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Grassroots project will return flower baskets to downtown Bainbridge | Letters
Baskets will bloom after all
On May 29, I e-mailed a letter to you which you kindly printed in the May 31 issue of the Bainbridge Review entitled “Flower baskets go away... what’s next?” I thought you might be interested in following up on exactly what has transpired since my letter appeared.
The week after my letter appeared, I was contacted by Patti Shannon with the Rotary Club. She said that the Rotary had allocated money to cover the cost of the flowers and she wanted to form a committee to deal with the issue of returning the flower baskets to downtown. I met with her, along with representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and the Senior Center, to discuss this.
To make a long story short, there has been a tremendous amount of interest in this project. With the funds from Rotary and a fleet of volunteers from the Senior Center, the flower baskets will be returning to downtown after all — probably sometime before the Fourth of July.
This has truly turned into a grassroots community project and it has been very heartening to see how many people have come on board with offers of assistance to make this happen. Many people and groups deserve recognition and thanks for their efforts, including the Downtown Merchants Association, Tom Kilbane of the Senior Center and Cathie Currie of the city, which is allowing the use of its basket frames.
There will probably be a need for additional funds to keep up the maintenance of the flower baskets through the summer. The committee is talking with American Marine Bank about setting up an account that residents can contribute to.
Thanks to BIPD for help
The sad tale of a young man who was off his meds was reported in Saturday’s Police Blotter. What wasn’t reported were the fine actions of the Bainbridge Island police.
I was at my taxi at the ferry that day when the young man approached me about a ride. He was confused about where he was going and as we consulted a map he began to become agitated. When I attempted (unsuccessfully) to reach a relative who he said would pay for a ride, he grew increasingly irrational and I called 911, fearing for his safety.
Officers Chris Jensen and Denise Guintoli responded and gently escorted him to a quiet, private corner of the waiting room for an interview. He continued to behave irrationally and was soon taken away for proper care.
Our local police rarely receive the recognition they so frequently deserve and I want to take this opportunity to toss a bouquet their way. The care and sensitivity exhibited in a difficult situation was commendable, and the man’s dignity was always carefully preserved. Thanks for quietly and quickly resolving this problem.
Bainbridge Island Taxi
A creative way to save money
Summer has finally arrived, and I miss those hanging baskets in downtown Winslow. Faced with a $2.5 million budget problem, the city has cut out the $5,000 it spends on those baskets. The mayor says there’s just no money left over if she is going to keep all of her staff on board.
So I’ve been thinking about creative ways of funding these flowers, and come up with a way that solves two problems at once: bid out the city’s advertising contracts with newspapers.
The city now has a no-bid arrangement with the Bainbridge Review to carry all the legal and meeting notices.
This has been true ever since incorporation, and the administration cites an old law from the City of Winslow days as the basis for continuing the relationship. Over the last three years, the City spent $171,926.40 advertising with the Review, or close to $60,000 per year.
Now if we put the contract up for bid between the Bainbridge Review and the Islander, we might expect to save 10 to 15 percent, or $6,000 to $9,000 per year, more than enough to pay for those downtown flowers.
And it would be a no-lose situation for the island. Whichever paper wins, we get our flowers back. And if the Review happens to lose, we get an objective news source back, and more critical coverage of the administration. Now that might lead to real savings!
Odd Fellows Road
How long must this go on?
How many Bainbridge city engineers does it take to measure a sand pit? None, because, as we were told by our Pubic Works Department director on June 6, city engineers wouldn’t go out to even roughly measure the sand pit property for a potential violation, even though they’d issued the permit, and the applicant’s “promised” permit limits (approximately 2 acres and 15 feet deep) had likely been exceeded, perhaps twice over. In addition, any disturbance greater than three acres would require a State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Surface Mining Reclamation Permit. None had been obtained.
After dozens of islanders had expressed outrage at the city’s failure to close down the Fletcher Bay, Bucklin Hill, Lynwood Center Road sand pit excavation, alleging that the disturbance approached four acres and 30 feet in depth, the city finally issued a Stop Work Order on June 27.
On April 30, the city received written citizen comments alerting them to potential problems with the permit. On May 30, both the city and DNR were alerted to probable permit violations. Work continued. On June 9, the city administrator and Public Works director met with three hydrogeologists, two council members and a citizen about numerous perceived permit violations, including potential permanent harm to critical island water supplies, affecting hundreds of homes. Work continued. The press was then contacted, as were the city and DNR, again and again. DNR told the city it would be at the site on June 27. On June 25, four citizens, absent other recourse, usurped council comment time to discuss this city fiasco. Finally, after a joint DNR/city site visit on June 27, the city issued a long-overdue order that stopped work on the project.
Something is wrong when it takes eight weeks for our city to respond to land use complaints about any permit violations, particularly of this gravity, where essential island resources (water) may be at risk. Something must change. Too much is at stake.
Photo of dying seal was wrong
Was it really necessary to give the graphic photo of a bald eagle feasting on the carcass of a dead seal pup such a prominent place, right on the front page of the Review? Especially since just a few days before we were shown a black and white photo of a dying seal pup, being comforted by a kind gentleman, who rendered compassionate care to the unfortunate animal.
Whether this was the same seal, or another one, do we all (and especially little children), have to see what happened afterwards, when the unfortunate seal’s remains were left on the beach?
Yes, most of us are well aware of “The Brutality of Nature,” however, I for one do not need to see it displayed on the front page of our newspaper, or on any other page for that matter!
Beach Crest Drive