Category Archives: Events of Interest

Debbie Macomber’s Message to Fans and My Advice to “Cedar Cove”

Will Port Orchard live up to its image as the town that inspired Debbie Macomber’s feel-good Cedar Cove series?

On Wednesday, throngs of Macomber’s fans will arrive — a good percentage from outside the region — eager to see the real life places and people behind the fictional town of Cedar Cove. Here’s what Debbie had to say about the event.

Macomber, 60, sold her first book in 1982. Since then she’s hit The New York Times best-seller list multiple times, and more than 100 million copies of her women’s fiction books, also in other languages, have sold worldwide.

It’s safe to say this is a really big deal for little old PO.

Macomber once said she wants fans to see Port Orchard/Cedar Cove “warts and all.” She may get her wish. Word is, her sons, who will be bus tour guides, will tell stories on “mom.”

And as visitors roam the town, chances are they’ll encounter the dumpsters on the back side of Bay Street and bail bond businesses aplenty — serving Kitsap County’s courthouse up the hill.

Macomber, born with a “happy gene,” is not the least bit worried.
“If you come to my house, there’s a tricky little toilet. You have to jiggle the handle. … Whenever anyone comes to my house, I bet they don’t remember my toilet,” Macomber said. “Everyone wishes they were perfect. It’s a real town with real people. When company comes, they look for the real people, not the flaws.”

So Port Orchard, during this, your big chance to make a good impression on the millions of Macomber fans worldwide who, though they can’t all be here, will surely be watching us with avid interest, my advice to you is, “Be real, be yourself … just be subtle about it.”

While most of the by-reservation events have sold out (check the Cedar Cove Web site for availability), there are a number of freebies (see schedule below).
cedarcove

A Cedar Cove Sob Story

Disclaimer: I absolutely cannot vouch for the authenticity of the request below or the character of those who made it. Anyone jumping forward to play Good Samaritan does so at his or her own risk. CTH

I spoke with Cindy Lucarelli, executive director of the Cedar Cove Association, about how things are shaping up for Cedar Cove Days, a celebration of the work of local author Debbie Macomber, who based her Cedar Cove series on Port Orchard. The four-day event, starting Aug. 26, will feature bus tours of the real-life locations mentioned in the books, teas with and without Debbie, a gala cruise to Kiana Lodge and more. I’ll be writing about what it took for Port Orchard to “become” Cedar Cove for a story to run Sunday in the Kitsap Sun. I also had a nice chat with Debbie Macomber herself today.

Cindy tells me there will be visitors from 37 states and a couple of foreign countries (if you count Canada as foreign), as well as an expected 9,000 or so regional visitors over the four days. Many of the notes accompanying requests for tickets to reserved events are touching tributes to the loyalty of Debbie Macombers fans, which brings me to the topic of this blog post.

Cindy & Co. on Aug. 18 received an e-mail from one Adam B. Martin, who says he’s a 22-year-old Chicago resident whose mother is an avid fan. The family wasn’t well off when he was growing up, and Mom is now living on disability due to having been diagnosed with cancer. Her birthday is Aug. 25, and so young Adam had reserved and paid for (Cindy verified this) his mother to attend several reserved events during Cedar Cove Days. He also bought her an airline ticket. Alas, he said, he has not been able to find any place for her to stay.

“Everywhere that I have tried is booked up solid,” Adam wrote. “And since my mom is having a great deal of trouble walking these days, I really wanted her to be close to the event. Is there anything you can suggest to help me with this surprise for her? … I haven’t told my Mom about this trip yet. I wanted everything to be very special for her, because she is very special to me.”

Disclaimer Part II: You know, folks, we could be totally getting played here.

Anyway, I have the guy’s e-mail. If you want to look into his request, e-mail me at chenry@kitsapsun.com.

Here’s another Cedar Cove request, this one from Debbie herself. Seems there are a few more characters needed to fill out the cast of Cedar Cove folks who will be appearing at events throughout the festival. Debbie was off to scope our South Kitsap Fire & Rescue for a firefighter to play the part of Mack. I suspect she’ll have no trouble there. But she’s having trouble finding a couple of 20-somethings to portray Ian and Cecelia, the Navy couple who lost a baby. And the are a few other parts to be filled, mostly by people in their 20s or 30s. There is a considerable time commitment Aug. 20 through 30. If you think you can help, sing out, and I’ll forward your contact information to Debbie. She’d need to hear from you no later that tomorrow afternoon.

