Category Archives: The Internet

Almost Live From Port Orchard, It’s the City Council in Action

After some initial technical difficulties, the City of Port Orchard has successfully posted a Webcast of its Jan. 19 work study meeting. The meeting was so long they had to make two video postings. It was the “Gone With the Wind” of council meetings. While it’s not going to win any Oscars, the video is clear, the sound good, for the most part.

By my observation, some council members with quieter voices (John Clauson, I’m talking about you) need to speak up and direct their comments at the microphones. Lapel mics would be nice but probably aren’t necessary. Also speakers need to be reminded to speak directly into the microphone.

One of the items on the council’s agenda was a discussion of whether to post meeting coverage to local media Web sites as well. The council heartily concurred this is a good idea. Unfortunately, due to some initial technical difficulties, the Kitsap Sun’s Web site isn’t talking to the City of Port Orchard’s Web site. Our trusty Web editor Angela Dice is working on the problem and hopefully will have it resolved by next week’s city council meeting.

I’d be interested to hear from those of you who tuned into the video on the City’s Web site. How did it work for you?

And not to dismiss the people who formerly relied on BKAT, public access cable television broadcasts. At least one of you said that, while you have a computer, it is an older model and not capable of accessing the video. Did you find that to be true? If so will you request a CD copy of the meeting?

To find the videos, go to the City of Port Orchard’s homepage. Below the calendar (on the left), click on “Upcoming Meetings.” See Current Online Videos; click on the correct date.

Minus BKAT, PO Has Glitch in Video Meeting Coverage

Tuesday’s meeting of the Port Orchard City Council is the first since the council voted in December to do away with its BKAT broadcasts and to post videos of the meetings on the city’s Web site instead. Unfortunately, there was a glitch, and no audio of the meeting came through.

Mayor Lary Coppola has accepted responsibility and explains in a letter below where things went awry. Instead of a video, draft minutes of the meeting have been posted on the Web site. Here is a copy your viewing pleasure.

Port Orchard City Council Meeting, Jan. 12, 2010, draft minutes: POCC_011210

The city had a contract with BKAT since 2006, but decided to ditch cable in part to save money, in part to try and reach a wider audience and offer a more convenient form of access. Coppola and council members who favored the switch said most people now have Internet service adequate to view meetings on the city’s Web site. Viewing online would allow people to skip through the the parts of the meeting in which they were most interested and to view meetings at whatever time they choose. The possibility of having both forms of broadcast is not off the table, and the council may resurrect discussion of BKAT and how to fund it. Port Orchard has been paying a reduced rate and BKAT was hoping to bring the city’s fees in line for comparable service.

Here’s the mayor’s letter sent to the Port Orchard Independent and forwarded to me by Councilman Fred Chang.

“From: Lary Coppola
Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 4:18 PM
To: Charlie Bermant
Cc: Patricia J. Kirkpatrick
Subject: RE: BKAT

First, I want to apologize to the citizens of our City for the problem, and accept full responsibility for it. A draft copy of the meeting minutes will be posted on the City’s Web site, along with the video.

BKAT had a responsibility to provide training for our staff as part of its contract, and we had done a run through on December 22, prior to BKAT removing its equipment to make sure there were no glitches and everything worked correctly. It was after that, when BKAT removed its equipment, and hooked up ours as was agreed. apparently an audio cable was left unplugged. It wasn’t immediately obvious that this had occurred, and since the run through went perfectly, we assumed everything was ready to go – just as BKAT assured us it was.

We don’t believe this was an intentional act, and if you’ve seen the amount of wiring involved in the broadcast setup, you can see how easily something like this could happen. Rest assured that everyone involved in this project knows for a fact it won’t happen again.

Lary Coppola, Mayor
City of Port Orchard
216 Prospect Street
Port Orchard, WA 98366
(360) 876-7025 – Direct Line”

What’ja Want For That?

I was at the chiropractor the other week and was interested to hear my provider say she was trading her services for tennis lessons.

I haven’t checked Craiglist or other sources, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if, given the economy, the fine art of bartering isn’t seeing a bit of a revival here in Kitsap County.

According to an article in USA Today, bartering, common in the 19th Century and earlier, is definitely making a come-back.

