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News Roundup -- Anderson to head WSF/Chilly Hilly rides Sunday/Shakespeare in residence/Men’s group now forming/Rotary sends kids abroad

Anderson to head WSF

Washington State Ferries has a new captain at the helm.

Mike Anderson was appointed WSF’s executive director by Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald, the agency announced Friday. The appointment is effective immediately.

The 32-year veteran of the state ferry system had served as WSF’s acting director after Mike Thorne resigned in October 2004.

“I believe Mike’s appointment will be greeted with widespread satisfaction and approval by his colleagues inside and out of the ferries system,” MacDonald said in a news release. “The system has many strengths and also faces significant challenges. Mike is the right person at the right time to take the program forward.”

Anderson began work at WSF as a traffic attendant and worked his way through the ranks in various line and management positions, including ticket seller, terminals manager and operations director.

“Mike’s experience in the organization was a big factor in his selection for the position,” MacDonald said.

Anderson inherits leadership of a state agency beset with financial troubles and customer dissatisfaction over rate hikes, proposed restrictions for discounted tickets and the lack of onboard food service.

Anderson pledged to island residents at an event last week that their bellies will grumble no more. He said the food vendor and the union representing galley workers must reach an agreement in less than two weeks or he would revamp WSF’s approach and possibly rebid the food service contract.

Anderson’s other initial tasks as director include filling several vacancies in the senior management staff. He will also oversee the largest capital construction program in WSF history, including the procurement of four new ferries and the redevelopment of the Bainbridge terminal.

Chilly Hilly rides Sunday

It might not be chilly, but it’s always hilly. This Sunday, some 4,000 bicyclists will descend on our fair isle for the annual Chilly Hilly cycling event.

The 33-mile course, called “one of the four classic rides” in the nation includes 2,675 feet of hilly climbing by cyclists who come from around the country.

Last year’s event attracted 3,739 riders from 17 states and British Columbia.

The event begins and ends in Winslow. Day-of registration at B.I. Cycle in Winslow runs from 7:30-10:30 a.m. with cyclists from the other side of the sound arriving on the 7:55, 8:45, 9:35 and 10:30 a.m. ferries. There are no bike-only ferries this year.

Although there are no road closures, Rockaway Beach Drive will be reduced to one-way, northbound-only traffic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on race day. Southbound traffic can detour via Taylor Avenue to Blakely Avenue. This arrangements allow cyclists to ride in either lane to negotiate the rough pavement there.

The route is the same as previous years. First it heads north via Wing Point Way and Grand Avenue, to Rolling Bay, and then up Sunrise Drive, looping through the north via Hidden Cove Road and down Manzanita Road. Bikers then head south to Battle Point via Arrow Point Drive and down Battle Point Drive.

The last half of the course winds through the south end via Fletcher Bay Road, Lynwood Center Road, Crystal Springs, Point White Drive and Blakely Avenue, coming back up via Rockaway Beach Drive and Eagle Harbor Drive to Wyatt Way and back into Winslow.

Tom Clune of B.I. Cycle estimates that most riders will finish up between 12-2 p.m. To avoid the crowds, leave the car at home in the morning.

For more information and a route map, see www.cascade.org/EandR/chilly/CH.cfm.

Shakespeare in residence

Nearly 400 years after his death, Shakespeare is still universally recognized as the greatest playwright in the English-speaking world.

He created in his plays many of literature’s most memorable characters and penned some of the most beautiful English poetry ever written. Contemporary readers understand the human condition better in our own time because Shakespeare wrote so penetratingly in his.

Why Shakespeare still matters is the subject of the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council’s 2005 Humanities Inquiry, “The Bard on Bainbridge,” which begins this weekend and runs through April 2.

Now in its fifth year, the Humanities Inquiry draws the Bainbridge Island community – cultural, political, educational, civic, business – into a multidisciplinary examination of a common humanities theme or issue.

Past inquiries have explored the concept of American popular culture as a mirror of American values, the many connections between food and culture, the challenges and consequences of exploration, and the state of today’s information media. These issues were explored through lectures, forums, art, literature, music, drama, films and online resources.

“The Bard on Bainbridge” invites the community to examine why Shakespeare’s works, language, and insights into human nature and affairs are still relevant in today’s world.

Topics include Shakespeare’s portrayal of leadership, the uses and abuses of power, Shakespeare’s language, and the importance of Shakespeare’s works as educational tools, plus some entertaining excursions into Shakespeare’s own life and times.

After advice by fashion historian Tames Alan on proper Elizabethan court attire – the debut event, at 3 p.m. Feb. 27 at Island Center Hall – the series begins in earnest March 6 with an Elizabethan banquet.

Background information and suggested readings on Shakespeare and the various Humanities Inquiry events is at www.artshum.org.

Tickets to the March 6 Elizabethan Banquet are $45 for BIAHC members and $50 for non-members, and can be purchased by calling 842-7901.

Space is limited, and reservations are required by March 2.

Men’s group now forming

A Bainbridge Island man who has navigated through divorce and child-custody issues in recent years is starting a support group called the Mens’ Coalition of Bainbridge Island.

“I want the focus of the coalition to be one that informs, educates, counsels and maybe even protects men,” said founder David Ortiz, a chef and father of three, who is going through a divorce.

“When I started this process, I had no one to talk to,” Ortiz said. “If I can help one man avoid what I have been through, it will have been worth it.”

Ortiz said the purpose of the group “is not to bash women or mothers,” but to help men take steps that will enable them to remain part of their children’s lives “before the hammer comes down, and it is too late.”

Other issues may include domestic violence and child support. Men interested in joining can call Ortiz at 780-1751.

Rotary sends kids abroad

Six local students will be sent abroad for international exchange this year, under the sponsorship of Bainbridge Rotary.

Erika Bergman, a junior at Bainbridge High School will be traveling to Honduras to attend school and live with several different families. Corbin Lester, a sophomore at West Sound Academy will be traveling to the Czech Republic. Both students will be leaving in late July and returning in July next year.

Four Bainbridge High School students – Molly Stern, Phoebe Lentz, Lauren de Normandie and Vanessa Hall – will participate in a one-month summer exchange, staying with a family with a child of similar age. They leave in late June and return in late July with the son or daughter of their home-stay family to spend a month on Bainbridge Island, returning home in September.

The program aims to foster peace and goodwill among nations by letting kids see that people in other countries have the same hopes and ambitions.

Those interested in future exchanges can contact Jim Morss at jm@morssarch.com.

Donate a book to the school

Imagine Bainbridge hopes that all teachers at Bainbridge High School will have a chance to read its community-wide book club selection for this winter, “Doing School” by Denise Clark Pope.

Towards this goal, Imagine Bainbridge is requesting donations of the book to BHS. Books for donation may be purchased at a 20 percent discount from Eagle Harbor Books through March 6.

“Doing School,” named a Notable Book in Education by the American School Board Journal, follows five highly regarded students through a school year as they pursue high grades and success. Pope, a veteran teacher, discovers that these young people believe getting ahead requires manipulating the system, scheming, lying and cheating.

A discussion of the book with a panel of experts, sponsored by Imagine Bainbridge, will be held at 2 p.m. March 6 at the Bainbridge public library.

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