Monthly Archives: December 2011

The video that (sort of) inspired Bainbridge’s proposed bag ban

Mayor Kirsten Hytopoulos wants Bainbridge to be the fifth city in the state to ban plastic bags.

Read all about it here.

Hytopoulos plans to make a formal proposal shortly after the largely new City Council reconvenes early next month.

Her proposal is patterned after the one the Seattle City Council unanimously approved on Monday, and follows similar bans passed by Bellingham, Mukilteo and Edmonds. She’s also working with Environment Washington, the group that helped pass the Seattle ban, and Town & Country Market, which has been promoting reusable bags for years.

But the inspiration for Hytopoulos’ proposal came – at least in small part – from a viral Heal the Bay-produced mockumentary. Entitled the “Majestic Plastic Bag,” the short video (above) follows the lifespan of a plastic bag as it completes its migration from a grocery store parking lot to the Texas-size wad of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean.

“It’s horrible and it’s funny,” Hytopoulos said. “I may try to get the council to bear with me and watch it.”

Eagle Harbor’s salty Santa sails tonight

If the legend of Santa Claus were formed on the shores of Puget Sound rather than than northern Europe, he likely would wouldn’t have reindeer or a sleigh.

The Northwest-born Santa would be an old sea captain, and he’d fly around in an dory pulled by (what else?) eight tiny blue herons.

This is how Bainbridge historian Jerry Elfendahl envisioned Santa for his Eagle Harbor version of the classic “The Night Before Christmas” poem.

With the poem finished (and now illustrated in poster form available at Custom Printing and on place mats at the Harbour Public House), Elfendahl set to work with an old dory, a bunch of pink flamingos, some campaign signs, paint, lights, a white beard, and a p.a. system to really bring his “Captain Nick” to life.

Read more about the fun Elfendahl and his buddies have been having here.

And to see Captain Nick in all his glory, head down to Waterfront Park tonight (Monday). Elfendahl and his floating creation will be a part of a second Christmas boating parade from 5 to 7 p.m.

Photo: Joel Sackett

Woodworkers craft ‘fancy’ bus shelter for affordable housing project

A group of volunteer woodworkers built a custom bus stop for the Ferncliff Village affordable housing project. Tad Sooter has the story….

Island woodworkers donate new Ferncliff Village bus stop
By Tad Sooter

It’s not often a school bus shelter can elicit awe. The new wooden shelter at the Ferncliff Village affordable housing development isn’t an average bus stop.

“It’s pretty spectacular,” Bill Luria of the Bainbridge Housing Resources Board said of the stout but elegant fir shelter. “It’s a pretty massive structure.”

Luria is just as impressed with the shelter’s builders.

Members of the non-profit Bainbridge Community Woodshop and employees of Salisbury Woodworking contributed about 200 hours to the project on Ferncliff Avenue, which wrapped up in late November.
 The Ferncliff shelter was the latest community service effort completed by Community Woodshop volunteers, who regularly donate their time and expertise to assist fellow non-profits. Kilbane said the service projects meet a need on the island. They also help the Community Woodshop raise its profile while it pursues its overarching goal of creating a shared workshop on Bainbridge.

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Bainbridge author wins 2011 ‘Bad Sex’ writing award

David Guterson won the prestigious PEN/Faulkner fiction award in 1995 for his debut novel “Snow Falling on Cedars.”

For his latest novel, Guterson won the not-quite-as-lofty Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award.

Earning an award for bad sex writing didn’t surprise Guterson. The book is, after all, a retelling of Oedipus Rex, in which the the protagonist is fated to marry his mother.

“Oedipus practically invented bad sex, so I’m not in the least bit surprised,” Guterson said in a statement.

The award was announced this week at a gala event in London.

The scene from “Ed King” that made judges squirm the most describes the book’s title character making love to his mom.

“It describes a night of abandon that concludes with a soapy shower interlude and finishes this way: ‘Then they rinsed, dried, dressed, and went to an expensive restaurant for lunch,’ the Associated Press reported.

Literary heavyweights Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer and John Updike have also earned the “Bad Sex” writing award.

Here’s the story from my interview with Guterson about “Ed King.” Don’t worry, I kept the conversation zeroed in on respectable topics (like coke dealing and prostitution).

