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News Roundup -- Kallgren link denounced/Bid fails to ax salary group/You can fight the red tide/Hounds sought for parade/Lax champs host clinic/Berry wonderful

Kallgren link denounced

They didn’t get the legislative sandbags they wanted, but Kallgren Road residents haven’t lost hope they’ll stop the flood of auto traffic expected to wash through their peaceful, dead-end street.

A dozen neighbors turned out at Wednesday’s City Council meeting to protest a planned two-lane, paved link between Kallgren and Day roads.

“We are speaking unanimously,” Kallgren resident Scott Bowman said. “This connection is a disregard of the public voice.”

The neighborhood has collected more than 50 signatures calling on the city to stop the planned 60-foot-wide road improvement project.

The city proposed the link after Des Moines, Wash. resident Deni Christensen announced plans to develop 18 acres she owns between Kallgren and Day roads.

Initially asking for city approval of a one-lane residential driveway between the two roads, Christensen altered plans after the city asked that she pay $30,000 to make the driveway into a standard suburban street.

She is now asking that the city approve a smaller driveway from Kallgren that falls about 300 feet short of linking with Day Road.

Proposed by city engineers and planners as a link to improve general traffic circulation on the island, the idea also found favor with firefighters, who say Kallgren’s dead end impedes emergency access.

But most residents contend a wide, paved link will destroy the quiet, semi-rural character of a road frequented by dog walkers, children and bicyclists.

Kallgren resident Richard Jacobs said he would be open to a narrow emergency access lane, but that a larger link was unnecessary.

“What disturbs me most is that this appears to be street engineering straight out of the ’50s,” he said. “It’s a knee-jerk reaction that says the way to improve traffic is to build larger roads.”

He said in many European cities, roads are often circuitous to calm traffic.

“We can restrict traffic if we don’t want to have it,” Jacobs said.

Councilwoman Deborah Vann agreed that the planned link doesn’t fit the island’s overall traffic goals.

“We value narrow, winding roads and non-motorized transportation,” she said. “I can’t find anything in the Comprehensive Plan anywhere that says we should be widening roads across the island.”

Some council members expressed surprise that the issue had not already been resolved in favor of residents.

“This shouldn’t have ever come before council,” Councilman Nezam Tooloee said to residents. “It should have been handled by planning and public works. You were put in an unfortunate, unnecessary situation of having to come here and plead for help.”

While offering no immediate legislative support, Tooloee urged the mayor and city administrator to look into why “this breakdown had occurred.”

Councilman Bob Scales agreed, saying the council shouldn’t be micromanaging street circulation issues on a site-by-site basis.

“The only thing the council can do in this instance is mess things up,” he said.

Despite accusations from residents that they had been told by city staff that the matter was closed, planning director Larry Frazier stressed he was still looking into it.

“To be honest, I have not made a determination one way or the other,” he said. “I’m still taking information on this.”

Frazier expects to make his decision on the road link by Aug. 17.

Residents said the council’s positive response to their pleas gave them an emotional boost at the very least.

“We didn’t know of any other alternatives to turn to at the City of Bainbridge Island,” said Kallgren resident Susan Phillips-McGee, who has pledged to appeal any decision favoring a two-lane, paved extension.

– Tristan Baurick

Bid fails to ax salary group

Despite recommending no pay raise for city councilors, the salary commission escaped the council ax – for now.

In a rare move, the council tabled a motion made by Councilman Jim Llewellyn that would have cut the citizen commission on grounds that it had not fulfilled its intended purpose of raising pay.

“The commission didn’t do what it was set up to do,” said Llewellyn, who served on the council when the commission was formed.

While never explicitly stated, Llewellyn said the commission’s “obvious intent” was not to recommend if the council should receive a pay raise, but to decide how much.

Salary commission member Annette Stollman contends that the commission did recommend an amount.

“Well, one could say that we did decide how much, and that amount is zero,” she said.

Llewellyn believes the council’s $600 monthly salary is below other city councils in the region and had suggested a $400 increase.

Bremerton councilors earn about $750 per month, but that rate could soon change as that city’s salary commission considers raising pay up to $1,250.

In Mountlake Terrace, a city with a population comparable to Bainbridge’s 22,000, councilors earned $800 a month in 2002. Anacortes, population 15,000, also gave its councilors $800 a month.

But on Mercer Island, with its population and per capita income similar to Bainbridge, councilors netted only $100 a month.

Stollman, also a former Bainbridge councilwoman, said city size and demographics were only part of what the commission considered when it made its recommendation not to raise pay.

“The fact is, when you look at all the issues, the Bainbridge Island City Council is getting more than the average,” she said. Stollman said scrutinizing the council’s range of responsibilities was key to the commission’s recommendation.

“We all know our council works hard,” she said. “But they do a lot less than some other cities.”

The Bainbridge council is not directly involved in the decision making of local parks, schools, a fire department or libraries, as some other cities are, Stollman said.

But the Bainbridge council wrestles with other vital matters other cities do not, Llewellyn said.

“Look around, Bremerton and Port Orchard have none of the town growth issues that we do,” he said. “They’re mostly built out and don’t have the zoning, water and sewer issues that we do. Look at the amount of time we’re spending on the Critical Areas Ordinance.

