Category Archives: Uncategorized

PO Tourism Committee Morphs Toward Economic Development

April 22: Oops sorry, wrong poll .The wrong poll was displayed with this post since yesterday. The correct poll is up now. CTH

The time has come, members of Port Orchard City Council’s tourism committee said Tuesday, for the committee to expand its duties to include economic development.

To date, the committee has focused mainly on working with the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce, nonprofits and local businesses on special events that draw visitors, such as the city’s Chimes and Lights Festival, the Seagull Calling Contest and last summer’s Cedar Cove Days.

Paying more attention to economic development would be a natural progression, said committee chairman Jerry Childs. Committee members, including Childs, Jim Colebank and Fred Chang, have been looking at cities like Poulsbo and Leavenworth as models.

Childs said the committee would coordinate with Mayor Lary Coppola, who so far has been the city’s designee and spokesman in attempts to attract new business. Coppola has already hosted some focus groups with selected business owners.

One of the committee’s ideas is to host an economic development page on the city’s Web site with information on permitting and other resources related to economic development. The Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce has a resource page for prospective and current businesses, but, said Chang, it’s not the committee’s intention to reinvent the wheel.

“I don’t think we intend to duplicate anything that’s already being done,” said Chang, speaking as an individual committee member and not for the committee. “If we do a website, we’d want to plug a gap where there is one. It’s certainly not intended as a slap to anyone.”

One business owner willing to take a gamble on Port Orchard is Melinda Brown and her partner Shane Makoviney, who will open Melinda Lee’s at 810 Bay Street on May 1. Shane is a clock repairman; Melinda is an artist and gardener. Their store will offer a potpourri of artwork, garden starts, gifts and sundry supplies that would be useful to boaters.

Lee is bullish on Port Orchard. She sees a positive momentum in the downtown mix of stores despite the economy. “We love Bay Street and believe in it and believe in what it could be,” she said.

Of course Port Orchard business extends outside the downtown district, and the committee will pay attention to those folks as well, Chang said.

Colebank said, “it’s not as important to draw new business as it is to keep our current businesses happy.”

So what should city government do to make the city a business friendly place? Parking you say? Right, it’s on their to-do list. What are your other beefs, worries or needs? Take the survey on the homepage.

Do Ya Like Pancakes?

Brynn Grimley writes:

Well if you do, you should try to make it to a pancake breakfast planned for Saturday at the Brownsville Yacht Club.

For a suggested donation of $5 you can find yourself munching on two pancakes, two sausage links and wash it all down with a Cup of Joe, or some OJ. And, while you’re enjoying your breakfast treat, you can know your “suggested” $5 is going to a good cause.

The fund raising breakfast is being organized by Carolyn Thomas, the wife of Capt. Jonathan Thomas, who was instrumental in bringing the various tall ships to Kitsap County over the last few years. The breakfast will benefit the Schooner Lavengro, which county commissioners declared the official tall ship of Kitsap County last month.

The schooner is run by the non-profit NW Schooner Society, based out of Seattle. Jonathan has done a lot to keep the boat afloat (so-to-speak), including covering a lot of the financial costs needed to keep the boat running. He’s also gone out to the community and found people willing to volunteer their time to make the boat better.

The money raised from Saturday’s breakfast will help the group pay for a full-time captain (former Kitsap resident Dave Haslam who I wrote about last year) to stay on the boat and do the daily upkeep needed to make the Schooner Lavengro suitable for the many free public sails she’ll be giving this summer. *** I learned later tonight that the money raised through the breakfast will be put toward the purchase of a new sail (the forsil), that the boat needs desperately. Jonathan said a new sail runs about $5,0000. ***

*** But Dave Haslam will be captain of the Schooner Lavengro from about May to September, which is a huge bonus for the boat because he’ll be there full time to keep the boat up and running for the free public sails, which will still be offered this summer. ***

The Schooner Lavengro now calls the Port of Brownsville Marina its base of operations, so there’s a desire by the port and Jonathan to get the community plugged in.

So if you feel like getting your eat on this Saturday, and want your money to go to a nonprofit instead of some other international-type pancake plance (I won’t name any names here), head to the Brownsville Yacht Club (at the Brownsville Marina), 9756 Ogle Road NE in Bremerton.

