News Roundup -- Vancil to seek second term/Restroom plan gets the nod/The island news at 3:30

Vancil to seek second term

Councilwoman Debbie Vancil will seek a second term from ward No. 7, she has announced.

Unspecified “personal health and family responsibilities” prevented her from declaring her intentions earlier, she said.

“I feel confident that my health has now fully recovered and that with the support of my family, my personal responsibilities can be addressed,” Vancil said.

Vancil said the Bainbridge Island community is experiencing a “sea of change,” and that the next four years will be pivotal for the island’s response to growth.

She cited such issues as downtown planning, non-motorized transportation and cultural facilities needs as issues facing the council and the community.

“My experience with developing policy and my diverse, broad community involvement puts me in the unique position of being able to make the connection with the community vision and with crafting good policy to make it all happen,” she said. “The challenge is holding on to our core values while preparing for change.”

She cited her work as council chair this year in urging “consideration of all viewpoints, and guiding the council towards collegial debate. The council usually agrees on the same values. Often they don’t know it, because they have different means and methods of getting to the same end.

“As a good listener, I work hard to pull those threads of commonality for them, and build consensus in an otherwise polarized group,” she said.

Among the accomplishments of her first four years, Vancil cited her work with the Community Forestry Commission, hearing examiner appeals ordinance, city-wide communications policy, parking and tourism forums and performance evaluations for city management.

No other candidates have announced for the position; the formal filing period is July 25-29.

Restroom plan gets the nod

Grander in both scope and cost, a new restroom for Waterfront Park earned the mixed endorsement of the City Council last Wednesday.

The council accepted conceptual designs for a “park pavilion,” a gull-winged structure with a covered picnic area as well as a restroom and showers for boaters. The council also accepted the proposed site, displacing at least one of the park’s tennis courts.

Arts advocates hailed the plan, which supplants an earlier and more austere vision for the restroom facility.

“It’s simple, it’s classy, it’s playful, it’s sustainable and it’s extremely well thought out,” Ginny Brewer told the council.

According to design documents before the council, a promenade in front of the facility will connect the downtown area to the waterfront.

A water play feature will use runoff from the building’s roof, and a shell storage enclosure is planned for the rowing club.

The area east of the facility will be regraded to create a grass amphitheater facing the park’s performance area, while public art will be built into the feature.

“I’m very excited and enthused about the design concept that’s before us, because it takes us in a different direction,” Councilman Nezam Tooloee said.

But such enthusiasm was tempered by concerns over cost, estimated at $381,000 and significantly higher than the earlier plan, for which the council had approved $225,000.

Several council members questioned why they were even discussing the project, when it had gone beyond the original cost parameters.

“For me, there’s no point in talking about a $381,000 project if we don’t have any money for it,” Councilman Bob Scales said.

Agreed Councilwoman Debbie Vann, “I thought our budget was way out of line to begin with.”

But others, including Councilwoman Debbie Vancil, noted that the city would be getting far more than a restroom, citing amenities contemplated in the park’s long-range plan.

“Sometimes when you buy in bulk, it’s cheaper,” she said.

The effort to put a new restroom in Waterfront Park has taken nearly four years, since a dilapidated facility was torn down.

The council earlier this year approved construction of a prefabricated restroom near the boat launch parking lot. But that plan was scuttled in April, when arts interests successfully lobbied for a new design process.

A community design seminar brought forth a range of ideas, and the Seattle architectural firm Olson, Sundberg, Kundig and Allen came up with a new vision.

That set off a new debate over the proper location for the facility, and whether the tennis courts could be located elsewhere.

“What is very clear to everyone is that if the sitelines and connection to the water (are important), which most people agree they are, the current tennis courts are in the wrong place,” Brewer said.

Debbi Lester of the city’s public arts group agreed that the earlier approved restroom site near the boat launch would have blocked views of the harbor.

“If you were designing a house where you opened the front door and you looked into a toilet, that wouldn’t be the best design,” she said.

Councilwoman Vann questioned the proposed restroom’s aesthetics, and said that a number of people polled “actively disliked” the design.

“I don’t like this at all,” she said. “I would really like Winslow to have something that’s attractive, and not concrete and a tin roof.”

But the vision also had its champions.

“I’m not cranky about this at all,” Tooloee said. “I see a major opportunity here to go down a different path with what happens with Waterfront Park...I’m not perturbed, because we’re getting much more out of it.”

Public works officials now will start formal restroom design and refine project costs, with construction eyed sometime in 2006.

– Douglas Crist

The island news at 3:30

Count three, two, one and you are on the air – local news from a kids’ perspective takes to the airwaves Friday.

The “Kids Broadcasting Week” class will air its news program this Friday at 3:30 p.m. on BITV channel 12.

The debut news class, taught by Bainbridge Island Television production coordinator Jeff Anttila, started last Monday and will go on air in just five days.

Five students, ages 11 to 15, will learn how to tell a story, anchor the news broadcast, direct and conduct on-camera interviews covering local events.

“They take on technology a lot faster than any adult,” Anttila said. “It’s going to be interesting because they are able to take direction so well.”

Stories may include interviews at the Kids Discovery Museum.

Just a few weeks earlier, in the Fantastic Film Fusion class, students, ages 11 to 16, created film shorts – each required to include a sack of coffee. Some films may be entered into the Celluloid Bainbridge Film Festival next year, Anttila said. They will air again on BITV in about two weeks.

They include:

“Clutzington Park” – A young boy, who has spent his entire life in Clutzington Park must leave the park to discover the meaning of his life.

“Thirty” – Nelson Patterson goes to get a bag of coffee for his mom, but en route is knocked out for 30 years and awakens to a changed world.

“Day 47” – On the 47th and final day of a war battle, the hero must defeat all enemy forces and retake the grail of coffee.

“Time Travel” – Little Jimmy and his family are bullied one too many times. Over coffee, he discusses his plans with a friend to build a brain time machine to return to the cavemen days to right the wrongs and create balance in his own time.

The BITV Kids News repeats at 5:30 p.m. July 25 and 5:30 and 11 p.m. July 26 on BITV channel 12. For a full schedule of BITV programming this week, see page B3.

—Tina Lieu

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