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"After 105 days of a regular legislative session and into the second week of the first special session, our folks in Olympia have finally staggered to the starting line on improving the state's increasingly dysfunctional transportation system.Gov. Locke has proposed a revenue package that would boost the gas tax by 7 cents a gallon; levy an excise tax on auto sales; and increase fees on commercial vehicles. Estimates are that the plan would raise some $9 billion over the next 10 years, to be matched by another $9 billion-plus raised on a regional basis.Predictably, Locke's proposal has drawn flak from all sides. "
"For Fred and Willie Grimm, community involvement is just part of the deal.Fred, an island orthodontist, has put in stints on the park board, the school board, and the board of Bainbridge Performing Arts. Willie is the long-time manager of the Bargain Boutique.Volunteerism comes naturally. It's something we've always done, Fred Grimm said. It's part of the way our parents expected us to live.For that 30-year history of civic involvement, the Grimms have been named Business Couple of the Year by the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce. "
"The setting will be Island Center Hall, but the sound is urban.Cabaret singer Deborah Cheadle will transport the audience at her May 4 performance to a hole-in-the-wall piano bar in New York City, with songs of love, loss and longing.I've always been drawn to songs about the difficulty we have opening our hearts, said Cheadle, a long-time island resident. Here, I'm actually telling very specific stories about my thwarted love attempts since eighth grade.She regards cabaret as primarily a storytelling form, one in which the lyrics are key and the show is shaped thematically. It's analogous to constructing a theater piece. But unlike the actor, who functions at a remove behind theater's fourth wall, the singer makes an intimate connection with the audience. "
District could close Commodore buildingFacilities could be consolidated as the school district tightens its belt.
"Closing buildings and going to the voters for more money are among the suggestions of a group looking at school district funding for the coming year.The District Budget Advisory Committee - comprised of school staff, parents and community members, serving as advisors in budgeting for the coming year - discussed those and other options with the school board April 26.The district, still coping with current budget problems caused by falling enrollment and fixed operating costs, could face another revenue shortfall of $1 million next year, with possible cuts in the state education budget, underfunding of Initiative 732, and higher utility costs. "
Traffic officer hits the streets full timeSpeeders are targeted in a new campaign by Bainbridge Police.
"Radar loves a blind corner. The crest of a hill will do just fine, too, as a driver on New Brooklyn Road is about to find out.Coming into sudden view from the direction of Mandus Olson Road, a Volvo zips over the hill, greeted by the sight of Bainbridge Police Officer Rob Corn. On the latter's dashboard, a small radar unit clocks the vehicle's speed and - click! - locks on.I'll take 58 in a 40, Corn says as the vehicle goes past, its driver tapping a belated foot to the brake. The red-and-blues light up, Corn does a quick U-turn, and a minute later he's chatting to the driver through her rolled-down window. "
"The blooms have done their part. Now the Vrooms will see whether Bainbridge flower-buyers will support their dream of a family-owned greenhouse operation.Herman and Elizabeth Vroom have 300 hanging floral baskets for sale at their Faylee Greenhouses, which opened last week. And while their product may come naturally, that's not the same thing as easily.There is a lot of labor involved, Elizabeth Vroom said. Every day I start at 5 or 6 in the morning, and it takes me five or six hours to water, deadhead and check the plants for insects.Although the greenhouse will sell some bedding plants - mostly annuals - the principal product will be hanging baskets, arrangements of plants and flowers growing in baskets made out of moss. "
"It would be hard to miss: Loud calls for better traffic control and tougher enforcement have come from around the island over the past year.Even in today's Letters column, south-end parents and a Winslow-area resident, faced with the proliferation of vehicles traveling at speed on their neighborhood roadways, weigh in with the oft-repeated concerns for the safety of children, pedestrians and other motorists.Now, with the designation of Bainbridge Police Officer Rob Corn as the department's full-time traffic officer (reported elsewhere in this issue), tougher enforcement is here. "
"Zoning is nothing more than a matter of political will. Within the legal give-and-take of land use regulation, long-established principles of property rights, and general public sentiment, what today's city council thinks is already too-high density can turn into tomorrow's subdivision. Sometimes, vice versa.To that extent, even without the extension of sewer service to four south-end island neighborhoods - Pleasant Beach, Emerald Heights, Point White and Rockaway Beach - there are no guarantees that future generations won't see more houses there than crowd the shoreline today. "
"Amid heated charges of intentional delay, a short-handed City Council Wednesday tabled for two more weeks discussion of a Comprehensive Plan amendment that could bring sewer service to portions of the south island.The council's 3-2 vote puts off action on the proposal past the council's self-imposed deadline of May 1 to approve language and send it to the city Planning Commission. "
Berry Patch still full of surprisesJane Pomeroy has spent 30 years making customers into her friends.
