Category Archives: Social Services

Bainbridge library won’t be open on Sundays anymore

UPDATE – Here’s reporter Chris Henry’s story on the Sunday closure.

I just got word that the Bainbridge library will no longer be open on Sundays.

Kitsap Regional Libraries will also close the three other main branches (Sylvan Way, Poulsbo and Port Orchard) on Sundays.

The Bainbridge branch is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

The decision to cut Sunday hours was made by the KRL board on Tuesday evening. The board said the cuts were necessary to balance the library system’s budget. KRL’s most recent levy was rejected by voters.

See the KRL press release below.
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Marshall: Neighborhoods shouldn’t fear the elderly

Islander columnist Becky Fox Marshall shares her thoughts on some of October’s more infamous Bainbridge news items, including the flare up over an elderly care facility in the Commodore neighborhood.

Bainbridge Island got a lot of bad publicity in October – and that was before the tragic police shooting.

A 28-year-old islander accused of armed robbery crashed through a roadblock and was the object of a manhunt in Mason County in which a sheriff’s deputy was shot in the leg. News reports stated the wound may have been caused by a ricochet, but still, we’re talking flying bullets.

Three island men were arrested in connection with a string of burglaries on the north end – with a few felony warrants and heroin thrown in. All of the burglaries occurred late at night while people were home, often while they were asleep. Scary!

There were multiple drunk driving arrests, a bloody fight at a gas station, and a standoff between a 73-year-old man with a crow bar and his 25-year-old tenant, who was armed with a gun. Unloaded, but scary nonetheless.

There were at least three dog attacks – at Fort Ward State Park, Grand Avenue and Foster Road.

You had a guy apparently shooting a gun near two child-care centers who was actually angry when the cops showed up in response to calls.

Oh yeah, and a bicycle rider punched some pedestrian along Manitou Beach Drive – surely there is more to THAT story.

But perhaps the most troubling story to come out of October was the strident and frankly shocking reaction of some neighbors to an adult care facility on Whited Place in the Commodore Lane neighborhood. It was troubling enough for the local Fox News crew to show up.
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Wednesday is judgement day for Bainbridge courthouse

Bainbridge courthouse

The City Council is scheduled to decide on Wednesday whether to begin the process of moving the Bainbridge Island Municipal Court to Poulsbo’s new city hall. The discussion begins at 7 p.m.

The issue drew quite a bit of comment at the last council meeting. Over a dozen people spoke in favor of keeping the courthouse on Bainbridge; none spoke against. Moving it to Poulsbo, they said, would cost residents time and money, dissuade some of the least fortunate from seeking the court’s help, and reflect poorly on the community’s values.

No one at the meeting spoke in favor of moving the court to Poulsbo, but the pro argument is laid out in the Joint Court Task Force’s report. The task force, which is made up of elected officials from both cities, noted that the move will save Bainbridge about $15,000 a year and finally put the court in a building specifically designed for a court (the current Rolling Bay courthouse was designed for retail and storage use).

Read more about the pros and cons in my STORY from Saturday’s paper. There’s also a good debate in the comments section.

Head down below for a packet of documents related to the issue, including a Bainbridge city staff assessment of the Rolling Bay building, the task force’s recommendation and Judge Kate Carruthers’ dissenting view that the courthouse should stay on Bainbridge.

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Tuesday’s big cuts will mean big changes

On Tuesday night, city funding for arts and cultural organizations, community access television and a key human service organization was cut to zero.

A total of $763,000 was cut community service organizations by a sharply divided City Council.

The cuts mean no funding for public art, no more BITV-televised city meetings and possibly no more Health, Housing and Human Services Council.

No doubt there larger repercussions. It’s a sure thing that jobs in these and possibly other organizations will be lost, and that popular and important programs will be reduced or disappear completely.

Funding for the various organizations that provide assistance to disadvantaged residents, including Helpline House, the Boys & Girls Club, Bainbridge Youth Services and the Bainbridge Island Special Needs Foundation, was reduced from $320,000 to approximately $240,000.

Read more about the cuts HERE.

I’ve put in some calls to the affected organizations and hope to follow up with stories this week.

A few arts groups and their supporters have sent out messages today urging islanders to boost their contributions to One Call for All to help fill the funding gap.

One community service spending element that actually came out of Tuesday’s meeting with more money than expected was a “communication” fund to help downtown businesses affected by the planned Winslow Way reconstruction project. The fund rose from $35,000 to $40,000. How the fund will be spent will be decided by the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association (which had its entire $29,500 funding request denied on Tuesday). Mayor Bob Scales said BIDA may spend the Winslow Way fund on signs, temporary parking and various other strategies that encourage shoppers to patronize Winslow shops during the project.

“We’re imposing a vary worrisome event next year,” Councilman Barry Peters said of the Winslow Way project. “We need to communicate to our island to support our downtown in a year of great stress.”

School clinic, school composter, art museum, kids museum

Sorry the blog’s been quiet a while. Time to play catchup. Here’s the news from the last week (or so):

School break-in: A messy prank was pulled at Woodward Middle School.

