All posts by Tad Sooter

About Tad Sooter

Kitsap Sun business reporter

Flying over Kitsap: More comments and more flight tracks

blog.skinny.Traffic From Other Airports

We received a lot of feedback after my story on increased air traffic over Bainbridge ran earlier this month.

I’ve reached out to FAA and King County International Airport officials to get a more complete picture of air traffic in the area, and I’ll post whatever information they provide. In the meantime, I’ll share some of the additional reader input and flight track graphics we’ve received.

Comments posted in response to the story online were mostly of the “those islanders always find something to complain about” variety, but I also heard from a number of Bainbridge and North Kitsap residents who had concerns and observations regarding airplane noise. Here’s a sampling:

“In the twelve years we have lived here, this past summer is the first time we have been bothered by the noise. As I noted, this year the frequency of the flights has increased greatly and the planes are flying at lower altitudes than in previous years.” – Kathy, south Kingston

“My concern is these flights are too low for one thing.  At night the strobe lights up my back yard on approach as I’m on a hill and I know the plane is closer than 2,000 ft at my house off Eagle Harbour.  I believe our senator and US Congress reps should be involved but it’s King County Airport where the flights are coming in over my area.” – Jim, Bainbridge Island Continue reading

Police Blotter: DUI suspect offers police $5


A 22-year-old Poulsbo man drew the attention of police on the night of Sept. 20 when his car skidded up onto a sidewalk within earshot of the Winslow Way  station. Police caught up to the vehicle on Harborview Drive and asked the driver for his license. The man rifled through his wallet and produced a $5 bill, which he offered to police. A breathalyzer test later registered the man’s blood alcohol content at more than four times the legal limit.

Also this week, an enraged marina resident assaulted a fellow liveaboard with a rock, and an equally irate driver punched a car on Highway 305.

The blotter is below: Continue reading

PSE to replace towers on Agate Passage; meeting Tuesday


Puget Sound Energy plans to replace two steel lattice towers that support transmission lines spanning Agate Passage.

The lattice towers were installed in the late 1960s and are reaching the end of their usable lifespans. PSE plans to replace the towers with four steel poles. The upgrade will help prevent transmission lines from failing and interrupting the island’s power supply, according the the PSE project page.

“By replacing the two existing lattice towers with four new steel poles, we can ensure the transmission lines will remain safe and reliable for many years to come.”

PSE is applying for city permits for the project this fall. Construction will likely take place in the summer of 2014 or 2015.

A public participation meeting for the project is scheduled from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall. A short presentation will be given at about 5:30 p.m. The meeting is a requirement of the permit application process.

More information is available on the project page. A letter to customers and a map of the project area are embedded below:

Agate Pass Tower Replacement_Community Update by tsooter

30 apply to be Bainbridge public works director


The city has chosen eight semifinalists for its public works director position. The semifinalists were selected from a pool of 30 applicants from 17 states, according to the Friday city manager’s newsletter.

Six of the eight semifinalists are from Washington. One semifinalist is from Texas, and one is from Indiana. The semifinalists will complete a brief online interview. Finalists will be selected Oct. 1. The finalists will visit the island in mid-October for more extensive interviews.

The city is searching for a permanent replacement for Lance Newkirk, who resigned this spring. John Cunningham is serving as interim public works director.

Police Blotter: Island man falls victim to jury duty scam


A 70-year-old Bainbridge man lost $2,000 on Sept. 10 to a scam involving a bogus jury duty scenario. A caller purporting to be a sheriff’s office official told the man he’d missed a jury summons and had a warrant out for his arrest. The caller said he the warrant would be lifted if the man paid a hefty fee. He complied, but later discovered the caller was a scam artist.

Also this week, two vehicles collided head-on on blind turn on Crystal Springs Drive, while two other vehicles plowed into the back of a Kitsap Transit bus on New Brooklyn Road.

The blotter is below: Continue reading

Input sought for Bainbridge community radio station

Sustainable Bainbridge hopes to bring a community FM radio station to the island. The nonprofit group plans to submit an application for a low-power broadcasting license in October.

Tonight, Sustainable Bainbridge is gathering ideas on how a radio station could serve the island and what types of programs islanders would like to hear. A meeting is scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Waterfront Park Community Center.

You can find more information on the Sustainable Bainbridge website. Written comments and letters of support can be sent to

We’re interested in hearing your ideas as well. Please take our poll and or leave us a comment below.

What would you most like to hear on a Bainbridge community radio station?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Here’s an excerpt from our recent story on the group’s quest for a community radio station: Continue reading

Park district floats new concept for Blakely Harbor


The park district will present a proposed new vision for Blakely Harbor Park this week.

