Ed’s West Sound World

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Evel Knievel represents the Kanye West Sound

Consolidating three distinct fire and rescue agencies isn’t easy.

However, picking a single name for the new super agency that may emerge on the opposite end of the process is not one of the harder parts.

On Tuesday the regional fire authority’s Planning Committee voted unanimously on its name: West Sound Fire and Rescue.

It seems like an obvious choice, and Bremerton Fire Chief Al Duke said more than 80 percent of firefighters, commissioners and committee members voted for the name.

But it wasn’t always such an obvious choice to describe our neck of woods, where the skyline of Seattle is more prominent than in Renton, but farther than a crow could fly culturally.

In fact, the committee credits a certain longtime Kitsap Sun reporter, Ed Friedrich, with coining the term.

“We believe the term West Sound, used to describe our region, originated in the late 80’s when it was first coined by then Bremerton Sun prep sports reporter Ed Friedrich to describe our sports coverage area in Kitsap, Jefferson and Mason counties,” says a written statement from the regional fire authority.

Despite being coined by a journalist, the new name went over like sliced bread, Bremerton Fire Chief Al Duke said (Duke didn’t actually say anything about bread, sliced or otherwise). More than 80 percent of those with a say, including firefighters, commissioners and appointed committee members, voted for the name.

“Now the hard work begins,” he said, noting that sub-committees have been tasked with making recommendations about 1) combined finances, revenues and expenses 2) combined governance board 3) combined volunteer association 4) combined labor groups and 5) combined organizational structure.

More info is available at the new West Sound Fire and Rescue Web site.

“If the Planning Committee is able to reach consensus on how these three fire departments can consolidate and meet the vision and strategy, then final approval will be put to the citizens served by these three organizations before it becomes a reality,” the statement said.

That means those served by the Bremerton Fire Department, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and South Kitsap Fire and Rescue will get to vote on whether the consolidation goes through.

The Planning Committee will meet March 4 at 4 p.m. at the Kitsap Readiness Center at 1211 Carver St. in Bremerton. The meetings are open to the public.

However, within the newsroom, there is some disagreement over who actually coined the phrase. Sports Editor Chuck Stark said he believes Harlan Beery, former assistant sports editor, actually came up with “West Sound.”

“They were both on the sports staff at the same time,” Stark said.

Then again, it’s just a name. What did Shakespeare say about the smell of a rose? Would they smell as sweet if instead they were called Ed or Harlan?

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