“Cordial” Meeting on Library Levy Follows Strained Exchange

Kitsap Regional Library’s library levy PAC announced Friday on its Facebook page that there had been a “cordial” meeting between library officials and Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola. This after Coppola criticized the library board at a PO city council meeting Tuesday, and in media comment sections after, for allocating $750,000 to Port Orchard’s library, when multimillion dollar buildings are planned for Silverdale and Kingston.

Silverdale’s new library has been in the works for many years and is planned for the Silverdale Community Center. The current library is deemed too small for the population it serves. Kingston’s library is a room in its community center, which is in severe disrepair.

Port Orchard plans to build a new library in a planned Town Center Revitalization Project, which will include a parking garage, retail spaces and a public plaza.

Library spokesman Jeff Brody agreed that Port Orchard’s library, which is 8,000 SF and serves 21,000 patrons each month, is a high priority as well. Before Friday’s meeting, he said that more money will likely be available to Port Orchard and other branches after the two new buildings are paid off in six years.

The result of Friday’s meeting is the Library board will revisit its levy proposal with Coppola’s request in mind. Vote Yes Kitsap Libraries says, “To meet the city’s request may require the levy increase to be higher than the 12.5 cent increase originally proposed.”

Marketing the “Eat Local” Movement on the Airwaves

Jim Freeman is a salesman by trade. His vocation is real estate, but his avocation is locally produced food. Spokesman for the Kitsap Community and Agricultural Alliance, Freeman today (Saturday, April 24) will launch a radio program about local food.

I asked Freeman if he has a background in radio. He said not, but he’s willing to try anything once. The programs will be broadcast on KITZ 1400 AM from various local food venues around Kitsap County. Today’s inaugural program comes from Monica’s Waterfront Bakery and Cafe in Old Towne Silverdale.

If you are out of KITZ’s, you can listen live on the internet at http://wwwBuyLocalRadio.org

Here’s what Jim has to say about Monica’s.

“If you live on the peninsula join us at Monica’s for a full blown party. Monica and Mark Downen have been baking up a storm since 4:00 am this morning and they will have a full table of complementary (this means no charge) baked goods and treats. There is a regatta being held on the waterfront 2 blocks away and of course our launch of Buy Local Radio with stories, music and surprises as we explore buy local land.”

Free baked goods, wa-hoo.

Find out more about KCAA on their website, http://www.BuylocalFoodInKitsap.org.

Friday Afternoon Club: Loud Music, Hot Bikes, Free Stuff

Pass the word to any homeless or couch surfing young people you know. I’ll be at this even and do a story about homeless youth in Kitsap County, currently set to run Monday.

StandUp for Kids Hosts Youth Event Saturday
By Chris Henry
The Kitsap Chapter of StandUp For Kids, a national organization advocating for homeless youth, will hold an event 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Silverdale’s Waterfront Park in conjunction with the annual 48 Hours on the Streets event.
Across the United States, chapter members spend 48 hours on April 23 through 25, raising awareness and reaching out to homeless youth.
Kitsap’s event, 48 Kitsap Youth Street Concert, will feature live music by the band “Snakebite” and a display of custom motorcycles by Rottweiler Bikes.
Local organizations dedicated to helping the homeless will have information and referrals on hand. There will be food from CJ’s Evergreen Catering and distribution of backpacks with snacks and hygiene supplies.

That Mess of Sailboats on Dyes Inlet? Yeah, They Know What They’re Doing

Brynn Grimley writes:

Don’t be alarmed this weekend if you see a whole fleet of sailboats maneuvering around Dyes Inlet, looking at times like they’re doing the Lake Union Duck Dodge.

The Central Kitsap Sailing Team is hosting the Northwest Interscholastic Association’s district championships April 23-25 along Silverdale’s waterfront. Initial estimates show 130 to 150 sailors from across the state will “blow in” to Kitsap for the competition. The winner will advance to the national championship, which just so happens to be held on Lake Union this year.

