Category Archives: Peninsular People

Kitsap likes its fundraisers outdoors, active

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.
Screen shot 2013-12-06 at 9.21.07 AM
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

Poulsbo man ready to roll after beating cancer

Posted by reporter Ed Friedrich:

Dan Ackerson’s blood saved Mike Myers’ life.
Doctors told Myers he had a 5 percent chance to live after three types of chemotherapy barely fazed his acute myeloid leukemia, diagnosed Nov. 11, 2010. The cancer is characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells.
Myers never flinched.
“I told them that doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “That’s just a percentage. That means I’ve got a 5 percent chance of living, and I’m going to be in that 5 percent. They believed me. Now they believe me a lot.”
Bone marrow transplants are a last gasp. A patient undergoes chemotherapy and radiation to destroy the bad cells. In a healthy body, bone marrow makes young cells called stem cells. A donor’s are injected into the patient’s blood stream and grow and develop in the bone marrow. From the transplanted cells, the body resumes producing blood cells and develops an immune system.
It generally takes several months to find a good donor.
“They were hoping I’d make it into October so I could actually get the bone marrow transplant. I was really weak,” said Myers, who had dwindled from 190 to 130 pounds.
Myers, of Poulsbo, entered Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s unrelated donor search program. Ackerson, a Navy doctor, had signed up years earlier for the Department of Defense bone marrow registry. Within five weeks, they were matched.
“Typically this is a last-resort type thing,” said Ackerson, who flew from an assignment in Germany to the East Coast for the procedure.
“He probably would not be alive if he had not found a match, not that I’m the only match.”
Myers got the transplant on Oct. 7, 2011. He continued to receive “chemo lite” until a few weeks ago. Healthy cells replaced cancerous ones. He slowly began to gain weight. In October 2012, doctors declared him clear of his disease. Formerly with O-positive blood, he now was fully flowing Ackerson’s A-plus type. Six weeks ago, a biopsy showed no sign of disease and he was taken off chemotherapy. On Nov. 14 he enjoyed his first normal blood test in three years, and was released to go places other than a hospital or clinic.
The men have never met. They’re not allowed to exchange contacts until a year after the transplant. There are similarities. Myers, 54, served 21 1/2 years in the Navy, all but one of them in the Kitsap area. He was a fire control technician on submarines. Ackerson, 50, is a Navy family practice doctor, now in Jacksonville, Fla. Both are family men. Myers has a wife Debbie and two grown children.
They look forward to getting together, though Myers can’t travel long distances yet. They keep in touch by phone and computer.
“He’s got a very positive outlook and sounds like he’s doing quite well,” Ackerson said. “If he’s doing as well as he says he is, I think he’ll be just fine.”
Myers is grateful, and told his donor that at Thanksgiving.
“He is basically trusting me with his DNA,” he said. “My blood is his. It’s identical to his blood.”
Myers wants to stay close with Ackerson and spend some time together.
Ackerson urges others to get registered. He had to go in for a few shots to stimulate the marrow to create more stem cells, then wait eight hours while it’s filtered.
“A lot of people should do this,” he said. “The larger the number of people you have in the program, the higher likelihood you’ll find a match for somebody who needs it. I just think it’s a good thing to help our fellow man.”
Myers, up to 162 pounds, wants to return soon to his job with Electric Boat as a configuration manager for Trident submarines.

Scandinavian star-crossed lovers’ tale gets legs in self-published book

Who among us hasn’t thought about writing a book? OK, you in the back; you can put your hand down now.
Port Orchard writer Rosie Atkinson, author of the historical romance “Albin’s Letters,” is living proof that self-publishing has democratized the world of books.

