Monthly Archives: December 2009

It’s OK, I’m With the Band

One faithful reader of the Speaking of South Kitsap blog recently wondered where the heck I’ve been and why I’ve haven’t been posting here of late.

Well, I haven’t been totally twiddling my thumbs.

For the past couple weeks, my attention has been diverted to coverage of the South Kitsap High School Marching Band’s upcoming trip to Pasadena and the Rose Parade. As part of the Kitsap Sun’s coverage of this exciting event, we are hosting a blog that will include contributions from band members, Band Booster parents and a school board member.

The band leaves for L.A. Dec. 27. We’ll be following their adventures day by day through the blog as they soak in the sun, play at Disneyland and do other cool stuff.

On Dec. 31, the day before the parade, Kitsap Sun photographer Meegan Reid and I will join the band as they prepare for the parade New Year’s day, and the performance of a lifetime. We’ll be posting from the grandstands along the parade route and filing a story, photos and a video later in the day.

You, too, can be part of the action. Aside from reading the blog, students, parents and friends of the band can upload pictures and videos to the Kitsap Sun’s Web site under the South Kitsap Band March to the Roses heading. We’ll pull as many as we can to the blog, and readers will be able to enjoy them in a gallery all their own. E-mail your thoughts and observations for publication on the blog to

As for Speaking of South Kitsap, it is and always will be my first bouncing baby blog. After a short break in early January, I’ll be back to Speaking of South Kitsap. Thanks for your patience and dedication to the blog. Best wishes for a happy and safe holiday season.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap reporter

Port Orchard May Broadcast Council Meetings on its Web Site

The City of Port Orchard is considering severing its ties with BKAT, the public access television station that broadcasts city council meetings. Mayor Lary Coppola is floating a proposal to broadcast meetings on the city’s Web site instead.

The move would save the city nearly $8,000 per year and make watching the meetings easier for city residents, a large number of whom have Internet access, said Coppola at a work study meeting with the council Wednesday.

Eliminating BKAT broadcasts had in late November been considered among of a number of cost saving measures the council believed it would have to effect as a result of maintaining the city’s budget at 2009 levels. Foregoing an allowed one percent property tax increase meant the city was short $16,000 in revenue. But at the work study meeting, council members learned that additional franchise utility tax revenue from 2009 annexations had closed the gap.

Coppola told the council he still believed dropping BKAT was a good idea. The city already has equipment to record meetings, and staff members would be able to run the equipment while performing their regular meeting duties, said City Clerk Patricia Kirkpatrick.

By posting meetings on the Web site, Coppola said, the city would make them available to residents 24/7 instead of during broadcast times, one of which is 1 a.m.

Coppola said he learned from Wave Broadband that the city has a greater number of Internet subscribers with that company that television subscribers. Other companies — Qwest, AT&T and Telebyte — also provide Internet access to city residents, he said, suggesting the city as a whole is well connected to the Internet.

Some council members were supportive the idea.
“I think it’s much more convenient,” said Councilman Jerry Childs.
But Councilman Jim Colebank said he would vote against any such proposal that comes before the council out of concern for residents who may have no access other than television.

Councilman Fred Chang, who was a strong proponent of BKAT broadcasts when they were instituted in 2006, said he, too, was concerned about the audience used to watching the meetings on cable television. Chang, however, sees value in posting meetings on the Web site.

“In an ideal world, I would like to have it on both,” Chang said.
Councilman Rob Putaansuu favored dropping BKAT but said the council should show city residents something tangible for the trade-off. After considerable discussion, the council reached a consensus that, if BKAT broadcasts are dropped, money saved would apply to the cost of flower baskets that beautify city streets in summer.

No formal votes are taken at work study meetings. Discussion of the BKAT issue is not on the council’s upcoming agenda, nor is dropping BKAT part of the city’s proposed 2010 budget.
In an e-mail sent to the Kitsap Sun, former Port Orchard Mayor

Kim Abel said that an increase in the city’s cable franchise fee in 2005 was tied to the televising of council meetings on BKAT. She requested the council to lower the franchise fee if it does away with BKAT.

Coppola, replying to Abel in an e-mail copied to the Kitsap Sun, said he would bring the franchise fee issue to the attention of the council.