A number of Kitsap teams will compete, including Kingston, North Kitsap, Bainbridge Island and of course CK. Interestingly enough, there are no teams from Seattle that qualified to race.

The competition will be double-handed fleet racing, where two sailors fill a sailboat (in CK’s case they have one Laser and eight Vanguards), and line up at a start line. When the horn sounds they take off, maneuvering the boats to get the best position on the wind and cross the finish line first.

If the weather is nice and you feel like watching some of our area kids try “their hand” at double-handing these lightweight sailboats (without capsizing and landing in the drink) head down to the Silverdale Waterfront Park on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cheer them on.

If you want to know more about the CK Sailing Team and how it got its start, read the story I wrote three years ago when they had their inaugural season, found here.

PO Tourism Committee Morphs Toward Economic Development

April 22: Oops sorry, wrong poll .The wrong poll was displayed with this post since yesterday. The correct poll is up now. CTH

The time has come, members of Port Orchard City Council’s tourism committee said Tuesday, for the committee to expand its duties to include economic development.

To date, the committee has focused mainly on working with the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce, nonprofits and local businesses on special events that draw visitors, such as the city’s Chimes and Lights Festival, the Seagull Calling Contest and last summer’s Cedar Cove Days.

Paying more attention to economic development would be a natural progression, said committee chairman Jerry Childs. Committee members, including Childs, Jim Colebank and Fred Chang, have been looking at cities like Poulsbo and Leavenworth as models.

Childs said the committee would coordinate with Mayor Lary Coppola, who so far has been the city’s designee and spokesman in attempts to attract new business. Coppola has already hosted some focus groups with selected business owners.

One of the committee’s ideas is to host an economic development page on the city’s Web site with information on permitting and other resources related to economic development. The Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce has a resource page for prospective and current businesses, but, said Chang, it’s not the committee’s intention to reinvent the wheel.

“I don’t think we intend to duplicate anything that’s already being done,” said Chang, speaking as an individual committee member and not for the committee. “If we do a website, we’d want to plug a gap where there is one. It’s certainly not intended as a slap to anyone.”

One business owner willing to take a gamble on Port Orchard is Melinda Brown and her partner Shane Makoviney, who will open Melinda Lee’s at 810 Bay Street on May 1. Shane is a clock repairman; Melinda is an artist and gardener. Their store will offer a potpourri of artwork, garden starts, gifts and sundry supplies that would be useful to boaters.

Lee is bullish on Port Orchard. She sees a positive momentum in the downtown mix of stores despite the economy. “We love Bay Street and believe in it and believe in what it could be,” she said.

Of course Port Orchard business extends outside the downtown district, and the committee will pay attention to those folks as well, Chang said.

Colebank said, “it’s not as important to draw new business as it is to keep our current businesses happy.”

So what should city government do to make the city a business friendly place? Parking you say? Right, it’s on their to-do list. What are your other beefs, worries or needs? Take the survey on the homepage.

Safe from the Tales of Intimacy in Bremerton

A co-worker plying his trade on a Saturday decided to take a break in the place that is one of the breakiest of the break places in downtown Bremerton, the Harborside Fountain Park.

The park, besides its whale spouts and imported trees and rocks, has a sound system that when employed provides an atmospheric backdrop that says, well I’m not sure what it says. It just plays music.

Said co-worker happened to be there on a day when said music was the kind that contains several references to human intimacy in rather non-discreet language, applying a common term that generally refers to intimacy to things that are incapable of being intimate, such as cars, homes and accountants.

If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, think of Ralphie when the lugnuts flew, and not because someone shot them.

Said co-worker told me of said incident, when diaper-clad kids could splash to the sounds of a story about women who are not particularly choosy and tend to display improper manners. It caused me to make three trips to the fountain park. When I went, though, all I heard was music inoffensive, unless you count Billy Squire. (I do, but not for the same reasons.) The broadcast was from the Sirius satellite network, which doesn’t have to concern itself with Federal Communications Commission standards. If Janet Jackson had experienced that malfunction on the Sirius radio, if that were possible, she wouldn’t have been fined.