Island preschoolers help replant Meigs Park

Here’s Tad Sooter’s story about Island Cooperative Preschool’s effort to plant 50 fir trees at Meigs Park. The school is in the process of earning “Eco School” status from the National Wildlife Federation.

Bainbridge preschoolers replant island park
By Tad Sooter

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – A few years from now the freshly planted Douglas fir seedlings at Meigs Park will be the size of Christmas trees. The children who planted them, meanwhile, will still be in elementary school.

Bundled up in fuzzy hats and rubber boots, students from Island Cooperative Preschool planted 50 firs at the park Nov. 19, with the help of their parents and tree specialist Jim Trainer.

The children were performing a community service by replanting a clearing recently stripped of invasive Scotch broom. But this was more than a work party. Parents and teachers also hope activities like the tree planting will help the children build an appreciation of the environment at a young age.

“It’s really important to get kids out and doing something real in nature, so they’ll grow up to be stewards of the earth,” teacher Ellen Carleson said.

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A buck will get you the state’s most celebrated ferry

So it’s come to this. The Kalakala, an iconic art deco ferry that once had its own swing band and full-service restaurant, is now worth less than a cup of drip coffee.

With no prospects for saving the ailing vessel, the owner has put it up for sale for only a dollar.

Retired its longtime Bremerton-Seattle run in the late 1960s, the ferry was shipped up to Alaska where it served as a floating seafood processing plant until it was abandoned. It returned to Seattle in 1998, whereupon plenty of hopes and dreams (but few dollars) were pinned on the beat-up and rusted vessel.

I’m not sure the Kalakala had more than a brief turn serving the Bainbridge-Seattle run, but the “Silver Slug” must have been a common site for south-enders as it glided by from Bremerton. It ran aground on Bainbridge in 1945 and 1951.

Parked in Tacoma for the last six years, the Kalakala has worn out its welcome. Its lease in the Hylebos Waterway has been terminated and the U.S. Coast Guard believes it’s in danger of capsizing. They want the holes patched, the hull fixed and a plan in place for towing it away by Dec. 19, the Seattle Times reports.

The $1 dollar price tag means the Kalakala is priced to move (how to move it is another question).

“The person who purchases this will be credible,” the Kalakala’s owner told the Times. “I’m selling it for $1 to the right person. Then it’s closed, it’s their story. The most-treasured world-class vessel will become one person’s yacht.”

After the jump are some early interior shots of the Kalakala (via

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BI’s “boring” symphony story goes national, becomes quiz show question

News traveled fast about the woman who was tossed out of BPA for uttering “boring” during a symphony performance.

Once I put it up on this blog, the Associated Press grabbed it and put it on the wire. Fastest in the West was the Wenatchee World, which had it up first (even before the Kitsap Sun’s main site). In short order, it was reprinted in the Bellingham Herald, the Olympian, Tacoma News Tribune, Seattle Times and other papers. TV and radio stations in Seattle and Portland soon followed suit.

The magazine Seattle Met advocated for more witty heckling and the Seattle P-I expressed sympathy for the woman.

“Really, who hasn’t been bored to tears at a concert, recital, or school play?” wrote the P-I’s Vanessa Ho.

Out of state, the story popped up in San Antonio, a small paper in Indiana, Washington D.C.s Examiner and Toronto’s Globe and Mail. Even CBS News put it on their website.

KIRO radio’s Dave Ross and Luke Burbank spent quite a bit of time discussing the issue. They even tracked down the symphony’s program and played various clips to see which tune could have sparked the “boring” comment. Listen to their discussion here.

Best of all, though, was the blotter item’s appearance as a quiz show question on National Public Radio’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me.

When quizzed about why the woman had been removed, panelist Mo Rocca guessed it must have been for passing gas. Burbank (who also happened to be a panelist) showed off some of his research, surmising that the boring comment must have come after Bizet’s Carmen Suit, which he insisted is anything but boring (as Tom & Jerry can attest to).

“So the woman was both rude and not musically accurate,” Burbank said.

You can listen to the “Wait, Wait” symphony bit below. It’s at the 1:07 minute mark.

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