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.
Coming up later tonight at www.kitsapsun.com, we profile a 2011
South Kitsap High School grad who is now a stunt woman in Los
Olson, who started in gymnastics at Mile High Gym in Port
Orchard and spent most of her time at Olympic Gymnastics Center in
Silverdale, will appear Monday on “American Ninja
Warrior.” I had never heard of it, but I learned that
contestants have to navigate a strenuous obstacle course.
Olson’s skills in freerunning and parkour — both explained in
the article which runs Sunday in the Kitsap Sun — helped her earn a
spot on the show out of 10,000 people who auditioned.
You can read Olson’s story in print tomorrow or online
tonight/Saturday when it posts at www.kitsapsun.com (I would expect
by 8 p.m. or 9 p.m PST). You can see how she did in the competition
by tuning in to “American Ninja Warrior” at 8 p.m. PST Monday on
You can see Olson in action in these YouTube Videos.
Wins, Fails and Grunts … in which Olson shows how much work it
takes to master the moves.
BODYPOP, Official Music Video, in which she appears with social
media entrepreneur Cassey Ho. That’s her on the right in the first
Red Bull Art of Motion Submission 2014, in which she shows her
stuff, like running up trees and flipping over backwards.
This post has been edited. The original version misstated
Sydney Olson’s last name on first reference.
Kerris, the yellow lab who works at the Kitsap County
Courthouse, started the weekend early with a round of golf Friday
morning at Trophy Lake Golf & Casting.
Perhaps you remember the
story I did on Kerris in 2010. The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s
office brought her on as a courtroom therapy dog to put witnesses
at ease during difficult testimony, and generally to diffuse the
tension. Her handler is Keven Kelly, chief of District Municipal
The two were golfing for charity at the Kitsap Humane Society‘s Fore the
Animal’s golf tournament. This is the third year of the tournament,
which is notable for allowing animals to tag along.
I love imagining dogs in plaid knickers and spiked shoes,
wagging their little tails as they get ready to tee off. Alas, it
doesn’t work like that. The dogs pretty much just ride in golf
carts, slobber and shed.
There were 100 golfers and seven pooches signed up for the
tourney, said Rebecca Johnson, the Humane Society’s event
coordinator and executive assistant.
People who want to develop their land, including the owner of
the Ridgeline development a the far end of the ULID, initiated the
process. Originally more parcels were included, but a number of
property owners objected to the assessment, saying they either
didn’t plan to develop their land further, and/or they already have
functioning wells and septics.
In response, WSUD took many properties off the map, but not all
of those belonging to people who object. For example, the Clover
Valley Riding Center is right on Phillips Road; it’s still in the
ULID. The assessment on the property was reduced, however, since
owner Jill Seely contested the calculations used to define how much
of the property could be developed.
Here is a document showing the ULID boundaries for both sewer
and water. The document shows acreage and how much can be
developed, as well as assessments (total over 20 years) for each
The ball is now in the court of the ULID proponents, who must
get a petition showing support from owners of at lest 51 percent of
the acreage. WSUD commissioners will be looking for a much higher
level representing “overwhelming” support, WSUD manager Michael
Wilson has said.
I’ll be following up at the March 16 WSUD meeting the see if
there is a petition forthcoming.
Any questions, concerns or thoughts, email me at
Note Jan. 9, 2014: Michelle Caldier contacted me after this
post was published and told me that she did not authorize for her
Facebook profile to be added to the group Parents Against South
A complaint of bullying by the parent of one student on this
year’s South Kitsap High School football team was not connected to
Eric Canton’s recent resignation, Superintendent Michelle Reid
Reid early in December authorized a
third party investigation into the complaints of Jennifer
Wilkinson on behalf of her son, a senior on the Wolves’ varsity
squad. Wilkinson alleges that Canton and other staff intimidated
her son in retaliation for criticism he and later she lodged with
the coach and high school athletic director over concerns they had
about safety issues and whether player time was handled fairly.
Wilkinson also alleges that her son’s privacy rights were
violated in online discussions of his academic eligibility to play
for the Wolves.
Canton resigned on Dec. 26 after meeting earlier in the month
with the high school principal and later athletic director Ed
Santos. Those encounters were followed by a Dec. 23 meeting with
the district’s director of human resources, an assistant
superintendent and a couple of union reps.
As Canton told Kitsap Sun sports columnist Chuck Stark, he felt
he had no choice but to resign.
“I wasn’t going to fight it,” Canton said.
