Category Archives: North Kitsap

NK School Board to pick new board member on election night

The North Kitsap School Board is scheduled to meet Monday evening in executive session to review the applications for the vacant position on the board.

The board is expected to make its selection Tuesday evening, election night.

The District 2 opening happened when Dan Weedin resigned from the board in early October.

NK’s Page eyes end, but has not set a date

Patty Page, North Kitsap School District superintendent, said on Thursday she will not seek an extension on her contract with the district. That does not mean she is retiring anytime soon.

Page, who started with the district in 2012, signed a three-year contract with the board when she started and has seen one-year extensions each year since. This year she said she doesn’t want one.

Instead, from this point on, as she approaches retirement age she will work with two-year contracts, or go year-to year.

The conversation arose as the board continued conversations about how it will carry out its superintendent evaluation process going forward.

Kitsap area firefighters raise more than $46,000 in annual stairclimb

CKFR's Lindsay Muller at the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle on Sunday, March 9.
CKFR’s Lindsay Muller at the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle on Sunday, March 9. Contributed photo

Firefighters from Kitsap County and across the country, ran, jogged and sometimes leaned against walls on their way up 69 flights and 1,311 steps in full firefighting gear, including oxygen tanks and breathing equipment, Sunday during Seattle’s annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb, a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

CKFR firefighter’s eight-man team has raised more money than any other Kitsap area team with $16,036.13, beating its $12,000 goal.

CKFR also has placed in the top 10 fundraising teams per capita.

“Now we really set the bar too high,” joked firefighter Ryan Orseth, CKFR team captain.

Orseth himself made an impressive fundraising push. He was $403.95 short of making the list for the top 10 individual fundraisers. He raised a total of $5,201.05.

Although firefighters are done racing stairs in downtown Seattle’s Columbia Center, the second tallest building west of the Mississippi, they can accept donations until the end of the month.

So far, 1,800 firefighters from more than 300 departments have raised about $1.55 million.

Last year, the event raised $1.44 million with the help of 1,500 firefighters from 282 departments.

While every Kitsap area fire district and department participated in the event, not everyone is as closely connected with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as the North Kitsap Fire and Rescue is.

The district lost one of its own firefighters to leukemia on March 8, 1997, according to NKFR spokesperson Michele Laboda.

Tom Kenyon died at age 33, leaving behind his wife and six-month-old daughter, who is now a high school senior.

The stairclimb has always been close to and sometimes on the anniversary of Kenyon’s death, Laboda said.

This year, NKFR’s four-man team has raised $2,128, just a few hundred shy of it’s $2,500 goal.

Besides the gratification of fundraising for a noble cause, there also is a little pride in how quickly individuals and teams climb the stairs.

Each team can have any number of participants, but team times are calculated from the top three fastest times.

CKFR’s team time was 1 hour, 5 minutes and 30 seconds, while the North Mason Fire Authority had the fastest time for Kitsap area districts, finishing in 49:09.

The average firefighter takes 20 to 30 minutes to run up 69 flights of stairs, according to the event website.

Only firefighters are allowed to climb in the event.

This year’s fastest time was 11:03 by 32-year-old Missoula, Mont., firefighter Andrew Drobeck.

CKFR is looking at improving fundraising, not speed, next year.

Orseth said he would like to see CKFR on the top 10 fundraisers list.

This year’s top fundraisers ranged from $22,318 to $68,976.99.

To compete, Orseth suggested pooling Kitsap County’s resources to create a countywide team.

And he has already started campaigning for next year’s climbers, asking CKFR commissioners to consider joining the team.

They declined with laughter.

“There’s paramedics on scene,” Orseth said.

“You’re good.”


Local team results

Bainbridge Island Fire
Time – 58:12
Team members – 7
Raised – $4,835.96
Goal – not listed

Bremerton Fire
Time – 55:34
Team members – 7
Raised – $3,678.12
Goal – not listed

Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue
Time – 1:05:30
Team members – 8
Raised – $16,076.13
Goal – $12,000

North Kitsap Fire and Rescue
Time – 1:19:47
Team members – 4
Raised – $2,128
Goal – $2,500

North Mason Regional Fire Authority
Time – 49:09
Team members – 4
Raised – $2,045
Goal – $5,000

Poulsbo Fire
Time – 54:03
Team members – 8
Raised – $6,269.60
Goal – $10,000

South Kitsap Fire and Rescue
Time – 50:12
Team members – 14
Raised – $11,348
Goal – $25,000

Strategic plan, timeline set for mental-health tax

Up to $3 million from the local mental-health tax will be doled out July 1.

