Monthly Archives: May 2008

Friday Afternoon Club: Remembering Loved Ones, Raising Money

Two events of note this weekend pertain to the South Kitsap area.

Etta’s Auction
The first is the annual auction for Etta Projects a nonprofit organization established in the memory of Etta Turner. The South Kitsap Rotary exchange student died in a bus accident in Bolivia. Etta cared deeply about the plight of impoverished women and children throughout the world, especially in Bolivia. Her inspiration was the catalyst of Etta Projects and the opening of two “comedors” in Montero, the town where she lived the last months of her life. Here children get nourishing meals and women learn skills to help them improve the lives of their families.
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Afifi Shrine Center, 815 Vassault, Tacoma
For more information, call (360) 876-7487 or e-mail

South Kitsap Relay for Life
South Kitsap kicks off a series of Relay for Life events in Kitsap and North Mason Counties at 6 p.m. Friday at South Kitsap High School. More than 50 teams will circle the track throughout the night and into the next day to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The event begins with an opening ceremony followed by a survivor lap. At 10 p.m. there will be a luminaria ceremony, where luminaries displaying people’s names are lit around the track as people walk in memory of those who have lost their lives to cancer. The event is scheduled to end at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Kitsap Speller Ready for the Next Challenge

Hunter Lehmann more than exceeded his goal for himself this year at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. On his second trip to the bee after winning the Kitsap Sun Regional Spelling Bee two years in a row, he not only made it into the quarterfinals (his goal) but spelled his first word correctly. He was one word away from the semi-finals, broadcast on ESPN, but things got hairy for him with the word “polytrichous,” thickly covered with hairs or cilia.
As Hunter’s dad describes below, his son went from elation to deflation. This is the last year the 13-year-old is eligible to participate in the bee. But Hunter’s now ready for his next challenge … AP Biology.
Congratulations, Hunter. Thanks for representing Kitsap so well in D.C. And remember others have folded under far less pressure.

The semifinals will air Friday on ESPN from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. PDT. The championship will air live Friday on ABC from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Peter Lehmann writes:

Today was a day of excitement and disappointment. Hunter successfully spelled his Preliminary Oral Round word and also scored 22 out of 25 on the previous written test, qualifying him for the Quarterfinals. He was really excited, as his goal for this past year was to do well enough to get past the written test and into the Quarterfinals. He correctly spelled the first word given to him in the Quarterfinals, easily spelling the word brumous, pronounced like “brum-us”. He was one word away from making it to the Semifinals. Unfortunately he couldn’t figure out the word polytrichous, pronounced “puh-li´-truh-cuss” (not like it looks phonetically, “polly-trick´-us”). He went from excitement to deflation. He says being up on stage most of the day was really draining, both physically and emotionally. I know he’s bummed out that he was so close to getting into the “elite” group of spellers who make it to TV time, but when all is said and done, he exceeded his expectations, and once the disappointment wears off I know he’ll feel good about the whole experience. He is disappointed that this is his last competition; being an eighth grader he’s no longer eligible for either the Spelling or Geography Bees, both of which he’s been involved with the past 4-5 years. When I asked him was his next challenge will be, he said, “Mom says it’s time to take AP Biology!”

Go, Hunter. Keep ‘Em Spellbound

Hunter Lehmann, Kitsap’s representative to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, advanced to the second round of the quarterfinals today. According to the story now up on the Kitsap Sun’s homepage, Hunter, 13, of Poulsbo, “advanced to the second round, or Round 4, of the quarterfinals” today, “If he spells his word correctly this round, he will make it to the semifinals on Friday. He advanced by spelling the word ‘brumous’ correctly. Brumous is a word of French origin that means “foggy, or misty.”

Hunter’s dad sent an e-mail Wednesday explaining how the process works. Peter Lehmann wrote:

Spelling competition starts this year with 288 spellers. Within 24 hours the Bee needs to get down to a small number of spellers for the semifinal and final rounds, which are televised on ESPN and ABC respectively. To do this, a large number of spellers are eliminated in a short period of time in what is called Preliminaries, composed of written and oral spelling.

Last year all the spellers took the written portion of the elimination round together in a large room. 25 words were given to them at the same time, and they were to choose from among five possible alternative spellings for each test word (using a bubble type score sheet). This was followed immediately by a single oral round for each of the spellers. The written words each counted for one point and the oral round counted for three points. The top 90 spellers plus ties advanced to the quarterfinals.

Hunter was disappointed with his written round last year, and he didn’t make it past the initial cut. This year, the spellers were given the written test via computer and headphones, with each speller able to take the test at their leisure over the first two days (during the fun half of the week). Each speller was given an identical set of 50 words to spell, listening to the word pronunciation, definition, origin, etc via headphones, then typing in their best guess on the computer. Only 25 of the 50 words are the actual test words. No one knows until tomorrow which were the true test words and which ones weren’t.

