Monthly Archives: January 2008

Burley-Olalla Interchange: Map of Alternate Routes During Construction

Construction on the Burley-Olalla interchange on Highway 16 is set to start in July and continue for 25 months.

Burley-Olalla Road will be closed near the construction site for the duration. The Washington State Department of Transportation is not going to post detours, choosing instead to let drivers figure out their own alternate routes.

“We want people to find the route they’re most comfortable with,” said John Ho of the DOT.

I got on Google Maps and, with the help of my tech savvy colleagues, traced what appear to me to be the obvious alternatives. If you haven’t used Google Maps before, be advised that when you click on the link, you can zoom in and out. Written directions can be viewed by clicking on the place marks.

I’m thinking any route having to do with Purdy Drive/Highway 302 will be less than desirable due to already thick congestion, especially at the northbound exit in the p.m.

If you end up taking any of the routes, don’t literally follow my lines or you might be pulled over for erratic driving. The Google Maps program is a little touchy and I’m still getting the hang of it. Thanks for your patience while my map-making skills are under construction.

Hint: At the Mullenix exit, if you have trouble clicking on one or the other place mark because they are close together, put your cursor to the far side of either place mark and click; it’ll grab it. Also try the satellite view, which is really cool, and which helps give you an idea of where you are.

If anyone has comments, thoughts, better ideas or handy tips about alternate routes, post away. Problems using the map, call me and I try to walk you through it, (360) 792-9219. CTH

Investment Scam: Were You a Victim?

“A former Port Orchard man accused by the federal government of taking millions of dollars in a fraudulent investment scheme has been extradited from Poland and is now in jail, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Western Washington.

Charles N. Bush, 68, is alleged to have accepted more than $30 million from investors who were told he’d taken a ‘vow of poverty’ and had placed the money in high-yield funds between 1998 and 2002.”

So writes Crime and Justice reporter Josh Farley in today’s story about an alleged investment scam that may have affected South Kitsap residents. Josh would like to hear from anyone who has had any dealings with Bush. E-mail him at

Here’s some more information from the story.

“Bush began his alleged scheme in Des Moines before moving to Port Orchard, where he operated investment entities called Hulaman Management Services (HMS), Global Dominion Financial Services (GDFS) and Cornerstone Institute.

His alleged scam kept going by using methods akin to a Ponzi scheme, in which to satisfy investors, he paid out large rates on return with investors’ original investments, not profits.

Federal prosecutors also allege that he ‘falsely represented his background, knowledge and experience,’ to tempt investors, and told them his offers were ‘exclusive’ to draw them in further.”

Off-Leash Areas: Howe Farm Ready for Action, SK Park a Possibility

Dogs owners have been out in force taking advantage of newly renovated off-leash areas at Howe Farm County Park.

Danny Horovitz of Kitsap Dog Parks Inc. said completion of the project, along with an expanded parking lot and single-stall rest room, is cause to celebrate.

“We’re real excited to have it open,” said Horovitz. “A lot of people want this. A lot of people are using it.”

A ribbon-cutting is planned for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Kitsap Dog Parks and South Kitsap School District are negotiating with the county on an agreement that would allow both entities to play a role in Howe Farm’s use. The school district, with WSU Kitsap County Cooperative Extension, would like to use part of the land for agricultural and vocational classes. Dogs Parks Inc. would like to develop trails for dog owners.

Horovitz said his organization and the district are ready and willing to cooperate.
“There’s excitement for both groups to be working together,” he said.

While the news at Howe Farm is upbeat, some dog owners have complained to the county about stepped up enforcement of leash laws at South Kitsap Community Park, according to Dori Leckner, senior parks maintenance supervisor.

The county took over the park this summer, and dog owners who have been used to letting their dogs run free are finding posted leash laws enforced by county personnel. Signs at the park notify them of the availability of Howe Farm and Bandix Dog Park, also in South Kitsap.

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel said the idea of having an off-leash area at SK Park is “not off the table.” Nearly a dozen special interest groups representing various sports and recreational pursuits are working with the county on future development of the park.

Anyone interested in having an off-leash area at SK Park should contact Arvilla Ohlde at (360) 337-5361.

If you are a dog owner, what are your thoughts on off-leash opportunities in Kitsap County?

McCormick Woods Annexation Could Affect SK Schools

The McCormick Woods Annexation Committee has collected signatures on a petition showing 11 percent of residents are interested in exploring the idea of annexation to the City of Port Orchard. That’s 81 homes out of approximately 700 and a population of roughly 2,000 people in McCormick Woods Urban Village urban growth area, more than enough by law to kick-start the process.

But annexation is far from a done deal. City attorney Jennifer Forbes today said the proposed annexation is unprecedented in recent city history and will take time.

