S’Klallam Tribe blesses Port Gamble Bay before cleanup


Jeromy Sullivan, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe chairman, has felt conflicted about the old mill site in Port Gamble.

While the mill had been a source of jobs for those in the area, including tribal members like Sullivan’s father, it has left toxic waste and creosote pilings across the bay from the reservation and Point Julia.

Tribal members and friends gather at the closed mill site in Port Gamble to bless the bay.
Tribal members and friends gather at the closed mill site in Port Gamble to bless the bay.

The mill closed in 1994, although major cleanup begins at the end of next month.

The state Department of Ecology and Pope Resources will begin cleanup August 22, according the tribe.

Sullivan said it has felt strange to him that the site has not been blessed and prayed for, which the tribe changed Thursday morning.

The mill site and bay cleanup will include removing of about 70,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment and wood waste, a derelict vessel and 6,000 creosote pilings along with overwater structures.

It is the biggest creosote piling removals in state history.

A Kitsap County Superior Court judge recently tossed out a lawsuit that would have forced the state to share the cost of cleaning pollution from Port Gamble’s former mill.

Friends say goodbye after the bay blessing Thursday, July 23, 2015.
Friends say goodbye after the bay blessing Thursday, July 23, 2015.

The cleanup will take about two years, with the first year being the south portion of the former mill. Piling removal and cleanup on the north area of the site will take place the second year.

While cleanup is taking place there will be increased water traffic.

On average, at least three vessels will be needed on site at any one time.

Vessels are not to be on or come too close to the Point Julia side of the bay where the Port Gamble S’Klallam Reservation is.

The tribe will hold community events and celebrations at Point Julia during the cleanup.

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 www.kitsapsun.com. 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.

Live online chat planned on SKSD grade realignment

South Kitsap School District Superintendent Michelle Reid on Wednesday, July 15, will share her final recommendation with the school board on a plan to move ninth graders up to South Kitsap High School.

The Kitsap Sun will cover that meeting and on the following day, at 7 p.m. July 16, I’ll host a live online chat with Superintendent Reid. We hope you’ll log on to www.kitsapsun.com to listen in. There will opportunity to comment, ask questions and take polls.

The grade realignment plan has been under discussion within the district throughout the 2014-2015 school year. Other elements of the proposed re-shuffle include moving sixth graders, now in elementary schools, up to the junior high schools and converting the junior highs to middle schools.

The district’s school boundary committee, convened at the start of the school year, recommends making the changes all at once, no sooner than 2016-2017 but no later than 2017-2018.

The committee supported a small boundary change to go into effect in the upcoming school year, whereby about 65 students from the Wye Lake area will be reassigned from Sunnyslope to Burley-Glenwood School to address immediate crowding needs. Moving sixth graders to the junior high/middle schools will address longer term crowding, the committee concluded.

Reid agrees with all that, but in a preliminary presentation to the board June 2, she recommended phasing in the grade realignment. The changes should be implemented at one junior high each year, starting with Cedar Heights in 2016-17, Reid said. Elementary “feeder” schools for Cedar Heights are Sidney Glen and Sunnyslope, both of which are experiencing crowding.

Under Reid’s plan, the phase-in would continue with another third of the district’s ninth- and sixth-graders moving up in 2017-18 and the rest in 2017-18. The order of the second two move-ups is up for discussion, she said.

Reid said spreading the grade realignment over three years would make it fiscally and logistically easier on the district. The realignment would help the district address crowding at some schools and give students more developmentally appropriate learning environments, she said.

Some parents and community members have raised concerns about crowding at the high school. Reid said she has received considerable feedback on the proposal, which she will address in her final plan on Wednesday.

So, stay tuned. And while you’re waiting for the meeting coverage and online chat, feel free to send me your thoughts about ninth graders moving up to the high school, along with other aspects of the plan. Let me know if you are a student, parent or community member, and if you are willing to have your comments published.

Chris Henry
Education/ South Kitsap reporter
(360) 792-9219
chenry@kitsapsun.com

Fire caused by fireworks a cautionary tale

Today we followed up at kitsap.com 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 http://www.redcross.org/. Donations may be designated for “local disaster response.”

Awaiting more of that fresh, tar smell in Silverdale

You have a week left to give a farewell to those pipes we all love under the Bucklin Hill bridge.
You have a week left to give a farewell to those pipes we all love under the Bucklin Hill bridge.

Mourn the loss of Bucklin Hill Road for a year beginning July 1. That’s next Wednesday until July 1.

As a Silverdale guy, I know construction lately. I was headed home the other night and that usually means Highway 303/Waaga Way to the Ridgetop exit. There was lane construction happening, but a sign said “Exit Open.”

It was not.

I had to go to Silverdale Way and backtrack. Given enough perspective it’s not that big a deal. Nothing is a big deal if you can find enough perspective, just like anything is within walking distance if you have enough time and sturdy shoes.

