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News Roundup - Traffic safety program axed/BISD seeks volunteers/Get your arts auction tickets/Kiwanis to honor Palmer/‘Soul of the City’ reprised/

Traffic safety program axed

With the school district failing to fill staffing vacancies, the popular Bainbridge High School traffic safety program has been canceled indefinitely.

A shortage of qualified instructors, coupled with the state’s new laws increasing behind-the-wheel experience for new drivers, has made it impossible for the high school to offer the course this year.

“It’s really unfortunate,” BHS Principal Brent Peterson said. “Any given year, we had 300 to 350 students arriving at that age to take that course. To date we are unable to find any qualified applicants to fill the staffing vacancy.”

The program ran into trouble months ago when full-time math teacher and the school’s only traffic education teacher, Anh Tran, left to work for another school district.

Tran not only taught the class but also dedicated a significant portion of time to the supervised driving segment outside of class.

The Department of Licensing increased the amount of behind-the-wheel instruction from four to six hours last year, straining public traffic educators across the state.

“As we network we’re finding other districts have shut down their programs. They are losing all of their teachers due to the time commitments and lack of qualification,” Peterson said. “The new rules make sense but it creates staffing challenges. We knew we would have trouble covering hours.”

The void left will undoubtedly increase the number of students seeking out private driving instruction.

However, teens will have to travel to Poulsbo and beyond and pay almost twice for private courses.

“For a number of years we haven’t been able to keep up with the demand for the class,” Peterson said, citing the nearly 50 percent of students rebuffed each year. “So, a number of youth have already been going to the private providers.”

Peterson says the channels will remain open for a qualified candidate to step forward, but he’s not hopeful.

“We’re not optimistic that we will be able to bring the course online this year or in the future,” Peterson said. “We’ll keep working with other school districts, we’ll keep the job posting out there and we’ll continue to monitor any angle we can find. If there is a way to do it we will, but at this point it’s not looking good.”

– Sean Roach

BISD seeks volunteers

With the 2007-2008 school year quickly approaching, the Bainbridge Island School District is seeking parents and other interested community volunteers to participate on a variety of advisory and program review committees.

Open spaces are anticipated on the instructional materials committee; Title VII Indian education parent committee; multicultural advisory committee; K-12 world language program review committee; K-12 language arts program review committee; health education advisory committee; special education program council; technology advisory committee; and the highly capable education advisory committee.

All of these district-level groups include parent, community and school instructional staff member representation and meet on a regular basis during the school year.

Those interested can get applications from either the Bainbridge School District administrative office or any of the public school offices. Complete and return the completed application form to Faith Chapel at the Bainbridge Island School District at 8489 Madison Avenue, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 or by fax at 780-1089.

For further information or to request an application by mail or email, contact Judy Kornbau at 780-1071 or jkornbau@bainbridge.wednet.edu.

Get your arts auction tickets

Tickets for this year’s Auction for the Arts are still available, but now’s the time to get them – after Aug. 25, the price will rise from $75 to $85.

Still, a good deal considering that the ticket price includes fine food and drink provided by five local restaurants including the Four Swallows.

And that ticket proceeds also benefit numerous local organizations including Bainbridge Performing Arts, Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, the Bainbridge Chorale and the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council.

Items available for auction will include art donated by local artists; performances by local musicians and actors; vacation packages; and various goods and services, all smoothly sent home with lucky auction-goers by auctioneers Matt Smith and David Silverman.

Event coordinator Mary Clare Kersten says that over the years, the auction has developed a reputation for exclusivity, a rap that she and other event organizers are working hard to dispel this year by offering a lot of value within the ticket price.

She and other volunteers have also appeared outside BPA on farmers market days, handing out flyers and trying to send a clear message to islanders of all means.

“Everyone is welcome,” she said.

Auction for the Arts will be held at 5 p.m. Sept. 8. Tickets are available at BPA, Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, the BIAHC and at www.artsauction.org.

– Lindsay Latimore

Kiwanis to honor Palmer

Long-time islander and businessman Don Palmer will be honored on Sept. 25 when the Bainbridge Kiwanis Club adds his name to the bronze plaque at its memorial center at Battle Point Park.

The Kiwanis Living Memorial Center was established by the club to posthumously honor long-time Bainbridge residents who served the community through their professional and non-profit contributions.

Palmer, who died in April 2006, founded Bainbridge Disposal in 1966 and is considered by many to be a pioneer in the recycling arena; Bainbridge Disposal was one of the first companies in Kitsap County to incorporate curbside recycling.

Palmer held various community posts during his career, notably serving as as president of the Bainbridge Island Rotary Club from 1982-1983. He also received several island business and community service awards including the Rotary Club’s Paul Harris award.

The City of Bainbridge Island additionally honored him by naming the entrance road to the Vincent Road Transfer Station Don Palmer Road.

The Kiwanis Club will present the plaque to Palmer’s family at its annual installation banquet at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at IslandWood.

The public is welcome. For dinner reservations, $35, call Greg Geehan at 855-1238.

‘Soul of the City’ reprised

In conjunction with the Pike Place Public Market’s centennial, island author Alice Shorett has revised and updated “Soul of the City, the Pike Place Public Market,” a book she originally authored with the late Murray Morgan.

Through a cast of colorful characters, the book portrays what Shorett calls “the happenstance amalgam of entrepreneurs and populists who brought (the market) into being, the truck farmers who brought to it their produce and their hopes, the people of Seattle who came to think of the Market as a birthright, and the recurring battles to keep progress from paving and reshaping it.”

Shorett began studying Pike Place Market 35 years ago when she was commissioned by the City of Seattle to write a history for the National Register of Historic Places.

She’ll discuss the newly revised book and present a slide show at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at Eagle Harbor Book Co.

All book sale proceeds will be donated to the Market Foundation, a non profit organization supporting social services in the Pike Place Market.

Shorett, the founder and president of the environmental consulting firm Triangle Associates, is known to islanders for “Walks on Bainbridge,” which she wrote with her husband, Dave.

For information about Thursday’s presentation, call 842-5332 or see www.eagleharborbooks.com.

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