Monthly Archives: October 2009

PO Lodging Tax Funds Come in at 70 Percent of Budgeted Amount

Advisory committee has forwarded its recommendations for 2010 awards to the city council.
By Chris Henry
Revenue from the City of Port Orchard’s lodging tax for 2009 will fall short of estimates made at the end of 2008.
The city expected to collect $93,000 in hotel/motel tax revenues, but with the downturn in the economy, a revised estimate shows the city will receive $64,577, about 70 percent of the original amount.
The city treasurer’s office told the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee of the shortfall in early September. The committee makes recommendations each year on distributing funds among a pool of applicants. Recipients must submit claims to the city to receive their allocations.
In light of the shortfall, the city council debated how to honor commitments to recipients. At one point they considered disbursing funds on a first-come-first-served basis. But on Tuesday they decided instead to distribute the funds proportionally.
“We wanted to do it in a fair and humane way,” said Fred Chang, chairman of the committee.
The city has asked recipients to submit claims no later than Oct. 27, so the total amount available can be calculated.
Lodging tax funds not claimed in any given year are rolled over into the following year. The city had $21,776 carry-over in funds that weren’t claimed last year. The council awarded these funds to four applicants not chosen in the first round. The amount of supplemental funds not yet claimed will be considered in the total yet to be distributed.
Mike Strube, chairman of the Port Orchard Chamber board of directors, said the lowered award did not come as a surprise. The chamber’s successful fundraising this year will help offset the loss of funds.
“I think we all knew, with the economy the way it was, that we may not see as much from lodging taxes,” said Strube. “It’s a little lower than I expected but we’ll roll with it.”
Chang said the council will encourage organizations that can make up the loss in other areas of their budgets to decline all or part of any funds yet to be claimed.
The city’s 2009 lodging tax recipients and the amount they were originally promised include the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce ($23,420), tourism and marketing duties performed by the city clerk ($20,000), Cedar Cove Days ($15,000), Fathoms ‘O Fun Festival ($10,500), Sidney Museum and Arts Association ($10,200), the Port Orchard Bay Street Association ($3,660), the Saints Car Club ($1,900) and the Port of Bremerton ($500).
Groups receiving awards from the supplemental fund include the city’s Festival of Chimes and Lights ($7,820), Concerts by the Bay ($5,000), foot ferry service for the Kitsap Harbor Festival ($4,400) and the city’s tourism committee ($3,000).
Notably left off the list of 2009 recipients was the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau. The council took the position that the VCB in recent years had fallen short in promoting Port Orchard. The VCB has since hired a new director.
The committee recently submitted its recommendations for 2010 lodging tax funds to the city council. According to Chang, 12 organizations made requests totaling $168,000. The city expects to bring in $61,000.
The committee ranked applicants based on how well they are seen to support tourism in the city. The VCB requested $20,000. Mayor Lary Coppola recommended $2,000. The committee has recommended the VCB receive $900.
“My sense was that they were a little skeptical of the VCB, but they did want to try and encourage them,” said Chang, who did not vote on the recommendation.
According to Chang none of the applicants were recommended to receive all of the funding they requested.

Friday Afternoon Club: Rock & Bowl for Tournament of Roses Trip

The South Kitsap High School marching band will hold a fundraiser on Saturday to help raise money for the band’s trip to Pasadena for the Tournament of Roses Parade. The Band Boosters are sponsoring a Rock ‘n Bowl from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Hi-Joy Bowl, Port Orchard. The cost is $20 per person and includes shoe rental and two hours of bowling. Sign up at Hi-Joy Bowl, or contact Gary Grams, band director at Limited spots are available so reserve your spot to Bowl for Roses today.

Heads Up Manchester: Hearing Set for Oct. 22 on Three-Story Project

Correction: The date of the is meeting was incorrectly listed. It is next Thursday, Oct. 22.

