All posts by Chris Henry

Flyover could get Seahawk fans even more cranked up

How can The Clink get any louder than the last time the Saints were here, when the 12th Man broke the Guinness world record for crowd noise? Cap it with a flyover.
The Seahawks contacted the Navy and requested just that. I reckon they asked if Naval Air Station Whidbey Island could send an EA-18G Growler down, oh, about when the 12th Man flag is climbing the pole.
A Growler — the electronic warfare version of the Navy’s Super Hornet fighter jet — emits a maximum of 150 decibels. Amazingly, you could’ve hardly heard it over the seismic crowd on Dec. 2. That’s when 68,387 fans combined to reach 137.6 decibels after the Seahawks stuffed New Orleans on a third-down play late in the first half of a 34-7 Monday Night Football victory.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island spokesman Mike Welding confirmed the Seahawks’ request, which was denied.
The Department of Defense, because of across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, mothballed community outreach programs in March. The military withdrew from 2,800 outreach events around the country. In October it brought back the Navy Blue Angels, Air Force Thunderbirds and other attractions, but not everything. There’s a 45 percent reduction in the number of events from last year that will result in savings of $104 million in fiscal 2014. Flyovers are among those events.
The Air Force typically performed 1,000 flyovers a year, but under the new outreach plan will hardly fly any. There’s no public flyover program at this time. I would think it’s the same way with the Navy, and that’s why the Seahawks’ request was denied. Decisions are made in the Secretary of Defense outreach office.
The Seahawks didn’t contact the Army or Air Force at Joint Base Lewis McChord, according to spokesmen there. But if they were snooping around for a flyover from the Navy, I can’t imagine they gave up at the first rejection. Can’t wait to see what they came up with.
— Ed Friedrich

Speaking of South Kitsap: That’s All She Wrote

South Kitsap, we’ve had this blog to ourselves since February 13, 2007. We’ve been through a lot: entertaining events, South Kitsap businesses, small town politics, and some just plain weird stuff. Now, three months and three years later, it’s time to let the rest of Kitsap’s communities in on the fun.

As I mentioned some weeks ago, we — as in reporters Steve Gardner, Brynn Grimley and I — decided it might be best to pool our blogging efforts. Since we cover Kitsap communities (minus Bainbridge Island, which is capably reported and blogged on by freelance reporter Tristan Baurick), we thought we could work together on a blog that conveys the flavor of Kitsap’s diverse and endlessly entertaining pockets of population. Since then, we’ve heard about Bremerton’s hens, Trader Joe’s (Kitsap’s never ending fantasy) and the latest news from Port Orchard. And more news from Port Orchard. I’m surprised Gardner didn’t put us on notice last week, whew!

If you hate good-byes, think of it as a migration.

Besides, you can access archives of this blog on, just like the good old Bremerton Beat, that keeps on getting hits even though its been sent to the big archive in the sky.

Our new blog is Peninsular Thinking (we will be diligent to avoid fat fingers when typing it for obvious reasons, promise).

After much thinking and a lot of constructive help from readers, we settled on a name that wasn’t even on the list of considerations yet seemed to convey the right tone of what we’re about here. Can we have fun? Heck, yeah! Can we be serious. If needs be. Do we want to stimulate conversation among all the good people of the Kitsap Peninsula? Above all.

Look, when I started this blog, I barely knew what a blog was. Since that day, the whole media equation has been erased and rewritten … multiple times. What I love about how things have evolved is that being a reporter is no longer about simply delivering the news. It’s not a one-way stream. It’s an ongoing, sometimes messy conversation in which we inform each other.

Even if I haven’t met you in person, I feel that I know those of you who post regularly. Thanks for your thoughts and opinions. We’re all better for it … except you trolls (and you know who you are).

So let’s step on over to the new blog and keep the conversation going. We’re trying to figure out a way to help you recognize when a post pertains to South Kitsap, say, if you’re particularly interested in South Kitsap. One brilliant idea I had was to … put “South Kitsap” (or “Bremerton” or “Poulsbo” if you swing that way) in the title. But really, all of it is going to be so edifying, you won’t want to miss a thing.

