Category Archives: Uncategorized

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)

Rescuing Animals From California

Brynn Grimley writes:

In today’s paper I wrote about a rescue effort that happened over the weekend where 34 small dogs made the long trip from Porterville, Calif. to Washington — eight of them landed here in Kitsap County.

The back story of how this came to be is fascinating. If I was a reporter working for the newspaper that covers Porterville I would write a story about Amanda Corbit. She’s 17 years old and she’s responsible for getting the dogs out of the animal control shelter there and into our state with the help of Karla Mattila (she founded Another Chance Rescue in SW Washington).

Corbit started her love affair with animal shelters in sixth grade when a teacher had their class volunteer at a shelter to teach them about community service. She’s been volunteering ever since, and has now her whole family involved. They set up a nonprofit and offer a safe place for dogs to come to find a new home, instead of facing the alternative.

I was astounded to to learn from Corbit how overpopulated their shelters are with small dogs. She told me when a dog comes into the shelter at Porterville Animal Control it has six days for its owner to either come and claim it, or for it to be adopted. If that doesn’t happen, the dog is euthanized. Spay and neuter rates are low in their area because people can’t afford the cost, she said, adding because their community is overrun with small dogs, no one wants to adopt them when they come into the shelter.

Unhappy that so many puppies and dogs were being put down, Corbit started using the volunteer network to contact shelters willing to take some of the dogs. She and Mattila connected, and Mattila called shelters in Washington to see if anyone would take the dogs.

The Kitsap Humane Society was one of those shelters. The society was also in contact with another rescue effort to save dogs from a Kern County Animal Control shelter, also in California (somewhat near Porterville). That shelter, like the Porterville shelter, is considered a “high kill” shelter. (Here’s a 2008 story the Bakersfield Californian newspaper did on the Kern County shelter in Bakersfield and its alarmingly high euthanasia rates).

Stacey Price with the Kitsap Humane Society said when they learned there were small dogs in need of homes coming from California, they made sure they had room in their Silverdale shelter to get them adopted. As my story stated, this is the first round of dogs to come to the shelter from out of state. The society hopes to get a rotation of dogs coming in so that it can diversify the sizes of dogs it has available for adoption (right now it primarily has large dogs), and to help high kill shelters reduce their numbers.

The first round of dogs to come to our area from Porterville were transported by Corbit’s mom and brother to Redding, Calif. where one of Mattila’s volunteers met them and brought them to their shelter in Cowlitz County. An animal control officer from Kitsap picked up the dogs early Sunday morning and brought them back to the peninsula to be checked out before they could be put up for adoption.

Porterville Animal Control paid for the cost of preparing the dogs for the journey — which included giving them heart worm shots, rabies shots and making sure they were certified to Washington State’s health standards, Corbit said. That cost the shelter $4,000. Mattila paid for the transportation costs.

They hope to orchestrate another rescue in the coming weeks, but need to get the money to finance the health checks and transportation costs.

People interested in donating to help with future transports can email Corbit to get the address of where to send a check. Her family has set up a nonprofit shelter and helps foster dogs in their area. Mattila’s shelter, based out of Silver Lake, Wash., is also a nonprofit. People can specify how they want to see the money spent (i.e. for dogs to be transported to Washington for adoption).

Corbit’s email is:

“The more (dogs) we can get up there the better,” she said. “But unfortunately the more we send up there, the more expensive it gets. We want to make people realize down here they can make a difference in the dog’s lives.”

It’s Started: Ferry Wait Times Are Here

Brynn Grimley writes:

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like the long line of cars at our most popular ferry terminals seem to come earlier and earlier each year?

I was working Sunday (Mother’s Day — Happy Mom’s Day mom!) and I kept getting alerts from Washington State Ferries about wait times on the Edmonds-Kingston route. (I’m working weekends this month, if you’re wondering why in the world I was checking work email on a beautiful sunny day like Sunday instead of being outside enjoying the weather with my mom like most good children).

I had a good chuckle about how the ferry folks write the email alert signaling the long wait times. They say “heavier than usual” vehicle traffic. Sorry guys, but everyone knows if you’re trying to get to Kitsap on a Friday, or to King County on a Sunday, the wait times will be two hours or more depending on how nice the weekend weather is expected to be.

On Sunday I got an alert before 1 p.m. saying Kingston waits were two hours, the tally system was in effect…and it was only the second weekend of May?!

You know what this means right? We have this to look forward to for the next four to five months. But it also means summer is fast approaching.

Since moving to the Kitsap Peninsula four years ago I have come to associate the long wait times on the ferries as a signal that summer is here. This weekend sure felt like summer was starting, so I guess instead of lamenting the lines, I should be rejoicing the warm weather that is hopefully here to stay.

And don’t forget folks, if you don’t feel like sitting in a ferry line for two hours, the Bremerton boat almost never has long wait times. So your options are: sit in your car in the heat for two hours waiting to move two inches every 30 minutes, or drive right on the Bremerton boat and land in the peninsula likely before your wheels would even cross the plank on one of the other more heavily used routes. I’m just saying…

And you can check out Bremerton’s new fish and fisherman statues on your way out of town.

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

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.

Other News From PO City Hall

We have reported today on a Washington State Patrol report that Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. We will be posting an update shortly, which will include a statement from the mayor.

In part, he said, “As a person who has always accepted responsibility for my actions, I will do so in this instance as well, no matter how it turns out, and expect no special treatment.”

