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.
About two-thirds of the way through “Smoke: How a
small-town girl accidentally wound up smuggling 7,000 pounds of
marijuana with the Pot Princess of Beverly Hills,” 2004 Klahowya
High School grad Meili Cady confesses:
“…I’d hung my last hope for happiness on my future with Ben. But
I knew that he would leave me. If I’d had the choice, I’d leave me
too. I couldn’t stand what I’d become. I was stuck with me and this
bizarre, unbearable reality that was suffocating me.”
Having read the previous 186 pages, seeing Cady come to the
conclusion, “I’d leave me, too,” might inspire you set the book
down for a moment and, if you’re a demonstrative type, yell out,
“You think?” Yelling at a book doesn’t count for normal activity in
most settings, but page after page Cady gives you reason.
For the uninitiated, Cady moved to Los Angeles after high school
to pursue her Hollywood acting dreams. Over the years she landed
some screen work, but not a lot. Finding a friend was tough, too. A
mutual friend introduced her to Lisette Lee, the “Pot Princess” in
The story of what happened over the next few years was first
revealed in a 2012 Rolling Stone story, “The Gangster Princess of Beverly
Hills.” That was the first time many of us were
introduced to Cady, who was Lee’s unlikely friend. When we did
our story on Cady I was somewhat
sympathetic to her, because in five decades I can count a few times
when I’ve done things despite my suspicions because I wanted to
believe those suspicions were off base. Wanting to believe can be a
Reading Cady’s own written version in “Smoke,” I was less
sympathetic, and that might be a compliment to her. Cady tells us
what happened, what she did, without much effort to justify it.
It’s a gutsy move. It’s also the most accountable way to tell a
The book is a fast read, reveals much that you didn’t know from
the earlier stories and could be the last we ever hear of this
tale, unless Lee starts talking or there is a movie. I don’t know
about Lee, but the movie is a real possibility.
19 of our ambitious, dedicated and skilled friends will run
the Boston Marathon. Bib No. 18775 is a friend of ours. Who
you see here as Luz M. Rodriguez is someone my wife, Diana, and I
know as Marcela.
We met Silverdale’s Marcela when she and Diana were teammates in
a relay that runs essentially from the Canadian border in Blaine to
somewhere on Whidbey Island. Those relays are a tough haul. Diana
had to run two extra miles when she missed a turn. Marcela herself
wasn’t sure she could tough out the last of three legs each runner
agrees to run, but she did it, making it look like it was
easy. Diana has since run the Portland Marathon and from what I can
tell is not eager to run another one.
Marcela, on the other hand, set her sights on Boston some time
ago. We’ve celebrated her progress. And since Boston is something
you have to qualify for, we’ve been especially proud of her work.
So has her home country of Chile. Marcela comes from the southern
quarter of that country and on Friday was featured in
her hometown paper. At the end of the
story she’s telling anyone that if they want to, they should go
after a goal like this one, repeating the Spanish version of the
common English saying, “If I can do it, anyone can.”
While I don’t agree that anyone can qualify for Boston, if it’s
not a marathon that’s in your dreams, there is something. And in
that sense, Marcela is right. If she can achieve this dream, you
can achieve yours. I have a few things I dream of accomplishing,
and finishing a marathon is one of them. Aside from the fact that
it’s hard for anyone (Well, a few people make it look pretty easy.)
to run 26.2 miles, for me to do it would prove that I had
accomplished so much more. If you’ve met me, you know what I’m
talking about. Any marathon would be my Boston.
So maybe that’s the question. What is your Boston?
Good look to all our Kitsap runners. Thanks for inspiring us to
pursue our Bostons.
Note from Esteef: I tidied this thing up quite a bit since
its initial publication. I normally give these things at
least another read or two before hitting the “publish” button, but
it was late on Friday and I spent most of the week coughing, so I
was tired and ready to go home. Had I read it at least one more
time I might have noticed a few things that needed changing,
including the fact that I misspelled Marcela’s name throughout. I
also forgot to mention that of all the Spanish or
Portuguese-speaking nations in the world, Chile is the best. It’s
not even a close contest. Some of it is the dramatic variety in the
nation’s landscape, going from the driest climate on Earth to a
point where the next neighbor to the south is a penguin. It’s
also got great beaches, mountains and enough earthquakes to
satisfy even the thirstiest of thrill seekers. I hear the wine is
quite good. The shellfish is excellent and plentiful , Chileans
have perfected the art of dressing up a hot dog and the empenadas
should be part of every death row inmate’s last meal as a
testament to our compassion for even the most vile among us. The
best parts of Chile are probably the Chileans, except for the one
in charge when I lived down there. He was a jerk.
