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New rating for fire safety/2040 growth plan unveiled/Island wine hits its prime

New rating for fire safety

New chief, new equipment, and now, a new rating.

The Bainbridge Island Fire Department improved its fire service rating from a “class 7” to a “class 6,” according to a Monday release.

The rating – awarded following inspection by the Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau of the department’s water supply, operations, equipment and training – means fire insurance rates for some commercial and institutional properties will be reduced.

Residential properties and commercial properties equipped with automatic sprinkler systems will see little, if any, change in rates.

The new rating goes into effect Nov. 1.

Classifications are based on a numerical scale ranging from 1 to 10, with 1 representing the best possible fire protection.

The island’s improvement was based largely on a new aerial laadder truck and the implementation of an annual fire inspection program for island businesses and multi-family structures.

Other new equipment includes a new water tender, purchased with levy money, and a special operations vehicle, purchased with money from a Homeland Security grant.

The department also will welcome its new chief later this month. Hank Teran, former deputy chief and fire marshal at the Long Beach Fire Department in Long Beach, Calif., will officially take the reins from interim chief Glen Tyrrell on Aug. 13.

2040 growth plan unveiled

The Puget Sound Regional Council has released a draft of “Vision 2040,” a long-term strategy aimed at integrating growth management, economics and transportation in the central Puget Sound region.

Viewable at www.psrc.org, the plan reiterates previously established goals – like clustering growth in urban centers – while including expanded sections on housing, economics and the environment.

Public comments on the plan’s environmental statement are being accepted through Sept. 7, and the PSRC is hosting several open houses in the coming weeks, including one today between 4 and 7 p.m. at the Sylvan Way Library in Bremerton.

The plan says some 1.7 million new residents could move to the region by 2040; nearly 150,000 of those new arrivals are anticipated in Kitsap County.

The final plan, which will incorporate public comment, is scheduled for completion next spring.

Island wine hits its prime

Bainbridge Island Vineyards and Winery turns 25 this month. Though lying about one’s age, particularly when it comes to wine, rarely serves any purpose.

So Gerard and Jo Ann Bentryn freely acknowledge that their island-grown venture, beginning with the planting of their first crop of Vinifera grapes in 1977, is actually 30.

Once that crop came to fruition in August 1982, the vintners opened their winery’s doors, joining the pioneering ranks of just 11 other Washington state wineries and braving the area “big guys” like Chateau Ste. Michelle.

The Bentryns, both originally from the Northeast, learned wine-making in Europe and targeted the Northwest for their vineyard.

“We came here specifically for this climate to grow grapes,” Jo Ann said. “We’re like pioneers in this area, and we came here to do what we’re doing. It’s a labor of love.”

Jo Ann points out that very few Washington wineries can call their wines “estate grown,” which means that all the growing is done on the property.

“There are over 65 wineries in greater Seattle area, and we’re the only ones growing our own grapes,” she said.

The Bentryns also view education as part of their mission, and Jo Ann hopes that more Bainbridge residents will visit to learn about the process and see what their fellow islanders are growing.

To that end, Gerard leads vineyard and winery tours every Sunday at 2 p.m. And this Sunday, Aug. 12, the winery will host a 25th anniversary open house from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. that will include a complimentary wine and cheese tasting to go along with tours.

“Whether you like the wine or not, whether you want to purchase it or not,” Jo Ann said, “you’re welcome to come in.”

Find Bainbridge Island Vineyards and Winery at 8989 Day Road East. Call 842-9463 or visit www.bainbridgevineyards.com.

– Lindsay Latimore

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