Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chairwoman of PDC to speak at money and politics forum

Katrina Asay, chairwoman of the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, will be part of a panel of speakers on the topic of money and politics at a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Kitsap Thursday in Poulsbo.

The panel will speak on how money influences state, local and national elections, especially since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010.

The Public Disclosure Commission oversees campaign finance in state and local elections, hosting a public database of campaign contributions and expenditures, including sources of funding for and against candidates and ballot measures.

Campaign finance was a hot topic in Port Orchard elections during the 2016 election season.

Asay, a former member of the state House of Representatives and former mayor of Milton in Pierce County, will be joined by PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson.

Also on the panel is Dean Nielsen, principal of Cerillion N4 Partners, a political consulting firm, and Serena Larkin, a senior communications associate with Sightline Institute. She was a member of the communications team for the Honest Elections Seattle campaign.

The league promises “a lively discussion about a timely issue affecting political campaigns at all levels.”

The forum will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Poulsbo City Hall, 200 NE Moe St.

It will be recorded for future broadcast by BKAT, Comcast Ch. 12 and WAVE Broadband, Ch. 3.

For information, visit, or e-mail Kim Abel at

SK’s turf field of dreams to open Friday

Football season kicks off tomorrow at South Kitsap High School with a new coach and a new turf field.

The Wolves play Central Kitsap, guided by coach Gavin Kralik, who is profiled in the Kitsap Sun’s football tab, Kickoff, 2015. The special section gives highlights on how this year’s season is shaping up throughout Kitsap and North Mason counties.
Before the game, district officials will host a dedication of the new, high tech turf field and track that were built thanks to donations of more than $500,000 from Kitsap Bank and $150,000 from author Debbie Macomber and family.

Joe Knowles won’t lose his spot of honor at the school, where people will refer to “Joe Knowles Field at Kitsap Bank Stadium.” The track will be named in honor of the late Dale Macomber, son of Debbie and Wayne Macomber.

“What an opportunity we have — this team of incredible, generous and innovative individuals has come together and forged a partnership that will change this community and inspire its young people for generations to come. What we are doing is truly special,” said Superintendent Michelle Reid.

Central Kitsap High School also has a new turf field, or rather a resurfacing of its turf. North Mason will get a turf field next year, leaving Bremerton the last district waiting in the wings.

Congrats South on your new field. Go Wolves!

Port Orchard, hauntings and such

I learned a lot about Port Orchard when I was working on our coverage advancing the city’s 125th anniversary celebration on Saturday.

See a listing of anniversary events planned for Saturday, by clicking here.

Back to my story research, I thought I knew the closest mayoral race in the town’s history. See if you know by taking our trivia quiz. I’ll give you a hint, it was not the 2011 race between then-incumbent Lary Coppola and now-incumbent Tim Matthes.

I also was amazed to find how many buildings in the city, especially in the downtown core, date to the first half of the 20th Century. PO125_9According to a map of historic buildings on the city of Port Orchard’s website, quite a number are from the ’oughts, ’teens and ’20s, and there’s even a few from the late 1800s. You can find out more about Port Orchard’s historic buildings at the Sidney Museum and Arts Association, which hosted its annual historic homes tour in July.

SMMA’s own building at the corner of Prospect and Sidney is an old Masonic hall dating to 1908, listed on the Washington Heritage Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places.

Given the age of the architecture, it’s small wonder talk of ghosts bubbles up around the town. Rumor has it the Old Central Hotel building, now the Olde Central Antique Mall, is haunted.

Another restless spirit is reputed to live in the yard abutting Prospect Street that is part of the Olympic Bike & Skate property owned by Fred Karakas. According to local historian Bryan Petro, the property was homesteaded by a man named Campbell who married a Native American woman. When she and their two boys died of a fever, Campbell is said to have buried them on the homestead.

“That’s why nothing is built there,” Petro said. “We’ve been told that’s haunted. It’s probably by her.”

Karakas says the burial was on the property of the building next door, which he also owns. The building once housed a tarot card reader who got strong vibes from the place, Karakas said.

Well, isn’t that the way with history? There are sometimes multiple versions of a story. Karakas and Petro also disagree on the origin of the name “Fathoms ‘O Fun,” the organization that has hosted Port Orchard’s summer parade and Fourth of July fireworks show since the late 1960s.

According to Petro, 56, city leaders decided to ax the Days of ’49, a Wild West themed annual festival involving much boozing and debauchery. mockhangingThe festival was supposed the hearken back to the city’s rough and tumble logging days. Mock shoot-outs, stage scenery jails and pretend hangings on Bay Street were a few of the reasons the city curbed its enthusiasm in favor of a tamer summer celebration initially called Sunfest (or Sun Fest). Petro says that name was claimed by another community, and “Fathoms ‘O Fun” was the replacement.

