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News Roundup -- Home store on Winslow Way/Gormleys get late reprieve/BIB changing name to BITV

Home store on Winslow Way

There will be something old, new, borrowed and blue when Port Madison Homes moves to its soon-to-be new location in the former Winslow Hardware space on Winslow Way.

“We’re going to try to retain the mercantile ambience to honor the history of the building and the town,” said John Hays, owner of the home furnishings store currently located on Hildebrand Lane. “I think that’s really important.

Although Hays still has a couple of “hurdles” to clear before the move, some time this summer he hopes to be installed downtown. This will give the shop access to more foot traffic and floor space to show more of its furnishings instead of pantomiming the dimensions of furniture.

“It will let us talk less with our hands,” Hays said, “and just show it.”

He also welcomes the start of downtown businesses staying open late until 8 p.m.on Thursday nights, beginning next week.

His store is now open until 8 p.m. weekdays, but he says the late hours have been quiet in the absence of a critical mass of stores open late in the area.

Hays wanted to be downtown when Port Madison Homes first opened in April 2004, but there was no available space.

In the new location, which Hays will share with another furnishings-related business, Port Madison Home will expand its offerings to include more bath fixtures and accessories and also personal items like handbags.

The store will keep its focus on quality goods, Hays said.

“I want to be marketing to families like my own. We want things to be nice, we don’t buy junk, but we don’t need everything to be an heirloom,” he said.

When the furniture store moves in, shoppers will see remnants borrowed from the old hardware store, like its funky handmade department signs and antique hardware items that building owner Ken Schuricht had stored away.

“I feel sad the hardware store is gone,” Hays said. “When growth happens, that’s change, and change is good – usually – but you got a place like that (hardware store), which really has history. I want to retain our history.

“It’s important because the town is what it is today, because of what it was.”

– Tina Lieu

Gormleys get late reprieve

Something very unexpected – and very satisfying – happened to Mike and Carol Gormley at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The South African couple received a phone call from their lawyer saying they were granted permission to stay in the United States until Sept. 15.

This allows them time to complete the necessary paperwork to relocate to Great Britain, where Mike Gormley’s sister lives.

When Mike Gormley heard the news, “he burst out crying and passed the phone over to me,” his wife said. “It was right at the last moment.”

The Gormleys were scheduled for deportation on Saturday.

They had exhausted all appeals to be granted asylum on the grounds that their loss of livelihood in South Africa amounts to persecution, and for medical reasons. Mike Gormley has heart disease.

The Gormleys were awaiting word on where they would be sent. Originally, they are from Durban, South Africa.

“We were very, very worried and just kept in the dark the whole time,” Carol Gormley said. “I had done nothing but worry and panic. I was smiling on the outside and my heart was breaking inside.

“I really believe the night before, it had really started to hit my daughter, Maureen (Kruse), that we were going to leave.”

The Gormleys’ grandson had asked his mother: “Are Granny and Grandpa going to come to my Fourth of July parade?”

“My daughter said no and he was so disappointed,” Carol Gormley said. “Now we can go to the parade.”

The couple plan to take things one day at a time, she said, happy to enjoy the next three months with family and friends.

“We should get our British passports,” she said. “Mike’s father was born in Glasgow...and I’m going to go for a residential visa. After three years, I can apply for resident status.”

Meantime, “Mike is off to work next week,” she said. “Safeway called.”

– Rhona Schwartz

BIB changing name to BITV

When you’re in the community broadcasting realm but some people think you sell items for infants, you might just have an image problem.

That was the conclusion at Bainbridge Island Broadcasting, whose long-time acronym – BIB – wasn’t getting its real mission across.

“Basically, we just asked a lot of people on the island if they knew of ‘BIB,’ and a lot of them didn’t,” manager Scott Schmidt said. “Some thought we were (producing) baby products. Nobody got that we were a community access channel.”

Come July, the local cable channel will be known as Bainbridge Island Television, or BITV for short. The change will be touted through various Grand Old Fourth promotions, including a float in the parade.

Schmidt said the name change reflects the organization’s attempt to make itself more visible in the community.

“Overwhelmingly, everybody thought that (BITV) was a better move,” Schmidt said. “If you say ‘Bainbridge Island Television,’ people ask what channel.”

Located on High School Road near Strawberry Hill Park and at channel 12 on the Comcast cable dial, the station carries public meetings and an array of other locally produced programming.

Classes give the 100 current members a chance to learn video production skills and put their own programs on the air.

Schmidt said the number of programs and their variety have increased dramatically in recent months.

The organization also has committed to new community projects, including 100 hours of service for local nonprofits.

“We want to be recognized as a community organization, not just a channel,” Schmidt said.

– Douglas Crist

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