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.
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Archive for the ‘Poulsbo’ Category

Poulsbo Fire Department handling more than fires, medical calls

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
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

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Up to $3 million from the local mental-health tax will be doled out July 1.

A sales tax of 0.1 percent dedicated for local mental-health services went into effect Jan. 1 after being approved by Kitsap County commissioners in September.

The July deadline is just one of several in the recently released strategic plan from the Kitsap County Behavioral Health Strategic Planning Team. Proposals for projects or programs, aimed at reducing the number of mentally ill juveniles and adults cycle through the criminal justice system and the demand on emergency services, will be accepted from Feb. 20 to April 18 at 3 p.m. Kitsap County County Mental Health, Chemical Dependence and Therapeutic Court Citizens Advisory Board will review the proposals.

The citizens advisory board also is asking for community input on what residents what to see funded by the sales tax via an online survey.

In the 62-page strategic plan, which outlines recommendations for closing service gaps for mentally ill and substance abuse, it says county and surrounding peninsula region had the highest number of mentally ill boarded ever recorded in October 2013.

The plan recommends increasing housing and transportation options, treatment funding and outreach, among other suggestions.


Reporting and responsibilities outlined

The strategic planning team makes recommendations the citizens advisory board and establishes the strategic plan for the mental health tax.

Proposals will be submitted to the citizens advisory board for review. The board will make recommendations for the proposals and funding level to the county commissioners, who ultimately approve the proposals.

The citizen advisory board will annually review projects and programs while receiving input from the strategic team, and report to the director of Kitsap County Human Services, who will present reviews to the county commissioners.


 Meet the team and board

Kitsap County Behavioral Health Strategic Planning Team

  • Al Townsend, Poulsbo Police Chief (Team Co-Chair)
  • Barb Malich, Peninsula Community Health Services
  • Greg Lynch, Olympic Educational Service District 114
  • Joe Roszak, Kitsap Mental Health Services
  • Judge Anna Laurie, Superior Court (Team Co-Chair)
  • Judge Jay Roof, Superior Court
  • Judge James Docter, Bremerton Municipal Court
  • Kurt Wiest, Bremerton Housing Authority
  • Larry Eyer, Kitsap Community Resources
  • Michael Merringer, Kitsap County Juvenile Services
  • Myra Coldius, National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Ned Newlin, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office
  • Robin O’Grady, Westsound Treatment Agency
  • Russell D. Hauge, Kitsap County Prosecutor
  • Scott Bosch Harrison, Medical Center
  • Scott Lindquist, MD, MPH Kitsap Public Health
  • Tony Caldwell, Housing Kitsap


Kitsap County Mental Health, Chemical Dependence and Therapeutic Court Citizens Advisory Board

  • Lois Hoell, Peninsula Regional Support Network: 3 year term
  • Jeannie Screws, Kitsap County Substance Abuse Advisory Board: 3 year
  • Aimee DeVaughn, Kitsap County Commission on Children and Youth: 3 year
  • Connie Wurm, Area Agency on Aging: 3 year
  • Dave Shurick, Law and Justice: 1 year
  • Walt Bigby, Education: 1 year
  • Carl Olson, At Large Member District 2: 2 year
  • James Pond, At Large Member District 3: 2 year
  • Robert Parker, At Large Member District 2: 2 year
  • Russell Hartman, At Large Member District 3: 2 year
  • Richard Daniels, At Large Member District 1: 1 year

Cancer survivor from Germany stops in Poulsbo

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

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?

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

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

“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.

A bird’s-eye view of Poulsbo

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

A Poulsbo-based production company run by Kelvin Hughes took some aerial shots of the Viking Fest Parade and road race that happened last weekend. Things get pretty intimate around 2:20. Check out the parade video below.

– amy phan, reporter.

Poulsbo restaurant makes national news for well-behaved child discount

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Brynn writes:

It was brought to our attention this morning that Poulsbo’s Sogno di Vino restaurant has been making national news lately. Although it largely hasn’t been named beyond being called a “small restaurant in Poulsbo, Wash.”

As the story goes a picture of a receipt from an evening out at the restaurant has made its way to the Internet and as a result national news organizations jumped at the chance to opine about the story (see Fox News, Huffington Post, Reddit, Babble, et. all.)

A local woman, who goes by the name LauraInk on the Reddit site, wrote on her “beer after tea” blog about the dinning experience where she and her husband, along with their three children (ages 2, 3 and 8), received a “well-behaved child” discount. It sounds like this is the first time the restaurant has offered the $4 discount for well-behaved “mini diners”.

Here’s excerpts from Laura’s blog post explaining what happened and her response to all the national attention about the discount:

“We were seated at one of the last available tables around 6pm and were greeted happily with menus and bread. We sat and discussed planets, racecars, zebra jokes and “Freckle Juice” until we ate our pizzas, pasta and aforementioned ragu. The food was lovely, our oldest, who is clearly in a growth spurt, ate her share and mine, and our littles munched happily while periodically stopping to notice the small fireplace in the corner and the window paintings on the wall of grapevines in Italy.

Near the end of our meal, our server visits our table to tell us how impressed the staff was with our kids’ behavior and that many of them didn’t even realize we had little ones eating with us. She then brought us a bowl of ice cream to share. When we received our tab, it had a discount listed for “Well Behaved Kids”. A pleasant surprise after a lovely meal.

We, as parents, lead by example and if we have to spell out what and how we’re doing something, we will. We don’t expect handouts for acting respectful of the folks who bring us our food. But it certainly makes you feel good when someone else notices your kids in a positive light.

