Category Archives: Poulsbo

Poulsbo parks board gives bike track, softball field thumbs up for Little Valley Ball Field

Residents and supporters cram into the Poulsbo City Council chambers to hear proposals for what the Little Valley Ball Field should become.
Residents and supporters cram into the Poulsbo City Council chambers to hear proposals for what the Little Valley Ball Field should become.

Poulsbo’s park board will be recommending two of four proposals for Little Valley Ball Field — a bike track and softball field — to the City Council.

The board ranked the proposal after every organization presented Monday night at Poulsbo City Hall where a crowd of residents and supporters spilled out into the hallway.

“We certainly know this process works,” said Mary McCluskey, Parks and Recreation Department director. “That was the best part of it. Know what? We could do this again if we had another piece of property.”

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance West Sound Chapter proposed a bike pump track, while the Diamond Dusters wanted a “home” softball field. North Kitsap Little League also wanted to leave the property as a ball field to use for practice, and Kitsap Children’s Musical Theater wanted a new facility for rehearsal space.

The board did not discuss why the bike track and softball field proposals were chosen over children’s theater or the little league field, although McCluskey said it was likely a combination of factors, such as timeline, cost, support and the organization’s need.

While five proposals had originally been submitted to the city, one — a solar park proposal — was withdrawn at the request of PIE Inc. owner Pedro Valverde, who told the city via email that partners for the $1 million project did not come through.

The children’s theater proposal also had changes announced at Monday’s presentations. The Kitsap Children’s Musical Theater decided to scale back plans for a $5 million performance and rehearsal center to a $3.9 million rehearsal only facility.

The project would take about five years to complete fundraising and construction.

After the board announced its recommendation, the neighbor who shares a driveway with the ball field spoke up about concerns with being able to leave and enter his property, along with preventing contamination to the shallow wells on his and his father’s property nearby.

Maurice “Gene” Foster, who has lived by the park for 55 years, told the board he did not want to favor any one proposal, although he wanted the board and the city to consider his comments.

“I really support the children of this community,” he said. “I built that field. I built that driveway. Every time we have asked the teams to keep the driveway vacant, I’ve had to weave around cars and ask people to move.”

Poulsbo City Council will consider the parks board recommendation, although council members will review all four proposals.

The final proposal must meet building code and environmental standards, McCluskey said.

You can read more details about the proposals in my previous story.

Poulsbo’s new bus route has started

Poulsbo Bus Route No. 44
Poulsbo Bus Route No. 44

Kitsap Transit fired up its newest Poulsbo bus route this week.

Poulsbo Central route No. 44 will be free for the first month, according to the Poulsbo city website.

The bus makes a full loop around town about every 30 minutes, giving riders access to the Doctors Clinic and Group Health, the Poulsbo library branch, Hostmark Apartments, downtown, Olympic College, WalMart, Central Market and the NK Medical Center.

Poulsbo has three bus routes running Monday through Saturday.

Kitsap Transit buses do not operate on Sunday anywhere in Kitsap County.

Read  Ed Friedrich’s story on the Poulsbo bus route changes.

Four candidates vie for Poulsbo City Council seat

Poulsbo City Councilwoman Linda Berry-Maraist announced her resignation in December. She was an advocate for the city's parks and area trails. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN
Poulsbo City Councilwoman Linda Berry-Maraist announced her resignation in December. She was an advocate for the city’s parks and area trails. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN

city logoPoulsbo City Council will interview four candidates and appoint a new member Wednesday night to Linda Berry-Maraist’s vacant seat.

Berry-Maraist announced her resignation at the end of last year to focus on family and starting her career back up. Her term did not end until December 2015, along with three other council members’ terms.

Boone Eidsmoe, Hunter McIntosh, Kenneth Thomas and Shane Skelley are vying for the seat.

Each candidates said they would like to run for election in November.

Council members serve four-year terms and earn $6,000 a year.

BOONE EIDSMOE

Eidsmoe, a recent graduate of North Kitsap High School, is a sale associate at Dahlquist Fine Jewelry in Poulsbo. During his time at North Kitsap High he was the drama president where he helped budget for projects and productions, his application says.