In other news from City Hall, Coppola recently posted his Mayor’s video report for April on the City’s Web site. His topics: Puget Sound Regional Council’s Vision 2040; the joint lease of Given’s field recently approved by the city council for South Kitsap Western Little League and South Kitsap Pee Wees; a new business opening in downtown; the opening of the Port Orchard Farmer’s Market; a recent meeting of mayors from around the state; YMCA Women of Achievement representing South Kitsap; more hints about a new grocery coming soon to downtown PO; online utility bill payment; and plans to reprise Paint the Town (according to the mayor, Delialh will again be contributing significantly toward the effort), this time with a focus on the waterside buildings.

(See the bottom of this post for links to recent city council video coverage provided by the city.)

Coppola dedicated about two-thirds of his video to Vision 2040’s transportation element, known as T2040. He explains his take on the plan’s potential impact on economic development in Kitsap County and the region. Coppola was one of only two members of the PSRC executive board to vote against T2040 on March 25, primarily because of tolls. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn was the other. Coppola said he wants Port Orchard citizens to be able to get in and out of town without having to pay tolls or a vehicle-miles-traveled tax.

“Many of the ideas advanced in the Vision 2040 plan may be acceptable and actually pragmatic for King County and the I-5 corridor, but we (not clear if he’s talking about the city of Port Orchard or mayors of the county) strongly question the validity of what amounts to a King County soluntion being forced upon the rest of us,” he said on the video.

Coppola also talks about the importance of the region investing in technological infrastructure to promote telecommuting, which would reduce impact on roads, bridges and ferries.

As an interesting little grace note at the end of the video, Coppola talks about the recent downtown spring cleaning event. “I personally spent four hours on the end of a power washer, and several people pointed out that if this whole mayor thing doesn’t work out, perhaps I should get a job in the public works department,” he said, laughing. “Hopefully it won’t come to that.”

Port Orchard City Council Videos:
April 13
April 20 work study
April 27

Silverdale Dog Park Looking Good

Brynn Grimley writes:

At the end of last week I finally made it out to the future site of the Silverdale Dog Park, located along Silverdale Way where the Rotary Gateway Park is situated. There’s also an entrance to the Clear Creek Trail from this location, and of course the skateboard park where local teens practice their boarding skills.

I was at the site to see students from CK High School, Navy Seabees and other area volunteers put in their time for Earth Day.

It’s been a while since I wrote about the dog park so I thought what better time to write an update than after seeing first-hand how quick progress has been made.

Through the Earth Day volunteer efforts, a 600 foot gravel trail was built in just under two hours. The trail runs from the parking lot (near the public bathrooms) all the way to the end of the property where it connects to the roadway. The grassy area along side the trail will be the dog park, which will be fenced off so trail users won’t have to walk inside the park to use the trail.

Inside the dog park there will be a small dog area, and another area for medium to larger dogs. The chain-link fence will allow dog owners to have their pets off leash. The project is being organized and completed by the Silverdale Dog Park stewardship group, which is 100 percent volunteer driven. The money being used to build the dog park is from various fund raising efforts, from private donations and money that was raised by selling plaques along the chain-link fence and advertising space within the park.

None of the money is from the county. To date the group has raised close to $30,000.

They hope to have the park open for use on July 4, but have a few more hurdles to jump over before that can happen. The biggest project still to be done is the expansion of the parking lot. A condition of the county approving the location for the dog park was the installation of 14 more parking spaces.

The group will add those by removing the berm that separates the lot from the road. They are looking to put a rain garden in to handle the stormwater run off. Right now they’re waiting to see if the stormwater will be handled by the garden, or if they’ll also need to use pervious payment in the lot. For cost purposes they’re hoping a rain garden will meet the needs, because the pervious pavement is not cheap.

Installing the trail section of the park is the first visual indication that things are moving quickly to get the park operational, said Mike McCown, vice president of the Silverdale Dog Park stewardship group.

“We’ve been looking forward to Earth Day,” he said. “This is being done with volunteers and volunteer dollars.”

The group hopes to know by this week which direction to go with the parking lot. Once the lot is ready, the chain-link fence will be installed and from there I am sure people will be anxiously waiting for the gates to open so they can let their dogs run free.

John Robbecke Describes the Polar Bear Plunge

Warning: This post contains a word that, while anatomically correct, may be offensive to some.

When I was talking to John Robbecke today about his putting Al’s Grocery on the market after its 50 years in business (story to run tomorrow), we got to talking about the annual Polar Bear Plunge off the bridge above Olalla Lagoon, across from the store.

John and 10 other charter members of the plunge decided in 1984 to ring in the New Year in a totally new and crazy way. A lot of what he said about the experience of jumping into 52 degree water in the middle of winter, I couldn’t put in the paper or on the web version of the story (only partly because of space constraints). With my assistant editor’s permission, and John’s, I bring you the uncensored version.

“New Year’s Day is kind of amateur drunk day on the couch. If you’re not drinking, what do you do? And if you don’t like sports, you’re pretty out of it. So we said, ‘OK guys, if you have enough testicles, come on down and join us, and we’ll do something different. We thought, at high noon, we’d jump off the bridge.”

John described how “invigorating” it is to feel to icy stab of the water on your various appendages as you jump or cannonball in. “You go, ‘Woah!’ You’re swimming under water before you reach the top. Once you pop out of the surface, you’re like a windmill. Once you get out of the water, you dance around and stand by the bonfire warming your buns and shake out your hair. It’s a fun time.”

Like a class reunion, the event brings together people who only see each other once a year. Some people dress in costumes. John remembers one woman whose marriage had gone sour and who jumped into the salty brine in her wedding gown. Another guy in a business suit set down his briefcase, jumped off the bridge in a businesslike way, calmly swam to shore, picked up his briefcase and drove away without so much as a shiver.

I asked John if anyone ever jumped in the nude. Yes, indeed, he said. However, “They don’t do it again, because if you’re male, and you’re climbing out of that ice cold water, and some woman says, ‘Is that it?’ you ain’t coming back.”