Monthly Archives: November 2008

Weigh in Monday on Port Orchard’s Comprehensive Plan

At 7 p.m. Monday the City of Port Orchard Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the city’s draft comprehensive plan update.

What does this have to do with you, the average Joe-PO (or Jane)? See the paragraph below regarding rezones.*

An update of the plan is past due. Mayor Lary Coppola and the city council have made the comp plan a priority this year because being in line with the state’s Growth Management Act will allow the city to apply for grants for which they have been ineligible.

The document, released to the public Sept. 15, contains proposed goals and policies that will affect where people live and work, how they get around the city, the services they receive and the taxes they pay. A copy of the draft comp plan is on the city’s Web site for your reading pleasure.

Port Orchard’s plan addresses land use, housing, parks, natural systems, economic development, utilities, transportation, shorelines and capital facilities. The plan is based on a forecast growth of 23,000 additional city residents over the next 20 years, including those in current urban growth areas and McCormick Woods, which is likely to be annexed within the next year.

* One issue that citizens should pay particular attention to is the potential effect of the proposed comp plan on taxpayers whose properties are rezoned to reflect revised policies on growth and economic development. Areas that bear a closer look are the Tremont Corridor and the Bethel Corridor.

A change in zoning — for example from residential to commercial — could trigger an increase in assessed value, Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery said, but only if development in the surrounding area were to drive up the market value of the property.

“There is a potential effect,” Avery said. “Is it automatic? We like to think we use some rationale when we revalue.”

If the increase in assessed value was greater as a result of the zoning change than others in the county, then taxes would go up as that rezoned property would be assuming a larger share of the tax burden, Avery said.

At Monday’s meeting, the planning commission will listen to public testimony on the plan, deliberate and, in all liklihoos, make a recommendation to the city council, which will also hold a public hearing on the plan before voting on its adoption.

PO Council Gives Public a Second Crack at Voting Ordinance

Do you think it would be a good idea for Port Orchard City Council seats to be assigned to geographical districts?

The city council held a public hearing on the subject this evening, and those who testified – all two of them – said the timing for such an ordinance is all wrong.

McCormick Woods residents are more than half-way on their way to approving an annexation into the city, but if the ordinance had been passed tonight, the newly annexed area would have simply become part of the South District, with two seats open in 2009. Whereas four council seats will be up for reelection next fall.

This is just one of the implications of the proposed ordinance that will get further discussion, as the council, in response to public comment, agreed to postpone action on the proposal until its first meeting in January (Jan. 13).

I pledge to give you a better heads up than I did for tonight’s meeting. For your second crack at commenting on this major revision of the way Port Orchard elects its city officials, you may thank residents Gerry Harmon and Gil Michael (also on the city’s planning commission).

Setting Priorities on the South Kitsap Beat

It happens every year about this time, the leaves fall, Election Day comes and goes, and newspapers cut their budgets because of continuing massive changes in the media industry.

For the third year in a row, our staffing has been reduced. This time, 26 jobs are being eliminated across all departments, including 14 vacant positions that will now go unfilled.
The newsroom will lose 6.5 positions (including two managerial positions). The cuts will
take effect between now and the end of the year.

Like other “newspapers” we are caught up in the shift to Web publication as more and more people get their news online. It’s kind of like bailing a leaky dinghy while building a yacht.

In a syndrome played out in newsrooms across the nation, we grieve the loss of talented colleagues who are also our friends, and we wonder how we will keep the ship afloat with fewer hands to bail and build.

In a strange way, it is also exhilarating. While we’re not exactly in crisis mode, urgency creates clarity. Clearly our priority must be local news.

Looking ahead to the upcoming year, I’d like your ideas on what local issues are most important to you. Feel free to be honest about things that may have slipped through the cracks. I can’t promise I’ll get to everything you suggest, but I will do my best to respond to your priorities.

With changes in the media industry, there is a growing role for you as readers.

I grew up in a Walter Cronkite world, where, much as we who are now called Boomers hated to admit it, age equals experience equals gravitas. Thanks to the Internet, however, the concept of hierarchy is eroding at an exponential rate. Today’s youth, the almighty “target demographic,” has no idea what “seniority” means … thinks it might be a condition of aging … has to look it up on Wikipedia.

Through blogs and story comments, reporters and readers interact to form a collective body of knowledge about our community that describes who we are in a way that the old model of newspapers couldn’t touch.

With that in mind, here’s what’s on my radar. Let me know what you think, where you’d like less or more.

