Category Archives: Communities

The Truth About Trader Joe’s

Brynn Grimley writes:

I’m here to set the rumor mill straight: Trader Joe’s is not coming to Kitsap County.

At least not in the next two years, according to Alison Mochizuki, a spokeswoman for the company.

Since arriving at the Kitsap Sun four years ago I think I’ve heard every rumor imaginable that Trader Joe’s is coming to Kitsap — more specifically Silverdale. I’ve also heard varying reasons for why they haven’t located here yet. But it’s all been speculation by people who love the store and really, really, really, really, REALLY want to see the chain open in Kitsap. (Heck they have 14 locations in Western Washington, what’s one more, right?)

The latest rumor came Monday when someone called our newsroom to say an employee of the University District Place Trader Joe’s confirmed the company had signed a lease for a building in Silverdale.

I called Mochizuki at Trader Joe’s corporate office in California leaving a message to see if there was any truth to the rumor that Kitsap might become the latest county to sell “Two-Buck Chuck” (ps it really should be called Three-Buck Chuck since it costs more than $2 in this state, but that’s neither here nor there).

She called me back a few hours later leaving this message on my voicemail: “At this time Kitsap is not in our two-year plan of opening a location.” She went on to say that Silverdale was also not a part of that two-year plan.

For those who have never been to a Trader Joe’s, the best way to describe it is a small grocery store with style. The walls are decorated with cedar planks, the employees wear Hawaiian shirts, and the inventory ranges from everyday ingredients like milk to specialty products that are hard to find anywhere else. Trader Joe’s offered a large organic selection years before organic became popular for the masses.

The company is probably most well known for its “Two-Buck Chuck”, or Charles Shaw wine that it sells for cheap. It’s a decent wine for the price — which you really appreciate when you’re a college student with minimal spending money in your pocket (or a recent college grad looking for a job to support your “Two-Buck Chuck” habit, not that I know from personal experience or anything).

So while I hate to be the bearer of bad news, it seemed only appropriate I set the record straight and let the 806 people who joined the Facebook group “Citizens of Kitsap County, WA Beg For a Trader Joe’s” they’ll have to wait a little longer to see their dreams realized.

Name that Blog

With the addition of new voices from North Kitsap, Central Kitsap and Bremerton, Speaking of South Kitsap is evolving. Since Bremerton reporter Steve Gardener and Central/North Kitsap reporter Brynn Grimley hopped on board, you’ve heard about a noted civic leader, a transformational moment or two, one town’s no so little victory and more.

On Grimley’s entry about Hank Mann-Sykes, one commenter mistakenly thought I had written the story and the post. It was an understandable error There’s my mug shot, as we call it, tacked on the home page of the blog. It’s probably time to change that, as well as the name of the blog. We’ll be mulling that over for a couple weeks while Grimley’s on vacation, and some time after that likely make the switch.

We’d like your help in re-branding the blog. While the Kitsap Caucus focuses on politics and government, Speaking of South Kitsap has, for the most part, focused on people, events and life in general in Port Orchard and surrounding communities, like Manchester, Olalla, South Colby and Gorst (Gardner and I both claim a stake in that one). Each has its own unique character … and characters. Now we add to that mix Seabeck, Lomolo, Hansville, Rocky Point, and other areas as well as the cities of Poulsbo and Bremerton and unicorporated yet urban Silverdale.

First we need a name. We’ve kicked around a few ideas and will mine our fellow staff members for others. So far we have Kitsap Klatsch and Speaking of Kitsap Communities. I suggested “That’s Kitsap with a ‘K'” but nobody got it. Excuse me while I stop by the store for some krab. … Oh, never mind.

OK, obviously we need a little help here.

