Opinion

Portrait of an ever-vibrant community

Seventy-five working farms, 18 commercial espresso stands – that’s 1.1 for every 1,000 residents – 290

practicing attorneys who called the island home, and

an average home price of $233,099.

Those are among the snippets of trivia readers found in the very first Bainbridge Review Almanac, a 56-page booklet published by this newspaper in 1992. Section editor and island native Kristan Hutchison had a knack for tracking down statistical esoterica – the number of published authors in our midst in those days was 57 ; there were 11,193 privately owned vehicles registered here; and at age 104, Ms. Virtue Dolan was our oldest resident – to complement such folksy fare as “15 Rules for Living on the Rock” (Rule No. 1: “Talk to people in the aisles at the grocery store. A trip to the store should take so long that it borders on annoying.”)

For newcomers, it became indispensable. And like our island community, our Almanac has evolved over the years. A glossy cover debuted in 1994, while the dawn of the desktop publishing age and Kitsap News Group’s accession thereto has brought noticeable improvements in design. Content wise, a succession of editors – most recently Kathryn Haines, who has nurtured the project for the past four years – have weaned the publication away from a statistical profile toward a more feature-y, prose-driven portrait of island goings-on. (It does, though, still boast the most comprehensive list of local organizations you will ever find.)

Oh, and somewhere along the way we took our name off the flag, and it became the “Bainbridge Island Almanac.” Perhaps that was a subtle acknowledgement that while we still publish it, the community, by virtue of its many pursuits and achievements, really determines the content.

So what is the Almanac in 2005? On the eve of publication, Kathryn offered these thoughts:

“Every year we try to present a complete – and flattering – view of the island in the pages of the Almanac. It touches on the finest attributes of our fair isle – the schools, the environment, the cultural activities, the many, many groups in which to get involved. But what we don’t often think about is what makes all that possible – Bainbridge residents themselves. If you look at the Almanac not as a list of organizations but as an album, a kind of yearbook of (some, certainly not all) islanders and their contributions to our collective life, it is a pretty inspiring document. How lucky we are to have them – cranky and quirky though some may be – as our neighbors and friends.”

We’re pleased to say that the Almanac’s ongoing popularity and the support of local advertisers have coalesced to make this year’s effort the largest yet – 136 fun-filled pages. A press run of 9,500 copies ensures that the Almanac will be in circulation for months to come, on coffee tables and in coffee shops, next to the phone book, in visitor kiosks, mailed out to distant friends and relatives and anyone else who’s wondering what’s so special about the little island we call home.

And, of course, the 2005 Bainbridge Island Almanac can be found in this issue of the Review. We hope you enjoy it, and that you and your family will refer to it often – as you do the newspaper itself – throughout the coming year, as the definitive chronicle of who’s doing what on Bainbridge Island.

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