Reid said Wilkinson’s complaint trickled up to her some weeks
after Wilkinson filed a harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB)
complaint on Oct. 14. Most such complaints are handled within the
school and never actually result in a formal HIB report, Reid
Two formal HIB reports were filed within the district in the
last two years, both at the high school. One was Wilkinson’s
complaint about Canton; the other, filed last school year, was
unrelated to Canton. Last year’s report did not result in a third
South Kitsap High School officials conducted an investigation of
Wilkinson’s complaint, but she wasn’t satisfied, and she appealed
to the next level, the superintendent.
At that point, Reid said, she decided to engage a third party
“It’s an objective look at the facts so we can tone down the
emotional intensity and tone down the rhetoric a little so we can
just looks at the facts,” she said.
Were there complaints from other parents or the community about
“Complaints have not come to me personally about Coach Canton,”
The investigation, which is still under way, is being conducted
by Rick Kaiser, an attorney specializing in workplace
investigations, with experience in handling issues related to risk
management in schools.
Reid said she believes having an outside party review the facts
and allegations is in the best interests of all concerned.
“Obviously we take those reports seriously,” Reid said. “We need
to have a full and thoughtful look at all the events that took
place. I have confidence that our staff at all times has the best
intent for our young people.”
Reid said the investigator was in the district this week,
although he has not yet interviewed her.
Unlike teachers, coaches serve on a year-to-year contract under
authorization of the athletic director. Any “separation” must occur
within 30 days of the end of season, Reid said. That explains the
timing of Canton’s departure as coach.
He will, however, continue as a dean at the high school.
I asked Reid what protections the district affords to coaches,
given the emotionally charged arena of high school sports.
“I will do everything I can to protect coaches. I think coaching
is a difficult job in today’s world, and it’s an important job as
well,” Reid said. “Part of the reason I have a third party
investigator investigating the situation is to protect our coaches.
My assumption going in is that our coaches have done the right
“I think the best protection for our coaches is the truth. I
believe the investigation is going to surface facts that will
support the truth.”
Reid did not know when the investigation would be complete.
As for Canton himself, she added, “I think he’s a fine young
man. I really appreciate Canton’s dedication and passion for South
Kitsap School District and the athletic program here at South
Kitsap High School. I admire his dedication and passion.”
South was 6-4 Canton’s first season with the Wolves advancing to
a Class 4A state preliminary round. South was 4-6 and 3-7 the past
“I take full responsibility for not winning enough games,”
Canton told Stark.
He added however, that “helping athletes become productive members
of society” is a higher priority for him than winning games in high
(Downey) is related to incoming 26th District State Rep. Michelle
Downey Caldier, who is listed as a member of Wilkinson’s Facebook
group Parents Against South Kitsap Football Program. The group had
eight members on Thursday.
Last year, when Washington State lost its waiver under No Child
Left Behind, South Kitsap School District teachers and
administrators got together to give U.S. Secretary of Education
Arne Duncan a message. Lip synchingIt came in the form
of a rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” — as in all they want
is a little — sung by music teacher Leslie Niemi, karaoke style,
with lively backup from various school officials. Thus, they belted
out their frustration with their schools being labeled as “failing”
under NCLB standards.
Teachers and school officials wiggled their hips and clapped to
the beat. In the video, Superintendent Michelle Reid, usually staid
and suited, cuts loose in a pink feather boa in the video by the
high school’s production crew. Small wonder visitors to the website
Our Kids Our Future made it
third among the site’s top viewed posts from 2014, according to the
Washington State School Directors Association, which does a roundup
of education news from around the state and nation every week.
Others posts on Our Kids Our Future included: “Emerald Ridge grad
strikes it big as professional umpire,” “Being included means
everything,” and “Put your ‘teacher’ hat on.”
Without question, the website draws an audience sympathetic to
the district’s message. Our Kids Our Future‘s
“campaign is led by a group of Washington education organizations,
including WSSDA. The goal is to highlight excellence in Washington
State public schools,” according to its “about us” page. Partners
include the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public
Instruction, as well as state associations of school principals,
school administrators, the state teachers union, PTAs, school
boards and others.
Vested interests aside, pretty much everyone, including members
of Congress, agree that NCLB was a good idea but flawed in how it
was a carried out. Standards for all students, no exceptions, were
ramped up over time until meeting them became all but impossible.
In recognition, the federal government allowed a waiver for states
whose districts were making “adequate yearly progress” toward the
ideal. Washington lost its waiver this year when the Legislature —
pressured by teachers and others — declined to support a teacher
evaluation program relying on statewide test scores. That meant
districts had to inform parents that their schools, some of which
had recently earned recognition from the state, were “failing.”
