Category Archives: General Interest

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.

This is No Fish Story: Humboldt Squid Make Rare Visit to the Strait

Note: The headline of this post was corrected to say squid were in the Strait (of Juan de Fuca) not Puget Sound. (9/21/09)

I noticed today Chris Dunagan’s “Watching Our Waterways” blog a post on fishing jokes. It piqued my interest, since I recently got to go salmon fishing with my husband for the first time since B.C. (before children).

The fishing was good, and with two of us licensed, we were able to bring home more than he usually does. “You only love me for my punch card,” I told him.

On October 7, we were trolling the Strait of Juan de Fuca off Sekiu. I was reeling in my line, and I saw that something was after it. I thought it was a salmon, but then I saw a wide flap-like appendage break the water. It was brown in color, not at all like a salmon. A minute later something hit my husband’s line hard and dove with it. Believing it to be a large salmon, Mike got excited and had fun playing it. It moved and acted enough like a salmon that he was convinced that’s what he had. But when he got it close to the boat, he couldn’t believe what he saw – a three-foot squid. Netting it was a trick. Getting it out of the net was even trickier. Unhooking it was just plain scary. Those things have a beak that could do some major damage to a finger or hand.

Although Mike has fished this area for more than 20 years, catching a squid was first for him.


We looked up the regulations and determined that were were allowed to keep it.

The creature was amazing. Its skin changed color rapidly in moving patterns, ranging from iridescent white to rusty brown. Every now and then it would hug itself with its flippers (probably the wrong term) and turn itself into a rigid torpedo shape. Its eyes conveyed the impression that it had a level of intelligence, like a whale.

When we got in to shore, we found a number of other people had also caught squid. Ours turned out to be 10 pounds. The largest caught that day was an estimated 20 pounds, although it was let go.

Turns out they were Humboldt squid, which typically hang out in California and South America. They can get up to six feet long and 70 pounds. What they were doing up this far north, no one could guess. Chris Mohr, owner of Van Riper’s Resort in Sekiu, said he’d never seen anything like it. Theories include fluctuations in ocean temperature, Ph levels (relative acidity) and food sources, but none so far has been proven.

On the docks of Van Ripers’ some people knew just how to filet and skin the squid. One couple said they had caught one the day before, and they had cubed and sauteed the flesh in garlic butter. The consistency was rather like scallops although a little chewier, they said. They had even kept the ink, which they heard could be used to flavor pasta. They had kept to beak, which was an intimidating appendage, larger and harder than a parrot’s beak.

My husband is not a fan of squid (he’s had calamari a couple times), and since we had plenty of salmon to process, we gave ours to a Korean friend, who was most appreciative. Fishermen on the Bremerton marina dock and Southworth dock can often be seen fishing for six-to-10-inch squid. I’m guessing our friend was not expecting a specimen the size of a small dog. When Mike opened the back of the truck to show off his catch, the guy said, “Holy ….”

This week, as reported in the Peninsula Daily News, the squid began beaching themselves on the shores of Clallam Bay, again for unknown reasons.

I’m hoping my fellow reporter Chris Dunagan can pick up where I left off and offer some explanations for the strange phenomenon. If our Web editor Angela Dice were here, she would no doubt find it fodder for her food blog, The Food Life.

If anyone out there can offer recipes for squid, I’d be most interested, although I suspect that was our once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the species.

Where Were You 40 Years Ago Today?

I was on the couch in our living room with my family, watching the grainy image of Neil Armstrong descending the ladder of the The Eagle lunar lander, listening to the intermittent comments he made before that famous “one small step for man …” quote. I remember my father was home early from work, marking the momentous nature of the occasion. We were among half a billion people worldwide watching with rapt attention mankind’s first steps on the moon.

And if you’re old enough to relate, you officially qualify as an Old Phart, like me. I was 14, at the time. It was one of those iconic moments that defined who were were as a country. Amid news of the Vietnam War, conflict over civil rights and the 1968 assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy – eerily recalling John F. Kennedy’s death in 1963 – the lunar landing was poignant and inspiring. It made me believe, for the longest time, that anything was possible.