Karakas, in his 70s, said he arrived in town shortly after the Days of ’49 ended. But the festival died an unwilling death, according to Karakas. The wild and crazy times lived on, if diminished, in the Dinghy Derby race, which involved fake cannon shots and again, considerable boozing, according to Karakas. The dinghy races were part of Sunfair (or Sun Fair) Karakas concedes, but as to the origin of Fathoms, it came from a Sunfair T-shirt, a motto of the year. The following year, there were leftover T-shirts, and the organizing committee, of which Karakas was part, just taped over the year and used them again. (This is very much Karakas’ modus operandi). Thus Fathoms ‘O Fun became ingrained in Port Orchard’s memory bank and history.

One other little piece of trivia from the odds and ends bin, do you know which downtown business operates in a building that used to house a brothel upstairs? Find the answer, and test your knowledge of Port Orchard’s legend and lore against the folks in this video.

See a timeline of Port Orchard’s history by clicking here.

Foster homes for puppies needed

We’ve written before about Summit Assistance Dogs, the Anacortes organization, that trains and places assistance dogs with people who have a range of disabilities. Donna Vaquer, a Port Orchard resident, is a volunteer trainer with Summit and an advocate locally for the organization. She and others with the group often take their dogs to local schools.
We recently heard from Donna that Summit has an urgent need for new foster homes for puppies.

“We will train you and support you as you learn the training techniques,” she said.
There are both short-term and long-term opportunities available. Long-term placements are usually 7 months, more or less, with breaks for vacations or whatever needs the foster families might have. Short-term placements are respite care for the long-term care givers, such as a weekend, or a week long stint.

How can you say no to these eyes?


The only hitch is, after you’ve fallen in love with them, you’ve got to let them go do their job. But there’s training for that, too, and there are multiple benefits.

“Volunteering for Summit is a most rewarding activity and really does change the life of a person with disabilities,” Donna said.

Find out more about the organization at, where you can also find a volunteer application.

A Ride on the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway

The other day I took a ride on the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway … what there is of it.

The paved recreational path designed for walkers, joggers, skaters and cyclists (but no cars) will extend from the foot ferry terminal in downtown Port Orchard to the Annapolis foot ferry terminal. City of Port Orchard officials say it will see plenty of use from locals and be a valuable amenity to draw visitors.

Planning for the pathway started more than five years ago. To date only two segments of the pathway have been built, and those do indeed see plenty of use. You’ll hear more about a third segment, construction on which is to start this summer, in a story Monday at The new segment will be a bridge at the mouth of Blackjack Creek that ties into the chunk of pathway behind Westbay Center.

Follow me on my ride as I set out from Annapolis. You’ll see how narrow the shoulder becomes almost immediately. Rounding the curve at Mitchell Point you’ll see the home of Randy Jones, owner of Venture Charters, who has fought the city’s plan to buy out property owners along the path for right-of-way. The city council has approved a redesign of the path that will have it go around any properties whose owners aren’t willing to sell. The city this month got $3.5 million from the state to complete construction of the Beach Drive part of the path.

You’ll see other homes as well, then the long stretch of Beach Drive …at low tide! Don’t I have great timing?

Riding on the Westbay segment was pure pleasure. Here the path (when completed) will continue over the bridge and along the waterfront behind Bruce Titus Ford and the Comfort Inn. You see I had to ride on the street with the traffic. The downtown segment picks up again by Marlee Apartments, and again it’s a smooth ride.

Here we go.

Fire caused by fireworks a cautionary tale

Today we followed up at about the house fire yesterday in South Kitsap that displaced a family of three. The Kitsap County Fire Marshal reports that, as witnesses said, the blaze which leveled the home on Gable street and scorched two adjacent homes was caused by fireworks. Dry conditions contributed to the spread of the fire.

Thankfully no one was injured, and the family’s two dogs escaped and have been located.

The fire, and its cause, are a cautionary tale of sorts. One of the neighbors who lives across the street from the home that burned described his family’s quick response to water the roof and yard and start loading up the important stuff. My husband has been sounding the alarm about the possibility of our house catching on fire since it borders a wood of tall fir trees that are dry as tinder, and we’ve talked about an evacuation plan. But what to take? The pets are a priority, as is his mother’s art work.

The Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management has an evacuation tip sheet applicable in any type of disaster. Prior planning is recommended. As for what to take, the DEM recommends the “four p’s” … people (“This also includes pets,” the DEM states.), papers, prescriptions and pictures (irreplaceable family photos). On papers, this means having a copy of important papers, like deeds, insurance papers and birth certificates ready to go. If you don’t store important phone numbers in your cell phone, make a copy to go with the “papers” pile. Remember to grab the laptops.

With the summer travel season upon us, KCDEM reminds you to be mindful of the hazards in the areas you visit and know the evacuation routes.