Schools that receive federal Title I money and which have been
placed in one of five levels of “improvement” have to set aside
some of their Title I allocation for parents who want their
children transported to a different school or district, or who
wanted tutoring outside the failing school.
story we wrote in August, as districts tried to figure out the
implications, I cited a letter Reid wrote to families in which she
called the “fail” label “regressive and punitive.” Clearly, SKSD’s
performance was designed not only to stick it to Arne Duncan — with
a great sense of rhythm, no less — but as a moral boost for the
staff. And for my money, no matter where you stand on NCLB, it’s
always a moral booster to see a school superintendent in a feather
Wonder what they’ll do for an encore.
State schools Superintendent Randy Dorn on Wednesday used the
Marysville shooting as a cautionary tale about the role of social
media in young people’s lives. Kids today live in two simultaneous
worlds, one real, one virtual, both intertwined.
“Social media is all around them, and many young people feel
safer and are more open with Twitter and Tumblr and other
channels,” Dorn said.
That’s not all bad, but it can go south quickly when rumors or
compromising photos and videos get spread online.
Dorn called out cyberbullying as a potential trigger for
real-life violence in schools, and he offered a tip sheet (below)
for parents and school staff to help them recognize warning signs
of distress or conflict online.
These are uneasy times for schools. Sadly, lockdowns are
becoming part of the routine for students, precautions against the
On Oct. 23, the day before the Marysville-Pilchuck High School
shooting, a threat by a Central Kitsap High School student put
that school on lockdown. The threat against another student
wasn’t made on campus (and it’s not clear whether cyberbullying was
part of it), but school officials were taking no chances.
On Wednesday, South Kitsap Schools briefly were on modified
lockdown, as law enforcement agencies searched for David Michael
suspect in the murder of a Port Orchard woman. Kalac, believed
to have posted pictures of the body online, was later found to have
fled the state and was arrested late Wednesday in Oregon.
Speaking of cyberbullying, a student who identifies herself as
South Kitsap High School’s “new gossip girl” began last week
posting crude and potentially embarrassing posts on Twitter. The
girl has gotten some push back from other students. And one parent
called her out on the Port Orchard Facebook group, urging students
and others to virtually shun her.
On Bainbridge Island, student Otis Doxtater took the fight
against bullying (cyber and otherwise) to the next level.
Doxtater, a junior at Eagle Harbor High School, on Oct. 21
organized students from kindergarten through 12th grade to hold a
silent procession and demonstration of unity against bullying on
the campus of Commodore K-12 Options School, where Eagle Harbor is
The students created a linked chain of paper on which each had
written something unique about themselves on one side and what they
would do to stand up to bullying on the other. The paper slips were
orange for National Unity
Day, which was Oct. 22.
Younger in life, Doxtater was painfully familiar with
“I’ve always had a stutter, so that was always something that
would be made fun of,” he said.
And this wasn’t the first time Doxtater had made a public
protest against bullying. He has spent hours in the parking lot
near McDonald’s on Bainbridge Island with a sign that reads “Love
and Equality” on one side and “Stop Bullying” on the other. On
Twitter, he uses the hashtag #stopbullying, and he has a YouTube
channel, otisdoxtater, demonstrating some of the positive uses for
The response of his schoolmates after the Unity Day
demonstration was gratifying.
“As I was walking down the hall, people were walking up to me
and said I did an awesome job,” Doxtater said. “It made me feel
really good. It made me feel accomplished and proud.”
Doxtater knows he’s putting himself out there, but he’s OK with
“I realize I am making myself vulnerable and people are going to
criticize me,” Doxtater said. “But I realize it’s something I’m
passionate about and I’m willing to get criticized for something
that I know is right.”
After Paul Sawatski arrived at the Tacoma Narrows
Bridge toll booth and realized that his dog Patty was missing from
the back of the truck, her leash and collar dangling over the side
of the vehicle, he spent three days searching for her along Highway
16 without success.
More than a week after Sawatski returned to Kansas,
several Kitsap County locals continued the search for Patty, a
six-year-old hound dog Sawatski has had since she was seven weeks
old, he said.
Patty was eventually caught in a live trap with the
help of Julie Saavedra, of Bremerton, on July 18, and arrived back
in Kansas July 23, almost three weeks after she went missing.
“She clicked her little paws three times and back to
Kansas she went,” Saavedra said.
The dog was in good health when she was found, she
And Patty is now back to lounging on the bed at home,
Sawatski and his fiancé Jessica Mahler were driving
back to Kansas after visiting family in Kitsap County during the
Fourth of July. Sawatski grew up in Seabeck and now lives in
Patty and Jessica both dislike fire works, so
Sawatski said he decided to take them and their other two dogs —
Charlie and Franklin — to camp grounds were fireworks were not
allowed. Somewhere between the Tremont Street exit and the Tacoma
Narrows Bridge on Highway 16, Sawatski said he thinks Patty must
have jumped out, something she has never done before.
