- Subscriber Center
- Best of Bainbridge
- Print Editions
- About Us
When terrorist attacks blew the world apart, two Port Madison women responded by bringing their own community together. “The world has to narrow to a neighborhood before it can broaden into brotherhood,” said Sara Faulkner, who with Nancy Blakey started the effort among north-end residents. “The recent events made us decide it was time to rebuild our community.” After the Sept. 11 terroist attacks on America, Faulkner and Blakey sent out flyers to 92 homes in the Port Madison area, inviting residents to a potluck supper on the beach. The response surpassed their wildest expectations – more than 200 people turned up.
Washington voters are asked to do only a moderate amount of legislating this year. Other than Tim Eyman’s annual mischief-making, two initiatives and two referenda on the Nov. 6 ballot take aim at generally good ends, although we have reservations about one of them.
Island abodes have appeared in “Better Homes and Gardens” and “Architectural Digest,” but the claim to fame for Robin and Mike Ballou may be unique. It’s their garage. “Friends have asked why our garage was featured in a book and not our house,” Robin Ballou said, “but ‘Garage’ is the book’s title, not ‘House.’” Mike Ballou, a professional builder, saw an ad in “Fine Woodworking” magazine from an author seeking garages with unusual uses. Ballou, who built both their Diamond Place home and garage/woodshop – even handmaking the Victorian trim most builders order from catalogues – mailed off a polaroid of the space.
Ericksen Avenue and Hildebrand Lane should be connected within the next two years, the city engineer says. And while the city council’s public works committee will consider the recommendation Monday, at least one member wants to delay any final decision until the already volatile issue of Ericksen’s design is finally resolved.
Environmental concerns are driving out other values in city decision-making, contractor Bill Nelson says. In what he calls an effort to “restore balance,” Nelson is running for the central ward, position 4, city council seat being vacated by Merrill Robison. “For the sake of protecting Bainbridge Island’s environment, we’ve forsaken other parts of the quality of life, such as human interaction,” Nelson said. The 42-year-old island native says that excessive regulation is driving up costs and depriving the island of diversity. He is critical of council decisions such as the proposed landscape ordinance that have the effect of lowering housing densities, saying that lower densities require more land per home, which, in turn, raises prices. Conversely, he believes that to make housing more affordable, zoning needs to be changed to make higher densities possible in areas such as Lynwood Center. “We can promote affordable housing through zoning,” he said. “We don’t need higher density everywhere, but we need it in some areas for affordability – you can’t have it both ways.” Nelson believes the city could contract out much of the regulatory work it does, particularly on development matters, saving both money and staff time. “The developers have to pay for bureaucracies, and they pass those costs on to the end-users,” he said. “And it takes time away from work that the city engineer, for instance, needs to spend on public projects.”
What started it all was a conversation over a cup of coffee, between the milkman and a doctor’s wife in 1959. “I was the head of the United Good Neighbors drive, and she was the head of the Red Cross drive,” said Ernest Biggs, who in those days maintained a dairy route around the island. “I had a quota that year of $10,000, and she said they’d raised $200, so we decided we had to do something.” The problem, they decided, was that too much effort was being duplicated. “The women on the island seemed to be the ones chosen to go door-to-door, but they were doing it half a dozen times a year, and were kind of worn out” Biggs said.
Saying she wants to continue and extend Dwight Sutton’s work as a conciliator and mediator, Chris Llewellyn this week announced her candidacy for mayor. Presently chair of the Bainbridge Island park board, Llewellyn becomes the first declared candidate to succeed Sutton, who is not seeking re-election. “I am interested in connecting the island’s rich historical past with a visionary future,” Llewellyn said. “It’s an opportunity to give back to the community that has given me a wonderful life.” Llewellyn believes that Bainbridge is facing a unique mix of challenges and opportunities. The challenges involve the pressures from growth. “We can’t pull up bridges or stop the ferries, like some people here would like,” she said. “But we can control the number of people that move here through land-use policies.”
In her 20 years as a ceramic artist, Debbie Fecher has made more than 30,000 unique salt shakers in human form. Now, in her first gallery exhibit at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, Fecher cuts loose from function to concentrate on form. “Making all the shakers, I feel like I’ve been asked to sing as many songs as I can using only six notes,” Fecher said. “With this show, I bring on the orchestra.”
Four years ago, Jim Llewellyn drew up a 10-point platform of things he wanted to accomplish on the city council. Saying that all of those items still need work, Llewellyn is seeking re-election to his central district seat. “The community values survey taken in 1992 and the one taken last year show a lot of the same concerns, many of which I share. Those concerns are not easily taken care of,” said Llewellyn. His 1997 platform included things like better communication, fiscal responsibility, affordable housing and regulatory reform – “big picture” items that can always be done better. Llewellyn does think progress has been made, in certain areas.
The Bainbridge Island City Council says it wants diversity and affordable housing, but its actions undermine those goals, Tom Hofferber says. He hopes to reverse that trend by winning the north ward city council seat being vacated by Liz Murray. He will face planning commissioner member Deborah Vancil, who was first to declare candidacy for the seat. “The council is taking more and more land out of development,” Hofferber said. “I can’t understand doing that and being for affordable housing, because that will drive up the cost of land.” Hofferber, an architect with a downtown Seattle firm, was particularly puzzled by council action to delete wetlands from total acreage for purposes of calculating density.