Aspects of SK I have been covering: The City of Port Orchard, South Kitsap School District, South Kitsap Regional Park and SK recreation in general, Port of Manchester, South Kitsap people and events, SK related elections, North Mason School District. County issues are generally covered by political reporter Steve Gardner, unless its an issue specific to SK.

In the upcoming year, I’d like to do more stories on communities that haven’t gotten a lot of press: Olalla and Southworth for example.

I’ll need to keep an eye on growth, especially in the City of Port Orchard, which is in the process of annexing a number of commercial properties including Fred Meyer. Also on the Bethel corridor.

I expect the economy will be an ongoing theme. Let me know how it’s playing out in your family or business.

I have a personal interest in youth and senior citizens, and I’d like to do more on these two groups.

I expect eating and buying locally will be themes in these tough economic times, when local business can use a boost and with the memory of $4 a gallon gas still fresh in our minds.

I’m always open to a good feature story (the quirkier the better).

So stay in touch, and thanks in advance for your contributions to the South Kitsap beat.

Addendum 3:45 p.m.: Guess I should have signed this, Chris Henry South Kitsap reporter

Shaking Her Booty in the Face of Adversity

Last fall, I did a story about Jackie Cabrera, then-South Kitsap resident who had been accepted to the Western Culinary Institute of Portland and was set to become the cooking school’s first blind student. Today, we’ll catch up with Jackie, who graduated from the WCI with honors in October. She now lives in Lacey and is ready to start her own catering business.

I always enjoy an inspiring, woman-conquers-adversity story. Jackie made the interview last year especially fun because she has such a great sense of humor.

Of her can-do attitude, she said, “I had a choice when I became blind. My choice was to go into depression and keep crying, or to shake my booty and get going. I decided to shake my booty.”

As you can see from the video below, she also has great stage presence. As she says at the end of the video, “Look out Rachel Ray!”

Stop the Presses: Proof Bigfoot Exists

Ain’t e-mail great? This from my in box today, a press release from Reality Films:

Bigfoot/Sasquatch Truly Exists, Says Team of Explorers

Foresthill, CA, Nov 10, 2008 – Reality Films announces the November 15th DVD release of two

new documentary films chronicling groundbreaking discoveries in both cryptozoology and

ancient knowledge.

The Wildman of Kentucky: the Mystery of Panther Rock: A team of explorers investigating a

rash of Bigfoot sightings encounter a mysterious creature and strange phenomena during an

expedition into the area known in Kentucky lore as “The Frazier Land.” Indian legend refers to

the area as, “The dark and bloody ground.” After documenting a series of unexplainable

sightings and chilling experiences by area residents, the team set out on a multi-night expedition

that deeply affected several of the crew members.

This team of paranormal explorers not only encountered a mysterious creature while on

expedition in Kentucky, but also observed anomalous lights and other phenomena in the dense

Kentucky forest. “It was as if it was toying with us,” says team leader Philip Spencer. “It could

traverse dense brush and move long distances like a ghost. As soon as we gained position on it, it

would flank us from the rear, it was very unnerving and I must admit, rattled a crew of grown

men as we realized that we were in the middle of nowhere with this very real situation.” This

expedition resulted in The Wildman of Kentucky: the Mystery of Panther Rock, a documentary

film from Reality Entertainment. This two hour film takes the viewer on the investigative team’s

journey and features eyewitness testimony of Bigfoot sightings throughout Anderson County,


The Viking Serpent, Secrets of the Celtic Church of Norway, Their Serpent Worship and Sacred

Pentagram Geometry: What do the three most evil symbols for Christianity (the number 666,

the pentagram, and the snake) have in common? Quite possibly one of the most amazing and

important discoveries of all time. In this unprecedented film, The Viking Serpent, authors Harald

Boehlke and Philip Gardiner reveal a startling discovery of ancient knowledge encoded into the

vast landscape of the region.

“The scope of this discovery is on par with the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall of

China,” says Gardiner, a best selling author on esoteric subjects. Boehlke adds, “For centuries,

we were led to believe that pentagrams, 666 and other symbolism was evil, but what this really

tells us is that ancient knowledge has actually been hidden under the guise of something Satanic

or nefarious to conceal its true purpose and meaning. Now we have the opportunity to set the

record straight.”

The Viking Serpent reveals an ancient and incredible legacy placed upon the landscape of

Norway. While journeying to key places along Norway’s breathtaking landscape, this film

delves into the heart of ancient serpent worship, while unraveling the sacred language of our

ancestors. See Norway’s amazing Stav churches up close; walk with us along the sacred

pathways of the Celtic Church and discover their unique and amazing symbolic devices. Journey

by boat to the Holy Island and enter a landscape virtually untouched by the ravages of time.

