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News Roundup - Parts store closes doors/Puget Sound team coming/Virginia Mason expands staff/Hike Ft. Ward to Blakely

Parts store closes doors

Islanders will have to contact their local mechanic or head to the peninsula for automobile parts, with the closure of Bainbridge’s only automotive supply store.

The NAPA auto parts dealer on Bjune Drive has closed permanently, as the company is shifting priorities from retail supply to wholesale distribution servicing Bainbridge auto repair shops.

“The problem is, what it takes to run an auto supply store in 2007 is not like running the same store in 1970, 1980 or even 1990,” said Ron Turner, NAPA area manager. “Little mom-and-pop stores never have the parts you need. If you look at the competitors, they have stores in excess of 75,000 square feet and inventories worth over a million dollars.

“There isn’t enough room to expand and no buildings available on Bainbridge for a business of that size.”

Turner said 83 percent of NAPA’s island business comes from two daily shipments of parts to local mechanics.

Turner would not comment on the profitability of the store and Bainbridge resident Jim Trexler, who ran the shop, was unavailable for comment.

“I think the closure reflects the trends in the country right now – people just aren’t working on their cars as much,” said Kevin Dwyer, Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce executive director. “It’s going to be missed. It was convenient, and personally I used it for spark plugs and windshield wipers.”

Dwyer said the store’s closure could open the door for other retailers.

“It will be hard to fill the void for people who like working on older cars unless someone is willing to stock those items,” he said. “That makes it an opportunity for another retailer to step in, such as Ace or maybe even Lumberman’s.”

To meet demand for parts, NAPA will be increasing its daily shipment of parts to island garages by fourfold, citing Bainbridge’s “do it for me” car repair culture and the trend to have cars fixed and returned on the same day, Turner said.

“Of course we miss the retail side of things,” he said. “But now we are delivering parts eight times a day, so we’re still servicing the island, just as a wholesale presence.”

– Sean Roach

Puget Sound team coming

Members of the House Select Committee on Puget Sound will join state Rep. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) on Aug. 20 for an up-close look at local Puget Sound clean-up efforts.

The day-long visit will include a tour of local habitat and shoreline restoration and shellfish projects, hosted by the City of Bainbridge Island and with representatives of the state grantor agencies in attendance, followed by lunch and a tour at IslandWood.

“I am excited to show the committee around this part of our community,” said Rolfes, committee vice-chair, in a press release. “Restoring the health of Puget Sound is a statewide priority and is especially important to everyone in Kitsap County.”

The visit will close with a public hearing from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. at the Bainbridge Commons, at which committee members and the community at large will hear from various public agency and private sector representatives about shellfish protection districts and the impact of aquifer withdrawal on western Puget Sound.

Topics will include a “Shellfish Protection District 101” orientation by Mary Ann Guichard of the Department of Health, followed by discussion on the shellfish industry and the presentation of a Kitsap County shellfish project case study.

Rick Dinicola of the U.S. Geological Survey will provide a general overview of the impact of aquifer withdrawal on Hood Canal and western Puget Sound, followed by a presentation by Jalyn Cummings, city hydrogeologist, on a local aquifer mapping project.

“If we are going to succeed in cleaning up Puget Sound by 2020, the state must rely on the support of local efforts and successful public-private partnerships,” Rolfes said. “The committee asked to visit our area because of the many successful partnerships that are already underway here.”

For more information about the public hearing, contact the offices of Rep. Rolfes at (360) 786-7842.

Virginia Mason expands staff

The Virginia Mason Winslow Clinic has added a family doctor and a physician assistant to its staff.

David Feig, a family practice physician specializing in sports medicine, began seeing patients Aug. 17.

Feig attended Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., completed his residency at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. and completed a primary care sports medicine fellowship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Ill.

Elizabeth Chattin signed on as a physician’s assistant in June, working in the urgent care department, seeing patients for a variety of ailments from broken bones to the common cold.

Chattin received her training at Union College in Lincoln, Neb. and completed clinical rotations in a variety of areas including family practice, surgery, pediatrics, emergency medicine and cardiology.

For more information about the clinic, go to www.virginiamason.org.

Hike Ft. Ward to Blakely

The Bainbridge Island Park District will hold an inaugural walk next week on the Fort Ward to Blakely Harbor trail.

The community event will begin at 4 p.m. Aug. 23 at the park’s Fort Ward Hill and Belfair entrance.

Park District planner Perry Barrett will offer a welcome and introduction followed by speakers Mayor Darlene Kordonowy; Trails Committee Member Ken DeWitt; Sewer District #7 Chair Sarah Lee; Washington State Parks Puget Sound Region Manager Don Hoch; and Park District Commissioner Dave Shorett.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, attendees can walk off their refreshments on the 1.25-mile trail.

Carpooling from Blakely Harbor is recommended for those who only want to walk one way.

For more information about Bainbridge parks and trails, go to www.biparks.org.

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