Hilda Sjostedt, a comely Swedish girl with one blue eye and one brown eye, has fallen in love.
John, her strict and bigoted older brother (and guardian), is one of the most powerful men in Helsinki, and he heartily disapproves of Albin Putkonen, the Finn who has won Hilda’s heart.
Albin is from Saamiland in the far north of Scandinavia, or “Lapland” as John calls it.
Those people, says John, are “inferior … flower picking trash.”
Albin and Hilda share a forbidden tryst and hatch a desperate plan that starts with a long separation. Will the Scandinavian star-crossed lovers be reunited? Or will fate — and Hilda’s brother — conspire to keep them apart?
So begins “Albin’s Letters,” a novella by Rosie Atkinson and the true story of her grandparents’ journey to North America.
Albins' Letters
The book, published this year on, has racked up a number of favorable reviews.
“I found myself rooting for Albin and hoping that the truth would come to light for Hilda,” wrote Laurel Johnson of Southworth. “This was an easy read, written in a lilting style that left me very curious about Albin and Hilda’s progeny. I hope Ms. Atkinson will tell us more.”
Atkinson, 83 of Port Orchard, has had a lifelong career as a writer, starting with writing poetry as a young homemaker. She spent many years in the newspaper business, first as a columnist for the Port Orchard Independent, then as women’s editor for the Bremerton Sun (now the Kitsap Sun).
Formerly an avid boater — with her husband Charlie and their six children — Atkinson has written numerous articles for Nor’westing, Sea and other boating magazines. She also wrote a column for a weekly Kitsap County publication, Wednesday Magazine.
After Atkinson left the Sun in 1979, her focus turned to fiction writing. She joined the Peninsula Chapter of Romance Writers of America and got up to speed on the latest technology.
“One of the first things I wanted to do was get a home computer,” Atkinson wrote in her blog. “Charlie found one for sale by a fellow employee at Boeing. He brought it home, plunked it onto a table and said, ‘There, now go ahead and write your heart out.’”
Atkinson watched other writing club members clamber their way into the publishing world. Fellow member Debbie Macomber, also of Port Orchard, is now a regular on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Similar success eluded Atkinson, even though she wrote almost every day.
“I never stopped writing, but I lost the incentive to do anything about publishing my work,” Atkinson wrote in her blog. “For one thing, it seemed so daunting and I knew nothing about publishing books.”
Then in 2013, Atkinson joined the legions of writers who have found self-publishing a viable option for getting their book out in the world.
As the Internet has exploded, so have online self-publishing programs and resources. Publishers World, in a recent article, announced a service of Bloomsbury Publishing that helps writers sift through the myriad DIY options. The Writers & Artists Self Publishing Comparison requires registration and completion of a questionnaire, information from which may be shared with service providers.
Atkinson was fortunate to have her daughter, Phyllis Counts of Seattle, help her sift through the options. Counts, a graphic designer, made the cover art for “Albin’s Letters” and hooked Atkinson up with people to read and critique the manuscript. A librarian who is a friend of Count’s fact-checked the book.
“It takes a village,” said Atkinson, who advises anyone interested in self-publishing to have their book professionally edited and the cover professionally designed.
Kitsap Sun reporter Steven Gardner, who in 2012 self-published “Spill Your Guts’ Guts,” seconded the recommendation for a professional editor.
“If you are thinking of skipping the editor part, let me shake some sense into you,” Gardner said. “If you don’t have anyone to edit your book, I guarantee you will find things in your finished copy that you will regret. Your book will look self-published, which I guarantee will lose you sales.”
Gardner’s book is an adaptation of stories from his Field of Steve podcast. If I had written the book jacket blurb, I would have called “Guts” a humorous, unaffected tribute to human longings, foibles and follies.
Spill Your Guts' Guts
Gardner assembled the project with two Amazon self-publishing programs Create Space, for the print edition, and Kindle Direct Publishing for the eBook.
Gardener’s overall cost for the two programs was about $100. Self-published authors should expect to pay an editor several hundred dollars on top of that, he said.
For future projects, Gardner plans to be more aggressive about marketing, wrangling book clubs about a month before publication, scouring online for interview opportunities and working with local bookstores to do readings.
Atkinson, too has “a few more books in the mill,” including a sequel to “Albin’s Letters” in which we learn more about Hilda’s feisty spirit or “sisu,” the Finnish expression for determination, the will to finish the job at any cost.
Speaking of which, Atkinson advises anyone with the itch to write a book not to give up.
“Everybody has a book inside them, if they can just get it out and write it,” she said. “
Besides the Albin-Hilda sequel, Atkinson has in the hopper a hot romance about a newspaper reporter in Seattle and a couple of half-written “creative non-fiction” projects. Some days, she gets overwhelmed thinking of all there is to write.
“But hell, I’ll probably live ’til I’m 115, so there’s still time,” she said.

