Monthly Archives: March 2014

A sign of the times in Bremerton?


There are signs of change in Bremerton. Or, more literally, there are changing signs.

I’ve noticed several local businesses have recently upgraded their storefront signage. Some, like Uptown Mercantile and Marketplace (above), recently opened. Others, like the Bremerton Ice Arena (below), have been there for a long while.

Perhaps the signage is just a little image upgrading in time for spring. Have you seen any sign upgrades lately? Drop me a picture and a line at and I’ll post them here.


You might have noticed that Rimnam Thai Cuisine, formerly of E. 11th in Manette, is getting pretty close to opening in the defunct Bay Bowl near Harrison Medical Center. Sign’s up!


Raccoons to take center stage at Bremerton City Hall


It’s finally on the agenda. On Wednesday night, the Bremerton City Council will tackle an issue long discussed, but never dealt with — not recently anyway.

Yep, we are talking about raccoons.

Councilman Eric Younger told me he’s lived in different homes in Bremerton and has seen problems with raccoons in each one. He is most concerned with neighbors who feed them, thus creating a reliant critter population that can create problems in neighborhoods.

“I’m trying to come up with a solution,” Younger said. “To the best of my knowledge, no one has addressed this.”

Here’s what’s on the table.  The city administration has responded with a potential change to city code that would include making it unlawful to feed raccoons outdoors at anytime. Violators would be subject to a $125 fine for a first offense; $250 for a second offense in the same year and $500 for a third and each subsequent offense in the same year. 

Failing to respond to an infraction would become a criminal misdemeanor offense as well, and could be subject to civil action from the city.

Here’s the other part of the plan: the city would hire a United States Department of Agriculture wildlife specialist for up to 80 hours a year, at a cost of $3,500. They will assist the city “in the form of educational information, non-lethal techniques or direct control.”

“If direct control is necessary, the most effective and safe tools and techniques available will be utilized,” the program plan says.

I think that means the wildlife specialist will have the ability to use traps and to shoot raccoons in the city.

I’d like to hear from my fellow Bremertonians about this issue. Do you have a raccoon problem? Do you love them and keep one as a pet? (Not recommended.) Drop me a note below or email me at We’ll be keeping a close eye on this issue.

Exploring the story: Fourth Street edition

Photo of tour by Tad Sooter.
Photo of tour by Tad Sooter.

There was just something about Fourth Street’s economic divide that cried out for more than a story. And so, on Tuesday night — following Sunday’s publication of “In Bremerton, a tale of two Fourth streets,” I hosted a talk and tour of the downtown Bremerton thoroughfare.

We had a nice turnout, with 15 people coming along to learn about the successes of the western half of the street, and failures of the eastern half. Some participants knew a lot — I’d even quoted them in the story — while others came along to expand their knowledge.

In any event, I really enjoyed going beyond the story to help others experience Fourth Street for themselves. Response thus far has been good from the tour, and I am planning to do one similar event each month for the rest of the year.

Won’t you come along next time?

Photo by Tad Sooter.

Mural comes home to Manette Saloon


If you’ve been in the Manette Saloon on East 11th lately, you know that one of its walls has recently been adorned with a fantastical mural, complete with soaring bald eagle, moss-covered tree and a Rainier-esque mountain. 

But those who’ve lived in the area awhile know the artifact is not new to the bar.

Rebecca Dove Taylor, the saloon’s owner, said the mural has come home, having been gone for more than a decade. Painted inside the bar sometime in the early ’90s, a former business partner took it with him when he left saloon management.

How it was painted — and who created it — is a great story in and of itself. His name is Jason Najarak, an artist and art conservator who once came to Bremerton to visit his brother.

Najarak, who has become renown for his “primal realism” style, is based in Minnesota. I tracked him down for a phone call a few weeks back.

A frequenter of the bar while here, Najarak, who tells stories of meeting Picasso on his web site, asked to paint the ambitious mural and created it right in the bar itself.

He used oil and egg tempura paint, a tradition that dates back to the middle ages, and took a few months to put it all together.

“Sometimes I’d go in there before they opened,” to work, he told me. “Sometimes, I would paint right there while they were partying behind me.”

He didn’t have a plan at first. In fact, that’s part of his signature style — he likes to work the canvas with some basic ideas, then go from there once he sees what he’s got. Often, he’ll paint over things he’s worked on for hours, even days, if he’s not feeling it.

“I like to paint my way out,” he said.

The best way to see this method is to watch him construct a similar mural over several weeks, thanks to the beauty of time-lapse photography.

Najarak said he’d love to return to Bremerton sometime, and get another look at the mural he created more than twenty years ago.

The old management partner that took the mural recently brought it back, Manette owner Dove Taylor told me.

She said the mural is now there to stay.

Bremerton drivers beware: Cops keep an eye on those carpool lanes

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Bremerton police nabbed 24 drivers in just over an hour for driving solo in the HOV lane. Photo by Bremerton police.

Bremerton police officers made a curious discovery last Thursday while patrolling the carpool lanes on Navy Yard Highway. As they peered into one of the cars they stopped, they noticed the driver, alone, had a carseat riding shotgun, with a blanket over it.    

And they found this not once, but twice, after only an hour and 15 minutes of patrolling.

In total, five officers trolled the carpool, or High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane, on Highway 304 between 3:45-5 p.m. The officers sat in traffic and watched for cars to go by in the carpool lane that looked like they had only one occupant. The HOV violations added up quickly, and by the time it was over, 24 tickets had been written.

“There are few traffic violations that make peoples’ blood boil more than High Occupancy Vehicle lane violations,” Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan wrote in his weekly update. “While traffic is backed up and stop-and-go for people following the law, drivers by themselves in the HOV lane go flying by, effectively saying to everyone else that their time is simply more important than yours.”

Strachan also noted that by their presence, traffic actually moved more smoothly as less cars moved along the HOV lane.

And it won’t be the last time police will be out there.

“We will be doing this again,” Strachan wrote. “The word will start to get around.”

‘I just want to kill weeds’ director tells environmentally-conscious Council


He just wanted to kill some weeds. But an environmentally conscious Bremerton City Council told Public Works Director Chal Martin last Wednesday they wanted to make certain that green practices were followed as part of an upcoming maintenance project.

At issue was a $44,000 contract with Superior Maintenance Solutions to apply herbicide and eliminate weeds that are growing out of city sidewalks. The work is a pilot project for the city.

The project includes the weeding and cleaning of sidewalks around the city, as well as tree and shrub trimming around the sidewalks.

But most members of the Council were concerned what herbicide would be used.  Glyphosate, used in products like Roundup, is called for the in the contract.

That got the Council inquiring. Were there alternatives? Why not just use vinegar and water to get rid of the weeds? Could we run a test to see if said vinegar would be as effective?

Martin said he’d look into it. His reaction was, as best I can put it, one of slight exasperation.

“I just want to kill weeds,” Martin said to conclude the discussion.

The contract with  Superior Maintenance Solutions, which still calls for Glyphosate, or some alternative of it, will likely be passed Wednesday at the Council’s regular meeting at the Norm Dicks Government Center. Meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. The full meeting agenda for Wednesday can be found here.