Monthly Archives: October 2014

Bremerton police blotter, Oct. 11-17

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Here’s this week’s police blotter. I have been remiss in getting these out in the last couple months and I am to get back on track. Starting now.

First off, you’ll see in this photo the new signs that are accompanying the police department’s rollout of an “alcohol impact zone” from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. each day. Participating in the zone, which starts Nov. 1, is voluntary at this point. We’ll see how many retailers go along with it.

Secondly, here’s an item from Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan’s weekly update:

Last Saturday, Officer Frank Shaw pulled over a suspected drunk driver, and the man was asked to do some field sobriety tests. Following a less than stellar performance in the one leg stand, the driver commented, “Come on, I can’t do that s–t drunk.” Quickly realizing that this was probably not the right thing to say, he corrected himself by saying, “I mean, I can’t do that s–t whether I am drunk or sober!” Pretty good recovery…He was ultimately arrested, blew a .16 alcohol content and was booked into the jail.

Here’s more, from the reports board at the Burwell Street station:

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Bremerton holiday flea market kicks off Saturday

Dick Hausdorf shows off his treasures for sale prior to Saturday's market.
Dick Hausdorf shows off his treasures for sale prior to Saturday’s market.

Attention junkers, pickers and treasurer hunters: Pacific Avenue’s Uptown Mercantile & Marketplace kicks off the first of three holiday flea markets Saturday.

The market, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., will feature food, live music and of course, a variety of vendors to peruse. The only constant is the vintage flavor, points out Uptown shopkeeper Wendy Rushing.

“We have a unique look I don’t think you will find at the mall,” she said.

Uptown, which also features a year-round 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. market on Sundays, will really break out the holidays next month.

“The day after Halloween,” Rushing said, “We are putting Christmas up.”

The market’s located at 816 Pacific Avenue.

For 40 years, Valencia’s been the example


Six mayors. Four decades. And so many stories. 

Elaine Valencia has been the executive assistant to mayors in Bremerton since 1983. She’s survived quite a variety of personalities, keeping each one in line and on track and establishing a reputation that the next mayor in line felt they couldn’t live without.

On Friday, she celebrated her 40th year with the city. But she’d be just fine without any pomp and circumstance, happy to leave the limelight to her boss.

“I prefer to stay in the background and not draw a lot of attention,” she said.

A lifelong Bremerton resident — her father Jerry Yeadon was the elected clerk of Bremerton for a couple terms — she graduated from West High School in 1969.

She got a job in the city’s parks and recreation department as an office assistant in 1974, transferring to the planning department after about a year. There, she stayed until 1983, shortly after the city’s charter passed and a strong mayor form of government replaced a city commission in Bremerton.

When she left the planning department, she had it written in her contract that she’d “bumped” back there if she lost her position in the mayor’s office, where at that time she served Morrie Dawkins.

But, “I never had to use it,” she said of the contract.

The job, she said, requires a diligence in staying on top of daily affairs and correspondence. There are days when the office is flooded and someone unprepared would be overwhelmed. If the ball is dropped, she said, it can damage the entire office’s — and indeed the city’s — reputation.

Case in point: when Gene Lobe, the second mayor she served, came aboard in 1986 he had Valencia on three months’ probation. She recalled being late for a few things in those early days. On the day the three months was up, he called her into his office. He decided to  retain her but told her that she was never to be late for anything again.

“You have to be the example for all other employees,” Lobe told her.

The message has resonated to Valencia to this day.

“I’ve never been late since,” she said.

Mayor Louis Mentor, taking the reins in 1990, never even asked if Valencia would stay on. She just kept going. Mayor Lynn Horton made a point of asking that she stay, Valencia said.

Mayor Cary Bozeman told Valencia “everyone told me that I have to keep you,” and so she stayed through another tenure.

When current Mayor Patty Lent was elected, it was a familiar face. Both had known each other through the Lions Club and Valencia had seen Lent in the mayor’s office before when Lent was a county commissioner.

Over those five mayors’ tenures she’s watched a downtown bustling with life nearly die, only to be reborn again in recent years.

