Peninsular Thinking

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Kitsap area firefighters raise more than $46,000 in annual stairclimb

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
CKFR's Lindsay Muller at the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle on Sunday, March 9.

CKFR’s Lindsay Muller at the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle on Sunday, March 9. Contributed photo

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 & Lymphoma Society.

CKFR firefighter’s eight-man team has raised more money than any other Kitsap area team with $16,036.13, beating its $12,000 goal.

CKFR also has placed in the top 10 fundraising teams per capita.

“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 the month.

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 Laboda.

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 event.

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, next year.

Orseth said he would like to see CKFR on the top 10 fundraisers list.

This year’s top fundraisers ranged from $22,318 to $68,976.99.

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 team.

They declined with laughter.

“There’s paramedics on scene,” Orseth said.

“You’re good.”

 

Local team results

Bainbridge Island Fire
Time – 58:12
Team members – 7
Raised – $4,835.96
Goal – not listed

Bremerton Fire
Time – 55:34
Team members – 7
Raised – $3,678.12
Goal – not listed

Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue
Time – 1:05:30
Team members – 8
Raised – $16,076.13
Goal – $12,000

North Kitsap Fire and Rescue
Time – 1:19:47
Team members – 4
Raised – $2,128
Goal – $2,500

North Mason Regional Fire Authority
Time – 49:09
Team members – 4
Raised – $2,045
Goal – $5,000

Poulsbo Fire
Time – 54:03
Team members – 8
Raised – $6,269.60
Goal – $10,000

South Kitsap Fire and Rescue
Time – 50:12
Team members – 14
Raised – $11,348
Goal – $25,000


Dr. Who? In which I learn what I’ve been missing

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

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 itself.
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.
Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 5.31.06 PM
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 deal?”
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 enemies.
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.
Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 5.34.28 PM
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.
Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 5.30.06 PM
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 it.”
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.
Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 5.30.45 PM
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 transported.
“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 it.”
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.


An ‘Elise and Joey’ fundraiser update

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

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 meet.

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 like.

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 No.: 3773077320.


What to do while we wait? Make chili!

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Ten days, 43 minutes and 2 seconds until our Seahawks meet the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. That is unless a snow storm “of massive proportions” plays havoc with the game.

In case you just arrived from another planet, kickoff is at 3:25 p.m. (PST) Sunday, February 2, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

I am the epitome of a fair weather fan. I’ve watched one football game start to finish … ever. And guess which it was? Lucky me.

Now, like everyone else, I’m counting down the days until the Superbowl. So I can relate totally to fans at the End Zone Sports Pub in Port Orchard, who have a strategy to make the waiting (and a weekend without pro football) less agonizing.

“What about the Pro Bowl?” I asked Janet Wilson, who owns the pub with husband Steve. “Doesn’t that count?”

OK well, you can see I’m a newbie. The feeling of the End Zone’s customers about the Pro Bowl is a unified, “Meh.”

So what are they going to do with all that down time? Make chili.

The End Zone plans a chili cook-off at 1 p.m. Saturday. It’s a tradition started six years ago by a handful of customers just trying to kill time’ til the Super Bowl. Last year, there were close to 25 entries. Most who enter are guys. There have been some husband versus wife match ups. Last year’s winner was Lisa Gilliand.

Variety (not necessarily heat) is the name of the game in this crowd, many who are hunters.

“We’ve had elk; we’ve had salmon; we’ve had chicken,” said Janet Wilson (no relation to Russell, unless I missed something). “We’ve had some horrible ones. A lot of them were men who didn’t know what they were doing.”

But they’ve come along, learned a lot over the years. “I think the guys generally want to be the best cook,” Wilson said.

There are no rules in this “customer driven” contest. The prizes are bragging rights, your name on a plaque and the chance to wear the Chili Crown for a day.

A panel of six judges makes the call on the best batch. There’s also a people’s choice award. Once the judging is over, they break out the cornbread and cheese and the feast is on.

Speaking of chili, I will now reprise a recipe for Uncle Dan’s Habañero Hellfire Chili given to me courtesy of Dan Saul. Saul, related to the owners of Hubert’s Christmas Tree Farm, was handing out samples when I did a story on the farm in December 2012. It was the perfect thing after stomping around in the cold and rain. Warmed you right up and then some.