The Kitsap County Hearing Examiner will hold a public hearing on a conditional use permit application submitted by Tri Hutch for the proposed Spruce House project in Manchester. The hearing will be at 10 a.m. Thursday Oct. 22 in the Port Blakely Room of the county administration building, 619 Division St., Port Orchard.
The owners seek to build a three-story, retail-residential structure within the Manchester Village Commercial Zone. Spruce House is one of four three-story projects approved by Kitsap County before revision of the Manchester Community Plan in 2007. Previously, county code allowed buildings up to 35 feet or three stories in downtown Manchester. Although the revised plan limits buildings in the downtown core to 28 feet or two stories, the four projects were allowed at 35 feet.
Spruce House includes below ground parking, with 7,455 square feet of retail and office space on the ground floor, and two stories above consisting of nine condominiums. The total square footage is 54,777. The .53-acre site is located at the corner of Colchester Drive and Spruce Street.

Port Orchard: City Gets Fit and Fights Hunger

Now though Nov. 14, South Kitsap residents can make a pledge to improve their fitness and help local food banks, all in one step.

The Port Orchard Fit City Challenge/ End Hunger Initiative was conceived by South Kitsap residents Debbie Quinn and Mary Colborn and loosely model on Weight Watchers’ national program in which participants donate a pound of food for every pound lost. Colborn has been involved in efforts to help South Kitsap Helpline purchase the Port Orchard Nursery property and start a community garden to stock food bank shelves.

Organizers launched the challenge in recognition of the role that hunger and obesity play in our national’s health care crisis. According to Colborn, 66 percent of all Americans are overweight, while 35.5 million go to bed hungry every night.

In the Fit City Challenge, participants are invited to sign up and drop off food at several weigh stations around the city or at participating churches. Weigh stations include:
Bayview Java & Deli, 1213 Bay St., (360) 874-7615
Max Fitness, 1476 Olney St. SE, (360) 895-3450
Olympic Fitness Club, 4459 SE Mile Hill Dr., (360) 871-3433
Sugardaddy’s Salon, 834 Bay St. (360) 895-7838
Westcoast Fitness, 1948 SE Lund Ave. #106, (360) 874-2818
Wisteria Lane, 109 Sidney Ave., (360) 874-7800

All weights are private and confidential. Only losses will be noted and celebrated. Weigh ins are not public. Individuals may track their progress privately through the American Heart Association’s Web site:, at home or at other weight loss centers. Walking tours and an end of initiative celebration are planned.

The Port Orchard City Council on Tuesday will issue a proclamation in support of the Fit City Challenge.

For more information, contact Debbie Quinn at (360) 876-1781 or Mary Colborn at (360) 621-0050 or

In other news about local efforts to fight hunger in South Kitsap, Newlife South Church is hosting Sunday lunch for anyone who needs it from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Christian Life Center parking lot (corner of Mitchell and Lincoln avenues) on the last two Sundays of the month.

Cary to Lary: Carry a Big Stick But …

In case you missed it, there’s a new blogger in town. Cary Bozeman, former Bremerton Mayor and current CEO of the Port of Bremerton, launched the aptly named Bozeman Blog Sept. 14.

As with our other reader blogs, Bozeman’s comes headed with the following disclaimer: “The Kitsap Sun neither edits nor previews reader blog posts. Their content is the sole creation and responsibility of the readers who produce them.”

Today, Bozeman recapped his power lunch with Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola. Coppola has said he admires Bozeman and aspires to emulate his git-er-done attitude and its impact on Bremerton.

In the post, Bozeman shares some advice he had for Coppola. He wrote:

“Yesterday I met Mayor Lary Coppola for lunch in his wonderful City of Port Orchard. The man gets it, he knows what he wants to accomplish, and is a little like a bull in a china shop in his effort to get some things done. I like Lary, I like people who get stuff done, but sometimes I remind the Mayor that its ok to carry a big stick just dont use it all the time.”

Bozeman goes on to say the port wants to partner with both Port Orchard and Bremerton to promote their economic development. Steve Gardner, who writes the Bremerton Beat, and I have some fun with the perception of rivalry between the two towns. It will be interesting to see how Bozeman’s pledge plays out, especially if limited funding is at stake. Stay tuned.