Eidsmoe also is the youngest Poulsbo Lion’s Club member, joining last year. His volunteer work includes helping rebuild trails around Raab Park.

His three highest priorities for the city would be dealing with the issue of drugs and homelessness, along with bringing more businesses to Viking Way.

HUNTER MCINTOSH

McIntosh is the managing director with The Boat Company where he has worked since 2000, with a two-year stint in computer communications from 2006 to 2008. The Boat Company is a “nonprofit educational organization offering luxury eco-cruises through Southeast Alaska,” according to its website.

McIntosh’s career has been spent working with environmental policy for nonprofits, his application says.

His earned his bachelor’s degree in political science, communication and marketing from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut in 1999.

McIntosh has lived in Poulsbo for two years, and half of his community involvement is in Alexandria, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. He served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, the Environmental Policy Commission and the Youth Policy Commission.

His three highest priorities would be redeveloping Viking Avenue, create a “college town” with Olympic College and strengthen the city’s position as a destination local via water access.

KENNETH THOMAS

Thomas bought a Poulsbo home in 2009, before becoming a full-time resident there in 2012.

He is a retired Naval officer, working with the Navy for about 20 years and was most recently responsible for a maintenance training program in the Puget Sound region last year.

Previously he taught high school and middle school in Arizona from 2001 to 2005, after working with the Navy since 1982.

He also served as an elected Goodyear City Councilman in Arizona from 1977 to 1979.

Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Arizona State University in 1991 and a master’s in secondary education from the same university in 1997. He also earned a bachelor’s in history at Regents College in New York in 1991, and “completed graduate-level courses in public administration,” which was taught by city managers, his application says.

His top three priorities as councilman would be preparing the city for review of its urban growth areas in 2016, ensuring public safety with a well staffed and trained police department, and maintaining Poulsbo’s quality of life and character..

SHANE SKELLEY

Skelley is a general contractor and owner of Skelley Works LLC in Poulsbo, which he started in 1998.

His company does bid on public works projects, his application said, and it has helped with city projects, including the educational amphitheater at Fish Park.

Skelley has lived in Poulsbo seven years, graduated from North Kitsap High School in 1993 and attended Clatsop Community College in Oregon from 1993-1995.

He was a member of the Poulsbo Planning Commission and Port of Poulsbo Citizen advisory board. He is currently a member of the Poulsbo Rotary Club and Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce.

Skelley’s top three priorities would be “keeping ahead of new storm regulations,” establish stormwater fee incentives for commercial and residential property owners to reduce impervious surfaces, and help streamline permitting processes, “especially when it relates to habitat restorations and projects involving non profits,” according to Skelley’s application.

Technology, tweets replace Poulsbo’s police advisory board

Towsend-Twitter

Technology has made Poulsbo’s Community Police Advisory Board obsolete, leading to the City Council disbanding it.

The board was established in 1991 to “ensure quality citizen input and information exchange concerning police services and programs,” Police Chief Al Townsend told the City Council Wednesday night.

Before Twitter, Facebook or even easy access to the internet, the board members were the connection between the community and police department.

It was not an investigative, watchdog or review board, Townsend said.

Townsend and the Poulsbo Police communicate directly with citizens these days using an email newsletter and Townsend’s Twitter feed, which has nearly 700 followers.

“These new methods of communication reach a considerably wider audience and supply immediate feedback from both supporters and critics of the police department,” Townsend said.

The department doesn’t have a Facebook. It’s too trendy for that right now.

“The high schoolers tell me that is old school,” Townsend replied in a tweet.

The Twitter account is where the department reaches its younger and “more mobile audience,” he said.

Beyond emails and Twitter, the department has neighborhood meetings, survey audits for those that contact the police and individual meetings with citizens.

“I still have meetings with people in our community routinely. I had one this morning at 8, another one at 1:30,” Townsend said Wednesday. “We are still reaching out. We’re still doing the one-on-one conversations with people, but now we have new methods to reach a much wider audience.”

While online communication grows, the department was struggling to fill the nine board seats and had only seven members.

“People’s schedules have changed over the years,” Townsend said before noting evening meetings are difficult for residents to routinely make, pointing to the small audience of four at the council meeting.

