Monthly Archives: May 2007

Treated Water

There’s nothing that says “summer” more than the sight of a tyke peeing in a fountain. That’s just what I saw Thursday as I stood at the top of the stairs looking down on the new Harborside Fountain Park, a youngster standing in the water dropping trou to make a fountain of his own.

The timing was perfect, because the photo of the kid wearing a diaper in the fountain, which ran in Sunday’s Kitsap Sun, prompted some in the newsroom to ask if the fountain water is treated.

Gary Sexton, Bremerton’s redevelopment projects administrator and vision-man behind the fountains, just happened to be there when I was, so I asked him if the water is treated.

It is.

So wade to your heart’s content, but try not to get downstream from the little ones.

Flowers on Callow

While many (myself included) have focused on what’s going on downtown, people from other neighborhoods have sometimes complained they’re being ignored. I think it’s probably verifiable that most of my coverage has been of downtown, Manette and Westpark, with scattered stories elsewhere. Heck, for a long time I did a lot of stories about 950 acres near Bremerton National Airport, but that’s pretty much over now.

When downtown got its flower baskets, they were greeted with near universal praise. I say “near,” because I’m sure someone complained, I just didn’t hear it. Callow Avenue will get its own version. There were a couple council members who voted for it, but expressed discomfort that there is not a firm policy standard in city hall for how neighborhoods get niceties such as these.

What Wyn Birkenthal, parks & rec director, and Beth Shea, owner of a store on Callow, both said, was that putting up 28 flower baskets will demonstrate that someone cares about the street.

Biking Bremerton

For Wednesday’s story, A Special Path for Those who Pedal, we boarded the Bremerton-Seattle ferry, thinking we’d talk to some bike commuters on their way home. We got lucky, however, and spoke to three on the way there and three more on the way back.

The city is hoping to make things easier for bikers and walkers in Bremerton, through a non-motorized transportation planning process.

Phil Williams, public works director, said the goal of the process is looking at what’s already being planned, figuring out what’s missing, prioritizing the ultimate wish list and then finding a way to fund it.

The six we interviewed all agreed that it’s easier to ride a bike in Seattle. They said changes, from altering the crosswalk situation at the ferry terminal to wider and separate bike paths would go a long way to fixing things.

They also said, however, Bremerton and Kitsap County drivers in general are less accepting of bikers. It may not be true for the majority of people, but they said they encounter more people on this side of the Sound than the other side who drive too close to the bikes, or honk when inconvenienced by bikers. They acknowledged there are bad bikers as well as bad drivers.

One story I didn’t get into the print story was of Brad (Bell? I’m home as I write this and don’t have my notes.) who rides his bike from his Mercer Island home to the ferry for his job at the shipyard. He said a few years back the shipyard tried to eliminate biking to work, but was eventually convinced not to. Now, he said, PSNS has gone the other direction to making more concessions to bikers than in the past.

You’re on Notice! — Not Long for Bremerton

It’s time for the latest and perhaps final version of the Bremerton version of “You’re on Notice.” I say “final” because I like making you cry. HA! Just a joke. Actually, the board may find a new home while it still is allowed to survive. Check back on this blog next week to find out where the new home just might be.

Next up, though, let’s open the mail bag.

A fan by the name of “buy viagra” writes,

“What a pleasure it must be for you to have such an interesting job and to get to know some juicy bits of info.”

Well, buy, my job really is interesting, thank you for acknowledging that. I find your name interesting. You must be friends with “buy cialis” and “cheap vicodin.” You also have friends whose names make me blush.

Anyway, thanks for writing and enjoy your place in the junk file.

As for this week’s board, we only received a couple nominations, so I’m left to filling the bulk of it myself.

The CAC decides how much the governor and others get paid. Kitsap SEED I’m sure you know about.

Carly Simon makes it this week for her continued refusal to broadcast who “You’re So Vain” is about. The first time I heard that song, I remember thinking, “Funny, I don’t recall ever meeting Carly Simon.”

Survivor (The television show, The band has been dead to me for some time.) makes it because I just watched the finale of Survivor Fiji. It was perhaps the best-played version of the game ever, and yet I wonder if I’m the only person in America who watched it. Did you know they’re going to China next? Did anyone know?

I liked the first Pirates movie, hated the second one and based on one reviwer I will hate the first TWO HOURS AND FIFTEEN MINUTES. It takes that long before it gets good, and the final part lasts 45 minutes.

The Bremerton “On Notice” board will likely be moved.

The Chicken BLT Salad at Wendy’s is delicious, but I’ve had three in the last week and I’m getting weary.

Finally, once again, Port Orchard is on notice. Why? I don’t know. It just feels good to see it up there week after week.

So as to not trivialize Memorial Day, I didn’t want to make any reference to it here.

Continue sending your nominations and I’ll continue to update this board, probably every Friday.

Remember, “You’re on notice” means “I’m watching you,” not “You’re dead to me,” which is a different board. Send me your nominations for things or people you’re getting a little suspicious of, or getting a little tired of, or you think isn’t getting the attention it should. Try to be Bremerton-specific and feel free to duplicate other peoples’ nominations. If something gets nominated a lot, it’s more likely to get on the board.

Then again, this isn’t scientific and is subject to the blogmaster’s personal bias and sense of what’s relevant and/or funny.

Three In, One Out

Three incumbent city council members will run for re-election. One will not.

Wendy Priest, whose district runs from downtown to Naval Avenue, said she wants to focus more on her family. Priest gave birth to her daughter in August of 2005. She told the council Wednesday night during a brief meeting prior to the regular council meeting.