I found these passages from a recent Associated Press article particularly right on:

“What put man on the moon 40 years ago was an audacious and public effort that the world hasn’t seen before or since. It required rocketry that hadn’t been built, or even designed, in 1961 when President John F. Kennedy declared the challenge. It needed an advance in computerization that had not happened yet. …

In another speech, Kennedy famously said America would go to the moon and try other tasks ‘not because they were easy, but because they were hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.‘ (emphasis mine, CTH)

They weren’t just skills with rockets and slide rules. Bringing together countless aerospace companies, engineers, scientists, technicians, politicians and several NASA centers around the nation was a management challenge even more impressive than building the right type of rockets, said Smithsonian Institution space scholar Roger Launius.”

*******end citation*******

And from the same article:

“Historian Douglas Brinkley called the Apollo program “the exemplary moment of America’s we-can-do-anything attitude.” After the moon landing, America got soft, he said, looking for the quick payoff of a lottery ticket instead of the sweat-equity of buckling down and doing something hard.”

***end citation******

My thoughts: If we’ve gotten soft, the recession will probably take care of that. As a nation, by necessity, we’re getting leaner, more focused. In some ways, we’re pulling together, but will we ever be that bold again? And should we even bother?

An article in USA Today related to the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, explores the pros and cons of returning humans to the moon. Obviously one of the biggest arguments against such a mission is money. According to the article, the Obama administration will likely slash NASA’s budget in 2010. Given the recession, the nation has other more pressing priorities than manned space flight, critics say.

“Many space historians and even NASA veterans agree that the glory days of Apollo — which spawned countless songs, movies and books — can’t be recaptured. Gone is the vast budget for building spaceships. Gone is the Cold War with the Soviet Union, which unified the nation and lent urgency to the effort to put an American on the moon.”

******end citation********

Some say a manned mission to the moon would not yield enough scientific information to justify the billions a single flight would likely cost. Others, including Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, say NASA should focus on Mars instead.

My question: Is it worth undertaking a revival of manned moon flights not only for what could be learned about the universe, but as an exercise that could, in JFK’s words, “serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills?”

You tell me. Take the poll on this blog’s home page.

Thanks for your thoughts.

P.S. What does this have to do with South Kitsap? OK, you’ve got me there.

Delilah and Debbie Macomber BFF?

Is Port Orchard big enough for two super-celebrities? Absolutely, said schmooze-talk radio host Delilah, a South Kitsap resident who spoke Thursday about her friendship with local best-selling author Debbie Macomber.

“I love Debbie,” said Delilah, holding a fluffy black puppy in her downtown Port Orchard restaurant. “I love her spirit and her will, and her commitment to her family and God.”

Will Delilah be taking part in the Debbie Macomber-inspired Cedar Cove Days in August? Another emphatic “yes.” Delilah plans to broadcast from Port Orchard some time during the event

Cedar Cove Days, set for Aug. 26 through 30, plays up Port Orchard’s status as the real-life inspiration for Macomber’s Cedar Cove series.

Macomber has said she wants visitors to see the real Port Orchard, “warts and all.”

But Delilah’s not so sure that’s a good idea. She wants to see a volunteer-driven “Paint the Town Party” to give old PO a major face lift before the big event. She’ll even spring for the paint.

The painting party is still in the early planning stages. Still to be worked out is whether all property owners will sign on to Delilah’s recommended color scheme, maritime blues and other bright colors.

Meanwhile, city officials are having angst about the mural on the Port Orchard Library, which is peeling like a Northwesterner after first exposure to late spring sunshine (I predict a lot of those after this weekend).

You can read the details in a story to run Sunday. Yes, it’s shaping up to be a hot time in the old town.

Friday Afternoon Club: The Misadventures of Macho Bird

Does this ever happen to you?

You’re awakened at first light by a dull thud. It’s a robin in lust, hurling himself at the reflection in your bedroom window. There’s a predictable pattern you can’t help but time in your head as you drift somewhere between sleep and dang-it’s-time-to-get-up. The bird sits on a branch for exactly 38 seconds looking casual and unconcerned, then for exactly four seconds, he fluffs up his feathers – the bird equivalent of flexing his pecs. The window having been sufficiently warned, he leans forward menacingly for a fraction of a second, and, wham, he hits the glass feet first, leaving behind muddy little claw and wing prints. The feathery smears on the window do nothing, apparently, to diminish the image that has him so worked up.