Me again: So what do you think? Has anyone out there has a brush with something untoward in the woods?

Port Orchard, in Search of Self

Cautionary note: This post contains a challenge. Should you decide to accept it, you could earn eternal fame and admiration (or at least a momentary atta-boy … or girl).

I propose a contest to – drum roll here, please – “Brand Port Orchard!”

Port Orchard is sick and tired of being the “junk drawer of Kitsap County.”

That from Corrine Johnson, director of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce, which is enmeshed in a “branding campaign” to define, or redefine the Port Orchard/South Kitsap region. The chamber has posted a survey on its Web site, and they want to hear from you. But send your comments here, as well, so we can vet them in public.

Branding is the buzz word for promotion of a town or city through a catchy phrase (with complementary logo) that that seems to sum up all the best of a place. Seattle’s is “Metronatural,” which actually seems a little metroneutral to me. But what about, “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas,” or Sausalito’s “Why They Built the Bridge.”

We need to come up with something at least that catchy for the PO/SK area.

Alas, PO, sadly, we do need help with our image.

The “junk drawer” reference is from a 2006 committee meeting of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance’s Vision 2020 committee. According to Kathy Cocus, KEDA business development director, it was a remark made by someone half in jest. But it stuck, and it smarts.

Port Orchard it seems has been in the process of reinventing itself for as long as I’ve lived here (1979). In the 1980s it was the antique thing in downtown. Antique stores were joined by “collectibles” vendors, giving Bay Street a slightly seedy, hand-me-down look. City officials’ inability to decide on a paint scheme and whether or not to keep the Western-themed marquee added to the town’s identity crisis.

But when you think about it, Port Orchard and vicinity has a lot to offer, and, according to downtown business owner and resident, Tim Waibel, even some of Port Orchard’s apparent flaws could be seen as advantages.

Growing up in Poulsbo, Waibel thought of PO as nothing but “bars and bail bonds.” Now that he’s a resident, he says, he loves the “European” feel of being able to find a variety of entertainment all in one location. That would be Moondogs Too, Slip 45 and Myhre’s, plus the Historic Orchard Theater.

So how about, “Port Orchard, No Designated Driver Needed.” … OK, maybe not.

Bears, Bars and Bail Bonds?” … I said help, not grind us under your heel, thank you very much.

And hey, those bail businesses pay their taxes like everyone else.

How about, “The Second Hand Rose of Kitsap County?”

Or like when it rains really hard, “A River Runs Through It.”

Which reminds me of the recently repaired Bethel Sink Hole, which would make Port Orchard “Home to the Grand Canyon of Kitsap County.”

Sorry, it’s hard to resist. It would be so easy to have a field day at Port Orchard’s expense. Someone, on the story comments, has already suggested, “Laundromat by the Bay.”

But let’s take a tip from local author Debbie Macomber, whose Cedar Cove series is based on Port Orchard. Macomber said she writes about the town “warts and all.” That, she says, is what’s so endearing about Port Orchard. It’s real. C’mon folks what did you expect, Sea Haven?

Many people describe Port Orchard as quaint. I say, quaint has been done to death. What I like about Port Orchard/South Kitsap is its total lack of pretension. Like the annual Seagull Calling Festival. What other town do you know that celebrates people making complete and utter fools of themselves?

So How About, “Port Orchard, Dare to Be Quirky”

Mayor Lary Coppola said he doesn’t care if people think of Port Orchard as the “scrappy” little upstart town across Sinclair Inlet from big-old-Bremerton. Port Orchard is growing, says Coppola, its star is on the rise. So watch out, Kitsap, here we come.

I propose, “We’re Not Bremerton, and Proud of it.”

You can do better and you know it. Tell us what you like about Port Orchard. Why you choose to live here or visit. In short, what’s so great about the town, warts and all?

P.S. Speaking of quirky, there’s that pirate thing we’ve got going during the murder mystery weekend. While Bremerton’s over there being all metropolitan, we can proudly say, “Port Orchard, We Be Pirates!”