E-mail me at chenry@kitsapsun.com. And remember, “Wherever you are, Debbie takes you home.”

BTW, a number of activities during Cedar Cove Days are free — a character parade, a sock hop, waterfront church service, to name a few — but if you haven’t yet signed up for the bus tours, teas or the cruise, know that most everything is already sold out.

In PO, More Paint Drama and Cedar Cove Jitters

With Cedar Cove Days less than two weeks away, organizers of the festival that will transform Port Orchard into its fictional counterpart are sweating the small stuff. Does Port Orchard need a bigger flag for its pole, and what to do with “that” malodorous downtown restroom.

And while “Paint the Town” has come and gone, prickly feelings linger over design choices, flames fanned by a new effort to repaint the poles under the marquee.

At last night’s city council meeting, Heather Cole, a local business owner and design consultant for the Aug. 2 “Paint the Town” gave an update on Port Orchard’s extreme makeover in advance of Cedar Cove Days, Aug. 26 through 30. The painting party was hosted by South Kitsap’s radio superstar, Delilah Rene.

A total of eight buildings were painted in the volunteer blitz, with supplies and labor donated by local businesses, Cole said. The “Paint the Town” committee is working on “stragglers,” including the Dance Gallery, the “black and white building” next to MoonDogs, Too, and Olympic Bike & Skate, at the corner of Bay and Sidney. Cole noted that MoonDogs is seeing to the restoration of the mural on the black and white building adjacent to its outdoor patio. The bike shop is being painted in various shades of green, with accents in recessed areas, an effect Councilman Fred Chang pronounced “interesting.” “I wasn’t sure if it was finished or not,” he said. The All About Floors building also will be repainted by Cedar Cove Days, Cole promised.

With that she launched into the committee’s next endeavor: repainting the poles holding up the marquee. Cole noted that the current color on the poles was chosen as part of the Bay Street Association’s paint plan of several years ago. She said the committee understands that the paint was specially chosen to withstand marine weather and grit from passing traffic, and that the city spent significantly more than it would have for regular paint. That being said, the committee would like to replace the forest green on the poles with a cream color, using the same high quality, durable paint. That would give the sidewalk under the now-minimized marquee — its pickets removed more than a year ago after much fevered debate — a brighter appearance, Cole said. The paint would be supplied by donors, she said, so the city wouldn’t be out any money.

Cole said she had heard from merchants on both sides of the issue, but that her perception is most favor the change. Chang and other council members said they would like written documentation to that effect, and Cole said she’d produce same by the council’s next work study meeting, Aug. 18, when the matter of the pole paint will be taken up.

Commenting on Cole’s proposal, was Tim Waibel of Sugardaddy’s Salon, who said he’d like to know the process for how the council would take public comment on the proposal. The public is welcome to attend work study meetings, but the council does not have to take comment, as at a regular meeting, he said. The 18th would be the last meeting before Cedar Cove Days for such comment to be lodged, if the poles are to be painted in time.

Mallory Jackson, owner of Custom Picture Framing, was clearly unhappy with Cole’s idea. The council, should it embrace the pole painting proposal, would seem to be dismissing the work of the Bay Street Association to come up with a coordinated palette of Northwest colors.
“Your hardworking merchants downtown do have something to say in this,” Jackson said. “To the best of my knowledge, the association has not changed its mind (about the palette).”

After the meeting, Cole and Jackson had a polite but terse exchange over the paint issue.
“I understand you have a very strong opinion one way, but some people don’t,” Cole said, suggesting that there were a number of new merchants in the association since the original palette was chosen.
Jackson reiterated her contention that the merchants association should have a voice in the matter.

My thoughts: Maybe Port Orchard should offer itself up as fodder for the HGTV show “Paint Over,” in which Jennifer Bertrand orchestrates painting make-overs for those “going through a personal life transition.”