It’s interesting to read some of the comments from other people who have heard this story — note the link to the Reddit and Babble sites offer more adult language than wet use here — the responses are mixed on whether a family should get a discount because their kids behave well, or as some argue “the way they should”, when they’re in public.

Regardless of where you stand on the decision to give the discount, the bottom line is a local family of five was the recipient of an unexpected act of kindness from a local business. That’s something that should make you smile.

Poulsbo gets a shout out

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Brynn writes:

I follow the Three Sheets Northwest Blog, which features its own content along with other boating bloggers sharing their cruising experiences in the area.

This morning a headline (“Poulsbo’s muddy bottom”) caught my eye. The author compliments the small Norwegian town for its hospitality and good eats, but questions what exactly is up with Liberty Bay and its foul odor.

It’s been years since I last spent a weekend anchored in the bay, but it wasn’t that long ago we tied up at the Port of Poulsbo Marina — not to mention earlier this year I was spending time at the port commissioners’ floating meeting room in the marina. I don’t recall ever noticing the brown water, or a suspicious smell, but maybe things are different away from shore?

This sounds like a job for environmental reporter Chris Dunagan to look into on his Watching Our Waterways blog…

The Nate Berkus Show to feature Big Valley light display

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Brynn writes:

They graced the front page of the Kitsap Sun Saturday and now Poulsbo homeowners Ron Comin and Matthew Woorden are going to be gracing the big screen (well how big depends on the size of your television).

The Poulsbo couple that devote 1,500 hours a year to their Christmas light display at 26730 Big Valley Road are to be featured tomorrow (Wednesday) on The Nate Berkus Show. The show airs on Kong (Channel 6 at my house) at 6 p.m.

The show recently filmed the lighted display that boasts 62,000 lights spanning more than 4 miles when stretched out, and a classic display of handmade holiday spirit. Comin, a self-employed architect, created the design that follows the couple’s natural landscape. He also built the scaled down North Pole village and the mechanisms that move Santa and Mrs. Claus and Head Elf Sam. Woorden, an interior designer, sewed the bodies of the figures.

Their hard work will receive air time on the show which offers advice to viewers on everything from DIY projects around the house to interior design tips to fashion advice and recipes. A design expert, Berkus quickly rose to fame after Oprah Winfrey regularly featured him on her show. He hosted his own show on Oprah Radio and is now the host of The Nate Berkus Show, a syndicated decorating show.

For more information on Comin and Woorden’s light display, or to see the hours its open for visitors visit their website:

For more information on The Nate Berkus Show, visit the website.

A bicycle built for two … mayors?

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

As Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent planned to ride in Saturday’s Life Cycle Bremerton, a fundraiser in the American Red Cross in Puget Sound, she envisioned herself riding tandem with the Mayor of Port Orchard. That was news to Lary Coppola, who will participate in the event, but hadn’t heard about the bicycle built for two. Asked who would get to sit in front, Coppola said he’d be the gentleman and let ladies go first.

Lent has since visited the plan. Since neither mayor is experienced at riding a two-seater, it’s entirely possible one wrong move could send them both head over teacups, she said. That would be a civic catastrophe. Instead, Lent will ride shotgun on the tandem bike, with another road savvy rider up front.

The Life Cycle, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., offers routes for every ability, including a three mile “Ride with the Mayor” (make that two mayors), 10-mile “Family Ride,” 40-mile “Northern Route,” 60-mile “All Cities Ride” and “100-Mile Century Challenge.”

The routes begin and end at picturesque Rotary Evergreen Park, with rest stops scattered throughout the 101 mile route at Evergreen Park, Blueberry Park and Kitsap Lake Park in Bremerton; Long Lake Park and Port Orchard Marina Park in Port Orchard, and Muriel Williams Pavilion on the Poulsbo waterfront.

Although registration closed at noon Thursday, everybody’s welcome to come cheer the cyclists on. It’s not every day you see a couple of mayors on wheels.

Whoa, that’s one big bear!

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Brynn writes:

UPDATE: I learned from a North Kitsap School District parent that they got an email this afternoon letting them know a bear was seen at Vinland Elementary and near the property shared by Poulsbo Elementary and Poulsbo Middle School. The bears weren’t near the buildings, more on the fringe of the property, according to district spokeswoman Robyn Chastain. Wildlife officers responded to make sure the bears had moved on before the students and staff were allowed to go outside.

Wildlife officers also responded to the 900 block of Swanson Way in Poulsbo for a bear in a tree Tuesday evening. Sounds like the bear was going after a bird feeder and a dog chased it in the tree.

In case you missed it, last week I wrote about the mass of bear spottings in North Kitsap. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Ted Jackson said during the week of May 16-22 they received more than 50 reports of bears in neighborhoods or running across roadways.

That’s a significant bump up from the same period last year.

Going with the bear sighting theme, Paul Dudley, of Paul Dudley Photography, sent us pictures today of a rather large black bear he spotted last week off Big Valley Road in Poulsbo. He sent us a couple stills and a link to the video he captured and posted to YouTube.

Here’s the link to the video:

And the photos are below. Just as a friendly public service reminder, here’s how to minimize your chances of coming face-to-face with a bear:

  • Keep all garbage indoors until day of pickup; if garbage must go out night before, rub ammonia on top and inside of container.
  • Don’t feed pets outdoors, keep all food indoors.
  • Remove/take down bird feeders until later in the summer.
  • Don’t feed other wild animals like raccoons or squirrels.
  • Clean barbecue grills after each use.

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