Daily Archives: May 19, 2011

Bainbridge food safety champion subject of book


Bainbridge food safety attorney Bill Marler is the subject of recently-released nonfiction book “Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat.”

Marler and the book’s author, Jeff Benedict, will discuss the book on Friday (7:30 p.m.) at Eagle Harbor Books.

Marler has spent two decades helping sick people sue corporations over tainted food.

“Poisoned” focuses on Marler’s early 1990s battle with Jack in the Box after its E. coli outbreak made one of his clients and other people seriously ill. The $15.7 million settlement set a Washington state personal injury settlement record and led to several other cases against the fast food chain.

Marler made headlines in 2009 when he donated $50,000 to ensure a college-wide discussion of Michael Pollan’s book “Omnivore’s Dilemma” was not canceled at Washington State University, Marler’s alma mater.

Divers say they found SS Dix

A team of divers say they found a Bainbridge-bound ferry that sunk 104 years ago, claiming an estimated 39 lives.

The sinking of the SS Dix is considered the worst maritime disaster in Puget Sound, and stunned the small Bainbridge community of Port Blakely, a mill town where many of the Dix’s occupants lived.

Underwater videographer Laura James has been looking for the Dix’s wreckage for 20 years. This year, she teamed with wreck diver Scott Boyd and OceanGate, an Everett submarine exploration company, to conduct several dives that they say all but confirms that the wreck they found is the Dix.

“The deep wreck is clearly a wood-hulled passenger steamer from the Mosquito Fleet era and is in a location consistent with the last sighting of the Dix,” James said.

Propeller of the wreckage. Scott Boyd photo

On Nov. 18, 1906, the Dix and its 77 passengers and crew members had disembarked Seattle for Port Blakely.

About a mile north of Alki Point, the Dix struck the Jeanie, a three-masted schooner that had slowed almost to a stop to avoid hitting the smaller vessel. For unknown reasons, the Dix’s first officer suddenly turned toward the Jeanie, striking near its bow.

The collision tipped the Dix, allowing water to spill into its hull. The Dix vanished within minutes. Passengers on the upper deck escaped but those below perished, and are likely still entombed 500 feet below the waves.

When word of the sinking reached Port Blakely, the mill company immediately dispatched the steamer Florence K to bring home survivors.

Port Blakely’s mill and schools closed to allow community members to mourn.

Estimates for the number of lives lost range from 39 to 45.

There was an effort to raise the Dix after life insurance companies refused to pay out policies unless bodies were recovered.

The depth proved too daunting for salvage divers, and a later drag-line operation turned up nothing.

Continue reading

Winslow Way closures

Both lanes of Winslow Way between Town & Country Market and Madison Avenue are now closed between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays.

Traffic is being re-routed through the T&C parking lot to Bjune Drive.

The city has not specified when Winslow Way will re-open for weekday traffic.

The closure will enable work crews to start replacing a storm sewer main. Installation of the main will improve drainage on the south side of the street, where rain has caused puddling and seepage problems, according to the city.

“This re-routing of traffic is a decision that we take very seriously, and one which we believe will help us make up for lost time due to weather conditions,” project administrator Chris Wierzbicki said in a statement.

The south Winslow Way lane will is open after 3 p.m. and all day on weekends.

The city will open up 13 more parking spaces for public use at the City Hall parking lot on Monday to ease downtown parking problems.

For more information about the project, visit winslowstreetsmarts.com.