Category Archives: But Seriously

10 Stories from my 10 Years at the Kitsap Sun

This job is never boring, let me tell you. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN
This job is never boring, let me tell you. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN

Today marks my 10 year anniversary at the Kitsap Sun. It’s a milestone that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’ve witnessed a dramatic transformation in journalism this past decade. Not all has been positive: the newsroom staff is half the size it was when I got here, reflecting an era of massive media consolidation. (That’s the nice way to put it). But I am also part of a new era, where the most creative and industrious minds will prevail in an age where anyone can publish a story.

I wanted to take you back through this decade, for a trip through the stories that fascinated me most. Many of these, you will notice, are from my first seven years on the job, when I was the Sun’s crime and justice reporter. But Bremerton, as home to the Sun and those I’ve covered, has always played an integral role.



1. After 62 years, death comes six hours apart

Amazing stories that are told on the obituary page nearly everyday. So I was especially curious when my editor, Kim Rubenstein, came to me with a rather unique one: A couple whose obituary ran together, in the same article.

I phoned the family, wondering if they would be interested in telling their parents’ story. It’s a phone call that never gets easier, having to call someone coming to terms with death, but it’s a call I feel is a newspaper’s obligation. In doing so, I’ve always tried to explain I’d like to give the community a chance to know the person they were in life, and if not, they were free to hang up on me. Everyone grieves differently but some people view the opportunity as cathartic.

In this case, the family was thrilled and invited me to their home in Kingston.

I learned of a very special love story — a couple through 62 years of marriage did everything together. Everything. Even getting the mail.

When they were buried, they were placed side by side, in the same casket.

It’s a story that not only touched me emotionally, but apparently others as well. Few stories I’ve ever done attracted broader attention. I got calls, emails and letters from all over the country, and was even interviewed by the Seattle P-I about doing it.


2. The CIA is doing what in Washington state?

Undercover police officers have their identities concealed for a reason: they are often conducting sensitive, and sometimes high risk, investigations that warrant it.

But what about when police chiefs, who use their government issued vehicles mainly for the purpose of driving to and from work, start using those undercover license plates?

That line that line of inquiry got me started down a path that revealed that in Kitsap County, and indeed all of Washington, there are a lot of confidential license plates driving around.

But nothing could prepare me, months after the initial story, for a call from Austin Jenkins, NPR reporter in Olympia, who’d been hearing testimony in the State Legislature about these license plates and changes to the program.

The story had revealed not only the confidential license plate program, but that the state’s Department of Licensing was also issuing confidential driver’s licenses.

I teamed up with Jenkins and we went to Olympia to interview the DOL. Amazingly, Gov. Jay Inslee and Gov. Chris Gregoire before him, didn’t even know about the program.

The biggest shocker of all came when a spokesman revealed that many of those confidential driver’s licenses were going to the CIA.

“Yes, that CIA, “the spokesman told us.

Later, the DOL would backpedal and say that they had no authority to release information about those “federal agencies” that have the licenses. But it was a fascinating discovery, an amazing story to work on and I am glad we were able to help bring the program to transparency.

Wikipedia photo.

3. The Pentagon’s calling, and they’re not happy

Ever wonder what it’s like to have The Pentagon angry with a story you did? Well, let me tell you.

You may recall the story of Naval Base Kitsap’s highest enlisted man being convicted in a sting not dissimilar from To Catch a Predator. He served his time, but I had wondered what kind of discipline he faced from the Navy, and that became the subject of a story months later.

Through a public records request, I got hold of a Navy document that reported he’d received an honorable discharge from the Navy — something a former Navy JAG told me was unheard of following a sex crime conviction. We ran the story.

The following Monday, The Pentagon called.

“Your story is wrong,” I was told repeatedly. “Are you going to correct it?”

“How is it wrong?” I asked.

I couldn’t get an answer because those records were private, I was told.

“So how can I correct it?” I wondered.

