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.
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Fund established for family of teen presumed drowned

July 8th, 2014 by Chris Henry

We’ve received no additional word on the search for Josh Osborn, a 17-year-old Port Orchard resident who slipped in the Ohanapecosh River near Mt. Rainier on July 4th and is presumed dead.
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The river is six feet above normal for this time of year. Search parties will resume looking for Osborn when the water subsides.

In the meantime, word of Osborn’s tragic accident has spread like wildfire among his wide circle of friends and acquaintances. Josh’s brother Jake told me yesterday that Josh reached out even to people he didn’t know well, and he could always cheer people up.

A Kitsap Sun reader who commented on our story yesterday linked to a fundraiser for Josh’s family hosted by Faith Fulsol on gofundme.com. The goal is $25,000, with more than $6,000 raised so far.

We send our deepest condolences to Josh’s family.

Chris Henry
Kitsap Sun


Where the sidewalk ends: the sequel

June 20th, 2014 by Chris Henry

Last week, I wrote about public works mowing mishaps that resulted in damage to private property. And our theme of the intersection of public and private land continues.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Port Orchard City Council discussed a disconnect between its own code, which calls on private property owners to maintain and repair sidewalks, and the city’s practice of making repairs on its own dime.

At the same meeting, the council considered the question of sidewalk bistro tables. Bay Street Bistro, earlier this year got permission from the city to place tables on the sidewalk, European cafe-style. The request was screened by the public property committee and later approved by the council.

In the past, the city has regulated things like sandwich boards, tables of merchandise and other temporary sidewalk accoutrements as an accessibility issue overseen by the code enforcement officer. ADA rules require at least four feet of passage on sidewalks. Bistro tables must adhere to that regulation, as well.

With the Bay Street Bistro’s request, and a later request from Cafe Gabrielle, the council discussed a more formal process of permitting and oversight.
tables
They initially suggested charging a fee of $10 per month for business owners whose applications for sidewalk tables or benches are approved. But Public Works Director Mark Dorsey reminded the council that the sidewalk right-of-way is actually under the state Department of Transportation, which owns Highway 166 (Bay Street).

Dorsey at an earlier meeting with the council opined that the city shouldn’t be the one charging a fee, since the ROW belongs to the state. The ROW runs from the center line of the road to the edge of the building.

Dorsey thought (mistakenly he later found) that the issue of jurisdictional authority could be resolved if the city simply didn’t charge a fee with its sidewalk table permit. He called the DOT and spoke to an official who said not only should the city not charge a fee, they had no authority to grant the sidewalk table permit in the first place. That ball is in the DOT’s court, Dorsey was told.

The state would charge about $90 a month for granting permission to place bistro tables in the right-of-way, he found.

“They take it very seriously that someone is using that right-of-way and making money off it,” Dorsey said.

The council stepped out as middleman Tuesday by approving a revised city permit (that would still give the city oversight over ADA issues) with a notice/disclaimer that the applicant also needs to apply to the state for use of the right-of-way.

“Whether they do or not is between them and WSDOT,” said City Attorney Greg Jacoby.

Voila, problem solved. The issue of whether business owners can afford the $90 fee becomes “an economic decison on the part of the vendor,” Jacoby said. “That’s really a private business decision.”


Roadside vegetation: Where the Sidewalk Ends

June 14th, 2014 by Chris Henry

The reference in the title of this blog post is to the book of children’s poetry by the late Shel Silverstein. Our topic of the day is neither children nor poetry but rather the intersection of public and private property and the maintenance thereof.
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Act I: Earlier this week on kitsapsun.com, Ed Friedrich reported on a series of unfortunate events that started with a city of Port Orchard road crew and an overambitious blackberry bush. Workers mowing a Bethel Avenue ditch June 4 sliced a utility pole guy-wire hidden in the brush. What happened next was like a Rube Goldberg machine gone wrong.

The high-tension cable sprang up and smacked a power line, sending a surge to a home on Piperberry Way. The surge blew up the meter box and traveled to the breaker box in a bedroom, starting a fire. No one was injured. The city’s insurance will pay to repair the homes and another nearby that shared the same power source.

Stuff happens. Sometimes it’s news. Sometimes it’s not.

Act II: The story of Jack Jones and his six lost lavender plants may not be front page material or even fit for the inside Code 911 section. But it pertains to Kitsap County’s roadside vegetation maintenance program, a topic I’m guessing will engage property owners far and wide.