A sales tax of 0.1 percent dedicated for local mental-health services went into effect Jan. 1 after being approved by Kitsap County commissioners in September.

The July deadline is just one of several in the recently released strategic plan from the Kitsap County Behavioral Health Strategic Planning Team. Proposals for projects or programs, aimed at reducing the number of mentally ill juveniles and adults cycle through the criminal justice system and the demand on emergency services, will be accepted from Feb. 20 to April 18 at 3 p.m. Kitsap County County Mental Health, Chemical Dependence and Therapeutic Court Citizens Advisory Board will review the proposals.

The citizens advisory board also is asking for community input on what residents what to see funded by the sales tax via an online survey.

In the 62-page strategic plan, which outlines recommendations for closing service gaps for mentally ill and substance abuse, it says county and surrounding peninsula region had the highest number of mentally ill boarded ever recorded in October 2013.

The plan recommends increasing housing and transportation options, treatment funding and outreach, among other suggestions.


Reporting and responsibilities outlined

The strategic planning team makes recommendations the citizens advisory board and establishes the strategic plan for the mental health tax.

Proposals will be submitted to the citizens advisory board for review. The board will make recommendations for the proposals and funding level to the county commissioners, who ultimately approve the proposals.

The citizen advisory board will annually review projects and programs while receiving input from the strategic team, and report to the director of Kitsap County Human Services, who will present reviews to the county commissioners.


 Meet the team and board

Kitsap County Behavioral Health Strategic Planning Team

  • Al Townsend, Poulsbo Police Chief (Team Co-Chair)
  • Barb Malich, Peninsula Community Health Services
  • Greg Lynch, Olympic Educational Service District 114
  • Joe Roszak, Kitsap Mental Health Services
  • Judge Anna Laurie, Superior Court (Team Co-Chair)
  • Judge Jay Roof, Superior Court
  • Judge James Docter, Bremerton Municipal Court
  • Kurt Wiest, Bremerton Housing Authority
  • Larry Eyer, Kitsap Community Resources
  • Michael Merringer, Kitsap County Juvenile Services
  • Myra Coldius, National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Ned Newlin, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office
  • Robin O’Grady, Westsound Treatment Agency
  • Russell D. Hauge, Kitsap County Prosecutor
  • Scott Bosch Harrison, Medical Center
  • Scott Lindquist, MD, MPH Kitsap Public Health
  • Tony Caldwell, Housing Kitsap


Kitsap County Mental Health, Chemical Dependence and Therapeutic Court Citizens Advisory Board

  • Lois Hoell, Peninsula Regional Support Network: 3 year term
  • Jeannie Screws, Kitsap County Substance Abuse Advisory Board: 3 year
  • Aimee DeVaughn, Kitsap County Commission on Children and Youth: 3 year
  • Connie Wurm, Area Agency on Aging: 3 year
  • Dave Shurick, Law and Justice: 1 year
  • Walt Bigby, Education: 1 year
  • Carl Olson, At Large Member District 2: 2 year
  • James Pond, At Large Member District 3: 2 year
  • Robert Parker, At Large Member District 2: 2 year
  • Russell Hartman, At Large Member District 3: 2 year
  • Richard Daniels, At Large Member District 1: 1 year

No press box, for now, for Kingston

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In a 3-2 vote last week the North Kitsap School Board decided to not fund construction of a press box at the Kingston High School football field. It was a somewhat tortured decision, as board members did acknowledge that the board had made a commitment to the Kingston community.

But in the end there was some recognition that the commitment was for a different version of the press box than the one the board ultimately had designed, for safety reasons. And it was for less money.

This in no way marks the end of varsity football games at Kingston High School. I couldn’t attend Thursday’s meeting, (Other news took precedence.) but based on the district’s recording, which doesn’t include the public comment period, of the board’s discussion of it someone in the meeting said Kingston should play its games at North Kitsap.

