Monthly Archives: June 2008

Blogger Objects to “Special Interest” Label

Speaking of South Kitsap blog contributor Karen Lee was unhappy with my use of “special interest” in reference to South Kitsap Skate Park Association and Fields Today Fit Tomorrow in a blog post last week on the South Kitsap Community Park master plan.

Karen wrote:
Chris, I’m not sure it was fair of you to call a group that wants to bring badly-needed, long overdue and much-deserved lights and turf to South Kitsap “special interest”. What club do you belong to, do you think it’s time to state that affiliation, as you did your residency in McCormick Woods when you were writing those stories?

I don’t have an opinion one way or another, I just think there is a socio-economic element to the lack of a lit soccer fields in South Kitsap. Games start the week after Labor Day and it’s too dark to practice the middle of October, unless your coach doesn’t have a day job. Those players whose parents don’t have the discretionary income, time, or energy to make 40-mile roundtrips for practice, not to mention games, are out of luck. You can’t ever be a contender if you can’t practice and it forces the best and the brightest to play for or in another community. How are things going to improve for the sport and the players and the families who love it, if the people that have a voice and power take their game out of town? I think if their weren’t options for them, we would have had lights and turf a long time ago.

Just some thoughts. Hope you’re having a great day. Karen Lee

Karen – Thanks for calling my attention to a term that could be considered loaded. Words are like guns; it’s unwise to play with them heedless of their power and potential to go off at an unintended target.

However, what I wrote was, “Some groups with special interest in the park, such South Kitsap Skate Park Association and Fields Today, Fit Tomorrow, have caught the county’s attention through high levels of organization, said Chip Faver, the Kitsap County Parks and Recretion. But the county is also trying to reach out to people, especially seniors, who would enjoy using the park but may not be able to attend meetings.”

I think this is a little different from saying “some special interest groups. such as …”

My point was those two groups in particular are reaping the benefits of their efforts to promote their causes.

For the record, I enjoy tennis (though haven’t played in a while due to a flaky knee). Walking is really my thing (bad knee be damned), and I have enjoyed the trails at SK Park over the years. My son is a soccer player who would potentially benefit from the construction of a soccer complex at the park. My father-in-law from Brinnon is a horseshoe player and could conceivably end up at the park for a tournament or fun. What else … lets see. Oh, yeah, when my kids were little we used to ride the train (Kitsap Live Steamers). So I guess you could say I have a number of special interests of my own.

All kidding aside, I do strive for fair and balanced reporting, and if I transgress I would expect to be called out. Thanks again for the heads up, Karen.

Delilah Holds Court in Downtown PO

Radio personality and South Kitsap resident Delilah, aka Delilah Rene, signed autographs and rubbed shoulders with fans Saturday in downtown Port Orchard during a two hour live broadcast by her local affiliate WARM 106.9 FM.

Delilah, second from left, reacts to a few creative additions daughter Blessing, 4 (third from left) has drawn on a picture of her. Daughter Shayla, 13, is on the left. Daughter Angel, 13, is far right.

Delilah, with program host Will Johnson, took ample opportunity to promote Delilah’s Cozy Kitchin, opened last year at 150 Harrison St., where one can find dishes like Sticky Bun Jovi, Celine Dion Chicken and Elvis Pretzels, “and there’s nothing on the menu over $8.” Delilah, 48 and single, talked about her 10 children (seven adopted), her five horses and her goat that faints on command.

The event drew a steady stream of admirers that easily numbered a couple hundred said Sgt. Dale Schuster of the Port Orchard Police Department. The POPD assigned five officers to provide security for Delilah, who has a following 10 million strong. They catch “The Delilah Show” five nights a week on 222 U.S. stations and 15 in Canada. Locally, you can hear her 7 p.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday on Warm 106.9 FM, or KWRM.

Schuster said nothing quite like Delilah has hit the town in his 23 years on the force.
“If it’s happy, it’s positive. She enjoys what she’s doing here,” said Schuster. “She wants to be part of the community and make a positive change in the community.”

“She’s frank and honest and caring,” said Darlene Nelson of Montana, who with her husband Chuck was visiting a relative Judy Reynolds of Port Orchard.

But not everyone is thrilled with Delilah. Tim Waibel, a downtown business owner, is unhappy with me for not posting a blog comment on the advance to the event I wrote last week.
Tim’s comment began, “Seeing the trailer park-esque quality Delilah has brought to the
downtown corridor of Port Orchard can only herald an invasion of
like-minded rabid fans that only has me as business owner cringing for
Tim continued, stating his opinion that Delilah has been rude and hostile to other downtown business people, that the decor of her cafe lacks class and so do her fans. Tim is certainly entitled to his opinion. Unfortunately, he illustrated his point of view with inflammatory terms that, in my opinion, crossed the line with regard to rules of the blog.

Tim posted a comment today, saying, “Hey Chris,
Is there somewhere to blog with honest opinions?”

