Monthly Archives: March 2008

McWoods Update: Annexation in Holding Pattern

Before I address annexation, I’ll call your attention to a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the McCormick Woods Clubhouse in which Doug Skrobut of McCormick Land Company will give an update on McCormick West. This is the last part of the urban growth area known as McCormick Urban Village to be developed. It is still in the permitting stage, and, according to Skrobut, construction will not start any time soon.

Here is a map created for the City of Port Orchard by the county’s Department of Information Services. I have altered the map to highlight the McCormick West boundaries. Download file

If you’ll recall, McCormick West was not included in the proposed boundaries for annexation of McCormick Woods into the City of Port Orchard (the boundary does include The Ridge at McCormick Woods, north of Old Clifton Road). This was done at Skrobut’s request because his company has been working with the county on multiple agreements regarding development of McCormick West. If McWest are were to become part of the city, all those agreements would have to be renegotiated and the permitting process would essentially have to start over, Skrobut said.

Now to the issue of annexation:

Pasted below is the most recent newsletter from McCormick Woods Annexation Committee member Ray McGovern (dated March 10).

McGovern addresses the perception that McCormick Woods is a “cash cow” to the City of Port Orchard, with a reply from Mayor Lary Coppola. McGovern also explains the reason for the delay in his committee filing the preliminary petition that will put annexation on the table for the city council to consider.


This issue is not a pro or con on annexation. It is an attempt to clarify some misunderstandings about why the City of Port Orchard wants us to annex. A number of residents emailed me or voiced their opinion that the only reason Port Orchard wants our area is to get into our wallets, raise our taxes and/or use us as a “cash cow”. These questions were asked of the mayor and the following is, in part, his reply.

….”The City’s main source of revenue is from sales tax – NOT property taxes. The City will collect the same percentage of property tax from the McCormick Wood’s area as we do everywhere else in the city, and that is basically a break-even proposition when the cost of providing City services is factored in. In other words, it ISN’T about the money for the City, because it’s a basically a revenue-neutral situation. If taxation was an issue, after annexation the McCormick Woods area will have a louder voice as City residents than as County ones”….. (end of reply)

My note: I’ll be interested to see if the income versus outflow of revenue for McWoods actually turns out to be a “break-even” proposition. I suspect it will have to do with how high maintenance McWoods turns out to be.

Back to Ray:

Another often asked question is “why is the process taking so long?” The city asked us for time before submitting the annexation petition so they could discuss the process with and get information from Kitsap County; which has taken much longer than the city anticipated. Your Annexation Committee will continue to work with the mayor, city staff and with County officials to try and get answers which we will report on in future Newsletters and the progress to date. We are reserving our “pro’s & con’s” information till we have factual answers, as this exploratory process is taking longer than your committee expected.

This Annexation Newsletter is not an attempted to change anyone’s mind on annexation. It is only to clarify questions. The purpose of your Annexation Committee is to gather and disseminate factual information. If or when you get to vote on annexation the decision will be yours, not the Committees.

For the Annexation Committee;
Ray McGovern,

Howe Farm: Your Comments

First here are links to three articles I wrote about Howe Farm over past year, from recent to remote.
Dogs Ditch the Leash at Howe Farm
Park Work Has Perks for Humans and Dogs
Commissioners Give Nod to Howe Farm Partnership

Second, in response to comments on the story about Howe Farm and a proposal to allow South Kitsap School District to conduct agriculture classes there, I wanted to added some material that got cut from the story due to space constraints. The copy and the comments address the issue of the relative merit of agriculture education.

Here’s are the comments that raise the question:

Posted by mryan march 8
If there are limited dollars available for vocational educational education, is a program to train people to perform work in a field that has NO agricultural base beyond hobby farms the best use of this money?

Posted by dahl March 8
teaching students a hobby is not my idea of educating students. After all, gardening is a hobby and I certainly doubt whether even one out of the graduating class will go into farming. Even if one did, learning gardening is not going to give him/her the knowledge to farm.

Posted by dahl March 9
What I am opposed to is a school district that complains about unfunded mandates, low graduation rates and failing test scores reaching out for something that won’t do the school district one bit of good in all three categories. How about getting the school district act together instead of spreading out into new areas before getting the current ones to work right?

Here’s what the school district’s director of career and technical education said when I asked him about the relevance of agricultural education.

