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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Posts Tagged ‘Bremerton’

Satirical news surge: Meet the man behind ‘The Kitsap Report’

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Josh Farley writes:

The recipe for cooking up fake news stories in Kitsap County is simple, Calvin Courter says. Look for a trending topic on the Internet, find a way to give it a local twist, and sit back and watch it spread around the Internet like wildfire.

“We just wanted to provide a funny source of news,” said Courter, a 29-year-old Poulsbo resident who founded The Kitsap Report, a satirical news web site. “We wanted to lighten the mood around here.”

The Report, which boasts itself as being “Kitsap’s #1 source for news” has produced such eyeball-grabbing headlines as “Naughty Drive-through Marijuana Store Opening in Gorst,” “Bridge from Bainbridge to West Seattle Approved,” and “Walking Dead Season 5 to be Filmed in West Bremerton,” in its initial weeks of publication. (Blogger’s note: not all content posted on the site is family friendly.)

Because this is the Internet, where all content is accurate until proven phony, here is your official SPOILER ALERT: None of those stories are true. (No, really. They’re not.)

Courter said he’s not surprised that readers have mistaken his headlines for the real thing (he’s even heard from a Seattle-based reporter who thought they were legit). He said he hadn’t meant to trick people, but rather to spice things up.

“I like living here, but it’s a little boring,” he said.

He goes by Tom Tickles on the web site, a Kitsap lifelong resident “born in a pool of gasoline and raised by a pack of rabid raccoons in the woods outside of a small farming village.”

Courter and the Kitsap Sun have crossed paths before. He worked as an advertising account executive here in 2012. Today, he counts mortgage lending as his day job.

The site took off faster than he expected. After its launch Jan. 2, he went out to the Portside Pub in Poulsbo. By the time he returned home, the site’s first article, “Twerking: Serious Problem at Kitsap School,” had accumulated 6,000 page views.

The article today is up to almost 70,000 views.

Not bad for someone who’s never taken a journalism class (he adds that he failed junior year English). But this is a guy who knows his news: he’s been reading the Kitsap Sun since he was a kid and grew up watching Almost Live! He is and will always be a news junkie, he said.

Courter got tired of the barrage of posts he’d see on social media sites containing falsehoods, and so he decided to create some falsehoods for himself. But don’t go calling the Kitsap Report a local version of The Onion.

“I think the future of satirical news is local,” he said, adding later: “You’ll never see a Kitsap article on the Onion.”

He welcomes contributions, and he’s looking to expand into the video medium.

“We’ll see where it goes,” he said. “But people of Kitsap can look forward to more and more news from us.”


Following Seahawks win, the Bremerton boat was a bulgin’

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

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Like many of you, I savored the Seattle Seahawks’ trouncing of the San Francisco 49ers a couple Sundays ago, a big win and a great start to a promising season that continued with a victory versus Jacksonville this week.

But as heavy rains had delayed the game versus San Francisco, I got a little worried, too.

With the delay, Bremertonians and other Kitsap County residents who took the ferry to the game had pretty much one option to get back here: the 10:30 p.m. ferry. (Not counting those of you who drove to the game via the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.)

Yes, there’s a later boat, but 12:50 a.m. is just too late to wait, especially on a school night. We’ve all been in this tight spot before. Fortunately, the game ended with enough time to get to the 10:30 p.m. boat. (And with ticket prices being what they are, I’d be there for every moment myself.)

But would the 10:30 p.m. boat hold everyone? We’re talking about a lot of fans here. I went to bed thinking good thoughts for those coming back to Bremerton, and sent a note off to Washington State Ferries asking about how many people climbed aboard the next morning. I also put a note on my facebook page.

To my surprise, those who responded said it wasn’t too bad. The Walla Walla was working the route, which helped because of its size. Everyone made it aboard, it seems.

A week later, I finally got those ridership stats. The ferries counted 1,057 passengers on the 10:30 p.m. sailing. Not even the Bainbridge Island boat at 10:40 p.m., which was that route’s most populated run of the day, reached that number (it totaled 907). Bremerton’s route carried 2,560 people altogether that Sunday (Sept. 15), meaning that one sailing had more than 40 percent of its ridership for the day.