Sure, Tim. I work for a newspaper that publishes opinions in various forms – letters to the editor, blog comments, comments on stories. We not only allow but encourage lively debate and strong stands on issues. Criticism of the people who play significant roles in our community is an inevitable and even desirable part of healthy discussion. Where we as a newsroom and I, as host of this blog, draw the line is when commentary turns into a personal attack on individuals. I welcome your future submissions to this blog and thank you in advance for your understanding of why your comment didn’t make the cut.


Garrido, Nuchims to Debate Tuesday

Paul Nuchims, Independent candidate for South Kitsap Commissioner, is hosting a series of debates at his Manchester Gallery, 724 Bay St. in downtown Port Orchard.
He and Charlotte Garrido, one of two Democratic candidates for the position, will discuss “education and communication” from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Republican candidate Tim Matthes debated Nuchims two weeks ago. Monty Mahan, the other Democratic candidate, stopped by the gallery on Friday to chat with Nuchims.
Upcoming meetings include:
Tuesday, July 1: Recreation and Quality of Life.
Tuesday, July 15: Responsibility and Methodology, the Future.
For more information, call (360) 895-4270 or e-mail

Friday Afternoon Club: Delilah, Dads and Salmon

Delilah Rene, yes that Deliah, will be on hand for a live broadcast by her affiliate WARM 106.9 FM noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Deliah’s Cozy Kitchin, 150 Harrison St., Port Orchard. Afternoon Drive personality Will Johnson will also be there. For more information, call (360) 895-6061.


And then there was the time they cooked the salmon on the incoming tide, their feet under water as they tended the grill.

The annual Manchester Father’s Day Salmon Bake, hosted by the Friends of Manchester Library, has become a treasure trove of lore for the generations that have taken part in this beloved event lo these 40 years. Come, eat, pat Dad on the back noon to 4 p.m. (or until the salmon runs out) Sunday in downtown Manchester.

Speak Up on SK Park

The scene Wednesday at Kitsap County’s first public meeting on the South Kitsap Community Park master plan looked more like a poker game than a public process. Participants were invited to place chips representing features and amenities, current and potential, on a map of the park.

As mentioned in the Kitsap Sun, the meeting was one of three interactive events that will take place between now and December, when the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners will vote on the plan that will guide the future of the beloved park through the next decade and maybe beyond. The next meeting is July 16.

Some groups with special interest in the park, such South Kitsap Skate Park Association and Fields Today, Fit Tomorrow, have caught the county’s attention through high levels of organization, said Chip Faver, the Kitsap County Parks and Recretion. But the county is also trying to reach out to people, especially seniors, who would enjoy using the park but may not be able to attend meetings.

Ultimately, said Faver, the county must balance the many, sometimes competing interests of those who would use the park.
“It’s government’s responsibility to speak for those who can’t speak up,” said Faver. “But in all instances, it’s government’s responsibility to speak up for those who will.”

Faver obviously wants to whip up enthusiasm for the planning process. Shouting like a preacher in a pulpit or a coach before the big game, he got the 200+ folks in attendance to “repeat after me,” “I’m in … I’m in it for the long haul … and I’m going to make that happen!” Faver even offered a bounty of $10,000 for every new participant brought to the next meeting. (He was “just joking.” What a card.)

For more information or to comment on the park master plan, visit (, call toll free (877) 292-6412, or write Kitsap County Parks and Recreation, 1200 NW Fairgrounds Road, Bremerton, WA 98311.

SK Super: Can LaRose Take the Heat?

Newly appointed South Kitsap Superintendent-in-waiting Dave LaRose was destined to take some heat over the relatively abbreviated process by which the South Kitsap School District Board of Directors tapped him for the post.

With current superintendent Bev Cheney’s announcement today that she won’t wait until next year to retire, the heat just got cranked up a notch.

(I am waiting for a comment from LaRose, who has been tied up in meetings all day.)

LaRose expressed confidence in his ability to handle the prickly situation at the last of four public forums on his candidacy. During that meeting, members of the public and South Kitsap teachers’ union praised La Rose but criticized the board for their abrupt dismissal of other potential internal candidates. Several who spoke before the board voted on La Rose said the move to appoint La Rose would erode public trust in the district even as South Kitsap faces a levy renewal in 2009.

La Rose himself acknowledged the awkwardness of the situation.

“I also must share I’ve been troubled by the process,” he said at the forum. “One of the things I’ve always tried to do is be a person who brings people together. … No question this has raised questions,” he added. “No question it has raised levels of distrust.”

La Rose said his approach, were he appointed, would be to confront the issue through open discussion with staff members and constituents.
“I think the responsibility of a superintendent would be to acknowledge what’s in us and bring us to common ground,” he said.

According to testimony at the forums, LaRose is used to and adept at handling conflict. He’s been with the district four years, and in his first position as principal of Orchard Heights Elementary School, he took a formerly troubled institution and worked with staff, students and parents to execute an extreme make-over of collective attitudes at the school, said staff member Susan Witt.