Mayor Becky Erickson also noted that when the board first formed there were no City Council committees, which now include a public safety committee chaired by Councilwoman Connie Lord.

“We’ve really multiplied ways we do outreach to our community,” Erickson said.

Lord said that with current technology and outreach programs the Community Police Advisory Board’s time has “come and gone.”

Child safety also a concern that lead to Poulsbo pot ban

Photo by Associated Press file The Poulsbo City Council voted Wednesday to ban marijuana-related businesses and collective gardens for medical marijuana.
Photo by Associated Press file
The Poulsbo City Council voted Wednesday to ban marijuana-related businesses and collective gardens for medical marijuana.

Before the Poulsbo City Council voted to ban marijuana related businesses and collective medical marijuana gardens Wednesday night, several council members and area residents voiced concerns about public safety.
Councilwoman Connie Lord said she was “appalled” to learn that home-based day cares would not require 1,000 feet buffer for marijuana businesses, a topic Chris Henry reported on earlier this week.
State regulations require marijuana businesses be at least 1,000 feet from certain areas:
— Elementary schools or secondary schools.
— Playgrounds.
— Recreation centers or facilities.
— Public parks.
— Public transit centers.
— Libraries.
— Game arcades.
— Child care centers.
In early March, the Liquor Control Board clarified that “child care centers,” as defined under state law, did not include “licensed family home child care,” where “care is provided for twelve or fewer children in the family living quarters where the licensee resides.”
Susan Ogilvie, a Poulsbo resident, said she was in the second phase of completing her home-based day care center that would be nearby the light industrial zone area of Viking Way where marijuana businesses would be allowed.
She asked the council not to approve a permanent marijuana ordinance, because of a nearby the Viking Way area zoned for marijuana businesses. Although there is a 1,000 feet buffer applied to the park where marijuana businesses would not be allowed, Ogilvie argued that many children ride their bikes through the area to get to the park.
Ogilvie also spoke out against marijuana related businesses in Poulsbo at the planning commission’s public hearing last month as the city moved forward with a permanent ordinance for marijuana businesses.
The commission voted to send the permanent ordinance to the City Council for Monday’s hearing.
In February, the council voted to extend the interim marijuana ordinance for six months.
If the council had decided not to act or voted down the ordinance Monday night, the current interim regulations would have expired in August.

PO Beats Poulsbo on “best small cities” list

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.

Poulsbo Fire Department handling more than fires, medical calls

Poulsbo Fire Department's "C Shift" built a ramp during their own time for a family in need. Contributed photo
Poulsbo Fire Department’s “C Shift” built a ramp during their own time for a family in need. Contributed photo

As the 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 husband.

“The family seemed a little overwhelmed,” Lt. Chris Rahl said.

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 aid.

But the department doesn’t take requests, Rahl said.

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 Rahl.

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.

“They just did it to help.”

Strategic plan, timeline set for mental-health tax

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

Cancer survivor from Germany stops in Poulsbo

POULSBO — Poulsbo Inn and Suites sales manager Courtney Cutrona was a little skeptical while listening to a scruffy, older German claim he was on a worldwide bike tour with his two Alaskan malamutes.

Randolph Westphal said he stopped in Poulsbo last week as part of his sixth bike tour to inspire others to not give up in the face of challenges. It’s a story he’s lived through, he told Poulsbo Inn staff, after nearly dying from skin cancer in 1987. He’s had 28 surgeries to remove the cancer and today, bikes around the world sharing his story.

In-between his tales, Cutrona was able to slip away and do a quick internet search on the 55 year old, who is from Frankfurt, Germany.

The information she found confirmed Westphal’s story.
“Sometimes we get some people with interesting stories, but this kind of struck me as different,” she said.
Cutrona and the general manager of Poulsbo Inn decided to let the bicyclist stay at the hotel Tuesday night for free.
Westphal said he relies on the generosity of strangers to help him and his dogs while on his bike tours. (And finding Subway locations because the sandwiches are cheap, he added.) He plans to log almost 25,000 miles on this trip.
The Canadian media has detailed Westphal’s tour, which started in May. The Peninsula Daily News wrote about another tour in 2008.

He started traveling around the world on his bike to inspire others to “never give up,” he said. He uses a cart to bring his traveling companions — two Alaskan malamutes — along for the ride. He sometimes does motivational speeches along the way.