From the article, written in February:

“Barter “absolutely thrives in bad times,” says Roger Staiger, a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s business school. Last month, a Denver developer asked Staiger for help restructuring a loan. Lacking cash, he gave Staiger a Colorado ski trip, and the developer’s wife is designing his Web page.

“This is part of the underground economy that does not contribute to the GDP (gross domestic product), but it absolutely contributes to helping people and fostering trade,” he says.

***** end reference******

Then there was the guy who began trading a paper clip for a fish-shaped pen, and, through bartering on the Internet, ended up with a house.

While bartering appears to fall outside the Economy (note the capital “E”), the Internal Revenue Service wants its cut.  A plumber who trades with a dentist for services, for example, must report the fair market value of said services.

“Generally, you report this income on Form 1040, Schedule C (PDF), Profit or Loss from Business. If you failed to report this income, correct your return by filing a Form 1040X. Refer to Topic 308 for Amended Return information.”

The IRS article talks about barter clubs and bartering on the Internet. Regarding the latter, the article says, “If you exchanged property or services through a barter exchange (on the Internet), you should receive a Form 1099-B (PDF), Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions. The IRS also will receive the same information.”

I am curious about bartering:

Have you bartered for goods or services? Has your bartering activity increased with the recession? What sources, including the Internet, do you use to make connections? Regarding the quote about not contributing to the gross domestic product, how – if at all – do you think bartering helps the local economy? Do you have any advice for people who are new to bartering?

Thanks for your thoughts. CTH

P.S. What does this have to do with South Kitsap? My chiropractor is in SK.

I’m Dreaming of a Virtual Christmas

Check this out: Facebook has a new thing called Rockin Christmas Tree. Download the application — developed by Carl Chuang of East Bay, Calif. — absolutely free and decorate a Christmas tree for your Facebook page. Then choose gifts for your friends — real gifts in iconic form, such as iPods, jewlery, clothing, sports gear — choose from a host of wrappings, write personalized greetings. Then send them off with a click of your mouse, no shipping charges even.

The little iconic gifts appear under your friends’ virtual Christmas trees. No peeking until Christmas if you check the appropriate box.

No real gifts either, but what they hey, that’s my kind of Christmas! This takes, “It’s the thought that counts.” to a whole new level.

I’ve long thought I’d enjoy the holidays better if I didn’t actually have to do the shopping, part with the money for stuff that has a 50/50 chance of being returned or contributing to the clutter in everyone’s closets. No, this is more my style, “I imagine that I’m giving you an iPod. Hope you like it.” Virtual generosity could be easy and fun.

So I decided to give it a whirl. But first I needed my own Facebook account.
I know, it’s pathetic on so many levels.

First, since I’m definitely not in the target demographic, this is the cyber equivalent of walking into an Internet cafe and yelling, “Far out, man, let’s virtually rap!” Members of my family who are in the target demographic are horrified and are doing the cyber equivalent of pretending they don’t know me.

Second, I got everything to work except the year I was born. I have NO idea why it insists on being 1992 instead of 1955. Full disclosure to all the young people on Facebook: I am an old phart. I am not stalking you; I’m just a little Internet clueless. Anyone out there in the target demographic care to give me a hand?

Third, I haven’t figured out all the features of Facebook yet, so my page looks a little bare … except for the tree! Isn’t it cool? There were a lot of choices — candy cane trees, traditional trees, stained glass trees, but it didn’t take me long to gravitate to the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. And no needles on the floor to sweep up.

Then I had to choose a video. Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time is Here,” from the Charlie Brown Christmas movie, was way too obvious. But what to choose? Celin Dion singing “Oh, Holy Night?” I think not. Enya’s “Silent Night” … in Irish? Too woo, woo. “Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer,” by some country singer? Tacky. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Hannah Montana. I’m not even going to pretend to understand the appeal of that.

I finally settled on Twisted Sister’s version of “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful,” which seemed fitting .. twisted yet traditional. And it’s actually a pretty faithful rendition of the song, except for the screaming guitar licks.

Now to go virtually shopping. Click on any one of the many categories of gifts — electronics, pet supplies, toys — and there’s something for everyone … just like in a real mall only without those annoying people trying to rub sea salt on your hands.

I found pet elf hats, Crocs clogs and Wii nunchuck controllers not to mention every iPod accessory you can imagine — iPod holders for your car, your bedroom even your shoes.

