Monthly Archives: April 2007

County’s Pocketbook Gets Lighter Every Year

Property taxes payments from Kitsap County residents are due Monday. For information, contact the assessor’s office at (360) 337-7160 or log on to

Monday is the deadline for Kitsap County residents to pay their property taxes.
And as they write their checks — perhaps reeling from the amount — Ben Holland, director of the county’s administrative services, would like them to know that the county has budget woes of its own.
County officials are scrambling to address a budget shortfall they see hitting in 2008.

Continue reading

County Approves SK Park Transfer

It’s official. The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners has accepted South Kitsap Parks District Board of Commissioners’ counter-proposal, which cements the transfer of South Kitsap Community Park to the county.
According to Commissioner Jan Angel, the park’s future is a blank slate. All we know is that the county has committed $2.19 milllion for improvements to the park ever the next six years. The next step is a “public process,” said Angel, in which all comers are welcome. In an upcoming article, I will report on what stakeholders in the park’s future have to say. I’m also hoping to hear from others who may have ideas about what they’d like to see at South Kitsap Community Park. It will be interesting to see how those in opposing camps work to bury the hatchet as they move forward toward what seems to be everybody’s goal: a viable, vibrant park (see parks commissioner Margie Rees’ comments below).

So blog on or e-mail me at Thanks.

Here’s how one chapter in the parks 30+ year history ended.

Continue reading

Kitsap BizKid$ to be Featured on PBS Television

Filming for the program took place at South Kitsap and Bremerton High Schools

South Kitsap
South Kitsap High School students Lindsey Porter and Jolynn Jernigan aren’t regulars in the school’s acting class, but on Tuesday, they stood outside the school cafeteria, facing a large microphone and a television production crew for an upcoming Public Broadcasting Service program called “JA’s BizKid$.” The show is set to begin airing this fall on public television stations nationwide.
Producers of the program, Seattle-based McKenna/Gottlieb Productions, hope BizKid$ will do for financial literacy what Bill Nye did for science. The show is produced in cooperation with Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide and is exclusively underwritten by America’s Credit Unions, including Kitsap Credit Union.

Continue reading

Recognizing Crime Victims’ Rights

In any given year, between 15,000 and 18,000 Kitsap County citizens are victimized by crime.
Kitsap County’s law enforcement officials, county commissioners and prosecuting attorney on Monday gave official recognition to victims rights and needs, as the county observes Kitsap County Crime Victims’ Rights Week, part of a national observation, April 22-28.
Prosectuing attorney Russ Hauge said, since he took over the office in 1995, he’s seen an increase in “the number of people who have come in contact with crime. … In those instances lives are changed.”
Among the most prevalent crimes are DUIs, with 1,726 cases, including 5 vehicular homicides, referred for prosection last year.
Marcia Masters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who brought a display board with pictures of drunk driving victims, commeded the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and local police offices for their “compassionate” handling of DUI vicitims.
“It’s really important to remember we’re in the people business,” said Sheriff Steve Boyer. “Every one of these victims, as you can see from the board, has a face.”
Domestic violence and sexual assault are also prevalent crimes. Last year, 2,870 cases of domestic violence and 698 sexual assault cases were referred for prosecution. Of the 2,198 clients served by Kitsap’s Sexual Assault Center, 294 were children 12 and younger.
Each year, only a fraction of crime victims take part in the prosection process. The elderly, the young, vicitms of sexual assault and domestic violence all need support to overcome feelings of shame and fear of reprisal, Hauge said.
Commissioner Chris Endresen, who chairs the board, noted that serving crime victims is “not inexepnsive,” but it’s a worthy expenditure. She encouraged citizens to think of the people behind the numbers as they write their property tax checks, which are due at the end of the month.
“We must remain united in our commitment to ensure that every crime victim is treated with compassion and respect, recognized as key participants within our system of justice, and afforded services that provide help and hope to them,” she said, reading from the proclaimation.

Defying Government Speak

County’s new communications software system is touted as being user friendly and cost-efficient.

Artificial intelligence is coming to Kitsap County’s governmental offices, but don’t expect R2D2.
The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners on Monday approved spending $145,000 for a new computerized communications system designed to help citizens bypass “government speak,” said Bud Harris, the county’s director of communications in a commissioners’ workstudy meeting last week. In the long run, the system, made by Microsoft, will not only save the county money, but will help local residents do business with county offices more efficiently, he said.

Continue reading

Manchester Mudslide: The Movie

On March 22, Manchester resident Jim Stritzel took on Kitsap County in a dispute over who’s responsible for a massive mudslide that began the evening of Nov. 21, 2006, and led to a landslide of lawsuits.