Kingston backers seem prepared to live with the less than ample seating and head cover at its home games. The students want to play there and watch the games there. Much of the community loves having games at home. What they have is preferable to them to what they would have at what is clearly the home of the North Kitsap Vikings. My hunch is if the board had been asked whether Kingston should play at North Kitsap the vote would have been 5-0 against it, or maybe 4-1.

“Kingston has a right to have its games played and its band play on its field, and have its soccer team and football team and basketball team and everybody else play at its school and at its own homecoming at its home as North Kitsap has,” said Bill Webb, school board member.

This was not a vote about home games, though. It was just a vote about spending money on a press box, and board members said many in the community recognize that. Sure, a large number want the press box, but there were was a not insignificant number from Kingston who lobbied the board to not spend the money.

Scott Henden, board member and electrician, was willing to donate labor to putting in the electricity. He voted for the press box. Ken Ames did too.

Dan Weedin and Tom Anderson voted “no.” And Bill Webb, who before the vote said he hadn’t decided, ultimately decided that the money “now” wasn’t a good expense.

Kingston boosters and the student body had raised about $30,000. The district had earlier committed to $30,000 and set it aside. The final price tag was just south of $85,000. At least $25,000 too much for now.

The booster club meets Thursday and what to do next is on the agenda.

New school in the future for NKSD? Maybe, depending on development

Could a new school be in North Kitsap School District’s future?

That answer  will likely depend on unbuilt, but approved, homes that’s on the books for the city of Poulsbo.

NKSD officials and city leaders  discussed what the effect of these proposed neighborhoods would be on school capacity and boundary lines during a joint meeting last week.

About 18 subdivisions are proposed for the Poulsbo area, Mayor Becky Erickson recently said. Most of the developments have been approved, while others are waiting for approval.
Some of those developments are sizable. In the case of Mountain Aire near Noll Road, Erickson said, the city went through final approval status last week for 150 units in that particular neighborhood.

These neighborhoods aren’t going to be built tomorrow, Erickson said, they’re going to take many years to develop.

It would bring about 1,800 more homes to the area, she said. Poulsbo currently has a population of 9,500; the new developments could bring in an approximately 4,500 more to the area.

North Kitsap School District Board President Dan Weedin said information from Poulsbo will come in handy in the district’s long-range planning.

Board member Tom Anderson said a few years ago the district was looking at building a school, before the economy tank.

District superintendent Patty Page said it takes at least three years to build a school, from start to finish.

Below is a map detailing where the proposed neighborhoods would go.

Poulsbo Map of Future Neighborhoods

You don’t see this at every school board meeting

On June 13, 2013, Megan Leibold made her case in front of the North Kitsap School District’s board of directors. Most of her presentation is similar to anything you’ve ever heard in the public comment portion of school board meetings, though she is especially polished. That’s probably in some part due to the training that has served her well, evidenced by her title as Miss West Sound.

She decides to punctuate her presentation in a way I’ve seldom heard, in a way I wish I heard more. Watch the video.

The tepid applause, at first, is because the board had asked the audience to not applaud or boo during the comment session as a way of controlling the time better.

Two sweet moments from the Breidablik farewell.

I’m going to post three videos here, so grab a soda or something.

The first is our video from the Breidablik Elementary School farewell from Monday. It was a sweet, sweet ceremony. It reminds me of an episode on West Wing, when one of the main characters dies and there is a funeral. Later, at least three different people say, “It was more of a celebration than a funeral.”

That was kind of true Monday, because staff and students put on brave faces that didn’t quite reveal the sadness. Particularly sweet were two musical numbers. In fact, all of them were wonderful, but two struck me.

One was from the teachers, in part because it’s a song I heard my own son sing in a choir when he graduated from Brownsville Elementary. It became doubly so when I spotted one teacher Monday who had to duck behind the rest of the group to compose herself.

The other was from the school choir. They sang a Hebrew-language song, Al Shlosha D’Varim, that moved me. I couldn’t understand a word, but in that situation one can find whatever meaning occurs.

So first is my video. And since I don’t have full versions of what happened Monday, I’ve provided other renditions of the other two songs.
Continue reading

North Kitsap rallying for Carmen

The Suquamish Elementary family of families is gathering support for a third-grader at the school, Carmen Garringer.