The WSF’s Ray Deardorf said that even if the Walla Walla (capacity 2,000) hadn’t been working the route, the Kitsap — usually the smallest boat on the Bremerton run — could’ve accommodated the load, with a maximum capacity of 1,200.

Yet had the Kitsap made the journey, some 400 people wouldn’t have had a seat to sit on, he added. “An uncomfortable crossing,” he said of the possibility.

Yep, those of us in Bremerton have our gripes about the frequency of the ferry sailings. But it’s nice to know that that boat might be bulging, but there’s lots of room on our ferry vessels.

 


This is all Silverdale’s fault

Friday, August 30th, 2013

New York, L.A., Miami, Bremerton.

We trot out the lists whenever some magazine decides to recognize us. “They like us! They really, really, like us!” This goes back to the early 1990s when Money magazine said Bremerton was the best place in America to live. It made perfect sense to me at the time, because Bremerton was said to be near Seattle and that you got here by boat. And I had never been to Bremerton.

We’ve continued to rank high now and again on those kind of lists, though we’re also suspected of being an ungodly bunch.

Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which I’m told is not a magazine, has released a publication about expenditures on children by families in 2012. The Daily Beast, which is an online magazine, used metropolitan geographic stats from Redfin to come up with the 15 most expensive places to raise a child in the first year, citing the costs of housing, energy, healthcare and stuff for the baby and added a stat about how many OB/GYNs there are in an area.

On Redfin Bremerton is #14. Throw in the OB/GYN stat on the Daily Beast and Bremerton is #8, joining New York, L.A. and Miami.

Why blame Silverdale? Because I can. This goes back to the days when the Central Kitsap Reporter got all huffy because these lists were coming out lauding Bremerton, when most of those accolades included data that came from Bremerton’s outlying parts in the rest of the county, even Port Orchard. In those days I worked overtime finding ways to make fun of Port Orchard, because I was the Bremerton reporter. I thought it was in my job description. I might have made that up.

The point is, if you’re going to get all jacked up about a silly list that says Bremerton is neato, you better bow your head in shame when another list comes out and says it will take a bigger chunk of your paycheck to raise the li’l feces factory during the first year than it does in Seattle.

I accept your apology in advance.


Bremerton: You’re invited to paint the town

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

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Josh Farley writes: 

Here’s your chance to brighten Bremerton with a fresh coat of paint.

Two city projects invite local residents to join in an effort to put down fresh coats of paint around schools and along the retaining wall near the Manette Bridge.

At 5 p.m. Thursday, Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin and Steve Priest, an art teacher at Bremerton High School, will continue painting the Washington Avenue retaining wall. They welcome help, if you’re interested — simply head out to the wall on Washington, near the Manette Bridge, at that time.

Martin called the painting a “followup” to the painting and mural designed by Bremerton graduate Jan Jimenez and unveiled in July (see photo).

“We thought painting the wall on the other side might be worth a try,” Martin told me in an email.

Then, on Saturday, residents can join city staff to “freshen up” school zones around the city before the kids go back to school in September. New coats of paint will be added on roads near the schools.

Those who want to help out need to be ready to go at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at 100 Oyster Bay Avenue North, site of Bremerton Public Works and Utilities headquarters.

The city will provide the materials, according to Milenka Hawkins-Bates, Bremerton’s public works’ administration division manager. The city asks that residents wear appropriate clothing for painting, and that no “open toed” shoes be worn.

For more information, call public works at (360) 473-5920.


Bremerton bewilders Los Angeles; Quincy Jones a Hall of Famer

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Quincy Jones, who spent a fair chunk of his teenage years here in Bremerton, credited the “Sausalito of the Northwest” with helping him launch his lifelong affair with music. Charles R. Cross, writing for the The Seattle Times, quoted Jones as he made a speech Thursday at his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here’s how Cross described the ceremony, which this year took place in Los Angeles:

Oprah Winfrey made a surprise appearance to induct Quincy Jones. Though she didn’t talk about his Northwest connection, Quincy did, in a long, emotional speech.

“To me, that journey [in music] began in Bremerton,” he said. “You know Bremerton, Washington, don’t ya?”

Scattered applause followed but also bewilderment from many in the Los Angeles crowd.

I’m trying to get a copy of Jones’ speech. If I get one, or if I find a video of it I’ll post it here.

At the old Bremerton Beat blog we provided Jones’ telling of how he found music here. It’s a sweet story.