Albin’s Letters on Kindle or paperback copies may be ordered from or by calling Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 360-698-0945.

Officers, others aid woman forced out of her home by stuff

It began with a call for a welfare check from Adult Protective Services. Someone had reported to APS that there was an older woman living in her car, and the Port Orchard Police Department responded.

Sgt. Donna Main was one of the officers who found the woman and learned why she was apparently homeless. The woman was parked in front of a nice, older home her family has owned since 1946. She had cared for her mother in that home before the mother died. There were so many memories … and so much stuff.

The entire property showed signs of neglect. Both the front and back yards were overgrown with brush.
“You couldn’t see the house from the street, because it’s all overgrown,” Main said. “You can open the door … sort of.”

Inside are piles of stuff to the point one would have to crawl over the stuff to get in.

“She said she was trying to clean up a bit,” said Main. But clearly the task had become overwhelming. So the woman, who is 73, moved into her car.

“When I found her in the car, she had food; she was warm,” Main said. “She wasn’t asking for help. She wasn’t asking for assistance. She wasn’t asking for handouts. She’s a very strong woman.”

It was a police matter, but it wasn’t. The woman was not in danger, and she wasn’t a danger to anyone else. Main could have written her report and called it a day.

“I just couldn’t personally go home to my warm bed knowing this 73-year-old woman was sleeping in her car,” Main said.

Officer Bill Shaibly also took an interest in the woman’s plight.

The woman had all the symptoms of having a hoarding disorder, defined by the American Psychiatric Association as excessive saving of “items that others may view as worthless and have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.”

Often, hoarding is associated with other types of psychiatric disorders, but this woman appeared to be thinking clearly, Main said. And she was open to help in getting rid of the excess stuff.

“She knows she needs to make some changes,” Main said. “She knows she needs to let some stuff go if she wants to get back in her house.”

Main and Schaibley recruited friends and workers from Naval Base Kitsap to clear the front yard a couple of weeks ago. Last weekend, a group from the community tackled the backyard, with help and donations of supplies like bags and gloves from Port Orchard Walmart. Main emphasized that the help wasn’t directly connected to the police department. It was simply people responding to a neighbor in need.

Main and others have arranged for the woman to receive pro bono counseling and dental work.

In upcoming weeks, they will tackle the inside of the house.

“It’s an enormous job,” main said. “I don’t know if this can be done. But if we don’t try, we’ll never know.”

Port Orchard native represents in singing competition

Jessica Barry sings in the shower; she sings in the car. Now, she’s singing in a American Idol-style vocal competition hosted by McDonald’s. And you thought they just made fast food.

Barry, 19, is a graduate of South Kitsap schools, including Hidden Creek Elementary, Marcus Whitman Junior High School and South Kitsap High. She works at McDonalds, and is studying business and marketing at the University of Washington’s Tacoma campus. This summer, while working at the Mile Hill McDonald’s, Barry hear of the 2014 Voice of McDonald’s (VOM) Worldwide Singing Competition and decided to try out, said the company’s regional spokeswoman Hope Lash.
In September, Barry learned that judges had selected her as one of the Top 25 U.S. semi-finalists to represent the McDonald’s Northwest Region, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

She flew down to Los Angeles, worked with a voice coach and recorded her music video for the on-line competition web site, where she is among 25 vocalists representing the United States’ various regions. The four worldwide categories are Asia-Pacific/ Middle East Africa, Europe and Canada. I’m not sure what happened to Central and South America.

This handy map I found on Wikipedia shows when McDonald’s restaurants were established around the world. The U.S. and Canada were the earliest adopters (no surprise there), with most restaurants established between 1940 and 1969. Many countries in Africa and the Middle East do not have McDonald’s. Iran and Boliva used to have McDonald’s but no longer do. McDonalds started trickling into South and Central America in 1975, with Brazil taking the lead, so as I said, I’m not sure why there are no singers from these regions. Nothing political mind you; just a question/ observation.

But I’ve taken quite a bird walk here. Back to the real story.

