Spearman gets seat on bench –– News Roundup

Spearman gets seat on bench

Bainbridge Island lawyer Theodore “Ted” Spearman was sworn in as the newest member of the Kitsap County Superior Court Monday, in a courtroom packed with county officials, friends, colleagues and associates from his 37-year legal career.

Some 20 sitting judges from throughout Washington, including Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Gerry Alexander, attended the ceremony, as did U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee and former Secretary of State Ralph Munro.

“My first priority is to learn my job,” said Spearman, 57, after the ceremony. “Every morning, I will approach the job with respect and humility, and strive to be impartial and fair. The only source of power that a judge has is the respect of the public.”

Spearman replaces Judge Terry McCluskey, who retired. He is the first African-American to serve as a judge in Kitsap County, noted by Andrew Becker, former president of the Kitsap County Bar Association.

“Kitsap County is diverse,” Becker said. “We have Mormons. We have Muslims. We have Filipinos. We have Norwegians. So finally, we have a judge a vegetarian.”

“Ted brings more to the bench than his heritage,” said Bishop Lawrence Robertson of Emmanuel Apostolic Church in Bremerton. “He has an education, an analytical mind and an articulate voice that makes him a role model for all youth.”

– Charlie Bermant

Private outfits set ferry plans

Washington State Ferries couldn’t make passenger-only service profitable, but at least two companies think they can.

Kitsap Transit was scheduled to approve contract specifications Tuesday, by which private firms could provide cross-sound foot-ferry service under its auspices. Any company meeting the specs would seek approval before the state Utilities and Transportation Commission, which would award the service contract.

Two routes are up for grabs – the Bremerton-Seattle run that ended last summer, and a new Kingston-Seattle run.

A firm called Aqua Express is bidding for the Kingston route and has purchased and renovated an old WSF boat. Pacific Navigation of Bainbridge Island is bidding for the Bremerton route.

“We’re willing to sign off on this agreement,” said Greg Dronkert of Pacific Navigation. “We have boats, we have equipment, and the endorsement of the county.”

Dronkert said his company would like to begin service over the summer; he predicted that a second boat could be commissioned within a year, resulting in hourly service each way.

According to Dronkert, passenger ferries would be timed to alternate with the car ferries, resulting in better customer service.

He said it would be possible to sail more than one boat in each direction every hour, but is opting for reliability rather than speed.

Round-trip fares of $10 are envisioned.

– Charlie Bermant

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