Seeking Info on History of Salal Industry

Kitsap Sun intern Tara Garcia-Mathewson and I are working on a story to run later in the year about the greens industry. We are specifically interested in salal, which is used in floral bouquets. In addition to reporting on this lucrative industry, we would like to address the history of brush-picking in Kitsap and Mason Counties. In a previous life, I worked with older adults, some of whom told me of their Mom & Pop brush-picking business in the early to mid-20th Century. If you have information on the history of the greens industry in this area, call or e-mail me. Or post your comment here. Thanks, Chris Henry, South Kitsap/ government reporter

(360) 792-9219

Election 2009: Port Orchard Council Candidates Forum

Today I attended a forum of candidates for Port Orchard City Council hosted by the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce. If you missed the forum but are interested in this race, here’s your chance to play catch-up (press release sent by League of Women Voters of Kitsap):

Meet Port Orchard City Council Candidates Oct. 14

The League of Women Voters of Kitsap will host a forum for Port Orchard City Council candidates at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, at Port Orchard City Hall, 216 Prospect St.
Candidates are Cindy Lucarelli and Carolyn Powers for Position 2; Robert Putaansuu (unopposed) for Position 3; Fred Chang and Amy Igloi-Matsuno for Position 6; and Jerry Childs (unopposed) for At Large.
Note that the date has been changed. The forum was originally planned for Oct. 15 but was moved to accommodate participants’ schedules.
The public is welcome to attend and to submit questions for the candidates. For information call (360) 871-3993.

Kitsap County Hopes It’s Found a Keeper in New Parks Director

Kitsap County’s Parks and Recreation Department’s director position has been marked by considerable turnover, with three directors over the past decade. In June, former director Chip Faver resigned abruptly, saying he intended to move back to the Southwest.

Seeking stability for the department, the county undertook an exhaustive recruitment process to find Faver’s replacement, polling parks “stakeholders” on selection criteria and assigning a committee to sift through 52 resumes they received from a nationwide search.

Kitsap County’s new parks director, Jim Dunwiddie, will move across the country to assume his post Nov. 9. Dunwiddie, 54, whose appointment was announced Wednesday, most recently served as assistant director of the Somerset County Park Commission in Bridgewater, New Jersey. He lost his job in what park commissioners for that department describe as “downsizing.”

Despite turmoil in the Somerset park department in 2008, Dunwiddie is clearly “the right guy for us right now,” said County Administrator Nancy Buonanno-Grennan.

According to Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, county staff thoroughly researched Dunwiddie’s background and had no
concerns about a 2007 investigation of Somerset County Park Commission’s management and financial practices. In fact, people contacted for references indicated Dunwiddie acted in a whistle-blower role that may have cost him his job.

Commissioner Josh Brown, who was new on the board when Faver was selected, said he has confidence Dunwiddie represents a long-term “good fit” for the county. Brown drew parallels between Dunwiddie’s selection from among three finalists and the appointment of Larry Keeton in 2007 to the head the county’s troubled Department of Community Development. Brown said the county has gone to extra lengths to find the right match. He praised Dunwiddie’s potential to work well with public groups and potential to contribute to the sustainability of parks despite continued budget cuts resulting from county revenue shortfalls.

“I think he has a great passion to serve in parks, and I think he’s going to be a great fit,” Brown said.

Dunwiddie’s move to Kitsap County represents considerable downsizing. Somerset’s park department, with a heavy emphasis on golf facilities, had nearly a $20 million operating budget in 2008 and 200 full-time employees. Kitsap County’s Parks and Recreation Department, by comparison, operates with 35 full-time employees and a budget that was cut from $3.9 million at the start of 2009 to $3.7 million.

Despite more cuts to come, Dunwiddie is looking forward to the challenge. Kitsap’s level of parks stewardship is ahead of the curve in the nationwide parks trend of doing more with less, he said.

Dunwiddie said he is looking forward to “dialog” with stewardship groups, which the county sees as key to its ability to maintain parks despite budget cuts.

“You work with them. You don’t tell them what’s going to happen,” he said.

More on Dunwiddie: He has an extensive background in community service, including coaching baseball, softball, basketball and soccer. His volunteer work also includes service on the Somerset County’s aging advisory board, and in 1981-82, he chaired the area’s Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Buonanno-Grennan described him as “very even-keeled” and said references called him a “Steady Eddie.”