North Mason Bond, Levy Meeting Tuesday

NMSD to Hold Forums on Levy, Bond

North Mason School District will a hold a public meeting about the Feb. 3 North Mason School District bond and levy election at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Tahuya Community Club monthly pot luck and meeting, Tahuya Fire Hall.
The NMSD Board of Directors is asking for a renewal of the current operations levy, which expires next year. Additionally, the board is seeking community support for facilities improvements through a bond. NMSD Superintendent David Peterson will provide information and respond to questions.
Additional meetings have been set:
7 p.m. Wednesday at the Belfair Elementary PTSA meeting, in the school library.
11:45 Nov. 26 at the Belfair Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, Theler Center.
7 p.m. Dec. 5; at the Victor Improvement Club monthly pot-luck and meeting.
For a general description of the bond and levy proposals and detailed answers to questions about the bond see the district web site
To schedule a presentation or discussion for your group, or in your community, call (360) 277-2300.

Recommendations for First Puppy?

President-Elect Barack Obama has a lot on his plate. Choose a cabinet. Get up to speed on classified briefings. Pick a puppy.

That’s right. In case you missed his acceptance speech, Obama made a promise to daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, that they could get a new puppy to bring with them to the White House. Obama favors a shelter dog, but the new first pet must also be hypo-allergenic, because of Malia’s allergies.

Tamar Geller, a “celebrity dog life coach,” who has worked with Oprah Winfrey’s dogs, notes that whatever dog the Obamas get had better be a model citizen.

“Can you imagine the dog jumping on Putin, or lifting his leg and peeing on the curtains, or nipping at Gordon Brown?” she says.

or worse …

I can just imagine how poorly our two spoiled, hairy and sometimes naughty beasts would fit the bill. My husband spent last Sunday steam-cleaning all the carpets in the house to resurrect it from back-to-back-to-back episodes of raging diarrhea. Each of the dogs took turns eating something that didn’t agree with them. Grrrrr! Remind me why we have dogs.

The American Kennel Club surveyed 42,000 people this summer to give the Obama’s some advice. Their top choice was a poodle. Malia is rumored to favor a goldendoodle – a poodle crossed with a golden retriever. It seems the family is considering one available through a rescue society. Negotiations are under way.

But just in case they need a second choice, what kind of dog would you recommend to the First Family-elect. Or do you a have a more suitable pet in mind? One that is predictably tidy and well-behaved … like a pet rock.

Friday Afternoon Club (early): Port Orchard Party

Port Orchard Party, South Kitsap’s annual black tie gala and fund-raiser for local nonprofits is coming Saturday. Thought you might need some time to dig out your fancy duds for a good cause. Chris

By Kitsap Sun Staff
Each year Port Orchard Party raises a significant amount of cash for South Kitsap nonprofit organizations.
Now in its 19th year, the fund-raising event will feature a Hollywood theme, with special guest “Marilyn Monroe.” Attendees are invited to dress up as their favorite star, and there will be a costume contest.
Port Orchard Party is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Towne Square Mall on Mile Hill Drive. Guests must be 21 or older.
More than 20 local restaurants will offer food samplings. There will be live dance music with In the House and soft jazz by the Mike Nelson Trio.
The event will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of South Kitsap, South Kitsap Helpline and Fathoms O’ Fun festival.
Tickets are $35 ($40 at the door) and are on sale at Kitsap Bank’s downtown Port Orchard location, Windermere real estate of Port Orchard, Walk n’ Comfort shoes store in the mall, Olympic Fitness Club, South Kitsap Helpline, That’s Beautiful, the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce or online at

Updated Numbers in SK Races

Republican Jan Angel is holding onto her lead over Democrat Kim Abel in the race for the 26th District, position 1. Last night, the state auditor had Angel at 50.77 percent of the vote to Abel’s 49.23 percent. Today, it’s 51.20 to 48.80 percent. Results in Kitsap are 50.61 percent for Angel, 49.14 for Abel.

District-wide, incumbent Larry Seaquist’s lead over Republican challenger Marlyn Jensen has narrowed from 61.02 (compared to Jensen’s 38.98) percent last night, to 59.92 (compared to Jensen’s 40.48) percent today, a moot point given Seaquist’s sizable margin over Jensen. In Kitsap, Seaquist has 60.97 percent of the vote to Jensen’s 38.89.

The numbers in the South Kitsap Commissioner’s race have not changed: Garrido with 51.92 percent of the vote; Matthes with 47.88. To elaborate on Matthes’ comments yesterday evening on his apparent loss, he said he had no regrets about running. He was disappointed that he didn’t win. He said, “I learned a lot, and I probably would do some things differently.”

The Kitsap County Auditor’s office will update numbers at 4 p.m. today. Political reporter Steve Gardner will post a story later today with updates on all Kitsap-related races.