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News Roundup -- Close property gets $100K/Pick coffee on sister isle/Bistro closes after 19 years

Close property gets $100K

The effort to preserve a portion of the island’s western shore and forest land just received a $100,000 boost from the National Fish and Wildlife Fund.

“The Close property is really cool and makes you feel like you’re off in the wilderness,” said Bainbridge Island Land Trust Executive Director Karen Molinari. “It has huge trees in an old-growth forest and is one ot the biggest pieces of land that’s been left undeveloped.”

The 64-acre Close property borders Gazzam Lake Park and includes heavily wooded uplands that descend through ravines to a sloping gravel beach on the west.

Largely undisturbed since the early 1900s, the property has long been a destination for hikers and serves as significant habitat for salmon, eagles, hawks and other wildlife.

The Bainbridge Island Land Trust has led efforts to purchase the $2.5 million property with matching funds from the city’s Open Space Bond. With the foundation’s grant, the trust has raised almost $810,000 to meet their $1.25 million goal. The trust hopes to make final payments by the end of the year.

“This grant is one more demonstration of the importance of saving this land for future generations,” said trust president Sallie Maron. “In making this grant, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has recognized the significance of the Close property as an important wildlife habitat on Bainbridge Island.”

Donations to help complete the purchase of the Close property may be made to the Bainbridge Island Land Trust at www.bi-landtrust.org, or by mailing donations to PO Box 10144 , Bainbridge Island, WA 98110.

—Tristan Baurick

Pick coffee on sister isle

The Bainbridge-Ometepe Sister Islands Association is looking for a few good coffee pickers.

The association hopes to fill a dozen spots in a delegation heading to the Island of Ometepe, Nicaragua in late November. The 12-day trip will highlight organic coffee production at the Finca Magdalena cooperative on the slopes of Volcan Maderas.

“We’ll get to pick the red berries, observe and learn about the processing of the coffee beans and get to sit down with some of the members of the cooperative to hear their stories,” said Dale Spoor, the trip’s organizer.

Delegates will begin their trip at the colonial city of Grenada, then head to the island in vast Lake Nicaragua. Besides picking beans and packing them on mules, travelers will learn about the cooperative’s history and how shade-grown coffee promotes the health of tropical birds.

The trip will include visits with local families, schools and a center that helps urban street kids stay off drugs. Delegates will also be able to view ancient petroglyphs, hike to a volcano’s crater lake and watch an array of colorful birds and wildlife.

The estimated $1,350 cost includes airfare, transportation within Nicaragua, all meals and lodging. Spoor hopes to round up a committed group of delegates by early September.

For more information, contact drspoor@mindspring.com.

– Tristan Baurick

Bistro closes after 19 years

After 19 years of 90-hour work weeks, a break is well-deserved.

Hussein Ramadan, owner and chef of Bistro Pleasant Beach in Winslow with his wife and restaurant general manager Laura, recently sold the business.

Before the Winslow Way bistro opened in 1998, specializing in Mediterranean-style cuisine, the couple ran another establishment in Lynwood Center for 10 years.

“You get to a point in your life when you need to sit back and spend time with the family and kids,” Ramadan said. “I enjoyed it a lot, but it was taking away from the family.”

Since closing the restaurant, Ramadan says he has been kicking back and enjoying life. The family plans to stay on the island, but Ramadan is not yet sure about future plans.

“We’re not going to discount anything for the future,” he said. “I wish the new owners success like we have (had). It’s been wonderful serving the community for the last 18 to 19 years.”

– Tina Lieu

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