Monthly Archives: December 2009

City gets a clean audit

Bainbridge city officials are touting a clean audit for the 2008 fiscal year.

In a presentation to the Bainbridge City Council last week, the state auditor’s staff noted they found no “deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting that they consider to be material weaknesses.” Auditors also reported no findings of concern in the city’s financial reporting, compliance and other matters, according to a city press release.

The city didn’t get such a good audit last year. Read about it here.

The final 2008 audit report is expected in early January.

Read the full press release below.

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Bainbridge’s “kooky” ethics code

The city’s ethics code is a “backward” version of our legal system, says the Ethics Board chairman.

Those accused of an ethics breach can’t address the Ethics Board. The board can’t ask questions, and have to assume the accuser is telling the truth. Essentially, they have to decide guilt based only on what the accuser says.

To put it another way: the ethics code is “kooky,” chairman Dennis Willerford said.

Click here to read more about how the ethics complaint against Councilwoman Hilary Franz highlights flaws in the ethics code.

City delays senior center project

The City Council on Monday voted to delay the start of the $9 million senior center expansion until the public is allowed to weigh in on the project.

Funded in equal parts by a voter-approved bond, fundraising campaign and grants, the new center would be more than twice the size of the current facility. Recent discussions about the center’s future have included the possibility of adding disaster relief capabilities and offices for the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council.

For more, click here.

St. Cecilia’s construction ‘miracle’

In just six months, Saint Cecilia’s congregation raised $5.5 million to make their parish a better place. Most of the money came out of the congregation’s own pockets.

It might just be a “miracle,” said St. Cecilia’s Father Emmett Carroll.

Now the congregation is starting to see what their money is buying. This week marked the halfway point in the construction of the parish’s new 23,000-square-foot building. A construction crew celebrated the benchmark by installing a Christmas tree on the building’s roof.

For photos of the tree installation and bit more about St. Cecilia’s new building and the old barracks it replaces, click here.

BI clean energy company gets $350 million grant

A Bainbridge Island company has received a $350 million federal stimulus grant to help build a cutting-edge coal power plant in Texas that greatly reduces the amount of air emissions.

“This is not a science experiment. This is a commercial plant,” said Eric Redman, president of Summit Power Group of Bainbridge Island.

In today’s Kitsap Sun, business reporter Rachel Pritchett writes that Summit has developed technology that would capture 90 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by the plant. The gas would then be condensed and deposited deep underground.

The plant could produce enough energy for 400,000 homes.

For more, click here.

It’s a good time to be a kid on Bainbridge Island

The new KidsUp! Parent Child Center in the Pavilion on Madison Ave.
The new KidsUp! Parent Child Center on Madison Ave.

Within the next few months, kids will have three indoor play and learning centers to choose from in downtown Winslow.

The revived Parent Child Center opened earlier this month in the former gym space on the Pavilion’s second floor. The nonprofit center has a large town-themed play area, lots of toys, a quiet infant play area and a meeting room.

Next door, in KiDiMu’s old space, the Peacock Family Center is set to open in February. Peacock, which had a small play place in Rolling Bay, will have indoor and outdoor play areas, child care and on-site counselors to help special needs kids or mothers who need assistance with postpartum depression and other parenting challenges.

In June, KiDiMu plans to open its new space in the Island Gateway development on Winslow Way.

Having plenty of options is great for kids and parents, but what about the nonprofit centers themselves? Will they compete or collaborate? Check out my story here.

American Marine promises better business practices

Bainbridge-based American Marine Bank has promised regulators a series of improvements after suffering losses this year.

In a consent order signed with state and federal regulators, the bank agreed to strengthen its management practices, increase its capitol and maintain adequate reserves to cover loan losses.

American Marine was holding a number of large loans that defaulted when the economy crashed. It is expected to be in a loss position for most of 2009, according to a press statement issued by the bank.

For more, read business reporter Rachel Pritchett’s story.

BI’s Chinese New Year celebration canceled

ChineseNewYearBainbridge Island won’t be ringing in the Chinese New Year with the pomp seen in years past.

Not enough volunteers stepped up to organize the 2010 celebration, according to members of the Bainbridge Island Chinese Connection, a nonprofit cultural group that established the event in 2006.

Previous celebrations drew as many as 3,000 people to Winslow for parades, traditional music, firecrackers, Chinese lion dancers, film showings, food booths and cultural displays.

“It’s a lot of work,” BICC co-founder Bill Evans said. “It’s tough to get volunteers for this. We had no problem finding people to help out for a few hours (during the event), but for people to help out with planning this – that’s another story.”

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