If Jessica is chosen as one of the top three United States favorites in this vote-driven competition, she will perform live at the McDonald’s 2014 Worldwide Convention in Orlando against 15 other global finalists. The winner will receive $25,000 plus opportunities to connect with top music industry producers and performers.

Voting opened Monday and continues through Dec. 2. And to paraphrase Barack Obama’s promotion of the Affordable Care Act 800-number, here once again is the McDonald’s vocal contest website, Click on United States, then Jessica Barry.

Bremerton: You’re invited to paint the town


Josh Farley writes: 

Here’s your chance to brighten Bremerton with a fresh coat of paint.

Two city projects invite local residents to join in an effort to put down fresh coats of paint around schools and along the retaining wall near the Manette Bridge.

At 5 p.m. Thursday, Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin and Steve Priest, an art teacher at Bremerton High School, will continue painting the Washington Avenue retaining wall. They welcome help, if you’re interested — simply head out to the wall on Washington, near the Manette Bridge, at that time.

Martin called the painting a “followup” to the painting and mural designed by Bremerton graduate Jan Jimenez and unveiled in July (see photo).

“We thought painting the wall on the other side might be worth a try,” Martin told me in an email.

Then, on Saturday, residents can join city staff to “freshen up” school zones around the city before the kids go back to school in September. New coats of paint will be added on roads near the schools.

Those who want to help out need to be ready to go at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at 100 Oyster Bay Avenue North, site of Bremerton Public Works and Utilities headquarters.

The city will provide the materials, according to Milenka Hawkins-Bates, Bremerton’s public works’ administration division manager. The city asks that residents wear appropriate clothing for painting, and that no “open toed” shoes be worn.

For more information, call public works at (360) 473-5920.

World premier of Macomber’s Cedar Cove series is Saturday

The big question is, “How will we look?”

Fans around the country are eagerly awaiting Saturday’s world premier of “Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove,” the Hallmark Channel television series based on books by local bestselling author Debbie Macomber. Macomber in turn based her wildly popular series on the town of Port Orchard, where she makes her home.

The show is at 8 p.m. Saturday on the Hallmark Channel, with episodes scheduled at the same time every Saturday at least through August 31. Spoiler alert: I’ve pasted summaries of the six episodes below for those of you who want to get a jump on the whole experience.

The Debbie Macomber experience has been a phenomenon for the city of Port Orchard for nearly three decades. The humble and perennially cheerful homemaker began her career typing at the kitchen table. Macomber rose through the ranks of bestselling women’s fiction beginning in the 1980s. Her early success was documented by the late JoAnne Marez, retired Kitsap Sun reporter and editor, who died July 7. Macomber recalled how a story JoAnne wrote in the mid-1990s was picked up by the Associated Press, accelerating the author’s fame and fortune. I know if JoAnne were alive, she would be glued to the TV for every episode.

I interviewed Macomber in 2009, as the town was getting ready to portray itself in the first (and so far only) Cedar Cove Days, which drew thousands of fans from far and wide. Locals dressed up as characters from the books. A map showed places — the library, restaurants and homes around town — that inspired Macomber’s imaginary Cedar Cove. The town got a new paint job, and there was some tension over the color scheme. Some aspects of the town didn’t lend themselves too well to sprucing up — Bay Street buildings that showed (and still show) their backsides (adorned with dumpsters) to the waterfront and marina. But the unpretentious Macomber wanted her fans to see the town “warts and all.”

In the series, Judge Olivia Lockhart is played by Golden Globe winner Andie McDowell. We’ll take that as a compliment.
Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove 1001-- (Photo by: Chris Large/Hallmark)
Macomber herself stumped for the filming to take place in Port Orchard, but producers may have felt that was a little too much reality. The series was shot in Victoria, Canada. We’ll take that as a compliment, as well. Which brings us back to the original question, “How will be look?” All glammed up by Andie McDowell and Victoria, B.C., will Port Orchard (a.k.a. Cedar Cove) even be able to recognize itself?

In the series premiere, MacDowell plays Judge Olivia Lockhart, “whose Cedar Cove Municipal Court is the professional milieu and social microcosm of issues the judge will face in her own day-to-day life with family and friends,” according to the Hallmark Channel website.