In the interest of full disclosure, I know Jack. He’s my Tai Chi instructor. I made a couple of calls to Kitsap County on his behalf, when he couldn’t seem to get a response about six mature lavender plants by his mailbox that had been whacked to the ground on May 28. A couple of plants close to the mailbox were left standing, giving the appearance that the mower operator stopped when he recognized they were ornamentals.
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Jack had already taken the first step and called Kitsap 1, the county’s central operator system, where staff give basic information and direct traffic on questions and complaints (360-337-5777). When he didn’t hear back within the three business days allotted by the county for a response, I agreed to poke around. I’d do the same for a stranger.

But before you start calling me about your problems with Kitsap 1, here’s who you really want to talk to. Public Communication Manager Doug Bear, dbear@co.kitsap.wa.us, is in charge. I’m not saying Kitsap 1 is rife with problems, just here’s what to do if you have one. After all, there are human beings on those phone lines. Stuff happens.

Doug connected me with Jaques Dean, road superintendent for the county’s public works department, who gave me a link to the county’s detailed policy manual on roadside vegetation maintenance. The purpose is to maintain sight distances within the county’s right-of-way, promote drainage off the road, remove vegetation growth that can degrade pavement and remove unsafe overhanging branches. Methods include mowing, use of herbicides and fertilizers, and promotion of native plants over invasive species and noxious weeds.

The document goes into great detail about steps taken to protect the environment and people. You can sign up to be notified when spraying of chemicals is to occur, and you can opt out altogether. You can also opt out of roadside mowing under an “owner will maintain” agreement.

“Our maintenance crews are very cognizant of the sensitivity of this issue,” Jaques wrote in an email to me on June 3. “When we encounter private plantings that need to be cut back for roadway safety reasons, every attempt is made to contact the owner before the work is completed.”

That didn’t happen in Jack’s case.

“In this particular occurrence, the operator simply did not recognize that these were ornamental plants,” Jaques said. “They were planted within the right-of-way immediately adjacent to the asphalt pavement, they were not permitted, the owner had not requested to maintain, and to add to it, the owner was not maintaining the area and surrounding weeds. The plants blended into the high grass, blackberries, maple branches and appeared to be immature Scotch Broom.”
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The operator, who was new to the area, had stopped before the mailbox since it was close to quitting time, intending to return the next day to trim up the rest with smaller tools, Jaques said in a follow up call to me on June 11.

A county road log shows that Chico Beach Drive, where Jack lives, was mowed in August 2009, September 2010 and October 2012. Previous operators left the lavender intact along with plantings of several of his neighbors, Jack said, contributing to confusion over how the county’s policies are implemented.

Jaques explained to me that operators typically work the same area of road in a given part of the county and become familiar with neighborhoods, working around plantings whenever possible even when there is no “owner will maintain” agreement. A few daffodils by the ditch are no problem, he said, but the county can’t guarantee they’ll be left standing. Kitsap County is responsible for 900 miles of roadway, double that considering there are two sides to every road.

“Those people need to be aware the county needs to maintain the roadway and they need to do it efficiently,” Jaques said.

If you’ve got big plans for a rock wall, a fence or a large hedge, the county needs to hear from you before the installation to make sure you don’t obstruct the ROW, he added. These are the types of plantings for which owner-will-maintain are most appropriate.

On June 11, Jack finally heard from road crew superintendent Ron Coppinger, who had not had the correct phone number and who came out to Jack’s house to discuss the plantings. Ron offered to replace the lavender, but Jack’s neighbors had already brought him new plants. Jack and Ron settled on a load of beauty bark as compensation. But more important to Jack was the personal contact from Coppinger from which he took a sense that the road crew is indeed “very cognizant of the sensitivity of this issue” after all.

If anyone has questions about navigating the lines of communication with Kitsap County or other local government entities (including schools), you can email me, chenry@kitsapsun.com.


Child safety also a concern that lead to Poulsbo pot ban

June 13th, 2014 by Rachel Anne Seymour
Photo by Associated Press file The Poulsbo City Council voted Wednesday to ban marijuana-related businesses and collective gardens for medical marijuana.

Photo by Associated Press file
The Poulsbo City Council voted Wednesday to ban marijuana-related businesses and collective gardens for medical marijuana.