We also need to replace my mug with something iconic, representing all that makes Kitsap Kitsapy. We got into a discussion of that over on the post about Hank Mann-Sykes. I asked for scenes that come to mind that represent your community. Kathryn Simpson, of South Kitsap, suggested: a picture taken from the center of the crosswalk at the end of Bay Street in Port Orchard, a picture of the scoreboard at Joe Knowles Stadium at the high school, a picture of the entrance to the older Kitsap County Admin building (the one the courts are still in), a picture of the foot ferry reaching the Port Orchard dock, a picture of the Stokes Auction windmill. If you live in Bremerton, Central or North Kitsap, you can probably think of scenes that conjure up the essence of a place. Maybe for Bremerton, we should have a chicken.

I was hoping we could have a rotating picture box with scenes from all over the county. But our Web editor says even our tech guru isn’t up to that one.

Our fall back idea is a group picture of Gardner, Grimley and me, as they have on the Wild World of Kitsap Sports blog. Not that we aren’t an attractive bunch, but I think we could do better.

So put on your thinking caps and sing out. This is a brainstorming session. Nothing is off the table, as they say. Again we need a new name and iconic picture or graphic for the blog soon to be known as The Blog Formerly Known as Speaking of South Kitsap.

Thank you.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap/government reporter

Trenten Morris Remembered

Brynn Grimley writes:

It was just about eight months ago that we reported the drowning of Trenten Morris, a Klahowya Secondary School eighth grader who split his time between his mother’s house in Poulsbo and his father’s house in Port Orchard.

He had been swimming at Wildcat Lake at the end of July with friends and family. After his death the community was outraged that aid crews didn’t jump into the water to try and save him like people expected. Reporter Josh Farley covered a community meeting that was held by Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue shortly after Trenten’s death. In that meeting CKFR Chief Ken Burdette explained why things happened the way they did. (You can read that story here).

That meeting prompted some people in the community to want to do more to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again. The idea to build a life-jacket loaner board for Wildcat Lake, and supply it with life-jackets suitable for infants up to adults, was born. (Read my story about this here).

On Saturday (April 3), roughly 100 people gathered at Wildcat Lake to celebrate the installation of the life-jacket loaner board and to remember Trenten. His family played a role in the board’s installation (his mom Amber donated money from a fund set up in Trenten’s name to the project). This blog post includes photos from the event, taken by CKFR spokeswoman Theresa MacLennan.

In an e-mail MacLennan wrote this:

“Trenten’s family, the Kitsap Medical Society, Safe Kids Kitsap, Kitsap County Parks and Recreation, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, and the Long Lake Bass Club all worked to establish the life-jacket loaner board as a way to ensure other families have access to life-jackets and understand that drowning is quick, silent and can happen to even strong swimmers. Throughout the swim season, twelve life-jackets of varying sizes will be hanging and available for use at Wildcat Lake. Life-jacket loaner boards are also available at Buck and Horseshoe Lakes. The groups hope to establish life-jacket loaner boards at least six other swim areas including Long Lake and Island Lake.”

While it’s sad that it took Trenten’s drowning to prompt the installation of this board at Wildcat Lake, it would be even worse if someone who needed the life-jacket didn’t use it and met the same fate this summer. The jackets are there for a reason, please use them, and please don’t steal them.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Hank Mann-Sykes?

Brynn Grimley writes:

I first met Hank Mann-Sykes shortly after I was hired at the Kitsap Sun in April 2006. He claims he was so excited to have a reporter hired to cover Central Kitsap for the Sun that he cried.  (I don’t believe him).

I have to share our first encounter because I believe it sums up Hank’s sense of humor in a nutshell (and he is a nut).

We were to meet at the Silver City Brewery in Silverdale for lunch. On the phone Hank described what he looked like so I wouldn’t miss him: “I’m 5’5” about 200 pounds, bald with horn-rimmed glasses,” he said.

So there I sat, waiting for a short, fat, bald man with glasses, and in walks Hank — looking like none of the above. That’s when I knew: never take anything he says seriously.

Hank has been a wonderful contact for to me; if I had a question I could call him and he had the answer (assuming he answered the phone).

But a few months after we met, Hank started having health problems. I didn’t hear from him for a while, and then every few months he’d check in. I never knew how serious his health problems were because he never wanted to talk about it. (Still doesn’t).