“(Thomas) Mosby said the hands-on experience students get by studying literally in the field is important in helping them meet state standards on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, regardless of whether they will pursue a career in agriculture, because it demands direct application of knowledge, including math and economics, to real-life situations.
The district’s agriculture and natural resources program includes not only agricultural science, but also natural sciences, environmental science, forestry, landscape design and horticulture.
As to the relevance of the program, Mosby said, the burgeoning green industry has opened up many career paths requiring a background in agriculture and natural science. For example, he said, students who study landscape design and environmental science would have a good start on getting the background necessary to work in environmentally friendly construction such as that promoted by Kitsap Homebuilder’s Association’s Built Green program.
The school district, WSU Kitsap County Cooperative Extension, and Olympic College are working on an arrangement that would allow high school students to receive community college credit for agriculture classes, which in turn could be used toward a four-year degree.

Arno Bergstorm of WSU Extension also weighed in on the relevance of agriculture classes classes. “There is a huge horticulture and green industry here in Kitsap,” he said. “There are jobs out there.”
Bergstrom also noted the relevance of agricultural science, given the increasing cost of fuel to transport food from its source to the consumer. While corporate grocery stores still command 97 percent of the market, the “eat local” movement has at least a toe-hold in Kitsap County, Bergstrom said. Bergstrom teaches a class on making small farming economically viable, and it’s his hope that “eating local” will someday move from the fringes to the mainstream of Kitsap County consumerism.

Starbucks Coffee for the Troops

A Monday morning, an e-mail about donations of coffee for troops serving overseas, a simple feel-good story, right?

Yeah right. Feel-good, yes. Simple, no such luck.

Shortly, we’ll have a story on the Web site about Bernice Maxfield, a Belfair resident who has collected donations of Starbuck’s coffee to send to military troops serving overseas. Maxfield’s son, Army Sgt. Daryl Johnson, is serving his second tour in Iraq.

I called the manager of the Belfair Starbucks, who is Maxfield’s contact for the donations. She referred me to the Starbucks public relations office. No surprise there. But a representative of the corporation said she could give “no additional details about the program.” End of statement.

A link on the Starbucks Web site called “rumor response” hints at a possible reason for the coyness.

Apparently Starbucks is still doing damage control on a rumor from 2004 that the socially conscious coffee giant does not support U.S. military troops. In the link, USMC Sgt. Howard C. Wright, retracts an e-mail statement he made to that effect.

An accompanying corporate statement lists examples of troop support, including a relationship with the American Red Cross in which Starbucks has donated more than 100,000 pounds of coffee for military personnel in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. The statement also mentions policies related to pay, health care and job security for partners (employees) who are serving in the military.

Starbucks, whose corporate policies on social justice and the environment could reasonably be described as left-leaning, appears to be dealing with the same conundrum facing individual Americans who want to express support of the troops without overtly endorsing the war.

A link from CNN’s Web site shows the following poll results on American attitudes toward the Iraq War:

In a Newsweek poll that asked, “All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war with Iraq was worth fighting, or not?” 63 percent of those who responded said it wasn’t worth the costs.

Fifty-four percent of those who responded to a Pew Research Center poll said they thought the U.S. made the wrong decision in using military force against Iraq.

Fifty-eight percent of people in a CBS News New York Times Poll said in hindsight, they believed the U.S. should not have taken military action in Iraq.”

Maxfield said the current climate of anti-war sentiment makes it hard on military personnel. Her son got leave to return home in December for the birth of his daughter and was surprised to receive a hero’s welcome on a connecting flight in Dallas. Passengers on the flight gave him and his fellow soldiers a rousing round of applause. Johnson said it was the first time he’s received such treatment and it moved him deeply, his mother said. Johnson and his comrades in Iraq also were heartened by messages of encouragement and thanks donors wrote on the bags of coffee they received.

“I just think it’s neat in a time where’s there’s a lot of negativity about the war that people are still supporting our guys over there,” Maxfield said. “I don’t think there’s enough being said.”

Maxfield said she would welcome inquiries from military families, organizations or individuals willing to help distribute the bags of whole bean coffee. The cost for shipping is $10.95 for an eight-pound box plus a grinder. Maxfield has approached Walmart about donating grinders.
Contact Maxfield at (360) 340-4779 or at Security Financial Services, 1341 Bay St., Port Orchard.

Howe Farm: Time to Let Sleeping Dogs Lie?

