News Roundup -- Racetrack plan gets scrutiny/Public meeting on fire levy set/‘Delicious’ books to go/Job service needs job filled/Looking for tasty tomatoes/Sti

Racetrack plan gets scrutiny

The Kitsap County commissioners will assemble a task force to examine all aspects of the International Speedway Corp.’s proposal to locate a racetrack in Kitsap County, soliciting experts from financial and environmental areas.

“This will be a full team,” said Central Kitsap Commissioner Patty Lent. “We want them to advise the county as to how to move forward. We don’t want to make errors and assume things. We want to go forward with the right information, and we will pay for this.”

The ISC proposal is expected sometime in October, according to spokesman Stann Tate. Lent said there was no schedule for establishing the task force, but she said that a Sept. 6 open meeting would provide much of the information needed to recruit the proper people.

“We will have a team of experts that will look at any bond issues and the entire fiscal package, as well as the environmental aspects,” she said. “With this, we will be able to determine exactly what it will cost.”

Lent said the task force would be of a temporary nature and be comprised of “people with whom we have worked before.”

After ISC failed to locate a racetrack in Snohomish County, it changed its strategy for its second run, this time in Kitsap.

“We learned from our mistakes,” said ISC spokesman Stann Tate. “But we are now working to get all our ducks in a row.”

ISC’s biggest misstep its first time around, he believes, was going public with its intention to locate in Snohomish County before actually securing the land. This drove up the price of the parcel in question, and landfill issues made the cost impractical.

In Kitsap, ISC secured an option on the land in question before going public. It also changed captains, bringing in vice president Grant Lynch to head the project.

“He had a lot more experience in this kind of thing,” Tate said.

The initial commissioners’ listening session will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sept. 6 at Klahowya High School in Silverdale.

Another prior meeting, concentrating on the track’s business potential, is scheduled for Aug. 30, when the Bremerton Port Orchard and Silverdale Chambers of Commerce is sponsoring a lunch meeting at the Red Lion Hotel in Silverdale.

This will feature a panel discussion conducted by industry and tourism experts. These includes Cindy Cash of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Bridgette Jobe of the Kansas City Visitors and Convention Bureau, Ralph Morton of the Seattle Sports Council, Kitsap Peninsula Economic Council Executive Director Grant Griffin, KEDC Executive Director David Porter and Stann Tate.

The Chamber of Commerce luncheon requires reservations and a ticket; $20 for Chamber members and $25 for non members.

For reservations call (360) 479-3579.

– Charlie Bermant

Public meeting on fire levy set

Most people would think it’s time for a new car after driving one for 20 years and the fire department doesn’t want to have to respond to emergencies in one.

The Bainbridge Island Fire Department invites the public to an open house and public meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Madison Avenue Fire Station to learn more about why it is requesting a temporary levy lid lift on the Sept. 20 ballot.

There will be a presentation that details how the tax revenues will be used and time for citizens to ask questions about the measure. A demonstration will also give attendees a chance to see the apparatus to be replaced.

The department plans to use the funds to replace seven emergency vehicles and make other apparatus and communication upgrades. A property tax levy lid lift stretched over six years would raise $2.27 million for needed equipment.

For property owners, the existing tax rate would increase by 8.5 percent per $1,000 of assessed property value. Thus a property valued at $450,000 would would pay about $41 more per year for six years over the current rate. At the end of the six years, the rate would return to what it would have been that year under the regularly scheduled rate increases of 1 percent each year plus new construction.

This request to the voters follows voters’ rejection in May 2004 of a permanent levy hike of 10 percent.

‘Delicious’ books to go

When you’re racing for the ferry, a hardcover library book in your bag can be a drag.

“The library historically hasn’t purchased literary paperbacks (because of wear and tear),” said Robin Cameron, deputy director for public services at Kitsap Regional Library, “and I know as a commuter, I would rather bring a paperback.”

In the spirit of grab-and-go, readers can now check out just-released contemporary fiction and non-fiction paperbacks from the new Books2Go section, which KRL instituted system-wide last week. The books circulate among the branches — available to whomever gets it first — and cannot be put on hold or renewed.

The Books2Go revolving bookcase stands before the checkout desk at the Bainbridge library. Popular book group selections and in-the-news authors catch the eye, like author Tracy Chevalier of “The Girl With the Pearl Earring” fame or “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides.

Bainbridge’s associate librarian Libby Anderson says patron reaction has been positive.

“Readers are giddy,” Anderson said. “People are coming back and back and back. It’s like walking into a bookstore.”

The idea, Cameron said, was a team effort by the KRL collections group. At her previous position at the Vashon Island library, a similar type collection was the “hottest section.”

Each book features the Books2Go sticker and is very minimally processed, only identified by barcode. Whereas a typical book can take three to five weeks to go from box to shelf, processing Books2Go takes virtually no time and can be done at each branch instead of only being input at a central location, Cameron said.

On a patron’s account, a Books2Go volume will be listed as “Books2Go” instead of by its title and author. Copies of Books2Go titles might also be in the regular collection, but have a long waiting list. If the in-demand book appears on the Books2Go shelf when you’re at the library, it’s yours.

