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.
Students at Cedar Heights Junior High School (and most staff
members) showed up for the school assembly Thursday with no idea
what was in store.
When Richard Sherman walked into the room, the gym exploded in
applause and excitement, said South Kitsap School District
spokeswoman Amy Miller.
Sherman, a pillar of the Legion of Boom for the 2013 NFC
Champion Seattle Seahawks, agreed to speak at Cedar Heights’ “It
Takes Courage to be Great!” assembly as part of his work with
Blanket Coverage, the Richard Sherman Family Foundation.
Through the foundation, formed in 2013, Sherman provides students
in low-income communities with school supplies and clothing so they
can more adequately achieve their goals.
Sherman recently launched a new initiative to reach out to
schools with large at-risk populations, according to Bryan Slater,
Director of Community Outreach for the foundation and a member of
its board. Cedar Heights does not fit the at-risk label
statistically, said Slater, but Sherman wants to reach out to
schools in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap County. Slater, a
teacher in the Sumner School District, knows Ted Macomber, a dean
at Cedar and supporter of previous Blanket Coverage events, and so
the foundation connected with the school in South Kitsap School
Although Sherman did not distribute clothing at the assembly,
the Stanford grad did talk to the students about having the courage
and perseverance to keep trying even when the odds are stacked
Sherman fielded questions from the kids, including, “Will you be my
best friend?” to “What was your most courageous moment?”
He also invited six students to sign Blanket Coverage contracts
to work on improving themselves in the areas of attendance,
behavior/attitude or academics. The kids are asked to document
where they’ve been falling short in any one of these areas and to
list specific actions they will try to take to change their habits.
The purpose is to encourage students to take small steps to reach
their bigger life goals, Slater said.
Sherman will personally follow up with the students to see how they
are doing with their goals, according to Slater.
“Richard’s role is to kind of be a big cheerleader for the
kids,” he said. “Richard doesn’t want this to be kind of a one and
done thing. He wants to have authentic, real relationships with the
On his blog, Sherman on Thursday posted, “Shout out to Cedar
Heights Junior High School, I had an amazing time today. These kids
truly have a ton of potential; I hope I can help them reach it. We
had a few kids sign contracts today to improve in various areas of
their studies — it is always encouraging to see a student show
their dedication to becoming successful. I hope all the students
enjoyed it as much as I did. Keep up the hard work; it will pay
Sherman has already visited Rainer Beach High School in Seattle,
where he had five students sign contracts. With more school visits
ahead, how will he keep track of all these kids?
“Richard’s memory is so incredible, when he gets to meet these
five or six kids, he’ll remember them forever,” Slater said.
Members of the media were not invited to or notified of the
“We’re not really interested in the publicity,” Slater said. “We
don’t want it to be construed as a publicity stunt by Mr.
“South Kitsap School District would like to thank Richard
Sherman and his family foundation for taking the time to visit
Cedar Heights and make a difference for the students in our
community,” Miller said.
Dance teams from South Kitsap cleaned up at the American
Showcase event in Anaheim, Calif., in April.
The Cedar Heights Junior High School’s junior varsity team,
coached by Lexi Sperber-Meekins, took first place in the pom event
for its division.
The South Kitsap High School varsity dance team, coached by
Devin Hanson, won all three of the events in which they were
entered in the finals on April 12: Varsity jazz, varsity hip hop
and varsity Pom.
“For a high school team to win that many first place awards is
quite an accomplishment,” said Sheila Noone, of Varsity.com, which
hosts the event and a number of other dance team and cheer
competitions. “I would assume that they are a very versatile team,
strong in many different genres of dance. Some teams are strong in
pom, or hip hip, or jazz, but to be great at all is very
This is their jazz number.
The SKHS dance team has been together for a year. They tried out
last spring and worked over the summer and fall to perfect their
technique and competition routines. According to Hanson, the team
puts in roughly seven to 10 hours a week at practice.
The team performs whenever they can, at the back-to-school fair,
high school basketball games, and they did the half-time
performance for a Kitsap Admirals game in February.