"In Bainbridge, as elsewhere, retail establishments come and go. New uses are made of old spaces, and new owners replace old faces.Then there's the Berry Patch. It's been doing the same business for 30 years -- 22 in the same location. And from the outset, it's been Jane Pomeroy's store.My customers allow me to keep enjoying the job, she said. When they buy something from me, they have allowed me into their home. They don't become customers, they become friends to me.The store was the first tenant in the Winslow Mall, and the only one still under original ownership. In fact, Pomeroy doesn't think there are more than one or two stores on the island that have endured unchanged as long as hers. "
"Four months after a lawsuit threatened the deal, the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority will finally close the deal to buy the apartment building at 550 Madison Avenue from long-time owner Vicki Holmstrom of Kingston.The purchase means that the building's mostly modest-wage tenants will be able to stay in the 13-unit complex at rents adjusted to their income. "
“State alleges HMC violated securities regsAfter raising $9 million, the club is told to cease the sale of shares.”
"State securities regulators have charged Bainbridge Island's Health Maintenance Centers and owner Kevin Lawrence with selling some $9 million in unregistered stock, saying the company misrepresented facts and misled investors.The state issued a cease-and-desist order April 9, forbidding any more sales pending further investigation by the state. The order was released to the public online, posted to the web site maintained by the Securities Division of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions. "
Transit back for a second levy tryBallots are in the mail for a three-tenths of one cent sales tax hike.
"If county voters approve a sales-tax hike for Kitsap Transit next month, fares will drop, service will improve and maybe that mad dash off the ferry will become a thing of the past. If they turn it down, though, the transit district lines may be redrawn to exclude parts of the county, and service in the excluded area will be sharply diminished. You do have people running off the ferries now during the commuter period to get a seat on the bus, said Kitsap Transit Executive Director Dick Hayes.If the levy passes, we will be able to add buses to those routes, so one can take off when it is full and another can wait for those who want or need a little more time to get off the boat and onto the bus. "
"Viewing the Welcome Wagon quilt to be raffled on the Fourth of July, one may not be surprised to learn that it was designed by a mathematician. The overall bold pattern, comprised of a wealth of detail, is a geometric wonder.I started with grid paper, quilt designer Linda Johnston said. I chose lighthouses and water because of where we live. "
"While growth may have its downside, economic development is critical to maintaining Bainbridge Island's community vitality.So says Zoltan Szigethy, executive director of the Kitsap Regional Economic Development Council.When I was working in Seattle, I spent very little time here as a community participant, said Szigethy, an island resident since 1972. It's not just the work, it's being part of the community.Szigethy has asked the city to join the EDC at a cost of $20,000 per year. After hearing his presentation at its last meeting, the council is likely to approve the request this week. "
"In a mock election by Bainbridge High students last fall, a map in school hallway showed that every state went to Al Gore or Ralph Nader.In fact, senior Alysha Perisho concedes, Bush only got about 10 percent of the vote.Given those results, starting a Kitsap County chapter of the group Young Republicans might seem like an uphill battle. But, as co-organizer and 31-year-old Bainbridge resident Kirsten Scheffler says, You gotta start somewhere.Josh Wymer, 21, of Poulsbo sounds a positive note.We want to articulate our message and facilitate debate, Wymer says. We don't expect an easy road, but I don't see any reason why things can't change. "
"I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and sky.The love of the sea that moved poet John Masefield animates the life and music of Matthew Moeller. Moeller, who performs his Rollicking Tales of the Sea April 22, has spent much of his life singing about, working near and living on the water. When Moeller sings about clambering up the rigging, the audience can be assured that Moeller has done it; in 1993, he crewed on the Lady Washington, a square-rigger out of Seattle.It was the first time I was exposed to real sea music - not as entertainment, but as work songs, Moeller said. I was already fairly hooked by the music and by the tall ships, but I hadn't heard the rhythm of the music used to drive the work on deck, before. "
“Rural roads, highway speedsParents organize in hopes of slowing motorists through island school zones.”
"Drivers, they say, are traveling through school zones at highway speeds.And with a recent traffic study to back them up, some Bainbridge parents are organizing and hope to find solutions by this fall.Speeding is an island-wide issue, but we believe schools have to be at the top of the list, said Althea Mallove, one of the organizers of an informal group calling itself the Parents for Safe School Zones.A report by a Bellevue traffic-consulting firm - released in March, based on data collected last fall - showed that on North Madison Avenue near Wilkes Elementary School, 99 percent of vehicles exceed the posted speed limit of 40 mph. At least 15 percent were clocked in excess of 62 mph.The situation was nearly as bad near Blakely Elementary School, where 15 percent of drivers topped 45 mph on Blakely Avenue, and 15 percent raced down Baker Hill Road at 66 mph or better.The actual situation may not be quite as alarming as those numbers indicate, according to Bainbridge Island Public Works Director Randy Witt. "
"What some insiders label an ego-driven impasse over a $10,000 traffic study has once again delayed an increase in ferry fares. And the fight, which is costing the ferry system some $400,000 per week, shows no signs of ending.The state Transportation Commission was poised again Thursday to implement the 20 percent fare increase that had been recommended by the Tariff Policy Committee and received strong support from the ferry riders. But it adjourned without acting because the legislature has not yet given the go-ahead.What concerns us, is that time is money and with each day passing, the hole in the ferry budget increases, said Transportation Commission chairwoman Connie Niva. "
"We were all set to use this space to remind readers that Earth Day is coming up, and to round up the various eco-boosting activities that are lined up.Then readers Kat Gjovik and Virginia Davison, backing the revamped Adopt-A-Road program, dropped off a letter that did just that. So we'll give them the floor: "