Bremerton: Quincy Jones, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Your move, Port Orchard.


Prayers, pledges and Bremerton politicians

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Some years back, the first time I covered Bremerton, a committed atheist began attending the Bremerton City Council meetings pretty regularly. This citizen was not going because of any God issues, but as many of you know the council has a regular practice of opening its meeting with the pledge and a prayer.

Around the country the issue is coming up, according to an AP story online Wednesday in the Seattle Times.

All these years I’ve wondered when the day might come when someone would express offense at the regular request to deity. I kept it to myself, though, because we reporters like to be somewhat cautious about where we start fights. This wasn’t an argument I wanted to be blamed for initiating. No one complained.

In 2007, when Bainbridge Island’s city council voted to stop saying the pledge of allegiance, then Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman told the council, following a pledge and a prayer, that he was glad his city did both. Council members chuckled and said nothing more.

That may continue in Bremerton and even if a fight does happen it doesn’t necessarily mean the city would have to stop praying. But there is some question whether the city would be willing to spend the money to defend its practice in court. And the AP story suggests that the silence of whatever opposition there might be won’t continue forever.

“Lawyers on both sides say there is a new complaint almost weekly, though they don’t always end up in court. When they do, it seems even courts are struggling to draw the line over the acceptable ways to pray. Some lawyers and lawmakers believe it’s only a matter of time before the Supreme Court will weigh in to resolve the differences.”

Bremerton is the only local entity I know of that starts with prayer, but the state Legislature and Congress do it too. It’s not just some ancient tradition of American backwaters.

In the meantime I suppose Bremerton’s meetings will continue to be led by representatives from the city’s different religions and traditions. No one is objecting.

Yet.


Bremerton School District to lose a longtime ‘people for that’

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

George Dockins, executive director of the Public School Employees of Washington, delivers high praise to Yvonne Dean, who is retiring after 24 years with the Bremerton School District. (This poorly focused photo was taken by Steven Gardner, who we hope did a better job with the blog entry itself.)


Yvonne Dean saw her husband retire while their two daughters were preparing for college and decided to take work as a substitute teacher in the Bremerton School District.

That was 1988.

On Tuesday she was celebrated by fellow members of the Bremerton Professional Education Association. Dean is retiring.

“We’re going to be lose a historian,” said Wanda Liner at Tuesday’s regular meeting that turned into a tribute. “We’re going to have some big shoes to fill, especially in the union.”

The union is made up with the school district’s equivalent of the “people for that.” You know, like that time you spilled the shrimp sauce on the carpet at Alex Rodriguez’ house. You started to clean it up yourself, but Alex gently reminded you not to worry, that “We have people for that.”

The “people for that” in the school district do clerical work, manage offices and serve as paraeducators and custodians. If the school district were a human body, the BPEA and its statewide union, the Public School Employees of Washington, would be the liver. I know no one wants to be called “the liver,” but take one out of your body try living without it. You can’t.

There were moments Tuesday, too, when it became clear that there are times these employees feel as unappreciated as a liver. There are contract talks at play now, and not everyone is happy about the direction those are going.

Dean started as a sub, then worked as a clerical assistant and office assistant at Crown Hill Elementary, Magnuson Community School and the district’s business, maintenance and transportation offices. She didn’t drive the buses, (“No way would they get me on a bus with 70 kids behind me,” she said. “That takes a special person.”) but she handled transportation issues in the office so a bus driver could focus on driving a route.

“I have grandkids,” Dean said when asked why she’s retiring. “It’s time for a change.”

Change is something she has seen over 24 years. One thing she mentions is how parents are much less willing to accept responsibility for what their children do now than when she started working in the district. Before, a child acting up in class would lament that the “worst thing was Mom and Dad were going to know and they would do something.” She also said all the technology available has made us all less willing to look at each other and say, “Hi.” That, she said, will prove difficult for today’s kids. “I understand it’s great, but we need to communicate.”

My recollections from my years in school were that some of the classified employees we met were among our favorite personalities. Olie was the custodian at my elementary school and Bernie served that role in high school.

