Monthly Archives: August 2008

It’s Official. South Kitsap in Mullet Denial

Chris Henry here, almost back in the saddle again. Good thing I arranged for the Seattle Times to cover my beat while I was on vacation.

And in South Kitsap, what else is there to talk about but … mullets. No, not that kind of mullet, this kind of mullet. We all should be familiar enough with it. According to the article by Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge, even the promise of a free haircut is not enough to part man from mullet in these here parts.

Port Orchard beautician Julea Penland has revised her annual promotion for “free mullet removal.”

Mullet Removal

But no one has taken her up on her offer, the article states:

“People with mullets either love them and want to keep them, or they don’t know they have them,” said Penland sadly. “They’re in mullet denial.”

Clarridge interviewed several Kitsap men who seemed to prove the point.

“My old lady likes me with my long hair and she’d kill me if I cut it off,” said Nick Marks, a 49-year-old yard-maintenance man from Olalla (in South Kitsap, for you f’reigners) who prefers to call his hairdo ” ’70s style.”

Marks tried wearing his hair short, Clarridge writes, but it made him feel “inadequate.”

Mitch Coelho, a cook at Bethel Square Restaurant and Lounge (also in SK), said his mullet is a great lure for women. “I don’t know how many times I was sitting at the bar when a girl started braiding my hair,” Coelho said.

Chad Northey, 36, an East Bremerton resident, displayed his do to the reporter during a recent visit to the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede, but he denied he had a mullet

Northey said his wife “loves running her fingers through his hair, his daughters like to put barrettes in it and he likes the way it feels when he’s flying down the road on his Harley.”

“I enjoy it,” he said. “I don’t care what it’s called.”

The problem with mullets, according to Penland, as cited in the article, is that they perpetuate the stereotype of the hick South Kitsap resident.

The hairstyle promotes the image of a “barefoot, beer-swilling, cousin-marrying, NASCAR-loving and gun-toting,” type, according to mullet expert Ashley Doane, a professor of sociology at the University of Hartford, in Connecticut, cited in the article.

Barefoot? Too wet and cold for that around here. Beer-swilling, I’ll grant you that one. NASCAR-loving. Hey, Ms. East-Coast-where-they-probably-haven’t-seen-a-mullet-in-two-decades expert, don’t you follow the local news? And gun-toting. Oops, got us there, too.

But maybe, just maybe, South Kitsap mullet men (and their East Bremerton relations) are so retro that they’re really just ahead of the curve, fashion forward, riding the crest of the wave of the future. Did you ever think about that Ms. Big-City Reporter?

Yep, she did. “Some Seattle hairstylists say the style is making a comeback,” Clarridge writes.

Kim Lundin, creative director of Gene Juarez Salons & Spas, said there are “incarnations” that would look “really cool” on “a young, thin, hipster kid.”

“Hipster kid?” Now if we could only find one younger than John Stamos.

“Will Francalangia, of Nucleus on Capitol Hill, said in Europe he saw ‘hipper kids wearing more fashionable, alternative versions of the rural mullet,'” Clarridge reports.

“The two stylists said versions of the mullet they like typically feature spikes, funky colors or aspects of a fauxhawk. … The wearers who can carry them off, he said, often have multiple piercings and attitude.”

Piercings, attitude, count us in. When you start seeing mullets on the monorail, you’ll have your barefoot, beer-swilling, cousin-marrying, NASCAR-loving and gun-toting neighbors across the sound to thank.

That’s Kitsap with a “K,” and don’t you forget it.

If anyone wants to take Julea up on her offer, be advised she is moving. Effective Sept. 1, Julea’s Progressive Salon & Day Spa will be at Bethel Centre, 1501 SE Piperberry Way, Suite 102, Port Orchard; (360) 895-3469.

