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News Roundup -- Child center turning 30/Notices go out to area voters/Fill a backpack for a student/Traps set for gypsy moths

Child center turning 30

When Bainbridge Island Child Care Centers was created over 30 years ago, it was the community’s response to a growing need for child care to serve migrant workers and other working parents.

“Since then the organization has always responded to the need of the community,” Executive Director Anna Garrity said.

The organization celebrates more than 30 years of service to the community by inviting alumni and families to share memories and enjoy a BBQ celebration and traditional outdoor games, 1-4 p.m. Aug. 7 at Battle Point Park’s covered picnic area.

In the late 1980s, the Bainbridge Island School District asked BICCC to begin a school-age program. It did, then split into two groups in 1995, the Big Kids and Kids Club.

Garrity said the organization maintains a low child-to-staff ratio with a well-trained staff offering a structured and creative program.

The organization’s mission of making care accessible to everyone is supported by a scholarship program funded by the city, One Call For All, and individual donors. BICCC is also the only nonprofit child care center on the island that accepts DSHS payments, Garrity said.

The program places an emphasis on stimulating and varied activities, cultural diversity and teaching children to be a part of the community and give back.

Children are involved in helping the Helpline House food bank and Kitsap Humane Society, visiting nursing home residents, cooking dinner for the fire department and raising money to split between equipment for the school and for various charitable causes.

– Tina Lieu

Notices go out to area voters

County Auditor Karen Flynn mailed notices to 138,552 Kitsap voters last week, advising them of the switch to mail-only voting beginning with the Sept. 20 primary election.

The cards serve another purpose beyond notifying voters of the change – keeping track of the electorate so ballots will go to the correct address come September.

If the voter has moved, the election’s division will be notified of a forwarding address or if the card is undeliverable.

County Elections Supervisor Dolores Gilmore said if the forwarding address is within Kitsap County, the ballot will be sent to that address.

But voters who have no forwarding address or have moved from the county will be stricken from the rolls.

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners approved the vote-by-mail measure at its July 11 meeting. A citizens’ group questioned the legality of the action, since Gov. Christine Gregoire did not sign a bill authorizing all-mail balloting into law until July 25. Thus, commissioners will again ratify the measure at their Aug. 8 meeting.

Any registered voter who has not received the vote-by-mail notification should contact the auditor at 842-2061 or visit the office in the courthouse in Port Orchard.

Voters have until Aug. 20 to register by mail, and until Sept. 2 to do so in person.

Also, visitors to the Kitsap County Fair, which runs Aug. 24-28, will be able to register at either the Democratic or Republican party booths.

– Charlie Bermant

Fill a backpack for a student

Helpline House has kicked off its fifth annual Project Backpack program.

The program provides kids with the supplies they need to start school – such as classroom materials, clothing – other education-related items.

Every August, Helpline collects school supplies and monetary donations. The most needed items are three-ring binders, calculators, colored pencils, markers, sharp Fiskar-type scissors and sturdy backpacks.

Gift cards to clothing stores are also accepted, to help defray the cost of school clothing.

Last year’s donations brought in a almost $10,000 in supplies, which helped about 180 students.

Donations can also be dropped off at Helpline House, Island Fitness and Town & Country’s espresso stand from Aug. 12.

Supplies will be distributed to students on Sept. 1.

For more information about the project or to sign up to receive assistance from the program, contact Helpline House at 842-7621.

– Darcy Wallace

Traps set for gypsy moths

Imagine thousands of grizzly bears descending upon Kitsap County, looking to feed on human flesh.

From a tree’s perspective, that’s exactly the plight that comes with a devastating moth.

“Lymantria dispar” – more commonly known as the “gypsy moth” – has begun its attack, chowing down on the county’s most lush green spaces. Though far more prevalent on the East Coast, the moths consume about 1 million acres per year of foliage around the U.S.

“What makes the gypsy moth so insidious is that they consume 500 different plant species,” said John Lundberg, public information officer for the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “Take just about any leaf, and it will devour it.”

When you consider that a female moth lays an average of 1,000 eggs per year, that can be disastrous for forests.

Battling the moths locally are Harold Frost and others in the WSDA’s Pest Control Division, using a small green-colored, triangular trap scented with the pheromone a female moth produces to attract the mature males.

The bucolic neighborhood of Evergreen Ridge, just above Keyport, has the highest concentration of traps in the state – about 130.

The traps went up a year ago, when a high concentration of moths were found in that area.

There are another 100 traps on Bainbridge Island at the intersection of Day Road and Summerside, and some at other island locations.

Finding a gypsy moth is a bit like locating a needle in a haystack. Out of the 900 traps in Kitsap, they’ll net five moths “if we’re lucky,” Frost said.

But the purpose of the July and August trapping season is not to eradicate them. It’s simply to find out where they’re located.

There’s a good possibility that a male moth has already bred with the female by a time it has been trapped, in which case it’s nearing death and has already paved the way for 1,000 new babies.

The best chance to wipe out the foliage eaters is while new moths are still caterpillars in the early spring.

Helicopters will cover the moth-affected areas – ones the summer trappers determined have moth populations – with a spray known as “Btk,” an organic insecticide that poses virtually no threat to species other than caterpillars.

The European gypsy moth has shown up in Kitsap, likely thanks to a traveling RV or moving van from the 19 states that don’t eradicate the moth, but the more voracious Asian moth has only been sighted once.

Should you suspect there’s a gypsy moth eating your foliage, contact the WSDA at PestProgram@agr.wa.gov or call (800) 443-6684. The department is always on the lookout for new sightings.

“If we catch a moth in your back yard, we’ll bring in 100 traps or so,” Lundberg said.

– Josh Farley

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