Westphal said he’s never heard of  the area until last week.  His stay in Kitsap was brief — he left for Seattle the next day and made plans to hit Oregon after that.

“He’s an exuberant guy,” Cutrona said the day after Westphal left. “It was an interesting interaction.. He deserved some sort of recognition for what he’s doing.”

How does Pierce County’s gun ordinance affect Kitsap?

Brynn writes:

Last week I set out to learn how the recent approval in Pierce County of an ordinance protecting shooting ranges might affect the work being done in Kitsap on a similar topic. What resulted was a different story entirely. I learned the county hopes to have an expert come in to talk to its committee tasked with updating the shooting range ordinance. The expert will talk about sound and how it travels, and conduct sound studies at the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club, Poulsbo Sportmans Club and Bremerton Trap and Skeet Club.

The story that ran Sunday, Aug. 18, focused on the noise and not the action taken by the Pierce County Council. But while talking with committee members for that story I asked how the decision in our neighboring county might affect the work they’re doing.

It’s also a question that’s been posed by readers. Why didn’t Kitsap do what Pierce County did? I haven’t read the Pierce County ordinance, but I read both stories written by The News Tribune, which covered the vote. (Those stories can be read here and here.)

After reading the articles, it appears the measure was approved to protect the five gun ranges in Pierce County’s unincorporated area from potential noise and nuisance complaints and lawsuits. The TNT article cites the lawsuit between Kitsap County and the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club as an example. That lawsuit included noise complaints, but also safety concerns and land use allegations that the range expanded its operations without a county permit.

Kitsap’s Department of Community Development Director Larry Keeton said the Pierce County measure is a replica of legislation proposed in Olympia . Proposed in 2011, House Bill 1508 passed out of the house in February 2012 but hasn’t gained enough traction to get final approval. (Read a summary of the bill’s history at washingtonvotes.org.)

“One thing to be aware of in Pierce County, unlike Kitsap County, is their ranges don’t have the same issues necessarily that we do,” Keeton said.

He cited the Paul Bunyan Rifle and Sportsman’s Club, located near Graham, noting the club made a large financial investment by installing baffles to help reduce sound leaving the range and stray bullets.

After the Pierce County decision, Marcus Carter, KRRC executive officer, sent an email to the county requesting the information about the approval be circulated among the members of the shooting range ordinance update committee. Carter says he never received a response and hasn’t seen the information circulated via email like he asked.

“We’re following what happening in Pierce County,” he said of KRRC. “If the same thing had been enacted in Kitsap County it would have prevented the county from suing us.”

It’s doubtful Carter’s assertion that passing similar policy in Kitsap would have prevented the lawsuit because the suit filed against KRRC covered more issue than just noise concerns by neighbors.

Doug O’Connor, President of the Poulsbo Sportsman Club, thinks Pierce County’s action “preempted state law in the reverse order,” he said. “They’re doing more than what the state law proposes.”

Reviewing the ordinance at the committee level will “put another wrinkle into the deliberations, good, bad or indifferent,” he said. O’Connor, along with Carter and a representative from Bremerton Trap and Skeet sit on the committee with three county commissioner appointed representatives.

Committee chairman and Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Chief Gary Simpson has asked the county’s legal team to look into obtaining a copy of the policy approved in Pierce County. The document will be brought to the committee for discussion, Simpson said.

“We know it’s there, we know it’s something that’s different,” he said. “It’s something we’re going to want to investigate and look at how it is applicable to our discussions.”

You can click here to read the Pierce County ordinance — the bottom of the document list is where you’ll find the final document.

It was also brought to my attention that Kitsap County deputy prosecuting attorney Neil Wachter submitted comments to the Pierce County Council before members voted. Watcher clearly states in his comments to Pierce County that he’s offering comments as a private citizen and not in his legal capacity as counsel for Kitsap. He also lays out his expertise and involvement in the lawsuit against KRRC in his email, offering full disclosure.

“My comments made in the arena in Pierce County are strictly of those as a private citizen,” Wachter told me. He said it would have been irresponsible for him not to say something because of his legal experience and knowledge of the subject matter.