In other Cedar Cove news, Councilman Jerry Childs, a key player on the Cedar Cove Committee, raise the issue of the city-owned restroom in the Port Orchard marina parking lot. With bus tours of the town, made famous in local Author Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series, taking off from the parking lot, it’s likely that restroom will see heavy use, said Childs. The concrete structure includes a small stairway to an observation tower that is also likely to be a popular spot during the festival.

The problem is, the restroom smells.

The cause, explained Councilman John Clauson of the public facilities committee, is something no amount of cleaning will help. Underneath the structure is a “wet well,” a chamber where raw sewage from the city is collected and sent on its way to the Westsound Utility District’s sewer treatment plant, jointly owned by the city and the district.

Childs pointed out that Cedar Cove Days will draw visitors from 37 states, with 28 bus loads of Macomber fans embarking from the lot over the four days of the festival that could — organizers hope — put Port Orchard in the national spotlight. With tours lasting two hours and the predominant demographic being “women over the age of 45,” Childs said, it would seem incumbent on the city to provide a proper pit stop.

“That is the last rest room they’re going to have (before the tour),” Childs said. “I’m kind of worried about it meeting the standard of cleanliness.”

The council discussed the relative wisdom of locking the restroom, thereby minimizing the city’s potential embarrassment, with no conclusions arrived at. Meantime Public Works Director Mark Dorsey will check with the Port Orchard Marina to see if they might make their restrooms available to Cedar Cove visitors.

Childs was also concerned over the flagpole at the entrance to the city. Although the old tattered flag has been replaced with a new one for the festival, the size of Port Orchard’s pole calls for a larger tribute, said Childs.

“We want to say, ‘Hey look us over.'” he said.

The Port Orchard branch of the VFW will help accommodate Child’s request.

Friday Aftenoon Club: Cruz in to Port Orchard

This from the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce:

Port Orchard’s Annual
Classic Car Show–The Cruz!
Sponsored and hosted each year by
The Saints Car Club!

Sunday, August 9, 2009 in downtown Port Orchard! Join thousands of classic car fans and hundreds of classic, vintage and antique cars for the biggest Classic Car show around. Unless you are showing your car at the Cruz, the best way to arrive is by ferry or by bus.
Schedule: 7am-12pm Registration $10 for Cruz exhibitors in all classes. Register between PO Marina and Port Orchard library near Kitsap Transit Passenger Ferry landing, just off Sidney and Bay St. Pre-registration before Aug. 9th not required.
9am-4pm Festival by the Bay Street Fair
10am-4pm the Cruz is open to everyone!!
10am-3pm Door prize drawings for registered exhibitors
3pm-4pm Awards ceremony at the Waterfront Park Gazebo.

You Asked for It: More Paint the Town Photos

I had a request from Patti Kleist to show some before and after photos. Happy to oblige:
(P.S. Did you see they’re painting the Admiral Theatre in Bremerton. Must be trying to keep up with Port Orchard. They are painting over the theater’s old aqua blue with beige and brown.)
P.P.S. Not everyone was thrilled with Paint the Town, as you can see from the last two photos.
Port Orchard Before "Paint the Town"
This photo shows the Orchard Theatre in Port Orchard (left) before a volunteer painting marathon in the downtown area on Sunday, Aug. 2. The building to the right was painted within the last few years, using a Northwest palette of colors (greens, golds and rust red).

Port Orchard After Paint the Town
Port Orchard After Paint the Town

This is a picture of the Orchard Theatre in Port Orchard after a volunteer painting marathon on Aug. 2.
Bay Street During Paint the Town
Bay Street During Paint the Town

This shows a group of volunteers on Aug. 2 painting the building on Bay Street that formerly housed Slip 45 bar and lounge (now closed).
Bay Street After Paint the Town
Bay Street After Paint the Town

This is approximately the same view of Bay Street as in the photo above after Paint the Town.
If Delialh Was Mayor
If Delialh Was Mayor

This is poster that was in the window of a downtown business. It shows City Hall as if painted in garish carnival colors. The caption on the poster says, “This is what could happen to Port Orchard if Delilah was mayor.
Remove This Paint
Remove This Paint

The pole is painted white. The message says, “I painted this pole green in May Please remove the white paint.” The photo was taken Monday, Aug. 3, the day after the Paint the Town Party.