Speaking of Young Men and Cars

I call them “the vultures,” my son and his friends. They descend on our kitchen, inhaling anything edible, speaking in a cacophony of adolescent male egos, leaving scraps and bones scattered about before flocking to the next house to see what’s in the ‘fridge.

They have a great appetite for life, these boys-on-their-way-to-becoming-men. They talk about soccer and girls and haircuts and shoes … OMG, they are obsessed with shoes.

Last Wednesday, they swooped in after I had spent more than two hours preparing a dinner of pork adobo and lumpia— a far cry from my son’s friend’s Filipino grandma’s cooking, but I do what I can to lure them briefly. In the five minutes it took for them to consume the meal, they chatted about girls and soccer and shoes … and the crash. Just down the road, there’s a gash in a tree, the site of an accident that took the life of the 18-year-old driver, Michael James Adams, not far from his family’s home.

My son yearns for his learner’s permit. He looks at cars as we pass by and says, “I could drive that.” Anything but a truck, like his dad’s, or a van, like mine, preferably something low and sleek, red or black.

“What’s the hurry?” I say. “You have a perfectly decent bike and two personal chauffeurs.”

I’d rather he stick with shoes.

When his older brother, now 25, was about to be born, my husband anxiously asked the doctor, “What’s the most dangerous time?” The doctor replied, “When he gets his license.”

We used to laugh about that. That doctor, what a card.

On Saturday, I reported on the death of another 18-year-old. Mark S. Schroeder Jr. of Fontana, Calif., a sailor at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, was driving southbound in his black 2008 Hyundai Tiburon when he hit the highway’s jersey barrier near the turnoff to Belfair, lost control of the car and struck a power pole. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Passengers in the car, who escaped with non-life-threatening injuries, told Washington State Patrol troopers Schroeder had recently acquired the car.

I shared the story with my son, selfishly using the tragedy as a cautionary tale. The cause of the crash is unclear. Drugs and alcohol were ruled out as factors. Excessive speed was not mentioned in the WSP report. It would be easy to speculate, but also fruitless.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group.

* In 2008, nine teens ages 16 to 19 died every day on U.S. roadways from motor vehicle injuries.

* Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash.

* In 2008,  about 3,500 teens in the United States ages 15 to 19 were killed, and more than 350,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes.

Our condolences to the families of the young men who died.

Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun reporter

Signs of the Times: Because Bremerton Demands More

Apparently the old girls weren’t good enough for the discriminating tastes of Sixth and Naval.

Bremerton Coffee

Yes, I know this is trite and sophomoric, but I couldn’t resist the low-hanging fruit. Besides, that’ll teach Gardner to go soft on Port Orchard next time he passes an “Etterman Jackets” sign.

I am on vacation this week, riding herd on the family member we call “El Nino,” who is out on spring break. Keep an eye on Grimley and Gardner for me.

New coffee? Heck yeah, let’s not re-use those grounds.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap reporter … and proud of it.

Will Dicks “Bring Home the Bacon” For Port Orchard?

On his most recent video newsletter, Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola said that Congressman Norm Dicks has included $1 million for Port Orchard’s Town Center Revitalization Project in his fiscal year 2011 budget request.

Should the funding come through, it would be used toward the purchase of property for the project, which includes a city-built parking garage seen a crucial to the town’s revitalization. The total cost of the whole project, which will be a public-private partnership, is $33 to $36 million. The city must nail down at least $2.5 million for property acquisition to get the ball rolling.

Dicks’ Bremerton office was unable to confirm the news. I will be following up tomorrow.

I spoke to Coppola tonight. Although the funding is not in pocket, the mayor is confident of Dicks’ ability to advocate on behalf of his city. “It’s never a sure thing, but like I said, Norm always brings home the bacon.”

I’m Here to Bore You With Talks of Land Use Planning

Brynn Grimley writes:

I have to admit, I had hoped my first post to this blog would be much more exciting so that you all would fall instantly in love with me and adore my posts more than my competitor, oops I mean coworker, Steve Gardner. But alas I’m here to bore you with land use discussions.