Round and round we went, for what felt like an eternity. Newsroom meetings were held. I freely admit it does not feel good when the Pentagon is not happy with you.

Eventually, others at The Pentagon and the local base released information that showed the man had received an “other than honorable” discharge. To this day, I am uncertain why I saw reports that contradicted each other.

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

4. Burglary victim becomes the suspect

Imagine coming home from a trip to find your home has been burglarized, and yet you’re the one getting hauled off to jail. That was the situation Luke Groves faced in 2009. A felon, he’d broken into a school in Shelton at 18, and now, at 37, police found his wife’s guns in their Hewitt Avenue home.

Prosecutors, who charged him with felon in possession of a firearm, had offered him no jail time in exchange for his guilty plea. But Groves took the case to trial, was convicted, and could’ve faced years in prison over it.

The case was one that former Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge and I had butted heads about. He felt we’d cast the prosecutor’s office as the bad guy in a case which they could not just “look the other way” on a weapons charge.

I followed the trial from start to finish, including Hauge himself handling the sentencing — something I can’t recall on an other occasion in my seven years covering the court system here. Hauge told the judge that Groves should ultimately get credit for time served for the crime, and Groves was released.


5. Squatter’s ‘meticulous’ highway home

I never met Chris Christensen. But I feel like in many ways I knew him following his 2008 death in the woods off Highway 3 in Poulsbo.

The story started with a scanner call for a DOA (dead on arrival) near the road in Olhava. I inquired with the police sergeant, who told me that the death was actually a pretty interesting story — certainly not something I expected to hear. I headed north, parked, and followed a little trail into the woods where I found “The Shiloh,” Christensen’s home among Western Red Cedars.

It was a “meticulously organized world,” I wrote. “A campsite with finely raked dirt, a sturdy green shed and a tent filled with bins of scrupulously folded clean laundry and cases of Steel Reserve beer.”

In the subsequent days, I learned all about his quiet life and penned this story. Most satisfying to me was that Christensen’s family had lost touch with him. Without the story, which thanks to the Internet made its way across the country, his family would’ve never found him. He got the dignified burial he deserved.

Nametags of those who went through Kitsap Recovery Center who later died or went to prison.
Nametags of those who went through Kitsap Recovery Center who later died or went to prison.

6. Heroin’s ugly grip on Kitsap, the nation

I’ve probably put more energy into covering the opiate epidemic than any other single topic in my decade at the Sun.

Heroin, in particular, was virtually nonexistent when I got here. But following the explosion of opiate medicines for pain, drug cartels seized their chance to feed a spreading addiction more cheaply.

The story has taken me all over Puget Sound. I interviewed a man at McNeil Island prison who had an 8-pill a day OxyContin habit and was bringing sheets full of “Oxy” from California to Kitsap; I visited a woman who was literally injecting opiates near the knuckles on her fingers in Suquamish. I’ve hugged mothers whose children were lost forever when they could not kick the habit.

It is a problem that remains unsolved.


7. Bad math on jail’s good time

I’ve received a lot of “jail mail” over the years, and while there’s usually an interesting story, it is, shall we say, not always one I would pursue in print.

When the letters started coming from Robert “Doug” Pierce in 2010, I was skeptical. He was convinced that Kitsap County had miscalculated his “good time” or time off for good behavior, and that he was serving too long a sentence from his current cell, at Coyote Ridge in Connell.

He was right.

Now I will tell you I am a journalist and not a mathematician. But the basic gist was that jail officials here were calculating his good time by simply dividing his time served by three, rather than tacking on an additional to his overall sentence. The result was he would serve 35 extra days.

Small potatoes? When you consider that at the the time it cost about $100 a day to house a prison inmate and that there were 548 inmates from Kitsap in prison, it’s actually quite an expense. After our story ran, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office corrected his sentence, along with everyone else’s, and fixed the policy.


8. ‘Where can we live?’

A criminal past can often haunts someone for the rest of his or her life. That was certainly true for Ed Gonda, a man who moved his family to Bainbridge Island and had heard it was a “laid back, forgiving kind of place.”