The dance team competes in Washington Interscholastic Activities
Association competitions, and this year they took their hip hop,
and jazz routines to state.
As you watch these other videos, check out what an athletic
endeavor these dance routines are. If you think this looks like fun
(and if you’re a student), tryouts are coming up, likely some time
in early June.
Note: When I first posted these photos earlier in the week,
I left out most of the details because I wasn’t sure if I might
include Ashtin Fitzwater in the story about 12s going to Arizona without game
tickets. I posted it early because other news agencies
were already getting the photo out there and I didn’t want to be
too far behind them.
So here is an expanded version of Wednesday’s post, with
more information I had then, and updates, including one that’s
humongous! And I don’t use that word or exclamation points
Ashtin Fitzwater left the Northwest in 2004 following his
graduation from Central Kitsap High School, but remains a 12,
representing in his new hometown of Chandler, Ariz.
We first posted this Wednesday, but a lot has happened
Fitzwater took about five hours on a Saturday to paint the home
he and his girlfriend rent from her mother. I was skeptical, and so
was one of my editors, that a house could be painted in five hours,
but Fitzwater has skills. He graduated from Arizona State
University with a degree in housing and community development and
has worked in construction since. “I’ve painted a lot of houses,”
The Seahawk logo on the lawn was done by hand. He set himself up
to do it well, applying math to the Seahawk logo from his
construction helmet to measure out a 20-foot-by-7-foot rectangle
with corners staked with rebar. (And you kids say math won’t help
you in life.) He used string to create the box for the bird and
went to work, looking at his helmet and spraying the lawn.
This week, as you can imagine, there has been a crush of media
in Arizona, including lots from Seattle. KING-5 TV was, I think,
the first media outlet to post pictures of Fitzwater and his house.
Fitzwater’s brother, Jeremy Hunt, re-Tweeted a KING-5 photo and
mentioned he’s a CK alum, so I got him on the phone. Since then,
other Seattle news agencies have been by and the Fox affiliate in
Phoenix paid attention. A Spokane station, KXLY, has given him the
most attention, which we’ll get to shortly.
Fitzwater said he’s seen lots of people driving by to get a
look. A neighbor counted 30 cars one day. One family came by and
the mom had a Patriots jersey on, so the 12s that were with her had
fun and put duct tape over her mouth and wrapped a Hawk flag around
her as they took pictures. The mom was a willing victim, so save
the nasty letters.
Yesterday when Fitzwater arrived home he found someone had left
him a jumbo bag of Skittles. He set up a camera to see footage of
people responding to the setting. A lot of people have taken
selfies, some of them looking around nervously as if a house that’s
begging for attention is also demanding privacy. One day Fitzwater
heard a woman yelling “We found it!” to her friends. They’d been
out scouring Chandler neighborhoods looking for the Seahawk
As Fitzwater and I were talking Friday a mailman stopped across
the street to get a selfie with the house behind him.
And so it has gone, but that’s not the biggest news yet. Hunt
is, as of this writing, traveling down to Arizona to watch the game
with Fitzwater, but that’s not the biggest news either.
KXLY caught the big news, Fitzwater
proposing to his girlfriend, Melissa Duke, at night as both are
standing on the Seahawk logo. The two have been together eight
years and have been talking about marriage. They’ve been talking
about it so much, in fact, that Duke kept telling Fitzwater that he
couldn’t surprise her.
She was wrong.
A friend asked Duke on a scale of 1-10 how surprised she was by
Can you guess her answer?
Hint: She’s a Seahawk fan, too.
Second hint: Look to the roof of the house, or any car with a
flag waving anywhere near Seattle.
Standing behind them in the KXLY video were a pair of friends,
Adam Collins (also a 2004 Central Kitsap High School grad) and
Christina Adams. They’ve been engaged two years and have been
having trouble figuring out where to get married and what kind of
arrangements to make. According to Fitzwater they now plan to get
married Sunday morning, on the Seahawk lawn.
Duke, for her part, has always dreamed of a destination wedding,
so she and Fitzwater are beginning to make their plans for sometime
in the future.
