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.
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.
Fitzwater took about five hours on a Saturday to paint the home
he and his girlfriend rent from her mother, and another few hours
to paint the Seahawk logo on the lawn. He did the lawn logo by
hand, using rebar sticks and string to create the box for the bird
and using a Seahawk logo on a construction helmet as his model.
Several people on Facebook have mentioned a
New York Times article about Doug Whitney, a Port Orchard man
who has a gene mutation that (in most people) causes early onset
Alzheimer’s disease. Whitney, 65, has yet to show symptoms, and
researchers are trying to figure out why.
Whitney’s mother and nine of her siblings, as well as Whitney’s
older brother died of the disease. All began showing symptoms in
“So Mr. Whitney has become Exhibit A in a new direction in
genetics research. After years of looking for mutations that cause
diseases, investigators are now searching for those that prevent
them,” the article states.
The idea of beneficial gene mutations is getting plenty of
attention from the scientific community.
Two Seattle researchers have started “The Resilience Project,”
drawing on large databases to find people, like Whitney, who seem
to have protective genes. They found Whitney after contacting
Washington University (in St. Louis), where a study is under way of
families with a gene, presenilin, that causes early Alzheimer’s.
Whitney joined the study in 2011.
Whitney deferred getting tested for the Alzheimer’s causing gene
until he turned 62. Other researchers have contacted him, as well,
and Whitney, for his part, is happy to contribute to advancing
knowledge of Alzheimer’s, the article states.
So, question for readers: If, based on the medical history of
family members, you knew you might have a disease-causing genetic
mutation, would you get tested and when?
“I’ve been telling people for years that it’s probably one
of the earliest forms of entertainment in the history of humans.
Secondly, if the conspiracy theorists are correct and one day all
the power shuts down, then much of our entertainment will be what
we can do in person, like sing or dance. Storytelling will also be
a big part of the mix.
“Storytelling events also connect us to people we might not
otherwise know. We hear their stories and our beliefs about issues,
lifestyles and life’s triumphs and mistakes becomes something
human. If we’re not careful, storytelling makes us
“Finally, it’s fun. You shouldn’t miss it.”
In 1999 or 2000 I attended a storytelling festival in Provo,
Utah. That’s probably the first place I had ever become interested
in the activity, though I always enjoyed public speaking. I know.
I’m weird that way. I get scared, but I love it.
There are not that many opportunities for on-stage storytelling,
so over the years I worked on improving my storytelling in my
reporting. I also listened to shows that offer excellent examples,
such as “This American Life” and “The Tobolowsky Files.” And then I
Moth, which is when I became interested in hosting an
event. Angela Dice, a former reporter here, and I talked about it
for years, but didn’t quite feel confident or disposed with a lot
of time to get one going.
Then a few months ago Josh Farley, a fellow reporter who runs
the outstanding Kitsap Quiz Night, asked me
what I needed to get started. Turns out what I really needed was to
have him ask me that question. He introduced me to Rebecca Dove
Taylor at the Manette Saloon and we eventually set a date. Since
then, it’s gone from slow simmer to full on burn as far as
planning. And now the event is upon us.
A couple weeks ago I finally got to attend a Story Slam in
Seattle put on by The Moth. And last week I participated in another
Story Slam on Bainbridge Island put on by Field’s End. My message
to you? You’ll do fine. Come tell your story. On the Facebook page
and on the website are some tips to help you prepare to tell your
story if you choose to give one. The winning storyteller on
Thursday walks away with the fine jewelry you see pictured here.
And I plan on bringing other prizes. I’m still working on those
The biggest prize, however, is just whatever you get out of
being there. If you speak you get that experience. If you don’t,
you get the thrill of hearing others and sharing a night with
friends. I’ve been to a few of these and I’ve never been to one
that wasn’t fun. And hey, even if you don’t tell a story, you could
win a prize! You’ll find out about that on Thursday.
Kitsap County Historical Society published its third
book in three years earlier this month. “Silverdale” is the second
book in the historical society’s “Images of America” series.
The 128-page book, which took more than a year to
complete, features hundreds of photographs of historic Silverdale
and its development on the shores of Dyes Inlet from 1857 through
Readers can flip through the pages to see aerials of
Silverdale from the 1930s and 1946, showing the growth and change
because of World War II. The book also features photographs of
Bucklin Hill Road as a narrow dirt road, as well as Silverdale
families throughout history.