“No one honked. I didn’t hear anything hit the
truck,” he said.
Sawatski and Mahler spent the Fourth of July driving
up and down Highway 16 looking for Patty. There was no sign of the
dog in the road, which kept Sawatski hopeful, he said.
The couple stayed through the weekend searching and
contacting local humane societies. Mahler flew back to Kansas for
work on Monday and Sawatski stay an extra day to search for
After seeing online postings for the missing dog,
Saavedra contacted the Sawatski and offered her helping locating
Patty. Saavedra runs the Facebook page “Kitsap and Mason counties
Lost and Found Furbabies.”
People would call Saavedra or Sawatski when they
sighted the dog, narrowing where she could be found.
After several reported sightings around the Purdy
Crescent Road exit, Saavedra set a live trap with a cooked steak,
chew toy and T-shirt that Sawatski mailed her. The hope was that
Sawatski’s scent would bring the hound dog into the trap, Saavedra
“I think the steak had something to do with it too,”
Firefighters from Kitsap County and across the country, ran, jogged
and sometimes leaned against walls on their way up 69 flights and
1,311 steps in full firefighting gear, including oxygen tanks and
breathing equipment, Sunday during Seattle’s annual Scott
Firefighter Stairclimb, a fundraiser for the Leukemia &
CKFR firefighter’s eight-man team has raised more
money than any other Kitsap area team with $16,036.13, beating its
CKFR also has placed in the top 10 fundraising teams
“Now we really set the bar too high,” joked
firefighter Ryan Orseth, CKFR team captain.
Orseth himself made an impressive fundraising push. He
was $403.95 short of making the list for the top 10 individual
fundraisers. He raised a total of $5,201.05.
Although firefighters are done racing stairs in
downtown Seattle’s Columbia Center, the second tallest building
west of the Mississippi, they can accept donations until the end of
So far, 1,800 firefighters from more than 300
departments have raised about $1.55 million.
Last year, the event raised $1.44 million with the
help of 1,500 firefighters from 282 departments.
While every Kitsap area fire district and department
participated in the event, not everyone is as closely connected
with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as the North Kitsap Fire
and Rescue is.
The district lost one of its own firefighters to
leukemia on March 8, 1997, according to NKFR spokesperson Michele
Tom Kenyon died at age 33, leaving behind his wife and
six-month-old daughter, who is now a high school senior.
The stairclimb has always been close to and sometimes
on the anniversary of Kenyon’s death, Laboda said.
This year, NKFR’s four-man team has raised $2,128,
just a few hundred shy of it’s $2,500 goal.
Besides the gratification of fundraising for a noble
cause, there also is a little pride in how quickly individuals and
teams climb the stairs.
Each team can have any number of participants, but
team times are calculated from the top three fastest times.
CKFR’s team time was 1 hour, 5 minutes and 30 seconds,
while the North Mason Fire Authority had the fastest time for
Kitsap area districts, finishing in 49:09.
The average firefighter takes 20 to 30 minutes to run
up 69 flights of stairs, according to the event website.
Only firefighters are allowed to climb in the
This year’s fastest time was 11:03 by 32-year-old
Missoula, Mont., firefighter Andrew Drobeck.
CKFR is looking at improving fundraising, not speed,
Orseth said he would like to see CKFR on the top 10
This year’s top fundraisers ranged from $22,318 to
To compete, Orseth suggested pooling Kitsap County’s
resources to create a countywide team.
And he has already started campaigning for next year’s
climbers, asking CKFR commissioners to consider joining the
Yes, I have been living under a rock.
So when the Kitsap Sun got an email from Fred Rabinovitz of Port
Orchard saying he and his son had built a TARDIS in their
garage, the newsworthiness of the announcement whizzed right past
me … defying the laws of space and time … much like the TARDIS
When I was asked to write about Rabinovitz’s TARDIS, I had no idea
how lucky I was. My first clue was photographer Meegan Reid, who
clawed the assignment away from Larry Steagall and who gushed with
excitement when we arrived at Rabinovitz’s garage.
Meegan is by nature pretty low key. I don’t think I’ve seen her
this worked up over anything … except maybe those whales in Dyes
Inlet. To myself, I’m like, “Nice blue box. But what’s the big
To Whovians everywhere, I apologize for my ignorance.
The TARDIS, of course, is the time-space travel machine that
figures centrally in the long-running BBC television series “Dr.
