Monthly Archives: February 2010

City looking to save money by keeping key positions open

The City Council may keep five positions open during the coming year as part of an effort to cut $1 million from the 2010 budget.

The public works director and city engineer are among the jobs that could remain unfilled.

Some council members want to go further.

“I’d like to make staffing cuts rather than holding positions vacant,” said Mayor Bob Scales during a Monday budget meeting. He’s proposing that the deputy planning director and the city engineer positions be combined, and that the deputy police chief job be eliminated.

For more, click here.

The Ballad of Walt Woodward

In my story about Woodward Middle School’s celebration of their namesake, I mentioned that an 8th-grade student Ben Cowen had written a ballad about Walt Woodward.

I didn’t have room in the story to print the full lyrics, but I do here. Click down below.

By the way, Ben got a little research assistance from “Snow Falling on Cedars” author David Guterson, who also happens to be his next-door neighbor. Guterson’s novel has a key character that’s based on Walt Woodward.

“He brought over a book,” Ben said. “But what was funny was that I had already written most of the ballad. I had done plenty of research.”

The 14-year-old recently recorded the ballad and gave a CD copy to Mary Woodwood, one of Walt Woodward’s daughters. Ben plays violin on the track and enlisted a family friend to sing his lyrics.

Continue reading

There’s plenty more to the Woodwards than their stance on the internment

Just about every Bainbridge Islander is familiar with the historic stand Bainbridge Island Review publishers Walt and Millie Woodward took against the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

But Mary Woodward, who spoke on Monday at Woodward Middle School’s 100th birthday celebration for Walt Woodward, wants people to know there was much more to her parents.

Millie, for instance, successfully campaigned in the 1940s to get all the island’s abandoned wells capped, thereby improving water quality for hundreds of residents.

“That didn’t have a lot of flash and dash, but it did save a lot of kids’ lives,” Mary said.

Millie was also a teacher in Bainbridge schools, took part in the formation of the Kitsap Regional Library system and in what eventually became the One Call for All, which combined individual funding appeals from local nonprofits into one annual mail drive.

Walt, who died in 2001 and would have been 100 on Thursday, served a stint as chair of the state Pollution Control Hearings Board and was appointed the state’s first hearing examiner for the Shorelines Hearing Board. He was also the city of Winslow’s first land-use hearings examiner.

Walt was a founder of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, taught boating safety, served on the Seattle Times editorial board and managed the campaign of Republican Catherine May, the first woman elected to represent Washington in Congress.

But most importantly for Mary, the Walt and Millie were caring partners and parents.

“They did have a good marriage because they shared a lot with each other,” Mary told Woodward students. “And they were good parents. They made a good life for their daughters.”

You can read a whole lot more about what Mary thought of her parents in her photo-rich book “In Defense of Our Neighbors.” It’s at Eagle Harbor Books and the Bainbridge Public Library.

Click here to read my story about Woodward Middle School’s celebration. The story includes a photo gallery shot by Meegan Reid.

Island Gateway forum tonight

Developer Bill Carruthers reviews a map of the Island Gateway site. Photo: Tristan Baurick

The city is hosting a forum tonight about the Island Gateway development taking shape at the Highway 305-Winslow Way intersection.

Despite a fair amount of opposition to the 60,000-square-foot project, city leaders say the meeting is not aimed at deciding whether or not to halt Gateway’s progress, which now includes a partially-done Kids Discovery Museum and a large pit that will eventually be underground parking.

Rather, the meeting is aimed at informing Gateway’s critics how and why the city let it go forward.

City leaders admit they could have done a better job explaining its processes and getting information out more quickly.

Islanders opposed to the project have made several public information requests, created a website and filed a lawsuit.

Some critics aren’t happy with the goals of tonight’s forum, calling it a “farce” and a “slap in the face.”

For more about the issues surrounding Gateway, check out the story I wrote for Monday’s paper.

Tonight’s forum runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at City Hall.

A conversation with American Marine’s new owner

The Tacoma News Tribune recently sat down with Columbia State Bank CEO Melanie Dressel to talk about a few of her recent acquisitions, including Bainbridge’s American Marine Bank.

You can read the Tribune’s Q & A here.

A few highlights from the conversation:

– Dressel said there wasn’t much “grieving” at American Marine and Columbia River Bank, which was also acquired last month by Tacoma-based Columbia State.

– Dressel said about 20 percent of Columbia River’s employees will be laid off. No word on whether or not some jobs at American Marine will be cut.

“We will be sitting down with American Marine folks soon,” she told the Tribune. “The greatest concerns we heard was, ‘Do I have a job?’ We wanted to make the right decisions.”

– As for how her bank stayed strong while other banks failed, Dressel said Columbia State “maintained a traditional balance sheet” that was not overly dependent on residential loans.

Photo: Lui Kit Wong, Tacoma News Tribune

A seventh winery takes shape on Bainbridge

For decades there was Bainbridge Island Vineyards & Winery.

Then, a few years ago, came Eleven. And then, starting in 2007, came Perennial Vintners, Eagle Harbor Wine Company, Victor Alexander, Rolling Bay Winery…and now Fletcher Bay Winery.

Here’s what Fletcher Bay has to say about itself:

“Fletcher Bay Winery specializes in producing quality, rich and full bodied red wines by using only the best quality grapes from the best vineyards in Walla Walla and the Yakima Valley. In 2009, the winery introduced a Pinot Grigio white wine made with late harvest grapes from the Yakima Valley. In addition, the winery produces a few fruit wines made from freshly picked berries and apples grown locally on the Island.”

The first batch of reds are scheduled to go on sale sometime this month.

A few of the island’s wineries are planning a package deal for Valentine’s Day that pairs chocolate with wines. Find out more about by clicking here.

By the way, if you’re thinking of starting your own winery, take note that the names of Bainbridge bodies of water are being trademarked fast. Eagle Harbor, Fletcher Bay and Rolling Bay are out. Manzanita Bay, Murden Cove, Madison Bay and Blakely Harbor are still up for grabs.

Details on city budget cuts will have to wait

Details on how the City Council plans to make an estimated $1 million worth of budget cuts will have to wait until the end of the month.

The council, which was scheduled on Wednesday to delve into the specifics of where reductions would be made, opted to wait until more information is available.

Mayor Bob Scales said several department heads were on vacation, making it difficult to get answers about how proposed cuts to the 2010 budget would impact city services.

The council indicated they’d like to explore cuts to the police and information technology departments, and that trimming support for community groups won’t come easy.

For more, head over here.

Bainbridge school levy passes with ease

The school operations levy was passing with an overwhelming 72.88 percent on Tuesday night.

“We are thrilled,” Superintendent Faith Chapel said. “We have had a number of levy measures in the past that have been approved at similar levels, but we weren’t sure what to expect following on the heels of a bond measure in November. We are deeply, deeply appreciative of the support we have from our community.”

Chapel said she was “grateful and absolutely thrilled at the results” throughout the county.

Similar levies were passing in Bremerton (63 percent), Central Kitsap (62 percent) and North Kitsap (72 percent).

Read more about the four Kitsap school levies here.