Monthly Archives: February 2009

Cheap Thrills: PO Save-A-Lot Offers Free Food Saturday

This will the first entry under my new heading “Cheap Thrills.” What with economic indicators reaching new lows daily, I’m looking for free and low-cost ideas on homemaking, entertainment, home repair and decor, and car maintenance.

The Port Orchard Save-A-Lot grocery will offer free the fixings for a spaghetti dinner to anyone who visits the store between 8 a.m. and noon on Saturday.

Not only does your family get a free meal, but for the first 1,000 meals given away, Save-A-Lot will make the same donation to South Kitsap Helpline.

The “kit” includes noodles, sauce, garlic sticks, two cans of vegetables and a Save-A-Lot bag. Selected other Save-A-Lot locations are participating in the trial give-away that is meant to offer a hand up in these tough economic times, said Port Orchard Save-A-Lot assistant manger Aggie Covey.

They’re understanding people are having a hard time with the economy right now, and they just want to help out,” said Covey. “They know people are struggling out there.

You’ll need a voucher to redeem your dinner, but the store will honor all requests between the designated hours. Go to the store’s Web site to download a voucher.

SKSD Board Member Explains “Reprogramming” Levy Funds

Got a comment today from reader Ed Sampson about the story I wrote on South Kitsap School District’s budget.

The paragraph he cited was :

“Around 18 percent would come earmarked for “public safety and other government uses” and could be used for construction and renovation projects, such as the replacement of the Orchard Heights Elementary roof.

District officials had planned to pay for the $1.4 million roof project with a levy South Kitsap voters approved Feb. 3. Stimulus money would allow those funds to be used elsewhere.”

Ed said:

As a concerned citizen, I am at the end of my rope of any agency, be it schools, etc. of seeking funds voted by the public for at stated reason and then the funds are diverted “elsewhere” for other uses.  I voted for these funds to be used for a given purpose according to the information provided to us when we voted for/against the school levy in the election.  The funds being approved need to be used ONLY for that purpose.  If they are used elsewhere, that boarders on illegal and un-ethical.  If the funds are to be used elsewhere outside of the information supplied at the time of voting, then that action needs to be first voted for/against by the public and the levy for the school money needs to be adjusted accordingly.  It is time for the public to take back control of our all our government representatives be it at the Federal, State or Local levels.  Accountability is badly needed at all government levels.

I do hope to see in the future where our local level officials will also go to the Federal Recovery Stimulus web site to add in where they spent their Stimulus funds.  We might even be able to see where they “diverted” some of the school levy funds to another “project”.  But I will not hold my breath on that one.

Ed Sampson

I summarized Ed’s comments for school board member Kathryn Simpson and asked if she could respond to his thoughts. I picked on her because of her history of willingness to publicly jump into the fray where debates over district issues are in question. Kathryn, speaking as an individual and not representing the board, said:

Hi Chris,

Reprogramming (moving from one pot to another) of approved levy funds do not require a vote of the board. However, since the district’s budget is approved by the board, any change in revenue and expenditure would be approved by the board and the board expects to be informed and involved in such fiduciary decisions. This has been past practice and I have no reason to believe it wouldn’t be continuing practice.

As you know, SKSD formalized the levy plan in October.  This was well before the “stimulus package” conceptual ideology was even remotely coming into focus. Further, education funds were amongst those being hotly debated at the tail end of formalizing the final package.  Finally, the end product of these federal debates, now known as the “American Recover and Reinvestment Act” (ARRA) didn’t become law until after the February levy vote.

In fact, we won’t even be clear on what upside fiscal impact ARRA might (stressing the ‘might’) have.  From what I can see, it may prove to be little more than a backfill of funding that will be taken away by the State of Washington due to the potential $10 Billion dollar deficit the State is now facing.  Much discretion is being given to the States to decide whether the stimulus funds will raise funding levels (temporarily) or simply facilitate funding levels to remain somewhat constant because of the battering many state economies are facing (including Washington State) and the resultant cutbacks they may be making to education budgets.