Before the Poulsbo City Council voted to ban marijuana related businesses and collective medical marijuana gardens Wednesday night, several council members and area residents voiced concerns about public safety.
Councilwoman Connie Lord said she was “appalled” to learn that home-based day cares would not require 1,000 feet buffer for marijuana businesses, a topic Chris Henry reported on earlier this week.
State regulations require marijuana businesses be at least 1,000 feet from certain areas:
— Elementary schools or secondary schools.
— Playgrounds.
— Recreation centers or facilities.
— Public parks.
— Public transit centers.
— Libraries.
— Game arcades.
— Child care centers.
In early March, the Liquor Control Board clarified that “child care centers,” as defined under state law, did not include “licensed family home child care,” where “care is provided for twelve or fewer children in the family living quarters where the licensee resides.”
Susan Ogilvie, a Poulsbo resident, said she was in the second phase of completing her home-based day care center that would be nearby the light industrial zone area of Viking Way where marijuana businesses would be allowed.
She asked the council not to approve a permanent marijuana ordinance, because of a nearby the Viking Way area zoned for marijuana businesses. Although there is a 1,000 feet buffer applied to the park where marijuana businesses would not be allowed, Ogilvie argued that many children ride their bikes through the area to get to the park.
Ogilvie also spoke out against marijuana related businesses in Poulsbo at the planning commission’s public hearing last month as the city moved forward with a permanent ordinance for marijuana businesses.
The commission voted to send the permanent ordinance to the City Council for Monday’s hearing.
In February, the council voted to extend the interim marijuana ordinance for six months.
If the council had decided not to act or voted down the ordinance Monday night, the current interim regulations would have expired in August.


Summer Education Opp: Tough Love

June 11th, 2014 by Chris Henry

We’ve written a lot about the Washington Youth Academy, a publicly funded residential high school intervention program for students who have dropped out or been expelled.

We heard from the Bremerton branch of the academy, which is a statewide program, when we asked for “Summer Education opportunities” for children and teens.

We did not include the listing in our Summer Ed Opps list, because the upcoming session, in which students/cadets can earn up to eight credits toward high school graduation, runs July 19 through Dec. 20. I call it to your attention here, because it is a great opportunity for youth who need help getting their lives in order and who need academic credit recovery.

Note the deadline to apply is June 20.

Washington Youth Academy
Ages: 16-18
Where: 1207 Carver Street, Bremerton
Description: At-risk youth can earn up to eight credits toward a high school diploma in five-and-a-half weeks. Next session runs July 19 through Dec. 20; applications are due by June 20.
Eligibility criteria: Students must be a high school dropout or expellee, a U.S. citizen and resident of Washington State, never convicted of a felony and have no legal action pending, free of illegal drugs at time of enrollment, and physically and mentally able to complete the program.
Program incorporates a highly structured quasi-military format emphasizing self-discipline, personal responsibility and positive motivation.
Cost: No cost for qualified candidates. The program is run through a cooperative agreement between the National Guard Bureau and Washington State.
Contact Kasie Roach at Kassondra.roach@mil.wa.gov or 360-473-2629, http://mil.wa.gov/WYA/, https://www.facebook.com/pages/NGYCP-Washington-Youth-Academy/71515853230.


A Common Core materials scramble

June 9th, 2014 by Steven Gardner

One of the key elements in a story we ran (subscription required) in early May on Common Core was how students will take Common Core standardized tests next year, even though few districts have educational materials that completely teach to the new standards.

NPR goes into great depth about what that means in a two-part series. A portion of the first part details how some educational book publishers came out with substandard materials they sold as Common Core-ready. There was one problem, according to Amber Northern, vice president for research at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank that supports the Common Core:

“There’s no way they could have gone back and actually re-evaluated, re-assessed their materials, and truly made a good-faith effort to align those materials that quickly. It just was simply impossible.”

The second part shows how districts are either doing nothing to adjust, buying new materials that may or may not be good enough, or adapting on their own to get next year’s curriculum in line with the new standards. Based on my experience, most local districts are doing some form of the latter. The NPR piece goes into some good detail about what a few districts are doing to be ready.

Over at Education Week a blog entry details a national survey showing that educator generally favor Common Core, but are highly concerned about how it’s being implemented. Again, much of the concern is materials and curriculum.


Get a quick snapshot of how your child’s school measures up

June 5th, 2014 by Chris Henry

On Saturday, we will run a story about struggling schools in Kitsap and North Mason counties, as identified by the State Board of Education.

The schools, identified in the Washington State Board of Education’s achievement index among the state’s lowest performing schools, are Cedar Heights Junior High School in South Kitsap School District, Hawkins Middle School in North Mason School District, Fairview Junior High School in Central Kitsap School District and Central Kitsap’s Off Campus Program.

The good news is that these schools have made some progress over the past three years with financial help and professional guidance from the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. And they’ll continue to get that help, despite Washington State’s loss of a waiver under No Child Left Behind.

In the course of researching this story, I found a handy, dandy tool that every parent of a school-age child can find useful.