It turned out to be anything but for his family.

His crime was a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. He admitted to it, did time for it, paid more than $10,000 in treatment for it — and had lived a clean life for 15 years, to include starting his own family.

But under Washington state law, he had to register as a sex offender, though he was not a pedophile. And somehow, after making friends at a local church and at his daughter’s school, word got out.

“The news traveled fast, and people who they thought they knew well acted swiftly,” I wrote. “His daughter could no longer play with friends down the street, he said. The church pews around them were vacant on Sundays. They more or less stopped going out anywhere on the island.”

“We’re treated like we’re diseased,” his wife told me.

It was the start of a three part series I knew would be controversial, but I felt was important. We want to protect all people in society, especially children. But is there ever a point when we’ve gone too far and it has infringed on the rights of those who have already done their time?

As part of my series on the 20th anniversary of the Community Protection Act, I also ventured to McNeil Island with Photographer Larry Steagall to see the state’s civil commitment center for sexual predators. Such a beautiful and pastoral setting for such a hideous complex. I am fairly certain Larry will never forgive me.

Yes, I have ridden in the back of a cop car. MEEGAN REID / KITSAP SUN
Yes, I have ridden in the back of a cop car. MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN

9. Bremerton’s plunging violent crime rate

Let’s face it: Bremerton has a gotten a bad rap over the years, following the demise in the 1980s of its retail downtown core. An increasing violent crime rate followed, and in many ways the reputation was earned.

When I was hired in 2005, the city had the highest per capita violent crime rate. During my interview, which was just weeks after two murders blocks from the Kitsap Sun’s office, I was asked how I would take on the story. Aggressively, I said.

I spent a lot of time in a patrol car — every shift including graveyard — and was introduced to Bremerton’s seedy underbelly before meeting any other part. It was a scary place: I saw lots of people high on meth, fights between police and drunkards, violent domestic abusers whose victims would try to shield their attackers from the cops. And I wrote extensively about it.

But in the years since, that violent crime rate plummeted, for reasons I documented in a story last November. The tide, in my eyes, is turning: the city is making a turn for the better.

If you live in Bremerton, you know that each time we do have a tragic, violent episode — even if far outside city limits — it reinforces the stereotype.

But followers of this blog know better. There are many positive signs of a community improving: Increasing ferry traffic. Volunteers embracing parks. Home improvements being made. Developments downtown.

We’ll see how long it takes for the rest of the world to notice.


10. Walking the story in Bremerton

Any reporter will tell you that we spend a lot more time with the story than what ends up in the paper. But what about those people who want to know more, who are curious for every last detail?


This January, I found myself thinking about those two big Sequoia trees on Veneta Avenue. In writing about longterm plans to save them but close the road their roots are destroying, I came to the realization that nothing — not a story in print, online or even a video — would compare to the experience of going there, and seeing the story for yourself. I invited experts who I’d interviewed for the story to come along.

And thus was born the thing I’m most proud of since taking over the Bremerton Beat: my monthly Story Walk. It’s been such a satisfying journey taking the story to the community, rather than the other way around. We’ve walked all over town and I have gotten to know so many great people in the city in doing so.

There’s momentum for many more to come, too.

Here’s to 10 years at the Sun, and a hope that the next 10 will be just as exhilarating.

Mysterious parrot comes to Bremerton courthouse

Jennifer Smith visits with the parrot, found outside the courthouse Wednesday morning.
Jennifer Smith visits with the parrot, found outside the courthouse Wednesday morning.

A green parrot showed up at Bremerton Municipal Court Wednesday morning, to the surprise of courthouse staff.

“I thought it was an obnoxious crow,” said Becky Hoffman, senior legal technician at the Park Avenue facility.


Hoffman, along with Security guard Mel Devin, spotted the bird, with a teal head, perched on a window near the entrance, right underneath a light. Dave Boynton, the city’s home detention specialist, put on gloves and brought the bird inside. It appears domesticated.