“If you like contemporary fiction and non-fiction, it’s just a delicious little piece waiting for you,” Anderson said.

—Tina Lieu

Job service needs job filled

The Bainbridge Youth Services has posted a job of its own for its youth job program.

The organization is seeking a person who has experience working with kids, ages 12-19, for a paid part-time position as job coordinator, four hours a day Monday through Friday.

The job program saw a bumper crop of jobs this summer.

Although BYS Executive Director Lois Lee had been expecting a tough summer for teen job seekers, she said the program has already filled 500 jobs this year, compared to 572 in all of 2004.

The job coordinator maintains a bulletin board of jobs for students to browse. Current coordinator Jamy Wagner said that about 85 percent of jobs are for yardwork or regular lawn mowing, with childcare and moving accounting for another large chunk. Other jobs such as pet-sitting, tutoring and data entry round out the listings.

Some more interesting jobs this summer have included data entry for a kayak shop, a coxswain for the rowing club, directing traffic at a wedding and computer troubleshooting.

“People use (the program) because they want to give back to the kids,” Wagner said.

To join, youths ages 12-19 pay $5, which registers them through age 20. Most jobs pay around $10 an hour.

When Wagner talks with students about the jobs they are looking for, she also makes suggestions to help improve qualifications. She has information on CPR classes, a desirable skill for babysitters, some of whom work before school to help get a family’s kids off to school.

BYS also sets up a table once a week at Woodward Middle School and Bainbridge High School to sign up more kids.

“I would like to get kids involved (early) to continue through high school,” Wagner said.

The BYS job coordinator is a paid position. Those interested in applying should call Bainbridge Youth Services, located in Commodore School, at 842-9675.

—Tina Lieu

Looking for tasty tomatoes

Red, yellow, orange or purple, all tomatoes are welcome.

The Bainbridge Island Farmers Market has it second annual tomato taste-off for all home-grown tomatoes this Saturday.

Tomatoes may be entered in the following categories: cherry tomato, salad tomato, slicing tomato (for large Beefsteak-type tomatoes), sauce tomato and color-other-than-red tomatoes.

Entries should arrive before 11:45 a.m. to make the noon judging by local celebrities: Carl Sussman, former owner and chef of Winslow Way Cafe; Hazel van Evera of Pegasus Coffee House; Abra Bennett of Rolling Bay Gourmet; Bob Fornter, bon vivant and winemaker; Stephanie Von Tacky of Culinary Escapades; and Art Bartel, culinary instructor at the Art Institute of Seattle.

One entry per category is allowed per person. Supply three cherry tomatoes per entry and only one of tomatoes large enough to be split five ways. Provide a 3-by-5-inch index card with your name, tomato’s name and your phone number.

The farmers market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and 4- 7 p.m. on Wednesdays on the green in front of BPA by City Hall.

Still room on mosquito fleet

The July round-the-island tour aboard the Steamer Virginia V had to be postponed due to unusually low tides that day. A few tickets still remain for the rescheduled three-hour tour on Oct. 2 aboard the historic ship that once stopped at ports all around Bainbridge Island, earning the name “Mosquito Fleet.”

The trip will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with boarding beginning at 10:30 a.m. Cost is $70 per person. Tickets may be purchased at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum or Vern’s Winslow Drug

For an additional $25, passengers can buy tickets to return with the vessel through the Ballard Locks to its berth at the south end of Lake Union. Passengers will need to make their own arrangements from Seattle back to the island; a Metro bus stops within several blocks of Lake Union and goes to Colman Dock.

The tour will be narrated by several local historians. Coffee, tea and bottled water will be provided free of charge.

The steamer Virgina V is the only Mosquito Fleet vessel still afloat among the hundreds that provided connections to communities along Puget Sound during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Mosquito Fleet ceased operations in the 1950s.

The Virginia V underwent a complete rebuild during the 1990s and began operations as a charter vessel three years ago.

Just Know to host forum

The Just Know Bainbridge Coalition for Youth and Parents presents its second fall forum, which aims to continue the dialogue among youth, parents and other adults in the community.

Dr. Michael Bradley, therapist and author of “Yes, Your Teen is Crazy” and “Yes, Your Parents are Crazy” speaks, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 19 at Bainbridge High School, on “Step into the Conversation – A Journey for Parents and Teens.”

Following the keynote address, participants will choose two break-out sessions to attend. The forum ends with a question-and-answer lunch session with Bradley.

The break-out sessions include:

• “What’s Really Happening On Bainbridge – A Conversation with Parents and Professionals,” with representatives from county and local health services, the police and schools

• “Parenting Well in a Media Age” with Gloria De Gaetano

• “The Role of Parents and Life Lessons in Athletics,” with Bruce Brown

• “Harm Reduction – Using Good Judgment,” with UW professionals

• a panel discussion on teen mental health issues.

Last fall, more than 300 people attended the first forum on “Drugs, Alcohol and Adolescence.”

For more information, contact the Bainbridge Island School District Community Relations Coordinator at 780-1398, or

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