Uncle Dan’s chili consists of little chunks of beef and pork swimming in a fragrant, spicy broth, with grace notes of chocolate and the kick of 15, count them, 15 habañero peppers (for a recipe that serves 20). Not so secret ingredients include bittersweet chocolate, strong coffee and a quart of dark beer. Is it hot? Heck, yeah!

Uncle Dan is a colorful character. You can read all about him in my original blog post about the chili.

Here’s the recipe for Uncle Dan’s Habañero Hellfire Chili. Don’t say you weren’t warned. (If you don’t need 20 servings, hopefully you can do the math to cut it down.)

Serves 20

Ingredients:

4 onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds ground beef
2 pounds ground pork
15 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
15 habañero peppers, seeded and chopped
20 Anaheim peppers, seeded and chopped
1 quart dark beer
4 cups coffee (strong brewed)
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
5 (16-ounce) cans chili beans
1 (six-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup chili powder
2-ounces bittersweet chocolate, shaved into fine pieces
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
3 tbsp. cumin
3 tbsp. smoked paprika

Directions
In a stock pot brown beef and pork over medium-high heat
Season with salt and pepper
While meat is browning, stir in all ingredients except beans
Reduce heat to simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally
Add beans and continue simmering for 45 minutes.

“Bon appetite,” says Dan.


South Kitsap Transportation by the numbers

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

You may have read the story about neighbors of South Kitsap School District’s bus barn who have complained about recent changes that meant an earlier, noisier start to bus activity in the Lincoln Avenue neighborhood. The district has come up with a short-term solution, and they are working on long-term ideas, as well. We will continue to follow this story.

If you have anything to say about South Kitsap Transportation, call or email me, Chris Henry, chenry@kitsapsun.com, (360) 792-9219.

In the meantime, did you know: District buses travel 1.25 million miles a year, and their oldest bus, 25 years, has 285,000 miles.

Here’s a video and (below) some more statistics on SKSD’s transportation operations.

Schools served: 16

Enrollment: 9,026

Square miles covered: 144

Rides (one-way) per day: About 10,000, including field trips

Fleet: 89 vehicles

Gallons of fuel per year: 160,000 gallons of diesel;
14,000 of unleaded

Drivers: 90

Mechanics: 6

Annual budget: $4.9 million

Average bus age: large, 11.3 years; small, 8.2 years

State recommended replacement age: large, 13 years; small, 8 years


Port Orchard native represents in singing competition

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

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.
Jessica5[3]
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, http://www.voiceofmcdonalds.com/voting. Click on United States, then Jessica Barry.


South Kitsap woman reunites lost dogs with owners

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Juliua Stroup with Zsa Zsa and Bell shortly after the two dogs were found in Poulsbo

PORT ORCHARD — Juliua Stroup has been reuniting lost dogs with their owners for only two months, but she’s already lost count of the number of reunions she’s done.

There was Brewster, a dog from Gig Harbor missing since June 15. Stroup found him in Port Orchard Friday. A chihuahua-mix found in Belfair that was reunited with its East Bremerton owner last week. A Port Orchard bulldog at the animal shelter Stroup delivered to its owner.

But if she were to see the dogs once again, she’d remember each story.

“When I’m done with one, I just move on to the next,” said the 50-year-old Port Orchard resident.

Stroup keeps track of lost dogs in the county by spending 8 to 10 hours everyday working toward rescue efforts. That means spending hours on the internet, comparing found postings to lost dog ads to match dog and owner.

Her efforts are being honored Sunday by PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap at the annual dog-celebration event, WagFest.

A retired information technology specialist at Keyport, Stroup said she got involved in reuniting dogs and their owners in early July after noticing an increase in the number lost pet ads after the 4th of July holiday.

“I was just going to help a little, but then I got pulled in,” Stroup recalled during a phone interview from her Port Orchard home.

Stroup was recently involved in a reunion between two Boxer dogs and their Port Ludlow owners.

