Monthly Archives: August 2007

Stennis Brings Sailors Home

Stennis sailors await liberty.

Earlier this week one of our editors threw out the suggestion that we needed another reporter to attend the arrival of the USS John C. Stennis, which happened early Friday. Our regular military reporter Ed Friedrich is on vacation, so two of us would be needed to fill in for him. I volunteered, reasoning that I shouldn’t leave Bremerton without having been on hand for the reunion of sailor and loved ones. Not that I’m leaving or anything.

I’m glad I went. I’m always a little touched by parents reuniting with children. The husband-wife and boyfriend-girlfriend thing isn’t bad, either, I suppose. But it’s the kids, man, it’s the kids.

It’s also a piece of history, too. As the Stennis pulled in I tried to get my head around a number of how many times the same scene has been done here and elsewhere. I didn’t do that very long. Immediately I go back to World War II, because that’s a time my parents talked to me about often. My grandfather was a Seabee and, I’m told, was at Normandy. The history of him in regards to my mother isn’t great, but I can do nothing but admire him for being part of that tipping point in history.

This group got to the Bremerton boardwalk early to watch the Stennis pass.

That’s something other people around here appeared to appreciate as well, evidenced by how many people were standing at Bachmann Park and the boardwalk near the Bremerton Marina just to watch the ship pass. They had no one to greet, they just wanted to offer their respect.

Going to the main event required getting out of bed at 5:30 a.m., standing around a long time, struggling to come up with questions that would somehow make this homecoming story different and then walking from the Delta pier to the Kitsap Sun office downtown. That was quite a haul.

I can’t wait for the next one.

Wed Along the Water

No, that’s not an improper digit. The bride is in white (Duh). The groom is behind her. I can tell by the white tie.

I found this photo among a collection of three from Steve Smith Photography of a wedding (Jennifer and Orin) that took place on the Bremerton waterfront.

The event was catered by the conference center, not the hot dog joint.

It would only have been more picturesque if a ferry had been passing, or the Stennis.

A Bremerton Paynter Exits

Seattle P-I columnist Susan Paynter once interviewed for a job at this paper. She reveals:

For my first job interview at the Bremerton Sun it was routine to warn a young newlywed that she’d have to promise not to get pregnant.

She got a job at the P-I.

This was it, the big leagues for an almost 23-year-old from Bremerton with big hair and even bigger ideas.

Paynter is retiring after 39 years.

WASL Scores In

Individual scores are still a couple weeks away, from my understanding, but here is a table showing the percentage of Bremerton School District students who passed state-assigned levels during the 2006-07 WASL testing period.

Grade Level Reading Math Writing Science
3rd Grade 64.3% 66.4%    
4th Grade 67.8% 50.6% 54.1%  
5th Grade 71.9% 59.0%   39.7%
6th Grade 55.2% 37.9%    
7th Grade 63.0% 45.7% 52.4%  
8th Grade 58.6% 29.7%   28.2%
10th Grade 72.2% 41.8% 72.7% 24.1%

Worth noting is that as historically has been true, Bremerton numbers are lower than the state average. That established, it appears to me on first glance that Bremerton kids are close in some areas and still a fair bit off in others. The fifth-grade reading number, which is down from the 05-06 class, is nonetheless a bit higher than the state average, the first time any district students have fared better than their peers throughout the state in reading. A couple of writing tests have gone well for select Bremerton classes in the past and this year marks the second year the fifth grade science numbers were better than the state kids.

For information on individual schools, go to the state’s Web site.

Downtowners (Seattle) Like Groceries

Seattleites, too, are delighted about the news a new downtown grocery store.

The store is intended to serve not only the increasing number of nearby condo and apartment residents, but also workers in the area and passers-by.

“This store is significant because downtown Seattle’s residential population is growing rapidly, but the square footage of food stores there has not grown to match,” said grocery-industry consultant Bert Hambleton, who advised Myers on the deal.

“The downtown central business district of Seattle is one of the most ‘understored’ areas in the Pacific Northwest.”

This is relevant here because a grocery store is what most people agree downtown Bremerton needs and will get when the J.C. Penney building is redeveloped.

Signs and Cameras

Bremerton will soon have cameras at traffic lights. In the Los Angeles area, you’ll find them elsewhere as well. This L.A. Times story discusses cameras at stop signs.

Drivers are getting used to the red-light cameras sprouting up at busy intersections around Southern California. But are they ready for what officials describe as the nation’s first stop-sign cameras?

Some residents of Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades, Topanga Canyon and other well-heeled communities near the new cameras are already battling to have them removed. They insist that the parks authority is violating state law by installing them — a charge officials deny.

Even Stoners Hate Bremerton

On the Web site a newcomer to Kitsap County named Darwin writes that he’s new to the area, loves to “Camp and troutfish,” and play “C@C Red alert2.” That he loves doing something else should be obvious by the site he’s posting on.

He’s looking for like-minded people. I’m guessing he wouldn’t mind a “connection” either, but I digress.

Killerweed420 responds “Bremerton”

Lol? Really? If you think “Bremerton sucks” is laugh-out loud funny, then it’s 4:20 somewhere.

Same for JoeBear, who wrote “Welcome to Washington. I guess this means i’m not the new kid anymore! YAY! lol”

These people crack themselves up over the lamest comments.

SaH was in a bad mood, though, writing in response to the “Bremerton Sucks” line, “Yeah escape while you can….”

Boy I’d like to know what the rest of that thought was.

I don’t know if all marijuana enthusiasts dislike Bremerton, but this bunch did. That can’t be good news for the folks at Pied Pipers Emporium.

Roadside Budgeting

The state’s contribution to a Wheaton Way road project is prominent, thanks in large part to the improved access for emergency vehicles.

Travel Wheaton Way south headed toward the Warren Avenue Bridge and you’ll spot a sign telling you about the road project, particularly who is writing the checks.

Phil Williams, Bremerton’s Public Works director, said providing that kind of information is “very common,” especially “on projects that connect to or are part of the state road system.”

The project is designed to create better access between Wheaton and Harrison Medical Center, which is one of the main reasons the state ponied up $629,549 in grant money to help pay for it. The city’s portion was the required match.

Bremerton Employee Killed

A Bremerton public works street service specialist died from injuries sustained in a work-related accident Wednesday.

“It’s hard to know what to say. It’s just such a sad day,” said Phil Williams, Bremerton’s public works director. “It’s a very sad day for the city of Bremerton.”

Dean Westcott was with a Bremerton street crew preparing to repave the road at the intersection of 11th Street and Callow Avenue.

The city initially reported Westcott was likely hit by a city vehicle backing up around 8:30 a.m.

Westcott was taken to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, then transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The intersection was closed for several hours Wednesday, then re-opened to traffic in the afternoon.

Williams said public works personnel, as well as Westcott’s family, were able to meet with chaplains from the police and fire department on Wednesday. “Beyond that we’re still putting together a longer range view of what we need to do,” he said.

Public works crews continued to work on Thursday, though on lighter duty.