Monthly Archives: October 2007

Zurf’s Up

The floating hamster wheel

One of Bremerton’s Olympians will return to town Thursday. Swimmer Tara Kirk will bring money, meet with kids and swimmers and race against the mayor.

The race will be at the Glen Jarstad Aquatic Center in the floating hamster wheels known as zurfs.

In the morning she’ll go to Crownhill Elementary. At noon she’ll meet with the Bremerton High School swim team before they leave for a competition. In the afternoon she’ll be at the high school introducing the “Chuck Haselwood Engine of Change Award, a new scholarship, part of Toyota’s national campaign.

The zurf race is a fundraiser. Anyone is invited. The price of admission is a voluntary donation to the Bremerton Schools Foundation. In addition to Kirk and Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman, Eric Anderson of Art Anderson & Associates will race, as will Crownhill principal Jill Carlson, BHS principal Aaron Leavell, district athletic director George Duarte and PTSA and foundation president Jonee Dubos. There may be others.

Drop Outs Headed for Bremerton

Kids who spend a year at the mall or in front of the video games and find themselves in danger of not graduating high school will have an option in Bremerton beginning in 2009.

I’m simplifying how the Washington Youth Academy finds students, but based on my two visits to a similar facility in Bend, Ore., it’s not far from the truth.

A few local officials held a kick-off event Saturday to begin getting the community ready for the new school. The program follows a military model in instilling discipline, but it is essentially designed to be a high school. No former felons. No one can be sentenced to attend.

The thing that surprised me most during my two recent visits was that all the kids I spoke with wanted to be there before they went. Many change that during the first couple weeks and quite a few wash out. The 70 percent or so who stay may struggle a bit still after nine weeks, but at that point the kids who see are more than likely going to be there at the end of the 22-week program.

We’ll have a lot more on the program in a couple weeks.

Condo Owners Looking Up

So, uh, what did you think when you read this statement from Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority executive director Norm McLoughlin?

He also pointed to property the housing agency owns just south of the new condos, The agency is considering a new building that could be around 20 stories high. McLoughlin pointed to the area and said, “As I look at that site over there I have this vision of tall buildings.”

How does 20 stories on the water sound?

Terminal Taxis

In the spirit of Road Warrior Travis Baker, I saw a letter stating that an elderly couple was forced to walk to Starbucks to get a taxi late one night.

We were informed that cabs were not allowed in front of the ferry terminal. We had to walk to Starbucks on Washington Avenue to get a taxi cab.

This is not a long way for someone who is young and walks well, but for me it’s a long way. Once we did get a taxi, the driver told us the city did not allow cabs in front of the terminal, for our protection.

Assuming the cab driver said this, the cab driver is wrong, according to Kitsap Transit. I called their offices today and spoke with customer service. The rep there said the cab companies have to fill out a form and after doing so are allowed up close to the terminal entrance. It’s not the city enforcing this rule, it’s Kitsap Transit.

That form is a little onerous, according to the owner of one cab company, and it can take three weeks for the approval process.

I will probably do a bigger story on this in the future, laying out as many details as I can. For now I’ll rely on the customer service rep and a cab owner.

Drivers have to apply and get a background check done to get permission to approach the terminal. The cab owner said qualifying drivers can have no felonies and no misdemeanors to qualify.

So, if there were any qualifying drivers in front of the terminal late that night, perhaps some others beat the couple with the luggage and the cane to the curb, forcing them to make tracks to Starbucks.

“For your protection?” Well, if you get a cab at the terminal then you can be reasonably sure that the driver has passed a background check. But that couple was no safer by walking to Starbucks that night.

Realtors Support Lid Lift

Mike Eliason just sent a note that says the Kitsap County Association of REALTORS® is behind Bremerton’s Neighborhoods Now campaign.

Bremerton city voters will decide whether to approve a six-year tax hike of about 19 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value to pay to improve parks, install and repair sidewalks and to increase code enforcement at individual properties.

Residents pay the city an average of $2.10 per $1,000 assessed value, in other words $420 a year for a $200,000 home. That average is expected to go down in 2008 to about $1.93. With approval the property tax levy would be $2.12, which comes out to $424 for the $200,000 home. That’s $4 more than in 2007, but $38 more than it would be if voters turn the city down.

The same entry appears on the Kitsap Caucus blog.

If You Can Read This, It Doesn’t Apply to You — UPDATED

We’re getting word there is a pretty big power outage here in Bremerton. So far I’ve heard it’s out at Olympic College and Bremerton High School.