Budget Hearing: The Port Orchard City Council will hold a public hearing on its 2010 budget at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 216 Prospect St., Port Orchard. The council will vote on the budget at its meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Get Your Home Ready for Arctic Blast

Check the videos below, created by Kitsap Sun videographer Derek Sheppard, for tips on getting your home ready for the cold weather.

If you haven’t brought your plants in from the patio, forget it. They’re toast.
A cold snap moved into Kitsap County Saturday night, along with a few snow flurries, and the weather is predicted to remain chilly, with lows dipping into the low 20s, throughout Monday and into next week. Highs will be in the mid- to low- 30s.
Although the thermometer at Bremerton National Airport read 34 degrees at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, breeze from the north at 9 miles per hour made it feel more like 27 degrees.
According to the National Weather Service, arctic air will continue to pour into the Seattle region through Sunday night. Cold, dry conditions will persist at least through Thursday.
A common problem during extreme cold weather is damage to water pipes that freeze and burst. According to the State Farm Insurance Web site taking the following precautions, if you haven’t already done, so can help reduce the chance you’ll need to call a plumber.
Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic, where exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Heat tape or thermostatically-controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc. Note the use intended (exterior or interior), and closely follow all manufacturers’ installation and operation instructions.
Seal air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes. Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out and the heat in. Disconnect garden hoses. If possible use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
When the temperature drops, leaving a trickle of water can help keep pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall. Also, open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
To block out the cold from your home, caulk around windows, add weather stripping to drafty doors and place insulating film over your windows.
For more information, visit the Kitsap Sun’s Forecasting Kitsap blog.

How to Caulk Around Windows

Place Insulating Film Over a Window

Put Weatherstripping Around a Draft Door

Friday Afternoon Club: Lights, Chimes … Action!

PORT ORCHARD — Now in its 11th year, Port Orchard’s Festival of Chimes & Lights will feature tree lighting at the City Hall, a visit by Santa, children’s activities, refreshments, a lighted boat contest, and a special treat — a free screening of Debbie Macomber’s “Mrs. Miracle” film. The movie is based on Macomber’s book and stars Doris Roberts (of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame) and James Van Der Beek (of “Dawson’s Creek”).

The Port Orchard Library will host several activities throughout the day, and Bay Street will display local artists’ work during an art walk and open house. The Sinclair Inlet Yacht Club will host its annual “Christmas Lane” lighted boat contest, and the public is invited to walk through the marina and vote on their favorite boats.

Kids will enjoy hayrides, crafts activities and taking photos with Santa while adults can shop at the holiday bazaar and listen to live music. Even pets get to be in the spotlight — during the Holiday Pooch and Purr Parade and Costume Contest sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. The cost of the parade, which attracted 70 pets last year, is a nonperishable food donation for South Kitsap Helpline. (Pets must be on leash and owners should be prepared to clean up.)

Carolers will roam the streets and entertainment will be provided both indoors at the library and outdoors. Refreshments will be available at the following locations:

4 to 6 p.m., popcorn, hot cider (and balloons) at Kitsap Bank (the sponsor)

4 to 7 p.m., hot chocolate at City Hall (provided by Knights of Pythias)

4:30 to 8 p.m., cookies and hot cider (plus live music) at the library

Miscellaneous refreshments at Port Orchard Marina Park (provided by Calvary Church of Port Orchard)

5:30 to 6:30 p.m., chili in the front of Orchard Theater (provided by Heritage Four Square Church)

For information and a map of festival events, visit the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce.

Schedule of activities:

Noon to 4 p.m., Holiday Bazaar at Heritage Four Square Church

1 to 3 p.m., children’s crafts at the library

2 to 3 p.m., free screening of “Mrs. Miracle” at Orchard Theatre; doors open at 1

2 to 5 p.m., Art Walk and Open House on Bay Street

4 to 4:30 p.m., holiday skit and story time at the library

4 to 8 p.m., hayrides (starting at City Hall and Peninsula Feed)

5 to 5:30 p.m., Pet Parade and Costume Contest along Bay Street; registration starts at 4:30 p.m. at Kitsap Bank’s drive-thru

