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News Roundup - Council OK’s harbor funds/Bridge delays this weekend/Vandeleur off to Poulsbo/Church hosts BMA players

The mast of a sunken sailboat, now a navigation hazard north of Battle Point, illustrates the problem with abandoned and junk vessels in local waters, city officials say. - Tristan Baurick/Staff Photo
The mast of a sunken sailboat, now a navigation hazard north of Battle Point, illustrates the problem with abandoned and junk vessels in local waters, city officials say.
— image credit: Tristan Baurick/Staff Photo

Council OK’s harbor funds

With the state providing much of the financial muscle, the city approved a much larger budget for hauling abandoned boats from the island’s waters.

“This will get the ball rolling,” said Harbor Commission Chair Bob Selzler of the City Council’s decision Wednesday to increase the derelict vessel program’s operating budget by almost 17 times its current level. “We’ll do what we can now to scuttle the worst offenders.”

The council increased the program’s 2006 budget from $10,000 to $166,000 after assurances that a new state law will reimburse the city 90 percent of the collection and disposal costs.

“Having the state reimburse us is a win-win situation,” said Councilman Bill Knobloch.

There are about 15 derelict vessels identified off the island’s shores, according to Harbormaster Tami Allen.

Three of the vessels are in city custody.

One of the costliest removals includes a sunken 21-foot wooden boat north of Battle Point.

The vessel’s mast protrudes from the waves, making it an “extreme hazard” for boaters and sea planes, said Allen.

A damaged 26-foot vessel on South Beach also tops Allen’s list of costly removals. The boat, owned by a Port Orchard resident, broke up on the beach in early February.

“Those two boats will take a big chunk of the money,” said Allen, estimating that the two projects will cost about $16,000 combined. Allen pledged to tackle about a dozen more problem vessels in Eagle Harbor and other island waterways with the remaining funds.

Councilman Jim Llewellyn said he almost hit the mast of the sunken boat near Battle Point during a recent water skiing excursion. He urged the city to take full advantage of the new state reimbursement provision before other local jurisdictions drain the pool of available funds.

“We’ve got to reach into that pot of money before anyone else dips into it,” he said.

The new law was proposed in the state Senate last legislative session by Bainbridge Democrat Phil Rockefeller. While increasing the total reimbursements from 75 to 90 percent, the law also makes vessel abandonment a misdemeanor.

Rockefeller championed the measure as both a cost saving measure for local jurisdictions and as tool for cleaning the maritime environment of vessels that may leach fuels or other toxins.

– Tristan Baurick

Bridge delays this weekend

Drivers crossing the Agate Pass Bridge can expect delays this morning as work crews inspect damages after an unsecured boom hit numerous steel girders on Tuesday.

Flaggers will guide motorists through the work zone on one lane of alternating traffic from 6 to 9 a.m.

Portions of the bridge’s superstructure were bent when a northbound commercial truck hauling a large hydraulic delivery boom struck about a dozen horizontal girders and became lodged near the center span of the bridge, blocking north and southbound traffic shortly after noon on Tuesday.

Numerous cell phone calls from motorists alerted Bainbridge police and the Washington State Patrol to the accident. Personnel from the Washington State Department of Transportation, Bainbridge Island Fire Department and Suquamish police also responded.

The Mack truck, registered to ECO-PAN of Kent, suffered significant damage to its hydraulic system, preventing it from lowering the boom.

A Washington State Patrol trooper on the scene directed the truck’s driver, 28-year-old Jonathan L. Bolden of Federal Way, to let the air out of the truck’s tires to dislodge it from the bridge structure.

“We got it to drop down the two inches we needed to squeeze it out,” said Trooper Russ Winger at the scene on Tuesday. “The guy really pounded the crane in.”

Bolden’s supervisor was a passenger in the truck, but made no attempt to help move the vehicle, according to police.

“This was obviously not intentional,” Bainbridge police Det. Scott Anderson said. “The young guy kind of seemed like, ‘Ooops!’”

Traffic resumed 50 minutes later, at about 1 p.m., after the truck was driven on its rims to a parking lot north of the Clearwater Casino in Suquamish.

According to Bainbridge police, the boom had not been tied down and secured as required.

The bridge incident came shortly after the boom also struck a hanging traffic light at the intersection of 305 and Sportsman’s Club Road. According to police, the impact spun the light around like a swing. Drivers were unable to view the light until the WSDOT made repairs.

No injuries were reported in either incident. Damages to WSDOT property, including the traffic light and bridge, and charges against Bolden were still pending yesterday. Alcohol did not appear to be a factor, police said.

Anderson said Bainbridge Police may confer with the WSDOT about criminal negligence charges against the driver after a damage assessment is completed.

– Tristan Baurick

Vandeleur off to Poulsbo

Matt Vandeleur, interim principal and associate principal of Woodward Middle School on Bainbridge Island for the past five years, will depart the district to become the new principal of Poulsbo Junior High School.

Previously an assistant principal at Port Townsend High School for four years, Vandeleur also was an administrative intern and an eigth grade teacher for two years at White River Middle School in Buckley.

He was selected following a lengthy interview process that involved administrators, staff, parents and PJH students, Poulsbo School District officials said.

He will replace interim principal Wally Lis on July 1.

Church hosts BMA players

The performing arts winners of the Bainbridge Music and Arts’ 38th annual scholarship competition – except dance – will present a traditional program of classical standards and contemporary favorites at 7 p.m. April 30 at Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church. The concert is free and open to the public.

First place winners are: Brandon Belieu, high school drama; Roxanne Foster, high school ballet; Lillian Orrey, high school modern dance; Denver Bingham, high school jazz; Sarah Hotchkiss, middle school ballet; Ben Roth and Nate Rogers, high school piano; Ursula Hardy, middle school piano; Maia Wolf, high school strings; Elliot Pearl-Sacks, middle school strings; Gail Salisbury, high school instrumental; Tim Janetos, middle school instrumental; and Erica Cooper, voice.

High school winners receive $500 scholarships; first place middle school students get $400. The scholarships traditionally are endowed by Bainbridge residents.

Bainbridge Music and Arts has fostered the arts competition on Bainbridge Island since 1968. This year’s competition concludes in May, when visual art students will compete for awards.

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