Monthly Archives: April 2014

Bremerton Blotter, April 19-28


Among the calls Bremerton Police handled recently:

Burglary, 3100 First Street: Police were called to an abandoned home April 21 with an exterior door that had been forced open. The property manager shut the door and there was no apparent damage to the residence.

Counterfeit bill, 2800 Wheaton Way: A clerk at a gas station reported April 25 someone tried to pass a fake $1 bill at the store to buy a bag of chips. The clerk denied the purchase. The clerk said there’ve been plenty of fake $1s that customers have tried to spend lately. Police took the fake $1 bill.

Counterfeit bill, 3500 Wheaton Way: A salon customer reported April 25 getting denied tying to use a $10 bill, which turned out to be fake. She said she’d gotten it from a local gas station. The fake $10 was taken as evidence.

Hit and run, Hollis Street at Wheaton Way: Police were called to the scene of a crash April 25 where the driver fled. The suspect had evidentially hit another vehicle and then sped away, though his own car’s airbags had deployed and he had heavy front end damage. The crashed caused no apparent injuries. A witness had gotten the plate number of the car and police traced it to a parking lot off McWilliams Road. The car was registered to a Belfair man, who police found working at a business in the area. He initially denied being the driver, but when a cop pressed him to tell the truth, “his shoulders dropped as if he were defeated, telling me he hit the car but didn’t want to be late for work.” He didn’t have a valid license or insurance. Police are forwarding reports to the city attorney for prosecution of hit and run.

Wanted person, East 32nd Street: Bremerton police were looking for a man April 25 wanted on a $500,000 violation of a no contact order warrant. They found the man at a family member’s house on E. 32nd Street. He was cooperative and police allowed him to call his employer to advise he was going to jail. The suspect said the warrant was four years old and he didn’t make it due to having to go to court in Nevada. Further, he was released from prison in 2012 and found out Mason County wouldn’t book him into jail even though he was released from Shelton’s prison. Bremerton police arranged to drop him off with Mason County Sheriff’s deputies at the Bremerton airport, but deputies later advised that the Mason County jail was overcrowded and would not take him. He was released.

Lewd conduct, 4200 Kitsap Way: Police were investigating a panhandler April 25 who was allegedly approaching women and “fondling his genitals at the same time he asked them for money.” Police found the man in a car and also discovered he had separate DUI and trespassing warrants for his arrest. Police arrested him and asked him about the lewd conduct. He would not answer their questions. He was taken to the Kitsap County jail on the warrants, with bail set at $17,500. Witnesses to the alleged conduct said they’d provide witness accounts. A report was forwarded to the city attorney for possible charging. One day later, an officer contacted the same man on Loxie Eagans Boulevard attempting to panhandle, and told him to leave.

Shoplifting, 900 Callow Avenue: Bremerton officers were called April 25 for a shoplifter who left Safeway without paying for hot dogs, soy sauce, deodorant, garbage bags and a jar of minced garlic. Police caught up to the man, who said he was just released from jail and had no money. Officers noted he had a $100 pair of Nike running shoes around his neck, casting doubt on that story. A sergeant advised he should’ve gone to the Salvation Army. He was released and trespassed from Safeway for a year.

Bike theft, 2600 Burwell Street: A man called police April 26 and said his bike was stolen a night earlier. His Mongoose bicycle had been locked. Police have no suspects.

Car prowls, 1100 Pennsylvania: A man called police April 27 to say his two cars were prowled the night before. Someone had broken into them, stolen about $10 from each car, as well as a GPS device. Police have no suspects.

Warrants, 2100 11th Street: An officer April 27 spotted a vehicle at a home whose resident was in jail. Inside the vehicle was someone he knew to have a warrant for probation violation. That man was arrested, and officers disposed of some “marijuana shake” they found on him (with his consent). Police believe another man wanted for assault as well as probation violation fled the car when the officer came up. The driver of the car, too, had warrants for driving with a suspended license but she had children to care for, so officers didn’t arrest her.

Note: the following report was included among this week’s police reports but concerns an incident from mid-month: 

Fraud, 4800 Driftwood Street: A resident April 14 reported that her debit card, which had on it her Washington State Department of Social and Health Services payment, was missing. When she checked for the funds on it, they were “nearly gone.” The transactions came from an ATM nearby. The resident confronted a family member about it, who claimed “the cat” must’ve found the card. The case is pending.

The Bremerton blotter is compiled from city police reports once a week. 

Bremerton’s ‘Empty Bowl’ just keeps getting bigger

Photo by Amy Burnett.

The soup was on in downtown Bremerton this weekend, and in a big way. The Bremerton Foodline’s Sixth annual “Empty Bowl,” featuring colorful handmade bowls that could be filled up with hearty soups, raised $17,500 to go toward its mission. Nearly 400 people attended or volunteered.

