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News Roundup -- A fast ferry to Bremerton/Mime, music for the stars/BHS speech tops in state/Russian chorus to visit island/Islander hosts radio show/Seminar d

A fast ferry to Bremerton

Development of a passenger-only ferry that carries people between Bremerton and Seattle in 30 minutes could be in operation in two and a half years, according to its supporters.

“This will happen in steps,” said Kitsap Transit Director Dick Hayes. “It will create a very powerful market if we can develop a connection between speed and price. And as Bremerton grows, it becomes more apparent that a fast ferry can be a tremendous asset.”

Much of the preparation focuses on wake tests to determine the impact on the shoreline from the boats that pass Bainbridge Island through Rich Passage.

The most important aspect is the development of a high-speed low-wake boat, which will not only decrease local shoreline erosion, but provide a framework for other ferry transit systems around the country, Hayes said.

Kitsap Transit ran several years’ worth of wake tests using the Spirit, a high-speed, low-wake hydrofoil vessel, and such tests will continue this summer.

Bellingham-based shipbuilder All-American Marine will construct a prototype vessel in March 2007, which will incorporate the data gathered during wake tests conducted this year.

Harry Hosey, manager of Pacific International Engineering, said the resulting boat could be known as “a Rich Passage-class vessel.”

“The research coming out of these tests will be of tremendous value to the entire industry,” he said.

To conduct the wake tests, Hosey’s company is seeding four of the most sensitive areas in Rich Passage with radio-equipped rocks that will allow the development of a computer model of the tide patterns.

By tracking the path of the rocks through metal detectors on each beach, the county can determine the path of an impact of the wake as it pertains to the individual boat.

Hosey would not specify how many such rocks will be used or their exact location, to prevent kids from adding them to their personal rock collections.

This summer, the Spirit will accommodate passengers twice daily to test the economic model.

Other trips will be used to gather and measure additional wake data.

– Charlie Bermant

Mime, music for the stars

The Intensely Vigorous, Revolutionary, Volunteer Dixieland Band will swing and sway March 16 to raise money for the John H. Rudolph Planetarium.

In a rare performance, the homegrown group is helping realize the dream of its leader, John Rudolph, who founded the band almost 40 years ago, played fourth trombone and worked to get a planetarium on Bainbridge Island.

Sharing the bill is internationally known mime artist – and John’s son! – Mikael Rudolph, direct from Minneapolis.

The fun begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Bainbridge High School LIG Room. Fewer than 75 tickets remain. They are $20 apiece and available at Winslow Drug.

Rudolph envisioned a portable planetarium to bring the stars closer to island students.

The Battle Point Astronomical Association is creating the planetarium system and sponsoring this fund-raising event with the help of Bainbridge Island Kiwanis. Rudolph was a founding member of both organizations.

The budget for the planetarium was $35,000. A bit more than half of this amount has been raised to date, but recently the scope of the project got bigger.

Nancy Cooper, who has years of experience running small astronomy organizations, will be brought on as program director, said Sally Metcalf of the astronomical association. The fund-raising bar has been raised to $65,000 to include money to hire Cooper.

For more information on the project see www.bicomnet.com/ritchieobs.

– Rhona Schwartz

BHS speech tops in state

Before the rapier wit of the Bainbridge High School speech and debate team, opposing teams at the state speech tournament failed to parry.

“The competition has never been this definitive,” BHS speech team coach and English teacher Jeff Gans said. “We were dominant.”

At the 3A state speech competition on March 11 at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, the 17-member team took first place with 84 points, a full 27 points over second-place Renton with 54 and Sedro Woolley in third with 22 points.

Gans says it is the first time BHS has taken first at speech. Last year, his first as head coach, the team came in fourth.

Points are awarded for each of the top four finishers. Of the top three places in each of eight categories, BHS took nine spots in addition to three finalist slots.

Unlike the state championship for debate, to be held this coming weekend, where only two students from each school compete, speech is scored like gymnastics where scores by each team member count toward the overall total.

