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News Roundup - Inslee secures ferry funding/Boating season is under way/Yeomalt cabin plan advances/Memorial gets national nod/Youth summit in Suquamish

Inslee secures ferry funding

The House of Representatives approved an amendment this week that would include ferries in a federal homeland security grant program.

The amendment, sponsored by Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.), was attached to the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act.

“Without this change, Washington State Ferries wouldn’t be eligible for federal grants like one they received last year for $6.5 million to monitor and secure facilities,” said Inslee, who is a regular rider on the Bainbridge-Seattle ferry route. “Knowing that ferries in Puget Sound could be a terrorist target, it would be irresponsible to exclude them from the program.”

The “SAFE Port” Act provides $400 million for improved maritime security, including radiological screenings for container ship cargo. It also increases training for emergency responders, law enforcement officers and dockworkers.

Inslee noted a Justice Department and FBI report released last month that alluded to Puget Sound ferries as the nation’s top maritime terrorist target. The report based this finding on the assumption that terrorists were behind most suspicious incidents reported to security officials over the past two years. The report then debunked its own assumption with data showing nearly all incidents were proved false alarms and that few suspects were arrested.

FBI and U.S. Coast Guard officials said the sound’s ferries were a logical target for terrorists wishing to harm civilians on a grand scale, but stressed that WSF vessels and terminals were under no heightened security alert.

–Tristan Baurick

Boating season is under way

Recalling a bygone tradition, Father Emmett Carroll of St. Cecilia Catholic Church will bless Bainbridge boats and remember islanders lost at sea on opening day of boating season this afternoon at the Winslow wharf in front of the Chandlery.

The Chandlery also is marking its fourth annual Chandlery opening day with dinghy races from 2 to 2:30 p.m.; the blessing of the boats from 2:30 to 3 p.m.; and a boat parade with prizes for best decorated vessels from 3 to 3:30 p.m.

Attendees will enjoy a performance by the Kitsap Chordsmen and a marine swap meet. The traditional dock barbecue will take place from 4 to 6 p.m., with food provided by Harbour Pub and all proceeds going to fund Eagle Harbor cleanup. Children’s activities include a squirt gun fight and a boat-drawing contest.

Yeomalt cabin plan advances

The effort to shore up the ailing cabin at Camp Yeomalt got a sizable push from the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District last week.

The district’s board approved a resolution aimed at obtaining a State Heritage Capital Project Fund Grant to help fix the Depression-era cabin.

The grant could put about $70,000 toward the cabin’s restoration, according to local historian and Team Yeomalt leader Jerry Elfendahl.

“Now we need the local contribution,” he added, referring to the grant’s requirement of a local match. “This would give us a big piece of the pie, but we need lots of people carving a piece to (spread) a lot of the load.”

Elfendahl estimates it will cost $150,000 to repair and refurbish the cabin. Projects around the cabin – including landscaping and interpretive displays – put the total cost at about $218,000.

The park district’s contribution of about $50,000, individual donors and small contributions in the “cabin banks” displayed around town give the cabin’s supporters hope that they’ll reach their financial goals.

“We can do it if everybody does a little something,” Elfendahl said.

The Bainbridge Island Historical Society will present the history of the cabin from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Filipino-American Community Hall on High School Road.

–Tristan Baurick

Memorial gets national nod

The U.S. Interior Department endorsed a national park designation for the memorial at the former Eagledale ferry dock that honors the first Japanese- Americans interned during World War II.

The memorial, on the east end of Pritchard Park on Eagle Harbor, was dedicated by various religious, community and political leaders in late March.

If included in the national park system, the park will join the Minidoka Internment National Monument in Idaho, where many Japanese-Americans were forcibly held in camps under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066.

The Interior Department based its support for the memorial on a study that was commissioned and funded over three years ago by U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, a Bainbridge resident and Democrat, and Washington senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, who are also Democrats.

Inslee recently wrote a letter urging then-Interior Secretary Gale Norton to expedite the report in consideration of the advanced age of surviving internees.

“This March marked the 64th anniversary of the internment of 227 Bainbridge residents, who were the first of almost 120,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast who were forcibly removed, exiled and interned,” said Inslee. “I hope Congress will move quickly to recognize this historically significant site before another anniversary passes by.”

In coming days, Inslee, Murray and Cantwell are expected to back legislation that would codify into law results of the Interior Department study.

Construction of the memorial began in early April. Funding for the project has come from private donors and the state of Washington.

Youth summit in Suquamish

The Kitsap County Youth Rally for Human Rights is holding its annual conference on May 19 at the Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo.

But unlike the annual “adult” human rights conference held in December, the youth event has no keynote speakers.

Instead, student representatives from each of the school districts will address the group in an informal way.

Conference attendance is limited to about 250 students.

The conference runs from 9 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m. Students interested in attending should check their school’s bulletin board or contact their guidance counselor for details.

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