Tomorrow morning all the spellers will again go through an oral round in front of the judges, and they will find out their written scores — the score from their written test (one point per correct word) and oral round (three points for a correct spelling) will be combined, with the top 90 and ties once again advancing to the quarterfinals. Hunter feels much more confident this year after the written round. We’ll find out tomorrow if he’s done well enough to advance.

The quarterfinal round will, for the first time, be viewable to the public via the internet .

Rachelle Passed the WASL

Rachelle Spoelstra, a Kingston High School senior who was featured in a story Sunday on the WASL, learned late yesterday that she passed the math Washington Assessment of Student Learning on her fourth attempt … by one point.
“I was like, ‘Oh, God, I did it,'” Rachelle said.
The state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction released results yesterday for students who took the WASL in the spring or submitted a “collection of evidence” in February as an approved alternative. Students who meet state criteria for the WASL will receive a certificate of academic achievement with their diploma.
Students who did not pass a portion of the WASL will have the chance to submit a collection of evidence in June provided they signed up by the deadline and/or they can retake the WASL in August.
Read related stories here and here.

Signs of the Times: Cheap Thrills on Memorial Day Weekend

Don’t all drop your marshmallow sticks to read this blog, but if you’re around and near a computer, check out this timely message I found on Bethel Road.
With the price of gas now edging at or above $4 a gallon, I’m guessing there are other folks out there like our family enjoying a stay-at-home Memorial Day weekend. Our biggest splurge will be four trips to Puyallup for my son’s soccer tourney – five if he makes the playoffs.

Here’s how I’ve been spending the weekend (without spending too much on gas):

This morning is was raining, a Memorial Day weekend tradition in which Northwesterners pretend it’s seasonable weather for camping. But yesterday, miracle of miracles, it was sunny and 70s. So I sat in a lawn chair sipping a cool drink and pretended I had driven for hours to an upscale resort – worked pretty well except for the sound of my neighbor pressure washing his driveway. (Cheers, Bob! I know, we did it last weekend.)

Fortunately none of us has to drive very far to find a trail to hike on. Banner Forest, South Kitsap Community Park and Manchester Park all have well-kept trails within a reasonable distance of most South Kitsap homes. Walking in the woods is my ultimate cheap thrill, and when I’m done, I don’t even have to take down the tent.

What have you been doing this holiday weekend? Did you alter your usual plans because of the price of gas? How will the economy affect your summer vacation?

Happy Memorial Day, CTH

SKSD: Meet Potential Superintendent Candidate Wednesday

The South Kitsap School District Board of Directors will meet Wednesday to discuss the possibility of appointing a top school district official as superintendent following Bev Cheney’s retirement at the end of next school year.
The board met last week to interview representatives from superintendent search firms that the district is considering hiring. Board members raised the possibility of appointing David La Rose, assistant superintendent of School and Family Support, to the position following an executive session at the meeting.
The idea of appointing an internal candidate came up as board members discussed the qualifications of the three firms as well as potential candidates for superintendent, said Aimee Warthen, district spokeswoman.
According to school board president Patty Henderson, La Rose’s name was mentioned since he had recently expressed an interest being considered for the office.
“It occurred to us that we should take a hard look at Dave before deciding to spend $25,000 to 40,000 on a superintendent search firm,” said Henderson.
In addition to cost, Henderson mentioned comments from the consulting firms about the challenge of finding quality superintendent candidates given the climate of inadequate funding for schools and the accountability of No Child Left Behind as well as other state and federal mandates.
In a public meeting following the executive session, Henderson said staff and community members will have four opportunities to meet La Rose, hear questioning from the school board, ask questions and provide comments. The board will vote June 4 whether to appoint Rose or hire one of the search firms.
The meeting schedule is as follows:
Wednesday: 6 p.m. at East Port Orchard Elementary, 1964 Hoover Ave. SE, Port Orchard.
May 28: 5 p.m. at the district office, 1962 Hoover Ave. SE, Port Orchard.
June 2: 7 p.m. at Hidden Creek Elementary School, 5455 Converse Road SE, Port Orchard.
June 4: 6 p.m. at the district office.
La Rose was hired as assistant superintendent for school and family support in 2006 after serving two years as principal at Orchard Heights Elementary School.

Speaking of SK: Ask the Candidates

The Kitsap Sun will create a Web site for the upcoming election. Reporters were asked to submit questions for candidates. Here are some that we’ve come up with so far.

(When you’re done reading them, let us know what questions you have for candidates for South Kitsap Commissioner and state representative to the 26th Legislative District. Add questions for candidates in general as the spirit moves you.)

26th District Representative
Both current representatives to the 26th Legislative District are from Gig Harbor. What issues do you see as being unique to A. Gig Harbor B. the Kitsap Peninsula. If elected, how would you, as a resident of A. Gig Harbor B. the Kitsap Peninsula, address those issues? What would you do to represent constituents in both areas equally?