The Olympic College Clay Club made more than 500 handcrafted bowls for the event, and numerous others created soup bowls (including 60 glass bowls from downtown glassblower Mistarian Roses and, for the first time, wooden bowls donated by the Wood Turners Group). One artist alone, Charles (Chaz) Martin, made over 180 bowls, and one bowl was even autographed by musician Carrie Underwood.

“It has been said that it takes a community to raise a child but in fact, it takes a community to come together to make a difference,” Christine Davis, orchestrator of the event, said in a news release. ” The Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and the Empty Bowl 2014 Committee want to thank everyone who helped to make our event successful and look forward to seeing all of you next year.”

The event has grown so quickly that Mayor Patty Lent said Monday she is personally paying for a bigger space next year at Olympic College.

Here’s the full scoop from Davis:

Continue reading

RIP, Maple Leaf Tavern


This morning, crews knocked down the already precarious structure that long housed Bremerton’s historic Maple Leaf TavernCrews from the city’s streets department will continue to clear debris from the area throughout the day as the once treasured bar-turned-eyesore is fully removed.

In case you missed it, we wrote a lengthy piece about its history in Saturday’s paper.

The clearing of the Maple Leaf makes way for the Lower Wheaton Way street project, to commence in late May.

I’ve passed by the Maple Leaf each day for quite a few years now, and it will be weird to see the road without it. I’ve been asked by a few people about whether a memorial will be placed at the site.

I asked Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent if anything was in the works. She said no, but she hadn’t consulted the landowner, John Stephanus, who also owns the nearby Bremerton Gardens.

“It’s up to them,” she said. “But I wouldn’t mind memorializing it somehow.”

Gone is its home, but no doubt will it will live on the memories of those who went there.


Photographer goes solo downtown


Photography is becoming bigger business in downtown Bremerton. 

Hudson Photographic Artistry has long been a venerable part of downtown; more recently came the RockIt Roost’s  Hanah Reed, who brought her Kustom Kulture style here.

They were joined recently by Elaine Turso, who moved into a space above the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce on Fourth Street. Her spacious new studio has five rooms and allows her to do a little bit of everything, including boudoir and glamor photography, her specialty. A great success story for the scrapbooker turned professional photographer.

Turso isn’t exactly new to the neighborhood. She recently moved her studio from nearby Ish Vintage Clothing & Costume just up the street, where she says she outgrew the space. You may also recall Turso’s Empowerment Calendar, which is looking increasingly likely as becoming a yearly product.

She believes the photography scene downtown is growing and that’s a good thing. Rather than take business from each other, she says they support one another.

“Although we overlap in some areas, we still have our own expertise,” she said. “It’s about supporting one another.”

View Turso’s web site here.

The Bremerton Beat’s conversation with Developer Ron Sher


As he watched 32,000-pound concrete tiles peeled off the Harborside Parking Garage that he owns, a fedora-topped Ron Sher (in photo, at left) stopped to take time for a few questions from this reporter. The Seattle developer, who’s turned failing malls into vibrant community centers, stopped by Bremerton to plan the facade that will replace the tiles on the garage, still known by many as the JC Penney’s building.

We sat down at the Bremerton Bar & Grill  (a restaurant he built and owns) for a few questions. What’s his next move, you ask? Here’s what he told me.


Q: To start, let’s go back to 2007. Why did you invest in Bremerton in the first place?

A: Bremerton has got a great infrastructure and it’s got a great location, and a great history. It’s got the economic base of the shipyard and, at that time, I had a relationship with Cary Bozeman. He talked me into it. I spent most of my career trying to improve and create activity and vitality in communities on a smaller scale and I said, ‘wow, here’s a chance to do it for a city.'” Everything seemed right and everything was growing, I got enthusiastic, and here I am.”

Q: Things didn’t pan out the way we thought, in terms of the economy. How did your plans change?

A: Yeah, everything sort of dried up but we didn’t want to give up. I was working a lot with (former Bremerton economic development manager) Gary Sexton and I wanted to do something with this corner for the sake of Bremerton (where the Bremerton Bar & Grill is). I felt that I hadn’t done what I wanted with the Penney’s building, and I still haven’t, and I wanted to make a serious difference and I felt we could do that if we took this corner, this old bank building and put something vital that makes a statement about Bremerton. We did that, and I’m pleased with it. But I haven’t given up on the other (Penney’s) project. Its time just hasn’t seemed to have arrived.

Q: You’re not in the residential development business, but you’ve said apartments could go on top on the JC Penney’s Building. Who could do that kind of work, if not you?