I attended last night’s rural outreach meeting in Seabeck. Here’s my sum up of that meeting, and the larger rural outreach program the county is currently undertaking. While it might seem boring, if you live in Kitsap’s rural areas, this will impact you. Here’s the post:

Two down one to go.

The county’s Department of Community Development has held two of its three planned rural outreach meetings — one out at Long Lake in South Kitsap and one out in Seabeck for Central Kitsap.

The third meeting is scheduled for Tuesday March 30 in Port Gamble, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The purpose of the meetings is for county planning staff to hear from rural residents about what they’d like to see in Kitsap’s rural areas in the future. Things they’re asking include:

– Are dog parks an appropriate use in the rural area? What about trails?
– Would you rather see housing developments clustered, where homes are built close together surrounded by more open space?
– Or would you rather see developments spread out with open space peppered between the homes?
– Do you want to see commercial uses, but ones that fit with the lifestyle — for example a small community grocery store over a large grocery chain?

These are the questions county planners are hoping to get answered as they complete an aggressive work plan to define Kitsap’s rural communities in time for an update to the county’s comprehensive plan by the end of the year.

At the meeting Wednesday in Seabeck, Community Development Director Larry Keeton told a group of about 40 people: “Kitsap County is not a rural county in the traditional sense of the word.”

Kitsap’s density per acre is higher than the average for most rural counties, he said.

There weren’t too many questions from CK residents in attendance; some concerns were aired about shoreline preservation and access being cut off to Stavis Bay because of a wrong shoreline designation. The county is updating its Shoreline Master Program presently so the residents hope to amend the problem during that process.

Another person expressed concern about too many people moving into Kitsap’s rural areas, stating effectively that she believes people don’t want to live in Bremerton so they’re moving out into the surrounding rural areas.

Keeton assured her any population changes — which could alter urban growth areas — won’t be done through this process. And more importantly, the county will not address its urban growth area boundaries until 2014. For UGA boundaries to be expanded the county has to prove there isn’t enough existing land to accommodate population growth in that area. Because the county can accommodate growth through increasing housing density by going up instead of out, it isn’t likely the boundaries will be altered significantly, Keeton said. The purpose of an urban growth area is to prevent urban sprawl, not contribute to it.

After the final community meeting Tuesday in North Kitsap planning staff will take the comments received from the community and analyze it. The hope is to have the rural element plan ready for county planning commission review by August and to have the planning commission’s recommendation before the Board of County Commissioners by October. Final approval by the board would come in December.

For those who were unable to attend the community meetings, but who have comments about what they want to see in their rural neighborhoods, you can contact county planner Katrina Knutson via email:; or by calling (360) 337-5777.

For more information on the rural project visit the county’s Web site.

Port Orchard Library Annexation Could Result in Tax Increase

Although a proposal to annex the Port Orchard Library into the Kitsap Regional Library district would not result in an increase in library taxes paid by property owners within city limits, it would give the city the option of increasing its levy rate, according to Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery. For a detailed explanation, including comments from Avery, visit the Kitsap Caucus blog.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap/government reporter

Move Over South Kitsap, We’ve Got Company

Heads up folks. You’re going to start hearing some new voices on this blog, and it won’t be the result of picking the wrong mushrooms along the trail in Banner Forest.

The Bremerton Beat, God rest its soul, is on its way to that big archive in the sky (actually it’s on our Web site, but same diff). The BB’s primary blogger, Steve Gardner, aka the Bremerton Beat reporter, plus Central Kitsap/North Kitsap reporter Brynn Grimley, aka “will-write-anything-at-the-drop-of-a-hat Grimley,” will be muscling in on this space. Welcome to my world.

The two of them discuss the final season of “Lost” and I’ve yet to make it through the second season. I have NO idea what they’re talking about.

Gardner, Grimley and I will be posting news about our respective communities (and poking fun at Bainbridge Island … and heck North Mason while we’re at it).

The Kitsap Caucus, Gardner’s baby, will remain alive and in the limelight. Grimley and I will be contributing our respective insights as part of the Kitsap Sun’s government team.

Gardner, made a final post explaining why we are rolling the once mighty Bremerton Beat into the lowly (but oft spunky) Speaking of South Kitsap blog.

