Monthly Archives: May 2016

Beat blast: Tony’s 50th, a whale of a mural and the case of the disappearing foil

If you’ve lived in Bremerton for a long time, chances are you have a polaroid on the wall at Tony’s Pizza. The venerable restaurant, one of the longest-running in the entire state, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

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Learn all about the restaurant and its history in this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast.

Also on the Blast, you’ll learn:

What one business did to stop drug users from constantly stealing aluminum foil;

Where Bremerton’s newest mural is taking shape;

The details of the creatively anachronistic Medieval Faire coming to Bremerton this weekend;

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What special brews Arena Sports Bar & Grille will be serving up Friday (and that you’ll never be able to taste again).

Questions? Comments? I love the feedback. Send it to

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Mailbag: Free swims at the Y and manhole covers


Here’s a question I’ve been hearing a lot lately. “I am not a member of the Bremerton YMCA, but I’ve heard you can still swim there for free periodically.”

There have been doubts cast about whether this is true, so I went to the source: Bremerton Parks Director Jeff Elevado and YMCA Director Jane Erlandsen. Both confirmed that once every quarter, local residents can use the pool for free, as part of their operating agreement (the YMCA runs the pool but the city owns it).

In fact, it’s not just the pool. Elevado told me.

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“The Bremerton YMCA provides voucher for one visit per quarter,” he said. “The visit provides full access to the Y, including the pool.”

To print out the voucher, click here.


Felicienne Griffin-Matheson asked me recently on Facebook why there are so many manhole covers on Trenton Avenue. “If anyone has driven Trenton they know what the difference between a drunk driver and a man hole avoider is. Why is there 50+ man hole covers between 11th and Stone on Trenton? I have been wondering why for so many years!”

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Others commented that Lower Wheaton Way has a whole bunch of them too.

For the answer, I consulted Wayne Hamilton, the city’s utility operations manager. He printed maps showing the city’s network of water, sewer and stormwater pipes that snake under the road.

The short answer, Felicienne, is that the street is old and has seen a lot in its lifetime. The more elaborate answer is that, as time and development of the street has gone on, more underground utilities have been needed, and added.

Anytime one of the pipes under Trenton has needed a new branch, a manhole cover has to be added, Hamilton said. Also, anytime a pipe turns at a 45 degree angle or higher, a manhole cover must be added. The reason is that clogs in those pipes are most likely to be found at the corners, so they have to be easily accessed by crews to get them unclogged.

“If things get plugged, you want to have access to it,” he told me.

Also, the city embarked on a utility project there about 25 years ago that separated sewer flows from runoff — or stormwater — ones. The reason: each time we have a big storm and lots of rain, it overflows the city’s sewer treatment plant, causing sewage to be spilled into Puget Sound. By creating a new system for the runoff, you keep it from going to the sewer system, but you also get more utility covers on the street above.

“That all adds up to a lot of man holes,” he said.


Several people have asked about the foundation on a plateau off Kitsap Way near Westbay Auto Parts (see picture). 


For the answer, I asked the city’s community development department. The foundation is actually a part of the construction of a private home with a large garage. Larry Taylor, a local resident who fixes bikes as a hobby, is the applicant.

Got a question for the Bremerton Beat’s Mailbag? Send it to 

Beat Blast: Harbor fest, a closed gate and the end of the ‘Bay’ Bowl

If you’ve been by the Bay Bowl on Lower Wheaton Way recently, you’ll notice there’s something missing. The letters are gone, spelling another shift for the once-popular bowling alley along the bluffs of the Port Washington Narrows.

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Photo by Meegan Reid.

Elsewhere in this week’s Beat Blast, you’ll learn:

Where to party — or, even better, where to get your STEM-learning on — during this weekend’s Kitsap Harbor Festival.

How a Tacoma man’s plans to bring a car dealership to East Bremerton won’t happen due to city zoning.

What it will take to get the Turner Joy restored for its next 15 years.

