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.
The two monitors, worth about
$40,000 each, allow emergency responders to better view heart rates
while CPR is in progress, said Steve Engel, with North Kitsap Fire
also send heart readings directly to Harrison Medical Center to see
if patients require surgery for blocked heart arteries.
The hospital began receiving
heart readings from emergency responders at a scene in 2014,
although not all area fire authorities have monitors capable of
South Kitsap and North Mason do
not have the technology, according to Kari Driskell with the
The foundation’s goal is to
supply five monitors to South Kitsap and North Mason. A grant for
one monitor in South Kitsap has been secured, Driskell
The Suquamish Tribe donated the
funds needed for North Kitsap’s two monitors, although fundraising
continues for a third one in North Kitsap.
Bremerton, Poulsbo and
Bainbridge Island already have updated heart monitors.
The foundation’s $1 million
project is to supply each of the county’s fire agencies with
updated heart monitors and CPR machines, as well as launch a CPR
The app, called PulsePoint, aims
to alert those who know CPR when they are in the proximity of
someone experiencing cardiac arrest in a public
PulsePoint also would notify
users where the closest automatic external defibrillator, or AED,
The CPR machines provide
nearly-perfect CPR at the proper speed and depth — 100 compressions
a minute at a depth of 2 inches — and can perform accurate chest
compression while a patient is in an ambulance.
Surely you’ve seen the Pink-a-Nator. It’s hard to miss the
Pepto-Bismol pink utility truck with the slogan “Servin’ it up curb
The food truck dishing out specialty burgers, po’boys and other
hearty comestibles has had a regular spot at
the Annapolis Sunday Market and in a lot near the Fred Meyer
shopping center (although not so much lately, since owner Michelle
Roberts-Wash has been busy with catering).
Now, Roberts-Wash has her sights set on the Kitsap County
She attended last week’s Port Orchard City Council meeting to
pitch her plan. The truck would occupy more than one space. The
council’s public property committee has discussed the idea, said
Councilman Jeff Cartwright, a committee member. The committee
suggested a 90-day trial pending feedback from the county.
Meantime, the Kitsap County administrator expressed concerns
about loss of parking spots that are already at a premium,
according to Port Orchard City Clerk Brandy Rinearson.
Roberts-Wash had scoped out parking spaces on Austin Avenue
between the county administration building and public works
building. Councilman Rob Putaansuu noted that, at the previous
meeting Aug. 12, a city resident had complained that she couldn’t
find a place to drop off her ballot.
Other spaces Roberts-Wash had looked at were in front of the
courthouse or the Sheriff’s Office.
Councilman Jerry Childs asked if this would set a precedent.
What if others came along looking for space to sell their
The public property committee talked about that, Cartwright
said. In fact the Pink-a-Nator sparked a wide ranging discussion
about food trucks, including Portland’s approach of designating
whole blocks to meals on wheels. “Should the city have its own
designated food truck zone?” the committee pondered.
“We talked very heavily about the parking versus the convenience
of having a food service there,” Cartwright said. “We also talk
about would that food service impact other businesses that also
A hot dog vendor has a permit to sell in front of the
administration building. Inside, Coffee Oasis has an espresso stand
that sells food items.
Several council members commented — in the spirit of free
enterprise — that competition with other businesses shouldn’t drive
Putaansuu also suggested the Pink-a-Nator might work in
“underutilized” areas including Cline Avenue (the flat part not the
mountain climb) and the gravel lot off Taylor Avenue.
Mayor Tim Matthes said South Kitsap County Commissioner
Charlotte Garrido “would appreciate more notice and more
information than she’s received so far.”
The council agreed to honor Garrido’s request, and Roberts-Wash
said she’s fine with that.
So what do you think? If Port Orchard were to designate a food
truck zone, where should it be?
And, if you’re a restaurant or cafe owner with a
brick-and-mortar location, what are your thoughts on a food truck
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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, email@example.com.
Here, as promised, is a map of proposed boundaries for a lake
management district to pay for control of invasive weeds and toxic
algae at Long Lake in South Kitsap.
I’ve written a couple of stories about this recently: One
explaining the problem of the weeds and algae, which in the
past have degraded the lake environment and spoiled its
recreational potential. Today I wrote a follow-up on a public
hearing set for April 18.
Treatment of the lake from 2006 through 2010 was paid for with a
state Department of Ecology grant, but that source is no longer
Property owners on and near the lake later this year will get to
vote on whether to assess themselves to pay for weed and algae
The cost for lakeshore properties would be $252 per year, under
the current proposal. Properties with access to the lake would pay
$144 per year; and properties in “close proximity” would pay $52
per year. The boundaries and the assessment amounts, along with
pretty much everything else about the proposal, is subject to
change. A lot depends on what the Kitsap County Board of
Commissioners hears from lake area residents, and other people with
an interest in the lake at the public hearing on April 28 (we’ll
remind you when and where as the hearing gets closer).
In the meantime, if you have questions, visit the website of the
group Citizens for
Improving Long Lake, which initiated the process for the
election. Or contact Eric Baker, Kitsap County special projects
manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 337-4495.
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
Family and friends of two teenage girls killed in a single car
collision Dec. 16 on Baby Doll Road will gather at the site
Wednesday, as Kitsap County installs memorial signs commemorating
the crash victims.
Rebekah Faye Barrett, 18, of South Kitsap, and Shanaia Rose
Bennett, 17, of Gig Harbor, died on the scene, after the Toyota
Camry Barrett was driving skidded of the road and slammed into a
tree. A third girl, 17, survived the crash.
Witnesses reported that Barrett had been racing with a 1997 Toyota
pickup, driven by her boyfriend Robert A. Rundquist. Rundquist, 20,
of South Kitsap faces two counts of vehicular homicide in Kitsap
County Superior Court. His trial is set for May.
The signs, purchased with donations through the county’s memorial
sign program, will urge safe driving.
“If either one of those signs saves one life, it will be worth it,”
said Rhonda Barrett, Rebekah’s mother.
Anyone is welcome to attend the memorial from noon to 1 p.m. on
Baby Doll Road. The road will be closed during the event.
Poulsbo Fire Department responded to a medical call last month, the
crew tripped over a makeshift wheelchair ramp.
The ramp — made from a lawn mower loading plank on top
of two pieces of two-by-eight lumber — left the four-man crew
nervous about the family’s safety. A mother, who uses a wheelchair,
recently moved in with her daughter, who also is caring for her
“The family seemed a little overwhelmed,” Lt. Chris
After a quick conversation the group — firefighters
Chris Rahl, Steve Behal and Chris Cribbs, along with paramedic Ed
McLaughlin — asked the family if they could build a new ramp.
And on Feb. 12, a day that all four men were off duty,
the crew made a morning supply run for lumber and built the ramp in
place during the afternoon.
The new eight-foot long, non-skid ramp only took a few
hours to build and was a relatively simple project, Rahl said.
And funding the project was simple.
The department has a community assistance fund that
comes from fundraisers and donations, Rahl said. The fund also is
used to pay for hotel rooms when a home is severely damaged by a
fire, North Kitsap Fishline’s holiday meals and other community
But the department doesn’t take requests, Rahl
When firefighters and paramedics see a need, like a
new ramp, they take action.
While the fire department has built ramps in the past,
the recent ramp is the first one in five or six years, according to
Usually, you won’t hear Poulsbo’s firefighters talking
much about their community assistance. They are humble and aren’t
after recognition, according to spokesperson Jody Matson.
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.”