Monthly Archives: January 2010

Council approves settlement with ratepayers alliance

The City Council on Wednesday accepted a partial settlement with the Bainbridge Ratepayers Alliance that will allow the city to acquire a loan to complete the Winslow sewer plant.

The settlement, which puts to rest the most contentious element of a suit filed by the alliance, will also lead to the cancellation of a surcharge that would have more than doubled sewer rates, city officials said.

“This is that rare thing – a win all the way around,” Interim City Manager Lee Walton said in a statement.

The alliance’s lawsuit, which challenges the city’s use of utility funds, deterred loan providers from working with the city.

In the settlement, the alliance agrees to not challenge a $1.9 million loan provided by Cashmere Valley Bank. The city, for its part, agrees to use the loan only for the sewer project, pay the alliance’s legal fees and repeal the surcharge.

A hearing on repealing the surcharge is scheduled for Jan. 27.

Scientists slam BI man’s controversial shoreline report

Fourteen marine scientists jointly criticized a report by a retired forest researcher who says bulkheads aren’t as harmful to marine life as many think.

The Kitsap Sun highlighted the report last fall. In it, Bainbridge resident Don Flora outlined an analysis on data he culled from two inventories of shoreline structures and habitats along Bainbridge and east Kitsap. Flora’s analysis found no statistical relationship between “stressors” caused by human construction and “ecological function.”

As reported today by Christopher Dunagan, the 14 scientists say Flora’s analysis was “methodologically flawed,” ignored relevant research and was factually incorrect in many places, “especially in its use and interpretation of studies.”

Bainbridge shorelines biologist Jim Brennan said Flora’s report was a “misrepresentation of the science.”

In response, Flora said more shoreline research is needed in the region and the data should be made readily available.

Click here to read the full story.

Learn more about the school operations levy tonight

The Bainbridge Island School District is hosting an information session tonight about renewing the operations levy, which supports about 20 percent of the district’s budget.

The levy renewal will be on the Feb. 9 ballot.

If passed, the levy will generate $8.3 million in 2011 and increase incrementally to $8.9 million in 2014.

Tonight’s meeting is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Bainbridge High School library.

For more information, head over here.

Photography students giving back to inspirational BHS class

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Bainbridge High School senior Morgan Marler has organized a photo show at Andante Coffee to highlight the talents of her fellow students and raise money for the class that fostered their work. All proceeds from the sale of the framed prints will help buy photography supplies for the class. Morgan took the above photo from inside the old Port Blakely mill building at Blakely Harbor Park.

I sent a few questions to Morgan to see what’s what.

Why did you decide to organize this show?

Initially, I intended to show photos I shot in Thailand in august of 2008 (proceeds would have been directed to a number of NGOs I visited while I was there) but unfortunately my exterior hard drive crashed and I lost the majority of my photos. I did not have enough photos for a show so I began asking other photo students if they would be interested in contributing work. Because the work is all by students who got their start from the BHS photo program, it only seemed right that we would give any proceed back to a program which has given us so much.

What got you in to photography?

I began taking photos in middle school, just of friends and family, nothing serious. It wasn’t until my sophomore year, when taking a black and white photo class from Mrs. Holsman, did I really discover my passion. Mrs. Holsman didn’t just teach me how to take a photo, she taught me how to share the way I see the world. Everyone views the world differently and photos allow people to look at things in a way they might not have. I have played sports, been in plays, sang in choirs, and danced in recitals, but nothing compares to the feeling I get when I hear the click of my shutter. Photography is my way of expressing myself, and I have Mrs. Holsman, Mrs. Neuhauser and the BHS photo program to thank for allowing me the opportunity to learn about photography.

Why is the photography program important to you and other students?

Photography allows an individual to share their view of the world. Without the photo program, students at BHS wouldn’t have the opportunity to explore a different creative avenue. Every year BHS competes in the state photo competition, and every year we are among the tops schools. There is so many talented photographers at BHS, and many agree that they wouldn’t have been as successful if it was not for the photography program.

Is the program struggling financially, or in danger of being canceled?

The program is not struggling financially nor is it in danger of being canceled. With the current economy, BHS has found more families in general asking for help with fees related to school. My goal is to display work at Andante and hopefully sell a few pieces. Any proceeds made will be a way to give back and to help give the opportunity to all of the kids who want to take the class but might not be able to afford it. Film, paper, cameras, ink and other equipment for developing are more expensive than some people might think.