I hope that helps adequately addresses the question and concern.  My comments, of course, of those of one member of the board.  I would strongly encourage anyone with questions and concerns to come to a board meeting and express their concerns to the board so that the entire board can respond and be better informed about constituent concerns.

Regards of the NW,
Kathryn Simpson

What Words Would You Like to See Go Extinct?

Researchers in England studying linguistics and evolution have come up with a scientific way of establishing how old certain words are, and conversely they’ve been able to predict (with what accuracy is yet to be seen) which words are likely to be soonest dropped from our lexicon. Using a computer model and some fancy math that’s way over this reporter’s head (read the story and tell me if you get what they’re saying) the group at University of Reading analyzes the rate of change of words in English and languages that share a common heritage.

The researchers claim that “I”, “we”, “two” and “three” are among the most ancient, dating back tens of thousands of years. Using their crystal ball, they predict “squeeze”, “guts”, “stick” and “bad” will be likely first casualties.

The article says:
“Across the Indo-European languages – which include most of the languages spoken from Europe to the Asian subcontinent – the vocal sound made to express a given concept can be similar.

New words for a concept can arise in a given language, utilizing different sounds, in turn giving a clue to a word’s relative age in the language.

At the root of the Reading University effort is a lexicon of 200 words that is not specific to culture or technology, and is therefore likely to represent concepts that have not changed across nations or millennia. … The model provides a list of words that are unlikely to have changed from their common ancestral root by the time of William the Conqueror.”

My thoughts: If you include technology and culture, which these days pretty much synonymous, you would see a huge crop of new words. You’ve got instant messaging, text messaging, blogging and the latest: “Twitter” with all its annoying derivatives, like Tweet, as in to post a micro-blog on Twitter.

These words are fine. Some of them may be short lived. Other words have crept into our vocabulary over the past couple decades that should be wearing out their welcome any time now, not because their concepts are bad, simply from overuse: “accountability,” “transparency” and my personal pick for the linguistic bone yard, “empowerment.”

Words I wouldn’t want to have to live without: crustacean (I just love the sound of it), morbid (useful for describing so many things), discombobulate (slightly dated; I worry for its safety), and phantasmagorical (from Dave’s List of Words that Are Fun to Say) – I so hope I get to use this at least once in my career as a reporter.

How about you? What words would you annihilate if you were Word Czar of the world (or at least the English language)? What words do you cherish?

What does this have to do with South Kitsap? Communication is my business; I cover South Kitsap. Six degrees of separation … it’s all related.

PO Mayor: Is Facebook the Place to Conduct City Business?

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola met today with officials from the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau to talk about a renewal of cooperation between the two entities.

The meeting was the result of a testy exchange Feb. 3 between Coppola and Jean Boyle, the bureau’s tourism development director, on Coppola’s Facebook page.

Coppola said he and city council members are trying to upgrade Port Orchard’s reputation from being the “junk drawer of Kitsap County.” The “junk drawer” label, Coppola said, came out of a Kitsap Economic Development Alliance meeting on the KEDA’s “Kitsap 20/20” plan. Apparently made by someone in jest, it stung city officials and representatives of the PO Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is working on a “branding” campaign to help PO overcome its inferiority complex, and city officials are trying to move the city into up-and-coming mode, hoping to shed what City Councilman Jerry Childs has called a “poverty of spirit.”

Coppola remains the personification of Port Orchard’s mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-anymore attitude. Referencing Port Orchard’s decision not to allocate any of its 2009 hotel-motel tax funds to the VCB, he told Boyle, “The KPVCB has a LOT to prove to Port Orchard if it ever expects to receive our future support.”

Coppola established his Facebook page “a couple of months ago” primarily to connect with people he has worked with writing car reviews for the automotive industry. He has 103 “friends” on the social networking site, including representatives of local businesses and organizations, and he has made some postings related to the city of Port Orchard.

“I probably shouldn’t have said anything to Jean up there (on Facebook),” Coppola said. “On the other hand, it led to this meeting.”

What do you think? Is Facebook a good way for public officials to promote informal discourse about local affairs? What are the risks? The potential benefits?

What You Don’t Know About Eating Disorders Could Kill You

… or someone you love.

