Monthly Archives: March 2012

Riding with the Bainbridge mountain bike team

The Bainbridge High mountain bike team pedals through the Grand Forest on Mar. 21. Photo: Larry Steagall.

A few weeks ago, when I looked into doing a story on Bainbridge High School’s newly-formed mountain bike team, its coach, Gordon Black, was quick to suggest I come to a Wednesday practice and bring my bike along.

I immediately cast that idea to the side. I’d have a City Council meeting at around the same time, and I couldn’t show up muddy and sweaty to a place as decorous and dignified as Bainbridge City Hall. But then a fight broke out during a recent council meeting, and I figured ‘what the heck. If the politicians can practice hand-to-hand combat, why can’t the reporters show up covered in mud?’

I mountain bike fairly regularly, but not at this team’s pace. I’m also not accustomed to the rollicking, narrow pathways they take in Grand Forest Park. There were plenty of sharp turns, steep slopes, crisscrossing tree roots and muddy patches that can instantly rob a bike of all its hard-fought momentum.

I showed up to the practice with a mountain bike a guy at an island bike shop once playfully ridiculed as a “Mad Max” bike. It’s made from mostly scavenged, bartered and donated bits and pieces. Its best part – the front shocks – were yanked from some ivy behind a church in Bremerton. Nothing really syncs up well thanks to the mismatched components and my own happy-go-lucky approach to bike assembly.

Black yelled for me to shift to an easier gear on our first hill. “You’ve got to shift, Tristan! You’re going to kill yourself!” Little did he know that steep-slope shifting on the Mad Max leads only to chain derailment.

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BI controversies cause burst of cartoon creativity

Recent dust-ups over the Bainbridge city manager and the police department has inspired a burst of island-related cartoons from editorial toonsmith Milt Priggee.

We couldn’t run them all in the paper but Milt has posted them on his blog, which you can find here.

Head below to see more of Milt’s recent Bainbridge-skewering work. Be warned – two of the cartoons involve beheadings.

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‘Bainbridge Public Library: Built by and for the people of Bainbridge Island’

This week, Bainbridge Islander reporter Tad Sooter delved into the history of the Bainbridge Public Library, which celebrates its 50th birthday on Saturday (Mar. 17), starting at 10 a.m.


On an August day in 1960, several thousand islanders flooded the Winslow shipyard’s administration building to support a cause that had kept Bainbridge buzzing that summer.

Inside, crowds perused tables heaped with used household items for sale, as two auctioneers took bids on big ticket items. Notable amid the goods offered that day were two live sheep, a 500 gallons of furnace oil and a generous side of beef. One discerning shopper carried away a stuffed seal.

This was the first-ever Bainbridge Rotary Auction, and it was organized for a single purpose: to help pay for a new public library. The club added nearly $6,000 from that sale to a pot of community money that soon reached $35,000.

On March 17, 1962, the new Kitsap Regional Library branch opened on Madison Avenue, with a building and property furnished entirely through donations. As library supporters look back on 50 years of history this month, they see a legacy created and sustained by members of the community, whose contributions keep the library’s lights on and doors open.

“It speaks to the willingness of people on this island to step forward and build something if they don’t have it,” Bainbridge Public Library volunteer board President Pat Miller said. “There’s a lot of pride in that I think.”

The library will celebrate its anniversary with an open house on Saturday, and 1960s-themed events throughout the spring.
The open house will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the library, 1270 Madison Ave. Visitors can join in activities and view history exhibits illuminating the library’s past.

In a way, the past 50 years are only the latest chapter in the history of Bainbridge libraries.
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Knobloch gets restraining order, says he was punched in City Hall tussle


Former city councilman Bill Knobloch obtained a restraining order against former council candidate Robert Dashiell after the pair scuffled at last night’s emotionally-charged council meeting.

Knobloch is considering filing formal assault charges against Dashiell, who has twice run for council. The pair have never run against each other but say they dislike each other passionately. They are sharply divided over City Manager Brenda Bauer, who was fired just before the fight broke out.

Dashiell said he was served with Knobloch’s restraining order at around 11 a.m. today. He vowed to file his own restraining order against Knobloch tomorrow.

“We’re both former Navy commanders; we both have egos; we don’t like each other,” Dashiell said. “That’s what it comes down to.”