The dogs had escaped from the Viking Kennels in Poulsbo while David and Maisie Wheatley and their family went on vacation in July.

The problem was made worse when Viking Kennels staff revealed the dogs, Zsa Zsa and Bell, had been missing about a week before the family returned.

Stroup and a team of volunteers went into rescue mode, scouring the internet and making phone calls and visiting area animal shelters on a daily basis.

It also was the first time Stroup herself physically walked and searched an area for a missing dog, despite still recovering from hip surgery at the time.

Zsa Zsa was found 11 days later while Bell was found 21 days later.

Callers noticed Zsa Zsa darting in and out of traffic near Gunderson and Stottlemeyer Roads and Bell was found hiding in a wooded area near Lincoln and Widme Roads. Other than dehydration and a few cuts and scraps, the two dogs were in good shape, Stroup said.
She calls Zsa Zsa and Bell her godchildren now.

The best part of reuniting owners with their dogs is being part of the emotional reunion, Stroup said.

Reunited dogs with their owners is just one of the ways Stroup gives back to her community.

After leaving her job at Keyport a few years ago, Stroup started collecting wood from various sources to give to the poor.

The 50 year old also volunteers for equine non-profits around the county, using her trailer to transport horses from one location to another.

“People need to know you don’t need to do something really huge to help,” she said. “You just have to be a bit inconvenienced. You don’t have o have a lot of money, but just put in the effort.”

She’ll be attending Sunday’s Wagfest with the Wheatleys and her four-legged godchildren.

Photo: Maisie Wheatley of Port Ludlow with Zsa Zsa

Maisie Wheatley of Port Ludlow with Zsa Zsa

Maisie Wheatley of Port Ludlow with Zsa Zsa


Student protest discouraged by SKSD administrators

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Some students at South Kitsap High School had planned a walk-out protest of the district’s plans to eliminate 68 positions, including 61 teachers’ jobs, Principal Jerry Holsten said Monday.

Holsten’s comments confirmed some chatter the Kitsap Sun heard via its Facebook page earlier in the day.

“Yes, we heard about something this morning,” Holsten said. “We addressed it with staff and with some students, and there was no activity.”

Morale at the high school (and throughout the district) is low, given the school board’s decision last week to make plans for its most sweeping layoffs in recent memory. The students had apparently planned a sympathy strike by walking out on classes.

“We respect and admire our students’ opinions and values, and their interest in having a voice,” Holsten said. “We simply encourage them to present their voice in a different fashion that’s less disruptive to their schools.”

Although the state Legislature plans to pump additional funding into the K-12 education system, the budget is far from finalized. Whether or not some or all of the jobs will be saved is a big unknown.

The board is required by law to notify teachers who will be RIF’d, giving them adequate time to seek other jobs before the next school year. The board on May 8 elected to stick with the regular May 15 deadline (that’s Wednesday), instead of going with an extension to June 15, approved by the Legislature at the end of the regular session. One board member said it was a courtesy to teachers possibly facing layoffs, since June 15 would give them little planning time.

A total of 25 staff members have said they will retire or resign at the end of this year, so the number of proposed layoffs is 43.

The RIF list includes 3.3 administrative FTEs: 1.3 at the district office, an assistant principal at the high school and one elementary school assistant principal.
Also slated for elimination are:
25.5 elementary level teaching positions
22.9 secondary teaching positions
3.0 special educational teachers
8.5 career and technical education teachers
An instructional specialist, part of a school nurse position and 4.088 classified or non-teaching support positions make up the rest of cuts.

To add to the stress, documentation is due this week on the state’s new method of evaluating teachers and principals, called TPEP, for Teacher/Principal Evaluation Project.

“This is tough time for everybody, staff, students, administrators, parents,” Holsten said. “It’s a stressful time when we have to talk about staff reductions. It’s a somber mood, however our staff are great professionals, and they’re making sure it doesn’t affect our students’ education.”


Bill, back from the dead, thanks to Doreen

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

June 22 began like any workday for Bill Zimmerman of South Kitsap, owner of First Choice Construction. He got up at 5:30 a.m., showered quickly, dressed and headed out to pick up materials for a job he was doing for a neighbor.