Friends and neighbors of the South Kitsap family who lost their home have mounted a campaign to collect items and funds for the family, with a GoFundMe page. A trivia fundraiser will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 8 at Everybody’s American Cookhouse, 4215 Mile Hill Drive, Port Orchard.

Contrary to some comments on Facebook, the local branch of the American Red Cross is helping the family also. The rumor was that the Red Cross was tapped by fires in Eastern Washington and could not offer help in local disasters. That’s not true, said Dave Rasmussen, disaster program manager. True, the agency’s local response volunteers have been especially busy over the past three weeks due to the Edgewood Villa apartment fire in Manette on June 22, which displaced 16 individuals, followed by four others including the Gable Avenue fire. But the local Red Cross has adequate resources and volunteers to meet needs, even in high demand periods, thanks to local generosity and backup from regional and national offices, Rasmussen said.

To donate to the American Red Cross serving Kitsap County, mail your gift to 811 Pacific Ave., Bremerton, 98337 or give online at Donations may be designated for “local disaster response.”

Peninsular Interning: The best of Kitsap

Peninsular Thinkers, you know your towns better than anyone else. So what are the things you’d recommend to someone who’s never set foot in the Pacific Northwest before? If your relative came into town (and you liked that relative) what are the places, attractions and restaurants you would insist they experience?

That’s the position that I’m in. My name is Miranda Davis and I arrived in Kitsap County about two weeks ago to spend my summer interning at the Sun. The plot twist? I’m from Kansas. I’m a senior studying journalism at the University of Kansas and I drove two thousand miles at the end of May and before that, I’d never been west of Denver. Everything I thought I knew about the area before arriving was from Grey’s Anatomy and Starbucks. I know, I’m awful.

When I tell people I’m new here they say I’m so lucky, because summer is the best time to experience the area, and I completely agree. It also appears as if I brought my pink rain boots for nothing.

So send in the things you think I have to see, eat and experience before August 1st, and I’ll give them a try. Ideally, I want to experience the things that you think of when you think of the word “home,” so hopefully that includes a mix of tourist attractions and things that are off the beaten path.

My rules:

  1. I am willing to drive up to two hours each way if It’s something I can do for the majority of the day. I also like taking the ferry to Seattle but I plan on trekking it on foot once I get into the city.
  2. I’ve already been to the Space Needle and Pike Place Market (It was so busy! There was too much happening around me! I ate a really good grilled cheese!)
  3. I have no diet restrictions and I will eat almost anything. Seafood is growing on me every minute I’m up here. (However, bonus points if you recommend an awesome cheeseburger, and double bonus points if you recommend barbeque)
  4. I’m not afraid of heights but I really dislike roller coasters. Please don’t make me go on a roller coaster.
  5. While mountains and large bodies of water are new to me, I like hiking and swimming, but do not expect me to run a half marathon.
  6. I want to attend festivals and events and I’m 21 years old (so yes, I would really like to know what craft beer I should be purchasing at the grocery store)

I’ll post about the best of my experiences on the Peninsular Thinking blog, where you can see what I think of the best Pacific Northwest and weigh in from the comments section or on social media.

Send all ideas to, or find me on Twitter @MirandaDavisUDK. That’s also where I’ll be posting photos, videos and unrefined thoughts from my adventures.

Celebration of Shane Zimmardi’s Life Saturday

Check out this picture. See the kid in the top row, second from right, the one with the big smile? That’s Shane Zimmardi.
Shane played with my son Daniel (bottom right) on the legendary Blue Angels. The team had a reputation in South Kitsap Soccer Club for kicking butt and taking names. They were the team to beat in their age division in the mid-2000s.

Shane was a ball of energy, always with that great big smile. It could be raining sleet sideways, and you’d think Shane was out for a day the beach. And fast! That kid could run.

I was heartsick on May 13 to see that Shane had died at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma. The cause of his death, as reported by a close friend, was a drug overdose.

On May 8, Shane attended a rave in Tacoma and consumed a drug he thought was “molly.”

“MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), also known as ecstasy or molly, is an amphetamine derivative that has both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Although MDMA is an illicit substance, it is used recreationally, including at electronic dance-music festivals, and can cause adverse health events. These include hyperthermia (spiking body temperature), seizures and organ failure among other effects. The drug, which is often laced with other substances, has been linked to a number of deaths across the country.

According to a KOMO story on Shane’s death, nine people were transported by the Tacoma Fire Department from the Life in Color event where Shane became ill.

Ashton Soete, a close friend of Shane’s, posted on Facebook about the availability of test kits that can quickly and cheaply screen for contamination. Like prophylactics to prevent STDs and pregnancy for people who are sexually active, the use of these kits should be encouraged among people who do use drugs, Soete said.