Low (and high) performing schools in Washington State are identified through data evaluated in the achievement index. About a year ago, the SBE complied the data (available in a jahonking Exel file if that’s your preference) into a user-friendly dashboard data tool that gives a visual snapshot of each school in the state.

I don’t think this data tool was widely publicized. At least I never saw a press release about it. So they may have given it a “soft rollout” as the saying goes. But maybe I’ve just been behind the curve. I do know that the state is moving toward better public access and transparency of data.

OSPI’s school and district report card, which offers a wealth of information, has been available for a long time. I use it regularly.

Find the achievement index here. From the main drop down window, select your district of choice, then your child’s school to view data on academic proficiency and growth among all students and subgroups of students who have historically lagged behind their grade level peers.

Notice that dark blue represents the highest tier, with dark green at the next level and light green in the middle. Orange and red signify the lowest tiers. Having orange or even red boxes doesn’t automatically raise a red flag, under the SBE’s high-low ID system, which takes into account data over past three years. The system also measures students’ relative academic growth rather than growth against a fixed standard, as under the federal No Child Left Behind standards.

In addition to struggling schools, the Board of Education also identified high performing schools, including 17 in Kitsap and North Mason, which were recognized by OSPI in April.


OMG! Herman’s Hermits!

June 4th, 2014 by Steven Gardner

IMG_3654In our family this story has become legendary, and like most legends its truthfulness is worth questioning.

Mom swore it happened and her honesty was something you could set your watch by, and that’s good enough for me, especially because it’s about me and reminds people that I was once certifiably cute.

My oldest brother was a operating on the grass and dirt of a Southern California baseball diamond. By “operating” I mean he was playing, baseball to be precise. “Operating” just sounds more like a college word than “playing,” so I went there. Jim, the brother I mentioned earlier, played for the Twins in the Mustang League in West Covina, a Los Angeles suburb that was once home to Lee Majors and developments built on top of a cancer-inducing former landfill. We didn’t live on the former landfill, so we weren’t at risk for cancer except for all the smoking and breathing outside air.

I’m told Jim was pretty good, but I was only somewhere between 3 and 5 years old, so my interests were elsewhere. In one memorable moment my interest was going to the bathroom, so I ambled over to the portable outhouses they set up near the bleachers and went about my business. I’m guessing it was a seated affair, because I had time to sing “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” at full throat. Outside at least one man was waiting his turn as I sang. Apparently he wasn’t in an urgent state, because he was smiling.

Back then young Americans worshipped at the Beatles altar, but I was a Herman’s Hermits man, myself. My brother had a stack of albums (What you kids might call “vinyl.”) and often at the front of the pack was Noone’s face. Mom wasn’t much a fan of 60s music, Dad even less so, referring to it often as “rotten roll,” then laughing, usually with his mouth full. Jim would play his records in his room. I was sometimes not allowed in, by Mom or maybe Jim, so I would many times sit outside listening to what would become my own personal Wonder Years soundtrack.

The outhouse incident I’ve described is not one I remember. I obviously had the ability to speak, and sing, but this memory does not exist for me. Nonetheless I don’t doubt it. As I mentioned I was a big fan of Herman and his gang (I thought Peter Noone’s name was “Herman.” I’m sure people older than I thought the same thing.) and I was an even bigger fan of singing whenever the notion struck. To some degree I still do that, though it’s not cute anymore.

The memories I do have involving Herman’s Hermits include singing “Dandy” as a solo in my first-grade class. Seriously, it was sharing time, so thought it would be good to sing. I also remember my heart aching for Debbie Frazin every time I heard “There’s a Kind of Hush.” There were lots of sappy love songs in the 1960s. That song, though, had a depth even a 6-year-old could admire, a vision of an entire world so mesmerized by love that it falls silent. Poetic genius, perfectly elocuted by Noone.

That Noone and the rest of the Hermits are performing Saturday at the Admiral Theatre in Bremerton on the same weekend my oldest brother is here visiting us from Hawaii was a message from God. I saw McCartney last year and did a whole podcast afterward about how much my brothers needed to go see him. Neither Jim or I have seen the Hermits before, so this is just pefect. I predict I will probably cry like a little boy when Noone appears, not crushed like the young female Brown’s former boyfriend, but because I’ll be into something good for a couple of hours, something that has lasted almost five decades for me now.

EPILOGUE: No crying at the beginning, but when the Hermits broke into “There’s a Kind of Hush” at the end of the concert I got a little misty.

IMG_3678The music in the show was as good as I would have hoped. What surprised me was how funny Noone was. He bordered on Don Rickles humor at  times, saying some people from Belfair must have driven their in their house. I only wished he had said it about Port Orchard, the historical butt of my jokes.

