Cafe Gabrielle, the council discussed a more formal process of permitting and oversight.
tables
They initially suggested charging a fee of $10 per month for business owners whose applications for sidewalk tables or benches are approved. But Public Works Director Mark Dorsey reminded the council that the sidewalk right-of-way is actually under the state Department of Transportation, which owns Highway 166 (Bay Street).

Dorsey at an earlier meeting with the council opined that the city shouldn’t be the one charging a fee, since the ROW belongs to the state. The ROW runs from the center line of the road to the edge of the building.

Dorsey thought (mistakenly he later found) that the issue of jurisdictional authority could be resolved if the city simply didn’t charge a fee with its sidewalk table permit. He called the DOT and spoke to an official who said not only should the city not charge a fee, they had no authority to grant the sidewalk table permit in the first place. That ball is in the DOT’s court, Dorsey was told.

The state would charge about $90 a month for granting permission to place bistro tables in the right-of-way, he found.

“They take it very seriously that someone is using that right-of-way and making money off it,” Dorsey said.

The council stepped out as middleman Tuesday by approving a revised city permit (that would still give the city oversight over ADA issues) with a notice/disclaimer that the applicant also needs to apply to the state for use of the right-of-way.

“Whether they do or not is between them and WSDOT,” said City Attorney Greg Jacoby.

Voila, problem solved. The issue of whether business owners can afford the $90 fee becomes “an economic decison on the part of the vendor,” Jacoby said. “That’s really a private business decision.”


Roadside vegetation: Where the Sidewalk Ends

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

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.
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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.
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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, dbear@co.kitsap.wa.us, 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 maintain” agreement.

“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.”
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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.

A county 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 every road.

“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 appropriate.

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 all.

If anyone has questions about navigating the lines of communication with Kitsap County or other local government entities (including schools), you can email me, chenry@kitsapsun.com.


How much of Port Orchard does Samadpour own?

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

On Wednesday the languishing Myhre’s building was purchased by Abadan Holdings LLC of Lake Forest Park, the company owned by Mansour Samadpour.
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Over the past decade Samadpour, a real estate investor and world renowned microbiologist, has accumulated ownership in a significant percentage of Bay Street real estate. Here’s a summary of what he owns (the buildings, not the businesses that lease from him, all on Bay Street): Dance Gallery (702), Port Orchard Pavillion (701), Cafe Gabrielle (707), Port Orchard Public Market (715), Old Central Antique Mall (801), Coffee Oasis (807) and the space next to coffee oasis, vacant (809) and now Myhre’s (2 parcels 737 and 739).

Samdpour is notably media shy. I couldn’t get any comment from him on his plans for Myhre’s, but Bryan Petro of Windermere Real Estate, who negotiated the sale, said it’s likely it will be leased as some sort of restaurant or pub.

Seller Dick Rylander, whose family has had an interest in Myhre’s since 1930, said he felt a little “wistful” about the sale. My story includes a thumbnail history of the place from Rylander’s perspective.

People who complain about “all those vacancies” on Bay Street are running out of argumentative ammo, what with the reoccupation of the bakery and the opening of the public market. Myhre’s and the Los Cabos building are the most conspicuous vacant buildings on Bay Street. Farther west on Bay, Robert Earl Lighthouse opened this week in “the Lighthouse building.”

So hold your head up Port Orchard. And oh by the way, we have hanging flower baskets, too. Just like Bremerton.

What would you like to see at the Myhre’s building?


Event Sunday in Port Orchard calls attention to rare brittle bone syndrome

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

What if you were a kid, and even the slightest movement could cause your bones to break?

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That’s what life has been like since birth for RyAnn Lutz, 8, of South Kitsap. RyAnn suffers from Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) a genetic condition that cause bones to break easily. OI is also known as “brittle bones”. A person is born with OI and will have OI throughout their lifetime, according to Wishbone Day International, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the rare disease.

It’s not about the money,” said Wishbone members, including RyAnn’s aunt Geneva Flolo. It’s about public education.