Why the Navy closed a popular trail between Jackson Park and Marine NAD Park. (And here’s the petition to ask them to open it back up.)

Questions? Comments? I love the feedback. Send it to


Council scorecard: parking, pathways and passage of a big plan


The City Council passed its once-a-decade comprehensive plan Wednesday night, but that wasn’t what dominated a more than four hour meeting.

The main topic? Parking.

At issue were changes in the city’s zoning code, to include how many parking spaces developers of apartments must install per unit they build. The city’s planning commission had recommended 1/2 of a space for every unit at the city’s biggest population centers EXCEPT downtown. That means for every 100 units built, 50 parking spaces are needed at a minimum.

But the City Council had, at its Wednesday meeting a week ago, raised that to one space per unit (e.g. 100 units=at least 100 parking spaces). And the Council approved that new minimum tonight.

But there’s one exception to that rule: the city’s downtown area has required just 1/2 space since 2007 and it is staying that way for now. That was the main bone of contention for a number of small business owners and others in the crowd. Chase Linbo, manager of Game Wizard Blue Sky Hobbies on Fourth Street, said his business has enjoyed much success in the location. Except for one thing. 

“The only problem I have is parking,” he said.

He and others worried about the idea developers could put in just one half parking space per apartment unit, saying it would make parking problems downtown worse.

Others supported the 1/2 space minimum for the downtown area. Dale Sperling, who is building a nearly 50-unit project on Burwell Street, said his project would not pencil were it not for the 1/2 space minimum.

Even Seattle developer Mark Goldberg, who once built or tried to build a number of projects in Bremerton, stopped by to say he supported the minimum "1/2 spot" rule.
Even Seattle developer Mark Goldberg, who once built or tried to build a number of projects in Bremerton, stopped by to say he supported the minimum “1/2 spot” rule.

“We would not be developing that building if it had to be one spot per unit,” he said.

City Clerk Shannon Corin said a parking study is ongoing and should provide analysis for what the city can do about what one property owner called a “parking disaster.” Many in the audience, as well as several on the Council, said they’re waiting for the results before jumping to a final conclusion.

Many members of the Council acknowledged the parking problems downtown. But an upbeat Council President Eric Younger seemed to signal that it sure beat the alternative — a downtown with no one in it. “This is potentially a good problem to have,” he said.

I chronicled other zoning changes, including the resurrection of duplex construction in some areas, in this previous story.

Elsewhere in Wednesday’s Council meeting:

Tax Exemption: The Council extended the city’s multifamily property tax exemption. Downtown developers could already access eight years without property taxes for building there and 12 years if a percentage of the units met the definition of “affordable.” In a unanimous vote, the Council voted to extend the exemption beyond downtown to areas like Charleston, Wheaton Way, and other more dense areas of the city called its “centers.”

Grass in the new portion of Evergreen-Rotary Park is growing in; a new path will run along its waterfront.
Grass in the new portion of Evergreen-Rotary Park is growing in; a new path will run along its waterfront.

Pathway Extension: The Rotary Club of downtown Bremerton donated $20,000 Wednesday night to build a new 350-foot waterfront pathway at Evergreen-Rotary Park. I had previously asked Colette Berna, the parks department’s preservation and development manager, about the work. She said it will connect a new waterfront outlook — where the old pump station used to be — to the city’s 9/11 Memorial. About $17,000 in federal funding is also being pursued to complete sidewalks in the area of the new portion of the park, Berna said.

If you’ve been down to the newest portion of the park lately, you know the grass is growing in well. For background on the project connecting the old park to the new, click here.

Crime stat suspicions: During Police Chief Steve Strachan’s monthly report, he noted arrested were up, from 179 in April 2014 to 212 to April 2016. He again chalked that up to a number of warrants for failing to appear in court on previous charges. Some other crimes were increasing too, including trespassing, which rose from 18 reported incidents in April 2014 to 45 in April 2016.