“This is definitely more complicated than the average city annexation that involves one or two blocks,” Forbes said.

All this first step does is initiate the process, and in fact the committee has decided to wait on submitting the petition to the city until March 3 to give both entities time to answer questions about the implications of annexation. From there the city council will have 60 days to accept the proposal (or not), and then 75 percent of property owners must sign their agreement to the deal before it can become final.

Members of the committee met today with city officials to review some of the questions surrounding annexation, including:
* What would be the financial impact of annexation on homeowners?
* Would the city be bound by previously existing agreements between the county and the primary developer, Gem 1, and if so, would any cost trickle back to residents?
* Would the value of properties to be annexed be protected in the event of a rezone?
* What services would the city provide?
* What new ordinances would apply to residents once they become part of the city?

One of the biggest questions is how annexation could affect South Kitsap School District. The district receives impact fees on new construction within the county, but the city doesn’t have impact fees … yet.
At stake is a fee of about $1,000 per lot on something in the neighborhood of 1,000 homes to be developed over time, said O’Brien. Money from impact fees goes to the district’s capital facilities fund for new construction.

Dick Davis, a committee member said the prevailing opinion among residents he’s talked to (and his personal opinion) is that if annexation would negatively impact the school district it should be dismissed.

“If they suffer a negative impact, game over,” Davis said.

Possibilities exist that would allow those fees, or the equivalent amount, to still be collected. A revision of city ordinances late last year paved the way for impact fees to be implemented. Alternately, new development could be subject to mitigation fees equivalent to the amount that would have been collected in impact fees as part of the permitting process, suggested Tom O’Brien, a district representative who attended the meeting. The district has such an arrangement with the City of Bremerton, which has jurisdiction over about 900 homes on Bremerton land that are served by South Kitsap Schools.

Davis described a “bell curve” of opinions on annexation, based on feedback the committee has received, with a small group that strongly supports annexation, a small group that “wouldn’t support it if you put a new Lexus in their garage” and a large group in between that is “ambivalent” and wants to know more.

Where do you fall on the bell curve and what questions do you have that are yet to be answered about how annexation would affect you life (and pocketbook).

Your contact on the committee is Ray McGovern, a committee member and McCormick Woods resident, at

Rose Marie Hill: An Obituary That Caught Our Attention

Following on the entry I made yesterday about the death of Jessica Z. Torres, 34, of Port Orchard in a car accident Monday, I find myself writing about another young woman, formerly of Port Orchard, who is dead before her time.

Rose Marie Hill, who died of breast cancer Jan. 8, was not a famous person, so her death does not merit a bona fide news obituary. But Local News Editor David Nelson and I agreed that her “zest” for life, despite her illness, deserves mention on the blog.

Rose moved to Port Orchard at age 3 and attended South Kitsap Schools, including South Kitsap High School, where she graduated in 1994.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 21 while a senior at Wells College in Ithaca, N.Y. For the next 10 years she continued to live a full life and then some. She not only completed her undergraduate degree, she went on to get a master in fine arts in performance, and she traveled the world sharing her talent for song and dance. The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where she received her degree, will award an annual Rose Hill Performance Award in her honor. She recently completed a second master’s degree in counseling, graduating with honors from the University of California Santa Barbara in California .

Beyond that, Rose had experiences in her short life most of us blessed with good health would be lucky to cram into longevity. According to her obituary, she “worked on an Alaskan fishing boat, participated in building homes for homeless in Texas, she was a sky-diver, sea-plane pilot, bi-plane enthusiast, para-sailor, motorcyclist, violinist, ballerina, banjo player, singer, song-writer, author and other ventures too numerous to name here. Rose used her vast experiences to touch other people’s lives for the better.”

Our sympathies to the family. The complete obituary is below, with information on the scholarship established in her name. CTH

Rose Marie Hill
31 May 1976 ~ 8 January 2008
Rose Marie Hill, 31, passed away peacefully, at home, on January 8, 2008, in
Seattle WA. Rose was born in San Diego CA, and moved to Port Orchard WA, in
1979, at the age of three. She attended schools at Bible Baptist Church,
Cedar Heights JH, and Sedgwick JH and graduated from SK High in 1994, where
she was very active in student government, Acting Ensemble, cheerleading and
the Head Start Program at Olympic College in Bremerton.

Rose was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, at the age of 21, while a
senior at Wells College in Ithaca NY. She completed her course of studies
there all while undergoing treatment and earned her BA in the spring of
1998. She went on to earn a Master in Fine Art (MFA) at the School of the
Museum for Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston, MA in 2004.