Here are questions for legislative candidates from all districts:
Would you be willing to increase the state education budget to cover free, all-day kindergarten for every student and to put an emphasis on other early-childhood education programs? If so, where would you get the funds to do that?

Has the Legislature met its constitutional obligation to pay the cost of a basic K-12 education for all students in Washington’s public schools? If not, how should the state’s funding formula be changed to make sure local districts can pay the cost of a basic education?

Washington taxes its citizens to pay for state services that citizens demand. Yet no one likes to pay taxes, and citizens often feel taxes are too high. How would you as a legislator address this balancing act and how would you educate your constituents about how that balance is achieved?

After years of trying to subsist after loosing a significant portion of its core revenues, the ferry system seems to be teetering on the brink of collapse. Fares were pushed up dramatically over several years before finally being frozen this year. Ridership is down in the wake of those fare increases. Diesel fuel now exceeds $4 per gallon. Four boats had to be removed from service because of safety concerns, and won’t be fully replaced in the fleet for years. Please answer these three questions:
What’s your vision for the ferry system?
What tax source should be tapped to support the system’s core operations?
Is it possible for the system to operate on less money and still provide adequate services to its riders?

Despite escalating construction costs, many of the road projects the state said it would fund with the last gas tax increase are being addressed. Yet the largest, most significant projects statewide (520 bridge, I-405 congestion, Seattle viaduct) are not being addressed. What should the state do to deal with those highway needs?

Is the state doing enough to protect environmental quality? Are you concerned that further efforts, especially any move to clean up Puget Sound, will require either additional taxes to pay for it or could impose new restrictions on how people use their property?

Should the state take action independent of the federal government to address global warming concerns? If so, are there specific policies to address global warming that make sense to pursue on a local or state level?

South Kitsap Commissioner
What issues unique to South Kitsap need to be addressed by the board? What would you do to promote the concerns of constituents in your district?

What long-term strategies do you envision to address the county’s revenue shortfall, which is projected to continue at least through the next five years? What do you think should be the county’s priorities in spending? List three areas where you would suggest significant cuts be made to balance the budget.

Describe your vision of the county’s evolving role as annexation of urban growth areas proceed.

What is your opinion of the value of Kitsap’s membership in the Puget Sound Regional Council? How would you address concerns of constituents who view membership in the PSRC as detrimental to Kitsap residents with regard to autonomy of land use planning? What would you personally do to strengthen Kitsap’s representation within the PSRC?

Friday Afternoon Club: Saturday Fundraiser Set for Garrido

If you can’t find enough reasons to stay outdoors during spring’s fleeting visit to the Northwest, if you’re curious about local politics or inclined to whip out your checkbook on behalf of a particular candidate for local office, you may want to stop by a campaign kick-off for Charlotte Garrido, Democratic candidate for South Kitsap Commissioner. Here’s the information from her husband and campaign manager:

A Port Orchard Campaign Kickoff will be hosted by Citizens to Elect Charlotte Garrido on Saturday, May 17th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Bay Leaf Bistro, 834 Bay St. Port Orchard. Charlotte Garrido will meet and greet attendees. Food and beverages will be served.
Information is available at
Contact Ray Garrido at or 360 447-7386.

Just Call Me Miss Spell

I’ve covered a lot of spelling bees, and I’ve seen it happen before. The speller knows the word perfectly well, but through overconfidence, under-confidence, a mixture of the above or a brief bedevilment of the tongue a letter is added, dropped or mispronounced.

So when I added an extra “n” to “cantata,” spelling it “cantanta” in the second round of Kitsap County’s Corporate Spelling Bee, held tonight in Silverdale, I could honestly say to all those I’ve covered who’ve hung their heads in shame, “I feel your pain.”

The event is held every year to raise funds for the Literacy Council of Kitsap. I was a member of the the Kitsap Sun’s team, which took first place in the bee last year. I believe I even spelled the winning word. But as they say all your “atta-boys” can be erased by a single “Oh …” well, I’ll let those of you who know the phrase finish it for me.

Guess I should have followed the example of Hunter Lehmann, a 13-year-old home-school student from Poulsbo, who won the Kitsap Sun Regional Spelling Bee for the second year in a row on March 20. His advice, “Stay calm.”

Hunter and his folks will be heading to Washington, D.C., for the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 30 and 31.

“Off the Shelf,” a team representing Kitsap Regional Library, captured the corporate bee championship Tuesday after a 25-round marathon. The librarians won by correctly spelling “grok,” which is defined as to “understand profoundly: establish deep compassionate rapport with.”
Second-place finishers were “The Rocket Scientists,” from Lockheed Martin.

The Kitsap Sun’s story on the bee kindly hammers home the fact that, “The defending champions went from first to worst by becoming the first team to ‘spell out’ Tuesday night, misspelling — somehow — the word ‘cantata.'”

My apologies to my teammates, Kitsap Sun Editor Scott Ware and night editor Jim Thomsen.

And to Hunter, good luck, buddy. I totally grok the pressure you’re under.