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News Roundup -- Highway to get new signal/Guatamalan minister here/Boater Ed. courses set/Mail sponsors food drive

Highway to get new signal

The Washington State Depart­ment of Transportation will begin work on Monday on new traffic signal and intersection improvements at 305/Madison Avenue.

The work is intended to reduce the number and severity of accidents there, highway officials said.

The project will be accomplished in phases. In the first phase, scheduled for completion in early June, the existing left turn lane at Madison Avenue will be altered to current design levels. The new traffic signal system will be installed in the fall.

The signal installation work is delayed due to the amount of time necessary to manufacture the components and ship them to the job site.

Work hours will be limited to Sunday through Friday, 8:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., to limit traffic impacts on the Winslow ferry terminal.

Lakeside Industries of Port Angeles was awarded the nearly $451,000 construction contract.

For information, see www.wsdot.wa.gov/regions/olympic/2005projects.

Guatamalan minister here

Bethany Lutheran Church on Bainbridge Island has had a special visitor the past two weeks, the Rev. Martin Chan, who leads a Mayan church in the Guatemalan village of Chajabal.

The minister at Bethany Lutheran, the Rev. Martin Dasler, said the church has helped fund a school in Chan’s village and sent 10 computers and other supplies. Bethany member Siri Kushner recently visited the village to assess some of the public health needs there, Dasler said.

The purpose of Chan’s visit, Dasler said, is to strengthen relationships between the two church communities and to learn from one another.

The Church in Chajabal is one of several “global mission partnerships” with which Bethany Lutheran is engaged, Dasler said.

During his visit to Bainbridge Island and environs, Chan visited various schools and spent time at a homeless shelter in Seattle.

– Rhonda Parks Manville

Boater Ed. courses set

On Jan. 1, 2008, Washington will join 35 other states in requiring boater education for sailors under 20. The bill only awaits the governor’s signature.

“Hopefully once this bill is fully implemented, the alarming number of deaths – usually drowning victims with no life jacket on – and accidents on our waterways will decrease as they have elsewhere, once mandatory boater’s ed(ucation) became the law,” said Sonya Quitslund, a public education instructor and member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Although the law initially only requires boaters under 20-years-old to obtain a Boater Education Card, the law will apply to progressively older age groups each succeeding year, Quitslund said. Also, boaters born before Jan 1, 1955 are exempt.

Still, “If you have involvement (with boats) whether you’re owner of the boat or not,” Quitslund said, she recommends taking the course.

Boaters can take a class with either Flotilla 48 on Bainbridge Island or the Agate Pass Power Squadron in Poulsbo. Those with busy schedules can purchase the textbook for self-study and then sit for a proctored exam by an instructor.

Quitslund has seen longtime boaters bring their family members to take a class and then discover how much they did not know themselves.

Common misconceptions among boaters include sail boaters thinking they have right-of-way in many cases when they don’t, including: vs. ferries in ferry lanes, since a larger vessel is restricted in its ability to stop quickly or turn on a dime; vs. fishing vessels in shipping lanes; vs. a drifting boat; vs. other boats when the sailboat is running with its engine and not sails.

The eight-hour basic class covers: types of boats and propulsion; boat law and safety equipment; responsibilities of boat operators – in terms of how to handle accidents and environmental protections; personal safety and equipment, such as life jackets; safe boat handling – for fueling, docking, anchoring etc.; aids to navigation and navigational rules, such as right-of-way and sound signals; boating problems, such as injury, capsizing, how to survive in the sound’s cold waters; how to handle boats on trailers; and secondary boating related activities such as hunting, fishing and waterskiing.

The Boater Education Card does not expire and costs $10.

Currently, Quitslund believes the percentage taking boater education is quite small, but it has has been taken and passed by sailors as young as 10-years-old.

“While the focus is on operators of powered boats, it makes sense for anyone on the water, from kayakers and canoers to sailors to learn the ‘Rules for the Road,’” Quitslund said.

Flotilla 48 plans to offer classes in the fall, but will schedule classes sooner for groups of eight or more. A quiz to see how your boating knowledge stands is at www.boatus.com. For more information about local boater education classes, contact Sonya Quitslund at 842-3751.

—Tina Lieu

Mail sponsors food drive

The postman will be ringing twice on May 14, once for mail and once for a food bank donation.

Next Saturday is the 13th annual letter carriers food drive to benefit local food banks. Nationwide, postal customers are invited to leave donations of nonperishable food, baby food and cleaning supplies next to their mailboxes or at the local post office the morning of the drive.

Letter carriers will pick up donations and distribute them to local food banks. Bainbridge donations go to Helpline House.

“(It’s) by far our largest food drive of the year, and keeps us stocked with food for a good two months,” Marilyn Gremse of Helpline House said of the annual drive.

Helpline House accepts all food, but protein foods such as peanut butter, tuna, chili and stew are especially needed.

Last year, Kitsap County residents donated over 153,000 pounds of food. By area, donations in pounds were: Bainbridge Island 14,779, Bremerton 65,000, Port Orchard/South Kitsap 37,600, Poulsbo/North Kitsap 19,363, Silverdale/Central Kitsap 12,590 pounds, Kingston: 1,379, S’Klallam/Port Gamble/Hansville 2,112 and Tahuya 260.

The drive is sponsored locally by the National Association of Letter Carriers with the support of the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, United Way of Kitsap County and Kitsap News Group/Sound Publishing.

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