A brief but reverent pause while we recall the soul of the Bremerton Beat that, while it poked considerable fun at Port Orchard, never failed to see the Lighter Side of Bremerton. Remember when? …

Andy Binion (with help?) coined the city’s new motto? Who needs an image consultant?

Binion speculated on what Leviathan or other magical creatures those digging the now-completed “Tunnel to Burwell” might unearth, causing then-local-news-editor-now-editor David Nelson to ask if Binion had “lost his mind.” After all, the real concern was … mole people. This has absolutely nothing to do with South Kitsap mushrooms. It was Bremertonia at its best, no doubt induced by carbonated and/or highly caffeinated beverages to be had at the 7/11 on Park & Sixth.

And who could forget Steve Gardner’s infamous “On Notice” posts, which seldom failed to include Port Orchard, at the top of the list, no less. We stand flattered. After all, we could learn a lot from a city whose “flagging real estate markets” could land its erstwhile mayor on NBC News.

Oh, wait, one more … remember the “Hooters” confession of now-editor David Nelson? A little sophomoric, but good times. Good times.

Having a communal blog was a communal decision among the three of us beat reporters (the Bainbridge Conversation will remain its own entity; unlikely we could get them to join this potluck). Weighing in as well were our editors.

The reason for the migration to Speaking of South Kitsap, as Gardner explained, is that South Kitsap rocks … Oh, wait, he didn’t say that. But it’s true. SK readers have remained remarkably loyal through my sporadic postings, related, as Gardner explained about the demise of the BB, to having a few too many irons in the fire. We decided to offer the audience we do enjoy something new and hopefully pleasing.

The potential advantages are:
1. With three contributors, there will theoretically be more posts.
2. You won’t have to skip all over the Web site to find Gardner and me defending the honor of our respective beats.
3. Grimley is a way better blogger than she gives herself credit for, and it’s time someone stepped up to defend Poulsbo. The plastic ram horns just don’t cut it.
4. Gardner is really clever, and maybe I’ll learn a thing or two from him about snarky graphics.

We are open to suggestions, feedback, bribes and flattery.

The name of the blog will remain Speaking of South Kitsap until we determine that our readership is sufficiently comfortable with the new format to tolerate a name change. Heck, we might even hold a name change contest. BTW (I learned this from my 15-year-old) sometime soon there will be a function that allows you to receive alerts for posts made about your respective communities. So, if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Speaking of South Kitsap fan, you can cut right to the chase. But for those who elect to slog through the cacophony, more power to you. After all, change is good.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap/Kitsap County Government Reporter

Recession Revelations: How Has Your Life Changed?

Another recession story (and side bar) coming your way Monday.

Following news that Kitsap’s unemployment rate in February reached a record high, my editor asked me to revisit individuals and social service agencies profiled in our September story on the recession to see how they were faring.

The county’s unemployment rate shot up to 8.8 percent in February, a record since 1990 when Washington’s Department of Employment Security started collecting local data. So-called “gateway agencies,” already booked with recession-related cases and pinched by their own budget woes, are seeing an increased demand for services from people who have never had to ask for help before.

In summary, the agencies are feeling the strain, and some say the community’s “safety net” is starting to look more than a little tattered. But the agencies, with a new found solidarity, are learning to cooperate better with one another to enhance services and avoid duplication. Doing more with less — it’s all the rage.

The people I talked to said their brush with near economic ruin — including impending foreclosure — has transformed their lives for the better, even though they may never regain the level of wealth and economic stability they enjoyed before the recession.

“It isn’t really what I wanted to do per se,” said Moler of Suquamish, who is driving school buses on Bainbridge Island. “As it turns out, it’s been such a blessing.”

Doug Haskett of Silverdale, also is grateful for the job he found — even with a step down in pay — after demoralizing months of unemployment.

“You adjust, you adapt and you overcome,” he said. “It’s a matter of perspective. … This is the way things are meant to be. I’m content. I look forward to going to work every day. Things are the way they are.”