5 to 5:30 p.m., East Port Orchard Elementary Choir at City Hall

5 to 8 p.m., lighted boat contest at the marina

5:30 to 5:45 p.m., John Sedgwick Junior High “Generals Choir” at City Hall; plus parade winners announced

5:45 to 6 p.m., community sing-along, holiday tree lighting and playing of the chimes at City Hall

6 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at City Hall

6:35 to 8 p.m., Santa poses for photos with the public at Port Orchard Marina Park

A Shout Out to Lisa Marie Johnson on her 42nd Birthday

By Chris Henry
In February, 2007, Lisa Johnson of Manchester was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, an invasive form of the disease in which malignant cells had spread to other organs in her body. Despite aggressive treatment over the past two years, the cancer has progressed. Lisa is now receiving Hospice care for comfort and pursuing quality of life, to the best of her ability, in each day, according to her mother Sharon Ewing of Bremerton.
Lisa and Steve Johnson
When Lisa and her husband Steve were first married, they had a low-key, low-budget ceremony. On Valentine’s Day, 2009, family, friends and coworkers helped Lisa and Steve celebrate 20 years of marriage with the “dream” wedding they’d always wanted. Daughters Amanda, 20, Kayla, 19, and Judy, 16 were bridesmaids.
Now those same folks are pulling together to help raise funds for funeral arrangements Lisa has requested.
A spaghetti dinner and auction to benefit the Lisa Marie Johnson Funeral Fund is planned for 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 11 at Seabeck Conference Center, 15395 NW Seabeck Highway. This family-style, sit-down dinner features music by Swing Fever and pictures with Santa.
Many local businesses have pitched in to help with supplies and auction items, such as wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres for 10 from Hoodsport Winery and a necklace from Chrey’s Jewelers of Bremerton.
When I wrote about Lisa and Steve in February, I was struck by their love for each other, which I described as a palpable presence. The other remarkable layers of the story were their girls, who have risen to the family’s challenge with grace and maturity, and the community response, a group effort that went and continues to go above and beyond.
On a recent night, I was driving back from Oregon after dropping my daughter at college. Scanning the radio dial for some diversion, I heard an Oregon Public Radio Broadcast about a woman who is a chaplain to the Maine Game Warden Service. Kate Braestrup, who lost her own husband in a tragic accident, “is called in when children disappear in the woods or when snowmobilers disappear under the ice.”
Braestrup talked about our inclination to try and reconcile the most excruciating experiences life dishes out with the exquisite beauty of human interaction in times of crisis. Through her experiences with tragedy, she has learned to let them coexist, side by side, without explanation or moral. As host Krista Tippett said, Braestrup is, “a doer whose sense of God emerges from what happens between and among people.”
Our thoughts are with the Johnson family, with a special shout out to Lisa whose 42nd birthday is Friday (Dec. 4).
Tickets to the dinner-auction are $10 per person, $5 for children under 12, $25 per family of four and $5 for each additional family member.
A benevolent fund has been established at Kitsap Bank; designate donations to the Lisa M. Johnson Fund.

BKAT, Parks Funding Among Proposed PO Budget Cuts

On Wednesday, I’ll be heading to a 6 p.m. city council work study meeting at Port Orchard City Hall. The council will discuss $16,000 worth of budget cuts needed in light of its decision to maintain the city’s budget at 2009 levels. The council declined to take a one percent property tax increase in light of the recession.

Among proposed cuts are BKAT broadcasts of city council meetings, a cost of $7,900 per year, and nearly $10,000 in parks funding, including $700 a year for mutt mitts (who knew Port Orchard’s canines were so productive). The city also could renegotiate contracts to save money.

The work study is open to the public, although comments are not generally taken. The public will have a chance to comment on the city’s 2010 budget at a hearing at 7 p.m. Dec. 7. The council will vote on the budget at its regular meeting, Dec. 8.

From the city’s Web site:
“Copies of the Preliminary Budget will be available to any interested taxpayer at a nominal charge during normal working hours, Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the office of the City Treasurer on November 13, 2009.

Any person or public agency interested is invited to attend the Public Hearing and/or submit written comments on the 2010 budget to the City Council on or before December 7, 2009.”

All meetings are held at City Hall, 216 Prospect St.