After graduation, Rose traveled the world as a performance artist in
2004-2006. She performed in United States, Canada, Chili, Ireland, Poland,
and traveled to numerous other places; Italy, Germany, Morocco, Tunis,
France, England, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Panama, it was her goal to
visit every continent. The SMFA in Boston will award an annual Rose Hill
Performance Award in honor of Rose’s contributions to performance art.

Rose moved back to Seattle in 2004, and began a master’s program at Gevirtz
Graduate School of Education, University of California Santa Barbara, CA.
She earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Clinical Psychology in May of
2008. She completed her studies with honors.

Rose loved people and she loved life. The aggressive cancer she endured
never went into remission; however, she never let her illness or treatment
stop her from accomplishing her goals in education and the personal
experiences she longed for, and she had many; she fished for the summer on
an Alaskan fishing boat, participated in building homes for homeless in
Texas, she was a sky-diver, sea-plane pilot, bi-plane enthusiast,
para-sailor, motorcyclist, violinist, ballerina, banjo player, singer,
song-writer, author and other ventures too numerous to name here. Rose used
her vast experiences to touch other people’s lives for the better. Above
all Rose loved her family and her friends and we will miss her infectious
zest for life; she truly lived the mantra “seize the day” or “carpe diem.”
Rose’s favorite song, “It Is Well (with My Soul),” personifies that Rose
lived well and she has gone to a better place where she is indeed well in
every sense of the word, today and forever. We give you to His heart.

Rose is survived by her parents, Ginger (Michael) Kulpit of Poulsbo WA,
Chuck (Michele) Hill of Olympia, siblings; Chrystie Hill of Seattle, Andrew
Hill of Spokane WA, Trudee Hill of Seattle, Tonya (David) De Loma of Benton
City WA, Karen (Tom) of Olympia WA and her paternal grandmother Ilene Lee
Hill Mays of El Cajon CA and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and

Rose was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Russell Richardson
in 2001, and Mildred Richardson in 2006, both of Edgewood NM. She was also
preceded in death by her paternal grandfather Charles W. Hill of Olympia WA
in 2003.

A celebration of Rose¹s life will be held in Seattle WA on March 29,
location will be published at a later date. Memorial donations may be made
to the Rose M. Hill Memorial Fund to benefit the Rose Hill Performance Award
at Navy Federal Credit Union, 2238 NW BUCKLIN HILL RD STE 100,
SILVERDALE WA 98383-8530.

Port Orchard Woman Killed in CK Car Crash

Crime and Justice reporter Josh Farley reported this morning on a car crash that took the life of Jessica Z. Torres, 34, of Port Orchard. Anyone who knew Ms. Torres is invited to contact Josh at


A Port Orchard woman was killed late Monday afternoon when her car was struck by a man believed by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office to have been under the influence of intoxicants, according to deputies’ reports of the incident.

Jessica Z. Torres, 34, was driving south on the 22600 block of Clear Creek Road NW at about 5:35 p.m. when her 2000 Mazda collided with a 2001 Volkswagen Passat driven by a 32-year-old Poulsbo man.

Torres, who was wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene, sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson said.

The 32-year-old man was traveling at a high rate of speed and apparently lost control. His car turned sideways, crossed the center line and was struck by the Mazda, Wilson said.

Deputies have a “strong suspicion” that the 32-year-old was under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both. He was treated for minor injuries at Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton before being booked into the Kitsap County jail on suspicion of vehicular homicide.

Do Kitsap Students Get Enough Recess?

This weekend, the Kitsap Sun will run a story on a bill to make recess a mandatory part of elementary students’ school days that is making its way through the state Legislature.

South Kitsap School District Superintendent Bev Cheney said educators in her district value free play time, but they don’t need a law to make it happen.

A related bill, SB 5265, would create an outdoor education and recreation grant program aimed at underserved children.

Sen. Rosa Franklin, D-Tacoma, the mandatory recess bill’s sponsor, said children in her district have been shortchanged on time for unstructured play because of pressure on schools to meet state academic learning standards.

In South Kitsap, elementary students get two 15-minute recess periods, plus a portion of their 30-minute lunch period to blow off steam, said Cheney.

Because of the state’s requirements for instructional time, South Kitsap schools have the option to rearrange or combine those time periods, and in some cases, students may have two longer recesses as opposed to three shorter play times, Cheney said.

Cheney said this is simply a matter of “practice” and not a hard and fast policy. It just seems like the right thing to do.

“From our standpoint, we’re looking at the whole child,” said Cheney. “We believe the kids need to have some time to play. They need to have that opportunity to get up, run around and be physical.”

The Washington State Board of Health has endorsed the bill saying fresh air and physical activity helps combat obesity, teaches children how to cooperate with one another and helps them focus better once they’re back in the classroom.