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Dispatches from Manette

From left to right: Rejuv staff Christina Zamora, Julie Poston, Val Sechrest and Annaliza Tolosa.
From left to right: Rejuv staff Christina Zamora, Julie Poston, Val Sechrest and Annaliza Tolosa.

An anniversary, an accident and an ascension: here’s a  few things past, present and upcoming in the Bremerton hamlet of Manette to get you caught up on.

Friday marks Rejuv Salon & Spa‘s 10th year in business. Julie Poston, its founder, started a solo massage practice downtown. She’s now got ten employees in a serene space off Scott Avenue.

“I never imagined the success we’d have,” says Poston, who notes she spent much of her 20s working at the Boat Shed before going full time as a massage therapist.

She and some of her employees credit that success to staff camaraderie and a great rapport with customers, many of which are loyal and return often. It didn’t hurt to win a 2010 award for best massage in Western Washington either, Poston said.

Rejuv will celebrate its 10th anniversary from 5-8 p.m. Friday at 1007 Scott Avenue, Suite B. View the details here.

IMG_5369 Up the street and around the bend from Rejuv, the second story of a new pet spa is taking shape.

I spoke with owner Eliane Pugnalin today. My understanding is there’s an office going upstairs and the grooming will be done downstairs. She told me that a roof still has to be installed, weather permitting.

There’s no opening date as yet but I will keep an eye out.

The Bay Bowl, with BAY lit up.
The Bay Bowl, with BAY lit up.

Down toward Harrison Medical Center, the Bay Bowl, an East Bremerton icon, caught my eye the other morning. The lights on ‘BAY’ upon its brick facade, were on.

Chris Campana, owner of the complex, said it was just an accident the lights were on. They haven’t been on since.

Rimnam Thai Cuisine and storage for Delphinus Engineering take up the bulk of the building. Campana said he’s had some interest in other parts of the building but nothing’s materialized.


And finally, I found this little sign at Raejean Barone’s found store. It’s a new campaign based on similar city signs near Harrison Medical Center as part of the ongoing Lower Wheaton Way construction project.

More on her store, as well as the E. 11th street lighting project, later.


From above, corn maze has Bremerton look

Photo by Sky-Pix Aerial Photography.
Photo by Sky-Pix Aerial Photography.

Minder Farm‘s popular annual corn maze off Highway 303 benefitted from a spectacular start to fall this year.  But did you know that each year, the five acre maze is not just designed to be fun for those on the ground but picturesque from a birds-eye view as well?

Two Bremerton companies that each call the West Hills home — Minder Meats, along with Bremerton Bottling Company —  joined forces this year to imprint the latter’s logo within about 90,000 cornstalks.

“This was just an opportunity the Minders brought to us,” Pete McKenzie, sales and marketing manager for Bremerton Bottling Company. “We’ve worked with them in the past and we thought this would be a fun thing to do.”

“People love it,” added Jim Carlson, owner of Minder Meats in Bremerton, whose family owns the storied farm off Highway 303.

It’s the eighth year Minder has hosted a corn maze. The family relies on Idaho-based, which uses GPS to create the maze. It costs about $5,000 to do it, Carlson said.

Given the growth of so-called “agratainment,” Carlson keeps his eye on what other mazes do each year around the country. They’ve had some different designs in the past — one year they did ‘ESPN’ in big letters when the media covered the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede; on another they had a Seahawk, for reasons that, well, should be obvious. (Go Hawks!)

This year, they almost secured a deal with Geico but it fell through Carlson said. But after running into bottling company owner Carole Aughnay Dawson, he had an idea.

“They’ve done an awful lot for this community,” Carlson said of Bremerton Bottling.

This year’s maze, combined with great fall weather and some sharing of the photo above around social media and in the community, has been very successful, he said.

The hammerhead’s not dead — and I can prove it

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IMG_9109The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard’s iconic hammerhead crane, whose green steel still towers over Bremerton, hasn’t been in use since 1996. But you might be surprised to know it still moves from time to time.