The public is invited to view and comment on a proposed new concept plan for the park at 6 p.m. Thursday at the district’s Strawberry Hill Park headquarters. More details on the meeting can be found here. An overview is posted below.

Comments can also be sent to Perry Barrett – – by Sept. 17. Continue reading

A look at Harrison’s proposed Bainbridge center


Harrison Medical Center is seeking approval of a 25,000-square-foot building to be constructed near the intersection of Highway 305 and Madison Avenue.

blog.harrisonmapThe hospital hopes to break ground on an initial 17,000-square-foot phase this fall and open the center by the winter of 2014.

Today Harrison sent us artist’s renderings of how the initial phase might look on the site. The rendering below shows a view of the proposed building from southbound Highway 305.

A public participation meeting for the project is scheduled for 4-6 p.m. Thursday at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art auditorium. (See the notice PDF here.)

The proposed center would offer 24-hour urgent care, primary and specialty care, and lab and imaging services.


blog.Main View Rendering

Islanders hold vigil for peace


About 65 islanders gathered for a peace vigil outside Bainbridge Island City Hall Monday evening. The vigil was held, in part, to protest potential U.S. military strikes in Syria.

blog.vigil4Organizer Norm Keegel, 74, said it seemed the nation was marching toward another war this summer.

“Lately I’ve felt a sense of helplessness,” Keegel said. “What can a person do?”

He reached out to representatives in Congress  and discussed Syria with staff from Rep. Derek Kilmer’s office. Keegel felt a vigil would show solidarity for a non-violent resolution.

“What a wonderful way to show (Kilmer) there are people on the island who care about peace,” Keegel said.

Participants in the Monday vigil gathered in a wide circle and shared their thoughts on the conflict. They stood for 10 minutes of silence, then sang and danced as the evening grew dark.


Rep. Derek Kilmer and Sen. Patty Murray remained undecided on action in Syria as of last week. You can read their statements on the issue here.

(Photos by Tad Sooter)

Blakely Rock yoga sculpture takes a tumble


The Blakely Rock yoga sculpture finally lost its balance.

Artist Ethan Currier sent us a photo (right) of the fallen remains his 1,600-pound rock creation Monday morning. The 12-foot-tall, unauthorized public art piece had stood on the reef outside Eagle Harbor since late December.

It’s unclear when or why the sculpture fell. Currier hinted at possible vandalism in his email. He said he was confident the sculpture wouldn’t have fallen on its own, and noted the weather has been calm lately.

“I’m glad nobody was hurt,” he added.

Currier said he planned to clean up the rubble as soon as possible.

Bainbridge Island School District announces uptick in enrollment

More students than expected showed up for the first day of school Wednesday on Bainbridge.

Bainbridge Island School District announced a preliminary first-day head count of 3,700 students, amounting to 115 full-time equivalent students more than expected. Administrators had projected enrollment to dip by about 25 FTE.

Here is the email district spokeswoman Pam Keyes sent to parents Thursday:

Welcome back to a new, exciting school year!

The Bainbridge Island School District is delighted to report preliminary,
first-day enrollment of 3700 students – a number that is 115 FTE (full-time
equivalent) students higher than anticipated. We want to add a special
welcome to the many new families who enrolled students during these past
few weeks. It is wonderful to see so many new faces in each of our schools.

The enrollment increase is distributed across all grade levels, K-12. While
numbers tend to fluctuate during the first few days and weeks of every
school year, there has clearly been the need to add staffing and additional
class sections.   The district has added two elementary classes and high
school sections in English, Math, Science, Health and World Languages.

While changes in the number of high school sections will affect some
individual student schedules, BHS Principal Jake Haley noted that “reducing
and balancing class size will support the district’s goal to provide
students with the best possible learning environment.” The district will
continue to carefully monitor enrollment and class size to see if
additional adjustments are needed.

Best regards to all!

No Fort Ward Hill project this year


Scheduling conflicts have forced the city to postpone work on Fort Ward Hill Road until next year.

The City Council awarded a $700,000 contract for road reconstruction and shoulder widening in July and a public outreach meeting was held Aug. 19. The project was supposed to begin late this summer but the contractor ran into scheduling conflicts with private utility companies working in the area said Interim Public Works Director John Cunningham. With rainy weather descending, the work was postponed until the spring of 2014.

“The last thing we want to do is open it up and not get it paved before the wet winter weather hits here,” Cunningham said during a recent briefing to the City Council.

This is the second phase of work on Fort Ward Hill Road. Contractors will rebuild the street between Bolero Drive and Sunny Hill Circle, and widen shoulders to 5 feet on both sides. An additional 700 feet of guardrail, rockeries and drainage will be installed.

The first phase of the project rebuilt the roadway between Country Club Road and Bolero Drive in 2008.

Check the project page for updates.