The first book of the “Images of
America” series — “Port Orchard” — was published two years ago,
along with the third edition of “Kitsap County, A History: A Story
of Kitsap County and Its Pioneers” that was originally published in
While the historical society would like to publish a
book about Bremerton some day, writer Claudia Hunt is ready for a
“We’re exhausted,” said Hunt, a historical society
board of trustee. Hunt, along with her brother, Randy Hunt, and
Carolyn Neal wrote “Silverdale”. The Hunt siblings also wrote “Port
All three books can be bought through Kitsap County
Historical Society, on Amazon or local bookstores.
FRAGARIA — I caught a ratfish from my deck. Its big green eyes,
large spines and gaping mouth were right out of a nightmare movie.
Cut the line and let it plop back into Colvos Passage. Thirty years
later, it might still be out there.
I’ll never forget that creepy creature, or much else about living
on pilings over Puget Sound. It was the coolest place I’ve ever
Shortly after graduating from college, we found the beach place in
the want ads. Three hundred dollars a month. That was a fortune in
The road wound steeply down a hill, nothing keeping a wayward
driver from tumbling into the creek canyon. At the bottom, a skinny
dirt driveway slipped between a cliff and row of old cabins on
pilings. Ours was third from the end, a white 1 1 1/2 story built
Dark-stained knotty pine adorned the walls, broken up by a huge,
river-rock fireplace. Single-pane windows exposed the water. On
nice days, a tiny Space Needle could be spotted. Binoculars
Pull-down stairs led to an open second floor where a guy had died
during a wild drug party. We were scared of his ghost — though the
landlord said he was friendly — and didn’t go up there much. I did
haul a Volkswagen engine up piece by piece and rebuilt it, then
couldn’t get it back down the ladder.
During high tide, four or five feet of water rose under the deck.
I’d cast a line, imagining beautiful cutthroat trout (you could
keep them then) and salmon like my neighbors showed off, but caught
nothing but dogfish. It was still fun reeling them in. Get offa my
Huge perch lounged under the planks. I could hit them in the head
with bait and they still wouldn’t bite. Not that I really wanted to
hook one, but they could have at least paid me some mind.
Otters floated past on their backs, cracking clams on their
bellies. Seals ducked below the surface, popping up hundreds of
Sound slid across the water like a shuffleboard. Ships were heard
before seen. In the fog, they weren’t visible at all, just horns in
Once in a while, a black submarine cruised past, probably to an old
sonar range off of Fox Island. Light-green Canadian warships were
another rare treat. There were always boats of some sort, from
brightly colored sailboats racing around the island to monstrous
freighters steaming for Tacoma.
It wasn’t always tranquil. Storm waves slammed logs against the
40-year-old pilings, rattling the house and preventing sleep. The
water was icy, racing in our out and never stopping long enough to
warm up. Rainstorms pummeled the cliff. Once, mud slid across the
road and knocked a cabin into the bay. We were long gone by then,
fortunately. Would’ve been blocked in for days.
I’d go back in a second. Not only are they not making more
waterfront, they’re not building more houses on piers over it. Let
me know if you find one. I’d like to retire there.
— Ed Friedrich
Six generations of marriage went down the drain Friday.
As Tricia Sandbeck-Marshall washed her hair, a gold wedding band
first worn by her great-great-great grandmother slipped off her
finger and clinked down the pipe.
The Bremerton woman called around to plumbers and got an $800 quote
to try to retrieve it. Sandbeck-Marshall, who’s in an expensive
battle with thyroid cancer, doesn’t have that kind of dough. Her
husband is working two jobs to keep up with the medical bills.
“Being totally strapped for money now because of my cancer, I
didn’t feel like I could spend money on myself for something that
might not be there,” she said.
Robison Plumbing called her back Saturday morning, said it wouldn’t
cost that much.
“I talked to that woman and it brought me to tears,” said
dispatcher Jackie Miesse.
She sent Bill Blair out for an estimate. He sliced the price to
$361. Still too high. Sandbeck-Marshall asked to make payments.
Robison doesn’t do that. The plumber suggested she charge it to a
credit card. She couldn’t.
Blair rang up office manager Shelley Avery. She authorized the work
a Christmas present. He squeezed into the crawl space and within a
half an hour had the band in hand.
“(Blair) called me and told me how much she appreciated it,” said
Miesse, the dispatcher. “She was just so happy. This ring meant so
much to her. The fact that he could do something like that made him
feel so good. It was a wonderful day.”
The company didn’t seek publicity, but Sandbeck-Marshall couldn’t
keep the deed to herself. She called the newspaper.
Robison owner Jim Short didn’t find out about the episode until the
company Christmas party that night.
“I won’t say its something we’ve done on purpose during the holiday
season,” he said. “We try to do nice stuff on occasion. You can’t
do it all the time or you’ll go broke, but we were just glad to do
Sandbeck-Marshall, who’s been married 27 years, received the ring
10 years ago when her mother passed away. The tradition will
continue with her daughter. She also has three granddaughters.