Bill, 55, who does custom construction, is meticulous and driven, according to his girlfriend of 14 years, Doreen King, 57. He was particularly anxious that day to pick up a slab of granite that had been delayed in delivery. But as the slab was being transferred to Bill’s truck, it fell and shattered. Bill, his frustration mounting, waited two hours for a new slab to be cut and polished.

Later, Bill and his helper lifted the granite slab into place in the home under remodel. Suddenly, Bill began to feel lightheaded. He went home, calling it a day maybe just a shade earlier than usual. He sat down on the couch and told Doreen, “I have chest pain, and my arms hurt.”

He recalls telling her maybe he’d have to knock off lifting granite, leave it to the younger kids. He recalls thinking maybe he’d pulled a muscle in his chest. That granite was 300 pounds, after all. And that was all Bill remembers until five days later when he woke up in Harrison Medical Center’s intensive care unit.

Doreen, or Dee, as Bill calls her, is a Navy veteran and former reservist with a lengthy career in medical billing. While in the reserves, working at Naval Hospital Bremerton, she learned basic first aid and CPR, and she happened to have a blood pressure cuff in the home. She checked Bill’s vital signs and was alarmed at the numbers.

Dee was just about to say, “Let’s go to the hospital,” when Bill looked at her and said, “Oh, no.” His head dropped back, his eyes rolled, “his mouth contorted and his whole body seemed to be in a spasm,” Dee said.

She and her son, Pete, moved him to the floor, where Dee began CPR, as Bill was not breathing. Every time she stopped to check, Bill would take one large breath but no more, so she continued with compressions, as Pete called 911.

South Kitsap Fire & Rescue medics arrived within five minutes (4.5 by Doreen’s recollection). They “shocked” Bill three times and hustled him into an ambulance. On the way out the door, Dee was surprised to meet the EMS chaplain. “Were they expecting the worst?” she wondered.

In the emergency room, the pace of activity and urgency in the doctors’ and nurses’ voices told Doreen that Bill’s life “was hanging by a thread.” A cardiologist put a stent in a blood vessel that was completely blocked, and — miraculously, by his doctor’s account — Bill survived. The doctor credits Doreen’s effective CPR with the fact Bill did not suffer any brain damage.

Bill was sent to the intensive care unit, heavily sedated, and put on a ventilator, since he had inhaled body fluids during his ordeal. After five days of intensive respiratory therapy in the ICU, his lungs were clear enough for him to be woken up and taken off the ventilator.

Bill remembers almost nothing from the time the heart attack came on. One of the first things he said to Doreen was, “I have to finish that job.” Dee told him, “It will be there for you.”

Bill was blown away to hear about Dee’s role in his near death experience. “It brought tears to my eyes,” he said, “I think it’s strengthened my relationship with her. I know how much she truly loves me. It doesn’t come any better than this. She knows I love her, too, because I squeezed her hand in the hospital. That’s the first thing I told her when I was able, ‘I love you, and you saved my life.’”

Dee and Bill have played the lottery in the past. In the hospital, Dee thought about luck and what could have happened. She told Bill, “You know what? You hit the lotto, guy, you’re alive.”

Both are grateful to the SKFR paramedics, the staff of Harrison’s ER and ICU, and Bill’s cardiologist, Dr. David Tinker.

“He (Bill) was in the right place at the right time, with the right people, just the way God wanted it,” Dee said.

Three weeks after the heart attack, Bill was in the doctor’s office asking when he could go back to work.

“It’s hard for someone like me, who’s done this all his life to be sitting here,” he said. “It’s driving me crazy. On the other hand, I can’t be putting my life in jeopardy.”

Bill has quit smoking, replaced coffee with tea and can look forward to taking medications for the rest of his life. He has to take it easy — no lifting granite slabs, at least until he gets the doctor’s OK. But there’s no doubt he’s making a remarkable recovery.

There’s another problem, however. While Bill was in the hospital, someone stole his tools out of his truck. Because of his sudden illness, the truck wasn’t secured and it was parked just off his property, so homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the tools. Nor will Bill’s auto policy. Replacing them would cost about $3,000.