In a nutshell, the county is blaming Stritzel and holding him responsible for the county’s cost to clean up of tons of mud dumped on his downhill neighbors. Stritzel says the muddy mess is the county’s fault and can be directly linked to an illegally placed storm drain. Entered into the public record at the hearing was video footage of the mudslide taken by a county official.

The movie shows massive chunks of mud dropping 15 or so feet into a ravine and turning instantly to heavy brown sludge that rushes downhill. Compared to the run-of-the-mill stuff of public hearings, it was riveting. Here is the video, courtesy of Michael Barth, building official with the county’s Department of Community Development. (Click the link below to read the complete story.)

Continue reading

SK Parks: Now What?

After more than a year of formal — sometimes testy — negotiations, the South Kitsap Parks & Recreation Board of Commissioners on April 12 agreed to turn South Kitsap Community Park over the Kitsap County. The agreement is to be finalized within the next month.
Now what?
The county’s first order of business, according to South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel, will be a little housekeeping. The four-member parks board, which has struggled with financing, was unable to keep up with routine maintenance.
“We can get in there and clean up the park, and clean up some of the fields so they can be used by summer,” Angel said.
Beyond that, there will be a “public process” to determine what citizens want. Angel will meet with Chip Faver, the county’s director of Facilities, Parks & Recreation, to establish the process for making sure everyone has their say.
The park has its impassioned advocates, including a group called Supporters of the Chuck F. Jeu Family Recreation Center, some members of whom had hoped to see the park stay independent. They will be welcome to the table, said Angel, but she also wants to hear from other citizens, and she has a few ideas of her own, such as an environmental learning center.
Angel said is pleased with the parks board’s decision.
“I’m very happy with this,” she said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”
Larry Walker, chairman of the parks board, is satisfied, too.
“I feel a lot better,” he said. “I’m glad we’re finally moving forward with this.
“What I’d like to see now is we’re moving the confrontational viewpoints aside. Everyone will be in the same traces, and we’ll move forward to build this park.”

Friday Afternoon Club: The New Dog in Town

Yes, Yes, I know it’s not Friday yet, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the weekend.

While stretching my legs in downtown Port Orchard before a recent city council meeting, I noticed the neon signs were glowing in the windows of the former Moondog Tavern, which closed earlier this year. Swinging open the heavy, old door, I found Darryl Baldwin and Kimberly Green hard at work getting ready for the grand opening Friday of MoonDogs Too.

Baldwin is optimistic about the vitality of the downtown area, despite the papered windows of surrounding properties.

Baldwin said he and Green plan to bring back the friendly town tavern feeling. To that end, they’ve hired security personnel, two burly bouncers — one of whom went to daycare with my son, so that dates me. Baldwin said he wants to distance himself from the bad reputation the bar earned during its last years as the Harborside. He also wants to steer clear of any fallout from Mako’s, across the street, which, according to Kitsap Sun records, has come to the attention of law enforcement for a disproportionate number of assaults.

Here’s the full story, with a little history of the place.

Continue reading

Council Considers Modified Building Height Proposal

Meeting fatigue: As last night’s city council meeting crawled to a close, Mayor Kim Abel was having some trouble corralling council members for follow-up meetings on the downtown plan. There was one schedule conflict after another. This after public testimony and council members’ comment on how the process of drafting and approving the plan has been prolonged for months. At one point, Abel sunk down in her chair in apparent exasperation, so that all that could be seen above the council table was the top of her head and a furrowed brow — a little comic relief for all.

OK, here’s the real story:
The Port Orchard City Council appears to be leaning away from a controversial provision in its proposed downtown plan that would allow buildings up to 55 feet in the town’s commercial core.
On recommendation from Councilman Rick Wyatt, they also are considering adding elements of the city’s existing view ordinance to the plan, an idea that met with approval from some citizens who testified at a final public hearing on the topic Tuesday.
The council has scheduled two meetings over the next month to consider the large volume of public testimony given over the past year on the downtown plan, with the possibility of a vote May 28.

Continue reading

Traffic Circles: The Right Way and the Wrong Way

Educational video addresses traffic circle etiquette and safety.

The City of Port Orchard sees a wide road in South Kitsap’s future.
City officials will hold an open house April 25, to discuss the proposed widening of Tremont Street, which has raised some public concern about traffic flow, especially with regards to traffic circles that are part of the design.
Improvements on the main boulevard into Port Orchard and the South Kitsap area will create a gateway effect that will “welcome people into the community and project the right image of Port Orchard,” said Maher Abed, the city’s public works director.
In another public workshop Thursday, the city will present plans to create a storm water utility to comply with the state’s Department of Ecology guidelines. Public funding of storm water maintenance will allow the city to do a better job of keeping streets clear of silt build-up and preventing pollution run-off into Sinclair Inlet, Maher said.
Maher hopes to see a good turnout at both workshops so that community members can be made aware of the impact, costs and benefits of each project.

Continue reading