The staff put it in a box with some water, a saltine cracker, blueberry and strawberry.

“They gave it a nice comfy home,” Devin said.

UPDATE, 12:30 p.m. April 29: The bird’s owners have been found. A Kitsap Humane Society Animal Control officer was able to find a craigslist ad where the owners were asking if anyone had found a parrot.

The bird, named Drax, is home, safe and sound.


The towers are for hoses (or ten things I learned about Bremerton in 2014)

Happy new year, Bremerton! Here’s a list of the 10 most interesting things I learned about Bremerton in 2014.


1. Bremerton’s red light camera experiment is sputtering

The first year of Bremerton’s red light cameras brought in almost $850,000 for the city. Since, that amount has basically been in free fall.

In 2015, if history serves, it will barely bring in any revenue for the city at all.

Combine that with inconclusive evidence they do much to promote safety at intersections and a scandal that has embroiled the company to which Bremerton pays $432,000 a year in operational fees, and the cameras may not last much longer. Mayor Patty Lent has signaled she’d get rid of them if they become a cost for the city.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 7.08.48 PM

2. Bremerton’s rate of violent crime is plummeting

I rode with Bremerton Police in every shift possible the first year I worked at the Kitsap Sun. I’d routinely witness drunken fights, domestic assaults and even a Tasering (interesting if sad story, ask me about it sometime).

That was 2005, the year Bremerton held the dubious distinction of being no. 1 in violent crime per capita in the state of Washington.

Yes, Bremerton still has its share of crime. But its violent crime rate is half what it was in 2005 — 11.7 incidents per thousand then to 5.7 in 2013, according to FBI statistics. That’s a pretty remarkable drop. There’s lots of reasons why — rising homeownership, renewed parks and focused policing to name a few — which you can learn about here.

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3. Those tires won’t remove themselves

Spare a tire? The police shooting range west of Gorst, within Bremerton’s watershed property, has plenty of them. In fact, the city has spent in excess of $12,000 removing them about 8,500 of them, and more may be spent.

The police department thought they might need them for training but at a certain point, Public Works Director Chal Martin said they had to go. How they got there was actually even investigated by a separate police agency. Ultimately, no wrongdoing was assigned.

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4. It’s the water

Meanwhile in the Bremerton watershed, another little brouhaha cascaded from the headwaters of the Union River. The city built a dam in the 1950s and has used the water above it as the bulk of the drinking water for around 1/3 of Kitsap County’s residents.

Because the lake is remote — like 3,000 acres around it remote — the state doesn’t require Bremerton to filter its water supply (though the water is treated with chlorine and ultraviolet light).

City officials are adamant the land around it stay preserved. The city went so far as to release photos this year of trespassers — poachers, hikers and bikers — using the area.

Some wonder if the city couldn’t lighten up a bit, and a countywide trail is being contemplated for the total 8,000 acre parcel the city owns, where the city also has a golf course and the police shooting range (and by the way, anyone need some extra tires?).

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5. The towers were for the hoses

Why, when you see old fire stations do they have towers that rise into the sky from their basic structures?


Turns out fire hoses used to be made of cotton, which needed to be hung up to dry after fighting a fire. If they weren’t dried properly, they’d mold. Today’s hoses are synthetic.

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6. There’s redwoods in them there sewer towers

Speaking of towers — a somewhat routine at the city’s sewer treatment plant contains an interesting tidbit.

Some giant filters made of redwood trees are being retired out. While the new material is plastic , the redwoods, from the 1980s, have broken down but may have a second life as beauty bark (Or bark. Or mulch. Or whatever term you like).

Public works officials say the city will use it around its properties, maybe even parks, if its environmentally safe to do so.

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7.  Bye bye Maple Leaf, may your sign be immortal

Yes, we said goodbye to the Maple Leaf Tavern in 2014. The place was unrivaled in its around 77 years tending bar in Kitsap County. But the now fabled Lower Wheaton Way watering hole closed due to nonpayment of $25,000 in taxes, in 2010. And city engineers saw it as a chance to clear some needed room for the Lower Wheaton Way project earlier this year, tearing it down for $18,000.

