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Laptop plan won’t boot up -- News Roundup

**Laptop plan won’t boot up

Abort, retry or fail?

Purchase of laptop computers for use by city council members crashed this week, over draft policies on the machines’ use.

The issue went before the council at its Wednesday meeting, but was sent back to the finance committee after members said they had not seen the draft policies.

The policies would set guidelines for email and Internet access via the city network. Council members also would agree not to use the machines for personal business, and would acknowledge that their files and correspondence would be subject to scrutiny under state public records laws.

At issue is a proposal to purchase three PC laptops and software for council members, at a first-year cost, including maintenance, of $9,700.

The proposal was made by Councilwoman Deborah Vann in January, and saw general agreement in committee earlier this month.

But questions persist, as the administration maintains that maintenance costs should also be considered and use guidelines established.

Wednesday, Councilman Bill Knobloch took issue with statements in a recent news story on the issue, in which Mayor Darlene Kordonowy was quoted as saying that money for the laptop purchase was not in the 2002 budget.

Knobloch pointed to several budget line items for equipment purchases, from which computers for city staff have been funded and which he said were adequate to cover the laptop request.

Councilwoman Christine Nasser countered that those funds were tied to already-specified equipment requests, and that using the money to buy laptops would mean diverting funds from those other needs.

Vann, who chairs the council’s ad hoc technology committee, expressed second thoughts about having asked for a city-funded laptop computer for her use.

Vann said she had made the request “naively,” assuming it would be a simple decision.

“It’s become politicized,” she said, “and something that the public (could) wind up shaking its finger at the council for spending the money.”

Knobloch, though, defended the proposal.

“Sometimes change is difficult,” he said, “and we’re going through change.”

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**Marge Center paid in full

Mark the bill for the Marge Williams Center “paid in full.”

Board members this week announced receipt of a $10,000 grant from the Microsoft Matching Gifts Program. The grant matched another donation of $10,000 from the heirs of the building’s namesake.

Those awards, coupled with several other recent contributions from Bainbridge residents, pushed the center fund drive to $465,000 – $15,000 over its goal.

“This means that that campaign is successful,” board member Ed Kushner said, “and over.”

The extra funds will go into an account for future improvements or repairs, Kushner said.

The center is named for long-time community leader Marge Williams, who was slain in her upstairs apartment in the Winslow Way building four years ago.

A non-profit organization headed by Kushner and bankrolled by anonymous “angels” purchased the building from the Williams estate. After an extensive remodel, the center opened as a home for non-profit agencies in April 2001.

The fund drive repaid the anonymous benefactors and covered cost of the remodel.

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**B&G Club breaks ground

Ground was broken Thursday for a new Boys and Girls Club facility on the school district’s main campus.

The 3,200-square-foot facility will be grafted onto the north side of the new Don Nakata Memorial Pool.

The room was included in the original pool design, but was pared out as a cost-cutting measure. The club will lease the space from the park district, which operates the pool complex.

The facility will be used for the various after-school programs offered by the club. Activities now are split between several locations, including Sakai Intermediate School and Bethany Lutheran Church.

Club members are looking forward to a facility of their own, not least for visibility, Director Mark Gurtler said.

“That seems to be a frequently asked question: ‘Where are you?’” Gurtler said. “Now we can say, ‘Here we are.’”

The Bainbridge Boys and Girls Club chapter is one of 17 in the Seattle area, and boasts a local membership of 320 youths.

The club has raised $300,000 toward a goal of $500,000 to cover construction costs. Seed money of $125,000 came from Bainbridge Rotary.

Work will be done by MRJ Constructors of Seattle. The facility is expected to open in mid-September.

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**Flags out for Memorial Day

Memorial Day Services sponsored by American Legion Colin Hyde Post No. 172 will be held at two locations May 27.

At 10:45 a.m., legionaires, auxiliary members and friends will meet at the Veterans Memorial on the Bainbridge High School campus.

There, a brief service will be conducted and individual members will decorate the area surrounding the monument with flowers and flags.

Participation by the public is encouraged, including surviving family members of Bainbridge Island war dead.

Immediately following that event, all are invited to proceed to the post hall on Bucklin Hill Road for the main program at 11:15 a.m.

This year’s guest speaker will be the Rev. Webster G. Barnett, assisting priest at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. Barnett served with the 10th Mountain Division in WWII.

Besides their participation in formal services, legionaires will also decorate the graves of all known veterans with flags at five island cemeteries and the St. Barnabas interium.

Grave decoration will take place May 25, and the flags will be removed next Tuesday afternoon. That will allow families to remember their loved ones during the full holiday period.

As this is the first Memorial Day since the tragic events of Sept. 11, the post will also remember those who died on that day, as well as the 48 American servicemen and women who have given their lives in support of the nation’s ongoing response to the terrorist attacks.

The Sons of the American Legion will put up flags on Winslow Way on May 27. All islanders are also encouraged to display their flags at their homes and businesses, to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

For more information about the American Legion’s Memorial Day services, contact Bill Beck, past post commander 842-6839, or aocbull@aol.com.

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**Park levy likely in September

Bainbridge park board members Thursday tentatively selected Sept. 24 as the date for a second try at a maintenance and operations levy.

The $4.78 million, two-year levy, to cover operations in 2003-04, went before voters in February, but fell just short of the 60 percent required for approval. The September date will be confirmed at a future board meeting.

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**Fish farm back to square one

A hearing on the application of Cypress Island to add floating feed barges to its Rich Passage fish-farming operations was abruptly cancelled Friday morning, and Cypress was told to amend its application.

The problem was that two aspects of the operations – underwater lights and an over-height feed hopper – are not covered by the present permit, according to city planning staff member Josh Machen.

Those problems came to light during public comment on the barge issue, he said.

Cypress was told to amend its permit application to add the lights and hopper as well as the feed barges, and the whole package will then be evaluated.

The city’s decision that the barges did not require an environmental impact statement has been withdrawn, and the question will be reconsidered when the new application is submitted, Machen said.

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