All posts by adice

Discussion with Bremerton School District’s New Superintendent

The Kitsap Sun editorial board met Tuesday with Flip Herndon, the new superintendent of Bremerton School District. Below are the video and live blog of the discussion.

— Angela Dice

Remember Charly B Shirts? Some ’80s Bremertonians Do

Sun file photo from 1982
Sun file photo from 1982

In the early 1980s, Bremerton child chic included acid-washed jeans, double slouched socks — and Charly B sweatshirts.

It was Bremerton’s hometown brand during a time of brand-logo mania and when there were department stores and lots of people downtown.

Local kids saved allowances and begged their parents for the shirts. An elementary school had a Charly B day. The shirts popped up in spots across the country, though they were sold only in Kitsap.

Maybe it’s because some things from the ’80s (I said some) are trendy again. Maybe Bremerton pride is back. Or maybe its because those ’80s kids are old enough to be nostalgic.

Whatever it is, Charly B shirts are back.

A few shirts are appearing around town and being shipped off to former Kitsap residents across the country.

But before we get into that, a little background on the shirts:

They are the creation of longtime businessman Chuck Bair, who sold them first at a clothing store he owned with his wife, Patty, on Pacific Avenue, across from JC Penny — when there still was a JC Penny.

Chuck had created the logo, a doodled script, for their retail store and eventually printed shirts that he sold there and later at stores in Redwood Plaza and the South Kitsap Mall.

Nearly 70,000 shirts sold in the four years the Charly B clothing stores were open.

But then the Kitsap Mall happened to downtown Bremerton.

“We were one of the first ones to leave because we saw the writing on the wall,” Patty said. And they didn’t have the capital to open a store in the mall, Chuck said.

And with the Charly B stores went the Charly B shirts.

Since that time, the couple focused on other businesses: their property management business; Patty ran franchise Baskin-Robbins ice cream stores; they briefly opened an Ivar’s in Redwood Plaza; and in 2006, they opened Kitsap Lake Storage.

All the while, people kept asking about the shirts. They’d regale the couple with memories of their shirts, remembering even the color.

So the Bairs started printing them again and as people asked for more, they printed more. They lined the shelves of an office room with shirts in multiple colors. They put out a sign in front of Kitsap Lake Storage, “and lo and behold it’s taken off again,” Chuck said.

Some thanks for recent demand goes to online social networks.

One fan created a “Charly B. Resurrection” group on Facebook and news of the shirts’ comeback was posted on the wall of the Facebook group “I Can’t Believe I grew up in Kitsap County in the 80’s”, which has 1,700 members. They’ve referred to it as “AWESOME,” with exclamation points and called it a “great blast from the past.” One person wrote, “are y’all for real? i’ve been wanting another one. to match my black w/ multi-colored lettering Esprit tote bag that i am STILL rockin’ after all these years ;)”

In April, the Bairs put up a web site to sell the shirts and post old photos and memories from customers.

About 400 to 500 have sold.

LeAnn Williams worked in the clothing stores as a young adult, and now works at the storage facility.

“Who’d have thought 30 years later I’d be folding Charly B sweatshirts (again)?” she exclaimed.

The shirts’ renewed success may not portend the return of Charly B clothing stores.

“I think it still has potential,” Chuck said, though he said he doesn’t really spend a lot of time thinking about it. “Right now its a fun sideline.”

“We’ll just see where it goes. We’ve mad e a little investment in it again. Its not about making money, its about bringing something back that was important to a lot of people.”

—  Angela Dice

Bremerton Beat Adds Its Responses to Port Orchard Podunk Talk

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola spoke recently at a chamber meeting, and after seeing a video (courtesy of, the Bremerton blog (at least two of of us) can’t let it go without some response. (I mean we do have to maintain the Bremerton vs. Port Orchard rivalry on this blog and the Speaking of South Kitsap blog..)

Coppola: “We’re not in podunk anymore.”

Bremerton Beat: Oh really?

Coppola: “We are tired of being the red-headed stepchild of Kitsap County …”

Bremerton Beat: Redheads out there: are you offended?

— Angela Dice

Bremerton Car Tabs Discussion Recorded

We recorded the Kitsap Sun editorial board’s discussion with Bremerton council members on a proposed $20 car-tab fee. You can watch the video and the live blog and comments written during that discussion by clicking play on one of the features below:


Live blog:

– Angela

Sign Was Wrong; Westpark Properties for Sale

Some people have asked recently about a “For Lease” sign on the portion of Westpark slated for commercial development. The sign, near Kitsap Way and Oyster Bay Ave., apparently was put up in error.