See exhibit A, these two photos. I took both photos from close to the same vantage point: on Park Avenue near Sixth Street, looking south into the shipyard. There’s almost exactly a 90 degree difference between the photos.

This discovery sent my curiosity off the charts. Is this aging wonder of Bremerton, built in Pennsylvania in 1932 by some of the same iron workers who constructed the Empire State Building, back in service?

Answer: No, not exactly.

Mary Anne Mascianica, a shipyard spokeswoman, told me that moving the crane  is actually quite routine.

“We rotate the crane about twice per year to ensure that we can move it to provide clearances for various ship movements,” Mascianica said.  “The crane is no longer certified to make any lifts and there is no plan to recertify the crane.”

So it rotates. But the 2,400 ton structure, a National Historic Landmark, does little more than that — though it serves as a highly prominent location for a Seahawks’ 12th man flag, some may recall.

Mind you, I have friends in the shipyard who will likely say, “Josh, I could’ve told you that.” But you didn’t. So now it’s my job to let everyone else know.

“When the Hammerhead Crane is rotated it is a sight to see and will take up to 6 minutes to complete the rotation,” wrote Ken Haines in a history of the crane. “But it still operates and feels as smooth as silk.”

I will take this opportunity as a teachable moment. Here’s a few really cool facts about the crane:

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Brewfest brouhaha

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Sipping local microbrews in the storied East High gym is a good way to raise money and awareness about the Bremerton Youth Wellness Campus, says campus executive director Patricia Hennessy. 

“It will bring people here to drink beer for a great cause,” Hennessy says.

But the recent announcement of the campus’ first-ever Winter Brewfest has not been met with universal acquiescence.  And, according to some of commenters on Facebook, that is probably putting it mildly.

“I question the message they are sending,” Craig Patti wrote on my Facebook page.  “Seems counterproductive to ‘youth wellness campus.'”

Patti’s comment was among a snowball of opinions critical, mainly, of the idea of holding an event involving alcohol at the campus.

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But Hennessy defends the decision and says the event will go forward.

“We are going to stay the course,” she said.

No one under 21 will be allowed on the campus during the entire event, from 12-5 p.m. Nov. 1, she said. She hopes people will come to realize that a craft brew festival is not akin to a drunken kegger (my words, not hers).

“We’re not promoting alcoholism,” she said. “We’re doing this very responsibly.”

She noted that she has support of the Bremerton School District — which leases the land to the campus and once operated East High School and Bremerton Junior High School there — and that of the campus’ Board of Directors.

Hennessy said money raised at the event will pay for athletic scholarships for kids to use the campus, which thus far includes a Boys and Girls Club and a low-cost dental clinic. But much more is planned for the seven-acre site, to include parklike lawns, a farmer’s market and a music education center.

The campus can only have one event with alcohol per year under their insurance policy, Hennessy said, and she believes this is the one that will give the campus a boost in exposure and help “make sure we’re keeping kids in Bremerton off the streets.”

The event is $25 and 10 local breweries will be featured. Will you go, or do you share some of those same reservations as those on Facebook have?

Dereliction demolished

Work demolishing nine homes near the Manette Bridge has restored the view of the bridge from Highland Avenue — at least before the Spyglass Hill apartments are built.

As planned, the homes long owned by John Hoffman were bulldozed this week. Once turn-of-the-century family homes Hoffman says his grandfather, City Attorney Thomas Stevenson, used as a kind of informal city hall, the structures have been in disrepair for many years.

After a fire in one of them, city officials took Hoffman to court over code violations. Hoffman vowed to fight the city and had hoped to restore the homes to their “former grandeur.” But  he ultimately sold the properties at 649 and 653 Washington Avenue to the developers of the Spyglass Hill apartment project for $20,000.

In late-September, work began demolishing nine homes, including the two Hoffman owned. A landscape of nine aging homes will, in a year’s time, be replaced with a $15 million apartment high-rise and complex.

The developers plan to honor Hoffman’s family with a memorial at the site but details are still in the works, I’m told.