My suggestion: San Francisco, early February 2016. If all goes
well they could be there to witness the birth of the
In mid-December, as the Seattle Seahawks pumped their regular
season record to 12-2 in a shutout against the New York Giants,
Kenneth Bayne and Kasey Osborne, owners of Kitsap Auto Mall in
Gorst, decided to gamble with their advertising budget.
No, they didn’t hit the casinos. They dedicated $10,000 — the
amount they would have spent for print, TV and online ads between
then and the Super Bowl — to a raffle.
Anyone could enter. The tickets were free for the asking. People
who bought cars got 100 raffle tickets. They checked with their
lawyers, and as long as no purchase was required, they were on the
good side of the state’s gambling commission.
Had the Seahawks fallen out of the running for the Super Bowl at
any time, the raffle would have been called off. But we all know
how that turned out.
The drawing is at 5 p.m. this Friday at the dealership.
“We’re going to have a huge party,” said General Manager Phillip
Olson. “We’re going to celebrate the Seahawks being the world
Bayne and Osborne are big Seahawks fans, Olson said. Bayne
attended the Super Bowl game in New Jersey.
Were they crazy to give away $10,000? Crazy like a fox.
The dealership sold 124 vehicles between Dec. 15 and Feb. 1;
last year during the same period, they sold 81. That was an
all-time record for the dealership, Olson said.
The dealership gave away 621 tickets via Facebook; 91 people
came in to get theirs. And the 124 car buyers each got 100. That
makes the odds of winning 1:13,112.
One more little piece of trivia, the dealership was open the day
of the Super Bowl, and they sold three cars. But none during game
The auto mall is located at 3555 W State Hwy 16, Port Orchard,
I am bragging. That’s not an admirable quality. I can accept that.
Yesterday, and I have to post this when “yesterday” is still
yesterday, I responded to my cousin’s Facebook post about the game.
It was more than two hours before kickoff. Maybe it was because I
was sitting in church that I felt so accurately inspired, but it
was accurate nonetheless. I said something few outside the
Seahawks’ locker room were willing to say, that Super Bowl XLVIII
would be a rout.
The picture here is your proof. “Hawks will win and it won’t be
close,” I wrote. In reality it was just a feeling, but I had
thought about the game like everyone else had for the two weeks
leading up to it and there was some logic to it. And even though I
can profess some prescience, I didn’t think it be as brutal as it
Here were my three reasons my feeling was supported by
1. As highly regarded as the Denver Broncos offense was, it only
put up 26 points on the Patriots and 24 on the Chargers. The top
four scoring defenses were in the NFC (Seattle, San Francisco,
Carolina and New Orleans.) New England ranked 10th and San Diego
was 11th. Those are good, but not elite like Seattle and San
Francisco. Seattle had given up 14.4 points per game. New England
and San Diego both averaged around 21.
2. I thought the difference would be the Seahawk offense. I
figured Russell Wilson would play well, that Denver would have
little answer for his ability to escape and find opportunities, and
that Percy Harvin might play an even bigger role in the offense
than he did. Denver’s defense gave up almost 25 points per game
this year. That might be a little misleading, because when your
offense is explosive as much as Denver’s had been, you’re on the
field a lot longer and many points come in garbage time. But I
thought Seattle’s offense would fare well, because it put up 23 on
San Francisco and New Orleans, two vastly superior defenses.
3. In 2006 the Seahawks should have beaten the Steelers. Seattle
was better than Pittsburgh, but played poorly. Yes, I know the refs
didn’t perform so well either, but that loss was clearly on the
Seahawk players. They played awful, awful, awful in key moments. I
trusted the psychological make-up of this team to not implode like
that one did. Perhaps what convinced me of this team’s mettle was
the way it battled back against San Francisco in the NFC
championship game. Wilson fumbles and the defense holds for just a
field goal. Then the D figures out how to contain Kaepernick. This
team was tested in a way that 2006 team was not before the Super
Bowl, and it answered. I figured it would again, if necessary, but
that it probably wouldn’t be to near the degree the test the 49ers
Despite all that, I did not envision this kind of blowout.