Kim Howard of the Washington State PTA said that for two years in a row, recess has ranked high on members’ list of concerns at the organization’s legislative assembly, coming in fifth in 2006 and eighth in 2007.

“Parents are concerned the schedule is so tight,” said Howard. “I think the districts are trying to shave time to make sure students are getting all the learning time they’re supposed to.”

But so far, said Howard, the evidence that this is happening is mostly anecdotal. She said her organization needs to gather more hard data on recess time in districts around the state in order to promote the bill, which was first introduced during the 2007 session.

What’s happening in Kitsap? If you’re a parent, does it seem like your children are getting less recess time than they used to, or than you used to when you were a child?

Bill to Name Tacoma Narrows Bridge After Bob Oke Gets First Reading

By now you may have seen Steve Gardner’s post on the Kitsap Caucus about proposed legislation to name the Tacoma Narrows Bridge second span after the late Bob Oke. A story on the bill will soon be posted at

Oke, a Port Orchard resident and former Republican state senator representing the 26th District, fought to have the bridge built against strong opposition to the tolls that would pay for it. He died in May of cancer, two months before the new span opened.

The bill got a first reading on the state Senate floor today and has been referred to the transportation committee .

Oke’s widow Judy Oke and South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel were in Olympia Monday garnering support for the measure. The Oke family is hosting a Web site, “The Bridge of Faith,” and collecting online signatures of support for the measure. More than 700 signatures have been collected within the past five days, Judy Oke said.

But Randy Boss of Gig Harbor, representing Citizens Against Tolls, said the idea of naming the bridge after Oke adds “insult to injury.” Boss, in an e-mail to the Kitsap Sun, recalled the 1998 citizen advisory vote on whether the bridge should be built with revenue from tolls. The vote, comprising seven counties, passed with 53 percent support, but 80 percent of 26th District residents voted against the idea. Oke incurred scathing criticism from constituents and colleagues, but continued to push for the bridge, citing traffic safety as the overriding reason to build.

“To further insult us by naming the bridge after the man that orchestrated this political folly is simply adding insult to injury,” Boss said.

Judy Oke wasn’t surprised to hear of Boss’ stance. She said the public pressure against the bridge caused considerable stress to her family during Oke’s years-long campaign to see it built.

Boss, who called Oke “a really sweet guy” and was sorry to hear of his passing, indicated he’s not eager to dredge up the past.

“The best honor we could bestow on Bob Oke would be to withdraw this entire debate so as not to force an organized opposition to this idea,” Boss said.

Regarding tolls: The total amount to be financed by toll revenues is $849 million. The bridge will be paid off in 2030. The toll for the new span is set at $3; $1.75 for cars with a transponder. The current rate will be in effect through June. Original financing estimates called for toll increases up to $6 in 2015, but that may not be necessary said, Janet Matkin, spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Transportation. WSDOT officials are currently reviewing traffic and revenue data to see if an increase is needed. They will announce their decision sometime this spring.

Question of the Day: What’s your opinion on naming public structures after politicians, especially in a case like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which became a highly charged and bitter debate?

A Vested Interest in South Kitsap

On January third, I attended a meeting of the McCormick Woods annexation committee, a group exploring the possibility of having the McCormick Woods development and McCormick North become part of the City of Port Orchard.

The committee meeting was held in advance of a public meeting Jan. 10, and one committee member wanted to know why I was there. I explained that I am a resident of McCormick Woods but that I was there representing the Kitsap Sun. Since Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola was at the luncheon meeting, it was clearly a public meeting.

The observation was made that I should make a public disclaimer about my residency since I have been and will continue to cover the annexation. I’m happy to do so. My family and I have lived in McCormick Woods since 2002.

People have asked me my opinion of the proposed annexation, and I’ve declined to offer it because I need to stay publicly objective on the issue in order to present fair and balanced reporting.

It’s an issue that comes up frequently, as life and work become intertwined. On Jan. 10, I covered a meeting of the South Kitsap Soccer Club. The people at the door handing out ballots for the election of the SKSC board asked if I was a soccer parent (all three of my kids have played with the club). “I am,” I said. “But today I’m here with my reporter’s hat on.” Needless to say, I didn’t vote in the election.

On Wednesday, I’ll be covering a South Kitsap School District meeting and, yes, my children have attended South Kitsap Schools.

And for the record, I also drive on city streets, shop at local grocery stores and play in SK parks.

Being publicly objective, doesn’t mean I don’t care.

Lynn Saunders, a former Kitsap Sun photographer who died in a car accident some years ago, taught me that not only is it OK to become personally invested in the stories one covers; it’s vital. Otherwise, as she used to say, why bother?