Last Call to Sound Off on South Kitsap Schools Budget

South Kitsap School Board to Hold Final Hearing on 2008/09 Budget

Board will use district’s reserve fund to make up more than half of a nearly $3 million deficit.
By Chris Henry
The South Kitsap School District Board of Directors on Wednesday will hold a final public hearing on its proposed $102 million budget for the 2008/09 school year.
The board could adopt the budget the same night. Its deadline for budget adoption is Aug. 31.
The board proposes to make up more than half – $1.7 million – of a projected $3 million general fund deficit by using its reserve fund. General fund appropriations are proposed at $97 million.
The remainder of the deficit will be made up through moderate cuts spread throughout various departments and funds. No outright layoffs are expected this year, although – with deficits projected into the foreseeable future – a significant reduction in staff is expected in the 2009/10 school year, according to Terri Patton, assistant superintendent for business and support services.
The district this year will save $300,000 by not filling vacated positions, by reducing special education staff contracts to adjust for enrollment and reducing hours in an accounting position.
More than $300,000 will be saved by a 10 percent across the board reduction in “non-employee-related” costs, such as paper, copying equipment and miscellaneous supplies. The reduction is likely to be felt in schools, which haven’t absorbed such a hit since the district failed to pass a levy and lacked supplemental funding in the 2000/01 school year.
“Cost shifting,” transferring expenses such as laundry, transportation and storage, directly to departments, will save another $134,000. But the effect will be felt by students as the cost is passed on to them. The board has already approved an increase in lunch prices.
As the board considers how much to ask of voters in a February measure to replace the district’s expiring maintenance and operations levy, they will look to replenishing the reserve fund. The district’s goal is to maintain the fund at or above three percent of the total budget.
The reserve fund ended last year $1 million higher than expected due to higher than expected property tax revenue among other factors. The district will tap the reserve fund by an additional $720,000 above the $1 million to balance the budget for the upcoming school year.
Copies of the proposed budget will be available at the meeting. For information on the budget call (360) 874-7012 or e-mail

Speaking of South Kitsap: On Vacation with Obama

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and I spent the past week vacationing on Oahu, visiting family and soaking in the Aloha spirit.

No, our paths did not cross, but they easily could have. It’s not that big an island – you can drive from one side to another in an hour or less – and Obama, with his family, immersed himself in island activities, rubbing elbows with the locals (Secret Service agents in tow).

While I sponged off my sister, who lives above Pearl Harbor, Obama and his entourage settled into a vacation rental in Kailua.

On Saturday, while I hiked the Aiea Ridge Trail and lounged by my sister’s pool, Obama jogged on the beach and attended a rally at Ke’ehi Beach Lagoon Park.

Obama jogs

He later played golf at Olomano Golf Links and Country Club in Waimanalo, where his unannounced appearance created a delighted stir among fellow golfers.

According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, “The senator went around to shake hands, smiling, flashing a shaka every once in a while and greeting golfers with the occasional ‘Howzit’ while they snapped photos with digital cameras and cell phones.”

On Tuesday,  I body surfed at Waimanalo Beach and took in the Nuuanu Pali overlook. Obama played basketball with his buddies at Punahou School, his alma mater. He later bought his gang/entourage burgers and fries at the Kua ‘Aina Sandwich Shop (spending $116 and leaving a $40 tip, it was noted) then had a picnic at Ala Moana Beach Park. The fare was (presumably) a little more upscale at a $2,300-per-person fund-raiser that night at the Kahala Hotel and Resort (the second and last official appearance of his trip to Hawaii).

On Wednesday, while I went snorkeling on the North Shore, Obama took in the Pali Overlook and ate shave ice with his daughters. He later visited the grave of his grandfather, Stanley Dunham, a World War II veteran, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl Crater.

On Thursday, while I did some more hiking and more lounging, Obama went body surfing at Sandy Beach (recommended for “locals only”).

Obama Bodysurfing

He later threw petals from a lei into the ocean on the east coast, where his mother’s ashes were scattered following her death in 1995 from ovarian cancer.

Yes, it was a busy week for Obama and me. But while the press took no notice of my presence on the island, they followed Obama’s every move, checking out what he ate and what he wore, hanging on his every casual word (he was reported to have said of the shave ice that he bought keiki or child-size because, “It is right before dinner. I don’t want to get in trouble.”)

Comparisons to Paris and Britney aside, Obama is certified buzz material.

The question then – surely raised before and sure to be raised again – is whether Obama’s celebrity-like status could be considered a distraction or liability.

Give Your Kids a Shot in the Arm

South Kitsap School District, in cooperation with the Kitsap County Health District, will offer free (costing nada) immunizations at its back-to-school celebration on Saturday.

The Kitsap Sun recently ran an article on new immunization requirements for sixth graders. And in May, there was a comprehensive article about new school immunization requirements and how confusing they can be for parents.

In recent years, school districts have been spending more and more time riding herd on families whose children are missing vaccinations/immunizations. In the May article, Janet Kauzlarich, immunization coordinator for the health district said, “People need to be thinking about it now, not waiting until the last minute.” Each year, the health district gets a surge of patients needing shots in August and September.

Check with your school district about upcoming back-to-school events where you may be able to access free vaccinations. Here’s the information on South Kitsap’s event.