Anyway, all this to say that most American of explanations,
“Mistakes were made.”
Note: When I first posted these photos earlier in the week,
I left out most of the details because I wasn’t sure if I might
include Ashtin Fitzwater in the story about 12s going to Arizona without game
tickets. I posted it early because other news agencies
were already getting the photo out there and I didn’t want to be
too far behind them.
So here is an expanded version of Wednesday’s post, with
more information I had then, and updates, including one that’s
humongous! And I don’t use that word or exclamation points
Ashtin Fitzwater left the Northwest in 2004 following his
graduation from Central Kitsap High School, but remains a 12,
representing in his new hometown of Chandler, Ariz.
We first posted this Wednesday, but a lot has happened
Fitzwater took about five hours on a Saturday to paint the home
he and his girlfriend rent from her mother. I was skeptical, and so
was one of my editors, that a house could be painted in five hours,
but Fitzwater has skills. He graduated from Arizona State
University with a degree in housing and community development and
has worked in construction since. “I’ve painted a lot of houses,”
The Seahawk logo on the lawn was done by hand. He set himself up
to do it well, applying math to the Seahawk logo from his
construction helmet to measure out a 20-foot-by-7-foot rectangle
with corners staked with rebar. (And you kids say math won’t help
you in life.) He used string to create the box for the bird and
went to work, looking at his helmet and spraying the lawn.
This week, as you can imagine, there has been a crush of media
in Arizona, including lots from Seattle. KING-5 TV was, I think,
the first media outlet to post pictures of Fitzwater and his house.
Fitzwater’s brother, Jeremy Hunt, re-Tweeted a KING-5 photo and
mentioned he’s a CK alum, so I got him on the phone. Since then,
other Seattle news agencies have been by and the Fox affiliate in
Phoenix paid attention. A Spokane station, KXLY, has given him the
most attention, which we’ll get to shortly.
Fitzwater said he’s seen lots of people driving by to get a
look. A neighbor counted 30 cars one day. One family came by and
the mom had a Patriots jersey on, so the 12s that were with her had
fun and put duct tape over her mouth and wrapped a Hawk flag around
her as they took pictures. The mom was a willing victim, so save
the nasty letters.
Yesterday when Fitzwater arrived home he found someone had left
him a jumbo bag of Skittles. He set up a camera to see footage of
people responding to the setting. A lot of people have taken
selfies, some of them looking around nervously as if a house that’s
begging for attention is also demanding privacy. One day Fitzwater
heard a woman yelling “We found it!” to her friends. They’d been
out scouring Chandler neighborhoods looking for the Seahawk
As Fitzwater and I were talking Friday a mailman stopped across
the street to get a selfie with the house behind him.
And so it has gone, but that’s not the biggest news yet. Hunt
is, as of this writing, traveling down to Arizona to watch the game
with Fitzwater, but that’s not the biggest news either.
KXLY caught the big news, Fitzwater
proposing to his girlfriend, Melissa Duke, at night as both are
standing on the Seahawk logo. The two have been together eight
years and have been talking about marriage. They’ve been talking
about it so much, in fact, that Duke kept telling Fitzwater that he
couldn’t surprise her.
She was wrong.
A friend asked Duke on a scale of 1-10 how surprised she was by
Can you guess her answer?
Hint: She’s a Seahawk fan, too.
Second hint: Look to the roof of the house, or any car with a
flag waving anywhere near Seattle.
Standing behind them in the KXLY video were a pair of friends,
Adam Collins (also a 2004 Central Kitsap High School grad) and
Christina Adams. They’ve been engaged two years and have been
having trouble figuring out where to get married and what kind of
arrangements to make. According to Fitzwater they now plan to get
married Sunday morning, on the Seahawk lawn.
Duke, for her part, has always dreamed of a destination wedding,
so she and Fitzwater are beginning to make their plans for sometime
in the future.