Hank didn’t want his health issues to go into the story I wrote that ran in Sunday’s paper because he doesn’t want people feeling sorry for him. But then he decided if his story can show someone else that they don’t have to act sick just because they are sick, he was willing to share.

I believe, after speaking with Hank, it is his “one day at a time” mentality that has resulted in him proving medicine wrong. That and his desire to help the community. He refuses to focus on being sick, and instead looks at what he can do to continue to be a mover and a shaker in Silverdale.

Just last week his wife of 27 years Loisanne said he had people at the house to discuss the Silverdale Haselwood Family YMCA. He ran out of cell phone minutes for the month because he’s reconnecting with old friends and trying to connect people to find funding for the multi-million dollar YMCA facility, she said.

To write my story on Hank, I received a list of people Hank suggested I call to get some perspective on “Who is Hank Mann-Sykes.” The list grew every day, and while I called many, I didn’t call them all. I also didn’t include everyone’s comments in my story, however their input helped me shape the article. I’d like to provide some of the quotes from those who know Hank here.

Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent and Hank connected first through the Boy Scouts, an organization Hank has been involved in for 20 years (his son Joshua is an Eagle Scout). They then worked together when Lent was county commissioner.

“If there ever was a ‘Man of the Year,’ or a ‘Man of the Century,’ it would be Hank Mann-Sykes,” she said. “He is as solid as a granite rock.”

Carl Johnson, another volunteer and civic leader in Silverdale, has known Hank for years. The two share a deep religious faith and met once a week to study the Bible before Hank’s last trip to the hospital.

“What I’ve discovered about Hank is, you don’t have to wonder what he’s thinking,” Johnson said. “He kind of wears his feelings and his thoughts out there for anyone to see and hear. And certainly I appreciate that about him.”

Johnson, along with everyone else, called Hank an “incredibly giving person.”

“I have a great appreciation and a general love for Hank and I think he has made a difference in our community,” he said.

Natalie Bryson, yet another longtime Silverdale volunteer, has shared a close friendship with Hank since he arrived in Silverdale and wasn’t surprised to learn he had been working on the Silverdale YMCA project from home. She said the drive to benefit his community was the “marrow of his bones.”

“He just did things at the grass roots level and made a huge difference for people in the community,” she said of his volunteerism. “I can’t think of an organization that hasn’t been impacted by his efforts in one way or another.”

There’s one thing Hank hasn’t done for the community that he’d like to see happen before he dies: Silverdale incorporation.

“I’m going to do it if I have the energy,” he said. “If it’s the last dying breath in my body I’m going to call someone and say lets get this freaking thing going.”

Looking at his success record, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does it.

Speaking of Bremerton

Steven Gardner writes:

That didn’t take long.

On Monday Bremerton gets its grubby mitts on your blog here and within days Money Magazine cedes all of Kitsap County to Bremerton.

That dude living on his boat and dumping his stuff into Eagle Harbor? He’s from Bremerton.
Those kids that spent New Year’s Day in Pasadena instead of jumping into the sound? Bremertonians.
Seabeck, Poulsbo, Silverdale? It’s all Bremerton.

I was going to one day threaten that you’d all be assimilated, but it looks like it already happened.

Money Magazine has a new list out, one of those things they create every so often to make people remember that magazines still exist. In a section devoted to Real Estate 2010, it predicts which areas will see the steepest increases and make the biggest falls in real estate value. Number five for robust real estate, or tied for it, is Bremerton, population 240,000.

This has, of course, been going on for years. One time Bremerton’s recognition got the former editor of the Central Kitsap Reporter so jacked up he wrote an editorial asking when Bremerton would stop riding on the rest of the county’s coattails. I answer, when will you shut up and accept that you’ll be riding ours forever? Quiet before we annex you.