I talked to Wyn Birkenthal, Bremerton’s parks and recreation director, about the Saturday experience of my co-worker and he was appropriately aghast. It’s not something he wanted repeated. Staff has been instructed to only employ channels that “provide music without profane lyrics or questionable DJ commentary.

You’re children are safe from potty mouth entertainers, at least in Bremerton‘s parks.

You’re welcome.

I can’t protect them from bad musicians, though.

With any luck, maybe you’ll hear this guy:

In Kitsap, Affected by Iceland’s Ash Plume?

A report today by the Associated Press details the effects of Iceland’s lingering volcanic ash plume on countries across Europe and Eastern Europe. It’s a mixed bag, with airspace in some countries — Austria, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark, to name the ones that jump out at me — preparing to open some time today. Some other countries are expecting to open Monday. In Iceland, flights to the United Kingdom and mainland Europe are suspended indefinitely, but flights to the United States are operating normally. In Bulgaria, airspace is closed until further notice. In Poland, airspace remains closed Sunday, but overflights are permitted above 20,000 feet (6,100 meters).

Grimley and her husband, Kitsap Sun sports reporter Jeff Graham, were heading to France this weekend. By now, they should have been sipping a good Bordeaux and eating petite fours. I haven’t heard from the Grahams, so I don’t know how the ash plume affected their travel plans. I can only guess it played havoc with a long-awaited trip of the kind that requires far more planning, and saving, than a drive to the coast to watch the waves.

Have your travel plans, for pleasure or business, been affected by the ash plume? Do you have friends or family overseas who are affected? What alternative methods of getting around are available? I can only imagine the trains are booked solid. Does anybody have any creative suggestions for dealing with the mess?

All Things Silverdale

Brynn Grimley writes:

In the interest of time and so that I don’t have to crank out multiple blog entries, I am going to consolidate some of the recent happenings in Silverdale into this blog post.

I’ll start with the most recent news. On Thursday night Port of Silverdale commissioners voted against allowing a proposed 9-11 monument to be built along the property they own that abuts the shoreline of Dyes Inlet. Commissioners Lawrence Greaves and Henry Aus voted against the request, commissioner Ed Scholfield abstained because he volunteers as a firefighter with Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue. (Scholfield is actually one of the two volunteers who approached CKFR Assistant Chief Roy Lusk about requesting the pieces of steel from the World Trade Centers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey).

Greaves and Aus said they liked the proposed monument and felt it has a place in the community, but that place isn’t on port property in the Silverdale Waterfront Park. To read the story, click here (use the links within the story to see two previous stories I wrote about this).

The next Silverdale-related news is the relocation of the Silverdale Farmers Market to Old Town Silverdale. This also ties into a short update I wanted to give on a revitalization effort afoot within Old Town to start bringing business back to the walkable, small business shopping district.

The farmers market was formerly located in the parking lot of the Silverdale Beach Hotel. It will now be located along the Port of Silverdale grass area closest to Dyes Inlet (coincidentally this is the same area where the 9/11 Memorial Committee wanted to put the proposed monument). The market will feature your typical farmers market fare: vegetables, herbs, jams, cobblers, tomato plants, etc. The market is held Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Its opening day will be Tuesday (April 20).

Segueing into my next topic, Monica Downen, owner of Monica’s Waterfront Bakery and Cafe, helped organize a meeting in February where she rallied Old Town business owners to come together to brainstorm ways to put Old Town back on the shopping destination map. She didn’t know how many people would attend, but ended up getting a full house. The group has since met a second time where they broke themselves up into three groups: Events, Marketing and Beautification. (What each group does speaks for itself, so I don’t think an explanation is necessary).