“Jack Griffith (Dylan Neal), the editor of the Cedar Cove Chronicle, is a new friend and potential love interest for Judge Lockhart,” the website continues. “Judge Lockhart hears her name is being put forth for appointment to a Federal judgeship in Seattle, and she asks that her family keep the news a secret. But Griffith, “desperate for a meaningful news story,” (those damn newspaper people!) “corners Olivia’s mother who inadvertently tells the editor about everything in her daughter’s life – including the possible appointment. … Suddenly, Olivia (much to her chagrin) is front page news.”

Hmmmm, judge-editor, potential love interest … I could have told Judge Lockhart THAT was a bad idea.

Two actors from the set recently visited Port Orchard, according to Macomber’s daughter Adele LaCombe, executive director of Debbie Macomber the Brand. Yes, our neighbor Debbie Macomber is a copyrighted brand that covers not only her books, but movies, television series and even cookbooks that Macomber has written (one based on recipes mentioned in the Cedar Cove books).

The actors were utterly charmed by Port Orchard, LaCombe said. Fortunately, they made their visit about a week before a fire ripped through the upstairs apartment/rooming house of the Los Cabos building on Bay Street. The cause of the fire is considered suspicious and is still under investigation. Now, with renovation of the Myhre’s building (also gutted by fire two years ago) stalled in a legal morass, the town has bookend eyesores.

But there are also some charming new additions: The nearly completed DeKalb Pier upgrade and a new dock at the Water Street Boat launch help make the town look prosperous and classy. The city of Port Orchard did that work and a recently completed a segment of the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway that is one of several enhancements to the Port of Bremerton-owned Port Orchard Marina Park.

I guess your impression of the town depends on your willingness to look past the “warts” and see the efforts being made by shopkeepers and building owners — flowers, banners, attractive wares, a public market in the works at the old Slip 45 building — to make Bay Street look like something out of a storybook. Oh, alright, maybe we’ll never be Cedar Cover. But if we were Debbie Macomber — our down-to-earth neighbor, not the brand — maybe we could see the best in our town and cherish it for what it is … warts and all.

See, I can write fiction, too.

Here at the episode capsules courtesy of Hallmark:
Hallmark Channel Original Primetime Series
Episode: #1001 “A House Divided”
Saturday, July 27 at 8p.m. ET/PT, 7C
Starring: Andie MacDowell, Dylan Neal, Teryl Rothery, Bruce Boxleitner, Barbara Niven, Brennan Elliott, Paula Shaw, Sarah Smyth, Corey Sevier, Timothy Webber, Elyse Levesque and Garry Chalk

Judge Olivia Lockhart finds herself in a house divided after her seaside town goes up in arms when arrogant and wealthy developer Warren Saget threatens to tear down Cedar Cove’s historic lighthouse. Local Thyme and Tide innkeepers Bob and Peggy Beldon lead the townspeople in protest, including Olivia’s mom Charlotte, leaving Olivia caught in the middle when the case ends up in her courtroom and she must put her emotions aside to abide by the law. Then, Olivia’s new romance with newspaper reporter Jack Griffith is threatened when he paints Olivia in an unfavorable light in his story about the case. While the town begins to turn their backs on their respected judge, Olivia’s daughter Justine, recently single after ending her engagement to Warren, sees a spark reignite with old high school sweetheart Seth Gunderson and Olivia’s best friend Grace Sherman, home from a post-divorce vacation, begins readjusting to single life.

Hallmark Channel Original Primetime Series
Episode: #1002 “Reunion”
Saturday, August 3 at 8p.m. ET/PT, 7C
Starring: Andie MacDowell, Dylan Neal, Teryl Rothery, Paula Shaw, Andrew Airlie, Sarah Smyth, Corey Sevier, Timothy Webber and Elyse Levesque
Guest Starring: Sebastian Spence and Tom Stevens

When Jack’s estranged son Eric shows up in Cedar Cove completely unannounced, their uncomfortable reunion is long overdue. As Jack starts to get to know his son amid Eric’s constant hurtful reminders of Jack’s alcoholic past and poor parenting, Olivia and Grace learn a secret that makes them question Eric’s intentions. Charlotte wants to fulfill the dying wish of a stroke victim she met while volunteering at the local hospital by tracking down his family and asks Olivia for help. But when Charlotte also recruits Olivia’s friendly ex-husband Stan to do some digging, Olivia is faced with her own uneasy reunion.