The disease is so poorly understood, that when RyAnn was a baby, DSHS Child Protective Services investigated the family on more than one occasion, questioning the baby’s injuries. A family doctor went to bat for them, according to Flolo, defending Stephanie Lutz’s parenting of RyAnn and two older siblings.

“When RyAnn was born nobody was even Aware of OI,” Flolo said.

RyAnn has had 85 fractures and many surgeries. Specialists are so rare, the family must travel to Omaha, Neb., for the surgeries.

The disease has done nothing the break RyAnn spirit, her aunt says. “She’s a feisty little, sassy little fart and she’s just a doll.”

The family has organized a Wishbone Day event in Port Orchard from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday in the Port Orchard Marina Park. They expect more than 200 people, including children with OI and their families from all around the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. The South Kitsap High School cheer squad will be there to cheer RyAnn and her buddies on in their journey.

Within the past couple of months the Make-a-Wish Foundation paid to have the Lutz garage transformed into a soft playground, where RyAnn can swing and have fun (almost) like a regular kid.

But Sunday’s event, as mentioned above, is not a fundraiser. Everyone and anyone is welcome. Wear yellow if you can, and look for the yellow balloons. Oh, and it’s a potluck.


PO Mayor apologizes for public meetings violation

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

We got a press release today (May 2) saying that five or more members of the Port Orchard City Council may attend the annual Housing Luncheon of the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County.
There’s nothing unusual in that. The city sends out notice of any meeting or event where there may be a quorum of the seven-member council. That’s required by state law to prevent the possibility of back-room deals being struck.
Recently, however, there was a misunderstanding about how many Port Orchard council members planned to attend an ad hoc committee meeting on a sewer plant contract. And Port Orchard Mayor Tim Matthes began the April 22 city council meeting with an apology.
“The (ad hoc) committee met (April 17), and a fourth council member attended unexpectedly,” Matthes said. “The city recognizes that proper notice was not given when a quorum of four council members met, resulting in a violation of the open public meetings act. The city will take measures to assure that does not happen again.”
The mayor required members of the committee to recap what was discussed, and he invited members of the audience to request a recording of the April 17 meeting. He also allowed the public to comment on the committee’s recommendation before the council voted on the contract. (The council overrode the committee’s recommendation in a 4-3 split vote.)
Matthes said the city’s risk managers recommended taking these steps to mitigate the error. He announced he would schedule a “mandatory elected officials and supervisory staff training” on requirements of the open public meetings act.
“We want to be very clear and make sure the public understands we take the open public meetings act very seriously,” said City Attorney Greg Jacoby.
Council members Jerry Childs and Cindy Lucarelli disagreed an error had been made, saying the four council members had individually notified City Clerk Brandy Rinearson that they intended to attend, and they believed she had given notice of the meeting.
John Clauson, however, said he had mistakenly understood that only three (himself, Lucarelli and Fred Chang) would attend. Clauson said he sent an email to Rinearson indicating there wouldn’t be a quorum.
Committees of the council include three members of the seven-person council, and meetings are listed on council agendas and the city’s website. If an additional member is to attend, the city must give notice of the “special” meeting at least 24 hours in advance, including emails to the press and others on the city’s mailing list and a notice on the front door of city hall.
Rinearson, in an email to the press on April 21, advised that the city did not give proper special meeting notice.
Childs at the April 22 meeting noted that at some committee meetings a fourth council member will sometimes show up, sometimes to observe. Childs wondered why the quorum issue hadn’t been previously raised.
That question is sure to get some scrutiny at the upcoming training Matthes mentioned. The issue of committee meeting transparency in general has been discussed periodically over the past couple of months. City resident Elissa Whittleton has asked that committee meetings, often held early in the morning at MoonDogs or another local restaurant, be held in council chambers where they can be videotaped.


PO Beats Poulsbo on “best small cities” list

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

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.


Fireworks: love ‘em, hate ‘em, tolerate ‘em

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

The city of Port Orchard will put a notice in upcoming utility bills reminding folks to be safe and sensible about fireworks. The decision was triggered by recent complaints from city residents.