Paint the Town: The Day After

7 p.m. Monday: I added the video. CTH

The morning after the marathon “Paint the Town” event in downtown Port Orchard, most people had kind words for the extreme makeover visited on Bay Street by resident radio personality Delilah Rene Luke and a small army of volunteers.

Delilah, footing the bill for most of the supplies, played Fairy Godmother to Port Orchard’s Cinderella. “Paint the Town” anticipates Cedar Cove Days, Aug. 26 through 30, to celebrate Port Orchard’s other celebrity, best-selling author Debbie Macomber. Port Orchard is the real-life town on which her fictional Cedar Cove series is based.

Delilah, who had earlier pronounced the town “butt ugly,” pulled the painting party together with help and significant donations of time and materials from local contractors and other businesses. Also helping coordinate the event was the City of Port Orchard, which helped with publicity, handled the street closure and orchestrated the placement of dumpsters and portable toilets before the event.

Many, including Mayor Lary Coppola, said it was high time Port Orchard got a face lift, considering the last coordinated effort to paint the downtown area took place about 20 years ago.

Paint the Town 1
Paint the Town 1

Prep work (and much of the painting) began early Saturday morning (with some contractors jumping the gun as early as 4:30 a.m. Thursday. Delilah was downtown Saturday, painting a mural, making last minute adjustments for the big day and popping ibuprofen. It was the first time I’ve ever seen her look tired.

Paint the Town 2
Paint the Town 2

Sunday, according to weekend reporter Brynn Grimley, volunteers were whipped into a painting frenzy despite the 90+ degree heat. About 90 percent of the work was completed by late Sunday evening.
This morning, the streets were quiet, the weather had cooled and the buildings were sporting new coats of celery green, sunshine yellow, morning mist (a mix of gray and blue) and butternut.
“This is just charming,” said Marcia Coyne, a longtime South Kitsap resident checking out the new paint job on the 800 block of Bay Street. “There was controversy about the colors, but it’s coming together really nicely.”
Ah, yes, the controversy.
Delilah, working with design consultant and local business owner Heather Cole, had the challenge of blending the bright colors Delilah favors — colors meant to reflect a beach or bay theme — with the previously existing color palette of Northwest greens, golds and reds chosen by the Bay Street Association of merchants a few years.
Some had serious doubts it could work. A flyer in the window of Custom Picture Framing, on the corner of Bay and Harrison, showed City Hall garishly painted in carnival colors. It read, “This is what City Hall would look like if Delilah was mayor.”
The business is closed Monday, so I didn’t have the chance to ask owner Mallory Jackson what she thought of the final effect.
One man walking around Bay Street Monday, who declined to give me his name or final appraisal until all the work is complete, said it looks “like an ice cream shop.”
But if there were outright nay sayers, they weren’t to be found. Everyone I talked to — and granted many shops are closed on Mondays so it’s pretty quiet downtown — said the paint job was a plus.
“I think it just looks clean,” said downtown resident Jessi Foster. “It looks as though Port Orchard has a facelift. It really needs it. And I thought it was nice to see the community come and put in their time for free.”

I’m interested to hear from the rest of you. What do you think of PO’s new look?

Cheap Thrills: Free Energy-Saving Light Bulbs

I’ve been meaning to mention this on the blog, but environmental reporter Chris Dunagan beat me to it. Puget Sound Energy is offering to exchange old incandescent light bulbs for new, energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.

This weekend, PSE’s “Rock the Bulb” booth will come to Lowe’s hardware in Silverdale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Next weekend, Aug. 8-9, “Rock the Bulb” will be at Lowe’s in Bremerton, and the following weekend, Aug. 15-16, the event will move to Lowe’s in Port Orchard.

