Monthly Archives: August 2007

Mariners in Minnesota, Moose in Bremerton

Andrew Binion writes:

Q: How do you know your city has arrived?

A: The Mariner Moose shows up at a restaurant opening to sign autographs, schmooze with fans and frighten children.

“He’s more afraid of you than you are of him, Timmy.”

Such was the scene Wednesday, when the Warren Avenue Burger King hosted a party for fans of baseball and burgers featuring the moose, KOMO sports reporter and Mariner’s announcer Tom Hutyler plus a chance to spin a wheel and get a prize.

The restaurant had been shuttered since May 20 for a remodeling, said owner Jeff Rose, and reopened Aug. 14 but held the official reopening festivities Wednesday. He’s been advertising with the Mariners recently, noting that the King (The Burger Kind, not Elvis) threw out a opening pitch and sponsored a post-game activity where fans could file out on to the Safeco Field diamond and run the bases. Those eligible to run the bases were kids, not portly, 30-something former athletes, which didn’t go over well with this reporter.

Beside making appearances at local fast food restaurants, the moose had 15 more minutes of fame recently, when earlier this month, while driving a four-wheeler during a game nearly crippled Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp. Crisp was unhurt and played a pretty decent game.

A gaggle of school kids were on hand Wednesday to meet the moose. But when one mother tried to push her boys toward the towering, fur-covered corporate mascot, they slid out from under her arm and cowered behind her legs.

“I think the moose is probably the draw,” Hutyler said of the crowd that turned out, but noted that the prospect of free stuff appeals to children and adults alike.

“If there’s anything free to give away people will come to stand in line for it,” Hutyler said.

That’s what drew Bremerton resident Bob Cline.

“No, I didn’t come for the moose,” he said, a little annoyed at the question.

Now it Gets Interesting

November’s general election race for the District 4 city council seat has all the makings of a close race. Let’s assume, for a moment, that Tuesday night’s numbers stay the same.

Trent England, currently in third, said he believes if the numbers hold his votes will got to Carlos Jara. Roy Runyon could be expected to pick up many of Virginia Starr’s 35 votes. It would mean Jara would win 157-148, a 51-49 percent victory.

Let’s not forget that we have two other contested council races. The most interesting one so far is between former councilman Eric Younger and current councilman Will Maupin. Both agree that on split votes they’ve found themselves on opposite sides often. There are major differences between the candidates in both races.

In the race between incumbent Dianne Robinson and challenger Cassandra Helmrick, we haven’t delved deep enough to see what the differences are.

In the other races you really don’t have to dig too deep to discover the distinctions.

Cool and Smart

My one regret about going on vacation was being gone so long that I never got to see the picture of the pinecone hat advertised on Craig’s List. The following text was posted on the 7 Deadly Sinners Web site as the best Craig’s List ad ever. And it came from Bremerton.

Pinecone Hat – $100 (Bremerton)

I have a pine cone hat that i made the other day up for sale. I found about 7 huge pine cones in the road, and glued them together so i could wear them on my head. This hat will make you feel very cool and smart, but will leave tree sap and glue in your hair when you take it off. I will try to get some pics up asap, but it basicaly looks like 7 pine cones glued together with a bunch or hair in it (I accidently put it on before the glue was dry and it glued itself to my head).

No, thank you.

Story on Hispanic Center Closure Draws Comments on Immigration

On Tuesday, intern Tom Giratikanon wrote about the possible closure of El Centro de la Familia, a health program that reaches out to the growing Hispanic population in the county. The Kitsap County Health Department, which administers the program, is facing budget cuts and needs to look at closing the center to save $65,000 on a $200,000 budget deficit, district officials say. A budget hearing is set for Aug. 20.

The story has drawn comments on the Kitsap Sun Web site from a number of readers, including Sharon O’Hara who asks, “Are these people here legally or are they illegal aliens?”

To which another writer, “baisah,” responds, “Are you asking that question about ‘them being here legally or are they illegal aliens’, just because they are Hispanic??
Poor is poor and knows no boundaries.. From the other comments, it looks like there are other important services being cut as well.”

Tom said he did not mention the issue of immigration (legal or illegal) in the story because it was not part of health officials’ thought process as they considered budget cuts.

But now that the issue has been raised, what do you see as the role of public health programs in meeting the needs of undocumented people living in Kitsap and North Mason counties?

Going Home Again

One of the Seattle P-I’s blogs, South of Madison, had an entry from a teacher who once lived in Bremerton. She visited recently.