According to a letter sent to homes by the school’s office manager, Pamela Goodman, Carmen was diagnosed with Extraosseous Ewing’s Sarcoma. The cancer was removed, but she will require chemotherapy at Seattle Children’s Hospital for nine months. The family has to stay within an hour of the hospital during that time.

It’s an expensive ordeal for the family, so starting last Friday the school organized a donation drive for students to bring in coins or cash, as well as Valentines for Carmen and her family.

Those supporting the Garringers want the word to spread and invite readers to forward news of their efforts far and wide. Here’s the letter from Goodman, which includes links to two other sites dedicated to Carmen and her family. The letter was sent last week.

Just before winter break, our 3rd grade friend, Carmen Garringer, felt a lump on her chest and told her mom about it. After many doctor appointments it was recommended that they remove what they believed to be a cyst with hopes it was nothing serious. However, after having the surgery the doctors diagnosed Carmen with Extra-osseous Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare from of cancer that forms in the muscles and soft tissue. Shortly thereafter, Carmen began a very aggressive chemotherapy treatments for the next 9 months at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Carmen and her family, including her kindergarten sister Leah, face huge medical and financial challenges in the coming months, and our students and families are already asking what they can do to help. Thanks to many caring people in the North Kitsap Community, you will be hearing about multiple opportunities to lend a hand to the Garringer family.

Starting this Friday, Suquamish Elementary families have organized a donation drive for students to bring in coins or cash; any gift is appreciated, whether pennies or paper. Along with the drive “Coins for Carmen”, Valentine’s will be collected and given to Carmen and her family. Donations and Valentine’s may be brought in with students, parents and staff and dropped off in collection jugs at the office and in classrooms.

Additionally, you can visit two websites to learn more about Carmen, her family and this journey they have begun. Our community is Caring for Carmen in many different ways:
This site includes Carmen’s story, ways to volunteer, and a place to make direct donations.
You must register to use this site, and then enter carmengarringer (no space) to view Carmen’s page.

Please share this information with your children in the ways you find most appropriate, and watch for further details in email, and throughout our community.

North Kitsap School District board member doesn’t see a ‘sovereign nation’ in Suquamish

An anonymous caller left me a message expressing his displeasure with a North Kitsap School District board member’s comments on Nov. 8 regarding the “culturally relevant” language in one part and the “sovereign immunity” clause in the contract between the district, Olympic College and the Suquamish Tribe.

The contract deals with the Suquamish Tribe’s Early College for Native Youth program, college-level cultural curriculum for high school kids. Patty Page, North Kitsap superintendent, told the board the program has been in place for years.

Within the contract is a subsection titled, “No waiver of sovereign immunity.” It reads:

The parties acknowledge that the Suquamish Tribe is a sovereign nation. Nothing in this Agreement shall constitute or shall be construed as a waiver of the Tribe’s sovereign immunity.

You can see the Nov. 8 conversation about the program on video on the school district’s site. The contract conversation begins at 57:42. Henden starts his questions at 63:45.

Bill Webb was the first board member to express concern with the contract. He said he wouldn’t vote against it, but wanted an easier escape clause in future contracts if something happened the district didn’t like. The contract then proposed would only allow escape if all parties agreed. Webb wanted a 30-day notice clause. The contract board members will see Thursday allows for any of the three parties to exit with 90 days notice.

Henden then went deeper into his “sovereign nation” dispute at 69:20:

“I understand that they’re federally recognized. I understand, at least in part, the issue of native abuse over the years. I won’t say I understand it totally, by any means, but at least in part I understand some of their issues. I have a problem understanding any kind of English where those words go together and means what we have. I don’t see them as a sovereign nation. Norway is a sovereign nation. And I don’t see why we need to agree to that so that we can have a contract with them. If they are a sovereign nation they are self sufficient, they’re self funded, they’re self protected and there are some things that go with it, at least in my mind. If somebody can give me something other than that in the dictionary that shows putting those two words together means what we have, I’d be glad to see it.”

As it was, Henden said, he could not agree to the contract stipulating that the Tribe was a sovereign nation. “I’m not going to willingly do that,” he said. He also took issue with the part of the contract saying it was negotiated on tribal land. Webb agreed. That part of the contract has been removed.