So stay tuned, stay in touch, stay Kitsap.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap reporter

All PO Citizens Invited to Weigh in on McCormick Woods Park

Public Invited to Comment on McCormick Woods Park

Parks planning meeting set for Wednesday at City Hall.
By Chris Henry
Planning for a 63.5-acre public park in the McCormick Woods-Sunnyslope area advanced Tuesday, when the Port Orchard City Council approved a contract with a Seattle architectural firm that will help citizens develop a master site plan for the park.
Money for park development, including professional consultant services, came to the city as a result of annexation of the McCormick Woods urban growth area last year. The county had collected $643,732 in development impact fees to cover the planning and creation of the park, and the money was transferred to the city under an annexation inter-local agreement. The city now is responsible for developing and maintaining the park on Old Clifton Road.
Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape Consultants of Seattle will lead the planning process. A meeting with the McCormick Village Park subcommittee is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall. The city is paying the award-winning design company $40,000 for its services.
Among the questions Jones & Jones staff will ask: “What makes the acreage of the proposed park unique in terms of topography and history?” “Who will be using the park, and what uses will it serve?” “What method will the city use to create the park?”
All citizens of Port Orchard, not only those on the park committee or in the McCormick Woods area, are invited to weigh in on planning for the park, said development director James Weaver.
Park committee meetings, listed on the city’s website,, are open to the public. The committee will meet through September. The city will conduct public hearings about the committee’s proposals through December and adopt the park plan before the end of the year. Construction on the park will likely begin in September 2011.
Information on the park can be found on the city’s website or call the planning department at (360) 876-4991.

McCormick Village Park (Proposed)

What Happened to Espresso Gone Wild?

I talked to the coffee stand‘s owner and the property owner. Didn’t find out much about the sudden disappearance of the stand in Gorst.
I did check with the state’s Department of Revenue. No back taxes owing.

Today I wrote a story on the little I know. It should be up on the Kitsap Sun’s Web site soon.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap reporter

May 11: Here’s the link to the story.

On Tuesday’s PO Council Agenda

Adoption of Resolution No. 020-10, Approving the Design Review Board’s Recommendation for Proposed Development at 710 Bay Street: Will the city council give the go ahead to the first development project to come through under the city’s new Downtown Overlay District plan? The plan was intended to promote tasteful development in the downtown core. The council last month got hung up on how Swenson’s plans would work with the marquee and needed a month to think about it.

Approval of Contract No. C044-10, Authorizing the Mayor to Execute Professional Services Agreement with Jones & Jones Architects and
Landscape Architects, Ltd., for the design of McCormick Village Park: Things are moving forward with planning for a planned 63.5 acre public park in the McCormick Woods/Sunnyslope area.

More on McWoods park … The McCormick Village Park Plan Subcommittee will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall

Also on the council’s agenda:
Amending Port Orchard Municipal Code Chapter 5.12 “Business Licenses” to Incorporate the Partnership with the Washington State Department of Licensing
Master License Service: By working with the state’s Department of Licensing, the city hopes to make the process of reapplying for a business license smoother and more efficient. Presumably a benefit to both the city and business owners. I will check on that.

Friday Afternoon Club: Help the Hungry

Two chances to help the hungry this weekend, one in South Kitsap, where South Kitsap School District encourages citizens to fill a school bus with food products. The other is no farther than your mailbox, as the U.S. Postal Service once again sponsors a Stamp Out Hunger Day.

Below is the press release from the school district and a letter to the editor from Monica Bernhard of Bremerton Foodline (note she says Saturday is the 9th; it is the 8th, regardless, Saturday is the day you should put food in your mailbox because the Postal Service doesn’t come on Sunday). Sally Santana, on her blog, had the correct date.

From SKSD:
Community rallies to help “Stuff the Bus”

Released: Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The SKSD Stuff the Bus food drive was a huge success last weekend! District transportation workers and volunteers collected 4,000 pounds of food and $359 in cash. All donations will be given to the South Kitsap Helpline.

A large yellow bus was parked at Safeway on Bethel Avenue on Saturday, May 1 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Donations were collected from shoppers, SKSD schools, and at many other locations.

Event volunteers included; Larry Durfey, Carrie Nielsen, Norma Jacobs, Linda Nguyen, Kathy Harmon, Vicki Murtha, Kim Pickering, Rita DaWald, Amber Burton, Doni Mercer, Becky Blinn and grandson Alan, Nancy Aune, Joe Ho, Gayle Newton, Robbie Wolcott, Emily Rickett, and Tyler Moon.

“We would like to give a special thanks to the Director of Transportation, Scott Logan, for giving his time to drive the bus,” said Vicki Murtha, bus driver and event coordinator. “Without his help, none of this would have happened.”

The event was coordinated by the district’s bus drivers and transportation employees. Another event is already scheduled for next year on Saturday, May 7, 2011.

For more information, please call 360-874-7090.

Here’s Monica Bernhard:
Reader Submitted

She drives your child’s school bus or takes care of your aging parents at a local nursing home. He fills your order at the local drive-thru or is your checker at the corner grocery store. They help teachers in class rooms, work at day cares and gas stations, deliver our papers, clean our offices and fix our cars. They own homes, rent apartments, live in cars, in tents and under bridges.