I’m not fond of the word “empowerment.” I try to avoid it, as I avoid certain aisles of certain greeting card stores that reek of sickly sweet-scented candles and stained glass sentiments. It creeps into school board meetings … over-used eduspeak … and talk of social service programs aimed at girls and women. Empower this, empower that, blah, blah, blah.

So pardon me while I slip into my Oprah mode …

The reality is the need for you-know-what exists wherever, whenever women or girls feel marginalized by society’s narrow view of what it means to be female. One need look no farther than the magazine racks of grocery stores for images that that say to women, teens and girls, “You’ll never measure up.”

And if you thought growing up was hell when you were a pimply-faced junior high student, consider that these days girls/teens (and guys, see below) have to hold their own not only in the concrete world but on the Internet. Rumors and catty comments that used to travel in a matter of days now fly at cyber-speed in social networks mostly out of sight to caring adults.

Experts say that these pressures are contributing to the incidence of eating disorders like anorexia and bulemia, among a host of other self-destructive behaviors. A North Kitsap women is trying to reach girls early, between the ages 8 to 12, to gird them for the battle that is coming of age in the cyber-generation. According to her nonprofit organization’s Web site:
81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat
42 percent of first through third grade girls want to be thinner
51 percent of 9 and 10 year old girls feel better about themsleves if they are on a diet
84 percent of girls in a survey believed they had to be thin to be popular.

As I wrote about the Our Beauty Within program, I also talked to an expert on eating disorders, who said there is wide-spread lack of awareness of how deadly these conditions can be. ED is not a fad, it’s a serious mental illness to which some may be more predisposed than others.

To learn more about ED, you can watch this public service announcement from the National Eating Disorders Association, conducting an annual awareness week today through Feb. 28.

P.S. Guys can suffer from ED, too. Of the 11 million people in the U.s. suffering from eating disorders, one million are males.

Asked to Take a Pay Cut? Welcome to My World

You know when the subject of the e-mail is “difficult news” and it comes from the CEO of your company, it can’t be good.

We at the Kitsap Sun received notice today from E.W. Scripps President and CEO Rich Boehne that we would be asked to take a pay cut to help the company weather the recession.

“Maintaining financial health and flexibility must be a top priority in this environment. The economy is throwing new and bigger challenges at us each day and we intend to have the strength to weather the storm,” wrote Boehne in the fairly lengthy e-mail simply signed “Rich.”

When the CEO of your parent company drops down on one knee to meet you – his “dear colleague” – at eye level, you know it’s not good. To be fair, I’m sure it is painful to Boehne to have to make these kinds of decisions. And he’s not alone.

On Monday, in fact, I heard a program on National Public Radio (Planet Money, Feb. 16, 2008) about the likelihood that many major companies would be imposing some kind of voluntary or involuntary cut-backs in compensation to their employees.

People interviewed were asked if, given a choice, they would rather see co-workers laid off or take a temporary cut in pay with the understanding that their pay would be reinstated once the economy turns around. Many said they would take the pay cut. Others said not so fast. Another cost-cutting option shouldered by employees is a voluntary furlough, such as has been implemented on Bainbridge Island and in Kitsap County government.

Personally, I would much rather suck up a temporary loss of pay over seeing more of my “dear collegues” depart the newsroom.

I’ve done the math. For our family the cut will be inconvenient but manageable. I view it as a temporary lifestyle adjustment comparable to families in World War II who went without nylon stockings and put in victory gardens to support the war effort. (Those who know me know that I would have absolutely no problem swearing off nylon stockings for a while ;))

One thing the radio program noted is that to maintain morale in the face of a pay cut it is critical that management take one for the team as well, which is what’s happened at Scripps.

We’d like to hear from anyone else out there who has been asked to take a cut in pay or make other adjustments to help keep your company on life-support. And I’ll ask what the NPR program did, “Would you rather take a pay cut, or keep your job and see others laid off?” (And don’t anybody go judging people who pick door number two as lacking in altruism, because you know in making that choice they concede to shoulder an additional workload to make up for the reduction in force.)