Friday Afternoon Club: Businesses Open During “Paint the Town”

Most of the businesses in downtown Port Orchard that are usually open on Sundays will be open for business as usual during a Paint the Town event Sunday.
Volunteers, under the direction of painting professionals, will paint downtown buildings in need of a facelift. National radio host Delilah Rene Luke, who lives in South Kitsap, is donating much of the paint and other supplies. The event will cover a two-block area of Bay Street in downtown Port Orchard.
According to the City of Port Orchard, which has given official approval to the event, Bay Street will be closed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday during the painting. Trucks will be detoured up Port Orchard Boulevard, over the Lund Avenue Bridge and down Bethel Avenue to the roundabout to bypass the downtown area. Other vehicles will be detoured off Bay Street via Kitsap Street and down Rockwell Avenue to reconnect with Bay Street.
Parking on Bay Street will also be disrupted from 6 to 8 a.m. Saturday on Bay Street between Frederick Avenue and Harrison Avenue while the city places dumpsters and portable toilets in the work area. Once the equipment is in place, any remaining spaces will be open back up for public use.
The toilets and dumpsters will be removed between 6 a.m. and approximately 7:30 a.m. Monday.
Myhre’s, the Morningside Bakery, Delilahs’ Cozy Kitchen and MoonDogs, Too will be open before 8 a.m. for breakfast. Most other restaurants will open by 11 a.m. for lunch.
Special activities, including children’s activities, are planned. The Historic Orchard Theatre will be showing free movies. The Dance Gallery will give performances.
Volunteers are asked to report at 8 a.m. to 703 Kitsap Street, where they will be assigned to a work team.
Volunteers are still needed. For information or to sign up, visit http://www.portorchardpaintthetown.com/ or call (253) 225-1096.

Delilah’s Paint the Town: A Reality Check

As a journalist, it’s my job to ask questions, to look at both sides of an issue. Take for example the upcoming “Paint the Town” event planned for Aug. 2 by dynamic radio personality Delilah Rene Luke and a cadre of enthusiastic volunteers.

What but good could possibly come out of a day-long painting party aimed at giving Port Orchard an extreme makeover? The idea is to spiffy up the town’s image before Cedar Cove Days (Aug. 26-30), a long-planned tribute to best-selling author Debbie Macomber, Delilah’s South Kitsap neighbor and good friend. How could anyone question such a prospect, especially considering Delilah is footing the bill for much of the paint and other materials?

How indeed? Yet I know I’m not the first person to ask, “They’re going to do what, by when?”

This week, I spoke to Delilah and co-organizer/ design coordinator Heather Cole, a local business owner, about details like liability, quality control and environmental concerns, issues raised last week at a meeting of the Port Orchard Bay Street Merchant’s Association. I guess you could say I was playing the role of Devil’s advocate (it’s on my job description), because, as they say, the Devil’s in the details. Here’s what I found out:

Liability: As part of her donation to the town, Delilah is purchasing short-term liability insurance to cover painting sub-contractors, also donating their services, and volunteers, should someone, God forbid, fall off a ladder or the like. During the event, children will not be allowed to wander around work areas. There will by children’s activities — including a mural painting party hosted by Delilah in a vacant lot — in designated areas of the town.

Quality Control: The two blocks of Bay Street targeted for beautification will be divided into sections, each overseen by a team of professional painting contractors. Any work that is deemed substandard will be repainted by the pros, Cole said.

Environmental Concerns: Buildings will be pretested for lead-based paint. Any that do have lead will simply be painted over rather than pressure-washed in advance.

Effect on Businesses: The event, which will require closing two blocks of Bay Street, was originally set for a Saturday, but a hue and cry from merchants prompted organizers to switch to Sunday. For some, including Morningside Bread Co., however, Sunday is one of the busiest days of the week. Owner Amanda Rudd said the enthusiasm being generated by the event is “wonderful of course,” but she’s worried about the impact on her bottom line. Even a large pre-order of baked goods Delilah will distribute to volunteers is unlikely to offset the loss of regular business, Rudd said. Rudd also worries that the job will actually take longer than one day.

Cole said the Paint the Town committee is sensitive to the merchants’ concerns, hence the switch to Sunday, which affects fewer businesses. With an expected 300 to 500 volunteers (about 200 are currently signed up, according to volunteer coordinator Leah Wattree), prep work done the day before and the leadership of people who paint for a living (as well as use of their equipment), the time line will be met, Cole said.

Color Scheme: Port Orchard has historically had trouble effecting consensus on a decor for downtown. Remember the debate over the marquee? Several years ago, a committee of the merchants association researched colors that would wear well in this damp climate and not show dust from the exhaust of the hundreds of cars that travel Bay Street, a state highway, each day. They came up with a palette of Northwest shades of green, red and gold.