Compost kids: A Bainbridge High School student-led effort has created the nation’s largest on-site school composting program.

Big grant: Bainbridge got a $4.88 million grant to boost energy efficiency in what could amount to half of the island’s homes.

Rolfes challengers: Rep. Christine Rolfes, a former Bainbridge city councilwoman, has two challengers for her House seat: Republicans Aaron Winters of Poulsbo and James Olsen of Bainbridge Island.

Strawberry Plant Park: The City Council gave unanimous support for the Eagle Harbor park’s long-discussed shoreline restoration plan.

Cyberstalked: A Seattle man was charged with stalking a Bainbridge teen via the Internet.

Winslow Way: The City Council approved the design for the Winslow Way reconstruction project. Looks like things are moving forward after all.

New KiDiMu: The Kids Discovery Museum’s new custom-built, earth-friendly building opened in the Island Gateway development. The new KiDiMu was packed in its first week, and drew rave reviews from kids and parents.

Art Museum: The final building design for the Bainbridge Art Museum was unveiled. Updated plans for the museum, which will sit on the northwest corner of the Winslow Way-Highway 305 intersection, include an attached auditorium and classroom building.

School Clinic: Parents and educators are working to establish a free medical clinic at Bainbridge High School. They have most of the money in hand and Virginia Mason has agreed to staff it. All they need now is for a reluctant school board to give the green light. This story generated plenty of comments.
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VIDEO: Planting City Hall’s garden

Councilwoman Debbi Lester shot a short video introducing City Hall’s newly-planted edible garden. That’s Councilman Barry Peters doing the talking and Sound Food member Sallie Maron doing the planting.

A few days later, the planting began in earnest, with about a dozen volunteers planting corn, squash, tomatoes, chard and other crops that will be free for the taking. Read my story about it HERE.

And for more information on the guy who inspired all this, head over HERE and read one of his essays HERE.

Senior center reconstruction plan is “out the door”

Plans to replace the Bainbridge senior center with a new $9 million dollar facility have fizzled out.

“It’s out the door,” said Tom Kilbane, a senior center member who has long championed the reconstruction.

Rather than push for a new multi-use, two story facility, senior center members are asking the city to help them make basic improvements on the existing building.

For more, read HERE.

Green-built prototype prefabs finally find a home

Looks that that pair of ultra-modern prefab homes have finally found a home.

After getting the cold shoulder from farmers on Day Road and the neighborhood around the Johnson Farm, affordable housing advocates decided to tuck the stackable units behind some duplexes on a quiet Winslow street.

Read HERE for the latest.

And read HERE and HERE for the earlier chapters in the saga.

A new family center opens on Bainbridge

A father and son play at the new Peacock Family Center. Photo: Tristan Baurick

The Peacock Family Center has grown a lot in 11 months.

Formerly housed in a 900-square-foot room in Rolling Bay, Peacock now takes up a 4,100-square-foot building in downtown Winslow. It also offers more than an indoor play place. Preschool, day care, kids classes and family counseling are either offered or will be offered by June.

The building, which formerly housed KiDiMu (and an auto service center), has been renovated to include new classrooms and several water- and energy-saving features. Much of the work was done by volunteers or through discounted labor.

For more, read my story about Peacock’s reopening here.

Bainbridge group needs an office worker…in Nicaragua

The Bainbridge-Ometepe Sister Island Association is looking for an adventurous islander to help run its on-the-ground operation in Nicaragua.

BOSIA has several programs that support education and health care on Ometepe, a coffee-growing island in Lake Nicaragua.

Titled “office volunteer,” the position includes airfare, housing and a small stipend. Work starts in July. Conversational Spanish is a plus.

Here’s more information from BOSIA President Jeanne Huber:

The Bainbridge-Ometepe Sister Islands Association is accepting applications for a paid staff position on Ometepe island in Nicaragua for one year beginning in July.

The organization, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, operates entirely with volunteers on Bainbridge. But it has three paid staff members on Ometepe, an island of two volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. The office manager, Dora Gutierrez Traña, is an English teacher who works for the sister islands association part time. Another Ometepe native, Maria Estela Alvarez, is the scholarship coordinator. The third position, called “office volunteer,” is reserved for someone with a connection to Bainbridge Island.

The association provides airfare, housing and a modest stipend. Applicants need to have decent Spanish, be at least 21 years old, and be able to commit to working on Ometepe for one year. Many office volunteers have been recent college graduates interested in careers in international development, food policy, or other fields that benefit from having a deeper understanding of another culture. There have also been office volunteers well along in their careers who decided to take a break and do something completely different for a year.

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Bad week for affordable housing

Efforts to create and preserve lower cost housing options on the island suffered two recent setbacks.

First, the City Council decided to de-fund the city’s Housing Trust Fund, which supports local affordable housing projects.

Then came news that the Housing Resources Board was delaying the start of the Ferncliff community land trust project by one year. Later phases will likely be delayed a three or more years.