Here’s a little photographic journey of the demolitions.

The view inside Hoffman's home, overlooking the Manette Bridge. The home was full of heirlooms and property, much of which was moved to a storage unit.
The view inside Hoffman’s home, overlooking the Manette Bridge. The home was full of heirlooms and property, much of which was moved to a storage unit.
Homes to the south of the ones formerly owned by Hoffman came down first.
Homes to the south of the ones formerly owned by Hoffman were demolished beforehand.
Demolition of the home at 653 Washington started first this week. Some pianos and other belongings were removed as well. 
All that was left of the upstairs Wednesday at 649 Washington.
And by Thursday, they were gone. But crews still have to tear out the basements, within the retaining wall, and fill them in to secure the bank. I’ll post more photos as that work happens.

Lower Wheaton’s intersection at 18th is just all torn up


If you’ve traveled Lower Wheaton Way recently, you’ve seen crews are making progress on widening the sidewalks and paving the road as part of its $3.4 million makeover. Today, there’s paving going on as well, and unless you want to sit in traffic for awhile, I would find another route around the work if you can.

There’s been a few kinks on the project — and one of them involves some utility issues on the road’s intersection at 18th Street.

Crews have taken out the little section of Marlow Avenue between Lower Wheaton and 18th, to make room for a sidewalk. The plan was to bend 18th street a bit where it comes into Lower Wheaton, but no one anticipated a large CenturyLink utility box buried underground (pictured) to the east of the roadway, according to city project manager Ed Aban. The result is that CenturyLink has been moving the utility box (called a “duct bank”) east and 18th Street’s new design had to be bent back westward so as to not run over the duck bank.

In total, the project reconstructs three new intersections, along with this one.

Here’s the latest overall project update from Aban:

This week, the Contractor has been placing sidewalk, mostly on the land side. Today, the Contractor will be doing curb and gutter, and will be paving trench crossings and areas to be patched. The hydroseeding on the land side that was scheduled for the week of October 1st, but was rescheduled to October 13. The construction of the sidewalk, curb, and gutter will continue on October 14 through 16. The curb and gutter is a priority since the Contractor has planned to complete the final overlay in the week of October 20. The weather will be the determining factor to accomplish this planned work.

If there are any concerns or questions, please contact Project Engineer (Ed Aban) at 360-473-2317 or field representative (Leo Johnson) at 360-621-1666.

The entire project’s slated to wrap up later this fall.

Metaphysically speaking, on Fourth Street


Bremerton’s reborn Fourth Street gives visitors a variety of things to do: see a movie, play a board game, get a massage, among others. One activity you might not know about, though, is a chance for spiritual awakening.

I’m referring to Avebury Mystikals at 544 Fourth Street, a place filled with scents, oils, herbs and all things metaphysical. You can even get Reiki, a kind of Japanese relaxation.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. (No, not psychically, I’m just guessing). You may not believe in their alternative forms of healing. Fine. Some people do, some people don’t. I’m not sold myself. But what I do know is that we’re not talking about Miss Cleo here.

“I’m not going to say you’re the next lottery winner,” said Michelle Bishop, who with Anna Moll co-owns the shop, which opened in 2012.

What they do offer is a kind of counseling and comfort.

“We want to be a safe place for people to come and inquire about the mysteries of life,” Bishop said.

Come this Saturday, Avebury Mystikals will endeavor to go beyond its walls for the sake of charity. Its First Annual Masquerade Ball, at the Ealges (205 Sixth Street), will benefit Bremerton Foodline. It’s the center’s first charity event and it has only one rule.

“As long as you’re wearing some kind of mask, you’re invited,” Bishop said.

Costumes, I’ve heard, will come from history, fantasy, sci-fi and everything in between. There’ll be a DJ, costume contest and raffles. The fun begins at 8 p.m.

But don’t delay in buying tickets, which are $20 a person and $35 a couple when purchased at their Fourth Street store. There’s only 300 total and the majority have already been sold. For those brave enough, tickets are $25 a person and $45 a couple. Learn more here.