My suggestion: San Francisco, early February 2016. If all goes
well they could be there to witness the birth of the
On Sunday we told the story of Maddy
Herring, a local 21-year-old who nearly lost her life in the
Skokomish River. The story itself was certainly worth telling, but
every once in a while the story behind the story is worth revealing
to some degree. That is the case here.
Every morning and every evening we make calls to the local fire
agencies, Washington State Patrol, the coroner’s office and to
Central Communications to ask them and other local police agencies
if anything happened worth reporting. It’s just one way we learn
about things. Other times it’s people calling us, messaging us on
Facebook or Twitter or we hear something on the scanner. It’s not
the only way we learn things, but sometimes it turns into something
newsworthy. The vast majority of times there is nothing new to
report that comes from these calls. But they are worth making
because of the times there is something worth reporting.
On Monday, Aug. 25 it was my turn to make the night calls.
Included on our list of calls are three Bremerton Fire stations. My
recollection is that I called one station and the officer who
answered said there was nothing to report from the department, but
that I ought to talk to Kevin Bonsell at Station 3 because of
something he experienced while out with his family at Staircase the
day before. When I called there and talked to another department
officer I asked if Bonsell was available. I told him I had heard he
had experienced something unique on Sunday and he told me the
After hearing what happened I was eager for someone here to get
the story in the paper for a couple of reasons. One was that there
was a public service element to it that reminded people of the
dangers rivers can pose. The second, though, was that the story had
that element of danger, but ended well for everyone. People showed
up and did what they could and Maddy Herring is alive because of
it. Bonsell said he would see if the family was willing.
My understanding is the Herring family found him again by
reaching out through someone at the Central Kitsap Fire District,
and that word got over to Bremerton through them. No one who was
directly involved was advertising a story. That makes it even more
attractive, because no one was looking for publicity just for
themselves. Bonsell didn’t reach out to me, but once I asked him to
tell the story he saw the public service benefit as well.
It took a few days but eventually Bonsell called me back with
phone numbers for Maddy and her mother. By the time I spoke with
Maddy it was a week and two days after the event. I was hoping I
could get Bonsell to go out to the site to point out where it
happened and talk on video. I had very little hope that Maddy
herself would be willing to go. When I spoke to her, though, she
was up for it, again recognizing the public service aspect of the
story. So we made plans to meet her out there on Friday with a
photographer, Meegan Reid.
The video setting is not far from where it all happened, but
it’s not exactly there. When we first got there she tried to
recognize the spot and could not right away. We eventually figured
that the river was running lower than it was the Sunday almost two
weeks before. So we filmed from a nice place to provide a good
setting for the story. As you can see, Maddy was quite good at
After we finished filming Maddy, Meegan and I began walking back
to our car as Maddy decided to hike further up the trail. Meegan
and I kept thinking that we had missed a turn on the trail so we
hiked a little more than we’d planned before making it back. I
decided to go the ranger’s station and see if we could get an
incident report, which was when Maddy returned from the trail. In
the interim she had found the actual spot where she was stuck and
took some pictures. She said it looked more or less the same as it
had that Sunday, but there would have been no way we could have
gone down there with our cameras. She said seeing it made her heart
race a little and she was careful not to get too close. The other
bonus was the Herrings had left two pair of flip-flops and a
T-shirt behind in all the chaos, and that they were still there two
A man described as a political science professor also played a
role in the rescue. I reached out to several at the different
colleges in the area and struck out. Maddy’s mother, Theresa,
called me on Friday and we spoke that day. I wrote the story and
edited the video that night.
This whole thing came about because of a regular phone call we
make in which we essentially ask, “Anything happening?”
My guess is the crews at the fire stations are not glad we
interrupt their mornings and evenings to ask that question. I’m
always glad when they tell me the calls have been routine. Some of
that is because when the calls are not routine it usually means
something bad happened to someone. The other part is if something
happened it means more work. We’re like NASCAR fans who don’t
necessarily want there to be a wreck, but if there is one we don’t
want to miss it.
Most local fire agencies, the ones who still welcome our calls,
have been very good about sharing what’s happening with us. Maybe
it’s because they see the public service element in what they tell
us. I’m sure sometimes they get disappointed in how we write what
happened. That’s the risk, I suppose. But I think the public is
well served in that relationship. And it’s because of that
relationship that we were able to tell Maddy Herring’s story.
This is how it feels. Three young people in Kitsap County died
within a month of one another.
