An investment in our past/Shame on tree vandals

An investment in our past

Here is a somewhat informal maxim in the news

business that goes, “If you don’t know the facts,

write around them.”

And our good friend Erica Varga caught us out this week,

chiding the newspaper for factual fuzziness in our reportage on funding for local projects in the state’s next capital budget – specifically, monies earmarked for the Bainbridge Island Historical Society. “The society,” Erica intoned by email, “would like to mention the specific projects that money from the state will be funding. The ‘preservation efforts’ mentioned in your article and editorial were a bit vague.”

We concede the point; we had no idea what said efforts were, and obviously didn’t go much out of our way to find out. So let the record show that the $207,957 headed for the Bainbridge Island Historical Society in the next state budget

(it awaits only the governor’s signature, sometime in June)

will go to projects related to restoring and maintaining the museum building, recently relocated to Ericksen Avenue.

Historical society board president David Thorne notes that during the building’s former tenure as a high school music room, its original interior walls were covered with “homosote,” a white material intended to provide soundproofing. This material is to be removed, and the walls restored to their original finish. Security upgrades and a fire suppression system are envisioned, the better to preserve the museum’s collection of artifacts and documents. The museum may also add electronic equipment for new interactive exhibits, and install compact storage units for the basement collection.

Work could start this fall. And for what it’s worth, the funds come from the $4 million Heritage Capital Projects Fund, administered by the Heritage Resource Center, in turn a part of the Washington State Historical Society.

So now we know, and so do you.

Shame on tree vandals

On an unhappier note, allow this newspaper to register

its dismay and disgust with whomever is killing trees on the former Wyckoff property at Bill Point.

As reported on today’s front page, at least four lofty

specimens in a stand off Eagle Harbor Drive near Creosote have been “girdled” – their bark stripped away around the circumference of the trunk – a deliberate act meant to deprive the trees of nutrients and bring them down. The egregious damage was discovered recently by those stewarding the property during an environmental cleanup.

Who is doing this, and why – and why these trees?

Far be it from us to level reckless accusations, but you’d have to be pretty dim not to draw a straight line between the Bill Point neighborhood and the picturesque waters of Eagle Harbor, and notice that the trees stand in between. A little surreptitious enhancement of views? One can’t help but wonder.

At the very least, such vandalism is a transgression against the private property of others. But as the balance of the Wyckoff land is almost certain to be purchased later this year for a public park, this is really an affront to the Bainbridge community, its values, and its already sizeable investment of public and private funds.

We hope the police catch those responsible. This act makes a good case for a public caning – with a strapping switch cut from one of the irreparably damaged trees.

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