Monthly Archives: April 2008

Quay keels over

It’s not looking good for the Quay.

Barring a “miracle,” The 71 units of affordable rentals in downtown Winslow is almost certain to go on the open market, Housing Resources Board Director Carl Florea told me today.

That means the Quay’s 100 residents will need to find new homes in an increasingly small and expensive Bainbridge rental market. Located within a minute’s walk from Winslow Way and boasting views of Eagle Harbor, the Quay property is one of the likeliest spots downtown to sprout shiny new condos.

Read the full story below.

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Bellingham gets housing lessons from B.I.

Bainbridge affordable housing advocates and city staff journeyed north to help Bellingham with its housing issues.

The median home price differences between the two communities are vast – $821,000 on B.I. vs. $340,000 in Bellingham.

The island’s affordable housing experts encouraged a “carrot and stick” approach that both encourages and requires developers to provide low-cost housing. Bellingham has set its sights on a whopping 11,000 affordable units by 2022

Read all about it in the Bellingham Herald.

Pain-free tax filing

I just had the best tax-filing experience of my life.

I know that may not be saying much, but I still felt a sense of exhilaration after getting my taxes squared away by a team of AARP Tax Aide volunteers at the Bainbridge library today. It’s one thing to not have to figure your taxes out yourself. It’s another thing to get them done with actual, real-life people. I’m not old enough to join the AARP but I do remember when I had to fiddle a lot less with Internet forms or haggle with phone robots who addresses me as TEEERist’n BEEorrik.

The AARP tax helpers smile the whole time and crack jokes while doing long division and data entry. It’s not like when you go to some state or federal offices and they sigh a heavy sigh because you forgot to fill out your W6I2B-VZ, sign it in purple ink, fold it into an origami crane and click your heels nine times. Plus, the AARP’s tax helpers sent my check off for me and loaded me up with advice for next year.

You gotta hand it to the AARP’s volunteers: they spend hours a day doing what most of us dread doing for an entire year.

Their last day at the library is Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can find them downstairs near the children’s section. Bring your papers, sign in and bring a book for the short wait (or find one on a nearby shelf). For more info, visit the AARP’s Tax Aide site here.

Memorial gets Senate approval

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A bill giving the Japanese-American memorial on Eagle Harbor National Park status passed the Senate today, clearing the way for its return to the House.

“Now that the Senate logjam has been broken, I’m optimistic we’ll be able to get this bill through the House again and signed into law,” said Rep. Jay Inslee, a Bainbridge Democrat who spearheaded the bill.

The memorial marks the site where the first 227 Japanese-Americans were forcibly shipped off and imprisoned during World War II. Construction of the memorial began in 2006 with the financial help of private donors and the state of Washington.

“The dedication of this memorial will serve as an important reminder of the injustice suffered by Japanese-American citizens and will provide an opportunity for future generations to learn from the past,” U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., a strong supporter of the bill.

If passed, the memorial would become a satellite of the Minidoka Internment National Historic Monument in Jerome County, Idaho. It was there that many islanders of Japanese descent spent much of the war behind barbed wire. Supporters hope to have the bill signed before April 2009.

“Recognition is the thing the community and especially those that survived internment want,” said Clarence Moriwaki, an island resident who has worked for years on the monument. “Soon we’ll have a park service sign there. For many survivors that’s a thrill because 66 years ago they were ignored by the government. Now they’re being honored.”

Bathroom saga comes to a close

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Ok, so it won’t come with the iCarta iPod toilet paper holder, but it will have toilets – and isn’t that all that really matters? After seven years of debate and designs that included sculpted roofs, rock climbing walls, waterfalls and (my favorite proposal) a gathering space fit for weddings, the City Council last night made their final decision on the Waterfront Park bathroom.

“Clearly, for myself and every citizen, it feels good to finally have this behind us,” assistant city engineer Ross Hathaway said this morning.

Still, Hathaway isn’t as ready as the council to break out the champagne. While the bathroom’s bare bones, basic design is now in the hands of a contractor that’s built similar buildings before, Hathaway said the bathroom’s long history proves that anything can happen.

“You don’t count your chickens until the eggs are hatched,” he said.

Or, to put it another way, you don’t count your toilets until you hear them flush.

Read my story below.

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Crash victim released

UPDATE: The Bainbridge cyclist struck by a truck yesterday was released from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle today.

The 60-year-old suffered a concussion and some scrapes and bruises, but appears to avoided more significant suffering, according to Bainbridge police.

Police said today that the truck’s driver, a 23-year-old Poulsbo woman, was found to have alcohol on her breath and “evidence of drinking inside of the vehicle,” police said today.

Police said she checked the cyclist on the ground, then left “as she heard emergency vehicles approaching.”

Read more about the crash in a previous post below.