Monthly Archives: October 2008

Hands at work under a father’s watch

I had a chance to sit down and talk with Junkoh Harui a few months before his death. One subject that came up time after time was his father, Zenhichi.

It seemed that much of what Junkoh created with Bainbridge Gardens was done with his father in mind (the photo to the left shows Zenhichi and his family, with Junkoh at the center wearing a bow tie).

“He came from a farm. He didn’t speak English. He was a man who was uneducated, but he had these two beautiful tools,” Junkoh said, holding up his own 75-year-old hands.

With little more than his hands, Zenhichi came to Bainbridge in 1908. He labored in the sawmills and scraping together enough money to buy 20 acres on Miller Road. While raising five children, he cleared the land, planted crops and eventually built Island Center’s community hub, with a gas station, general store and nursery. He also created an immaculately-groomed landscape of sunken ponds and sculpted Japanese plants. It must have been striking and surreal to the island’s pioneers.

Junkoh put his own hands to work rebuilding what his father had lost after the family was forced off the island during World War II. While it is today one of the island’s most treasured places, Junkoh said his revival of Bainbridge Gardens never could match the beauty and grandeur Zenhichi created. Still, Junkoh thought his father, and his mother Shiki, would be proud of what he’d accomplished.

“I’ve been under the weather now with this situation with cancer,” Junkoh said in July. “But it gives me courage that I have enjoyed life and rebuilt Bainbridge Gardens. I’ve kept it going because I know I’ll see mom and dad in the big sky.

“I think they will be happy to see me, with what I’ve done here, and that I carried it on as far as I could go.”

Below is a column Junkoh wrote in 1986 for his nursery’s newsletter.

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Bainbridge Gardens’ Junkoh Harui dies at 75

Bainbridge Gardens owner Junkoh Harui died Sunday afternoon at his island home. He was 75 years old.

Harui, a well-known and celebrated member of the community, died peacefully at 2 p.m. with family at his side, his daughter Donna Harui said.

Islanders best know him for his Miller Road nursery, a business his father started almost 80 years ago, but was forced to abandon during World War II. Harui revived Bainbridge Gardens in the late 1980s, making it a destination for gardeners around the region and a green oasis with wooded trails, an outdoor café, a garden supply shop and a bountiful selection of plants.

Despite suffering from Parkinson’s disease and, more recently, cancer, Harui was active at Bainbridge Gardens until his death.

“Junkoh’s love of the garden and his commitment to his customers allowed him to share the beauty of nature with generations of Bainbridge Islanders,” his family said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Harui was born on Bainbridge Island in 1933, shortly after his family purchased 20 acres along Miller Road and transformed it into a large farm. The family added a general store, gas station and the Bainbridge Gardens nursery.

He graduated from Bainbridge High School in 1951 and earned a business degree from the University of Washington in 1955. It was at the UW that Harui met his future wife, Chris.

He was drafted by the U.S. Army days before taking a job at a bank. Harui was stationed for almost two years in France, where his interest in working with nature was renewed.

He returned to Bainbridge with Chris and started the island’s first flower shop in 1958. He moved his shop and added a nursery at a second location at the juncture of highway 305 and High School Road. As the highway widened, Harui decided to move his business to his family’s property on Miller Road, with its crumbling buildings buried in blackberry vines. The site was reborn as Bainbridge Gardens in 1989.

This year, Harui and Chris celebrated 50 years of marriage and 50 years of operating a business on Bainbridge Island.

He is survived by his wife, two brothers, four children and five grandchildren.

A celebration of Harui’s life will be held at Sakai Intermediate School on Bainbridge Island at 2 p.m. on Nov. 8.

For more about his life and work, see my July profile of Harui here.

Scales: ‘The mayor is building a budgetary house of cards’

Former City Councilman Bob Scales says the mayor’s proposed budget would spend too much and cut too little. Read his column below.

Despite a global economic crisis and declining city revenues, Mayor Darlene Kordonowy has proposed yet another unsustainable budget. Over the next two years she plans to add more than $30 million to city coffers by raising taxes, rates and fees, and by going even further into debt.

The mayor needs this extra cash so she can launch the most aggressive capital spending program in the city’s history – $50 million for a handful of mega-projects. This spending program will leave the city with crippling debt, homeowners with higher property taxes and utility customers with massive rate increases, including a 42 percent increase in storm water fees and a 44 percent increase in sewer rates.

The mayor wants to maintain city bureaucracy at a time when other cities are slashing operating expenses and laying off employees. If the City Council approves the mayor’s reckless agenda, they will likely condemn the city to years of financial turmoil.

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BPA’s Macbeth is a ‘bummer worth watching’

Bainbridge Performing Arts’ production of ‘Macbeth’ is a gloomy, murky, heavy – sometimes blustery – bummer worth watching. Read the Kitsap Sun’s review below.

