Monthly Archives: February 2006

There Goes the Neighborhood

The image on the right (oops, technical difficulties) is of Shane Schrodt fixing up one of his Highland Avenue properties. The shot was taken in April 2003 for a story written by Eric D. Williams. In the story, Schrodt gets lots of credit from the late Ed Rollman.

“Boy we’re glad to have him in this neighborhood,” said Rollman, who attended West Bremerton High around the same time as Schrodt. “In the past, we’ve had homes in disrepair that hadn’t been treated real well. But he’s fixed them up and changed our neighborhood for the better.”

Now, however, neighbors are hoping the Bremerton City Council will send its decision to allow Schrodt and others in the area to build condos up to 60 feet high back to the Planning Commission. The neighbors want the heights limited to 40 feet. So now, three years later, the same people who were credited with helping vastly improve the neighborhood are being accused of planning to ruin it.
The arguments are the same as those heard in city halls across America. Cities plan for improvements. Often those plans threaten to change the way of life for those nearby and the battle begins.
An outsider who isn’t vested in the outcome can surely sympathize with both sides in this issue.
I plan to go into more detail on this neighborhood soon.
But based on the little you know, who do you think is right on this specifically or in this kind of question in general?

UPDATED: Yo Kitsap, You’ve Got Jobs

2/23:According to an L.A. Times story released today, Bremerton-Silverdale moved from 122nd in 2004 to 18th in 2005 in the Milken Institute’s Best Performing Cities index.
(This is the point where if I could I would insert a little emoticon, also known as a smiley face, only this one would have a look of surprise.)
The index has a lot to do with job creation, and methinks the local ranking may have something to do with the influx of submariners.
Whatever the cause, I plan to spend all day Thursday figuring out exactly what the index actually means and how we made Bremerton and Silverdale look so jobs-creative.
So, uh, how’d we do it?

UPDATE 2/24: Today’s story clarifies that much of what’s driving the entire county’s job growth is the influx of wealthy people from the other side of Puget Sound. They, in turn, are spawning the demand for jobs in the service sector and in construction. On Bainbridge Island much of the discussion in City Hall is that it gets worked more than other cities because wealthy people demand better service.
What may be the best piece of news in the Milken index is the 3 percent job growth between July 2004 and July 2005, because it means the most recent numbers show the momentum is continuing.
It’s worth noting that indexes come and go and show different things. Surely another one could come out that could paint a depressing picture of what’s happening here. I’m guessing first-time homebuyers aren’t thrilled with the rising median home prices.
What do you think? Is your own job picture improving? Is the economy here improving? I was listening to NPR the other day and an economist was saying often what matters more than the raw data is how people feel about the economy. So, how do you feel about the local, state, national, or world economy?

Whatfor Bremerton Ferry?

Here’s a question for all you Bremertonians, close-to-Bremertonians or readers of some things Bremerton: Do you need the ferry?
Does news like the bit announced earlier today that a ferry boat broke down cause you to blow coffee out your ears?
Are you what we often call a “commuter?”
Or do you appreciate the ferry as a reason in and of itself to live here?
When you’re driving down Ilahee and you see the ferry in the distance, do you make a straight line for the waterfront so you can watch the boat pass?
Do you ever ride the boat to Seattle, turn around in the terminal over there and come back?

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Survey Says . . .

The City of Bremerton has installed a survey on its Web site asking residents and those who frequent the city about their interest in a proposed wireless cloud over the city.
The questions address how the access would be used, where it should be expanded to and whether users would be willing to pay for higher speed service.
Mayor Cary Bozeman told the City Council earlier this year it’s his intention to see the downtown area have wireless Internet access by the end of the year.
The survey is available at the city’s Web site.
I wrote about the wireless idea in January. You can read that here.
I also blogged about it, which you can read here.
The photo above was taken by Associated Press photographer Jae C. Hong.

Pollution and Parking

A high tech model to determine how Sinclair and Dyes Inlets get polluted could help get those waterways cleaner. Read Chris Dunagan’s story, Pollution Study Nears Completion.

So you’re looking to park downtown but you’re not sure you can limit your visit to two hours. Mercy once was part of the deal, which was unusual, but I was happy to accept it. Once every 30 days you could get away with parking over the time allowed.
Not anymore.

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Starbucking the Locals

Sunday’s story , Projects in City Center Up Hotel Demand, is worth some discussion both in its seeming validation of those who see Bremerton as a growing city, and for those who are feeling perhaps a bit forced out of the discussion. (The photo on the left is of the former Bremerton City Hall, which could become a hotel.)
First off, however, let me mention that the story underestimated the number of rooms to be available in downtown Bremerton. The total, if everything pans out, will be around 380.

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That headline was the equivalent of shouting, I know. I hope your Internet ears will stop ringing soon.
My exultation comes from the release of the Feb. 2-8 print edition of the ONION.
In it there is a news brief datelined in our very own Bremerton.
You can read the story yourself by clicking on Vegetarian Can’t Bring Self To Eat IHOP’s Funny Face Pancakes.
Seriously, does it get any bigger for a community than to have a story in the Onion? Probably not. It’s the print and online version of The Daily Show.
OK, maybe it’s not that big a deal, but just to add more civic pride let me mention that a search on the Onion site revealed Bremerton has been the location for news briefs six times since 1999. Port Orchard? Poulsbo? Bainbridge Island? ZERO!!! Take that you other Kitsapers.

At Least We Don’t Have to Trade Hometowns

This picture from yesterday’s paper has nothing to do with the latest from Bremerton, but some of us still want to wallow in it for a while. There’s a new hotel right on the water downtown from where we can recover from the Super Bowl while we look out the window and give thanks for where we live. Or, if an entire hotel stay isn’t necessary, I recommend a ride up to the top floor of the Norm Dicks Government Center for a look at the view.
Even if our sports teams break our hearts, we still get to live here.
Yeah sure, the skies are gray a lot this time of year and some people are just now getting their power turned back on. But when this places shines it’s heavenly.
You can have your trophy. I’d have preferred having it come here this year, but even if we never get another shot I feel pretty blessed to call this place home. That will certainly do for now and for a long, long time.
I’ll be in Portland today, learning some more about writing business stories.
In the meantime, if you go to the Kitsap Sun you’ll find a story about a new hotel planned for downtown Bremerton.
Maybe by the time it’s finished we’ll all be over our disappointment about the Seahawks. Actually, that’s entirely possible, because the sale isn’t scheduled to close until January of next year.
Wait ’til XLI!

Eat at Joe’s

Businesses other than the ones listed in the Sunday story are for sale. A barbecue joint in downtown Bremerton is closed.
Normally I’m reluctant to do stories like this one, especially covering the restaurant industry. Restaurants are perhaps the most difficult to run. A lot, not necessarily the ones mentioned in the story, of people who dream of running an eatery have no idea what they’re in for. The hours are long, the equipment is expensive and the health requirements are (thankfully) strict.
Nonetheless the news about Simon August is noteworthy and the opening of JW’s in the old Black Angus space is too. And the owner of Posey’s certainly knows how to do her guerilla marketing.

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