Not sure how extensive.

Go here or for updates.

THE LATEST — Krista Carlson, Bremerton School District spokeswoman, said the power’s back at the high school, so the after-school stuff should continue. The kids are out at Naval and should be on their way home.

Here’s the note Carlson sent:

At 2:50 pm today, a power outage was reported at Naval Avenue Early Learning Center and at Bremerton High School. Activities at Bremerton High are going on as planned. At Naval Avenue, our staff made sure that the students were well cared for until the regular dismissal time. Please be aware that a few of our buses have been delayed tonight because of the power outage and stop lights not working.

EARLIER UPDATE — The power is out at Naval Avenue Learning Center as well. Krista Carlson said buses are delayed in some places because the outage caused signals to malfunction, which means it takes longer to get around.

Even though classes at the high school are already out, the length of the outage could impact after-school activities.

Carlson said she’s still trying to get word from Puget Sound Energy as to what to expect.

Uptown Downtown

This is the image Paul Eberharter provided to the city, his vision of the future of Wheaton Way.

The city council approved a subarea plan for the neighborhood near Wheaton Way and Riddell Road that includes streetfront retail replacing the massive parking lots in place now.

Picture the scene above in place of the empty building Lowe’s once occupied. There is the not-so-small matter that K-Mart, Rite-Aid and Goodwill still take up some pretty big footprints on the street. Think years, not months.

Sooner, however, would be the City Villa residential development.

It’s one small part of the Wheaton corridor, but a city council can hope.

Shooting in Bremerton

There was a shooting in Bremerton today around 1 p.m. or so. We’re checking on the details. A woman was reportedly shot twice.

The Bremerton School District just sent the following message.

The lockdowns at Bremerton High School and Naval Avenue Early Learning Center are over. We are now trying to get our students home safely, however, our district buses will be operating on a delayed schedule for ALL Bremerton Schools. We anticipate that the buses could be as much as 50 minutes late tonight.

Meanwhile, a few businesses in the area have been affected as well. Here are some of the comments left on our board.

“There are cops everywhere here. They have passed out flyers with the guys picture to me and my employees. This is one guy I hope they catch really soon so I can leave work.”

“I hate that this guy is just running around our streets!!”

“Tell me about it! We are in lockdown too over here on Burwell Street. The cops are swarming the place and all we can hear are the helicopters overhead. This is one bad guy they need to lock up.”

Check our front page for updates.

That’s Your Business

Honey, what goes good with tobacco?
Hmmn. How about some tobacco?

In today’s photo issue we deal with two of the biggest vices — tobacco and dogs.

A few weeks ago I was driving around Port Orchard on Bethel Road when I saw the sign to the right. What do you think they sell there?

I have another question.

Do people in Port Orchard have to be told everything twice?

Dogs ask for it by name.

Before I get smug, though, I must remind the court that Bremerton is home to the landmark Doggy Style dog grooming store in Manette. I wonder how many people have been disappointed to find out what they really do.

That’s a happy pup.

A good friend of mine would pass by Doggy Style every day on his way home. When friends from out of town came to visit, though, he would take another route just so his friends couldn’t draw attention to the store. He was embarrassed for Bremerton.

Personally, I’ve always been the kind of guy to drive my friends by there on purpose. I do wonder about the wisdom of the name. I’m acquainted with a few people who I know would avoid it. While they might not be ashamed to drive by, being seen walking in could be something different.

Feel free to send me the peculiar names of any businesses you’ve seen. If you’ve got photos, they might show up here.

Summer’s Over

This morning I wore a sweatshirt on the short walk I take after dropping off my son at the bus stop. When I left for work I opened the closet door in the entry way and grabbed something I had happily put away for months, my long black trench coat.

Last month I felt like I could hope for a few days’ reprieve from the gray skies. It’s October now and I’ve given up hope. Summer’s done. I just checked the weather forecast and the highest temperature predicted around my house is 57. The sun is scheduled to break through on Friday and Tuesday.

This is not a sad day for me, however. One of the reasons I moved here is because I do love the weather. I remember looking out of the office window in Poulsbo and seeing that everything had turned gray. Trees, houses, water — all gray. Then one day the sun came out and everything seemed so brilliant. You start today and you put on your coat and walk in the rain and realize what all that water is doing. And if you’re lucky, you don’t just appreciate the weather for what it will do, you like it for what it looks and feels like today. Come February I might find myself tired of it, but today I find it reassuring.