Meanwhile, all the other robins are attacking real male birds for the honor of courting real female birds and making real babies. Hello, Macho Bird, get a clue. Somebody give this guy a Darwin Award.

And every morning, the cat watches the show intently. He never misses an episode, even though he knows exactly how each scene will end.

Commercials We Love to Hate

Madison Avenue it’s not. Commercials advertising local and regional businesses are typically made on low budgets without professional actors, and all too often it shows (see videos below). We complain bitterly about them, but we can’t look away.
The rules for making commercials so bad they’re good are as follows:
* Even if you have the money for a professional studio filming, make it look low-budget. Maybe people will feel sorry for you and buy your product.
* Use animals, live if possible, extra points if the animal misbehaves.
* If you don’t have live animals, wear an animal costume. Crustaceans kick booty.
* If you don’t have an animal costume, wear any costume, preferably one that looks like you got it off the Value Village Halloween markdown rack.
* Hire the best annoying jingle writer in the business.
* Use children and other family members sparingly for a huge annoyance factor.
* Be eager to make a fool of yourself.
* When all else fails, DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHOUT.

Here, in no particular order, are some classic examples of past and present ads from Kitsap and the Puget Sound Region.
Besides those that are just plain cheesy, there are some from the 1980s and early 1990s — Seattle’s golden age of television commercials — that are wonderfully absurd.
Just for kicks I threw in a few that are not local but awful enough to be worthy of mention. Vermont Teddy Bear … need I say more?
Tell me your favorite, and tell me about those I missed.

Continue reading

What You Don’t Know About Eating Disorders Could Kill You

… or someone you love.

I’m not fond of the word “empowerment.” I try to avoid it, as I avoid certain aisles of certain greeting card stores that reek of sickly sweet-scented candles and stained glass sentiments. It creeps into school board meetings … over-used eduspeak … and talk of social service programs aimed at girls and women. Empower this, empower that, blah, blah, blah.

So pardon me while I slip into my Oprah mode …

The reality is the need for you-know-what exists wherever, whenever women or girls feel marginalized by society’s narrow view of what it means to be female. One need look no farther than the magazine racks of grocery stores for images that that say to women, teens and girls, “You’ll never measure up.”

And if you thought growing up was hell when you were a pimply-faced junior high student, consider that these days girls/teens (and guys, see below) have to hold their own not only in the concrete world but on the Internet. Rumors and catty comments that used to travel in a matter of days now fly at cyber-speed in social networks mostly out of sight to caring adults.

Experts say that these pressures are contributing to the incidence of eating disorders like anorexia and bulemia, among a host of other self-destructive behaviors. A North Kitsap women is trying to reach girls early, between the ages 8 to 12, to gird them for the battle that is coming of age in the cyber-generation. According to her nonprofit organization’s Web site:
81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat
42 percent of first through third grade girls want to be thinner
51 percent of 9 and 10 year old girls feel better about themsleves if they are on a diet
84 percent of girls in a survey believed they had to be thin to be popular.

As I wrote about the Our Beauty Within program, I also talked to an expert on eating disorders, who said there is wide-spread lack of awareness of how deadly these conditions can be. ED is not a fad, it’s a serious mental illness to which some may be more predisposed than others.

To learn more about ED, you can watch this public service announcement from the National Eating Disorders Association, conducting an annual awareness week today through Feb. 28.

P.S. Guys can suffer from ED, too. Of the 11 million people in the U.s. suffering from eating disorders, one million are males.

Fire Victim Shares Cautionary Tale

I happened to be the reporter on duty Monday when we heard on the newsroom scanner reports of a fire in South Kitsap. To get to the fire, I had to walk down Oakhurst Lane off Berry Lake Road, because emergency crews had closed the area to traffic. Kitsap Sun Photographer Larry Steagall also made the trek down the dark dirt road, but we arrived separately.

Earlier that evening, Heidi Stockwell, her husband Chance DeLong, and their children, Elijah, 8, and Nathan, 5, escaped uninjured from a fire that started around 6 p.m. in the single-wide mobile home on the 6200 block of Oakhurst.

South Kitsap Fire and Rescue responded to the fire but had difficulty locating the property because of the poorly lit road and lack of a visible house number, according to Battalion Chief Doug Richards. Fire fighters put out the fire, but not before the mobile home burned to the ground.