SKSD to Hold Back-to-School Celebration
South Kitsap School District will hold its fourth annual Back-to-School Celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 16 at the South Kitsap High School track.
The event will feature performances by the district’s Summer Band, SKHS Cheerleaders, Just For
Kicks, the Academy of Dance, and Cultural Dancers led by Ruth Loihle. The day will culminate in a kids’ parade led by the South Kitsap Community Band and the SKSD Summer Band.
Booths from organizations, businesses, and schools will line the track with kid-centered displays, demonstrations, and activities. There will also be hands-on games, art projects and school bus rides.
All activities and performances are free. All students must be accompanied by an adult.
SKSD, in cooperation with the Kitsap County Health District, will offer free immunizations at the event.
The celebration is part of the district-wide Family Friendly Schools Initiative begun during the 2004-05 school year. The initiative is a nation-wide program created to enhance student learning by encouraging family engagement and fostering two-way communication between the families and schools.
For more information, contact Aimee Warthen at (360) 874-7002.

Speaking of South Kitsap: Blog Tips 101

I’m on vacation this week, but I didn’t want you to be lonely. So I preloaded the blog with (admittedly less than earth-shaking) posts.

Here’s some helpful information from our Web editor Angela Dice (for those who haven’t already figured it out) on staying current with this blog.

RSS Feed: You can subscribe to an RSS feed of Speaking of South Kitsap blog entries, giving you an easy way to check out blog headlines as they’re posted. Scroll down the right side of the Speaking of South Kitsap main page and click on RSS Subscribe. The feed will appear in your toolbar.

E-mail notification: You can receive e-mail notification of new blog posts by clicking here. You can also unsubscribe to this service. Keep scrolling down the right hand of the page; it’s just below the RSS thing.

Any problems while I’m gone, ask Angela, She would also be happy to get any feedback from you on our Web site in general.

Green with (Garden) Envy

OK, folks. As of tomorrow, I’m outta here, on vacation for a week. Any problems or news tips, send them to and Any problems with the blog or Web site, hit up

In the meantime, top this. My husband has been busy in the garden, and the fruits or his labors are starting to show with icy white heads of cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, peas and other good fresh stuff. This is like when people whip out that little photo album with the pictures of the grandkids.

So send my pictures of your babies via jpg. You’ll get an out-of-office message, but I’ll review them on my return and post what I can.


Clean and Sober Housing Under Scrutiny in Port Orchard

Since 1989, Agape Unlimited of Bremerton, a treatment program for substance abuse, has operated a clean and sober apartment complex without incident in downtown Port Orchard. The place houses up to six women and their children in transition and in recovery (subject to strict rules and regular urinalysis). Mayor Lary Coppola, who checked with the city’s police department, said there have been no reports of problems at the house.

Now, however, Agape wants to start a new program to help women of children affected by substance abuse during pregnancy. The program, funded in part by a grant from the University of Washington, will start Sept. 1 in the downstairs of the building that Agape owns on Bay Street. The mayor and merchants don’t think it’s the right place for a shop-front social service agency. There’s the risk clients will visit one of the several bars in the downtown area, Coppola and others say. And it will put a damper on the “family friendly” atmosphere city officials and the merchants have been trying to promote.

Coppola, whose step-daughter has had problems with substance abuse, was candid on his stance.

“I understand the need for clean and sober houses,” said Coppola, who with his wife Dee has custody of his stepdaughter’s son. “As someone that’s raising a four-year-old because of the need for them, I have a real unique understanding of that.”

But …

“We just worked real hard to get the crime rate down in downtown,” said Coppola. “We’re trying to make it family friendly … this feels like a step backwards.

“I have no problem having one in Port Orchard,” he said. “I have a problem having it in the middle of Bay Street.”

Barbara Day Max, executive director, said Agape is used to addressing the concerns of clean and sober housing neighbors. Her organization owns three such residences and subleases 22 additional units. She defended her organization’s mission and said its services contribute to public safety and save taxpayers money in the long run.

A story on the proposed program will run tomorrow at

In related news, Port Orchard officials have been looking into complaints about a clean and sober house operated by Cascade Recovery Programs on Anderson Avenue in a residential neighborhood. “Heidi
House” is home to eight women who say they just want to straighten out their lives.
“It’s just really good strong support for staying clean and sober,” said resident Helen Bergstrom.
City code allows up to eight unrelated individuals to occupy a single-family residence. The house does need to upgrade its sprinkler system, and the owners are working with city staff to amend the problem, said Kathy Woodside of code enforcement.
Rick Bialock of Cascade has offered to meet with neighbors about their concerns. Bialock and residents of the house are expected to testify before the city council Tuesday, Coppola said.

County Responds to Funding Questions on Bethel Corridor

On July 29, I posted a blog entry on the county’s proposals for funding a major upgrade to the Bethel Corridor. Slated to cost $43 million with bonding, the project is needed to relieve traffic congestion on South Kitsap’s major commercial corridor. county officials say. Proposals to pay for it include tax measures potentially affecting those who live in the greater South Kitsap area. The county is conducting a survey to gauge voters’ support for such a measure.