Hallmark Channel Original Primetime Series
Episode: #1003 “Suspicious Minds”
Saturday, August 10 at 8p.m. ET/PT, 7C
Starring: Andie MacDowell, Dylan Neal, Bruce Boxleitner, Barbara Niven, Teryl Rothery, Paula Shaw, Andrew Airlie, Sarah Smyth, Corey Sevier, Garry Chalk, Brennan Elliott, Elyse Levesque, Timothy Webber, Kendall Cross, Matreya Fedor and Brendan Meyer
Guest Starring: Tom Stevens and Charlie Carrick

A bloodied and quiet man arrives to the Thyme and Tide in the middle of the night asking for a room, inexplicably missing all of his belongings. Sensing trouble, Bob and Peggy reluctantly let him stay, promising to work out the details later. But when he is found mysteriously dead in his room the next morning, the Beldons are stunned and upset and the Cedar Cove gossip mill begins buzzing with the news. As Sheriff Troy Davis leads the investigation, Jack is quick to begin covering the story for the Chronicle—even in the midst of rising tensions between him and Olivia about Eric’s bad attitude. Meanwhile, at Cedar Cove’s annual Art Walk, Justine is on the verge of a new career when she receives a prominent booth to display her work and is stunned when her dad Stan shows up to support her, invoking unresolved feelings.

Hallmark Channel Original Primetime Series
Episode: #1004 “For the Sake of the Children”
Saturday, August 17 at 8p.m. ET/PT, 7C
Starring: Andie MacDowell, Dylan Neal, Teryl Rothery, Kendall Cross, Lochlyn Munro, Paula Shaw, Elyse Levesque, Matreya Fedor, Sean Michael Kyer, Sarah Smyth, Brennan Elliott, Timothy Webber and Garry Chalk
Guest Starring: Tom Stevens and Sebastian Spence

In court, Olivia hears both sides of Rosie and Zach Westen’s heated, he-said, she-said divorce case, struggling to decide what’s best, for the sake of the children, Allison and Eddie. While the case stirs up painful memories of Olivia’s own divorce, Jack is also reminded of his past when he notices Eric is stalling to find a job and starting to take advantage of Jack’s guilt. Then, after budget cuts leaves the Mayor no choice but to close the town’s beloved library, Grace resolves to raise the money to keep it open herself, hosting a fundraiser where she meets a charming man new to Cedar Cove, Cliff Harting.

Hallmark Channel Original Primetime Series
Episode: #1005 “Free Spirits”
Saturday, August 24 at 8p.m. ET/PT, 7C
Starring: Andie MacDowell, Dylan Neal, Teryl Rothery, Bruce Boxleitner, Sarah Smyth, Corey Sevier, Paula Shaw, Elyse Levesque and Timothy Webber
Guest Starring: Sebastian Spence and Charlie Carrick

Justine is excited to welcome Seth back from his job at sea, but when he doesn’t show up for several days, she fears the worst and decides to go on a dangerous solo trip to a remote Alaskan town to find him. Olivia is concerned, especially as she remembers the pain of losing her son several years ago in an accident. Worried she’ll lose Justine too, Olivia’s sleepless nights start taking a toll and is hesitant to leave town when Jack asks her to go to Seattle for the weekend on their first trip as a couple. As both Justine and Olivia face stepping out of their comfort zones, they ultimately realize the adventure might be worth the risk.

Hallmark Channel Original Primetime Series
Episode: #1006 “Help Wanted”
Saturday, August 31 at 8p.m. ET/PT, 7C
Starring: Andie MacDowell, Dylan Neal, Teryl Rothery, Bruce Boxleitner, Barbara Niven, Matreya Fedor, Brendan Meyer, Kendall Cross, Sarah Smyth, Paula Shaw, Andrew Airlie, Garry Chalk, Timothy
Hallmark’s two-hour world premier of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove is 8 p.m. Saturday. The program kicks off a television series based on the Cedar Cove books by local best-selling author Debbie Macomber.