Your assimilation into Bremerton isn’t free. There are some standards to be met.
First, Bainbridge Island has to stop its obsessive repulsion to chain stores. We want a Burger King and a Taco Bell on Winslow Way, or we’re coming over there with a bridge.
Silverdale needs one, probably two 7-Elevens. Circle K’s wine for the thrifty isn’t as diverse and the clientele isn’t as troubling.
Poulsbo, get rid of all those extra stop signs and replace them red-light cameras.
Port Orchard, the paint job is kind of a step up, so we’ll give you credit there. Some of your windows reflect direct sunlight into our eyes around sunset, though, so we would appreciate it if you’d do something about that, m’kay?

Now that we’ve all accepted that we’re all from Bremerton, I think we can also agree that we need to band together to sell some condos and direct some more retail into what we will all call “downtown” without having to ask “Downtown where?” I’ll see if we can get our paper renamed the Bremerton Sun again. I guess we can stick with the city names we’ve got, but we ought to develop nicknames. Silverdale can be “Slick.” Poulsbo is “Olaf.” Bainbridge will be “Money Bags.” Seabeck can be “Chip.” Port Orchard should be “Junior.”

If you’re not excited about this, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

Hablando de Nuestros Lectores Latinos/ Speaking of Our Latino Readers

The Kitsap Sun has launched its first Spanish blog, Se Habla Espanol Kitsap, hosted by South Kitsap resident Estela Lopez.

The summary of the blog is: Estela  Lopez comparte noticias e informacion de importancia para la comunidad latina de Kitsap y El Norte del Condada de Mason.
Estela Lopez shares news and information of interest to the Latino community in Kitsap and North Mason counties.

Estela, who works at the the YWCA of Kitsap County, said on Friday that the Latino community badly needs a central forum for exchange of information, as well as human interest stories about the diverse group of folks who make of the area’s Spanish speaking population.

Our area is home to Latinos of various backgrounds, including Mexicans, Guatemalans, El Salvadorans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans … and probably more. Let me know who I’m leaving out, por favor.

In February, 2009, El Centro de la Familia, an assistance center for Latino families, closed due to budget problems. The Immigrant Assistance Center opened in its wake, but initially was unable to provide the same level of service. The Immigrant Assistance Center is now the Multicultural Assistance Center, open to Latino immigrants and others whose primary language is not English.

According to the U.S. Census, in 2008, persons of Latino or Hispanic origin made up 4.9 percent of Kitsap County’s population (total 239,769). In Mason County, with a population of 57,846, Latino and Hispanic residents make up 6.6 percent of the population. The 2010 U.S. Census questionnaire will soon arrive in Kitsap and Mason county households. As the Census is analyzed, it will be interesting to see what stats this more refined look at population trends reveals.

Beyond the stats, there are sure to be interesting stories about people from the Latino community … like Estela, who was honored as a 2009 Woman of Achievement by the YWCA of Kitsap County.

She is originally from San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato, Mexico. She moved to the United States in 1980. She and her husband, Jose Luis, own El Sombrero restaurant in Belfair. Her son, Jose Luis Jr., is in 10th grade at South Kitsap High School, where he is in the ROTC program.

Before she was hired by the YWCA, Estela owned the Talpita Hispanic store in Port Orchard at Jackson and Lund avenues, from 2006 to 2009. The store became much more than a place where people came for food and sundries. Estela helped customers fill out forms and find information they needed to conduct their businesses and their lives (becoming a de facto branch of the immigrant assistance center). At one point she opened the store to Health Department staff who hosted classes there.

Personally, I’m looking forward to reading Estela’s blog as a way to brush up my rusty Spanish. Bienvenidos, Estela y los otros lectores Lationos del Kitsap Sun.

Speaking of Old Barns

Reader call: Do you know of a historic barn in Kitsap or North Mason county? If so e-mail or call (360) 792-9219. Tell us about the barn, and be sure to leave you contact information.

The fire that burned a historic barn on Olalla Valley Road hit owners of the the property, Aaron and Diane Passow, hard. The couple, who bought the place a couple years ago were renovating the barn that Aaron said was a landmark to valley dwellers.

Olalla Valey Barn Fire
A fire on March 10, 2010, destroyed a historic barn on Olalla Valley Road. Photo by Stephanie Gonzales

The barn is said to be around 100 years old. It sported a bunch of brightly painted sunflowers and a quaint painting of a cow, harkening back to the property’s days as a dairy farm.