I can’t speak to that, although a doctor quoted by KOMO said the tests are unreliable.

The CDC reported on an electronic dance music festival in New York in 2013 where twenty-two people suffered adverse effects from the heat of the event, drugs and alcohol. Nine people became severely ill and two of those people died. The two who died both had MDMA in their system.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene investigated and as a result, the department and festival promoters together “developed multiple interventions including implementing a surveillance system for adverse events and safety measures (e.g. roaming teams of peer volunteers, stricter entrance procedures, procedures to reduce heat exposure, and required viewing of harm reduction messages before entering the festival).”

“These interventions might help prevent adverse health events at future electronic dance-music festivals in New York City and elsewhere,” the CDC states.

Shane’s brother Forrest has an email where you can send memories and pictures of Shane,

A celebration of Shane’s life will be held at 1 p.m. at Olalla Bible Church, followed by a gathering open to all at the Zimmardi home, 11132 Banner Rd SE Olalla, WA 98359.

Port Orchard cleans up

A sure sign of spring is the annual Port Orchard downtown clean-up, hosted by the Port Orchard Bay Street Association.

This year’s cleanup was April 26. About 30 people, including Port Orchard Mayor Tim Matthes and City Councilwoman Bek Ashby, showed up to lend a hand, said Kathleen Wilson of POBSA. Volunteers swept and tidied, and planted flowers in the stone planters. Rico’s Landscape NW helped by removing small trees from the planters that had overstayed their welcome, becoming large and unkempt.

Hanging baskets, paid for by POBSA, will arrive next week, Wilson said.

Wilson on Tuesday thanked the city of Port Orchard Public Works Department for pressure washing the sidewalks before the cleanup.

It was, as they say, a group effort.

Here’s a gallery of photos from Nick and Elissa Whittleton that were posted on POBSA’s Facebook page. Port Orchard, aren’t we looking spiffy now?
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Another Kitsap crew runs in Boston

BostonCompactOn Monday 19 of our ambitious, dedicated and skilled friends will run the Boston Marathon. Bib No. 18775 is a friend of ours. Who you see here as Luz M. Rodriguez is someone my wife, Diana, and I know as Marcela.

We met Silverdale’s Marcela when she and Diana were teammates in a relay that runs essentially from the Canadian border in Blaine to somewhere on Whidbey Island. Those relays are a tough haul. Diana had to run two extra miles when she missed a turn. Marcela herself wasn’t sure she could tough out the last of three legs each runner agrees to run, but she did it, making it look like it was easy. Diana has since run the Portland Marathon and from what I can tell is not eager to run another one.

Marcela, on the other hand, set her sights on Boston some time ago. We’ve celebrated her progress. And since Boston is something you have to qualify for, we’ve been especially proud of her work. So has her home country of Chile. Marcela comes from the southern quarter of that country and on Friday was featured in her hometown paper. At the end of the story she’s telling anyone that if they want to, they should go after a goal like this one, repeating the Spanish version of the common English saying, “If I can do it, anyone can.”

The view from Chile of Silverdale's Luz Marcella Rodriguez.
The view from Chile of Silverdale’s Luz Marcela Rodriguez.

While I don’t agree that anyone can qualify for Boston, if it’s not a marathon that’s in your dreams, there is something. And in that sense, Marcela is right. If she can achieve this dream, you can achieve yours. I have a few things I dream of accomplishing, and finishing a marathon is one of them. Aside from the fact that it’s hard for anyone (Well, a few people make it look pretty easy.) to run 26.2 miles, for me to do it would prove that I had accomplished so much more. If you’ve met me, you know what I’m talking about. Any marathon would be my Boston.

So maybe that’s the question. What is your Boston?

Good look to all our Kitsap runners. Thanks for inspiring us to pursue our Bostons.

Note from Esteef: I tidied this thing up quite a bit since its initial publication.  I normally give these things at least another read or two before hitting the “publish” button, but it was late on Friday and I spent most of the week coughing, so I was tired and ready to go home. Had I read it at least one more time I might have noticed a few things that needed changing, including the fact that I misspelled Marcela’s name throughout. I also forgot to mention that of all the Spanish or Portuguese-speaking nations in the world, Chile is the best. It’s not even a close contest. Some of it is the dramatic variety in the nation’s landscape, going from the driest climate on Earth to a point where the next neighbor to the south is a penguin. It’s also got great beaches, mountains and enough earthquakes to satisfy even the thirstiest of thrill seekers. I hear the wine is quite good. The shellfish is excellent and plentiful , Chileans have perfected the art of dressing up a hot dog and the empenadas should be part of every death row inmate’s last meal as a testament to our compassion for even the most vile among us. The best parts of Chile are probably the Chileans, except for the one in charge when I lived down there. He was a jerk.

Anyway, all this to say that most American of explanations, “Mistakes were made.”