A: I’ve never done any residential development. And I’ve always felt I needed a good residential partner and for years I tried really hard to find one. I wanted somebody who would do a great job and do something we could be really proud of. I put out the word but it hasn’t shown up. We still have a long term goal of creating a lot of vitality here but it’s always been a bit of a chicken and egg issue. You can’t get the retail because you don’t have the residential and you can’t get the residential because you don’t have the vitality of the retail. And one of the things I love about our project is you can come up with enough residential to support the retail on a smaller scale and you can get away from that chicken and the egg conundrum. And that’s the way we’re looking at it.

Q: Has the City of Bremerton been good to work with?

A: The city’s always been good to work with. They were great with (former mayor) Cary (Bozeman) and (current mayor) Patty (Lent) has been great. The city has not been the problem. The fast ferry would be huge. What’s happening on the Seattle waterfront, right now, is a problem, but when it’s completed it will be a huge plus. Bremerton will happen. We know that — we all know that. We all keep waiting. And I think we’re tired of waiting.

Q: What will it take for Bremerton to ‘happen?’ What’s that last roadblock, or last few roadblocks?

A: We have to find a good residential developer who has the right ethic, financial capacity and the enthusiasm to make the investment in Bremerton. And I would be happy to partner with that person. But on my own, I’m not going to be able to do it by myself.

Q: When you purchased the Penney’s building, the concept was a mixed use development — book store, health facility, apartments and more. Is that still the game plan, or has it changed?

A: I think that the game plan might change. We have to have a really good economic plan for it to work, and it seems that looking at the neighborhood and everything around it, that it might be best to revitalize all the retail around the building, rather than take out valuable parking, when there’s already so much retail available. Use this parking to support that retail and the apartments. But if we get this done, it will be a collaboration between myself and the apartment builder. We’ll have to feel it out.

Bremerton Blotter, April 5-18


(Blogger’s note: Introducing the blotter, a new feature at the Bremerton Beat, that will give you the inside scoop on police activity around the city. This blog does not take the place of the Kitsap Sun’s Code 911 section, which will still cover serious crimes and incidents across Kitsap. But it will provide an idea of what Bremerton police are up to in town.)

Among the calls Bremerton Police handled recently:

Vehicle Prowl, 300 Callow Avenue: A resident watched surveillance footage of a suspect going through a church van April 5. He reported it April 11. It was unknown if anything was taken.

Burglary, 3200 Herren Avenue: A resident came home to find a downstairs exterior door wide open April 12. The resident’s backpack was found strewn in the yard and an XBox was taken from inside. Police took fingerprints but have found no suspects as yet.

Civil issue, 2700 Callahan Drive: A resident complained that her neighbor was “banging on the walls,” April 13 and that it has been an issue for three months. Police noted an eviction process was ongoing for the neighbor.

Vehicle prowl, 2300 Ninth Street: A motorist reported his truck was rummaged through April 13 but nothing was taken. He told police he had locked it.

Burglary, 1200 10th Street: A garage was broken into and a “bunch” of power tools stolen from inside on April 11. Police learned a nearby resident was suspected but did not make any arrests at the time of the report.

Fight in the drive thru, 4300 Kitsap Way: Officers responded to the Jack in the Box restaurant for reports of threats with a gun early April 13. A man reportedly drove up the drive thru and asked for a shake, but the restaurant staff couldn’t make one because they were performing maintenance. The man “became belligerent” and ultimately said something along the lines of “I’m going to shoot the place up.” Another customer said that same driver began blaring his horn and then began taunting the customer and “gesturing toward him.” The two men got out of their cars and fought for a brief time until the threatening man was pulled away by acquaintances and left. Police said the fight was “mutual combat.”

Vehicle prowl, 2500 15th Street: Two cars were prowled “overnight” April 11. One victim reported nothing stolen from their car; another said $6 in cash and the vehicle registration was taken. Both motorists believe their cars were locked. Police had no suspects at the time of the report.

Traffic ticket, 600 Fourth Street: A cab driver was cited for running two stop signs the evening of April 14.

Assault, 1300 Callow Avenue: Early April 15, officers responded to an apartment where a suspect had pushed down a man outside and then shoved his way into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, where he pushed her down twice. He mentioned he was “going to prison forever so this does not matter.” Neither victim was seriously hurt. The suspect, who police said was violating his probation, was arrested after calling the victim from a home on Olympic Avenue. He was arrested and taken to the Kitsap County jail on $50,000 bail.

Theft, 1100 16th Street: A woman reported her bike tires, valued at $800, were stolen about 9 a.m. April 15 from the Olympic College parking area. She’d locked the bike to a bike stall, but when she returned, the tires, rim and hardware were gone. Campus security reviewed surveillance video but police did not have a suspect at the time of the report.

