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News Roundup -- Blaze damages Manitou home/Sakai honored as green school/Big grant for PeaceTrees/Seniors get a big discount

Blaze damages Manitou home

Fire damaged a home in the 10000 block of Manitou Park Boulevard Wednesday evening.

The blaze was reported around 9:18 p.m. by a neighbor who smelled smoke several doors down. Firefighters found a bedroom and bathroom in the single-story home fully involved, and the blaze was extinguished without incident.

The owners were away at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported.

Cause of the blaze remains under investigation, fire officials said Friday. Damage was estimated at $45,000 to the structure and $20,000 to the home’s contents.

– Douglas Crist

Sakai honored as green school

Sakai Intermediate School was named one of the country’s top 10 “green schools” by a national environmental magazine.

“This upholds the whole district vision of sustainable architecture and how sensitive we are, and want to be, to the environment,” said Bainbridge Island School District spokesperson Pamela Keyes.

The island school ranked fourth on the Green Guide’s list, recognizing student efforts to raise and release salmon hatchlings in the campus stream. The magazine also noted the school’s use of low-emission buses and curriculum devoted to environmental awareness.

“From the moment the five-year old school rolls its fifth and sixth-graders to campus in buses retrofitted with particulate collectors to capture asthma-inducing small particles from exhaust, the building and teaching staff demonstrate that ‘the medium is the message,’” the editors wrote.

A typical class day at Sakai could include students gathering data on local birds, testing groundwater for pollutants or studying nearby wetlands.

The school building itself uses recycled materials, while oversize ducts reduce mold-growth without relying on energy-intensive air-conditioning systems. The school also uses pest management strategies that exclude the use of pesticides.

Sakai was the only school in Washington state named to the list. Bainbridge’s IslandWood School received an honorable mention from the Green Guide. The number one spot on the list went to Clackamas High School in Oregon.

The Bauhaus-inspired building uses a wide variety of ecological enhancements, including day-lit classrooms and long-life brick-and-concrete construction that harnesses thermal energy to reduce heating costs.

“It is inspiring to see schools like these integrate the environment into the curriculum while taking the lead on simple measures that can make a big difference in preserving our children’s health,” said the magazine’s editor, Mindy Pennybacker.

– Tristan Baurick

Big grant for PeaceTrees

The Bainbridge-based PeaceTrees Vietnam organization was awarded more than $300,000 by the U.S. State Department for a mine-clearance project in central Vietnam.

“Receiving such strong support from the Department of State offers a powerful testament to the importance of the issue of landmines and unexploded ordnance throughout the world,” said PeaceTrees Vietnam’s Executive Director Chuck Meadows in a statement.

In a typical week, according to Meadows, at least one child or farmer is killed or injured by an unexploded ordnance in Quang Tri Province, the area where much of the money will be spent.

The grant is funded by the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement and is designed to support bomb disposal response teams operations in Quang Tri.

The 10-year-old nonprofit was the first organization in the U.S. granted permission by the Vietnamese government to sponsor landline removal.

PeaceTrees has cleared more than 300 acres of land, removed over 5,000 deadly ordnance items, and planted over 22,000 trees on cleared land in less than 10 years, according to Meadows.

Seniors get a big discount

The Bainbridge Island School District is offering a free pass to plays and sporting events – all the perks of school without the headaches of exams and class schedules.

There is, of course, a catch.

To take advantage of free admission to all school district public events, you must be 60 years of age or older.

The idea behind the 60+ Gold Pass had been kicking around for awhile, said Pam Keyes, the school district’s community relations coordinator.

“(Superintendent) Ken Crawford brought it back to the plate this summer,” Keyes said. “This is great value on both sides, for the senior citizens and the kids. The seniors get into charged events free and they can really promote them and come in and be revitalized. We’re connecting generations.”

The school district had the first batch of passes ready for the Fourth of July festivities. That day, about 40 seniors signed up. Keyes’ recent emails about the gold pass to all the parents in the Bainbridge school district also were well-received.

“We actually have parents who are senior citizens. We’ve got 70-year-old parents,” Keyes said. “They can all use the pass. They said, ‘Thank you so much for a great idea. Can we share this with our parents?’

“Of course you can. This is for everyone,” Keyes said.

Seniors who don’t have students in the district are getting passes at a fast clip. Each sign-up sheet that Keyes distributed to the island’s senior housing has 16 spaces for names. One residence filled its first sheet right away and started a waiting list.

There’s no need for anyone to panic. Keyes said “well over 1,000” passes were printed.

“The cards are laminated like little credit cards and you just pop them in your wallet,” she said.

A booth for gold passes will be set up at next Friday’s high school football game and the senior adults in attendance will get a special salute.

“We’re going to recognize the seniors who attend events, especially the athletic events. That’s an easy format,” Keyes said. “We’re trying to figure out how to do it at plays and other events.”

To obtain a 60+ Gold Pass, go to a designated location (see below) and give your name, address or email address and phone number. You’ll get your laminated pass on the spot and will be notified about upcoming events.

For athletic competitions that require a ticket, simply show your pass at the door. Reservations are necessary to attend school plays. Gold pass holders must say they have a pass when they make their reservations and show their pass when they pick up their tickets.

If you don’t show your pass at the door, you’ll pay the normal ticket price.

Gold pass registration is available at the following locations: the Bainbridge Island School District office; any school office; the Bainbridge Island Senior Center; Finch Place Apartments; the Madison Avenue Retirement Center; Virginia Villa; Winslow Arms; Winslow Manor; and Wyatt House.

If you are unable to get to one of these places, or have any questions, call Pamela Keyes at 780-1398.

— Rhona Schwartz

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