Did I mention that iPod was the default category? Or that you can “learn more” about products with a simple click and, viola, there you are on, where non-virtual credit cards are accepted.

Before long it dawned on me that this virtual shopping spree was designed to generate a very real desire for all that stuff. In her book, “Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture,” author Juliet Schor outlines the culture-wide indoctrination American children undergo from infancy on into the tantalizing world of material goods. In related reading, Dell Dechant, author of “The Sacred Santa,” puts a new twist on the old argument that materialism is edging out religion at Christmas. He says that in fact consumerism related to holidays is its own sacred ritual.

Oh look, there’s a present under my tree. Why, it’s from Carl Chuang. I believe that’s the Facebook equivalent of having Tom as your only MySpace friend … pathetic on so many levels.

Thanks, Carl, and a virtual merry Christmas to you, too!

Chris Henry, SK reporter

Speaking of Blogs and Budgets

On the previous post, regarding the effectiveness of Kitsap Sun blogs (and this one in particular), Bob Meadows complains about the way some articles on the Kitsap Sun’s home page have more hang time than others, which seem to be playing hide and seek.

Bob, I’ll forward your comment to editor Lloyd Pritchett, as well as the comments about wanting posts to go up immediately like they do on stories.

In the meantime, here’s the link to the story on the county budget. Bob sought this sucker out and made two comments on it so all that is now part of the archive on this blog (which is another purpose the blog serves, since items are searchable by categories I assign, unlike the home page).

Today, I filed a story on Port Orchard’s budget hearing, but it’s not up yet, so I’ll paste it below.

Continue reading

To Blog or Not to Blog

This post appeared on the entry about the fallen soldier’s funeral.

“Note to management: This is not blogging (not just you, Chris, all of the official paper bloggers). This is not the way to build readership through a blog. Why are ya’ll bothering?”

I e-mailed the sender, Sophie, who turns out to be a community blogger from Albuquerque, asking her to elaborate. She replied with a lengthy e-mail and lots of suggestions. To summarize her critiques (hope I get this right Sophie): The problem with Kitsap Sun blog entries is they lack a clear voice and personality, and in many cases, they’re pretty much a rehash of news already posted on the Web. She would like to see new information or a new spin on old information, and she’d like to see the blogs do a better job of engaging readers in conversation.

To a certain extend we are limited in how colorful our voices can be. Manging editor Jeff Brody says, “A news reporter can’t, as she suggested, write with an element of editorial or opinion because that would raise questions of whether the reporter can cover his/her beat credibly without having an agenda.”

Being new to blogging, I am always open to suggestions. Purposes I see for the blog are:
To build a sense of community.
To give a forum for public opinion.
To alert people to important events.
To seek information and sources for upcoming stories.
To describe the unique character of South Kitsap.
To elaborate on issues, adding behind the scene details or other information we may not have room for in the regular story.

Ideally a blog post should give fresh perspective on a news article, but, as I told Sophie, it’s sometimes a function of time. At the very least, I’ll try to make a post so people have a place to post comments, and — wonderfully opinionated bunch that you are — it doesn’t take much to get you going.

Last year our newsroom experienced a downsizing (about the time be revved up our Web presence). All news media are in the same boat, so this is no excuse; we all need to do more with less.

What would be helpful to me is to hear your critique of this blog. What works, what doesn’t? What’s missing altogether?

And speaking of the Kitsap Sun Web site, it’s evolved exponentially since it got an extreme makeover last year. In a single year, we’ve gone from being a paper with a Web site to a Web site that also produces a print product. Both serve their own purposes, but you can’t beat the Web for immediacy (unless of course you’re out of power). During Monday’s storm for example, by 5 p.m., we had experienced more than 140,000 page views, shattering the previously daily record by some 60,000 with the evening hours still to come.

And then there was the legendary Nov. 10 code item that we, in newsroom shorthand, refer to as “lugnut man.” Interest in the South Kitsap resident who tried to remove a stubborn lugnut with a shotgun made its way via the Internet to England where it quickly became the BBC’s most e-mailed story. Lugnut man went on to become a kind of Internet folk hero. Something about his story resonated with all of us who have ever wrestled with machines or technology.