Devoted to flowers and friendship for 65 years, the Bainbridge Island Garden Club members gathered at the Bloedel Reserve Monday to celebrate their anniversary. If the club’s six-plus decades embody “continuity,” then the women seated in the drawing room of the Bloedel mansion – elegant dress blending with the formal setting – were the visual definition of “tradition.” Seven have been in the club for 25 years, a qualification for honorary life membership. Dorothy Noble could have been awarded a life membership twice over, for her 50 years in the club.
Saying he wants to plan intelligently for development before it gets out of hand, retired pilot Bill Knobloch has declared himself a candidate for Bainbridge Island City Council from the central ward. “We’re at the early stages of growth,” Knobloch said. “It’s important that we manage the assets we have correctly, because as an island, we do not have the option of adding land.” Knobloch’s previous political experience has been as a neighborhood activist. The Azalea Avenue resident has been one of the leaders in opposing to Wing Point Golf and Country Club’s proposed practice range. An application for the facility was denied by a hearing examiner last year, but a new application for a modified project has been filed. Knobloch said he would file for the office Friday, for the seat presently held by Merrill Robison, who has said he will not seek re-election.
There was a time not so long ago that when a commercial fisherman caught the wrong fish, he had to throw it away. Although fishermen hated to do that, they understood the rationale -- to remove any incentive for catching protected species. “One of the fishermen on my boat said it’s nuts that we can’t give those fish to the food bank,” said Tuck Donnelly, a former commercial boat captain. From that prod, Donnelly created a Bainbridge-based charity that is now national in scope. The seafood products it provides have become one of the leading sources of food nationwide for the needy.
Seven years on the city’s planning commission have given her plenty of insights into island issues, but little ability to do anything, Deborah Vancil says. So she is running for the north ward city council seat being vacated by Liz Murray, hoping to put what she has learned into effect. The problem she sees most consistently is what she calls a “disconnect” between the city’s set of codes and community values. “Ericksen Avenue is a perfect example,” she says. “The city code says it needs to be widened to 55 feet to accommodate sidewalks and bike lanes.
Perpetual motion may never be achieved, but island skateboarders can come about as close as physics allows. The curves, contours and transitions of the new Rotary Skate Bowl are designed such that a skilled rider can zoom from one end to the other, swoop around the various bowls and make it back to the other end without taking their feet off the board. And for those able to scale one side of the largest, 8-foot bowl, turn around, and fly back to their starting point – and then do it again – there’s literally no end to the fun. “No pushing required,” said Brendon Corrao, age 28, between forays. “That’s awesome.” The island’s new skateboard facility made its formal debut Saturday at Strawberry Hill Park, 200 cubic yards of concrete shaped into a series of bowls and ramps, with smooth pool coping around the edges.
Saying she wants to put 10 years of volunteer experience to work leading the city, Darlene Kordonowy has declared herself a candidate for mayor of Bainbridge Island. The challenge in the years ahead, she says, is to preserve the island’s essence in the face of change. “People are going to come to Bainbridge Island,” she said. “We can’t prevent them from doing that, and we shouldn’t do it if we could. “So how do we continue to be the community that we love amid that growth?”
Saying she wants to change what she sees as a negative tone on the city council and to end over-representation of the “development community,” retired social worker Deborah Vann is challenging incumbent Jim Llewellyn in the city’s central area. “I got involved with the neighborhood, and became interested in the amount of development,” said Vann, a Ferncliff resident active in the East Central Bainbridge Island Community Association. Vann calls Llewellyn, a home-builder, and retired real-estate agent Liz Murray, who is not seeking re-election, the “development community” members of the council. “But those two are able to dominate and can put their ideas over very well,” she said, saying two members out of seven can constitute an “over-representation.” Vann said that high-density development is spreading out beyond Winslow’s core, which she says is a concern to her and to many citizens. She believes development should be concentrated south of High School Road between the highway and Sportsman Club Road, and points to North Town Woods on the north side of New Brooklyn Road as an example of spreading development.
At Bethany Lutheran, there is no clear line of demarcation between church and community. Service is important to Bethany’s members, who include the city administrator, some of the pillars of Helpline House and three of the last five Kiwanis Citizens of the Year. “This church has always had a very high proportion of people involved in the community,” said Senior Pastor Martin Dasler, citing that dedication as one factor that brought him to the church. The involvement extends to the seven-acre church campus on the triangle formed by High School, Sportsman Club and Finch roads, where the congregation moved in the 1960s from its original location in Pleasant Beach. “The site was donated to the church, and we believed it should be for the benefit of the entire community,” Dasler said. “So we have entered into a number of partnerships that involve the land.”
A move to district-only elections for some county offices may be losing traction, as those drafting a new Kitsap charter consider compromises or simply putting the issue to voters. A straw poll Tuesday among freeholders working on the draft charter showed support for district-only elections for an expanded county council – an issue that has left the group bitterly divided – has eroded to as few as 10 members on the 21-person board.
The Granite 13 freeholders have lost a few chips off the old bloc. Readers will recall the 13 as those drafters of a proposed Kitsap County charter whose demand – non-negotiable, some maintained – has been that five county council members be elected only by voters in their geographic district in the general election. The group has held sway on that issue on the 21-member freeholder board. Opponents of that proposal, including Bainbridge freeholders Andy Maron and George McKinney, favor the present arrangement – candidates must live in the geographic district they represent, and primary elections are limited to voters in that district, but in the general election, everyone in the county votes for all commission candidates.