“We do a lot of long-range planning with Winslow Tomorrow that eats up a lot of our time. There is no ‘Bremerton Tomorrow’ or ‘Port Orchard Tomorrow.’”

The council’s vote to table the commission’s elimination was a surprise to Llewellyn.

“As long as I’ve been on the council, I’ve maybe seen a motion tabled once,” he said. “Now (abolishing the commission) is on hold indefinitely.”

Councilwoman Debbie Vancil, a supporter of a council pay raise, was not present at Wednesday’s council meeting. Other councilors, including Bill Knobloch and Deborah Vann, who had expressed support for a salary boost voted against Llewellyn’s bid to dismantle the commission.

Councilwoman Christine Rolfes’ motion to table the measure was met with a 5-1 vote, with Llewellyn dissenting.

– Tristan Baurick

You can fight the red tide

The Puget Sound Restoration Fund is looking for volunteers to sample clams for “red tide,” paralytic shellfish poisoning caused by a population explosion of toxic, naturally occurring plankton.

Information gathered by volunteers will feed into a statewide database used by clam diggers to learn which areas have clams healthy for harvest.

From April to October, teams will dig for clams once a month at Skiff Point on Bainbridge Island or by the former marine science center in Poulsbo. Volunteers should have clam-digging experience or be willing to learn.

The fund is seeking volunteers for both a main team and a back-up team. Call 780-6947 for more information.

– Tina Lieu

Hounds sought for parade

Everyone loves a parade, including man’s best friend.

Fido can get in on the parade festivities, too.

The Bainbridge Island Basset Brigade is looking for proud hounds to march in the annual Fourth of July parade. Bassets and their owners will meet at the library between noon and 12:30 p.m. on parade day.

Charlie Bermant, basset parade director, says the brigade welcomes bassets of all types, including “bassidors, pit bassets, bassweilers and St. Bassets.”

The Basset Central Cell Phone Line, 605-2564, will be answered on July 4. Reservations are not required for a howling good time.

For more information or to say you’re coming, call 855-8771 or e-mail lastbassetstanding@yahoo.com.

Also this year, Westies will be marching in the third annual Westie brigade being organized by Skookum. Sign up if you have a Westie (or more) and would like to participate.

All ages of walkers and dogs are welcome. Sign-up with Skookum in Winslow Green at 842-0681 or skookum@bainbridge.net.

No reason for any dog to feel left out of the parade. Blended Breeds of Bainbridge heads up the mixed-breed contingent in the Fourth of July parade. Check with parade organizers on parade day for staging time and area.

Bandanas will be provided for dogs. Handlers are encouraged to wear white shirts and blue slacks/shorts and bring small dog biscuits to share with spectators. For more information, email noyes@noyesconsult.com.

– Rhona Schwartz and Tina Lieu

Lax champs host clinic

With the club lacrosse season completed, Bainbridge girls can work out with coach Tami Tommila and her state champion players at a lacrosse camp.

A girls lacrosse camp for kindergarten through seventh grade will run June 27-29 at Woodward Middle School. Times vary by age groups.

Coaching students will be members of the 2004 and 2005 state champion Bainbridge teams, including three All-Americans from the area.

“We’re excited that Lakeside’s Kate Okrasinski will be coaching as well,” said Tommila of an additional All-American among the camp’s coaches.

The camp is geared toward girls interested in learning the basics of lacrosse in a fun, energetic environment, Tommila said .

“We are trying to get young girls interested in our sport,” she said. “But most importantly, we want to get young girls physically active, while feeling great about themselves.”

Players with and without any previous playing experience – and all levels of physical ability – are welcome.

“We want to expose our great sport to all the kids on the island,” Tommila said. “Especially girls who go to other schools besides the public ones on Bainbridge. Because our sport is a club sport, we embrace all school players to play.”

The cost of the camp ($60 for K-2, $85 for grades 3-7) includes a new lacrosse stick or water bottle and a pink ball. To register, contact Tommila at 842-5937 or TTommila21@msn.com.

– T.F. Smeeth

Berry wonderful Sunday coming

It's a berry-wonderful time of the year, so make plans to attend the annual Bainbridge Island Strawberry Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 26. The festival will be held at the Filipino-American Hall, 7566 High School Rd. It is free and open to the public and features tasty Filipino foods, music and the presentation of the Royal Court.

"We revived this celebration in 1991," said Rudy Rimando, president of the Filipino-American Community of Bainbridge Island and Vicinity. "This year, the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association and (executive director) Cris Beattie has been helping us a lot."

Food service begins at 11 a.m. Each $6 combination plate includes a choice of pork adobo (marinated pork) or barbecued chicken, plus steamed rice, pancit (sauteed noodles with chicken), lumpia (similar to an eggroll and accompanied by sweet-and-sour sauce) and a stir-fry. Add $1 if you want pork and chicken. Pop is 50 cents.

Visitors come from near and far - Poulsbo, Bremerton and Silverdale - to enjoy the signature strawberry delight (chilled berries and whipped cream), which is available for $2 per serving.

The Royal Court is comprised of children dressed in finery suitable for the coronation of the festival's Queen and the introduction of the First Princess and Second Princess with their escorts.

Singing groups, a DJ and a Hawaiian dance group will keep the merriment going throughout the day.

--Rhona Schwartz

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