Breakfast at Sally’s author Richard LeMieux called its slanted floor — you have to admit it had been worn down in recent years — the feel of “one of those oblique fun houses with a moving floor” that actually got more stable as you drank.

Rest in peace, Maple Leaf.

I get asked a lot about if its storied sign was preserved. The answer: yes. It is in the capable hands of the Kitsap Historical Society.

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8. The ‘Mo-Sai’ Bank Building has the state’s most complex Carillon system

A longtime curiosity of mine was satisfied when I was learning about the bells on the roof of the Chase Bank building at Fifth and Pacific this year. That odd facade on the building giving it the look of a vertical beach? It’s called Mo-Sai, and the architects used this rock peppering as a way to reflect the Northwest’s rugged terrain. Huh.

It certainly is unique. But up on its roof are the speakers that play Bremerton’s Carillon system. Probably the most complete in the Pacific Northwest. Yep, they’re real bells. And they played on a snowy Christmas Eve, 1971, for the first time.

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9. So that all may play

When all was said and done, around $500,000 and countless volunteer hours had made Kitsap County’s first all-accessible playground possible.

The playground, inside Bremerton’s Evergreen-Rotary Park, is almost always packed when the weather’s nice. Hard to believe how quickly it came along — a testament to what the community can do when it comes together.

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10. Mudslides in Schley Canyon

Fish passable? What about a mudslide? The state views Schley Canyon, that land cavity that cuts Manette from the rest of East Bremerton (or does it? The boundaries, to be fair, are unclear) as one fish could head up, or fish passable. The city says the little crevasse’s just a drainage and it doesn’t need to pay millions of dollars to replace the 1927 culvert over it at Lower Wheaton Way.

But the canyon has had a slide once when rains get too heavy. A geologist told me the canyon’s probably not a huge slide hazard. But it’s something Mayor Patty Lent said recently she’d like to further examine to be sure.

Honorable mentions:

  • *Many are just convinced the apartments at 704 Chester Avenue are haunted. Even the skeptics have to agree the building does have a long, and sometimes spooky history. It served as the site of Harrison’s first hospital and was later converted into apartments. Bremerton native and Washington State Legislator Speaker of the House Frank Chopp’s low-income housing nonprofit improved the complex in the early 2000s, but residents there still say there’s still strange noises at odd hours.
  • *No new homes — or any structures — can be built out over the waters of Puget Sound. But the homes that remain on the water near the Bremerton Boardwalk enjoy a “grandfathered” and can stay for as long as they’d like as long as they’re maintained.

Are there any I missed you’d like to add?

Bremerton comes in at No. 8 in healthiest small cities list

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Believe it or not, Bremerton is a pretty healthy place. In fact, Gallup has named our home to be the eighth healthiest small city in the nation, according to a story in Daily Finance from earlier this month.

So here’s the deal. Gallup, in producing its Healthways Well-Being Index, looked at local obesity and diabetes rates, as well as the percentages of people who frequently exercise and eat produce, and who are optimistic about their city. They also looked at what percentage of the population is uninsured. Put all those indicators together and voila! Bremerton’s No. 8.

Gallup grouped the Bremerton and Silverdale areas, so the population totaled 60,000 (Bremerton proper weighs in at close to 40,000). Below are the indicators they examined.  The number on the left is Bremerton’s; the number on the right denotes the national average for communities under 300,000.

Diabetes rate: 11.5% / 10.5%

Obesity rate: 24.5% / 25.4%

Frequent exercise: 58.2% / 54.3%

Eat produce frequently: 60.2% / 58.2%

City optimism: 62% / 58.8%

Uninsured 11.5% / 14.8%


Here are some observations from the data from someone who is an expert a know-it-all reporter. Our diabetes and and obesity rates pretty much mirror the national averages. But Gallup thinks we exercise and eat produce more frequently than the rest of the country. We are also more optimistic about our area than most.