“What a nice act of kindness,” she said about the free plumbing.
“What a blessing, and then to find my ring. I didn’t know if they
would find it or not.”
— Ed Friedrich
The South Kitsap School District Board of Directors and
legislators representing South Kitsap will host a forum on
education at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Dragonfly Cinema, 822 Bay
For information, call the district office (360) 874-7001.
Kitsap has a 9/11 memorial, but nothing to commemorate Pearl
Harbor. The closest thing, according to preservationist Mick
Hersey, is a site at Illahee State Park with 5-inch guns from the
USS West Virginia and a sign board heralding Dorie Miller, one of
the battleship’s Dec. 7 heroes.
Miller, a mess attendant from Waco, Texas, was collecting laundry
that morning when the general quarters alarm sounded. He raced to
his battle station where anti-aircraft shells were stored. It had
already been destroyed by a torpedo, so he went on deck. He was
ordered to carry wounded sailors, aid the captain who was dying
after being hit by a bomb fragment, and man a anti-aircraft machine
gun. Though he’d never been trained on it, he fired at Japanese
planes for about 15 minutes until running out of ammo.
“It wasn’t hard. I just pulled the trigger and she worked fine,” he
said. ” … I think I got one of those Jap planes. They were diving
pretty close to us.”
The planes hit the West Virginia with five torpedoes to the port
side and two armor-piercing bombs to the deck. The crew abandoned
ship as it sank to the harbor bottom. Of the 1,541 men on the ship,
130 were killed.
Miller was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary courage in
battle. He was the first black to receive it.
There’s a local connection. The ship was re-floated and in May 1943
brought to Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton for a complete
rebuild that took more than a year.
Miller was in Bremerton in May 1943 while awaiting assignment to
the escort carrier USS Liscome Bay. On Nov. 24 while taking part in
the Battle of Makin Island in the central Pacific, it was struck by
a Japanese submarine torpedo. The aircraft bomb stockpile exploded
and the ship sank. Only 272 of the 916 crew members survived.
Miller was never found. A frigate was named in his honor in
— Ed Friedrich
Note: This post has been updated to fill in some missing
Amy Phan told you something about
Juliua Stroup, the woman who was honored for her work in rescuing
animals. A little more than a week ago I watched a drama unfold
involving Stroup and the online Facebook community Kitsap County’s
Buy Sell Trade.
A woman posted that she had lost her Yorkie terrier and asked
for people to look out for her. Another member of the community
posted that she saw a Yorkie listed on Craigslist and linked to the
ad. Here is the ad that ran. I’ve left out the last line, because
it includes the seller’s phone number.
The owner of the dog confirmed that was her dog and that its
name was not Punkin.’ Stroup was heavily involved in the ongoing
conversation, which led to a discussion of “pet flipping,” the
practice of stealing someone’s pet and selling it quickly. You can
see in the ad that the seller wanted $200.
Stroup figured out who the seller was and provided links to
where she had posted on other social media sites. On one of them
the seller posted a picture of the dog and wrote:
“Found this little cutie out in the rain with no collar or
name tag sweetest dog ever.”
Before long the lost dog owner learned where the seller lived.
The dog owner went to the seller’s door, but reported that the
seller’s husband said they had found the dog, had let it in, but
that it tried to bite one of their kids so they opened the front
door and let it wander off.
That is not what happened. The dog had been sold. Something
happened between that visit and the following Craigslist ad.
Stroup told me the dog was returned and its owner wanted no
charges filed. The thread was removed from Facebook.
Stroup remains a persistent presence and posted the following on
the Kitsap County Buy Sell Trade site.
Pet theft and Pet Flipping…are you at risk? A lot of you
know my name, but I’m learning every day…I’ve heard of theft, but
FLIPPING? Are there REALLY people out there that do this? Oh MY,
YES. PLEASE make sure your pet is Microchipped and that the
information when it’s scanned is 100% correct (mistakes get made
some times) Always make sure whoever tries to claim and found dog
or cat can give a detailed description. I have acted as a “middle
person” on a number of pets recently in which I demanded details
and pictures… Always leave something out that only the owner can
describe (collar, markings, fixed status, scars, etc). If someone
has “found” your pet, ask for the same details…it’s horrible, but
there are people out to cause you emotional pain stating they have
your pet. Do NOT put your whole phone number on CL…leave off the
area code or change a number to text (345-six78nine), there’s a
weirdo calling people saying horrible things, caller id shows
Nevada. I am glad to be a “middle person” if you need one…we need
to keep our pets safe here on the Kitsap Peninsula…and we need to
ban together and show people “don’t mess with Kitsap,we WILL find