–Andante Coffee is in the Seabreeze building, 123 Bjune Drive.

How do you get a million gallons of tar out of the ground?

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A panel of experts will be asking this very question during a three-day meeting about the future of the Wyckoff Superfund site.

Called together by the state Department of Ecology, the eight-member group will explore new ways to remove – rather than just contain – the estimated million gallons of creosote and other chemical compounds that remain in the site’s soil and groundwater.

The group will hold a public meeting on Wednesday at IslandWood to share some of the ideas under discussion. It’s from 7 to 9 p.m.

“There are environmental consequences to leaving creosote on-site,” said Tim Nord, Ecology’s manager of land- and aquatics-cleanup. “And there’s a huge cost of running the site for a hundred years.”

Ecology is slated to takeover the site’s management from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has administered the site for more than two decades.

After failing to find a workable solution for extracting large amounts of contaminants, the EPA has settled on a cap-and-contain method for the site.

But Ecology says such a plan carries too much risk and could carry maintenance costs of $1 million a year for as long as the contaminants remain a danger to humans and the environment.

Continue reading

Don’t drink and kayak

While drinking beers and watching a college football game, two men on Bainbridge had a bright idea: hop in kayaks and paddle to Seattle. At night. In January.

They made it all the way across – with the help of rescue crews.

At about 2 a.m. on Friday, emergency responders got a call that one of the kayakers had capsized.

The 28-year-old man was clinging to the side of his kayak while his friend, a 36-year-old, used a cell phone to call a girlfriend, who, in turn, called 911, said Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Dana Vander Houwen.

The call sparked a multi-agency search.

On-shore firefighters with binoculars spotted faint flickering lights about 2 miles off from the Magnolia area of Seattle. The men were were brought to shore on the Seattle fireboat Leschi.

The 28-year-old was suffering from hypothermia after spending about 45 minutes in the water. He was excruciatingly cold and could barely speak, according to Seattle police. The older man was also cold and wet from rain, but conscious and alert.

Police said both men had the strong odor of beer on the two.

The men were wearing life jackets but were dressed in street clothes.

Get ready to slow down on 305

The speed limit on Highway 305 is dropping from 55 to 50 miles per hour.

The new 50-mph speed limit signs will be posted on Jan. 18 along most of the stretch between the Winslow ferry terminal and Poulsbo.

“Speed studies, collisions, citizen requests and speed zone route consistency were all integral components of our speed zone reduction on Bainbridge Island and within Kitsap County,” said Kelly Stowe, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

Read the rest of the story here.

Attempted murder suspect arrested

Edward Olsen
Edward Olsen

A nationwide hunt for a man on the run for over a month after he allegedly tried to murder his ex-girlfriend and her son in their Bainbridge home ended with his arrest Friday night – in Chandler, Arizona.

Edward Mark Olsen turned himself into Chandler police officers at about 8 p.m. Friday, according to a news release issued by the Bainbridge Island Police Department. The 49-year-old, a wanted parolee from California at the time of his crime for assaulting the same woman, is being held on charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, attempted murder and burglary.

On Nov. 29, police say that Olsen broke into the the car and then the John Adams Lane home of his 39-year-old former girlfriend in the early morning hours while she and her 12-year-old son slept. It’s alleged that Olsen doused the two with gasoline in their bed and threatened to light it on fire.

The incident took place two weeks after another attack on the woman.

The woman and her son were able to escape the home and persuade neighbors on nearby Wyatt Way to call the police. Olsen fled as well.

Since then, Bainbridge detectives, working with the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, conducted a nationwide search for Olsen. Reports placed him in Florida, Nevada and California before Olsen called the Chandler police Friday night, according to the release. He told them that he had outstanding felony warrants and wanted to turn himself in. He was arrested without incident.
–Kitsap Sun staff

111 percent sewer surcharge put on hold

Head over here to read my story on Interim City Manager Lee Walton’s City Council-backed decision to put a month-long hold on the massive Winslow sewer surcharge.

Councilman Bill Knobloch says the surcharge suspension shows that a wind of change has swept though City Hall.

“It’s a brand new year, a brand new council,” he said. “There’s a new direction, and I’m very pleased.”