Knobloch, who declined to discuss the fight on Wednesday, said today that Dashiell blocked his exit from the council chamber and then punched him in the jaw.

“He sucker punched me,” Knobloch said. “I said ‘don’t try that again,’ and then he went at me with both hands up and pushed me.”

Dashiell denies punching Knobloch. He said it was Knobloch who made the first move.

“I said to Bill Knobloch ‘you finally got what you wanted,’ and he said something like ‘I almost got what I wanted, a**hole’ and pushed his finger under my chin,” Dashiell said on Wednesday night, shortly after police were called to City Hall. Dashiell says Knobloch pushed his finger upward, forcing Dashiell’s head back. In response, he shoved Knobloch, who fell over a table near the chamber’s exit.

Former councilwoman Debbie Vann was knocked to the floor during the scuffle.

Police made no arrests on Wednesday and advised the men to stay at least five feet apart.

Knobloch and Dashiell said they made a “gentleman’s agreement” not to make a big deal of the fight.

But Knobloch says Dashiell broke the agreement when he detailed the fight to me last night. After reading Dashiell’s account in the Bainbridge Conversation, Knobloch decided to seek a restraining order.

“He’s always been after me,” he said, referring to Dashiell’s frequent criticisms of him in online newspaper and blog comment sections.

The restraining order means Dashiell must stay 500 feet away from Knobloch.

“That means we can’t be at (city) meetings together, and if I’m at the grocery store and he comes in, then I have to leave,” Dashiell said.

Dashiell said he won’t seek charges against Knobloch. That is, unless Knobloch seeks charges against him.

“It’s tit for tat,” he said.

UPDATED: Bainbridge city manager fired, scuffle breaks out

Update: Click here for my expanded coverage of the meeting.

In a surprise move, the City Council decided to immediately fire City Manager Brenda Bauer, sending her home in the middle of Wednesday night’s council meeting.

Deputy City Manager Morgan Smith was appointed acting city manager. The council estimates it may take six months before a new city manager is hired.

The city had decided in late January to terminate Bauer’s contract, but had planned to keep her on for a few months while the council looked for her replacement.

Bauer’s sudden exit means she’ll get a bigger payout from the city. Her severance package had included $75,000 plus six months worth of benefits. Having her leave before the 90-day transition period ends means she’ll get an additional $37,500.

“The council felt this was in the best interest of the city,” Councilman David Ward said when asked about the decision to have Bauer leave early. He and other council members declined to say anything more specific.

Ward made the motion for Bauer’s immediate firing. Council members Sarah Blossom, Debbi Lester and Steve Bonkowski supported the motion. Council members Anne Blair, Kirsten Hytopoulos and Bob Scales voted against.

Hytopoulos said the move to fire Bauer was “shocking and embarrassing.” She added that the council has become “negative, paranoid and broken.”

A scuffle broke out in the council chamber shortly after the vote was taken. Former city council candidate Robert Dashiell exchanged angry words with former councilman Bill Knobloch over Bauer’s firing. Dashiell said Knobloch pushed his chin with a finger and that he responded with a shove. Knobloch said Dashiell did more than shove him, but would not say more. Police were called but no arrests were made.

Dig up those Bainbridge baseball memories

The Bainbridge Island Historical Museum is putting out a call for Bainbridge baseball fans to rummage through their attics and garages for memorabilia and old uniforms used by the island’s home-grown school and club teams.

The museum hopes to put the best of the island’s baseball artifacts on display during a May 19 event they’re calling “Baseballarama.”

They’ll also show archival photos of the island’s earliest teams, which were fielded by company towns like Creosote, Port Madison and Port Blakely and neighborhoods like Pleasant Beach (see above photo).

Organizers are also promising hot dogs and beer, and plenty of opportunity to reminisce about the good old days of Bainbridge baseball. Prizes will be awarded for those who “field” the most members of their team.

To get your memorabilia in the mix, or to get more information, call Chuck Callahan at (206) 842-4479.

Police Blotter: Puppy suspected of wallet theft


In this week’s blotter, a poky little puppy steals a wallet, a thief escapes police by slipping out of his coat and a man who was fighting with his girlfriend managed to then fight his way free from a state trooper. He did, however, leave his backpack, which was found to have trove of drugs and stolen electronic items.

Blotter’s below….

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