How has your life changed as a result of the recession? Be honest, what stinks about the new normal? (Moler admits she really misses the ability to buy whatever she desires.) On the flip side, have you, like Moler and Haskett, found yourself stronger, happier, calmer, whatever? Share your thoughts in the comments below or e-mail me at

For the Good of the Game

Two items related to youth sports in South Kitsap.

Act I: Can Pee Wees and Little League Play Nice?
The Port Orchard City Council on Tuesday agreed to allow South Kitsap Western Little League to take over the remainder of the Babe Ruth Association’s lease on the baseball field at Givens Community Center.
With the demise of Babe Ruth, SKWLL had hoped to occupy the field, thereby giving a better play venue to their older players than the junior high school fields they’ve been using.
SKWLL representative Bob Showers was there making his pitch, along with Art Mikelsen, a long-time supporter of youth baseball. The Little League season is just swinging into gear and will run through July. The South Kitsap Pee Wees take the field from August through November.
Pee Wee representatives were not at the meeting. But the city attorney had determined that the lease could be altered with out consent of the leasees.
Fred Olin, chairman of the public property committee, was the lone council member voting against the lease transfer. Olin said the two uses aren’t compatible, and although Pee Wees and Babe Ruth have shared the field for several years, there’s been friction.
“They can’t play in the sandbox together,” he said.
Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola seconded that observation saying much of his first year as mayor of the city was occupied by “playing referee” between the two groups.
“We’re not going to get in a he-said-she-said, ya, ya contest with you and the Pee Pees,” Coppola said to Showers. “There’s been costly staff time fighting about how fields would be maintained and who’s going to maintain them. We’re not going there about this.
“What I told them then and what I’m telling you now is, you will make this work and you will get along with Pee Wees or you’ll both be gone.”
Showers pledged that, whatever has gone on in the past, his organization will prove themselves good stewards and good neighbors.
“We are willing to work with them,” Showers said.
Rocky Huff, Pee Wees vice president, acknowledged on Friday that there historically has been conflict over field maintenance. The problem is that his group can’t reseed the field in the depths of winter. So the re-growth of the grass — chewed up by hudreds of Pee Wee cleats — sometimes encroached on baseball season.
The problem has not proven insurmountable, however, and with some recent changes in leadership on the part of both groups, the scuffling has died down, Huff said.
The lease transfer is only until the end of April, when the Babe Ruth/Pee Wee lease is up for renewal … or not. Terms of the lease are identical for both groups. The next month-and-a-half could be considered a trial period during which Pee Wees and SKWLL can prove they can share the sandbox after all.

Act II: Should Soccer Teams for U9 Players Be Randomly Assigned?
The South Kitsap Soccer Club met Thursday night to discuss whether the Kitsap Kick-off Soccer Tournament would die for lack of volunteers. About a dozen folks responded to a call for show-of-hands, so it looks like the tournament may come off after all.
A knottier issue was the proposal by the SKSC board to randomly assign players eight years old and under to teams. This would mean that, except for players whose parents are coaches, kids would play on a new team with a new coach each year.
This model is seen by board members as better for player development. Under the current system, some teams with adept players and coaches become dominant, resulting in lopsided matches that don’t serve anyone well, board members said. The focus is on the team and its record, not the development of individual players. Coaches and players stagnate.
The proposal has been met with strong resistance from parents, especially those who have invested time to coach their child and other children. They say randomizing teams would disrupt any consistency or momentum they’ve managed to generate among team members. One of the most important benefits of soccer, especially at a young age, is the socialization kids get from being part of a team. Kids don’t like or tolerate change, they say.
The observation was made that qualification and training of coaches should be more uniform if the club moves to this system. Board members agreed and said they would provide more opportunities for training.

South Kitsap Soccer Club last year had about 1,300 players. OK, you 1,300 families out there, I’ve got a challenge. Help your KIDS find the poll on the homepage of this blog and let them have their say. Should the club move to randomized teams for players 8 years old and under? (I’m OK with players old than 8 taking the poll.) The choices are:
Yes, I think it would be fun to play with different kids every year.
Yes. Then some kids wouldn’t get stuck with a bad coach while others get to keep a good coach.
No, my teammates are my friends. I would miss them.
No, my coach rocks. I want to stay with him/her.
I don’t care. I just want to play.