Another cousin was in a pool and had the number “3” for the
Seahawks and “4” for the Broncos. I wrote to him, 33-14 Seahawks.
That’s what I figured, that the Seahawks would clearly be better
than the Broncos, but that they would have to preserve a lead, not
start sending in backups for mop-up duty.
In the end, though, they did everything right, the refs were a
non-factor and the Broncos contributed with a few mistakes. The
Seahawk defense stopped the yards after catch. Manning couldn’t run
like Kaepernick. The defensive line altered throws and one turned
into a pick six. Harvin broke a kickoff return, something you could
realistically imagine but not predict. And Seattle’s offense kept
converting on third down and breaking tackles.
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
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
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
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,
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.)
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
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.
For the record, I played sports in high school and would have
blown gas out my ears if anyone would have suggested taking any of
Nonetheless, in the last year I’ve watched two districts
negotiate funding. Music and other classes have taken hits. Not
once, however, have I heard much, if any, suggestion to scale back
anything in sports. In fact, in North Kitsap they’re discussing
putting in a press box at Kingston High School so the football team
can play its games on campus rather than at an already built
stadium at North Kitsap High School. One of the arguments against
it, a side that isn’t winning, is that the district is considering
spending $30,000 on a press box when it’s cutting elsewhere. On the
other hand I don’t know if anyone has asked how much it costs to
transport Kingston players to North Kitsap, so maybe at least over
time there would be a cost saving. It might take a while for that
to pencil out, but I haven’t asked either.
Amanda Ripley at The Atlantic Monthly, presents a case that
despite its title, The Case Against High School Sports, offers a
fair conversation about what might happen if schools eliminated
sports. It’s fair, because Ripley also addresses sports’
Precisely because of people like me, this might be a tough sell.
But Ripley offers as compelling a case as I’ve ever heard. My
apologies to the Kitsap Sun sports staff.
The principal of Central Kitsap High School apologized to the
marching band Thursday for a homecoming game debacle in which the
band’s performance was unceremoniously cut short.
Standing before band members on Linder Field, Stephen Coons
said, “I wanted to come and express my sincere and deepest apology.
It was a regrettable experience and never should have
According to Coons, the homecoming half-time show ran long. The
show begins with a processional of the homecoming court, followed
by the band’s carefully choreographed display. The Washington
Interscholastic Athletic Association allows for an extended
halftime during special events like homecoming, but the performance
had run well beyond the allowed extension, Coons said.
School officials held their own football players back, Coons
said, but they had no authority over the Foss High School players,
who began to stream onto the field to warm up. Parent Heather
McClellan said that was a safety issue, since band members were
marching backward and could have tripped over the football players.
He daughter Mira plays flutes in the band, made up of CKHS and
Klahowya Secondary students.
The musicians were further demoralized when some of the CK
coaches gestured for the band to leave the field so the game could
resume, McClellan said.
As for the parents, “We were pissed,” she said.
Tyler Hunt, activities coordinator, shouldered part of the
blame, saying, “It was unfortunate. Due to my part, it didn’t go as
smoothly as it should. … You guys deserve as much respect as the
Coons acknowledged the band members’ hours of practice to
prepare for the performance and pledged school officials were
taking steps to ensure no such disrespect would ever be shown
again. The band will be acknowledged at tomorrow’s game at
Silverdale Stadium. Parents and friends of students will receive
“I’m very glad he did that,” said McClellan, who observed the
apology with several other parents. “I think it soothed the kids’
feelings. I think it was a great gesture.”
Coons said nothing like this has ever happened at CKHS in the 11
years he’s been there. But unfortunately incidents like this have
happened elsewhere, he said.
“This is a great, hard-working bunch of kids. They really add to
the quality of all our sporting events,’ Coons said. “It pains me
to let them down.”
As band members filed out to the 50-yard line to begin their
drills, one boy shook the principal’s hand and said, “It’s all
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
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
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
Here’s my favorite, a picture of donkey basketball at the old
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.