Here’s a partial list of his claims to fame, as forwarded to the newsroom by Web editor Lloyd Pritchett Nov. 13:

Picked up by BBC and quickly became their second most-e-mailed story. (Man hurt using gun to change tyre)

Picked up by the Associated Press, which ran it at the top of their national Strange Headlines feed last night.

Picked up by the London Daily Mirror website here.

Snagged by the Daily Telegraph website, which tacked a few grafs about high U.S. gun ownership at the bottom of the story.

Picked up here by a German news site,, which gave it a Florida dateline, prompting several comments about the stupidity of Floridians.

My note: Florida, Washington, if you live in Germany what’s the difference?

Also picked up by many other news websites, including MSNBC, the Seattle P-I, San Diego Union-Tribune, Kansas City Star, Tacoma News Tribune, the Oregonian, City News (Canada), Toronto Sun (Canada), a site called Tire Review in Ohio, radio station websites in California and elsewhere, the Daily Egyptian in Ilinois, Minneapolis City Pages blog, etc., etc.

A site called Car Domain picked the story up and gave it this headline — “Man Attempts to Shoot Nut Off” — and ran a huge photo of a shotgun shell with the story.

(Sorry if some of the links don’t work.)

Anyway, that’s just a sampling of the ways the Web is changing the news industry. The advantage is the interactivity with community, which really came out during the storm coverage (thanks for all the photos, videios and tips). And, getting back to the topic at hand, blogging is a part of it. So let me know where you’d like to see us go with Speaking of South Kitsap as we evolve (in Kathryn Simpson’s words).

Shaun Olson: Services Set for South Kitsap Teen

Friends, teachers and others in the South Kitsap community remembered Shaun Olson, a kid with “a big heart,” following his tragic death Monday. Olson was injured Sunday in a car accident on Glenwood Road and died Monday at Tacoma General Hospital.


His funeral service is set for 3 p.m. on Friday at Rill’s Life Tribute Center in Port Orchard. Memorial donations may be made to the Youth Program at Adventures of Faith Church in Port Orchard. Find an online memorial at

The son of Randy and Maggie Olson, Shaun was a junior at South Kitsap High School, was involved in the youth group at his church and worked in Gig Harbor at McDonald’s.

“Shaun was a very impressive young man,” said South Kitsap High Principal Jerry Holsten.

Others who commented at the Kitsap Sun’s Web site on the first story about the accident, describe a young man who was kind, funny and easy to be with.

News of the accident traveled like wildfire throughout South Kitsap High School Monday and Tuesday thanks to the magic of text messaging.

Some people say technology has an isolating influence on American life. Here’s an example of how it can bring people together, rallying around a local family in their time of loss.

On behalf of the Kitsap Sun, I extend our condolences to the Olson family.

In related news, Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer urged mourners gathering at the site of the accident to be cautious of passing traffic and wear reflective clothing.

SK Parks Spark Heated Debate

Today, I’m debating with myself my role as host of this blog. The reason: the increasingly hostile tone of comments on this topic (SK Parks).

I have in the queue several comments I haven’t posted yet, and I’m considering imposing a moratorium on entries that include verbage like “scathingly nasty,” “vicious,” and sarcastic comments implying the other party is sick en la cabeza. My Web editor, no doubt, will be unhappy with me. After all, this kind of stuff is highly entertaining, but so is Jerry Springer.

I defend each blogger’s right to assert her (or his) opinion and back it up with facts, well- or ill-founded. I invite you to take each other (and me) to task over facts well- or ill-founded. I welcome sharp criticism and passionate posts. But I wonder if the cat fight we’ve got going here really advances constructive discussion of an issue that is already so divisive. I knew Chuck Jeu, not as well as some of you, but my bet is he’d take a dim view of the escalating invective. My opinion — and my editors may disagree — is it ultimately reflects poorly on the Kitsap Sun as the host of this platform for civil (?!?!) discourse.

Of course if I were to start taking a heavier hand in monitoring the blog, I would run the risk of people saying, “Why did you post her’s and not mine?” People might start to feel they’re walking on egg shells. We could lose a lot of the honesty and immediacy that makes this blog so vibrant. The question of where (and if) to draw the line on a blog is food for thought, and something we as a blogging community must define as we continue to engage each other over issues that we care about deeply.

So I ask you, what do you want to see? What’s the purpose of this blog, and what, if any, guidelines would you like to see about postings that smack of personal attacks?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Take care, Chris