Monthly Archives: July 2009

Police Blotter: Drunk driver mounts dangerous protest against TV news camera

A drunken drug-dealing teen found a TV news camera thrust into his face shortly after crashing his car on Crystal Springs Drive. To protest, the teen ran into the roadway and refused to leave until the filming ceased. Police yanked him from the road and booked him on no less than six charges.

Also this week, a party bust on Tolo, a raccoon shooting on Venice Loop and strange Harry Potter-inspired graffiti appears at the high school.

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Kitsap Sun tells Inslee to “stay out of our pea-patches”

The Kitsap Sun’s editorial board today told Congressman Jay Inslee to plant his community garden money somewhere else.

Inslee, as outlined in a previous post, wants to create a federal grant program to help establish and maintain community gardens.

The editorial board argues that community gardens are best left to communities.

“Simply put, community gardens are working well because they’re grass roots, and they’re a good idea.

More to the point, they’re a good idea Congress should leave alone.”

Read the full editorial here.

Police Blotter: For-sale home staged with “preppy” drinkers


A local real estate agent was surprised to find two young men wandering the rooms of one of her unoccupied for-sale homes. More interested in the Rolling Bay house as a place to drink than to buy, the “preppy”-looking men fled with their beers in-hand after the agent threatened to call the cops. And the bottle of wine used to stage the house? Not a drop left.

Read on for the rest of this week’s blotter….

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That check in the mail from BI lawyers may be legit

The Tri-City Herald is reporting that letters and checks sent to Washington consumers from Bainbridge-based Williamson and Williams Lawyers are legitimate.

Some have wondered if the checks, which are part of a settlement, may be a scam.

Not true, according to the Better Business Bureau.

As the Herald reports, the law firm was involved in a number of cases brought against companies that made illegal “robo-calls” or sent junk faxes.

Some consumers may receive a check even if they didn’t file a complaint.

To validate a check’s legitimacy, call Williamson and Williams at (206) 780-4447.

A community garden that doesn’t need the feds’ help

Ed Cannard picks raspberries at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church's community garden.
Ed Cannard picks raspberries at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church's community garden.
While working on a story about islander and congressman Jay Inslee’s proposed community garden grant program, I visited the 22 plots at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church.
After 21 years, it remains the only community garden in Winslow. It’s open to all – not just church congregants – but the long wait list is daunting.

I’ve seen few community gardens that are so well-kept and cared for. Whereas many community gardens have a few fallow plots and weeds creeping between raised beds, the church’s garden, with its many teak garden benches and stone ornaments, seemed bursting with healthy vegetables and flowers. There’s a reason community gardens aren’t always pretty. They’re practical places; not rose gardens. But the church’s garden seemed a combination of both: pleasing in its appearance and utilitarian in its purpose.

Much of the credit is due to the gardeners, who must sometimes wait up to three years for a plot. If you’re willing to cross your fingers that long, you’re not likely to squander the opportunity when you get it. Credit also goes to the garden’s volunteer keeper, Ed Cannard. He’s gardened there for almost all of its 21 years. As the garden’s manager, Cannard is tough. If you’re not taking care of your plot, you’re out fairly quickly and someone else on the long wait list is invited in.

Cannard said Inslee’s bill, which would provide up to 80 percent reimbursement for community garden development, wouldn’t help his garden much. Money, he said, isn’t what’s made Eagle Harbor church’s garden flourish for over two decades. It’s more about the people who volunteer their time to make it a success.

At the same time, though, Cannard sees demand for community gardens is sharply rising, and his small garden can’t come close to meeting local demand. While the Bainbridge park district has talked about possibly expanding their community garden offerings beyond the Battle Point Park patch, local nonprofits and private landowners have moved quickly in recent months to establish several gardens around the island. The new gardens are built largely with donated materials, donated land and volunteer labor.

And, judging by the 25 comments that have so far streamed in about Inslee’s bill, that’s the way it should be.

Most commenters on the online story see grant-funded community gardens as unnecessary and a waste of tax dollars during a time when the government is piling on debt.

Here’s a few comments posted to the online story:

“Another backwards Islander forcing socialism and fruitcake politics down our throats.”

“Which part of the constitution authorizes the federal government to fund vegetable gardens?”

“If you want an ‘alternative’ then that would be to shake the pockets of all those Doctors and Lawyers over there. A ‘community garden’ should be a privately or community funded…. as the name would suggest; ‘community.'”

“Mr Inslee, I hate to tell you but the country is broke from the bailouts. Obamanomics have failed and grants/handouts etc… cannot be afforded. Please start cutting social programs to payoff the debt.”

Inslee’s proposal is not without its backers. Here’s one commenter’s take:

“Americans can’t wait 3 years for the ‘Cannards’ of the world to provide a solution to what this country needs now…Thanks Jay Inslee for working for us. Thanks for supporting Victory Gardens.”

What do you think? Could Inslee’s proposal help meet Bainbridge’s demand for community gardens? And what about other communities that may not have the wide-spread support for community gardens or the deep pockets that have helped make them happen here. And the overall question: should the feds even be involved?

Island Gateway approved

The city gave final approval for the Island Gatway development late last week.

The largest Bainbridge development in years, Island Gateway is now set to break ground at the Winslow Way-Highway 305 intersection in late summer or early fall.

Planning Director Kathy Cook approved the development on Friday after it earned the support of the city Planning Commission and Design Review Board.

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Police blotter: Party pooper’s pals drug him, toss him out on lawn


Here’s last week’s blotter, a little late, but still full of drug and booze-fueled adventure. Read on for the tale of a self-described “loud and obnoxious” man at a 4th of July party who drank a bit much, spoke a bit too loudly and stayed a bit too long. His flustered fellow party-goers ended up slipping him a strong sedative and hauled him out the door.

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City gearing up for “rummage sale” of surplus properties


The 14-acre Suzuki property on New Brooklyn is one of eight properties the city is aiming to sell in the coming months.

Councilman Bill Knobloch calls it a “rummage sale” of sorts, where the city cleans out its large inventory of under-used properties.

Valued at $5.4 million, the Suzuki property’s sale could mean a lot for the city’s beleaguered budget.

The city’s in negotiations to sell parts of three smaller properties near the head of Eagle Harbor and Vincent Road.

For more, read my story here.

The island’s finest chicken coops are on display Saturday


Click here to see Rachel Pritchett’s story on Saturday’s Tour de Coop. Eight chicken coops around Bainbridge will display the various ways islanders are taking advantage of this inexpensive food source in tough economic times.

As Rachel writes:

Long symbols of strapped times, chickens and their coops are enduring symbols of self-reliance, the good earth and the promise of never going hungry as long as there is a scritch or scratch beyond the kitchen door.

Chickens: cheap, fresh food, good garden compost producers and (little known fact) stress reducers. Watch chickens peck about your yard and you will feel your mind calm and your muscles relax. I have no scientific data to back up this claim. But my mom swears by it, so it must be true.