Who.” From the outside, it appears an ordinary British police call
box. Inside … ah, that’s another story.
The Doctor in “Dr. Who” has had multiple incarnations since the
show launched in 1963 — each played by different actors, with
different (mostly female) sidekicks and villainous otherworldly
I’m not going to say how many Doctors there have been for fear of
stepping into Whovian trivia quicksand. I do know the Doctor is an
alien Time Lord (apparently with two hearts) and a shape shifter …
unlike the TARDIS (for Time and Relative Dimension in Space), which
got stuck as a police call box early on in the series.
That’s not to say the TARDIS is a static prop.
Over the course of the series — both the “classic” earlier version
and the reincarnation that began in 2005 — the TARDIS has been so
much more than a vehicle through space and time. It (she?) has a
personality and oft independent will, as the Doctor does battle
over the millennia with various hordes of rubbery monsters. All of
this is served up with that dry British wit that seems to poke fun
at the show’s inherent hokiness.
What’s not to love?
Jordan Rabinovitz, 17, is the resident Whovian – reminiscent of the
11th Doctor in a natty vest and bow tie — proud as a hen on a new
clutch of eggs as he opens the door to the TARDIS.
Inside, Fred Rabinovitz, an engineer by trade, has done wonders
with a metal recycling bin, some holiday rope lights and a DJ’s
music mixing console he got off eBay. There’s even a
black-and-white television that displays a grainy image of the
hypnotizing introduction to the show.
Jordan pushes a button and the TARDIS emits a noise suggestive of
futuristic travel. His secret? A key scraped along a piano wire.
It’s thoroughly convincing. Take note, BBC.
The Rabinovitz TARDIS has had its own dramatic career, appearing in
the family’s extravagant Christmas light display and as a prop in a
video for a Spanish assignment.
Jordan is a relative newcomer to the fandom — which like the TARDIS
is bigger on the inside that it appears from the outside. He
started watching in December 2012.
“I had heard a little bit about it. I decided I may as well watch
the first episode (from the 2005 reboot), and it just got me
intrigued,” Jordan said. “Episode by episode, the emotional
attachment set in.”
By June he had his dad hard at work on the TARDIS.
“I would build it, and he would come out and say, ‘That’s not
right.’” Fred said. “I’d say, ‘It’s good enough.’ And he’d say,
‘No, it’s not.’”
“It’s a work in progress,” Fred said. “We’re always adding to
Jordan Rabinovitz has watched many of the Dr. Who episodes —
including those of the classics he can locate — and he can rattle
off trivia rapid fire. He even has a replica of the crazy-long
scarf worn by an earlier doctor and a sonic screwdriver.
Jordan, a senior at Crosspointe Christian Academy, often comes home
from a long day and closes himself in the TARDIS. Listening to the
take-off noise or music from the console, he is indeed
“It’s a getaway. It’s imaginative. It lets the creative juices
flow,” Jordan said. “I have achieved time travel, but only when I’m
In case there was any question, let’s make one thing perfectly
clear: “I’m a huge fan, not obsessive,” Jordan said. “There’s a
line; you don’t cross it. Some have, and I’m sorry for them.”
As to the question, “Is it bigger on the inside?” Just wait ‘til
you see their next model.
On Sunday night dozens of Elise Fulton’s closest friends met at
a South Kitsap church to raise funds for Elise and her son Joey to
get a trip to Disneyland. The event was sparked by Elise’s wish
that before she died that she and Joey, who is 2, would get some
time together in the Magic Kingdom.
Elise, as we wrote in a story last week, has
leukemia and doctors had recently told her she had no more than a
few months left. Her final wish, in fact, was that Joey get to go
to Disneyland and additionally to gather with relatives he’d yet to
Phil Daubenspeck, associate pastor of the South Kitsap Family
Worship Center said Sunday night’s event raised $18,500, more than
enough to get Joey and his accompanying family to Southern
California and to Montana for the chance to meet relatives.
Elise’s mother, Linda Fulton, said Elise in recent weeks became
aware that she might not be around long enough to make the trip
with Joey, but she wanted to make sure he got to go.
Elise was too ill to make it to Sunday’s event. She and her mom
witnessed it via Skype. On Monday afternoon Linda Fulton said Elise
was hanging in there. Cancer, and chemotherapy, has a way of making
someone fragile, less able to battle off infections and the
For anyone still wishing to contribute, donations can be made at
the Family Worship Center website at
http://www.fwclive.com/#!elise–joey-miracle-fund/c1o7c, or to the
“Elise & Joey Miracle Fund” at any Wells Fargo Bank. Account