“I think that speech is much harder to win because there are more people involved,” said Gans, whereas a couple of superstars can carry debate.

Although the team is young, consisting of just seven seniors, most have competed at the varsity level for two full years.

“They wanted to win. Last year they saw how happy Renton was winning, and (they) set their sights on it,” Gans said. “This year I told them, ‘I think you can win speech and debate.’ We set very high standards here. I didn’t know if we’d do it, but I wanted it and they wanted it. They wouldn’t have been satisfied by just placing.”

Gans says the strength of the team begins with the schooling, which gives him a team that is “smart, articulate and driven” walking in.

“It was a combination of fire, hard work and the school system here and deciding that they could (win),” Gans said. “And once they decided they could, they did.”

The speech team placed as follows: extemporaneous speaking, Sean Fraga (first), Greg Nance (second), Ben Hudgens (third); impromptu speaking, Sean Fraga (first), Greg Nance (finalist), Matt Wohlford (finalist); oratory, Caroline Theobald (second), Trillium Swanson (third), Kendall Horstman (finalist); expository speaking, Stephanie Wagner (first), Lizzie Sivitz (third); duo interpretation, Daniel Cox and Emily Gargus (first). Rounding out the championship speech team were Ariana Rose Taylor-Stanley, JP Stevenson, Charlie Klein, Sid Rosen, Elena Yager and Lulu Danzig.

Senior Sean Fraga, who won state debate with Rebecca Sivitz ’05 in 2004, and junior Greg Nance will enter the state debate competition this weekend at the University of Puget Sound, defending BHS’s two-time state title.

– Tina Lieu

Russian chorus to visit island

Although the question was a surprise, the answer was an unhesitant “Yes!”

“The Yale Russian Chorus contacted me about performing at St. Barnabas Church during their spring tour,” said Paul Roy, director of music. “They are performing in Seattle and Vancouver as well.”

The church agreed to host the chorus because “Russian choral music is quite beautiful, so we couldn’t resist,” he said.

The performance will be at 7:30 p.m. March 18 at the church on Wyatt Way.

Founded in 1953 as an extension of Yale University’s Russian language club, the chorus showcases Slavic choral music and culture. It is considered one of the world’s most important performance ensembles of Slavic music.

The chorus performs ancient chant, cultural songs and major choral works by, among others, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakoff and Rachmanioff, spanning the 12th to the 21st centuries.

Reservations are encouraged due to limited seating. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students/seniors. They are available at the door or through the church website, www.stbbi.org/n_news.

– Rhona Schwartz

Islander hosts radio show

Greg Moore says his approach to talk radio is that he “believes nothing and entertains everything.”

Moore’s new show, which airs Sundays from 7-9 p.m. on KITZ AM 1400, transmits from Silverdale with studios in Port Orchard.

The islander says he aims for the thinking audience that is not interested in mainstream talk radio topics of the “shock jocks” or politically leaning hosts, but rather seeks to fill niches that he can own.

Two topics he has been taking up include the year 2012, which is significant in the Mayan calendar as the end of a “Great Cycle,” and “genetically engineered theory” which proposes an alternative to the Big Bang Theory and Creationism, saying that humans were genetically engineered by extraterrestrial life.

– Tina Lieu

Seminar date is changed

“Healing the Body Image: A Workshop for Women” originally scheduled for March 26, will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on April 30. The location remains at Yoga & Beyond, 425 Ericksen Ave.

Bainbridge Island healthcare practitioners from various disciplines will discuss the mind/body connection and the influence it has over women’s perceptions of their bodies.

The speakers will focus on society’s distorted body image, ways to work through emotion to avoid overeating and enhanced body awareness and relaxation through yoga and guided meditation in all phases of women’s lives.

Participants should wear comfortable clothing suitable for moving. To pre-register, call Yoga & Beyond at 842-4395. The cost is $40. For information call Kelly Lawson at 625-7373, ext. 67124.

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