With our Navy presence here, I speculate that many who live in Bremerton and Silverdale have to keep in pretty good shape, and that means regular exercise and a healthy diet.

Also, we have fewer uninsured residents here. Perhaps that’s due to a robust portion of our local workforce clocking in at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility — one of the state’s largest daytime workforces — where health insurance is the standard.

Lastly, I would ask you to just take a look around. Hard to dispute that where we live — surrounded by the blue waters of the Puget Sound, white capped Olympic Mountains and thick forests of towering conifers — isn’t beautiful.

As for being optimistic about their city? I don’t know. You tell me, Bremerton.

This is what happens when a balloon floats into power lines.


Balloons and distribution lines, it turns out, don’t mix. Exhibit A: the remnants of a mylar balloon that drifted into Puget Sound Energy’s high voltage power lines above the QFC in West Bremerton Monday (pictured).

According to PSE, “a little girl got a cupcake and a mylar balloon from a grocery store,” at about 9:30 p.m, said spokesman Ray Lane.  “She lost control of the balloon and it got snagged in one of our distribution lines.”

Power was never knocked out, but those distribution lines serve, well, just about everyone. So if your power flickered around that time, chances are that’s what it was.

The mylar balloon burned up fast enough that electricity did not cease in the area. But they do cause several outages a year around PSE’s network.

Here’s some additional safety tips, courtesy of PSE:

  • Keep metallic balloons indoors; never release them outside.
  • Never fly kites near electric lines, in the rain or during an electric storm.
  • Never use a kite made with wire or metallic materials, including Mylar.
  • Securely tie helium-filled balloons to a weight heavy enough to prevent them from floating away.
  • Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon, kite—or any foreign object—tangled in power lines. Instead, call PSE at 1-888-225-5773 and report the problem.
  • Never go near a downed or dangling wire. Assume that the electric line is live. Stay away and warn others to stay away. Call 9-1-1 to alert local emergency response until PSE can arrive.


Take This, Cedar Cove

Gardner here.

I admit I’ve been going soft on Port Orchard lately and have been urged by at least one of you to improve my game. If you don’t do something like this enough, people begin to think you’re serious when you do lob a bomb. In a Twitter exchange in which some faux slogans we made up for Port Orchard, Bremerton and Poulsbo were shared, we were challenged as being a little rough. Again, it’s probably because we don’t do it enough. So, to make sure we can continue to strike when the muse appears, here’s a new offering.

Seattle Got Its Feewings Hurt — Updated

Did you see what Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman said about Seattle?

Seattle did.

Bozeman, and I’ve got at least two dozen witnesses, told other mayors that Seattle’s waterfront was “an insult to American ingenuity.” For Aurora Avenue he suggested trees to “block off the visual garbage.”

The Seattle P-I’s Monica Guzman mused, “The mayor of Bremerton, gateway to Gorst, dissing Seattle? Really? The mayor of Bremerton?”

Then she threw out an insult about fine dining in a paper bag. I nearly choked on my steak and egg burrito when I read that. (OK, it did come in a paper bag, but I never tried to say Jack in the Box was fine dining. It’s just fine.)

So, let’s aim our insults away from Port Orchard for now. We’ve got a bigger piece of meat to skewer.

And by the way, Bozeman is absolutely unapologetic about his comments, as the Seattle media is finding out.

“The truth sometimes hurts,” he said. “If it takes a voice like mine to get people thinking, I don’t mind stirring the pot.”

Seattle, he said, has done a bad job over the past 50 years developing its waterfront.

UPDATE: Bozeman did want me to mention that during the conversation yesterday, Greenlake and Pike Place Market were held up as examples of great public spaces. So Seattle gets points for those. The waterfront? Pioneer Square? Not so much.

Seattle, it is on.

And we’ve got some retorts to that weak cheese you threw our way.

