Monthly Archives: December 2008

Step on a crack, get $25 back

Island resident Rod Stevens sent me and a lot of other people an email today asking for photos depicting dangerous sidewalk cracks along Winslow Way.

He’s offered to give a $25 reward for every potential hip-cracking crack.

As I get old and lose some of my faculties, I get ever more worried about falling down.  I’ve just come back from doing some errands in downtown Winslow, and mindful of those dangerous cracks that are so talked about by our council majority, I kept my eyes wide open as I walked the sidewalks first down one side of the street and then back the other.  It must be my eyesight, but I couldn’t see any of these dangerous things.  Therefore, I offer this reward of $25, my deductible on a visit to Tom’s Clinic, for anyone who will help me by pointing out these dangerous cracks.

Rod Stevens, doddering pedestrian

He’s had two cracks sent his way today. Actually, Debbi Lester sent in a link to an online collection of Winslow Way cracks. She’s got quite a few pics of the root-and-concrete tangle outside the Isla Bonita bar, which has been proven treacherous for tipsy barflies. (I’ve never tripped on it, but I’ve seen it happen. It was especially hard to watch because the aforementioned tripper had a lit cigarette in his mouth. Coulda lost an eye).

The above photo of the sweet bike jump north of T&C was sent in by Robert Dashiell with the header “This should be easy money!”

Even the City Council weighed in.

Councilwoman Debbie Vancil said Bainbridge could learn a lesson in sidewalk maintenance from the city of Claremont, California.

“…being a town the size of Winslow with 7 world class colleges, this town is highly focused on the bicycle and the pedestrian,” Vancil wrote. “They have achieved what we strive to attain…and the colleges do not offer a lot of revenue to the City. We need better role models for change in Winslow..those that are closer to our community’s own values for change.”

Noting Dashiell’s photo, Councilman Bill Knobloch said such cracks don’t add much weight to the argument for the Winslow Way reconstruction project.

“This means that we have to spend millions of dollars because we have a root uplift to our sidewalk?

Not sure how much money Rod has doled out yet, but Helpline House may get a surprise. Debbi Lester has generously donated her winnings to that worthy organization.

*****UPDATE: The Rod Stevens-sponsored Dangerous Sidewalks Contest* has officially come to a close. The winners, Robert Dashiell and Debbi Lester, had their $25 winnings donated to Helpline House.

*Unofficial title.

Inslee mum on possible Obama cabinet appointment

Congressman Jay Inslee isn’t showing his cards in the game for one of President (can I call him that yet?) Barack Obama’s cabinet seats.

Inslee has been rumored as a shortlister for the Obama Administration’s Interior Secretary, which overseas the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies.

Islander Inslee’s competition, according to the Associated Press, includes: Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), National Zoo director John Berry and former Washington Governor Gary Locke.

After talking with Inslee today about Sakai’s solar energy project (story should appear on the Sun’s site soon), I decided to see if I could shake anything out of him about the cabinet spot.

Polished as can be, Inslee responded: “I’m just doing my job representing the people of the 1st Congressional District.”

The Waterfront Park bathroom…is…now…OPEN

The better part of a decade is a long time to wait to use the bathroom.

But relief is finally here.

The city announced today that the sweet swoosh of real, working toilets has returned to Waterfront Park.

“It’s open,” said city engineer Chris Hammer today. “You can go down right now and check it out.”

Not sure yet if there will be a ribbon-cutting, and I’ve heard no announcement about who had the honor of using the facility first.

The 300-square-foot, three-toilet, one-shower facility has undergone almost eight years of community debate after the previous Waterfront Park bathroom was torn down in 2001. City officials and citizen groups haggled for years over the facility’s placement, function and even its the decorations.

Earlier designs before the current prefab box was settled upon included sculpted roofs, rock climbing walls, waterfalls, viewing platforms and a gathering space fit for weddings.