In between it all, we visited my old home town, the place where I grew up, in Bremerton. Bremerton has never really felt like home. At least, not for a long time. I know where everything is, but I’ve stopped paying attention to the changes. New stop lights, new businesses, changes in paint colors and smells go unnoticed. I find myself just driving from one place to the next and landing, happily, at my parents’ home ready to catch up on stories and eat my mother’s amazing cooking. Bremerton houses my family, but it no longer lives within me and when we returned home from “home” I was glad to walk the neighborhood once more shaking the past from my skin and smiling at the particulars of this place so different from that place.

While some might blanche at her description, I can relate. When I visit the town I spent the first 20 years of my life in, it never feels like home. That was solidified when the Bob’s Big Boy, the one with the statue of the boy wearing checkered overalls and holding a burger like the Statue of Liberty’s torch, was torn down.

It’s sad that towns lose their appeal to people who once called them home. Then again, if they no longer choose to live there, what’s it matter? Better to cater to the people who found a reason to call it home now, I suppose.

What’s Bremerton Got to Crow About?

Before he left for vacation, Kitsap Causus blog host Steve Gardner put
Port Orchard “on notice” again. “On notice,” a term and concept
blatantly pilfered from commentator/comedian Stephen Colbert, means
“I’m watching you.”

Gardner writes, “Port Orchard gets on the board after consecutive weeks
on it when this was a feature of the Bremerton Beat. It just feels good
to put the city there again.”

And well you should be watching PO Mr. also-Bremerton-Beat-reporter.
Sure B-town may have been the subject of a glowing editorial in the
Kitsap Sun over the weekend for all its accomplishments … condos,
tunnels … not without growing pains, it was noted. But Port Orchard
has its own accomplishments, too.

Last week the PO City Council, ta da, completed the draft of its
Downtown Overlay District plan, which has been a work in progress
throughout the past year and then some. On a note that may or may not
be relevant, it was completed not on Mayor Kim Abel’s watch (she was on
vacation), but with Mayor Pro Tem Rick Wyatt at the helm. What now?
Well, the draft goes on the council’s Aug. 27 agenda for public
discussion. Understand, this document has already been discussed (and
sometimes just plain cussed) nearly to paralysis. But hopefully, the
end is in sight. Once the plan is in place, property owners, who have
been waiting to learn the rules can advance with major renovations of
their buildings.

In the meantime, business and property owners and the city itself have
not been idle. Storefronts have been spiffied up (see especially
Morningside Bread Co., which recently underwent a major remodel and
expansion). Flowers donated courtesy of the Port Orchard Bay Street
Association have been kept up beautifully by the city’s Public Works
Department and are in full bloom (see also the flowers in the Port
Orchard Marina). The city is making renovations to the sidewalks with
some attractive touches, and new trash cans add to the look. (It’s
amazing what some really classy trash cans can do.)

I spoke with Robin Scott, owner of Pettirosso salon in downtown, and
she affirmed that there is indeed a feeling of positive momentum among
business owners in town. “It’s great,” she said.

Furthermore, the city isn’t just an empty showpiece. Over the weekend
for example, classic car aficionados crowded downtown to show off their
beautiful babies at The Cruz, along with the POBSA’s Festival by the Bay.

So there Mr. Gardner, just because we don’t have a tunnel doesn’t mean
we’re not worth continuing to watch. So you’d best keep an eye on PO.

A Believer in Bend

My trip to Bend will result in a story in a few weeks or so. I’m planning to return to follow up on what we saw.

I thought I’d share something I saw on the way out. Whatever someone might think of a town can sometimes be limited to single incidents witnessed. I saw something happen I think a lot of people would remember and might be tempted to let it reflect on the entire community.

I was on my way out, headed north. I’d had a good time, enjoyed a baseball game and the Black Bear Diner. I wanted to flee before the sunset.

Stopped at an intersection, beyond the next crosswalk I saw a guy holding up a cardboard sign. It was one of those asking for help, though I couldn’t read the message. He was a young guy, probably no more than 25. Seated next to him was a woman not facing the street. She was in a wheelchair.

As my light turned green I began to cross and noticed another young guy approaching the couple from behind. He had on a T-shirt that said nothing more than “Believe.” On his face was a smile and in his hand was a bag full of groceries. The two men shook hands, and that was about all I saw. It looked to me that the man with the sign was grateful for the gift. So was the woman.

If you passed through a town and that was the single incident that stuck out, what would that tell you about that city?