When Aaron was working on the barn, replacing floor boards and beams, people would stop by to chat and many asked for some of the wood as a keepsake.

Barn on Olalla Valley Road
Photo by Stephanie Gonzales

The cause of the fire that leveled the barn is still under investigation. When I was out there today, Kitsap County Fire Marshal David Lynam, who apparently knows a thing or two about cows, held up a charred oval of metal. He said it was a stanchion, used to keep the cows still while you’re milking them.

The fire was just one more piece of bad luck the Passows have encountered since buying the place. In one instance, a cement truck overturned, damaging a corner of the roof on their one-story rambler. In another, a youngster driving too fast, skidded off the road and hit a transformer. Oil from the transformer leached down toward their porch.

As Aaron was sifting through the ruins, he said, “Hey look at this!” and reached down for a horseshoe. It had been nailed above the door to the barn lo these many years. Aaron took it for a sign the couple’s luck is about to change. Let’s hope so.

Hay There, Olalla Bluegrass Festival Happening After All

Additional volunteers are needed for set-up and other tasks.
By Chris Henry
In November, it seemed the popular Olalla Bluegrass Festival would be silenced for 2010. Exhaustion on the part of the core group that had kept it going for nearly two decades was the cause.
Since then, new folks have stepped forward to fill the void, and the festival is back on the calendar, set for Aug. 21.
The event, which began in 1991, draws hundreds each year to the South Kitsap Southern Little League field for a day of bluegrass music, vendors and berry pie eating. Planning begins eight months in advance.
Marty Kellogg, who wore many hats as festival director for a number of years, announced this fall he was stepping down. The new director, according to Secretary George Willock, is Larry Davis. Michael Reardon is second-in command. Marcia Doran is treasurer. Other key positions — including Willock’s — have been filled as well.
Willock, a Southworth resident, has been a regular festival attendee for years. He has helped with small tasks, but felt moved to do more.
“I’m happy that it’s going to happen,” said Willock, “It’s just a quality event. I really enjoy the bands. I enjoy the atmosphere. It’s small enough, it’s kind of warm and friendly. It has the feel of a party. I like the fact that it attracts a wide variety of people, rich people, poor people, families, whatever.”
Kellogg and festival founder Charlee Glock-Johnson will remain involved, Willock said, but the committee’s new goal will be to minimize burn-out by distributing the labor.
To recruit new volunteers, Glock-Jackson wrote job descriptions of each task involved in putting on the festival. The Web site has been updated and now includes an online volunteer registration form. As of the central committee’s most recent meeting, the former handful of weary volunteers had swelled to a group 18-strong, and most of the tasks, large and small, had been spoken for.
The committee still is lacking volunteers for three important positions: volunteer coordinator, vendor coordinator and program editor.
Proceeds from the Olalla Bluegrass Festival support upkeep of the Olalla Community Club. The festival committee also donates to local organizations, such as scout groups, school groups and other South Kitsap community needs.
To find out more about the festival or to volunteer, log on to

Colchester, Manchester What’s the Difference?

Our story Sunday on the murder of Ruby Andrews threw some Kitsap Sun readers for a loop about the location listed for the crime. The dateline, taken from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s report, was “Colchester.” The location of Andrews’ home, where the homicide occurred, is Puget Drive, a loop off Colchester Drive.

View Colchester WA in a larger map
We heard from people commenting on the story and from a couple who live on Puget Drive that “there is no such thing as Colchester.”

Members of the Manchester Crime Prevention & Public Safety Group who met Tuesday with Kitsap County Sheriff’s officials also questioned the Colchester label, saying people in the area consider themselves Manchester residents, period … end of story.

There is, however, historic precedent for the dateline given in a press release by Deputy Scott Wilson, the Sheriff’s Office public information. According to Undersheriff Dennis Bonneville, speaking to the safety group, Wilson referred to county maps to determine the location of the crime. The Kitsap Sun referred to Wilson’s dateline.