Even if we didn’t know them directly, they certainly had an impact. When I tried to ditch school it wasn’t a teacher I tried to trick into believing I was my dad. I went to school that day at the gentle prodding of a nice woman whose name I no longer recall. Nonetheless, she had as much to do with my education experience as some of the teachers. I just didn’t know it or appreciate it at the time. So many important things were done for us students, things we never had to notice because the school district made sure we had “people for that.”


Breaking ground for youth

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

About 180 people took shelter in the old East (Bremerton) High gymnasium for an event that necessarily has its highlight outside.

It was a groundbreaking for the Youth Wellness Center, in particular the teen center for the Boys & Girls Club and the Lindquist Dental Clinic.

Those are expected to be built and ready next fall. A wellness center, kitchen and marketplace are expected to be built by 2014.

Norm Dicks and Derek Kilmer were on hand to speak, as was Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent.

The golden shovels were ready outside. If anyone complained about the weather I didn’t hear it. If nothing else it made the ground softer for digging.

Dicks told of playing for West in the old gym. He says he hit the game-tying shot. Any fact checkers out there?

Dicks also said he was able to get one of the last earmarks for the Wellness Center site. “It was not a big one, ” he said.

SIDE NOTE: I love this gym. Our photographers hate the lighting in there. Having never taken a photo from inside there before today I knew it probably had to be a challenge. Now, using the panorama feature on my phone, I get my first firsthand experience.

Still, what a beautiful interior, odd lighting and all.


McDonald adds info on B&O tax proposal

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Following up on Wednesday’s story about the Bremerton City Council’s move to (eventually) kill off the city’s B&O tax, City Council President Jim McDonald contacted me Wednesday to provide updated information I didn’t have. We were unable to speak on Tuesday, otherwise this would have been in the story.

McDonald was the one backing the 2.5 percentage point credit option, having it go up 2.5 points a year. He’s now backing off. City staff had argued the credit complicated tax collections, an issue that was pointed out in the story.

What McDonald would propose now is an automatic 20,000 rise in the exemption floor every year. “You actually have to take action to not implement it (each year)” he said.

McDonald had opposed the exemption rise before because inflation would reduce the benefit over time if the exemption were not continuously raised by the council. Making the rise automatic addresses that point.

If the city were actively trying to annex beyond current boundaries, the tax would be a hindrance, McDonald said. Where that would likely come into play is south towards Gorst, he said. The city has built sewer infrastructure in that area. The Wheaton corridor north of Riddell, while it could probably generate enough sales taxes to make killing the B&O possible, is not on the radar. Much of that area is in an urban growth area, but is not affiliated with any city.


Bremerton Towers additional information

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Mark Goldberg, lead contact on the Bremerton Towers project discussed Thursday in the Kitsap Sun, returned my call this morning and provided additional details to the story.

1. These will be apartments. “There’s nobody building condominiums now,” he said.

2. The company will build the one tower first, with no definite plans for the second two. The first tower, with 140 residences, is on Goldberg’s property at 510 Washington Avenue. He hopes construction will begin in spring or summer 2013, but there is no firm commitment on that.

3. The property where the second and third towers would go are bank owned. The bank, First Citizens Bank & Trust of Lacey, has a third party on contract to pursue possible development of those towers, Goldberg said. He might be involved in that work, but that’s not certain at this point.

To reiterate something I wrote in the comments section of the story, more or less repeating something from the story, this project was essentially approved by the city in 2009.

To elaborate on that, any proposed project that meets the city’s zoning standards by law has to be approved. It’s why Wal-Mart is in Poulsbo. The city had zoned for a big box years before. Opponents, including a couple on the council, tried to block it by not approving it, but I remember quite clearly Ed Stern making the case that the city is obligated by law to approve a project if it meets the standards the city has set. In this case that decision fell upon Bremerton’s Department of Community Development and it was made in 2009.

Goldberg believes the first Bremerton Tower will be attractive to a mix of renters. The building would be a rare waterfront highrise, which he said doesn’t exist anywhere in the Puget Sound region.

To clarify other issues. Goldberg was not the developer on the project that cost the county and the city money. His condo complex was completely private and was next to the housing authority condo complex. When Goldberg’s project was stung by economic downturn, those condos went to auction.

Goldberg did own the property where the debris was left. As our story explained before, he paid to have the building on site knocked down, had six months to clean it up, said he ran out of money, got foreclosed on at which point the legal responsibility to clean it up went away.


Super Bowl XLIX

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