News Roundup -- Homestretch for park drive/Play for Cure on July 14-15/Kiwanis seeks top citizen/Clear Path hits milestone

Homestretch for park drive

The effort to create a 50-acre waterfront park on the south shore of Eagle Harbor received a $650,000 boost from various sources last week, sparking a final fund-raising push.

“We’re very happy with the way things have gone,” said Bainbridge Island Land Trust President Sallie Maron, who has overseen much of the fund-raising effort. “We definitely feel we’re in the final stretch.”

A unanimous City Council vote Wednesday formally authorized the city to transfer funds totaling $650,000 to the land trust for the creation of Pritchard Park.

About 22 acres were secured last year after $4.9 million was raised for the park’s western portion. Recent grants from the county ($350,000), the state ($2 million) and federal government ($500,000) combined with numerous private donations to acquire the remaining 28 acres.

Portions of these financial sources were used in the city-approved contribution. Only $212,000 remains to be raised in the overall $8 million effort to purchase the park property.

Maron hopes to gather enough private donations by October to complete the park’s purchase.

The park would be named for the late Joel Pritchard, an islander, Republican legislator and Washington lieutenant governor. The site will include a memorial to Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II, open space, wooded areas, a public beach and possibly a Suquammish-style longhouse.

“It’s such a special place, a real defining piece for our island,” Maron said.

– Tristan Baurick

Play for Cure on July 14-15

Since its inception two years ago, the Wing Point benefit for breast cancer – formerly Rally for a Cure – has really taken off.

This year it’s out of the nest and flying under its own power as Play for a Cure.

“I think the event has really matured and is really embraced by our club and community as a valuable, standing event,” event co-chair Deb Maier said.

The last two years, the golfing/dinner/auction event raised $135,000. This year the event is directly affiliated with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation’s Puget Sound affiliate and has become a two-day event, July 14-15 at the Wing Point Golf and Country Club. Registration for events is due by July 1.

Event proceeds benefit the Komen Foundation, which puts 75 percent of funds to work locally providing education, screenings and treatment to underserved breast cancer patients. The remaining 25 percent goes toward research at the national level.

The Play for the Cure features men’s golf and mixed bridge the first day. The second day, women’s golf and women’s tennis play during the day with a 6 p.m. cocktail party followed by a gala gourmet dinner and live auction from 7 p.m. Auction items include trips -- such as one week in a home in Provence, France – jewelry, wine collections, art and more.

“People see this as a great cause and a great social event,” Maier said. “We’re committed to keeping that momentum going and making an even bigger difference.”

This year’s event sponsors are General Construction, Manson Construction and Nelson Wood and Glass Inc.

To register or for more information, call 842-2688.

– Tina Lieu

Kiwanis seeks top citizen

The Kiwanis Club of Bainbridge Island is seeking nominations for 2005 Bainbridge Island Citizen of the Year.

Candidates should be residents of the island, major contributors to the community and the well-being of citizens, and not a member of Kiwanis.

Nomination forms are being sent to island service organizations, religious institutions, and other charitable groups; however, anyone can submit a nomination. Additional forms can be obtained from Greg Geehan (855-1238). Completed nominations must be received by Aug. 24.

One nominee will be selected to receive the 2005 award by the Kiwanis board of directors.

The recipient and spouse (or friend) will be honored guests at Kiwanis’ annual Citizen of the Year and Officer Installation Banquet, to be held on Sept. 25 at IslandWood.

Clear Path hits milestone

The island-based humanitarian organization Clear Path International has shipped its 50th container of medical relief goods since it began a program to support hospitals in countries affected by the presence of landmines four years ago.

The 40-foot container, filled with medical equipment and surgical supplies, was sent from Clear Path’s donated warehouse space in Seattle’s Georgetown to Cambodia, where it will be distributed to six hospitals and relief organizations.

“I never thought we’d reach this milestone so quickly,” said Imbert Matthee, the organization’s co-founder and president. “In-kind donors and volunteers have made this possible. This program would not exist without them.”

Since the summer of 2001, when Clear Path sent its first seven containers from Kamloops, B.C., to Vietnam and Cambodia, the humanitarian mine action nonprofit has sent similar shipments to India, Indonesia, Jordan, Afghanistan, Uganda, Malawi, Honduras, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Brazil and the Philippines.

Matthee estimates Clear Path has sent at least $3.5 million worth of used and sometimes new medical goods to developing countries, including several that were hit by the tsunami in December.

About half of the shipments have been sent to Vietnam and Cambodia, two of the countries where the organization has its programs for aid to landmine accident survivors.

The items range from manual hospital beds and gurneys to kidney dialysis machines, anaesthesia machines and a myriad of surgical supplies.

The equipment goes to medical facilities that have a critical need for it. Clear Path’s 50th container to Cambodia, for instance, included equipment that will help a provincial hospital in Battambang set up a new operating suite.

Currently, the facility, which serves nearly 1 million people in three provinces, has only one operating suite with old equipment.

Hospitals, nursing homes and clinics throughout the West Coast and sometimes elsewhere in the country donated their surplus medical goods to Clear Path.

A sponsor in Canada arranges ocean shipping for the items all over the world, charging a minimal fee.

Warehouse space, a cargo van and labor are all donated. Truck rentals, office costs and occasional temporary storage are the program’s only expenses, Matthee said.

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