In an email this week Downen said the group was still looking into reactivating the nonprofit Old Town Merchants group, which has fallen by the wayside as businesses have come and gone. The group is also looking at joining with the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce, ultimately doing the revitalization effort under the umbrella of the chamber (also a nonprofit). The new executive director of the chamber has prior experience with downtown revitalization efforts, which he did while working with the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce.

“We are getting more organized and at the very least we are starting to plan some great events and starting to be able to show a more unified front when it comes to marketing our own events,” Downen wrote in her email. “Which is a really great thing.”

The last Silverdale-related item I have is a minor update to the Silverdale Haselwood Family YMCA project. County commissioners have been looking at fixing some discrepancies in the ground lease and facilities agreement the county previously entered into with the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties (the group building the Silverdale Y).

The discrepancies aren’t much to write home about, but what did catch my eye was the new square footage of the building. It appears the fundraising campaign has been extremely successful for the group, because the new square footage is listed at 85,785 sq ft. Formerly the size estimates were between 50,000 and 70,000 sq ft. (Here’s a link to a story I wrote about the formal agreement being signed by the county and YMCA folks almost one year ago. And here links to the most recent stories I wrote about the YMCA partnering with the Ktisap Family YMCA in Bremerton, and Harrison Medical Center.)

Lastly, it looks like construction is still set to begin on the building this summer (the county documents say “on or about May 1” but I wouldn’t expect to see the ground start moving until closer to June-ish).

And that’s all for me and All Things Silverdale. (I’ll be off the next two weeks, so if you have Central Kitsap or North Kitsap news, pass it on to Gardner or Henry, I’m sure they’ll be slacking anyway and will need something to cover. I kid, I kid.)

Friday Afternoon Club: Immigrants and Upward Mobility

The Kitsap Multicultural Assistance Center will hold a fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Puerto Vallarta, 1599 SE Lund Ave., Port Orchard. The evening includes cocktails, dinner and a keynote speaker. The cost is $50 per person; $500 per table. For information on the availability of tickets, visit the center’s Web site or e-mail Ray Garrido at info@kitsapmac.org.

The center, located at Hillcrest Assembly Church in East Bremerton at 6750 Highway 303 NE., provides help to immigrants of all nationalities in the form of English as Second Language classes, information on citizenship, children’s services, referrals to social services and start-up business information among other forms of assistance.

Speaking of start-up businesses, I’m going to go out on a limb here, at the risk of sounding like I’m stereotyping, but have you noticed all the landscaping companies with Latino-sounding names? My unscientific guess is that Latino workers, heavily employed in the floral greens industry in Kitsap and Mason counties, have found a foothold to upward mobility that allowed them to start their own companies in a related field.

Speaking of stereotypes, an article in today’s New York Times says a recent analysis of census data defies the commonly held belief that immigrants as a group are largely unskilled workers relegated to low-wage, blue collar jobs.

In major metropolitan areas of the U.S., where 75 percent of the immigration population lives, more immigrants are involved in mostly higher paid, white collar occupations than in lower paid blue collar jobs, according to a U.S. Census data analysis commissioned by the Times, the article by Julia Preston states.

The study, by the nonpartisan Fiscal Policy Institute of New York, covers the past two decades, including 2008 with all its financial turmoil. The analysis included legal and illegal immigrants and naturalized citizens. A key finding of the study is that “cities with thriving immigrant populations — with high-earning and lower-wage workers — tended to be those that prospered the most.” Cities like Atlanta, Denver and Phoenix that attracted a large influx of immigrants, including many lower-paid service and blue collar jobs, benefited economically from the demand for services created by these new residents, according to Rich Jones of the Bell Policy Center, a Colorado-based organization that studies the impact of economic and fiscal policies in that state.

“They are coming with a variety of skills,” Jones said. “They create demand for goods, services and housing that began a dynamic.”