Delilah, when she first mentioned painting the town, suggested lighter colors with a maritime feel. But some landlords had already painted their buildings in the Northwest theme. Cole’s job has been to choose colors for buildings to be painted that are complimentary to those already in place yet acceptable to Deliah, who after all is springing for the paint. Cole has had to do some damage control surrounding rumors that the sprucing up was being forced upon building owners. Ultimately, she said, landlords and tenants must be on board with the proposed paint job.

“We’re here to help and give a free service to the community, not only for Cedar Cove Days, but for the entire future,” said Cole. “They had the impression they would be forced. We’ve straightened that out.”

Six of the buildings to be painted belong to Seattle biologist Mansour Samadpour, from whom Delilah plans to rent a building. Samadpour has previously held back on renovating the buildings. Because of the number and size of Samadpour’s buildings, the colors chosen for them will help tie the town’s decor together, Cole said.

The committee has gotten the go-ahead from the Mentor Company, which owns part of the block in which Delilah has her restaurant, Delilah’s Cozy Kitchin, and from Bob Geiger who owns the movie theater. The owner of three homes, quite ready for some new paint, has given permission, and the committee is finalizing negotiations with the owners of five other properties, Cole said. Some building owners, including the Olde Central Antique Mall, will do their own work.

“Butt Ugly” Port Orchard?: As plans began to unfold, Delilah, not known for repressing her opinions, described Port Orchard as “butt ugly” … on more than one occasion.

Some people, including barber Ernie Moreno, took offense.

“I don’t like it when people come in and say our town is ‘butt ugly,'” said Moreno, who characterized Delilah as a “queen bee” bent on pressing her own agenda.

Delilah, speaking by phone from a radio engagement in New York City Friday, admitted that her enthusiasm for the project may have come off the wrong way. Like Cole, she reference dthe damage control that was required to convince merchants that they would not be forced to partake in the project … and that the colors would indeed be tasteful.

“The response at first was pretty bad,” said Delilah. “We did a horrible job of communicating. I take all responsibility for that. Now they’re all excited and helping us.”

Delilah was hurt by the comments on media articles and the rumors that swirled around the town.

“Somebody started really ugly rumors we wanted to do it in Pepto Bismol pink,” she said. “People personally attacked me for no reason. I came in wanting to help Debbie and bless the community and help make the town beautiful and somehow it got turned into I wanted to turn it into pink trailer trash.”

Cole, who has a background in home design, said the public can rest assured.

“She has really good taste,” said Cole. “I have not had to say, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s horrible. She’s a very classy lady, and she has very classy taste.”

Delilah will not say how much she is donating for the event. Other merchants and corporate sponsors are also kicking in, she said.

“It’s a lot, but it will be worth it,” she said. “We’re excited. We’re hoping for a great turn-out.”

Volunteers, especially those with painting or construction skills, are still needed for the event and for Saturday’s prep work. To volunteer, call Cole at (253) 225-1096, e-mail paintthetown@ymail.com or visit www.portorchardpaintthetown.com.

Hear Delilah interview her South Kitsap neighbor and friend Debbie Macomber in April, 2008.

Friday Afternoon Club Part II: Ciscoe Clowns for Helpline

By Chris Henry
chenry@kitsapsun.com
PORT ORCHARD
South Kitsap Helpline and supporters will host a fund-raising event Sunday to help with the purchase of the Port Orchard Nursery. The event will feature King 5 TV personality and master gardener Ciscoe Morris, known for his off-the-wall humor.
Earlier this month, Helpline was awarded a $300,000 grant from the Birkenfeld Trust through the Seattle Foundation. The grant will allow the food bank to make a down payment on the property, which has been for sale by the Greseth family.
The campaign to raise additional funds for the purchase will kick off with a Garden Festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the nursery, 1012 Mitchel Avenue.
There will be a vendor fair featuring gifts, flowers, plants and garden art held in the nursery parking lot. Free classes and workshops for children will also be offered throughout the event. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
Ciscoe will speak from 4 to 5 p.m. Tickets to the talk are $25 and include a reception from 5 to 6 p.m.
For more information and to make reservations for the Ciscoe Morris event, call (360) 876-4089.