Dunwiddie will make $101,000 plus benefits with Kitsap County, as compared to the $136,707 he made in his previous job. Kitsap County commissioners reduced the parks director salary range 15 percent before advertising for the job. They offered Dunwiddie the high end of the range.

Woman Attacked by Bull Was Recovering from a C-section

A 22-year-old South Kitsap woman attacked by a bull Wednesday morning had been recovering from an emergency C-section three weeks earlier.
Mother and son are both at Tacoma General Hospital, although Laura Gragg has not been able to see her son, Charlie Luke Gragg, born Sept. 6 at one pound five ounces, since she was admitted Wednesday afternoon to the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Laura’s husband, John Gragg, 22, who is in the National Guard, was flown home from deployment in Afghanistan for the birth and had just returned to his post on Monday.
The attack took place in a pasture belonging to Laura Gragg’s in-laws, Bill and Linda Gragg, with whom she is staying while John is overseas. Two volunteers from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office Citizens on Patrol had asked to check the vehicle identification number of a car in the pasture where the bull and three cows were kept. A VIN number is required before a car can be sold for scrap.
According to Gragg, speaking by phone Friday from the ICU, she had asked the volunteers to wait until her father-in-law was home since he is more familiar with the bull. When they came anyway, she accompanied them into the pasture and tried to keep the bull at bay.
“I know things can turn on a dime with them,” she said.
Turn they did, as the bull knocked her to the ground, pinning her against one of several cars in the field. Gragg said she managed to find shelter between two cars, but the bull came around the other side and again threatened her.
According to a Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy report, one of the volunteers distracted the bull long enough for the other volunteer to help her escape from the field.
As soon as we got through, I noticed one of the volunteers wasn’t behind us,” Gragg said.
The bull had attacked that man, repeatedly knocking him to the ground, before he pinched the animal in the nose to make it retreat.
The second volunteer was transported to Harrison Medical Center, treated for puncture wounds to his right leg and sent home on Wednesday.
Gragg said doctors are watching her to make sure a laceration on her liver sustained in the attack doesn’t start bleeding. In the meantime, she and her husband have decided she is stable enough that he will be able to stay over in Afghanistan. He is due to return home in April
Laura Gragg hopes to be able to visit her baby in the neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital on Sunday. She holds no hard feelings against the bull.
“Just seeing how he was in his territory, there’s not much you can say about the bull acting crazy, because we were in his territory,” she said.

Port Orchard Receives Blackjack Creek Grant

This in from the City of Port Orchard:
“The Blackjack Creek Wilderness Trail project proposed by the City of Port Orchard: has been successfully funded by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) ranked the City project second in the State and will provide $60,000 toward the project, which proposes to construct a small trail head area near the mouth of Blackjack Creek, a minimum of two ADA accessible viewpoints, and an hand built hiking trail along the eastern bank of the creek to a connection with Given’s Center. As Blackjack Creek is a treasured salmon stream, much of the construction, viewing platforms, and pedestrian trail elements will be modeled after the fish friendly and environmentally sensitive project conducted at Poulsbo’s successful Fish Park.

The 1.25 mile trail project is a much needed beginning to many park and trail improvements proposed for throughout the City. In the future, the City anticipates this project would connect to a proposed extension of the entire Blackjack Creek trail network beginning at the shores of Sinclair Inlet and allowing pedestrian travel all the way to the City limits near the Sedgwick & Sidney Road intersection. Citizen park survey results conducted in 2006 and 2008 all stated that trails and walking opportunities had been ranked as the highest priority.

Volunteer help and citizen participation has been much appreciated throughout the project and is to be highly valued during construction. Port Orchard citizens Winston Ching, Eric Kvinsland, Keith Garton, Peter Braun, Mona Sunderlin, local Rotary Club Members, the Port Orchard Mom’s Club, local Boy Scouts of America, Kitsap Home Builders Association, South Kitsap High School students and teachers, City Public Works staff, City Council members, and the Mayor all contributed to the success of the grant award and provided the ability for the City to quickly move forward and leverage this great opportunity with the awarded funds. Those pledges and dedication to partnership with the City were a key part of the success of the grant application.

Design, permitting, & construction on the trail is anticipated to begin in Spring of 2010.”