Bremerton: The Susan Boyle of cities.
Seattle: The Courtney Love of cities.

Our clothes were recession-chic before there was a recession.

Our baristas wear pasties.

Did Sir-Mix-A-Lot write songs about YOUR women?

Seattle: Decision free for 27 years.

We rebelled against overpriced condos by not buying them.

It didn’t take us six years to decide to build a tunnel.

Our congressman works for us (see tunnel reference).

Where do you think you got Bill Gates from?

Pipe down, Seattle. We’ve got nukes.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Seattle responded to our response.

OK OK. You got us on the pasties. And yeah, the viaduct was a process. It’s the whole Seattle gridlock thing. We’re working on it.

Good job with that list, though. Really. It left us so impressed, we tried to think of some your own past transgressions to fling back at you.

But the truth is, we don’t think about Bremerton very much.

Come to think of it, where is Bremerton?

They then went and posted the MxPx video “Move to Bremerton,” that includes the classic line, “Quit your job you’ve got a place to stay.” Nothing says Bremerton like quitting your job.

Anyway, we’ve written a somewhat conciliatory response that goes something like this.

We get it. Bremerton is to Seattle what a shoelace aglet (that little tapelike thing at the end of a shoelace) is to a shoe. We serve a role but we’re probably not necessary for Seattle’s survival. That “We don’t think about Bremerton much” line is the same one I use on my Canadian in-laws when they whine about the U.S. So I can relate.

We, on the other hand, are well aware of Seattle. I’m aware of it every time I have to leave a Mariners game early to catch the 10:30 p.m. ferry. We take our guests to your Pike Place Market and your Space Needle. Lucky guests also get to see the troll.

Can’t say I’ve ever been to the sculpture park, though.

All this is to say we know our place, and we’re fine with it.

Wethinks, however, thou dost profess too much ignorance of Bremerton. How else would you even know about the existence of Gorst? Nobody knows about Gorst, save those who drive through it or stop by for some quick partial nudity.

Also, we’re kind of proud of MxPx. And Quincy Jones. And Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. Next time you see his fiance, Zooey Deschannel, hanging out on your side of the Sound, you can thank us. And let’s not forget that your namesake, Chief Sealth, is resting over here on our side, in a town that has a nice view of, um, Seattle.

I will point out, however, that Bremerton has a couch and a pair of pants named after it. I know that doesn’t compare to a horse and an entire genre of music, but we take our victories where we can get them.

Meanwhile, no matter how insulting to ingenuity your waterfront is, we will keep bringing tourists to your shops, workers to your offices and spectators to your venues. And we’ll keep waiting for our own first Zooey sighting.

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

Port Orchard Doesn’t Make the Cut

When I read this headline — ‘Having a bad hair day? Eugene, Oregon, Olympia on a list‘ — I figured Port Orchard isn’t mentioned right away because that’s what we call ‘dog bites man’ type of news.

But somehow, our neighbor to the south really didn’t make the cut. Of course, neither did Forks, so perhaps the methodology of these Californian experts needs scrutiny.

Or maybe last year’s haircut campaign in the city just worked too well. In any case, congrats all around, and I’ll keep holding my breath and an A1 slot until the ‘Top Ten Tunnels’ list is announced to get some notoriety over here.

— David Nelson

A Bremelo Rides in Style

*eghemmm* Could somebody drop me some beats, please? Rap with me, now.

Here’s a boring kinda story ’bout a reporter cruisin’ sixth,

With a burger in hand and a phone that takes pics, 

Econoline stops and he does a double take,

Gotta flip up the camera and prove this ain’t fake

This van’s a bremelo

This van’s a bremelo

Hope you guys channeled your inner Mix. 

Bremelo is indeed a less-than-flattering reference to a type of lady from our fair city, immortalized in song by the great Sir Mix-a-lot in 1988.

(If you’re new to the area, defines bremelo here.)  

Love it or hate it, this guy’s celebrating a slice of Bremerton’s pop culture heritage, I can’t deny.