The other three council members eligible for re-election are all planning to run. Council President Will Maupin, former Council President Cecil McConnell and Dianne Robinson all say there’s more work they’d like to see through.

Robinson and Priest are both in their first terms. Maupin was appointed to the council in 2001 and elected later that year. McConnell is in his third term.

Wi-Fi Failing Elsewhere

The other day I brought my personal laptop into work and tried to connect to the wireless system here. I hadn’t done that in a while and I was surprised to find the familiar connection was gone. I found out the old one had been exchanged for a new secured network. I got the password and logged on.

While searching I briefly was able to get a weak signal from the downtown Bremerton free wireless Internet. Our building is outside the coverage area, but it was there for a minute.

CLICK HERE to see a map of Bremerton’s free Wi-Fi coverage area.

I don’t know how Bremerton will measure the success of its system, since it’s designed to be free, but cities elsewhere are having trouble.

Across the United States, many cities are finding their Wi-Fi projects costing more and drawing less interest than expected, leading to worries that a number will fail, resulting in millions of dollars in wasted tax dollars or grants when there had been roads to build and crime to fight.

This comes from an AP story we ran today as Editor’s Choice (which is available in the print edition of the Kitsap Sun). The Lompoc, Calif. system highlighted in the story is different than the one in Bremerton. The city there invested $3 million to offer it to everyone willing to subscribe and got far fewer subscriptions than expected.

But other cities that are implementing systems similar to Bremerton’s are also experiencing trouble, or at least having to lower expectations.

Because systems are just coming online, it’s premature to say how many or which ones will fail under current operating plans, but the early signs are troubling.
“I will be surprised if the majority of these are successful and they do not prove to be drains on taxpayers’ money,” said Michael Balhoff, former telecom equity analyst with Legg Mason Inc. “The government is getting into hotly contested services.”

Shipyard Breed Smokers?

A few days ago I heard someone tell tale of his brother, a shipyard worker, who picked up smoking when he got his job there so he could better hang out with co-workers on break.

Then I saw this in a quitting smoking column from Tony Evans, a writer for the Kingman Daily Miner in Kingman, Ariz.

“I started smoking at 17 when I got a summer job working at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard and continued to smoke – off and on – until 1989.”

So, shipyard workers and everyone else feel free to weigh in. Is the number of shipyard smokers higher than in the rest of America?

Tunnel Gets a Contractor

Tri-State Construction of Bellevue won the bid to build the tunnel from the Bremerton ferry terminal to Burwell. The project is designed to take a good chunk of exiting ferry passengers under downtown, where people are walking.

In the past the project was controversial, with a pretty sizeable group opposing it. The Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce, however, did endorse the concept.

I’m sure we’ll hear the complaints as construction-related detours continue.

Coincidentally, the garage that burned Monday will be one of the structures torn down to make way for the transportation work.


Ed Friedrich tells you about the parade in this story, and there’s an accompanying slide show.

Showers came and went, not once, not twice, but three times as marching bands, drill teams, floats, classic cars, motorcycles, fire engines, queens, admirals, captains and politicians rolled through downtown for 2 12 hours.

Punctuating the ranks were an Abrams tank, a Vietnam river patrol boat and an Air Force transport plane that flew straight down Fourth Street and practically scraped the New Life Assembly church steeple.

Spanish Immersion in Bellevue

To get a glimpse of what Spanish immersion looks like, I went to Bellevue a little over a week ago to watch a couple classes. The result is the Sunday story and the accompanying video.

A Thursday at Puesta del Sol Elementary School starts with a celebration, not unlike routines at other schools.

The difference comes when children rise for the pledge of allegiance and begin, “Yo prometo lealtad a la bandera.” They continue the entire pledge in Spanish.

Puesta del Sol Elementary has been offering Spanish immersion 20 years and began similarly to the way Bremerton is, with one class for the youngest kids. Now the entire school’s classes are taught in Spanish. I’ll write more Monday, but you can start with the story and the video.

UPDATE: It appears the HTML experts figured out the problem and now the video will play on a PC. It was playing on the Macs just fine. So, go see the video now.

Furthermore, I wanted to provide a couple of other nuggets of information.

In preparing for the story, I did a bit of Web research and found it rare that there was much criticism of programs like this. In Northern California there are some who are against a Mandarin Immersion program, but right now I can’t recall why.

Otherwise it’s something parents seem to accept and even request.

As for the costs, the district doesn’t need to hire a new teacher, there are no extra kindergarten classes and materials in Spanish would cost the same as those in English. So when the district says it doesn’t cost more, it seems feasible. In the future I suppose there could be. My daughter is in a program in the CK school district, a program that is run at a school away from the one my son goes to. She rides a bus. I’m guessing that transportation cost is extra. I don’t know what the Bremerton district’s transportation plans are for Spanish immersion. Perhaps Krista can chime in. (NOTE: Ms. Carlson did chime and said it’s something the district hasn’t made a decision about yet. Most the kids who are already signed up live near Naval, but the district will make its decision once the class is fully enrolled or thereabouts.)

Immersion education got its start in Canada, with English-speaking parents wanting their kids to share French with their Quebecois Canadians.

That kids would lag, then catch up, makes sense. When non-English-speaking kids come to the U.S. and are put in a class with native English speakers, you would expect them to be behind their peers for a while, but as they improve their speech they’d do better.

As for the video, we’re new at it and will continue to improve. My hope is the brief scene you get enhances the story.

Finally, this seems a much better way to teach a language than throwing a kid on Spanish class in high school and expecting that to take. As someone who took four years of Spanish, then went through an immersion program of my own, I can attest to the power of immersion.

Of course, I welcome your thoughts and criticism on this.