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WASL: not really for all the marbles

  • Mar 15, 2006 at 12:00AM updated Jun 9, 2008 at 9:40PM

It was supposed to become the be-all and end-all of high school learning, the exam that would demonstrate conclusively a student’s mastery of essential subjects. Instead, in the very year that the Washington Assessment of Student Learning is supposed to get real teeth – pass it, or you won’t get diploma – it becomes just another test. Bainbridge High School sophomores this week are hunkered down under the proctor’s watchful eye, the first class (2008) for whom proficiency on the WASL is a graduation requirement. Except it isn’t. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

People are still island’s best resource

  • Mar 11, 2006 at 12:00AM updated Jun 9, 2008 at 9:40PM

What do we mean when we talk about “community values”? While the generally shared desire for a quiet refuge unspoilt by change comes immediately to the fore of any discussion of a Bainbridge Islander’s DNA makeup, there’s a human component as well.

Taking a less Hobbesian view of government

  • Mar 8, 2006 at 12:00AM updated Jun 9, 2008 at 9:40PM

Where human nature was concerned, Thomas Hobbes wasn’t what you’d call sanguine. In his political treatise “Leviathan,” the Enlightenment philosopher posited a world of constant struggle, an eternal “war of all against all” in which only a strong central authority could protect society from its own basest inclinations toward turmoil.

Yet another lesson in poor sportsmanship

  • Mar 4, 2006 at 12:00AM updated Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

If we’ve learned one thing in our years stewarding the sports pages of a community newspaper, it’s this: Nobody screws up youth sports like adults. “My kid isn’t getting enough playing time.” “My kid deserves more recognition.” “How come the newspaper never writes about my kid?”

A ‘paper village’ finds its future

  • Mar 1, 2006 at 12:00AM updated Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

Even if a code of personal nonviolence leaves you disinclined to shoot the messenger, sometimes you might like to give him a good kick in the shins. A lot of folks used to feel that way about Charles Wilson – remember him? – back when he was shilling for an 1,100-home development around Blakely Harbor, ca. 1992. Nobody except a few local contrarians much liked the idea. But bless his heart, Charles had an uncanny knack for finding chinks in the mail of island preservation, and could spin any yokel’s “yeah, but” into a plausible reason why his vision for island growth – that is, significantly (and profitably) higher density on his company’s land – made the most sense.

‘Yes’ on bond for school construction

  • Feb 22, 2006 at 12:00AM updated Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

A little over a year ago, the school board was poised to put a $40 million construction bond before voters. It was a big number, and with it came questions of equal magnitude, most notably: Where was the master plan guiding the district’s investment in long-term capital needs? “For all we know,” one citizen observed, with remarkable prescience, “you may need even more.”

Still vexed by that tax bill?

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

Our attempt to explain the finer points of local property taxes – probably a fool’s errand – in this space Wednesday may have obscured as much as it enlightened. Not long after the paper hit the newsstand, we received this note: “Thank you for addressing a question nagging me: Why are my taxes going up 12 percent this year, when we have a property tax lid of 1 percent?

Another year, another taxing frustration

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

Every year around this time, we have to reacquaint ourselves with the push-me-pull-you between assessed valuation of island homes, the local property tax rate and the resulting unpleasant bill.

One more way to look at the numbers

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

There’s always a pins-and-needles period for public school supporters in advance of a levy or bond measure. Perhaps more so this year as Bainbridge volunteers campaign for both a $45 million school construction bond and a $6.1 million technology levy, following the island’s first school levy defeat in decades last spring.

Cold and slimy, all for a good cause

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

Trekking into the rainforest’s darkest depths at the Kids Discovery Museum, phobics of a certain type may be reminded of the words of that most famous of American archaeologists, Indiana Jones: “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?”

65 percent of not enough still not enough

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

Imagine for a moment that back in 1845, codifier of baseball Alexander Cartwright had decided to relegate batters to the bench after two strikes – or perhaps four. The phrase “three strikes, you’re out” would never have entered the American lexicon, the slogan would never have been picked up by tough-on-crime legislators, and it would today be one strike easier – or harder – to keep certain repeat criminal offenders behind bars.