Nothing Stops Walmart Shoppers .. Even a Bomb Scare

Update: At 7:30 p.m., I spoke with a representative of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s office, who said bomb squad personnel had determined the device in question below was a “paintball grenade” real enough to have caused folks with explosives training to err on the side of caution.

I just submitted the item below for our Code 911 file regarding an incident in South Kitsap. Check back later to find out if it was a real grenade, a replica or what.

One interesting aspect of this story, at least to me, is that, according to Lt. John Sprague of the Sheriff’s office, shoppers went about their business quite unruffled by the presence of the Washington State Patrol bomb squad. Maybe there’s hope for the economy yet.

Sheriffs Officers Respond to Bomb Threat at Walmart
Kitsap County Sheriff’s officers and the Washington State Patrol bomb squad responded to a report Tuesday afternoon that an unidentified object under a car in the Port Orchard Walmart parking lot could be an explosive device.
The store is located in the 3400 block of Bethel Avenue.
A shopper, who is a retired Marine, noticed the item under the bumper of a blue four-door compact shortly after 3 p.m. and called 911, said Lt. John Sprague of the Sheriff’s office.
“He looked down, and something caught his eye,” said Sprague. “It looked like a small explosive device. It looked like a hand-grenade.”
Sheriff’s officers cordoned off an area that took up roughly four rows of parked cars, and bomb squad personnel used a robot to remove the device to a bomb-proof trailer, said Sprague. They drove the trailer to an undisclosed location to analyze it. A report is expected later this evening.
The store remained open during the procedure, but the front doors were closed, and shoppers were directed to a side entrance, said Sprague.
A security tape shows the object in the parking lot before the car arrived, but not how it got there, Sprague said. The driver of the car was contacted but is not a “person of interest” in the case, he said.
“The device was lying in the parking stall, but it didn’t occur to them that it might be a hand-grenade,” Sprague said.
Check the the Kitsap Sun Web site later this evening for an update.

Depee Development Remains Under Appeal

Here is the Cliff Notes Version. The complete version will run in the Kitsap Sun Friday. Here’s a bird’s eye view of Lake Emelia. (give it a little time for the map to load)

Neighbors say their concerns have not been addressed.
By Chris Henry
A proposed development near Lake Emelia remains the subject of an ongoing appeal by neighbors despite a Jan. 14 ruling by the Kitsap County Hearing Examiner in favor of the plan.

The project, owned by South Kitsap real estate investor Fred Depee, would place 102 single family homes on 28 acres at the corner of Baker and Phillips roads in South Kitsap.

Ryan Vancil, the neighbors’ attorney, said today his clients will present their objections to the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners.

Neighbors Bill Simmons and Peter Boorman, in their original appeal this summer, contended that stormwater runoff from the property would flow into the lake. They also said the developer’s application didn’t do enough to protect area wildlife, and they asked for a better visual buffer between the development and current residents’ homes.

Then-hearing examiner Stephen K. Causseaux, in response to the neighbors’ concerns, ordered county staff to take a second look at the plan. Specifically he called for a review of conflicting evidence about a possible groundwater connection between the proposed storm drainage pond and Lake Emelia.

In an “amended supplemental decision,” issued Jan. 14, Causseaux noted that changes made to the storm drainage plan met the criteria for preliminary plat approval. He dismissed the appeal, moving the application forward to the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners with a recommendation for approval.

The neighbors will appeal the plan before the board, Vancil said. The hearing before the board is not yet scheduled.

Simmons said the neighbors remain concerned about stormwater run-off from the development and pollution which could be introducted to the lake through underground water.
Depee said the drainage issue was thoroughly investigated by the state Department of Ecology, and county staff including a certified hydrologist and environmental specialist. Depee said he will go to extra lengths in engineering the stormwater system to accommodate overflow and control flooding.

Vancil and his clients question the process by which the appeal was handled and contend that Depee’s status as a member of the county’s planning commission calls into question the appearance of fairness.

Depee has previously defended his presence on the commission saying he has stepped down during any decision in which he has a vested interest.

Depee said he is only following zoning regulations that went into effect with the state’s Growth Managment Act in 1996, at which time the Phillips Road area was slated to accommodate growth. He mentioned several other developments in the works in the area, including a 38-home development on property he owns.