Among them is Elissa Whittleton, who is weary of the traffic and — as she describes it — mayhem that take place on the 4th of July in her Tracy Avenue neighborhood. It should be noted that Tracy Avenue, perched up on the hillside above Sinclair Inlet, has one of the best views in the city of the annual Fathoms ‘O Fun fireworks display.
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The city council on March 18 brought in Port Orchard Police Chief Geoffrey Marti and South Kitsap Fire & Rescue Chief Steve Wright to talk about what could be done to maximize safety.

Whittleton would like the city to designate fireworks free zones, specifically areas like Tracy Avenue that become congested with pedestrians and traffic. But Wright said such zones would be “hard to enforce.”

Selectively designated no-fireworks zones may not even be something the city can do, Marti said, “To say that area is unique and deserves unique rules would be hard to defend (to other neighborhoods that may also seek such a ban).”

Illegal fireworks are the greatest source of incidents, according to SKFR data, Wright said. “The public sort of takes a liberty that they view this as their time to do something that is really outside of the norm.”

Wright recalled past efforts to impose a countywide ban on fireworks that fizzled out for lack of support.

Staffing for Independence Day is always a challenge, both chiefs said. Both the fire and police departments call in additional help, but officers and fire units can’t be everywhere. SKFR factors in weather conditions in planning for the 4th.

Marti advised people who call 911 for fireworks-related issues to specify first if there is an imminent danger: has someone been injured, is someone’s house on fire? People should also specify if they want an officer to contact them. The department will triage calls, but eventually they will get back to everyone who requests contact, Marti said, adding. “It may take some time.”

Mayor Tim Matthes noted that two years ago the fireworks were “pretty bad,” but last year, the Port of Bremerton prohibited fireworks on its property and had volunteers (identified as representing the port) patrol the property. Warning signs also reminded waterfront visitors. The result was a calmer atmosphere, Matthes said. He recommended the city recruit additional volunteers to help the port’s effort.

Bek Ashby, a council member who lives in the same general area as Whittleton, said she enjoys the festivities and is resigned to the drill.

“Every 4th of July, I have to be home after six to protect my home. That’s just the way it is,” Ashby said. “I just consider that the price I pay to have the best view in the city of the fireworks.”

Months later, she still finds spent incendiary devices in her flower beds.

“I for one don’t want to eliminate the fireworks in the city,” Ashby said later in the meeting. “It’s joyous in my neighborhood. It’s loud but people are having a lot of fun.”

Whittleton, at the council’s March 25 meeting, thanked them for discussing the idea but said, “not much headway” was made in resolving safety issues. She suggested charging a tax or fee on fireworks sold in the city and using the money to enforce the prohibition against illegal fireworks.

State law defines legal “consumer fireworks” (not to be confused with “display fireworks”) as “any small firework device designed to produce visible effects by combustion” under regulations of the United States consumer product safety commission, “and including some small devices designed to produce audible effects, such as whistling devices, ground devices containing 50 mg or less of explosive materials, and aerial devices containing 130 mg or less of explosive materials …”

What are your thoughts on fireworks? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Tolerate ‘em? What suggestions do you have regarding celebration of Independence Day where you live?

And finally, what’s the best place in Kitsap County for watching fireworks?


Strategic plan, timeline set for mental-health tax

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

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

Kitsap likes its fundraisers outdoors, active

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Bake sales are all well and good, but here in Kitsapland (and it’s safe to say the Northwest in general), we like to get double duty out of raising money for a worthy cause.

Upcoming are two events where you can get vigorous exercise in the fresh air while doing good. The first is the Jingle Bell Run, raising funds to combat juvenile arthritis, on Saturday in Port Orchard; the second on Dec. 14, is NewLife Kitsap’s Walk for Water, raising money to build wells in Africa, to be held on waterfronts in Port Orchard, Gig Harbor, Silverdale, Bainbridge Island and the Theler Wetlands in Belfair. Both require registration, and pre-registering is preferred. But you can jump on board with both events the morning of.