My brother Jim, the bushy-mustached one in the photo here interacting with Noone, spent a few decades of his life on the radio in Honolulu. When I was taking Jim’s picture with Noone my brother asked when Noone and the rest of the Hermits would make it over to Hawaii. Noone said they don’t get over there much, but mentioned concert promoter and radio/TV personality Tom Moffatt. It turns out Moffatt is a friend of my brother’s. Noone mentioned that Moffatt introduced him to Elvis, then asked my brother to say “Hello” to Tom for him.

The Belfair reference was part of a string of local jokes. He poked fun at the airport in SeaTac, gas station attendants, and got the whole bit rolling by saying that when he was a kid he always dreamed that one day he would get to play at the “Admiral Theatre in Bremerton, Washington.” I was on vacation last week, part of it in Portland and I saw a poster advertising a Herman’s Hermits show at a casino down in Oregon. I would love to go, mostly to hear all the same jokes related to the different locale.

There was a time when we would laugh at guys like Noone and other musicians whose prime had passed, but they continued performing. I saw Paul McCartney last year and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. (I’d say one of the best I’d ever “seen,” but man we were sitting far away.) I’ll continue to go to any Springsteen concert. But neither McCartney or Springsteen are good examples, because they never lost the ability to fill arenas. I’m talking more about groups like REO Speedwagon or Three Dog Night.

In reality, it was seeing Christopher Cross that made me finally gain a renewed respect for performers whose hits are decades old. Now I think it’s wonderful that these musicians can continue to make a living by touring and performing for old and new audiences. Now that I’ve seen my first favorite band, (Noone is the only original Hermit in the current band, but he’s the most important one to me.) I’m really glad that they do.

Their defense against the jokes is their own willingness to poke fun at themselves. It’s like we’re all in on the joke. Noone said something akin to being on the tour of musicians who haven’t died yet. He asked to see if there were teenagers in the audience. He asked them if their moms made them attend, then said it was their grandmothers. He finished by joking that one of the young girls had forced her mother to go to the concert. I bet that joke will seem just as funny in Oregon.

 


Seeking summer educational opportunities for listing

June 3rd, 2014 by Chris Henry

The end of the school means fun in the sun (or rain), but learning continues during summer break.
The Kitsap Sun is compiling a list of educational opportunities available this summer in Kitsap and North Mason. The list will run June 10.
Submit items to sunnews@kitsapsun.com.
Put “Summer Education” in the subject line. Include times, dates, location, range of ages, fee (if applicable) and contact information.
For information, contact education reporter Chris Henry at chenry@kitsapsun.com or 360-792-9219.


Guy rents billboard for prom-posal

June 2nd, 2014 by Chris Henry

When Jacob Ness was considering how to ask his girlfriend Abby King to Olympic High School’s prom he wanted to pull out all the stops.

Ness had seen messages of a personal nature on the Mentor billboard near the Warren Avenue Bridge in East Bremerton and, “I just thought that putting that up there would be the mother lode of everything that would be up there.”

He rented the billboard, $80 for three days over a weekend in late May, and roped Abby’s mom, Patti King, in as an accomplice. The two drove Abby to the sign blindfolded. Abby was understandably apprehensive. They spun her around and pulled off the blindfold to reveal the message. Abby was speechless with surprise.
prom

“It worked out perfect,” Jacob said. “I went over and touched her, and she grabbed onto me and started crying.”

In short, she said, “Yes.” Oly’s prom is Saturday. Jacob and Abby will wear outfits that match in what Jacob describes as “seafoamy green.”

Prom-posals, extravagant public displays of affection related to that all important dance, are nothing brand new (the first one that actually got media attention was in 2001, according to a recent article in Time). But the stakes have escalated within the past few years, as teens vie to come up with the most original and clever way to drop the question. And always there is the requisite posting on social media.

Prom-posals are delivered on footballs, vehicles and T-shirts. Guys write them on pets and on themselves. Food — and for some strange reason, chicken — seems to be a trend.
football

vehicle

Tshirt

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Someprom-posals are romantic in a quirky way, inappropriate way. One of my son’s friends last year pretended to get hurt while playing soccer. The girl he asked was in sports medicine and rushed to attend to him. He lifted his pant leg to show the word “Prom?” on his calf.

bathroom

Yet other other prom-posals, like sunburning the word “prom?” on your back, or reclining in your underwear with rose petals and a giant teddy bear, just seem like a bad idea out the gate.

sunburnbadidea


Super Bowl XLIX

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