Mass-mailings, mass theft -- News Roundup

More than 200 pieces of stolen mail were recovered in a garbage can outside the Island Center business area early Tuesday.

While most of the items were “junk mail,” police believe other items with personal information, including credit card statements, had been culled and remain in the hands of thieves.

“People on this island are good targets,” Bainbridge Police Detective Scott Anderson said. “They’ve got high credit limits and rural mailboxes.”

A suspicious vehicle was spotted in the Island Center parking area around 2 a.m. Tuesday, and officers checking the area found the mail in a trash receptacle.

The items had been taken from more than two dozen addresses, most in the Point White, Pleasant Beach and Island Center areas, although several were from north-end boxes as well.

“It seemed to center on more remote stretches of road, where someone could covertly go through mailboxes and not worry about a car surprising them,” Anderson said.

The items were returned to the post office for re-delivery, and police sent a letter to victims advising them of the thefts and urging them to watch for unauthorized credit-card purchases and other signs of identity theft.

In addition to common-sense habits – picking up your mail as soon as it is delivered, or at least not letting it sit in the box overnight – police now are advocating new strategies of personal protection for consumers.

Among them are having credit card bills sent to one’s work rather than home address, and reducing excessive credit limits on cards with routinely low balances.

Should credit card information fall into the wrong hands, it is less likely to be abused if it has a lower ceiling, Anderson said.

“If you’ve got a $30,000 or $40,000 credit limit and you keep balances of $5,000, reduce your limit,” he said.

– Douglas Crist


***Council punts on peace plan

They are resolute in their ambivalence.

The Bainbridge Island City Council will not consider a formal resolution for or against peace, war or the nation’s men and women in uniform, the council’s operations committee decided Thursday.

No formal resolution was ever presented for consideration, but the mayor’s office had received some inquiries from islanders as to whether the council would make a statement on the issue.

Thursday, council chair Christine Nasser Rolfes said informal polling of council members showed division in the ranks.

Based on discussion in committee, that seemed true even among members generally opposed to an attack on Iraq.

“Everybody expressed some discomfort about doing it,” Nasser Rolfes said.

Also rejected was the notion of passing two resolutions, one opposing the war, the other supporting American combat troops.

Individual council members may continue to be involved in activities or demonstrations as they see fit, several noted. But they expressed misgivings about taking a stand on an issue upon which there is no clear consensus in the community.

“No matter what my personal opinions are, I’m elected to represent everybody,” Councilwoman Deborah Vann said.

– Douglas Crist


***HSR project hearing opens

Testimony began Friday afternoon before Hearing Examiner Robin Baker on an appeal of the city’s approval for a 111-unit apartment/hotel complex on High School Road.

Neighbors and other opponents object to the increased traffic the project would generate, saying the city erred by considering the application in isolation, without also looking at other area projects either under construction or in the pipeline.

The major traffic problem is at the intersection of High School Road and the highway. The city has proposed allowing optional left turns from the middle eastbound lane.

The state has asked for extension of the two-lane portion of road heading north from the intersection, and for a longer left-turn only lane on the northbound portion of the highway at High School Road.

Prior to the hearing, Baker denied a motion by the applicant, Base Capital of Bellevue, to dismiss the appeal. The applicants had argued that the appeal was flawed because it was filed with the city clerk instead of directly with the planning department, and because the appellants were not injured by the project.

The hearing will continue March 6.

– John Waldo


***IslandWood wins award

The IslandWood school has been awarded a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design Gold Certification – one of only five projects in the United States to be so honored, and the first project in Washington.

Seattle’s Mithun Architects designed the facility using environmentally sustainable design strategies to reduce the project’s impact on the land, air and resources of the region and to educate the kids by using the buildings themselves as learning tools.

The buildings’ features include solar-heated water, 95-percent-recycled carpet, salvaged wood from the site, solar heating, recycled glass, photovoltaics for lighting and electricity, composting toilets and recycled yogurt containers for countertops.

The 55,000-square-foot, 255-acre outdoor learning center located north of Blakely Harbor, which opened last fall, features hands-on learning experiences that combine science, technology and the arts.


***Pianist to play for Playhouse

Bainbridge Performing Arts celebrates the organization’s 10th anniversary with a concert by pianist Panayiotis Giannakakis at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Playhouse.

Giannakakis performs works by Chopin, Bach and Scriabin in a one-night-only concert to benefit BPA’s 2003 annual campaign, which seeks to raise $125,000 by March 26 to cover the nonprofit’s gap between revenue and costs.

Giannakakis has studied in Athens, London, and Moscow, where he was awarded a post-doctorate diploma with honors from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He has performed in Athens, London, Moscow, Bucharest, New York City, and most recently, Paris.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students, available at the door or by phone at 842-8569. Information:

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