Both events raise awareness of of things most of us (I think it’s safe to say) take for granted.

Walk for Water
When it’s raining buckets here in the Northwest, like on July 4th, most of us probably don’t think, “Dang, I wish we had some more water around here.” Kitsap, which relies solely on rainfall to replenish its reservoirs and aquifers each year, has faced seasons where water conservation is encouraged. But we’re always able to turn on the tap for a drink of potable water or a bottle of water at the convenience store.

In contrast, many people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to clean water. The average African walks 5 miles a day for water, according to people at New Life who are organizing the Walk for Water. The journey is dangerous and most of the water gathered is unclean, causing illness and sometimes death, especially among young children.

Walk in the Light, a charity supported by NewLife in the Walk for Water, collects money to build wells and bring other forms of water purification to towns in Burkina Faso. Last year, reporter Josh Farley wrote about the organization, founded by Tom and Katy Cornell, who are also involved with NewLife. The couple, while attending Northwestern University in Kirkland, got to know a man from Burkina Faso, and so learned about the needs of people there.

In 2012, 80 people took part in the first Walk for Water in Kitsap County, treking 2 1/2 miles along the Silverdale waterfront with empty five-gallon jugs and other containers.
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They filled them and lugged them back, getting a taste of what people (most women and children) must do each day. Lack of a clean water source is not only inconvenient and unhealthy, it robs people of the time to work, get an education and have a life, as the saying goes here in the U.S. The event has been expanded this year to several waterfront locations.

When: December 14; registration a 9:30 a.m.; walk starts at 10 a.m.
Where: Gig Harbor waterfront; Bainbridge waterfront Park; Silverdale waterfront; Port Orchard Westbay Center; Theler Community Center.
What: The length of the walk is 5 miles. Each person will be given a 5-gallon container to carry on the walk or bring your own.
Cost: $20 registration fee to receive a T-shirt and five-gallon container (fee waived if you skip the T-shirt and bring your own container); recommended donation of $100 to walk. Online registration through Dec. 12.

Jingle Bell Run
I ran into Sheila Cline the other day at MoonDogs (when I was covering that outrageous tip the restaurant received). Cline was busy preparing for the third annual Jingle Bell Run, an event she has captained since 2011, in support of her daughter Kinsey, who has juvenile arthritis. The 5K run/walk is part ofPort Orchard’s Festival of Chimes & Lights.

The Jingle Bell run is the signature event of the Arthritis Foundation. To get the organization on board with allowing the run in Port Orchard, Cline had to guarantee a minimum level of participation. No worries there; the run has exceeded expectations each year, involving more than 1,000 runners (some real serious types) and raising more than $50,000 annually for the organization.

Kinsey Cline has struggled with arthritis since she was 8. Now 13, she’s having a good year and able to regularly attend John Sedgwick Junior High School. That wasn’t always so. Last year, she missed a lot of school and experienced a lot of discomfort. Now on a new medication regime, Kinsey’s arthritis is well controlled.

As those with the disease know, it’s an ongoing battle to stay mobile. Something those participating in this year’s run/walk might consider as they trot (or clip) along Bay Street and Beach Drive.

Kinsey was the honoree at the first Jingle Bell Run. This year’s honoree is Linda Banks of Port Orchard who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis two years ago. Now 48, Banks was and is an athlete, and she finds that exercising and staying active helps reduce her arthritis symptoms.

A member of the Kitsap Tri-Babes, Banks has participated in many triathlons, and on her birthday in 2012, Banks completed an Ironman triathlon in Cour d’Alene, swimming in the choppy 58 degree lake, bicycling, and then running. Doctor’s have advised against her running for the time being, but Banks will participate by walking the 5K on Saturday.

A costume contest is at 12:30 p.m.; kids’ 1K at 1 p.m.,; 5K at 1:30 p.m.
Where: Port Orchard City Hall, 216 Prospect Street, Port Orchard
When: Dec. 7, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: Free – $30


Super Bowl XLIX

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