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Comprehensive Plan fruition: Last, but not least, the City Council tonight passed the Comprehensive Plan, a roadmap for growth in the next 20 years. The city is continuing its “centers” concept, encouraging more dense growth in certain areas — Charleston, Manette, downtown, Eastside (where the hospital is now), Wheaton Way and the Puget Sound Industrial Center near the airport.

The city expects 14,000 people and 19,000 more jobs to be located in Bremerton in 2036, city planner Allison Satter told the Council Wednesday.

A number of changes are being made to the comprehensive plan regarding land use. Satter described the changes Wednesday night as a simpler regulatory framework — “Tangible, readable, and comprehensible” — than the plan that precedes it.

More to come. For the entire agenda Wednesday, click here.

Beat blast: Donuts, a parade & the biggest Rhody you’ve ever seen

If you must know, production of this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast required your host to eat 3 1/2 donuts. Oh, the sacrifices I make to bring you my handpicked top 5 stories of the week.

Past meets present in Manette.

Those include:

Questions? Comments? I love the feedback! Send it to


Bremerton cop inadvertently stomps flower … then replaces it

The new Iris.

Law enforcement can get messy sometimes. Such was the case Wednesday, as officers converged on the house of a man suffering a mental health crisis in West Bremerton. As officers surrounded the place, a sergeant, Randy Plumb, inadvertently stepped on an Iris in the neighbor’s yard.

“The very nice neighbor expressed great thankfulness we were there doing our job, but also expressed her displeasure in the sergeant stepping on her plants,” Plumb wrote in his report of the incident.

Be sure to note that Sgt. Plumb referred to himself in the third person, which Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan believes might have been to “create a distance from personal responsibility.” (If it isn’t obvious, the chief has a good sense of humor.) 

Plumb did indeed take personal responsibility, however. Following “much grief” from colleagues there, he drove to Bremerton City Nursery and purchased a brand new, fully grown Iris for the neighbor, Jen Budis.

“When the Sergeant explained the circumstances to the nursery employee, they laughed and insisted on giving him a discount,” Strachan said.  “With his tail between his legs, Sgt. Plumb responded back to the neighbor’s house, offered an apology, and presented the new iris plant.”

And Budis’ response? She took to Facebook to share it. 

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And, more good news: Bremerton police, with help of deputies from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, were able to help the man in crisis out of his home and the situation was resolved safely.

The new Iris, too, is reportedly doing well.  

Beat blast: typewriter repairmen, a parking lawsuit & Pablo’s trike

Does a typewriter repair shop have a future? Paul Lundy thinks so. The Kingston man has taken over the legendary Bob Montgomery’s downtown shop. And by the looks of things, business is brisk — there’s a monthlong backlog already.

Hear from these two typewriter repairmen on this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast. You’ll also learn:

Photo by Meegan M. Reid.
Photo by Meegan M. Reid.

What class action lawsuit the city of Bremerton is facing;

What new charity just moved into East Bremerton to benefit the youngest in our community;

About Pablo Lozano’s new trike;

And our upcoming Story Walk of the Warren Avenue Bridge. (RSVP here.)

Thanks for watching. Please send questions and comments to

Photo by Tristan Baurick.
Photo by Tristan Baurick.

Construction begins in July on Williams Center


It’s game time for the Marvin Williams Center. The $6.4 million project, to include a gymnasium and job skills center, will break ground July 7 at the corner of Park Avenue and 8th Street.

“We’re ready and boy are we excited,” said Larry Robertson, pastor of Emmanuel Apostolic Church, which is spearheading the project.

It’s been a long road for the New Life Development Agency, the development arm of the church that has been planning the community center for more than a decade. Once opened, the center will provide everything from job training to a place for teens to play after school. It will be named for Williams, a longtime NBA star born and raised here.

Save the dates were mailed out starting last week.

Donations and state funding have poured in for the center in recent years. The State Legislature funded $1.6 million of the project in its capital budget in 2013; donations have from from the C. Keith Birkenfeld Trust, the family of teacher A.Y. Petter and Williams himself.