Agency assist, Bainbridge Island: A Bremerton officer drew a composite sketch April 15 of the suspect in a burglary to a Wing Point Way home on Bainbridge.

Theft, 800 McKenzie Avenue: A resident reported that car parts, including a transmission and five wheels sitting in his driveway, were taken April 15. They are valued at $800. Police have no suspects.

Car prowl,  4500 Auto Center Way: A man early April 15 tried to steal items from a convenience store before the manager confronted him. An hour later, walked up to a car in the parking lot and asked for the vehicle. The driver declined to give it to him. Later, employees of a local company nearby caught the man trying to prowl a car in their parking lot. Police came and took him to the Kitsap County jail on $30,000 bail.

UPDATE: Suspicious incident, 300 Callow Avenue: A man in his 60s entered a local business demanding his “suit of armor” back. Employees inside would not give it to the man, described as intoxicated, and he tried to punch the employees. At some point, a gun fell off the the suspect’s person, and he eventually fell through the business’ front window, breaking it. Police took possession of the gun and the man was taken to Naval Hospital Bremerton for treatment.

Bike theft, 1500 Spruce Avenue: A man April 17 informed police that his BMX-style “pawn shop junker bike” had been taken from his residence after thieves had cut the cable he had secured it with. There are no suspects in the case.

Shoplifting, 4200 Kitsap Way: Police said a man stole two quarts of motor oil from Winco Foods April 18, and then promptly went to a nearby parking lot where he prowled a van. The van’s owner yelled at the apparent their and the suspect asked that he “not call the cops.” The cops were called, and he went to the Kitsap County jail with bail set at $10,000.

The raccoon crackdown in Bremerton begins now


 Problematic raccoons, and those who feed them, take note: Bremerton’s crackdown has begun

The city’s new ordinance, which stiffens fines for those who feed the animals and creates a contract with the federal government to neutralize the most dubious critters, takes effect today.

The City Council passed the new ordinance 7-0 at its April 2 meeting. For the Council, putting more weight into the fines and hiring a United States Department of Agriculture wildlife specialist for up to 80 hours a year (at a cost of $3,500) was a slam dunk.

The thornier issue between Mayor Patty Lent and the Council was deciding who the point of contact for raccoon complaints would be. The Council had been pretty adamant at a meeting the prior week that City Code Enforcement Officer Janet Lunceford should be involved, and that, in a worst-case scenario, raccoon feeders could be hauled before the city’s hearing examiner.

Lent asked that the raccoon point person be City Clerk Shannon Corin. She was backed by her Department of Community Development Director Andrea Spencer, who pointed out to the Council that Lunceford has no experience in the animal control field — and has plenty to do already.

But Younger said at the City Council’s March 26 meeting that he “would not budge on this.”

In the end, the Council did, in fact, budge.

Lent would’ve vetoed the ordinance had it crossed her desk with code enforcement involved. That puts the Council in a tough spot — they’d need five of seven members to override the mayor. Plus, the task of implementing the ordinance falls to the city administration.

Younger, in a meeting just before the vote April 2 with the mayor, decided the ordinance sans code enforcement was better than no ordinance at all.

“I felt the buy-in by the mayor was more important than the additional language concerning the hearing examiner,” he told me. “In reality, I can pass all the ordinances in the world. But the administration is the one that carries them out.”

For now, the City Clerk will be that point of contact. Corin will respond to complaints and refer them to different sources: Kitsap County Animal Rescue, Kitsap Public Health District and the wildlife specialist with the United States Department of Agriculture.

Downtown Bremerton: the dreams that have yet to come to the old JC Penny’s


The removal of 30 concrete tiles this month from the Harborside Parking Garage downtown got me thinking about the gritty building itself. Most of you will recall Ron Sher, the prominent Puget Sound developer who’s turned aging malls into vibrant shopping centers, bought the garage in 2007. He’d planned to build apartments, a workout facility, bookstore, commons area and other amenities at the spot that may always be known as the Old JC Penny’s building.

So far, those plans haven’t materialized.

They were certainly ambitious. Artist renderings (pictured) show lots of gathering places, apartments reaching into the sky, and a central market.

While those renderings exist only on paper, Sher and an architect will tour the garage next week, designing a new facade for it to replace the tiles. I’m told it will look much better and the removal of the 32,000 lbs. tiles would make it easier to construct apartments on the roof.

Though a bigger project remains elusive, Sher hasn’t held back on other parts of downtown. He bought the former Westsound Bank building from the city for $910,000 and ultimately turned it into the Bremerton Bar & Grill. Chuck Henderson, his local property manager, is still in talks with developers and grocers about prospects for the old Penny’s building, as well as other spots Sher’s purchased downtown. I’d say stay tuned.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.01.55 AM

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.00.14 AM

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.02.12 AM