Richards reminds homeowners and renters to make sure house numbers are visible from the road and that smoke detectors are in working order.

Stockwell, who believes one of her children may have started the fire with a lighter, has her own advice.

“I pretty much want to send a message to every parent who has small children,” said Stockwell. “If you have any matches or lighters, keep them (matches and lighters) with you at all times because you never know.”

The family has set up an account at Timberland Bank in Silverdale to accept donations.

Kitsap Sun Intern’s First Impressions of South Kitsap

Let me introduce Angela Lu, our intern, at least through March. She is living in South Kitsap during her stay with us. Here she shares her honest impressions of South Kitsap.

Angela says:
First impressions of SK

The very first split second I saw South Kitsap — Port Orchard to be exact — was on the evening of January 2, 2009. All I could see of the city was what my headlights and the few bright lights of local eateries would shine light on:
Dark roads.
Fred Meyer (which I’m completely new with)
A few stores and parking lots.
More trees.
A place like nothing I’ve seen before.

Maybe my thoughts and opinions would make more sense if I tell you where I’m coming from. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, which is half an hour (more like an hour with traffic) from Los Angeles. After graduating high school, I went to Northwestern University near Chicago to study journalism. And that is what led me here, to place I’ve never heard of, to intern for a quarter for the Kitsap Sun. After three months I’m headed back to Chicago to finish my junior year in college. Continue reading

Heading South to Portland? Fuggedaboutit! (unless you’ve got wings)

“The Observer has come to stay, and it won’t take water from anything that wiggles.” – George Hibbert, founding editor of the Chinook Observer, Pacific County, WA, Dec. 28, 1900

It was probably weather like we had yesterday that inspired Mr. Hibbert’s words of wisdom, but I’m not sure what the H-E-double hockey sticks he’s talking about. It actually sounds kind of kinky, but I’m assuming its a local reference to bivalves, given the publication’s proximity to Long Beach. Geoduck versus newspaper editor – you’ve got a to take a stand somewhere. Maybe that’s just the way they talk down there in Pacific County, location of the only other road to Portland and vicinity, now that I-5 is closed for an unknown period of time due to flooding. The problem is, Highway 101 is closed, too, and there’s no telling when it will open.

I was supposed to be heading to Oregon today with my daughter, who will start college on Monday at a school about a half-hour south of Portland. So I called my colleague, Amanda Frink, staff reporter with the Observer to see if she had an idea when WSDOT crews might reopen the road. Amanda told me word from the county’s emergency managment center is, “We have no freaking idea.” OK, they didn’t actually say that, but that’s the way it stands. Crews were out at first light assessing the situation, which involves three mud slides across Highway 101 between Aberdeen and Raymond, where heavy rains and flooding on the Willapa River had closed parts of highways 6 and 105. The Raymond School District, which I also called, is closed. The receptionist I spoke to said the district’s transportation official had no additional information from the emergency management center. “They’re not even giving answers at this point,” she said.

Here’s a slide show of flooding from farther south near the Naselle River from the Chinook Observer.

By the by, Amanda also was in the dark about the water from something that wiggles quote. “I wish I knew,” she said. “I think I’m the only one who doesn’t get it.”

So here’s a shout out to all you Pacific County folks: If anyone out there gets it, please tell us what Mr. Hibbert meant when he said his newspaper wouldn’t “take water from anything that wiggles.”

And you readers of the Kitsap Sun, check it out, we have no such clever motto leaping out at the top of our Web site or front page. Let’s get with the program. Surely we can come up with something that defines the Kitsap community as eloquent and enigmatic as “won’t take water from anything that wiggles.” Many things come to my mind, but none can be printed here.

OK, how about, “We’re the Kitsap Sun; just up the street from the Park Avenue 7-11.” (that one’s for you Andy Binion)

Oh, I know, “We’re the Kitsap Sun, and we won’t let the squirrels drive us nuts.” (also for Andy)

“The Kitsap Sun is here to stay, even if you can throw a laptop from one end of the newsroom to the other without hitting anybody.”

“The Kitsap Sun is here to stay and we won’t take water from ferriesroads or highways.”

Help me out here folks, and let us know if you hear anything new on I-5, 101, or if you figure another way to get the heck outta here!