On March 24, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners will hear public comment on a proposed joint use agreement to allow South Kitsap School District students and the community to conduct agricultural activities at Howe Farm county park. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the county administration building, 614 Division St., Port Orchard.

A story on the proposal will run Saturday.

The county has been negotiating with representatives of the district’s agriculture and natural sciences program. More than 350 students are enrolled in the program, which prepares them for career paths in the burgeoning green industry, said Thomas Mosby, director of career and technical education at South Kitsap High School. The high school has a two-acre farm on its premises. Having access to Howe Farm will allow for expansion of the program with the possibility of adding coursework for college credit.

The county is also working on agreements with WSU Kitsap County Extension, which plans to use the farm for public education classes, demonstration gardens and a community pea patch. Kitsap Dog Parks Inc. is a third group that will play a formal role at the 83-acre park, where an off-leash area was opened earlier this year.

The three entities and the county have worked for more than a year on a joint use agreement to accommodate multiple recreational and educational uses at the park. Leaders of the respective groups say they are eager to cooperate with one another. They are also hesitant to stir up past history which – as I understand it, having come to this beat just a little over a year ago – appeared to pit the interests of dog owners against the interests of those who want to wanted to see active agriculture at Howe farm.

Mosby, Arno Bergstom, the director of WSU Kitsap County Extension, and Danny Horovitz of Kitsap Dogs Parks Inc. have all shown a good faith effort to cooperate with one another. Mosby, who like me arrived at the party after the big flap was over, said he is sensitive to past conflicts over the fate of Howe Farm.
“As a district, we wanted to work to try to quell some of those anxieties and bring us all together to the table to work toward our goals,” Mosby said.

But, at least in some quarters, anxiety remains extant.

Scott Hall worked on the original Howe Farm stewardship committee before it disbanded. Hall is passionate about preserving farm land in Kitsap County. It’s his opinion that the district and WSU are getting shortchanged because the dog park is located on prime agricultural land. Hall, who now serves on the district’s agricultural advisory board, wants the county to conduct a “formal review” of land use at Howe Farm before the district and WSU sign on the dotted line.

Mosby says Hall is entitled to his opinion but does not speak for the district.

Today I spoke with Don Martin, who has served on the county’s Parks Advisory Board for the past three years and who was an interested observer during the height of the controversy over dogs at Howe Farm. In his personal opinion, it would be a mistake to dedicate Howe farm, or any other county park for that matter, exclusively to one use or another. “All of our parks are multi-use,” said Martin. “They were purchased as multi-use and we’ve got to maintain them as multi-use.” That, said Martin (in his opinion), will require building on the cooperative foundation that has been laid by the various entities interested in Howe Farm. “We’ve got everybody working together right now, we shouldn’t go backwards.”

SK Blog : Two Little Guys with Big Medical Needs

You may have seen today’s front page story about 4-year-old Brock Haarstad of South Kitsap who received a bone marrow transplant in October to treat leukemia. Brock came home in January and will be isolated there a year while his immune system grows.

He and his family are among beneficiaries of the annual “Dance for a Wish: A Western Affair,” to be held Friday at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds and sponsored by the Kitsap County Fair and Stampede. The evening will include dinner, auctions and dancing (see below for more info).

I recently learned of another young SK resident with a serious illness. Wyatt Oyler, 4, has Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia or GT for short. GT is an extremely rare disorder of the blood, in which the platelets are missing a protein that allows them to adhere properly (or clot). This increases bleeding time and significantly prolongs the most simple of injuries. “To you and I a nose bleed is nothing more than an inconvenience, to him it can be life threatening,” wrote his mother, Gayla Oyler in a letter publicizing the family’s plight.

wyatt slide.jpg
Wyatt Oyler

Doctor’s have recommended that Wyatt undergo a bone marrow transplant and and have placed him at “high risk status.” The transplant alone will cost around $600,000, not including searches, the chemotherapy, radiation, transportation, lodging, food and other costs. The family has learned that their estimated portion of the transplant alone will be between $40,000 and $60,000.

They have been holding fund-raisers and would welcome any help. Donations may be made to Kitsap Credit Union “Donations for Wyatt Oyler.”

Gayla also encourages people to consider becoming bone marrow donors. Brock Haarstad was lucky to have found a match in his 8-year-old brother, Ryan. A match has yet to be found for Wyatt.