Commenter Kathryn Simpson asked why South Kitsap should be the only area taxed in such a manner to fund road improvements. Eric Baker, director of special projects for the county, sent a response to Kathryn’s question, but as a county employee, he’s discouraged from posting to the blog. So I’ll cut and paste his response.

Kathryn wrote:

How did the road improvements in Central Kitsap (Silverdale) and North Kitsap (Poulsbo area) get paid for?

To my understanding, the county portion of these improvement were paid by county funds; which come from county-wide taxes. Now we have a project in South Kitsap (finally!) and the County Commissioners think that just South Kitsap residents should pay for it?

We, in South Kitsap, have paid a share of Central and North end projects. Why shouldn’t Central and North Kitsap help pay for this project?

Kathryn Simpson

Eric wrote:

The large projects in Silverdale and North Kitsap have been paid through several funding sources including federal and state, not just local dollars.

For example, the recently begun Waaga Way Extension Road has an estimated cost of $13M, but only $6-8M is from local funds. The other funds came from the state and federal allocations as well as funds received through a competitive process. The cost of the Bethel Corridor is over $25M ($43M if bonded for twenty years).

The County is actively pursuing such state and federal funding for Bethel, but has been unsuccessful to date. These efforts will continue, but the County needs to look at all options to alleviate the existing and future traffic issue of this roadway.

Additionally, the possible taxes and fees you referenced in your story (TBD and CRID) are not being considered only for Bethel and South Kitsap. Improvements to Bucklin Hill Road, Ridgetop Blvd., State Highway 104 and 305 will be looking at similar funding mechanisms, paid for by the citizens that benefit from them. You mentioned these but the blogs seemed to have missed this point.

On a related post, Bob Meadows had this question:

Is this the only explanation we will be given about the county’s decision to take back the funding from existing revenues which had been offered last spring and summer for the Bethel Corridor project?

“If people aren’t willing to pay anything, we don’t have a project,” Angel said. “A lot of people believe there is money to do this project. There is not.”

I guess I could take Angel literally — there is no funding at all, so we can never expect ever again another road improvement project anywhere in the county paid by our existing taxes, since there is no money.

I want to know when the memorial service will be held for the county’s road program. It would be a shame for it to go away with some little “good-by” from all of us.

It will save some of the commissioners’ time, though. They won’t have to update the road plan or do any of that stuff for any place at all in the county ever again, because there is no money.

If the county expects people to approve new taxes, the county leaders need to explain what happened between April and August 2007. It wasn’t a lack of county funds from existing taxes that caused the county to yank away the funds from the Bethel Corridor project.

To which Eric responded:

The size and cost of the Bethel Corridor project (twice that of the Waaga Way extension at $13M) makes it more complicated than other projects. There are road funds in the six-year transportation improvement plan (TIP), but unless a majority of these funds are dedicated to Bethel over the next 20 years the project cannot be completed. This would mean foregoing many other key projects throughout the County for a significant period of time.

The County has invested $4.2M in local money in the Bethel Corridor to date (already half of the $6-8M of local money invested in the completion of the Waaga Way Extension). These expenses include $1.5M for design and permitting and $2.7M in property acquisition. Both the CRID and TBD funding mechanisms have limited abilities to increase the funding as costs increase. If a CRID or TBD is approved, the cost estimated for the project is the generally the amount that can be collected. This would not cover increases in right-of-way costs and asphalt and other construction components that are likely to occur over the development of the project. As there can be no more money received from the TBD or the CRID after initial approval, the Road Fund will be expected to cover those increases.

With the local money already spent and the liklihood of increased costs, the local Road Fund contibution will easily be the equivolent of the Waaga Way Extension (between $6-8M), both which greatly exceed the contibution to any other County road project. The inclusion of additional local funding will greatly affect the ability for the County to fund many important projects in the rural areas such as culvert replacements (shown to be critically important by the December 3rd storm), bridge replacements and other life safety improvements throughout South Kitsap as well as the rest of the County.

With a project a cost of over $25M ($43M if bonded for 20 years), the County must look at other funding mechanisms such as the CRID and TBD if we expect to pay for the project and begin construction.

Port Orchard Issues Analysis of SKIA Sewer Plans

Following up on the story I wrote about the meeting between City of Port Orchard and Kitsap County officials, James Weaver, the city’s director of development, sent me its SKIA Infrastructure Assessment and Technical Memorandum. The 28-page document compares Bremerton’s analysis of its ability to provide infrastructure, including sewer service, to SKIA with Port Orchard’s ability to provide sewer. Bottom line, Port Orchard figures it can get the job done for 20 percent less than Bremerton. The report will be posted within a day or two on the city’s Web site.