To make matters worse, Dee, was laid off from her last position with the Veteran’s Benefit Administration and is seeking work in a crowded job market. But in between worrying about getting through each day, the couple has been able to put things in perspective.

Bill’s relatively smooth recovery since his release from the intensive care unit has give the whole episode a surreal sheen, Dee said. It almost seems like it never happened. But then, she’ll look outside at the lawn and wonder how things would be if Bill weren’t here to mow the grass, little things like that.

“You don’t take it for granted that he’s sitting there,” Dee said. “Every day counts. Now it’s much more meaningful.”

For information on CPR classes, contact your local fire department. In South Kitsap, visit, South Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s website (skfr.org), or call (360) 871-2411.

The Home Builders Association of Kitsap County will offer a CPR class at 10 a.m. Sept. 8 at the HBA office, 5251 Auto Center Way in Bremerton. Those who complete the training will be certified for two years under the Washington State Industrial Safety & Health Act, which requires a “person holding a valid certificate of First Aid Training be present or available at all work sites.” The fee is $50 for HBA members; $60 for nonmembers. Register online at www.kitsaphba.com.

A donation account to help cover medical expenses and tool replacement has been set up for William Zimmerman at Kitsap Credit Union.

P.S. Note to readers: Yes, I do notice the less-than-subtle product placement in this photo submitted by Dee. I guess I could have cropped it out, but given what these two have been through, I let it stand. And in the interest of full disclosure, I know Doreen from when her son and my son were friends in elementary school in the 1990s. I thought the story had merit in that it’s a pretty dramatic account of CPR in action. — Chris Henry, reporter


Donkey basketball and other Port Orchard pastimes

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

We (and by “we” I mean reporter Ed Friedrich, but he handed this assignment off to me) recently received a copy of “Port Orchard” a pictorial history of the town by the same name, by the Claudia Hunt and George Willock of the Kitsap County Historical Society.

The book is part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series. According to a press release from the company, based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, “Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places.”

Willock and Hunt, both history buffs, have deep roots in Kitsap County. Hunt’s family came to Bremerton in 1918. She serves on the historical society’s board of trustees and historical sites committee. Hunt, retired from the shipyard, recently designed the Old Town Silverdale Historic Sites Tour to benefit the Clear Creek Trail.

Willock is a fourth generation Kitsap County resident and retired state employee with a background in business writing. He serves on the board and volunteers for many museum projects.

The book features historical society photos starting with 1988, two years after the town of Sidney (now Port Orchard), was founded. In its early days, the town had a pottery works, shingle mill and saw mill, as well as a wharf for “Mosquito Fleet” boats that were the primary means of transportation.

Fast forward to the 1940s, and this picture, showing local youth diving like lemmings into the 50-degree waters of Sinclair Inlet … just ’cause. Kids still do this (so do adults during the Olalla Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day … just ’cause).

 

 

 

 

 

Before Fathoms O’ Fun, the town celebrated with something calls “Days of 49,” popular from the 1940s through the 1960s. Townsfolk dressed up in wild west garb and got pretty wild and crazy from what I’ve heard. “The name actually had no connection with Port Orchard. Celebration founders chose it simply because no other town had claimed it,” the book states. … Kind of like a domain name.

My thoughts: Port Orchard, where we celebrate by default. Because “Days of 47″ was taken …  Makes “Fathoms O’ Fun” sound positively brilliant.

Here’s a picture of a parade float from 1950. The antique fire truck was purported by participants to be the first fire engine in Port Orchard not powered by horses.

 

 

 

 

 

My thoughts: Looks like it could use a horse or two or three. And a suggested caption: Now you see why we need that fire levy!

Here’s my favorite, a picture of donkey basketball at the old high school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sport was popular with everyone but the janitors. It spawned a special line of horseshoes, Air Wilburs. Also this explain why they needed a new high school.

Go ahead Bremerton, laugh. Just wait until Arcadia Publishing and the Kitsap County Historical Society get ahold of you.

“Port Orchard” is available for $21.99 at local retailers, online bookstores and through Arcadia Publishing, www.arcadiapublishing.com; (888) 313-2665.


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