Here’s the 411 on the Dance for a Wish event:
“Dance for a Wish: A Western Affair”

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Where: Presidents Hall, Kitsap County Fairgrounds

Tickets: $35 beforehand, $45 at the door. Visit or call (360) 337-7803

Former Mako’s: Is PO Ready for a Dress Code?

The bar formerly known as Mako’s will reopen this month under new ownership. Michael Gold, one of the partners in the company that will manage Slip 45 and the Shipwreck Lounge, said he’s he’s working to rise above Mako’s reputation as a magnet for violence.

One strategy he mentioned for keeping the peace it that the entertainment will be less geared toward the younger crowd, more toward those in the 30- to 70-year-old age range, “just local folks” who want to come out for a little line dancing.

Gold said he’ll experiment with different types of entertainment, including country, classic rock and comedy nights. He will have DJ’s and dance nights that are likely to attract 20-somethings, and frankly, he said, the security will be higher on those nights.

Another strategy Gold has to set a tone of civility is to enforce a dress code for certain events ( at least in the lounge, not the sports bar up front).

“You don’t have to dress up in a suit, mind you,” he said. “But no sneakers or ball caps.”

Gold’s idea begs the question, “Is PO ready for a dress code?”

And the related query, “Do dress codes work? Will people’s appearance influence their actions?”

Finally, “What kind of entertainment venues do you think Port Orchard/ South Kitsap lacks?”

Iditarod Update: SK Student Walks on the Wild Side

Here’s the final dispatch from Natalie Kathan, the South Kitsap student who is reporting on the Iditarod from Anchorage, Alaska. Find out all about Natalie at this previous blog post.

March 3
This is our last day in Alaska. The day was fully packed with awesome places and crazy wildlife. I started the day with a walk down the Coastal Trail that led me to a haunted house, moose tracks, and a statue of the famous Captain Cook. Captain Cook was the first British explorer to land in this area.

Moose Print.jpg
Moose Print (Photo courtesy of Kathan family)

Next we drove to the Alyeska Ski Resort which is south of Anchorage on the Turnagain Arm and took their tram to the 2,300 ft. level of Mt. Alyeska that gave us a bird’s eye view of the surrounding mountain ranges. The ride was incredible!

The 2nd stop was at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. I saw plain bison, wood bison, moose, brown bears, muskoxen, caribou, two great horned owls, Sitka black tailed deer, a porcupine, and a herd of elk. Did you know that both male and female caribou have antlers? Then in the fog and snow, I tried to spot Portage Glacier but it was impossible in the weather.

This evening I tracked my musher and as of tonight she is in 62nd place.
Musher Cindy Gallea off to Nome (Photo courtesy of Kathan family)

This is our last day in Anchorage and I’m sad to leave.

Natalie’s Daily Trivia: In the early 1900’s there were only 300 wood bison left in the world and all were in captivity. Thanks to the work of conservation groups they have grown to 3,000. There are still none living in the wild.

Click here for the wildlife center’s Web site.

Iditarod Update: SK Student on the Iditarod Trail

Click here, for a complete wrap-up of the Kitsap Sun’s Iditarod coverage.

Natalie Kathan, 11, a student at South Colby Elementary School in South Kitsap has been reporting to her classmates from Anchorage, Alaska, where Natalie is part of the crowd taking in the legendary Iditarod dog sled race. The trip was made possible by Natalie’s sister, Celena Kathan, who bid on and won the chance for Natalie to ride in the ceremonial start of the race.

Here’s a video taken by Natalie on the trail Saturday, during the ceremonial race. It gives a musher’s-eye-view of the scenery. Check out the dog on the right that keeps taking bites of snow on the run.

Here’s Natalie, reporting from the start of the actual race Sunday. (Photo by Celena Kathan.)

Natalie writes:
My day was amazing! The Official Start of the Iditarod was today and all the mushers were getting their teams and sleds packed and the dogs prepped for their long trail trip. The mood was a lot more serious and the mushers were “in the zone.” They had 2 minute intervals between each dog team setting out to Nome and Cindy Gallea was the 82nd musher.

I enjoyed riding with Cindy so much that I wanted to wish her luck and see her off on the trail. I waited for a of couple hours and watched Cindy get her dogs and sled ready, observing everything that we could about what she put in her sled. I saw her put in very interesting things that were all very little. She put in chapstick, a little toothbrush and toothpaste, eye drops, inhaler, and a little bottle of champagne to celebrate!