On July 4, Josh Osborn, 17, of South Kitsap, was on an outing
with friends when he fell into the Ohanapecosh River. His body was
recovered on July 28.
On July 14, JJ Hentz, 12, also of South Kitsap, was found
floating in Island Lake. He died two days later at Mary Bridge
Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.
Jenise Wright’s parents reported her missing on Aug. 3. The last
time the 6-year-old was seen was around 10 p.m. the night before.
On Aug. 7 her body was found, partially submerged in a muddy bog
near Steele Creek Trailer Park in East Bremerton, where her family
lives. On Aug. 9, Gabriel Gaeta, a friend of the Wright family, was
arrested on suspicion of raping and killing Jenise.
On Saturday, Josh Osborn and Jenise Wright, will be mourned at
memorial services a couple of hours apart. Both are open to the
Jenise’s service is at 1 p.m. at the Silverdale Stake Center,
9256 Nels Nelson Road NW.
Jenise was outgoing,
always at the center of activity at the mobile home park. She
loved the colors pink and purple.
The Wright family is accepting donations to help offset expenses.
Donations can be made online at a gofundme account or at Chase Bank
branches, under the “Jenise Wright donation account.”
Josh Osborn was “every parents’ dream” according to his
obituary, written by his family. “He was
kind, handsome, smart, funny, but most of all he had the biggest,
most loving heart. Josh loved life and he lived every day to
its fullest. He had many passions and dreams.”
A memorial for Josh is planned for 3 p.m. Saturday at the South
Kitsap High School gym. In honor of Josh, the family asks that you
wear your Seahawks or South Kitsap gear.
Josh fell into the turbulent, glacially fed Ohanapecosh River on
July 4 during an outing with friends. Warm weather that led to snow
melt made the river especially high, hampering search efforts. On
Sunday, however, the Port Orchard teen’s body was spotted by
kayakers, who alerted authorities.
But getting to him was no easy matter.
Josh lay in a foot of water between a mile and a mile-and-a-half
from where he fell in, according to Roger Beckett of Olympic
Mountain Rescue, who got the call about 2 a.m. Sunday from the
state’s Emergency Management
Division. Beckett coordinates rescue efforts for the group.
Typically, a mountain rescue group from Tacoma would have been
called first, since they are closer, Beckett said. But because
rescue groups are staffed by volunteers, the matter of who responds
depends on who can most quickly rally a group of people with the
technical skills required for the situation.
Josh’s body was reported to be in or near a rocky gorge kayakers
call the “elbow room,” a particularly challenging stretch of the
river, with narrow chutes of foamy white water and deadfall trees
littering the route. Beckett expected rescuers would need to rappel
into the gorge.
“This isn’t a place where anybody goes unless they go down to
fish and kayak. It’s a rugged part of the river system,” Beckett
This picture, courtesy of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office,
gives a visual of the river.
By 8 a.m. Monday a team of six Olympic Mountain Rescue members
arrived at Packwood to receive a briefing from the Lewis County
Sheriff’s Office, which was leading the search and recovery.
Beckett did not go along, but he got a briefing later from team
members. They split into three groups from the base of operations
near the intersection of highways 12 and 123 and combed the
riverbank at the bottom of a steep grassy ravine, according to
Finally, they located Josh and were able to reach him, placing
him in a stretcher, which they lifted to the road in several
pitches, using a 600-foot rope.
Olympic Mountain Rescue, established in 1959, is made up of 25
to 30 members familiar with alpine climbing and specially trained
for rescue and recovery in rough terrain, where even first
responders are hard put to go.
OMR members participate in a couple dozen rescue or recovery
efforts most years, and they took part in the search for missing
outdoors writer Karen Sykes in June on Mt. Rainier. Sykes, an
died of hypothermia on the mountain. The group did not
rescue Tuesday of a 25-year-old Bremerton man who fell down an
embankment under High Steel Bridge on the Skokomish River.
On Monday when we heard the scanner call of a drowning at Island
Lake my heart stopped a bit. My family had been there the evening
before. My youngest, Apollo, he who cuts his own hair, had been
swimming. It’s what you do when it’s warm out.
The picture on the left was taken that night from Island Lake
Park. Sunset pictures were all over Facebook that night. This one
is far from the best one.
There is no joy in learning it’s not your kid. There is no
celebration in any of it.
