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Peace and war fall into conflict -- News Roundup

A vacant two-story home, already red-tagged as unsafe to occupy, was destroyed in a mudslide on Rolling Bay Walk on Saturday evening.  - DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo
A vacant two-story home, already red-tagged as unsafe to occupy, was destroyed in a mudslide on Rolling Bay Walk on Saturday evening.
— image credit: DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo

Passions ignited by the Iraq war turned ugly Friday evening, when two anti-war protesters had a brief scuffle with a veteran at the 305/Winslow Way intersection.

No arrests were made, but the case was sent to the prosecutor for review and possible charges of misdemeanor assault against the veteran, a Bainbridge Police spokesman said.

Motorists and others leaving the ferry Friday found the intersection lined with activists bearing signs, including a contingent of the anti-war Women in Black who have been gathering there for months.

Also on hand was a pro-war contingent, some of whom hailed from the local American Legion post.

Bainbridge Police officers, whose office windows face the intersection, reported hearing a man shouting, “Go back to your own corner! This is our corner! I fought for this country!”

Several witnesses said the man grabbed an anti-war banner held by two women and threw it to the ground. One Women in Black member, a 55-year-old Indianola resident, told police the man had pushed her before slapping the banner to the ground.

The veteran, a 56-year-old Poulsbo resident said to be unaffiliated with the Bainbridge American Legion post, denied pushing the woman but admitted striking her banner. Anti-war activists had been bumping into others and trying to stand in front of them, he told police.

Patrol officers were summoned to take statements, and no other clashes were reported.

“It looked to me like neither side was acting as civilly as they might have,” one officer said. “They didn’t show much tolerance for each other.”

Both groups plan to hold demonstrations at the intersection again this coming Friday evening.

– Douglas Crist

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***Slide destroys vacant home

An abandoned home on Rolling Bay Walk, already red-tagged as unsafe for occupancy, was destroyed in a mudslide on Rolling Bay Walk Saturday evening.

The slide left the two-story rambler shattered and splayed across the concrete seawall. No one was injured, but it marked the fourth time in six years that a home has been destroyed along the picturesque walk.

“This really did take a hit, didn’t it?” said Larry Skinner, city building official, performing an inspection of the property Monday morning. “A fairly big chunk came out of the hillside, too.”

The home is one of eight that have sat vacant since 1997, when a slide from the hillside above flattened a house and killed a family of four. Slides in 1996 and 1998 destroyed empty homes.

Yellow emergency tape now cordons off several of the architecturally off-beat homes, which sit at the toe of a steep and unstable hillside below Mountain View Road.

Skinner said owners earlier this year were directed to remove broken glass, board up windows and make other repairs, to keep vandals and squatters out and prevent harm to passersby.

“We were getting complaints about people breaking in, and in one of the houses, (animals) getting in and making quite a mess,” Skinner said.

A local architect has discussed redeveloping part of the walk, but no formal applications have been filed. Several parcels were proposed for acquisition by the city, but the proposal failed to find support among Open Space Commission members.

Skinner said the house damaged Saturday now meets the criteria of a “dangerous building” under the city code, and will have to be removed. But that will be a challenge, because of poor access and concerns over the stability of the hillside.

“It’s not your cut-and-dried abatement,” Skinner said.

– Douglas Crist

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***Offender nicked in stolen car

A wanted sex offender was arrested aboard the departing ferry Saturday, drunk and passed out behind the wheel of a stolen car.

Police received reports of a reckless driver on the highway near Day Road at about 6:15 p.m., Bainbridge Traffic Officer Rob Corn said. A license plate check showed that the car had been stolen in Seattle on Feb. 13.

Officers found the vehicle aboard the ferry as it was about depart.

The driver, a 52-year-old Ballard man, was passed out behind the wheel, according to police reports. He failed sobriety tests, and was arrested and escorted from the ferry without incident.

The suspect had no Washington driver’s license and a suspended Maryland driver’s license, police said.

He also was wanted by the Department of Corrections for failure to register in Spokane as a convicted sex offender.

The man was booked into the Kitsap County Jail for various offenses. Bail was set at $32,500.

The ferry was delayed approximately 15 minutes while the search and arrest took place.

– Douglas Crist

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