The existence of Colchester was further substantiated by Kitsap Sun Web editor Angela Dice, who had to enter information on all of Kitsap’s micro-neighborhoods for the Kitsap Sun’s Real Estate Web page. Her reference was the Tacoma Public Library’s database of Washington place names, according to which, “Colchester is located between Colby and Manchester in Kitsap County. The name is a coined composite of ‘Col’ from Colby and ‘chester’ from Manchester. (Phillips, p. 29).”

Just think, folks, you could’ve been living in Manby.

Comments about the Colchester dateline precipitated a spirited discussion here in the newsroom. Should we strive for literal accuracy, or a dateline that accurately depicts the Manchester mindset – Colchester is a just road not an actual burg. In the end, we decided to take it on a story by story basis … in other words, punt.

In my story about the victim, I used (and the editors left) Manchester as the dateline. It seemed the right thing to do. Although the crime occurred in Colchester, Ruby was a member of the wider Manchester community. In the story on the suspect’s arraignment, reporter Josh Farley used Port Orchard as the dateline, because it took place at the Kitsap County Courthouse, within Port Orchard’s city limits.

In late 2006 and early 2007, the Kitsap Sun hosted a blog, “How Kitsap Got Its Names”. The blog, which also confirms the Colby-Manchester meld theory, is a source of wonderful little nuggets of Kitsap nomenclature trivia.

Colby, in South Kitsap, for example, is “actually a butchered pronunciation of ‘Coal Bay’ (try speaking like a grizzled prospector),” according to then-Kitsap Sun Reporter Chad Lewis, who is now working for the Washington State Department of Corrections (go figger).

According to reporter Chris Dunagan, writing in the blog, Port Orchard was such a popular name it was used in several places before becoming the official name of that present day fair city.

The Web site, lists 155 locations within Kitsap County by latitude and longitude. Many of them — like Waterman, Enetai and Fletcher Bay — are remnants of a time when Kitsap residents got around by water on small vessels so numerous they were dubbed the Mosquito Fleet. Kitsap County would like to build a county-wide trail hitting all the little ports from the north end of the county to the south. Other Kitsap names have Native American roots. Yet others are a nod to Kitsap’s timber heritage. Most I’ve heard of but can somebody tell me where in the name of all that is Kitsap are Hintzville, Pearson and Trikkala?

If you consider yourself an expert on Kitsap place names, you can take the quiz on the How Kitsap Got its Names blog. The item is dated Jan. 1, 2007.

From * Agate Point * Annapolis * Bainbridge *Bainbridge Grange * Bangor * Banner * Battle Point * Belfair * Bethel * Breidablick * Bremerton * Bremerton Junction * Brownsville * Burley * Central Valley * Charleston * Chico * Colby * Colchester * Creosote * Crosby * Crystal Springs * Eagledale * East Bremerton * East Port Orchard * Eastwood * Eglon * Eldorado Hills * Enetai * Erlands Point * Fairview * Ferncliff * Fernwood * Fletcher Bay * Fort Ward * Four Corners * Fragaria * Gilberton * Glenwood * Gorst * Hansville * Harper * Hawley * Hintzville * Hite Center * Holly * Illahee * Indianola * Johansons Corner * Keyport * Kingston * Kitsap Lake * Lawters Beach * Lemolo * Lincoln * Little Boston * Lofall * Lynwood Center * Madrona Heights * Manchester * Manitou Beach * Manzanita * Marine Drive * Meadowdale * Naval Depot Junction * Navy Yard City * Olalla * Olympic View * Orchard Heights * Parkwood * Pearson * Point White * Port Blakely * Port Gamble * Port Madison * Port Orchard * Poulsbo * Retsil * Rocky Point * Rollingbay * Rose Point * Scandia * Seabeck * Seabold * Sheridan * Sheridan Park * Sherman Heights * Silverdale * South Beach * South Colby * Southworth * Striebels Corner * Sunnyslope * Sunset Farm * Suquamish * Tolo * Tracyton * Treemont * Trikkala * Twin Spits * Venice