Page reiterated that the federal government recognizes the tribe as a sovereign nation. Henden said he still couldn’t put together those two words, “sovereign” and “nation.” He dismissed the clause as “politics.”

Ken Ames moved to table the motion. Page said it would be better to oppose it, then give her directions to fix the problems. The board unanimously voted against the contract.

Dan Weedin, board president, said he didn’t think the “sovereign immunity” inclusion should be a deal breaker. Webb said he’d at least like to know why the clause was in the contract. Ames said he supported Henden’s question, or, like Webb, at least wanted an answer as to why it needed to be in the contract.

Henden then said the statement is not true, that it would be against his morals to agree to something he thought wasn’t true.

While Henden’s questions, as he stated them, are offensive to many, perhaps rightly so, the sovereign immunity question has been tough to answer for the U.S. Supreme Court and at least one president.

In one of the final exchanges on the topic Weedin points out what Page did, that the federal government is the entity defining “sovereign nation” as it relates to the tribes. Henden gave that no credibility, offering federal deficits as his example of a federal lack of judgment.

Specifically, it’s the federal courts that provide the legal definitions. In the American Bar piece referenced above, it cites two different meanings that have influenced the courts over the years.

“There are two competing theories of tribal sovereignty: first, the tribes have inherent powers of sovereignty that predate the “discovery” of America by Columbus; and second, the tribes have only those attributes of sovereignty that Congress gives them.

“Over the years, the Court has relied on one or the other of these theories in deciding tribal sovereignty cases. It is important to note that whichever theory the Court has favored in a given case has determined to a large extent what powers the tribes have and what protections they receive against federal and state government encroachment.”

The piece takes the stand that it is troubling how much sovereignty has been taken from the tribes and makes clear how the notion works on the reservations. Tribes, according to the article, are sovereign by the grace of Congress. The courts give the federal government the power to protect tribes from state intrusion, but also the power to define just how sovereign the tribes are. The article points to Supreme Court cases defining whether tribes can prosecute certain crimes and how they can enforce laws against non-tribal members living on tribal land.

Since Henden wanted someone to find a dictionary that offers a definition expressing what exists, there is this from something online called both the “legal dictionary” and the “free dictionary.”

“Tribal sovereignty refers to the fact that each tribe has the inherent right to govern itself.”

What else governs itself? I do. I’m sovereign in the sense that I can eat a peanut M&M and Josh Farley can’t stop me. But if I tried to get a Big Gulp in New York City, the city says I can’t. Am I any less sovereign because of it? Well, yes, I am. Washington is sovereign and can demand that insurers pay for pregnancy coverage and Arizona or Texas can’t do a thing about it. The federal government can, but does that mean Washington isn’t, at least to some degree, sovereign?

That seems to be the answer. Being sovereign, or free, doesn’t mean I can do whatever I want. The courts more or less acknowledge that national sovereignty for the tribes is not like national sovereignty for Canada. Try as we might, our Supreme Court can’t force Canadians to say “about” correctly or the British to stop putting the letter “u” in words like “color,” but it can tell the tribes they can’t put non-tribal members on trial.

Even nations are bound by international law. Granted, it’s at a nation’s consent to be so obligated. But the United States acknowledges “international law,” and saying the U.S. isn’t sovereign will get you a punch in the snot locker in some parts.

George W. Bush acknowledged international law when he attempted to justify to the United Nations his intent to launch the war in Iraq. “For centuries, international law recognized that nations need not suffer an attack before they can lawfully take action to defend themselves against forces that present an imminent danger of attack,” Bush said. So the United States, a sovereign nation, said it was within its rights under international law, an unspoken admission that it is bound by it.

Finally, let’s look inside the big red Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary on my desk and look up “sovereign,” “sovereignty” and “nation.” There are definitions for the first two that include lack of interference from any outside source, but when you get to definitions like “enjoying autonomy,” it doesn’t take much to understand that autonomy is not necessarily absolute. The word “nation” includes the definition “a tribe or federation of tribes (as of American Indians).” Norway would not fit that definition, but it is still a nation.

We’ll see Thursday if that satisfies Henden. Even if it doesn’t, it will probably satisfy the rest of the board.