The redevelopment plan for the 82-acre site has about five acres designated for retail use along Arsenal Way and at the corner of Kitsap Way and Oyster Bay.

The properties are intended for sale, the Bremerton Housing Authority says. A new sign that says commercial plats are “available now”, has already been put up. First Western Properties (College Marketplace/Olhava in Poulsbo) is handling the sales.

We’ll have more information about the progress of the area’s redevelopment soon. You can read up on what we’ve written about it so far: Continue reading

Another Glowing Review of Bremerton

Apparently news of Bremerton’s revitalization projects are still making the rounds in the tourism magazine circuit. Enter the January 2009 edition of Sea Magazine.

It’s a five-page splash with photos, factoids and a feature-length article. In break-out boxes, they highlight such fine dining restaurant experiences as Uptown Mike’s (don’t think there’s love lost there, they make a mighty fine New York Style hot dog and have Italian ice in the summer), and sights like the Naval Museum and Isella Day Spa.

“Bremerton is blanketed with an energy that makes the hair on your arms stand up,” the article states.

Now, being a born and raised Bremertonian, I have my own special love for the city, but I couldn’t help but think that the Port of Bremerton or the city paid for this glowing review.

Well, I apparently should’ve put my snarky bit of skepticism (at least some of it) aside.

I talked briefly with writer and Sea Magazine managing editor Brian Quines. Turns out, he’d heard about the new marina opening, was up here on a trip.

“I’m from Orange County, so any time I can breathe fresh air it’s a good time,” he told me.

But it apparently wasn’t just the light-headed giddiness of real oxygen sans smog. He spent a whole day here, got the grand tour and met with some good local folks.

“Everyone’s just warm and refreshing up there,” he said.

Read the whole thing at

– Angela

Starting a Petition for a Bridge from Bremerton to Bainbridge

Ferry docked in Bremerton (Larry Steagall | Kitsap Sun)
Ferry docked in Bremerton (Larry Steagall | Kitsap Sun)

With all this talk of Bremerton runs possibly on the chopping block, maybe it’s time to re-ignite debate about other options:

Ferries were only supposed to be a temporary fix when they were introduced in 1951, as officials started pushing for a bridge from Kitsap to the East side. In 1959, a plan that would have added a couple of bridges from South Kitsap at Fragaria over Vashon to someplace by Burien failed by one vote. It kept coming up year after year, especially when the state proposed a new Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Well, maybe that plan is out now.

How about this one:

Through the years, letter-writers and even a former county commissioner have advocated a bridge from East Bremerton to South Bainbridge Island. Stan Stageberg of Poulsbo was a huge promoter of such a thing (to get traffic off of 305).

The time may be finally be ripe for some enterprising, Seattle-loving group to start a petition for it. Throw in a commuter rail, and the overall commute would be reduced by 10 minutes.

Ferry-lovers shouldn’t fret. This plan never had any political will, and never will. But here’s my semi-devious contention: if Islanders thought there was any true chance that Bremertonians could swarm Bainbridge via a 15-minute drive, just imagine the strings all those lawyers and rich property owners could pull to restore Bremerton ferry service (and thereby keep we Bremertonians off their Island).

Bremerton on Zooey Watch

Hello fellow Bremertonians! This is Angela Dice here, Sun Web editor and writer over at The Food Life blog. I’ll be one of several folks taking over the Bremerton Beat blog now that we’ve had to say goodbye to Andrew Binion.

I’m going to start off this transition a little light, a little trite:

OK, Bremerton, you’ve officially been put on Zooey watch.

Zooey Deschanel, that is. (Pronounced ZOH-ee)

She’s a singer/actress (the dark-haired beauty with big, blue-eyes who played Will Ferrell’s love interest in “Elf”, Wark Wahlberg’s in “The Happening” and the upcoming “Yes Man”) newly engaged to Bremerton-raised rock star Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service fame.

Gibbard’s family still lives in the area, so it would seem likely that he’d bring his sweetheart home to mom, right?

So, keep your eyes out, but don’t embarrass the rest of us Bremertonians. A smile and a nod of the head will suffice.