“I can understand their concerns,” said Depee. “Everyone fights growth. They’re afraid their rural living is being effected. But it’s not me who put the zoning in.

“I am a third generation Kitsap County resident. If I had my choice, all of Kitsap would look, and be like it was in the ’60’s and ’70’s when I was growing up. The powers to be, and time, have dictated the change to what it is and I make a living on these changes.”

V is for Victim

Every year on and around Valentine’s Day, adherents of the V-Day movement to end violence against women hold events around the world, including benefit productions of playwright/founder Eve Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works.

On Feb. 17 Mary Colborn will host a V-day event from 7 to 9 p.m. at Moondogs Too, 714 Bay St. in Port Orchard. The presentation will follow a power point developed by Ensler as a teaching tool, with a focus on abuses against women in the Congo, and discussion to follow.

A little farther afield, Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma will present The Vagina Monlogues at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with proceeds going to Tacoma organizations working to end violence against women and girls. Past recipients include: the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County, the Sexual Assault Peer Education Team, the YWCA of Pierce County and Phoebe House.

V-day reminds us of the lasting affects of sexual assault on victims and the prevalence of crimes against women (and men). Often the perpetrators are people the victims know.

In a survey of women in Seattle’s Puget Sound area, 11 percent said they had been raped by their partners. (Group Health Center for Health Studies, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and the University of Washington. Reported in Seattle Times, May 16, 2006)

One in six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape, and 10 percent of sexual assault victims are men. (2004 National Crime Victimization Survey).

In a 1995 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease control of 5,000 students at over 100 colleges, 20 percent of female college students or one in five answered “yes” to the question, “In your lifetime have you been forced to submit to sexual intercourse against your will?” (Douglas, K. A. et al. (1997).
Results from the 1995 national college health risk behavior survey. Journal of American College Health, 46, 55-66.)

Nearly half of the women surveyed in the Puget Sound area (Seattle) reported that they had been physically, sexually or psychologically abused by their partners at some point in their adult lives. Thirty per cent said they had been hit. (Group Health Center for Health Studies, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and the University of Washington. Reported in Seattle Times, May 16, 2006).

The greatest barriers to victims receiving help are embarrassment and fear, according to Martha Wescott, director of the Kitsap Sexual Assault Center. Although education on sexual assault has raised awareness, victims worry about being blamed for the crime.

“I think it is still out there,” said Wescott.

And they fear retribution for reporting to authorities.

Signs to look out for in someone you love or know who may have been the victim of abuse include a sudden change in behavior, depression, anger, isolation, sleeplessness or fearfulness, Wescott said.

Employers who field complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace should investigate the allegations.

“Anything that is reported to have happened at the work place, you’re putting yourself in jeopardy as an employer to simply ignore that,” Wescott said.

If the victim is an adult, she (or he) has the right to decide whether or not to report the abuse to the police. If the victim is a minor the law requires therapists, medical personnel, school staff, licensed child care providers and other health and social service professionals to report the suspected abuse. The law also includes, “Any adult who resides with a child suspected to have suffered severe abuse.”

The state’s toll free Child Abuse and Neglect hotline is (866) 363-4276.

Regardless of whether the victim plans to report the crime, anyone who has been assaulted should seek medical care and emotional support immediately, Wescott said.

The Sexual Assault Center has a 24-hour crisis line, (360) 479-8500.

Victims can also go to Harrison Medical Center and ask for nurses specially trained in the SANE, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program. Nurses performing exams will first be looking out for the victim’s well-being. They also will collect evidence that will be kept on file for up to a year in the event the adult victim decides not to report the incident right away.

The trauma of sexual assault can have lasting effects, Wescott said. Fortunately, with support from professionals, family and community, healing can take place. The sooner one seeks help, the sooner they can heal, Wescott said.

The sexual assault center offers counseling, support groups and court advocates who can help victims navigate the legal system as they seek protection and justice.

The center’s business number is (360) 479-1788, or e-mail Again, in a crisis, call 24 hours a day at (360) 479-8500.

You are not alone.