Monthly Archives: March 2009

Other cities shocked by BI’s flood of public records requests

Had a fun time on Friday calling up other cities and telling them how many public records requests the City of Bainbridge Island receives.

Best (printable) reaction was from the Poulsbo deputy city clerk: “Oh my god, that’s a huge amount!”

I got an even better exclamation from Mercer Island’s city attorney, but (after some pleading on her part), I agreed not to put in print. She felt it unbecoming of a person in her station. Her followup comment echoed Poulsbo reaction.

Fact is, Bainbridge residents are flooding City Hall with five times as many public records requests as comparable cities. And many are so complex that it takes staff days of digging to find and compile the requested info.

Read all about it here.

UPDATED: Poulsbo man dies at Bainbridge ferry terminal

The Kitsap County Coroner’s Office has identified the Poulsbo man who died at the Bainbridge ferry terminal Thursday morning as 45-year-old Bryan S. Merrell.

The coroner’s office also confirmed that Merrell died of a heart attack.

Merrell collapsed on the terminal’s walk-on loading ramp shortly before the 7:05 a.m. sailing to Seattle. Ferry riders called 911 at 6:54 a.m. to report Merrell’s condition.

“It was rush hour so there were a lot of commuters there with him,” Bainbridge Island Fire Department Assistant Chief of Operations Luke Carpenter said.

Emergency workers tried CPR for about an hour before Merrell was pronounced dead at the scene.

Foot passengers were rerouted to the auto loading deck. The ferry was delayed a few minutes, according to Bainbridge police.

The coroner’s office on Friday said Merrell was aged 45 rather than 46, as had been earlier reported by emergency responders.

A ferry ride with Cap’n Ty

ferrycaptain

The Seattle Times recently joined Bainbridge Islander and ferry captain Ty Anderson to get a sense of the typical day-in-the-life at the helm of the Tacoma.

“For me, a beautiful, boring day is a good day,” said the 26-year Washington State Ferries veteran.

Read the full Q & A session here.

And check out the photo gallery. There’s a pic of a coffee-sipping, bike-helmeted Anderson that one commenter said “is SO Washington State.”

City to cut another $3.6 million from budget

A marathon nine-hour City Council meeting ended with the decision to cut another $3.55 million from an ever-slimming budget.

Most of the cost savings will come from surplus property sales and staffing reductions.

Another $1 million in cuts have yet to be decided. The council put off a decision on possible reduced support for community organizations.

Read my story here.

Grinter: Put the breaks on state parks tranfer plan

Bainbridge trails advocate John Grinter writes that Bainbridge needs to slow down and reassess plans to take on two state parks slated for closure. Grinter is the vice chair of the city’s Non-Motorized Transportation Advisory Committee and was a lead community organizer for the 2004 petition drive to create the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park District. Below is Grinter’s letter.

I am a strong supporter of Bainbridge parks and I believe our local park board is moving too quickly to bail out the state park system with the transfer of both Fay Bainbridge and Fort Ward state parks.

I don’t believe careful consideration has been given to the long-term impact on other well-planned community goals. The local (park) board is talking about making a permanent financial commitment of millions when they should be talking about helping the state in a short term, interim manner while we weather this economic crisis. Perhaps most troubling of all is the speed at which it is happening and the nearly complete lack of public process regarding the transfer.

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City government expert to speak on mayor vs. manager issue

Municipal government expert Carl Neu will discuss the differences between mayor- and manager-led cities at the Bainbridge High School Commons on March 31.

Bainbridge voters will decide on May 19 whether to swap the city’s elected mayor position for a city manager hired by the City Council.

Neu has worked with over 600 local and state government entities since 1976. As a consultant, he has focused on strategic leadership-building, policy development, long-range planning and elected official teamwork skills.

Neu’s visit is sponsored by the Bainbridge Resources Group. His discussion at BHS begins at 7 p.m.

Rolling Bay post office could bear Bainbridge war hero’s name

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill today that would name the Rolling Bay post office after World War II Medal of Honor awardee John ‘Bud’ Hawk.

Decorated with five of the U.S. Army’s top medals in the battlefields of Europe, the Bainbridge Island native was also celebrated for his years in the classrooms of Kitsap County.

“He was a hero for answering his nation’s call in the late 1940s,” said Rep. Jay Inslee, the bill’s prime sponsor. “And he was a hero for several decades to the students he educated.”

Inslee gathered all members of the Washington House delegation to co-sponsor the bill. See a video of Inslee introducing the bill below.

Hawk, now a Bremerton resident, spent his youth in the north Bainbridge neighborhood served by the small Valley Road post office that may soon bear his name.

“He was a son of Rolling Bay,” Inslee said. “He grew up playing with his sister around the post office we’re about to name in his honor.”

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Inslee helps Navy harness tidal power

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee is celebrating a Navy project aimed at harnessing tidal power off Marrowstone Island in Puget Sound.

“I have worked hard in Congress to secure funding for this project and I’m excited to see the results,” the Bainbridge Democrat said. “As we face the crisis of climate change head-on as a nation, it’s critically important that everyone — including the federal government — work to diversify our electricity sources to include clean, renewable power supplies like hydrokinetic energy.”

The demonstration project is part of a congressional mandate that requires military agencies to generate at least 25 percent of their power from renewable sources.

To learn more, read Ed Friedrich’s story here.

Police blotter: The miracle skateboard wipeout

This week, a skatboarder swooped onto Olympic Drive for a head-on collision with a northbound car. The helmetless skateboarder hit the grill, was thrown onto the the windshield and rolled over the roof. Injures: little more than a sore sore neck and leg. Don’t tell your kids. They’ll bring this story up every time you nag them about wearing helmets and knee pads.

Also this week, a rash of car break-ins in the North Madison area. Vehicle owner’s manuals are apparently a hot item on the black market.

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Marshall: We’re entering an era of ‘mcnews mcnuggets’

Islander columnist Becky Fox Marshall entered the journalism world in the era of Woodward and Bernstein. Now, some of the best reporting is coming from Comedy Central and most people only hunger for tasty little morsels of news rather than full meal deals.

Read Marshall’s column below…

Industries and professions come and go with the times. It is part of the march of time. The iceman no longer cometh, because we have freezers in our houses. Farriers are few, and exist mostly for girls who ride in horse shows, rather than serving as a critical cog in the wheel of commerce. It’s a painful transition. It’s even more painful when it’s an industry to which you’ve devoted most of your working life, and surreal to watch it peak and fizzle within your lifetime. It’s downright scary when the industry is a cornerstone of democracy.

I speak, of course, of the demise of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and likely, The Seattle Times. Seattle a no-traditional-newspaper town? How can that be? Last week, a list of 10 newspapers circulated in the surviving media as in their death throes – newspapers in the cities of Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Miami, Detroit, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Fort Worth and Cleveland. And while many in the media believed that community newspapers were not threatened, we on Bainbridge Island have seen drastic changes in our local newspapers.

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