Cindy Starts!.jpg
Natalie rode with veteran musher Cindy Gallea. Here Gallea is ready to start the actual race on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Kathan family.)

When the number finally got to 80, we ran to the start line chute and waited for Cindy. I wished her good luck and thanked her from the crowd and then I took as many pictures as I could. Suddenly, after the horn, she was off on the trail heading for Nome for her 8th time.

She told me her goals for this Iditarod were to get in the top 30 and improve her time to 10 days. I hope she will reach them or even do better!

Once the restart of the race was over, we drove back home with a pit stop of ice cream. On my daily exploration I walked to the Ice Sculpture Park to get a few photos and saw a climbable ice castle with 2 ice slides. I slid down the slide twice and found it was surprisingly fast.


Natalie’s Daily Trivia: The fastest Iditarod finishing time was 8 days, 22 hrs, 26 min, and 2 sec. The slowest Iditarod finishing time was 32 days, 5 hrs, 9 min, and 1 sec.

Iditarod Update: Greetings from Alaska

(Check here for the Kitsap Sun’s coverage of the Iditarod, including stories by correspondent Sue Edwards, plus photos and multi-media by photographer Carolyn Yaschur.)

Natalie Kathan, 11, a student at South Colby Elementary School in South Kitsap has been reporting to her classmates from Anchorage, Alaska, where Natalie is part of the crowd taking in the legendary Iditarod dog sled race. The trip was made possible by Natalie’s sister, Celena Kathan, who bid on and won a chance for Natalie to ride in the ceremonial start of the race Saturday.
Natalie Kathan and an ice sculpture in Anchorage, Alaska.

While her fellow students have been studying the Iditarod, Natalie has been meeting mushers and experiencing Alaskan culture. Below are the first two installments of her reports to the class (complete with Natalie’s daily trivia).

Feb. 27:
Hello from Alaska!!

We landed in Anchorage this afternoon and so far it has been awesome. After checking into our hotel, we went exploring. We found a really amazing interactive theater called Bear Square Theater. They played an incredible movie on the history and spirit of the Iditarod with special effects like “fog” and “snow” so you would think that you were sledding in a fog or in a blizzard. Through virtual games, I succeeded in reeling in a 35 pound fish, felt what it was like to ride on a sled, and looked over Alaska from a hot air balloon. Later, we walked through an ice sculpture park and saw workers making a huge castle made out of ice!! On the way back to the hotel from the ice sculpture park, we saw two Native Alaskans wearing traditional parkas. The woman’s had a ruffle on the bottom and an embroidery belt. The man’s was shorter with embroidery around the bottom. The huge fur hoods looked VERY warm in the 20 degree weather.

Natalie’s Daily Trivia:
There are 1,000 wild moose living inside the Anchorage city limits!

That’s it for now,


Celena and Natalie Kathan model traditional Native Alaskan garb.

Feb. 28
We started the day by walking to the Anchorage Museum. There we explored an amazing gallery called “The Way We Genuinely Live” It showed how the Native Alaskans used everyday objects to make clothes, boots, and tools. The men made their kayaks to fit their body size. They would use their own body parts as measurements: thumbs, arm spans, and fingers. They bent the kayak wood by biting the pieces to make small holes in the wood. The small holes made the wood pieces more flexible and easier to bend. We also went on a museum tour that explained the history of Alaska and the Iditarod.

Next, we went to the Iditarod Headquarters and met my musher who I’m riding with on the ceremonial start! She was incredibly interesting, and seemed like an awesome person to be sledding with. I’m very excited about meeting her dogs and she was excited about me meeting her dogs, too. She has 55 dogs in her kennel and she says that’s considered small. It only takes her 45 minutes to mix up all the dog food and to feed all 55 dogs! It’s not uncommon for a musher to have 100 or more dogs!!

We explored some more and found that everyone we talked to in Anchorage was very friendly. We finished off the day with a ride called the “Apollo” at the local Fur Rondy Carnival right across from our hotel. To prove yesterday’s trivia tidbit, we saw 2 moose off to the side of the road, one even decided to wander down the MIDDDLE of the road.



Natalie’s daily trivia: A ruff is the fur outlining the hood of a parka. It is a protector against both the bright glare of the sun on the snow and from frostbite.