I love new roads. I love how my car feels new on them and how black and unsullied they love. I love the tar smell, even.

Bucklin Hill will be widened between the bridge and Mickelberry. The culvert from Clear Creek to Dyes Inlet under the bridge will be removed in favor of something more natural.

That means you’ll be left to find alternative paths, like Ridgetop, which I think we can all agree could use more traffic.

This shoud be a pretty sweet deal once its done after the new year but before we elect another president. You’ll have time to get in at least one more “Thanks, Obama” after it’s complete.

The county’s press release follows.

Continue reading

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 Miranda.Davis@Kitsapsun.com, or find me on Twitter @MirandaDavisUDK. That’s also where I’ll be posting photos, videos and unrefined thoughts from my adventures.

Online fundraising used to help Bremerton, Kingston families

Rifes

Kailey Rife quickly started a GoFundMe campaign for her parents who lost everything but their family in a Bremerton house fire late Saturday night.

Rife’s mother came home around 10:30 p.m. Saturday night to find a couch in the basement on fire, and was able to get her husband and two children out of the home.

The Rifes have five children and two of them still live at home.

Rife’s mother stays at home to take care of the two youngest children and her father is a retired Navy veteran with 22 years of service, according to the fundraising page.

The online campaign has raised more than $1,000 in a day with a goal of $10,000.

Another local GoFundMe campaign continues to fundraise for a Kingston family involved in a car wreck on March 11.

Jim Norberg, 53, and his daughter, Kayli Norberg, 14, were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center with critical injuries, according to the campaign website.

Kayli had head injuries and a broken femur in the wreck, and her father had  head injuries, two shattered ankles, a shattered femur and a lacerated liver, along with multiple other broken bones.

The driver of the 1994 Toyota Camry who crossed the center line and hit the Norberg’s Jeep died.

The online campaign has raised more than $5,000 for the Norbergs in two months.

Norbergs

How Winifred Atchison salvaged my education

“Does not work up to her potential.” This was a common theme on my early elementary school report cards.

I was easily distracted, overly sociable and a little bit mischievous, just the kind of kid that puts a snag in every teacher’s stocking.

Day in, day out, I must have worn on Miss Atchison’s nerves, but she never let it show. Winifred Atchison was the quintessential schoolmarm, with sensible black pumps, a wool skirt just below the knee and a cap of leaden curls.

Miss Atchison brooked no nonsense, and I believe I spent more time out in the hallway than in the classroom during my fourth grade year. Our classroom was off a landing, and I can remember my older sister — well behaved, neat, punctual, studious — taking the stairs to the cafeteria with her friends, pretending she didn’t know me.

I was one of two girls in a remedial handwriting class, a fact of which I was probably not sufficiently ashamed. Things haven’t improved much to this day.

I hated math and didn’t get the point of history (too many dates to memorize, so long ago). I lived for recess, PE and lunch.

The one part of the instructional day I came to love was read-aloud time. Right after lunch, Miss Atchison would read to us in her thick Irish accent.

I don’t recall any of the books she read, but I do remember they had a profound effect on me. Lying my head on my arms — which was allowed — I relished the sound of the words and marveled at how they strung together. Miss Atchison could have been reading the phone book in that mellifluous brogue and I’d have been hooked.

Now, some time during the year, someone (not me, probably one of the guys) had brought in a lump of clay that got divvied up, loaves and fishes style, until everyone had a little pinch. Miss Atchison knew about the clay, and allowed us to have it in our desks — the old hinge top kind — as long as we didn’t take it out during class.

One day during read-aloud time, when Miss Atchison’s eyes were on the book, someone sneaked their clay out and started making tiny ramps on the desktop, which was slanted, and a tiny clay ball to roll down the little maze.

I would love to take credit for that bit of brilliance, but I have to say it was probably one of the guys, or Cornelia Adams, who was both artistic and subversive. Pretty soon everyone in class was making clay mazes on their desks.

Miss Atchison quickly became aware of the new trend, but instead of squashing it, lo and behold, she tolerated it. Pretty soon our classroom economy revolved around the clay, which grew in volume like currency, traded for erasers, pencils and pennies. We had a virtual clay Mafia, of which I was not part. But I had my share of the goods, a raquetball-sized wad.

The mazes got bigger, more elaborate. We had unspoken contests for who could keep the little ball rolling the longest. And yet read-aloud time grew utterly quiet; none of the usual wiggling or whispering. Even kids who used to squirm through the stories, settled down and maybe even listened.

My lifelong love of words began with read-aloud hour, a blissful interlude marked by the lilting sound of Miss Atchison’s voice, the softness and earthy smell of clay, and the sight of the little ball rolling, dropping, rolling and dropping.

In the months and years to come, I developed a voracious appetite for reading and also found I was a pretty decent writer. Over months and years, I settled down, knuckled down and became a decent student, and later in life a journalist.