Guest Starring: Richard De Klerk and Sebastian Spence

The Westen’s messy divorce starts taking a toll on daughter Allison, who is quick to lean on her friend Anson for support and put in extra hours at the Thyme and Tide Inn just to escape. But when her mom Rosie gets a permanent room at the Inn, Allison is on the verge of a breakdown. Then, before a trip to Seattle with Jack, Olivia gets a surprising visit from Lenny, a reformed criminal she helped put in jail years ago, who has returned to Cedar Cove wanting a fresh start. Seeing a change in him, Olivia promises to help Lenny find a job, but feels defeated when everyone in Cedar Cove is too quick to judge the ex-convict and turns him away. Then, when the harbor’s beautiful pergola goes up in flames at the hands of an apparent arsonist, even Olivia is suspicious of Lenny, but everyone is shocked by the conclusion in court.

Worthy Sasquatch! splendor

Scott Robinson looks incredible in this big ... coat.
Scott Robinson looks incredible in this big … coat.
Scott Robinson and girlfriend, Rachel Harmon, look incredible in the same big ... coat.
Scott Robinson and girlfriend, Rachel Harmon, look incredible in the same big … coat.
For $337.50 you can attend the four-day Sasquatch! Festival 2013 this weekend.

It’s the annual music event at The Gorge and at that price it’s no wonder there is a dress code. Scott Robinson and Rachel Harmon, pictured in the big furry coat, plan to look stellar, and the big furry coat is proof.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis is part of the line-up for Sasquatch!, and this $15 beauty from the Goodwill in Silverdale fits the definition of a “come up.” But I have a hunch Robinson would have worn this thrift-shop beauty no matter who was performing.

I stopped the Bainbridge Island couple outside Goodwill in Silverdale, because I found the coat to be absolutely cowbell. I was jealous. This is just the kind of clothing I want to wear in public to embarrass my wife.

Don’t come at these guys with paint, either. The coat is a fake, all acrylic. “No animals were harmed in dressing for Sasquatch!” said Robinson. Besides, over four days of camping and watching musicians, that coat will likely be used as a sleeping bag, napkin and maybe even a vomit target. And if it’s raining, it could double as a sled. Something tells me that coat won’t be making the trip home.

No worries, though. If you want one, Robinson said there was another one inside the store. I’m sure it’s not my size. I’m working on that, though, so you better hurry.

Musical winners from Kitsap high schools

Five performances by Kitsap musicians earned high honors in a statewide competition Friday and Saturday, including two performances that took top prizes.

Nick Stahl from Bainbridge High School took first in the solo soprano-alto saxophone category, outperforming four other competitors.

Shannon O’Brien from Bremerton High School won a solo competition in the vocal-bass category.

Second place winners included a small percussion group from Central Kitsap High School and small vocal group from North Kitsap High School. Kelly Lanzafame from North Kitsap High School took third in the vocal-alto category.

The annual competition happens on the last Friday and Saturday of April and Central Washington University in Ellensburg hosts the event. Contestants from across the state first competed in 22 separate regional contests to qualify for the showcase.

This is, according to one educator, the musical equivalent to athletes taking state.

Fundraiser for two things to remember ‘Smiling’ Sam

In August we had the story of the untimely death of a former Kitsap County boy, Sam Skaggs. His family had moved to Colorado and while making a nighttime drive with his father his car hit a cow that had wandered onto the road. The 10-year-old boy, whose “smile was his best asset” if you asked one of his former teachers, died the next morning.

His dad suffered severe breaks in both arms and was just recently able to start working again.

The family was able to raise funds for a burial, but not a headstone. So they’ve done as many do these days. They’ve set up a page on, a place for people to donate funds for causes like this one. They also want to plant a tree near the spot of the accident, a place they drive by every day as they take their children to school. His mother wrote:

“Sam loved nature, he loved bugs and loved the outdoors. This tree would represent him in so many ways of his love for nature and help us as a family of knowing that his love for nature continues as this tree will continue to grow.”

The goal is to raise $2,500. So far they have reached almost halfway, helped in large part by a single anonymous $1,000 donation.