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News Roundup -- Eisenhauer is man of year/Candidate forum slated/Last chance for early birds/A fast track for city permits/Water Week proclaimed/Kok to helm Voy

Eisenhauer is man of year

For his business savvy and philanthropic bent, John Eisenhauer, founder and president of Mercury Online Solutions, has been named the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce’s 2005 Business Person of the Year.

Eisenhauer’s 10-year-old company, based at 600 Ericksen Avenue in Winslow, is a worldwide provider of digital signage and interactive kiosk networks, with about $20 million in annual sales.

The company’s unique brand of signage, servers and software are installed in 10,000 digital screens in 50 states and 23 countries.

“I was delighted I was nominated,” Eishenhauer said of the Chamber honor. “We don’t have local customers or vendors, and our company is not particularly visible, so it was a pleasant surprise.”

The company’s soaring business success was recognized last fall when the Puget Sound Business Journal named Mercury Online as the state’s fastest-growing private company, with a three-year compounded annual growth rate of 386 percent.

Eisenhauer, 45, plays guitar and sings at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church, where his wife Dee is the minister.

He and his firm have donated an estimated $400,000 in recent years to local nonprofits and organizations including the Bainbridge Trust for Public Schools, Habitat for Humanity, the Bainbridge Foundation, Eagle Harbor Congregational Church, Helpline House and many others. Mercury Online has been the main corporate backer of Bainbridge Performing Arts for the past two years.

“This is what responsible people do,” Eisenhauer said. “It’s called being a good corporate citizen and tithing.”

His “triple bottom-line” approach is appreciated by those on the receiving end of his charity, the Chamber said in announcing Eisenhauer’s honor.

“John was one of the first persons to offer his support for our organization,” said Jeff Vincent of the Bainbridge Public Schools Trust. “His commitment to education and the trust has been remarkable. Beyond financial donations, John has given of his time, effort and use of his company’s facilities.”

Eisenhauer will be feted at the Business Person of the Year luncheon banquet, May 25 at Wing Point Golf & Country Club. Cost is $25. For reservations, call 842-3700.

Gilbert enters not-guilty plea

Juliette Cybelle Gilbert, the Bainbridge woman who disappeared with her young son three years ago, pleaded not guilty to custodial interference in Kitsap County Superior Court Friday.

Judge Sally Olsen set Gilbert’s bail at $250,000. Gilbert also faces charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

If convicted, Gilbert faces up to one year in jail, authorities said.

Gilbert, 37, was arrested in New Zealand April 8, and her son Sky, now 9, was taken into protective custody. The boy was reunited with his father, Roby Gilbert of Bainbridge Island, on April 14.

Juliette Gilbert disappeared with the boy in 2002, after taking him to a birthday party. The youth was to be returned to his father that evening, under the divorced couple’s court-ordered parenting plan.

She allegedly evaded law enforcement authorities with the boy until January of this year, when a boyfriend learned that she was wanted on child abduction charges and phoned police.

She reportedly promised to turn herself in to immigration authorities in February and then vanished once again.

FBI, Kitsap County, and New Zealand law enforcement officials tracked down the pair last month, as she tried to rent a home in the tourist town of Rotorua, New Zealand.

– Rhonda Parks Manville

Candidate forum slated

Nine elected positions for Bainbridge Island will be open this fall. Does one of the seats have your name on it?

The Kitsap League of Women Voters is holding a free workshop for anyone contemplating running for office, from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Bainbridge Commons in Waterfront Park.

Although elections are in the fall, the deadline for candidates to file is at the end of July.

Positions opening up this fall are for mayor, City Council (south ward, north ward and two for central ward), two school board members (districts 2 and 5), one for metro parks, one for fire commissioner and three local sewer and water district positions.

The workshop will begin with a “how to” presentation from Kitsap County Auditor Karen Flynn, followed by talks by current office holders who will not run in November, or by past office holders.

They will discuss the skills and time commitment the job entails, personal experiences and enumerate issues that they think the new representatives will face.

Expected to be present are Dwight Sutton, discussing the mayor’s job; Christine Nassar Rolfes on the City Council; Bruce Weiland about school board; Earl Johnson about fire commission; and Sarah Lee about Kitsap County Sewer District Number 7.

The Review co-sponsors this event. For more information, call Nancy Quitslund at 780-9422.

Last chance for early birds

Special “early bird” pricing for the Bainbridge in Bloom Garden Tour tickets ends May 15.

Early bird tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for children 4-12. After May 15, tickets will be $30 for adults and $15 for youths.

New this year, bicycle-only tickets are available for $20. Tickets can be purchased at www.gardentour.info or by phone at (206) 219-3182.

The Bainbridge in Bloom Garden Tour, the primary fundraiser for the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council, celebrates its 17th year July 8-10. A private preview on July 8 is followed by the regular tour the weekend of July 9-10.

For more information on the preview, see www.gardentour.info or call 842-7901.

A fast track for city permits

A new process introduced by the City of Bainbridge Island Department of Planning will offer faster processing of building applications.

The accelerated third party review process is optional. Applicants choosing not to utilize this service will still benefit from shorter review times thanks to reduced plan volumes awaiting the standard application process.

An accelerated application can expect a review time of 15 working days for the first review or 20 working days for commercial and multifamily applications. All subsequent reviews will take 10 days or 15 working days for commercial and multifamily applications.

In addition to the standard building permit application fees, applicants are responsible for paying the extra consultant cost associated with the third party review service. The standard application fees are used for city administrative costs and other expenses.

Interested applicants should contact one of the city’s building permit technicians for details by calling 842-2552.

Water Week proclaimed

The City of Bainbridge Island joins communities around the country this week in celebrating National Drinking Water Week, “The Wonder of Water,” by proclamation of Mayor Darlene Kordonowy.

“Let us not get accustomed to turning on a faucet for a drink or washing our cars without a second thought,” said Jalyn Cummings, the city’s water resources specialist. “Drinking Water Week is a time to reflect on the importance of safe and reliable drinking water supplies and recognize the thousands of dedicated professionals working every day to keep it that way.”

“The fact that Bainbridge is an island should give us all the more reason to conserve,” Cummings added, noting that if the island’s water supply is overtaxed, the sinking water table would invite salt-water intrusion into drinking water supplies.

Activities include a Drinking Water Week display at the Bainbridge library; bill inserts with conservation tips for Bainbridge Island utility customers; development of a water information kiosk at City Hall; free toilet tank leak detector tablets at City Hall; a water resource page on the city’s website; and reimbursements of up to $100 to replace “high-flush” for “low-flush” commodes for qualified homeowners connected to the city’s Winslow sewer system.

For information, contact Jalyn Cummings at 780-3752 or jcummings@ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us.

Kok to helm Voyager school

Voyager Montessori Elementary School has appointed Renee Kok as the new head of school, effective July 1.

Kok, the school’s business manager since 1998, will replace Ann Whitmore, who has served in the role for two years and will remain on the school’s board of directors.

A 12-year resident of Bainbridge Island, Kok is the parent of Montessori-educated children, and she has 20 years experience in the business administration of schools and small businesses. She received her degree in economics from Seattle University.

“We are very excited to have Renee Kok as our incoming head of school,” said Voyager board president Molly McCabe. “Having Ms. Kok at the helm, with her significant Montessori experience and tremendous business acumen, Voyager Montessori is sighting its course for another fantastic 10-year period and beyond.”

Voyager Montessori, which serves grades one through six, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year.

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