One of the grander designs, coming in at $1 million, was considered too expensive. Pared-down versions were nixed over complaints that they didn’t fit the Bainbridge aesthetic.

The final version, the one now easing the burdens of Waterfront Park users, is expected to cost $325,000. The contractor had initially put in a bid that amounted to $281,000, but hey, what’s $44,000 when you’ve been waiting an equal number of days.

Some City Council members have joked in the past about having fireworks and champagne during grand opening. No official word on that yet.

In the meantime, load up the family, grab the camera and enjoy this long-awaited moment in island history.

A puma by any other name would still smell like a sneak cat…or catawampus

Islander Ben Pecora sent in an announcement that Kitsap’s new pro soccer team is now selling season tickets.

Pecora has been involved for years in the Bainbridge Island Youth Soccer Club and is now serving as executive director of the Kitsap Pumas, which used to be the Seattle Sounders until Drew Carey named his team Seattle Sounders FC and hired Sweden’s David Beckham and sent the old Sounders off to Bremerton where they became the Kitsap Pumas.

The Kitsap Pumas?

If you’re going to name a team after this particular cat, the sky’s the limit on name variations. Why settle for pumas? According to the BBC (a national news service for a nation without pumas), the puma holds the mammalian world record for most names.

There’s 40 names in all, maybe more.

So, Mr. Pecora, here’s my shortlist of possible team names in case Drew Carey decides he fancies pumas more than sounders:

The Kitsap…..

Mexican Lions
Mountain Lions
Deer Tigers
Florida Panthers
Silver Lions
Devil Cats
Indian Devils
Indian Ghosts
Mountain Screamers
King Cats
Mountain Devils
Red Tigers
Fire Cats
Plain Lions
Grey Lions
Long Tails
Swamp Lions
…and my favorite, the Kitsap Sneak Cats.

As for Pecora’s announcement about season tickets, check out the Kitsap Puma’s website.

Council brings arts group back from the brink

A few weeks ago, the City Council voted for big cuts in city financial support for the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council. Then, last night, the council voted against those cuts, putting thousands of dollars back in the nonprofit’s pockets.

Rethinking past decisions tends to happen when death is discussed.

“Kill,” “death,” and “death-knell” were a few of the words arts advocates used to describe the consequences of the cuts.

The council did a bit of a flip-flop, but who wants to be known as the executioner of an organization that breathes a lot of art into the island’s life.

You might not be acquainted with BIAHC, but you’ve probably enjoyed the Celluloid Bainbridge Film Festival at the Lynwood Theatre, or sat in on one of the Great Decisions lectures at the library, or toured the gardens during Bainbridge In Bloom, or pondered the meaning of the spidery steel legs creeping from behind the wall outside City Hall. (One islander has postulated that it’s a statement about the lurking, predatory nature of municipalities toward the free market. Crawling from the web of bureaucracy, the spider (the city) means to strike the unwitting world of commerce (San Carlos restaurant, across the street) and paralyze it with the venom of taxation.*)

All of these community-fueled projects (including the alien eggs hatching to the east of the spider legs) are partially or wholly the doing of BIAHC.

For my coverage of the council’s move to put money back into the BIAHC budget, read on…

*(I made that up)

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Employees accept 10-day City Hall closure

It’s official. City Hall will lock its doors an extra 10 days next year. The cost savings, according to the city, means fewer employees will be dragged on to the chopping block.

The story’s below.

City employees voted Tuesday night to accept a plan to close City Hall 10 extra days next year.

The unpaid furlough proposal developed by the city administration and endorsed by the City Council as a cost-cutting measure to help avoid layoffs.

The furlough will shut down City Hall for 10 nonconsecutive days in 2009.

The Bainbridge Island Police Department will not be affected by the furlough.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the union representing most city staff, approved the furlough by a vote of 77 percent, according to the city. Almost 80 union members participated in the decision, which required a participation minimum of 30 percent.

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