The center was $755,000 away from full funding last October, following a $100,000 from longtime developer Tim Ryan. But in the time since, several large donations have rolled in, including $112,000 during the Kitsap Great Give. Robertson said the organization is still short the project’s $6.4 million price tag, but by an amount it is confident it will reach in the coming months.

Williams, the center’s namesake, just finished his 11th season in the NBA, and enters the summer in free agency. He called this past season “probably the most fun year of my career,” helping the Hornets amass a 48-34 record with nearly 12 points a game. The team recently lost a a nail biter of a first-round series to the Miami Heat, 4-3.

The groundbreaking will be at 5 p.m. July 7. Robertson said construction should take nine months.

Bremerton has a new auditor


There’s a new city auditor in town. Jennifer Sims, a local forensic accountant, will take on the job of conducting audits of all kinds of facets of the city government.

The Bremerton City Council approved her hiring at their regular Wednesday meeting.

Sims. (via LinkedIn)

“I thought it would be challenging work,” Sims told me last week, adding later: “Maybe I can help to save Bremerton some money.”

Sims takes over for Gary Nystul, the former auditor of more than a decade, who quit following the City Council’s decision to reduce the role from 40 hours a week to 16.

Sims, 55, has a small forensic accounting firm she runs from her home west of Bremerton. She has two decades of experience “calculating economic damages in litigation and insurance, with an emphasis on lost profits/business interruption, construction damages, lost rents, personal injury wage losses, and economic losses resulting from fraud,” according to her LinkedIn profile. She also worked as an internal auditor for the state of Alaska.

“She has an extensive resume, and strong and broad experience to bring to the role,” said Leslie Daugs, the Bremerton City Councilwoman who serves as chair of the city’s audit committee and who oversaw her hiring.

The reduction of hours was not a problem for Sims, who will also remain in private practice.

The position had gotten a lot of attention from Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent and the City Council in recent years. Here’s why, from the article I wrote about Nystul’s retirement:

Nystul, also a Poulsbo City Councilman, has served in the position since 2003. In recent years, his position was increasingly scrutinized by Mayor Patty Lent and some members of the City Council, who felt that the position was outdated and that outside organizations could perform more specialized and productive audits.

The auditor is unique in the state and within the city’s government. Called for by the city’s charter, the auditor does not answer to the mayor or council but to a five-person committee — two council members, two city residents and a certified public accountant. They alone have the power to set the auditor’s agenda and hire or fire one.

For more about the position, click here. I will be interested to find out what the new auditor decides to pursue first.

Trike theft leaves Bremerton man without his ride

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 7.38.26 PMIt’s not often you hear about the theft of a three-wheeled bike. But on Monday, such a trike was taken in front of the Fred Meyer in East Bremerton — one belonging to a popular store employee who depends on it for getting to and from work.

For now, Pablo Lozano will have to take the bus to work.

“Disappointing,” is how he described the theft.

Others — and he has quite the following at the Fred Meyer and beyond — describe the theft more harshly, and are hoping to see justice in this case.

He was working his shift Monday when another employee informed him someone might be “messing” with his trike. He went out front to find it was gone.

This wasn’t just any trike. Lozano had it customized with a speaker, motor and lights. He suffered a stroke and meningitis when he was just five years old, so the bike’s brakes work through his left hand. He didn’t lock it up Monday — he rarely does, noting a community of good people who’ve never touched it since he started working there — and someone wandered off with it.

Since the theft, many tips have rolled in about its whereabouts. It may have been painted and taken to Port Orchard. In any event, if you have any information about the bike’s whereabouts, call 911. The county sheriffs’ case number is K16-004140.

Several efforts to get Lozano a new trike are underway. I’m keeping an eye on them, and will keep you posted if anyone is able come to Lozano’s aid.


UPDATE #1: Seattle E-Bike is outfitting Pablo with a new bike and are delivering it to him soon, Lozano told me. Here’s the story of how the delivery happened.

UPDATE #2: Strangely, another trike was stolen from a Bremerton home this week in the North Wycoff area (pictured). But it was found a few days later.