Some wrestle with addictions, mental illness or disabilities. Others live alone, struggling with the pain of loneliness. Some have worn our nation’s uniform while others are honoring us with their service at this very moment. Try as we might like, it is not possible to stereotype the individuals served by our local food banks. The only common thread many of them share is that today they are hungry. Today they need food. Today they are asking for help, maybe swallowing their pride in the process.

Every month, thousands of families across our community turn to one of the eight Kitsap County food banks for help. We are not grocery stores for the poor. Instead, we are part of the emergency safety net that is the heart of this community. Most families served turn to their food bank 4-5 times a year those times when they simply are unable to make ends meet. The food they need is available because you, our neighbors, have chosen to support us. Time and time again, your gifts of time, food, financial support, leadership and encouragement have made it possible for local food banks to take care of your neighbors in their personal time of crisis. On behalf of these families, we thank you.

We are looking for your help once again. On Saturday, May 9th, residents of Kitsap County will have the opportunity to join citizens across the United States in the “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive sponsored by the the National Association of Letter Carriers, with participation also by rural carriers. It’s easy. In the few days leading up to the community wide drive, look in your mailbox for bags that will be dropped off to collect your donations of non-perishable food items. Personal hygiene products and diapers are also accepted. If you don’t have a bag, any bag will do. Simply leave your donations next to your mailbox on Saturday, May 9th and your postal carrier will take it from there. Whether it’s a grocery bag full or a single can left over in your pantry, this simple act of individual generosity will keep the shelves of the eight Kitsap County Food banks stocked well into the summer. Thanks to the hard work of postal workers and countless volunteers, your food will be delivered the very same day to the food bank nearest your home, ready to be given out right away.

Last year our residents donated more than 147,000 pounds of food in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive to local food banks, one can at a time. In light of the current economic situation, the need has only grown so we encourage you to tell your friends, challenge your congregations, and put up reminders at your businesses or your reader boards. This is our community. These are our neighbors.

It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of such a pervasive and complex issue such as hunger. Yet, we can bring about the change we seek when we remember that each of us has the opportunity to choose our response to this community tragedy. What can each of us do to stop hunger? Sometimes the answer starts with a single can of food.

Monica Bernhard

Executive Director, Bremerton Foodline

President, Kitsap County Foodbank Coalition

South Kitsap Soccer: Take the Poll

In March, I wrote about a brewing brouhaha over South Kitsap Soccer Club’s proposal to switch registration for younger players to random team assignments. Today, the Kitsap Sun ran a story on the trend toward randomization. At issue is whether is it better for younger players to stay with the team they played on the year before or to be reassigned randomly to level the playing field, so to speak.

I was copied on more than 30 e-mails from parents who disagree with the soccer board’s policy. Mark Strombeck, a coach and parent who encouraged peole to sound off to the board, said that was only about a third of the 100 or so e-mails to board actually received. At that, said board president Mike Kerr, the naysayers represent about 10 percent of the club’s membership (there were about 1,300 players last year). In the interest of allowing all SKSC families to weigh in, I have posted a poll on Speaking of South Kitsap.

If you’d like to weigh in, you can take a poll on the home page of this blog (scroll down, the poll is on the right.

Sick Kid, Lost Dog in South Kitsap

Of all the sad, pathetic news coming out of South Kitsap this week, this one really tugged at me. But then, you know I’m a big softie, especially if we’re talking about kids or dogs.

OK, so I get this e-mail from one Alison Dockins regarding a lost dog. What, do I look like the community bulletin board at Safeway? Well, I guess I’m OK with that. If Gardner can post about what fell out of his taco, I guess I can try to help this family get their dog back, especially considering the circumstances.

Alison wrote, “Hello Mr. Henry (Note to self – gotta do something with that byline.) I am writing to see if you can help my family and I. My youngest daughter has a rare genetic disorder called Williams Syndrome, she is doing great and has bypassed so many of her doctors expectations for her and make all of us so proud. But the reason I need your help is our family dog ran away on Monday. Him and my daughter are always together, he is her constant companion and puts up with so much more then most other dogs ever would. He is absolutely irreplaceable and my daughter and the rest of us are heartbroken. She walks around the house asking “where puppy? and just isn’t herself without him. Is there anyway you could run even just a small article with a picture of him…..I know he is around here (Port Orchard) as people have seen him….but he is such a friendly great family dog I’m worried someone might just keep them for their own family. Please help me!

Since I’m not clear on whether Alison’s contact information is for publication, I’m going to say contact me at (360) 792-9219 or

The family lives off Sidney Road, south of Lider Road on Logan (see map below). Here’s what the dog looks like:

The Dockins family of South Kitsap is missing their pet.

