Monthly Archives: June 2008

Sewer contamination may cost city millions to fix


The city’s got a tough choice on its hands.

By order of the state, the city must invest millions of dollars to redirect a Winslow sewer outfall away from Wing Point’s shellfish beds or pay tens of thousands a year in compensation.

City engineers are scrambling. The City Council will soon be debating. But either way, city coffers will be draining.

See my story below.

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Bainbridge moves towards Salatin’s local foods goal


Yesterday I covered a workshop in South Kitsap featuring sustainable farming guru Joel Salatin. He challenged Kitsapers to spend half their food budgets at local farms and farmers markets.

Reaching that goal, he said, would fire up the local economy to the tune of $1.3 million….per day.

Of course, the county’s far (far, as in really far) from reaching that goal. The county spends less than $1 million a year on food at local farmers markets.

But Bainbridge Island can pat its back for spending more at its farmers market than other six market communities spend at their markets.

The island can’t claim the biggest market (that honor goes to Port Orchard) or the cheapest (also Port Orchard…the secret is that the farther south you go, the cheaper the goods get) but it draws in the lion’s share of the $670,000 spent last year on edible market produce.

(Special note: total spending at farmers markets was over $1 million if you include all the hemp hats, dream catchers, lavender foot creams, etc.)

If you’re interested in Salatin’s food spending math, here’s how it works: Each American spends an average of $10 per day on food. Cut that amount in half, multiply it by the county’s population (250,000), and you end up with about $1.3 million.

Spreading that kind of spending over a year would generate about $450 million for local food producers. And then consider a local market manager’s estimate that every dollar spent at a farmers market typically circulates three more times before leaving the community.

For my story on Salatin’s Kitsap visit, go here.

Cutting capital projects


There’s a lot of dollars up for discussion at City Hall tomorrow. The City Council is scheduled for a four-hour capital facilities plan workshop starting at 10 a.m.

At 7 p.m., the council reconvenes to tackle proposed capital projects reductions, proposed additional funding for a code update project and priorities for federal transportation funding.

See my story about the proposed capital cuts below.

Deep cuts planned for city capital projects
By Tristan Baurick

The City Council will vote on a proposal to slash $2.8 million worth of capital projects tomorrow in an effort to balance a budget hit with unexpected revenue shortfalls.

The proposed cuts include $400,000 for road preservation work, $120,000 for new trails, a $10,000 roof repair for the senior center and $75,000 to plan the senior center’s expansion.

Finance Director Elray Konkel said none of the cuts were easy. But the city, he added, is faced with a simple money problem.

“We just don’t have the cash,” he said.

The reductions were initiated after the city forecasted a $2.5 million revenue decline largely due to a weakening housing market.

At $1.5 million, the largest line item in the capital reduction plan is for the purchase of the Quay Bainbridge apartment complex. The city had already backed out of a deal that would have preserved the 70 units as affordable housing when the property’s value was appraised at far less than its asking price.

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David Guterson’s new novel is no “Into the Wild”


Bainbridge author David Guterson mined a lifetime of memories for his latest novel, “The Other.”

Set in Seattle with forays into the Olympics and Cascades, the book follows two teenage boys as they grow into adulthood during the 1970s and take vastly different paths. The book’s narrator, Neil Countryman, graduates from the UW, teaches high school English, writes novels, and comes upon unexpected fame and fortune later in life. Sound familiar? Guterson admits Neil is nearly a mirror image of himself.

But Neil’s friend John William Barry is, in some ways, the Guterson that never happened. John William shares many of Neil’s values and his sense of right and wrong, but he takes his desire to live by his principals to an extreme, rejecting society as a whole and living the life of a hermit in the Hoh rainforest.

Like his previous novels, “The Other” gives its characters weighty questions to tackle. But this time around, Guterson allows a character to narrate. Guterson’s efforts in trying on a first-person narrative give the book a lighter, breezier feel than his previous novels. The heavy questions remain, but readers get to ponder them at a faster clip.

I talked with Guterson about the book last week and wrote a story (here) that largely deals with who John William is. Also interesting is who John William isn’t. Despite the parallels with some other well-known wilderness soul-searchers, Guterson says John William is a breed apart. I couldn’t fit this tangent of our discussion into the story, but I’ll toss out a few bits of it here.

First off, John William is no Chris McCandless, the subject of Jon Krakaur’s “Into the Wild.” Guterson was quick to make this point during our interview, perhaps in preparation for the types of comparisons the Los Angeles Times and other reviewers would make.

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