LOCAL THEATER: BPA’s ‘Macbeth’ ‘Lays On’ Thick, Indeed
By Michael C. Moore

“Macbeth” is, arguably, the darkest of all William Shakespeare’s tragedies, and the most intense.

Indeed, apart from the appearance of the drunken Porter prior to the intermission, there’s very little comic intensification — the tale of a Scottish kingdom come acropper is heavy, heavy stuff from start to finish.

You certainly get that in director Steven Fogell’s production for Bainbridge Performing Arts, which began its two-week pre-Halloween run Oct. 16. It is an intense, program-twisting, teeth-gnashing experience. Fogell wrings out Shakespeare’s cautionary tale of the corruptive power of power for its every particle of pathos.

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Police blotter: Tasered at WaMu

It’s an epic blotter this week.

There’s the boy who beats his mom with his broken arm for not supporting his video game habit. There’s the lead-footed, liquor-lovin’ California transplant who bemoans all the time local police waste pulling drunk drivers (like himself) off the road. And then there’s the motorist who finds Winslow’s streets are as dangerous as jungle combat in ‘Nam. Oh, and of course there’s the bank customer who got a shock at Winslow’s WaMu. No, it wasn’t the value of WaMu stocks that gave him a jolt, but the taser jabbed into his hip by Bainbridge police.

Read on…

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A bountiful island harvest = an added day at the market

With the island’s farms still bursting with abundance, the Bainbridge Farmers Market is adding one extra day to its regular season.

The market will run until Oct. 25 before taking a break and moving indoors starting in late November.

Yesterday, the market was bustling with customers and vendors.

The guys from Tanni Creek Farm had quite a few varieties of squash, and even more ways to describe their flavors (“nutty and sweet”…”savory and buttery”) and ways to cook them, including a few recipes for squash-based baby food.

Island fisherman Paul Svornich was offering his canned tuna after returning recently from another ocean adventure, and Farmhouse Organics had just a touch of honey left until next year’s harvest.

The market will reopen at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church on Nov. 22 and close in late December.

For more on the market, visit

Bainbridge police face ‘cuts on top of cuts’

While one Bainbridge police officer was in Port Orchard to drop a suspect off at the county jail the other two on-duty officers were rushing to the home of suicidal woman with a kitchen knife.

That’s about the time their radios crackled with reports of a car collision blocking a major island roadway.

“If we had anybody loose, we would have sent somebody,” said Bainbridge Police Chief Matt Haney, recounting a busy evening for his department late last month. “But when things happen all at once, all of a sudden… sometimes we don’t have the flexibility to cover all things.”

The department’s ability to cover the island may stretch even thinner next year with proposed budget reductions that would pull one patrol officer position from the payroll and eliminate the city’s emergency manager.

“The perception could be that ‘oh, it’s just one officer,’ but it does impact everything,” Haney said, expecting a roster of 22 commissioned officers in 2009. “It’ll be tough next year.”

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Bainbridge house takes to the waves to escape demolition

It might have appeared that a liveaboard was trading his humble quarters for more palatial digs when the floating 3,400-square-foot home drifted in to Eagle Harbor on Tuesday.

Instead, the barged-in abode was, in the words of its new owner, a giant recycling project. Destined for the dump, the home was rescued by Geoff and Candace Daigle. They promptly planted the 19-year-old house on a plot they’ve owned for years at the head of the bay.

For my story on the move and plenty of photos from Larry “Beijing” Steagall, click here.

And for more info on house moving, check out the Web site of B.C.-based Nickel Brothers, the company the Daigles employed to uproot, haul and plant their home.

The Nickel Brothers’ site features dozens of homes available in south British Columbia, the Seattle-area and Port Townsend that might qualify for a historic home plaque. But, as islanders saw with the Cave House on Ferncliff Avenue and the Hoskinson House at the corner of Madison and Wyatt, walls saturated with history are no protection from the wrecking ball.

Inslee and Ishmael’s talking heads

Tired of reading about the November elections? Well now you can sit back, relax your reading muscles and allow the Kitsap Sun’s political coverage to wash over you in moving pictures and stereo sound. Click here to watch U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee and his Republican challenger Larry Ishmael as they ruminate on the economy, the environment and other issues impacting the 1st Congressional District (which includes Bainbridge).

Photos of BI mini-mart’s masked bandits

Here’s a look at security camera pics of the two masked men who robbed the Fletcher Bay Mini Mart at Island Center late last month. Bainbridge police released the photos today.

The men, one described as having a thin build and the other a heavy build, are said to have walked into the store, at the intersection of Fletcher Bay and New Brooklyn roads, at about 8:22 p.m. on Sept. 26.

They took cash and cigarettes, and left following after a store employee swung a mop at one of the suspects, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Bainbridge Police Department at (206) 842-5211.