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News Roundup -- Ballots are in the mail/Volunteer to watch salmon/Oak leaves an impression

Ballots are in the mail

The Kitsap County Auditor’s Office mailed general election ballots out this week, sending them to 134,476 voters.

Voters have until Nov. 8 to complete and submit the ballots, either by mail or at designated drop boxes throughout the county.

Election Supervisor Dolores Gilmore said she expects a high turnout because of interest in statewide initiatives.

Along with the ballots, the county printed 115,000 voter pamphlets. One was sent to every household or P.O. box, with the remainder distributed to post offices and public buildings.

All voters should receive their ballots by Oct. 27. Those who have not received their ballot by then should contact the auditor’s office. For more information or to request a replacement ballot, call (360) 337-7128.

Volunteer to watch salmon

If a salmon swims up a stream but no one sees it, was it really there? It’s not just a philosophical question.

“We want to understand how many fish there are (in island streams) and where, and how the numbers fluctuate over time,” Jeanne Huber of the Bainbridge Island Watershed Council said. “We also want to be able to measure the benefit of restoration projects, such as new culverts under roads and efforts to restore native plants along stream banks.”

To that end, the watershed council is seeking volunteers for a salmon-spawning monitoring program in lieu of the usual salmon homecoming event.

The council with the city and the Suquamish Tribe will organize pairs of adult volunteers to monitor stretches of salmon-bearing streams once a week from mid-November to early January.

The study could answer questions such as whether or not native salmon are already using Cooper Creek and would benefit from an enhancement project.

Four streams are targeted for monitoring: Springridge Brook, Manzanita Creek, Cooper Creek and Woodward Creek.

A volunteer training session will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 29 at City Hall. Training will include fish identification, how to tell if fish have been in a stream even if none are seen and the types of data to collect.

Those able to commit to weekly surveys should call 780-3797 to reserve a spot.

Oak leaves an impression

From the ribs of viking ships to the pen that drafted the U.S. Constitution, the ubiquitous oak tree has formed the deep roots of Western civilization.

This is the thrust of a new book by arborist William Bryant Logan, who will present a slide show and lecture based on his new book “Oak: The Frame of Civilization” Tuesday during a fund-raiser for the Bloedel Reserve.

“Logan’s book is a fascinating read,” said the reserve’s program director Kate Gormley. “The plant has had a tremendous impact on civilization, is quite adaptable and grows all around the world.”

Gormley said “Oak” explores its subject through many angles, including botany, geology, cuisine, archeology, architecture, religion and military history.

In the same vein as renowned non-fiction writer John McPhee, Logan packs his book with “quirky facts,” Gormley said.

“All the great sailing vessels for 800 years — from the earliest Viking ships to the USS Constitution, ‘Old Ironsides,’ were constructed from oak,” she said, drawing upon tidbits from the book. “It provided ink with which Bach penned his cantatas. The word for door in every language of the West is derived from the Indo-European (word) for oak — duir.”

Logan’s 1996 book “Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth,” followed a similar theme, exploring a common, almost overlooked, natural element.

Proceeds raised at the event will help with the general upkeep of the Bloedel Reserve, a 150-acre wildlife area and public garden on the island’s north end.

The event begins at the reserve after 7:30 p.m. and will include dessert and coffee. Each $30 ticket represents a tax-deductible donation to the reserve.

Call 842-7631 for information.

—Tristan Baurick

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