But is it art? The skate bowl aesthetic

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

As canvases for graffiti go, the skate bowl at Strawberry Hill Park is enigmatic. A convex structure, the bowl by definition does not thrust itself before the community eye; park users must step up to the lip to see the startling melange of glyphs and idioms scrawled in spray paint across the once-gleaming white concrete.

A message worth hearing once again

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

We suppose it’s natural that politicians, once they’re in office, have a certain aversion to identifying problems in their own back yard. Bring something up and the citizens might think it’s your fault, or expect you to do something about it. Far easier to hand out rose-colored glasses and smile.

Decisions, decisions

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

“A peacefulness,” a writer once observed, “follows any decision, even the wrong one.” The author presumably never lived on Bainbridge Island, where a decision tends to be made only after anguished and protracted public process, from there to be subjected to endless appeals and second-guessing, and sometimes even reconsideration by the same group that made it in the first place. No matter the outcome, somebody usually goes away aggrieved, feeling that they have been betrayed by the system.

Ten years later, the stars still shine

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

Anybody remember the Big Bang? No, not that one – that’s probably a little too far back for most of us. We’re thinking of a more recent cosmic detonation, lesser in magnitude perhaps, but one that opened up the wonders of the night sky to Bainbridge astronomers nonetheless.

School finance for the layman/Island 2 Island

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

If you were making a list of things Bainbridge Island really needs, “another committee” probably would not rank high on the chart. So trying to find an exciting angle for “Schools to create Financial Advisory Committee” is something of a chore. We would much rather be announcing the arrival of a brew pub (oops – tried that,

Yard effort seems wasted

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

Into the Review’s mailbag this week came these words of encouragement and support: “Here is a copy of the letter we recently sent to the governor’s office [regarding the Washington State Ferries maintenance yard in Eagle Harbor]. I hope to see you at the Harbor Commission meeting tomorrow. I’m still astonished the Review has chosen to completely ignore this community-wide land use decision that will affect our island for the next 50 years.

Save yourself the trouble of voting ‘No’

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

Coming soon to a downtown street corner, stadium concourse or ferry seating area near you: Clipboard-toting activists – or just as likely, paid signature gatherers wholly indifferent to the cause they’re representing, but talking a good line nonetheless – asking for your support as they work to right some alleged wrong for the good citizens of Washington.

Pause to enjoy what’s close to home

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:39PM

When Joel Sackett approached the Review about contributing a weekly photo feature to these pages, we had to give it some serious thought – about a New York minute’s worth.

2005 ‘Person’ of the Year

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:38PM

If, like Time Magazine, the Review named a Person of the Year with the turn of each annum, the 2005 winner would certainly be...

On the eve of the new year

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:38PM

Herewith, thoughts occasioned on this page in an earlier year, as the turn of the calendar found the nation wearied by a conflict in a distant land. Any similarity to current events, issues or debates is entirely coincidental – or maybe not.

Christmas sermons past

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:38PM

With the editor taking a few issues off from sermonizing, who better to turn this space over to than legendary island clergyman the Rev. Vincent Gowen, who in days past sometimes filled in as the voice of the newspaper and provided this Christmas commentary to the Review back in December 1958:

Let it snow (if only for a little while)

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:38PM

Those dreaming of a white Christmas tend to fall into two distinct camps: children, who look forward to snow with great anticipation, and adults, who face the prospect with a certain pragmatic dread.

Boilerplate, schmoilerplate

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:38PM

Iconoclast to the last, the late Frank Zappa is said to have once admonished his children, “whenever you read something, ask who paid for it.” Frank’s sage words echoed around the recesses of the editorial noggin this week, as the public relations effort to promote a NASCAR track in South Kitsap revved up and charged out of the pit.

Happy holidays, culture warriors

  • Jun 9, 2008 at 9:38PM

Years ago, when the editor was just a young scamp, the advent of the Christmas season always brought an elaborate holiday display to the household fireplace mantle, assembled with great care by the resident mom. Central to the display (amongst the angels and the nativity scene and the obligatory tiny, snow-covered village) were four painted ceramic figures that together spelled “NOEL.”

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