Even learning that a group of about nine kids who were there
swimming did all they could to save the boy’s life is overshadowed
by the fact that as of Tuesday night that 12-year-old boy is in
critical condition. I am, like much of this region, so impressed
with what those kids did. That this boy has a chance to survive at
all is because of them, and because of some adults who also
happened by at the same time.
And yet, like everyone else, I want more than anything to hear
that the boy will be OK. Then we can really celebrate what
teenagers did. I think I can cast aside my job-mandated Olympian
objectivity in saying that.
This, too. Today I got to talk to the mother of one of the
kids. I said what I think anyone else would say, that no
matter how this turns out those kids did the right thing.
Even if celebration is not in order, it’s comforting to
know what happened. Anyone who has ever been a parent knows that
stuff happens beyond your control. We obsess over details and still
miss things. Life happens at a pace that sometimes outruns us.
There are times we need the village to step in. We don’t
necessarily plan for it. We try to live like we don’t need it. And
yet there are times we find ourselves thanking whatever god we
acknowledge for the times angels in the form of other humans appear
to save us.
Or to save our kids.
This time it was teenagers. Remember that the next time you’re
tempted to give up on them, maybe even your own. Most times we
find ourselves wondering what they’re capable of it doesn’t occur
to us that they might be capable of saving a life.
Josh’s mother Jennifer Osborn sent a statement on behalf of the
family following the candlelight vigil, which I share here with
you, along with information about fundraisers for the family
“There really are no words to express the pain our family is
feeling. A piece of our hearts is gone and no amount of time will
ever heal that.
“Josh was the most amazing son who touched everybody he met in
some way. He lived his life to the fullest and put 100 percent into
everything he did. His family, girlfriend Gianna and his friends
were the most important things in his life. He held those
relationships close to his heart and was fiercely protective of
those he loved.
“His other love in life was football, he ate breathed slept
football. I remember how excited and proud we all were when he was
one of only a few sophomores to make the varsity roster at South
Kitsap High School.
“Our time with Josh will always be cherished and the sadness we
feel because of everything we will miss out on is unbearable. He
meant so much to so many people and will be deeply missed by all
who had the priveledge of knowing and loving him.
“His dad Brian, brother Jacob stepmom Mary Jo and myself would
like to say thank you for all the love and support we have received
from family, friends and the community. You have lifted us up in
our time of need and for that we are forever grateful.
“Josh’s legacy will forever live on in our hearts. His sweet
soul and beautiful smile will never be forgotten. We all feel his
presence every minute of every day.
“Thank you all that came to the candlelight vigil. It was the
most beautiful thing I have ever experienced, and in that moment,
as much as our hearts are hurting, we felt a sense of peace and
“RIP my sweet little man cub. Our angel here on earth now our
angel in heaven. No words can ever express how much you were loved
but I know you knew that every day you were on this earth.”
— Faith Fulsoul, a family friend, is hosting an online fundraiser
at GoFundMe.com, www.gofundme.com/b4bag8. The goal is $25,000. The
site has more than 100,000 shares on Facebook.
— A spaghetti feed fundraiser is planned 4-8 p.m. Sunday at
Christian Life Center, 1780 Lincoln Ave. SE, Port Orchard. It is $6
a plate with $1 a ticket raffle.
A car wash is planned 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 26 at The Frozen One
frozen yogurt shop, 1800 Mile Hill Drive, Port Orchard.
— The Route 16 Running Club has included a memorial for Josh
Osborn in beneficiaries of its annual Miracle Run 5K on Aug. 9 in
Gig Harbor. At www.miraclerun5k.com, click “online registration” to
designate a donation. The run begins at 9 a.m. at South Kitsap
Regional Park, 2841 SE Lund Ave., Port Orchard.
We’ve received no additional word on the search for Josh Osborn,
a 17-year-old Port Orchard resident who
slipped in the Ohanapecosh River near Mt. Rainier on July 4th
and is presumed dead.
The river is six feet above normal for this time of year. Search
parties will resume looking for Osborn when the water subsides.
In the meantime, word of Osborn’s tragic accident has spread
like wildfire among his wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
Josh’s brother Jake told me yesterday that Josh reached out even to
people he didn’t know well, and he could always cheer people
A Kitsap Sun reader who commented on our story yesterday linked
to a fundraiser for Josh’s
family hosted by Faith Fulsol on gofundme.com. The goal is
$25,000, with more than $6,000 raised so far.