“He’s the glass half-full guy,” she said. “He’s so optimistic, and it’s contagious.”

La Rose describes himself as “hyperactive.” Unlike the soft-spoken Cheney, he loves a microphone.

He said he’s used to conflict in his current position as assistant superintendent for family and support services. When students or families have trouble with the district, La Rose is the one they see, “and they don’t come with plates of cookies,” he said.

Cheney, who announced in January her retirement in 2009, acknowledged the tension over La Rose’s appointment and said the most helpful thing she can do it is to hand the reins over to La Rose and step out of the way.
“What really needs to happen is some bridge building, and it needs to happen now. And the only person who can do that is Dave La Rose,” she said. “To me it’s the perceptional piece. If the perception’s out there, why not have Dave out there bringing folks together, using his strengths to do that?”

Cheney said it would be a mistake to let feelings over La Rose’s appointment simmer over the year.
“The only way you’re going to get to that is if you address it and address it now. … I think that’s what’s needed to allow us to move forward,” said Cheney. “If I were to choose to stay and try to do that, it wouldn’t work because people know I’m going to be gone in a year.”

Cheney is among four Kitsap superintendents who announced this school year that they will retire. Others are Ken Crawford of Bainbirdge Island, Gene Medina of NortH Kitsap and Bette Hyde of Bremerton.

Manchester: Woods View Decision Could Set Precedent

Woods View, 78 homes on 12 acres, will be allowed to go forward after the county’s hearing examiner rejected an appeal from area residents. The project is north of the town of Manchester in an area zoned rural (one house per five acres). Woods View could set a precedent for other development, since the area contains more than 1,000 lots tiny lots, each 40 by 100 feet.

Well over 1,000 lots, each 40 by 100 feet, were platted in 1909, before modern zoning laws were first adopted by the state in 1937. County officials say residents have vested property rights and the county is limited in its ability to control development in those areas.

Check out the story by Chris Dunagan on the Web site now.

Having Your Say in SK Park’s Future

Kitsap County will kick off designing a master plan for South Kitsap Community Park from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the county’s administrative building.
The beloved and already well-used park was acquired by the county from South Kitsap Parks and Recreation District a year ago. The plan will be completed by December.
Careful planning now will ensure that Kitsap residents get the greatest benefit from the 200-acre park, said Martha Droge, the county’s newly hired parks project coordinator.
While the county has already solicited opinions from groups and individuals interested in using the park, creating the master plan will be a more comprehensive process that will take some time, said Droge.
“This is very different from people sitting in a room saying, ‘I’d like this. I’d like that,'” she said. “This is just the beginning of the brainstorming.”
The plan will be drawn up with an eye to the social and recreational needs of community members, but not at the expense of the ecological health of the park, Droge said.

Here’s the schedule of workshops for the master plan process:
Wednesday: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Kitsap County administrative building; meet the master planning team, brainstorm ideas for the park and help set goals.
July 16: time and place TBA; the public will be invited to express preferences for options presented by the team.
Sept. 17: time and place TBA; the team will present refined options for further review.
Fall: date and place TBA; the team will present the final plan; public comment will be taken.
To comment outside the workshops, visit the park Web site, e-mail or call (877) 292-6412.

Friday Afternoon Club: Congrats Class of 2008

Tonight, South Kitsap High School students are walking across the stage at the Tacoma Dome collecting their diplomas. Some of these graduates I’ve known since they were in kindergarten. Way to make me feel old, guys!

The event kicks off graduation season in Kitsap and North Mason counties.

The Class of 2008 is the first required to meet the state’s new graduation requirements linked to higher academic learning standards. For many, the journey to graduation has felt like a marathon.

Congratulations to the entire Class of 2008 in SK and beyond, with a special shout out to Krystal, Erica, Lauren, Priya and of course my own daughter, Rose.

Celebrate, stay safe, happy trails.


Kitsap Sun Coverage of SKSD Uganda Trip

I received an e-mail from Jennifer Elser, who was unhappy with our story on the state auditor’s report on South Kitsap School District.

The auditor questioned the district’s use of federal grant money for a trip to Uganda that was made last summer by three staff members and eight students from the district’s career and technical education program. The group installed computers and trained Ugandan students in predominantly female schools as part of an effort to to reach out to under-served populations (women) in non-traditional fields (technology).

The story generated many comments on our Web site. Jennifer wrote, “I am very disappointed with this article as well most of the resulting comments. Several important factors have been left out. This trip appears to be nothing more then a vacation when in fact, students work all year on preparing for the trip only to spend 3 weeks in another country with cockroaches, cold showers and everyday work. This isn’t a play day. Its an incredible learning experience and an amazing humanitarian project.”

The Kitsap Sun covered the trip last summer. You can read about it here.

The focus of my story was the auditor’s report. I encourage Jennifer and anyone else with opinions on the issue or our coverage of it to submit a letter to the editor.