For all this, I credit Miss Atchison, who was old in the 1960s, when I went to elementary school, and is surely dead by now.

Did I ever tell her, “thank you?” I can’t recall. It seemed a given; we loved Miss Atchison and she loved us. She knew what made each of us tick. She knew when to push us and when to indulge our childish sense of play.

Now, that was brilliant.

On Sunday, we’ll hear from this year’s high school graduates about teachers who changed the trajectory of their education, and we’d like to hear from you, too.

Starting today, post your thoughts, memories, photos and videos on the social media platform of your choice with the tag #bestteacher. Our goal is to collect reader responses through Facebook, Twitter and other social media and share them when the story is published online at www.kitsapsun.com.

If you’re using Facebook, make sure we can see the post by following these instructions: Click on the blue drop-down menu to the left of the “Post” button. It reads, “Who should see this?” Click on “Public.” Making your post public will allow it to be included when we aggregate the responses.

Whatever platform you’re using, remember to use the hashtag #bestteacher.

Officer faces second round with brain tumors

Doug Dillard is a name we’ve seen a lot here in the newsroom. With the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office for 30 years, Dillard was most recently was tasked with monitoring the county’s sex offenders. That also meant organizing meetings with residents when, as Josh Farley wrote, “Level 3 sex offenders change addresses.”

Now he’s got a different job, battling a brain tumor thought to have gone away 14 years ago.  According to GoFundMe page set up on his family’s behalf:

“Doug has an inoperable brain tumor called a glioblastoma . Brain cancers are extremely difficult to treat and glioblastomas are among the most aggressive tumors. Unfortunately, Doug’s is no different. His Neuro Oncologist has Doug on a treatment regimen that includes bi-weekly  infusions, daily anti-seizure therapy, and routine MRIs to monitor his brain tumor .”

Former Sheriff Steve Boyer wrote of a Dillard’s courage throughout his ordeal, saying that Dillard “never became victim,” when the tumor returned. He expressed admiration for Mary, Dillard’s wife, calling her “an angel.”

The GoFundMe page has a goal of raising $20,000 to help the family with expenses as Dillard goes through infusion treatments. “We want to show Doug how much we, and his community, love and support him,” the page’s author wrote. “We are saying, ‘Thank you for being an amazing husband, father, uncle, and friend. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your example.'”

On Friday the site passed the $4,000 mark.

Orcas make a memorable visit

The big guy got close. Photo taken from video shot by Emilee Wright Fyffe.
The big guy got close. Photo taken from video shot by Emilee Wright Fyffe.

It was May 2002 I drove up from Camas, Wash. to interview here. Another reporter had already been picked for the job I was after, but the editors told me I’d likely be luckier in the summer. I didn’t know if I would want a job here, but I knew I wanted to want the job.

The drive in was beautiful until I hit Gorst and coming into 2002 Bremerton didn’t make me feel any better. The whole time, though, I knew there had to be something cool about this place for Money Magazine to have given it the label as the best place to live in America in the early 1990s.  During lunch on the deck at the Boat Shed we watched three eagles circling our side of the Manette Bridge, which for me was a positive development. What sealed it happened after I left the office. It was the ferry ride. Within about 2 minutes I told myself, “We have to live here.”

The other notion that fascinated me was the idea that on any given day I might be near water in which I could see orcas. I had been to Sea World in San Diego as a kid, back when most of us bought into the idea that zoos and ocean parks were good because it gave us a chance to see something we otherwise wouldn’t. It took about 30 years and one viewing of Free Willy to call that idea into question. I wanted to see orcas in the wild. This was the place.

My luck there has been spotty, but within three years I saw them twice, once in Silverdale and once on the ferry to Seattle when I was headed there for work to greet a veteran coming home on Christmas Day. Those were both distant and fleeting viewings. It took several more years to spot any more, and that was a good one. One day after work I heard the whales were in Bremerton and I drove to Bachmann Park, knowing that was their likely path out. I scored as I watched them pass all too quickly.

I don’t know that it can get any better than it was on Monday, though. We had family in town from Utah and decided to spend part of Memorial Day at Point No Point Park in Hansville. While I dozed off in a camp chair I heard my sister in law yell that there was a killer whale. It was a great scene out in the water as the whales headed south, then stopped in a spot for a while. We guessed they were feeding on salmon.

And then, like a miracle, one giant orca surfaced probably 50 feet from shore. The entire beach began to follow it then, and the visitor gave us one more view.

This is one of those times we’re not only lucky to live where we do, but when we do. I had left my phone in the car, but I was the only one. There were plenty of cameras pointed at the ocean to capture the action. My thanks to Emilee Wright Fyffe for sharing the video.

If you’re among those whose luck has not been this “amazing,” have faith that your day will come.

Enjoy the video. The first 1 minute 30 seconds was the kind of sighting I had always envisioned at Point No Point. I wasn’t counting on “amazing.” The big guy makes two appearances in the last part of the video to make that happen.