Here’s a list of services provided by the Kitsap Multicultural Center:

• ESL and citizenship classes

• Children’s activities and services

• Education and social services referrals

• Start-up business information

• Health and resource fairs

• Vaccination clinics

• Referrals for medical and legal services

• Swim training program

• YWCA domestic violence resistance advocacy services

• Toys, books, clothes and household items for families

• Annual Christmas dinner for families

• Assistance with other issues as needed

Classes, client assistance, and DSHS intake are provided on Mondays and Tuesdays from noon until 4 p.m. Staff is available to meet with clients on other days by appointment only.
Phone: 360-440-2376
Email: info@kitsapmac.org

Joint Pee Wees/Little League Lease Likely to Be Extended

Parents and players with South Kitsap Pee Wees turned out in force Tuesday before the Port Orchard City Council. Members of the youth football club were anxious about the upcoming renewal of a Givens Center ball field lease they hold jointly with South Kitsap Western Little League.

The lease expires at the end of April. The council will discuss renewal of the joint lease at a work study meeting April 20th. They’ll vote on the lease April 27.

The council on March 9 allowed the Little League club to assume the lease from South Kitsap Babe Ruth, which folded early in March after 50 years in operation.

According to an e-mail distributed to Pee Wee members and local media on March 29, some Pee Wees were worried the city intended to boot them off the field, which they have shared with Babe Ruth for a number of years.

Cindie Morrill, a Pee Wee parent, in the e-mail urged other parents, coaches and players to show their support for the football program. “SK Pee Wees has been informed by the City of Port Orchard that if the community does not show support for Pee Wees, we may not be allowed to share with Western Little League as we had done in the past with Babe Ruth.”

The e-mail was forwarded by another Pee Wee supporter, hotrod366@peoplepc.com, with the comment, “Our mayor, Mr (Lary) Coppola does not like football and does not want to renew the lease. He wants to change the community play field “TO BASEBALL ONLY” Someone please help pull this guys head and the city councils out of their ?”

Apparently it was like that game of telephone we used to play as kids, where players sit in a circle and whisper a message in the ear of the person next to them. By the time the message goes full circle, it’s usually pretty well mangled.

The flames may have been fanned by a dropped word typo (since corrected online) in a weekly publication’s article on the shared lease.

What the mayor did say at the March 9 meeting, in his characteristically blunt style, is that if the two clubs can’t get along, they’d both lose the lease. The city has had to referee conflict between Babe Ruth and the Pee Wees in the past, and Coppola was having none of it from the new arrangement.

“What I told them then and what I’m telling you now is, you will make this work and you will get along with Pee Wees or you’ll both be gone,” he told Bob Showers of Western Little League.

The one council member who on March 9 voted against transferring the lease to Western Little League was Fred Olin, chairman of the city’s public property committee. Olin at the time said he thought the two uses were not compatible. But by Tuesday’s meeting, he said the committee was satisfied that the joint lease would be workable after all. “We felt we had a resolution worked out pretty well with Western Little League and Pee Wees,” Olin said. “I don’t see any problem.”

On Tuesday, officials from both organizations vowed to cooperate with each other as they share the field, even though their respective needs may sometimes conflict. Pee Wees reseeds the field after their season, for example, but the grass may not be far enough along to play on by the time Little League holds tryouts in early spring. All part of the details they’ll have to work out.

“I don’t think you have to worry about us not working together again. We’re all here for the kids,” said Pee Wees President Chuck Burns.

Alas, much ado about nothing.

The Pee Wees’ passion for their program (which includes basketball and cheer) was clear from comments made by parents and coaches on Tuesday.

Single parent Dorothy Williams said Pee Wee football was a godsend to her and her sons, one of whom landed a full-ride scholarship to play football for Eastern Washington University. “I don’t know what we would have done without it,” Williams said.

Basketball coach Ron Smith said Pee Wee programs give kids who may not make the cut on school teams a chance to get in on the action.

“I think everyone’s missing the point here. This is for the kids,” Smith said. “I think everyone’s getting lost in this battle.”

To which Coppola replied, “I’d like to say I couldn’t agree with you more.”