Here’s the area where the dog was lost.

Fund Established to Replace Children’s Books Stolen from Port Orchard Library

The Kitsap Regional Library is accepting donations to help the Port Orchard Library replace more than 1,300 children’s books that have disappeared from that branch in recent months, prompting an investigation by the Port Orchard Police Department.

The value of the books is worth an estimated $22,900, roughly 20 percent of the branch’s collection.

There are no new leads in the case, which has been assigned to a detective, Chief Al Townsend said Wednesday.

The books disappeared a few at a time over the past few months. Since circulation was up in January and February, staff did not immediately take note, said Branch Manager Kathleen Wilson.

The foundation has established a special account to benefit the Port Orchard branch, which shares its collection within the entire KRL system. Donors should designate their intention in a note or on their check, stating “Port Orchard Branch picture books” or “POB pic books,” said Foundation Director Peter Raffa.

The foundation will direct all donations over the next two months toward replacement of the collection, even without a note, Raffa said.

Donations are tax deductible. Send them to KRL Foundation, Sylvan Way Library, 1301 Sylvan Way, Bremerton, WA 98310.

Kitsap’s Connection to The Fonz

Yesterday, I covered an appearance by Henry Winkler on Bainbridge Island. Winkler is arguably best known as the Fonz on the 1970s sitcom “Happy Days.”

Winkler, who was in Seattle promoting a children’s book he has written, accommodated a request from West Sound Reads! to speak at Bainbridge High School about the book, which is part of a series on “Hank Zipzer, the World’s Greatest Underachiever.” The series is loosely, and in spots not so loosely based on Winkler’s own lifelong struggle with dyslexia.

I learned from arts and entertainment reporter Mike Moore that Kitsap County has its own connection to The Fonz in Frank Buxton, a Bainbridge Island resident with a 60 year career in the entertainment industry. Buxton and I were unable to hook up in time for me to include his comments in the story. They’re worthy of note, however.

And yes, we were going to call this blog “Everything But Bainbridge.” Now I guess that’s off the table.

Buxton, who spent 20 + years in Los Angeles writing, producing, directing and acting, was a story editor and director for “Happy Days”. According to Buxton, the sitcom evolved out of an episode of “Love American Style,” a show he also worked on. The episode included Ron Howard (Ritchie Cunningham) and a couple other cast members of what would become “Happy Days.” The plot of the pilot episode revolved around the family getting the first television set in the neighborhood, with the dad having to walk the rabbit ears antenae out into the hallway to get reception. (Just try explaining this to anyone under 20. You may as well be speaking Martian.)

Speaking of martians, Buxton, in his lengthy and diverse career, directed segments of “Mork and Mindy,” staring a then youthful Robin Williams, known for his zany improvisation. “I would let him go, but then I’d have to rein him in,” Buxton said. And right, I know, Mork was from Ork not Mars.

BTW, Buxton’s career is far from over. He remains active in local theater, on a syndicated radio program produced in Seattle and in other acting parts. His website is worth a look-see. His motto pretty much says it all, “I have lived for many years on the outskirts of show business with an occasional trip into town.”

Back to the Fonz. Winkler, unlike Howard, was a relative newcomer to television. He had played a similar greaser-type character on the movie “Lords of Flatbush.” Buxton said he never was aware that Winkler had a learning disability. It did not impair his ability to memorize lines from a script, even when they went to a taped-before-live-audience format that required longer segments of filming.

Buxton said Winkler’s character, which didn’t have much of a presence until some time after the show started, was a good counterpoint to Howard’s squeeky clean, all-American boy character.

Winkler himself was easy to work with, Buxton said. “From where I stood, he took direction very well. If we had a difference of opinion, as sometimes happens, we’d work it out.”

In fact, said Buxton, the whole cast of “Happy Days” lived up to their show’s name. “Henry was a delight to work with,” he said. “In fact everyone was. There were no prima donnas on that show.”

That description of Winkler held up in my brief observation of him. He was down-to-earth, funny and honest. He answered questions from the kids in the audience with the same attention and respect he showed the adults. At the book-signing afterward, he was warm and genuine in his praise and encouragement of the youngsters, some of whom had read his books. Some of whom had not.

It was refreshing to me to see someone who has spent so much time in show biz come out so unscathed. I’m thinking his dyslexia, which used to make him feel insecure, has given him a sense of humility not typically associated with the words “movie star.”

In the brief time I had to talk with him before he hurried off to catch the ferry, I shared with him that one of my kids has a learning disability. He was very encouraging, very kind. He told me, “You tell her, ‘When you get out of school, you’ll soar like an eagle.'”

OK, we couldn’t check out without seeing the Fonz in action.