News

“They beat the Nazis, and the world”

"Although they're known in anecdotal history as the Nazi Olympics and the Jesse Owens Olympics, Jim McMillin recalls the 1936 games as one of the highlights of his life.Five years before America went to war against Germany, McMillin and the other members of the University of Washington's eight-man shell varsity team won the gold medal with der Fuhrer in the stands.That was a tough race, McMillin said. I said if I ever worked that hard again, I'd make a million bucks, but I never did.The surviving members of the nine-man crew held a private reunion last week at McMillin's Bainbridge Island home. "

  • Sep 20, 2000

Builders challenge regulations

"Claiming to need a stable legal framework in which to operate, builders are challenging recent city council actions they say violate the Bainbridge Island Comprehensive Plan.Let's adopt regulations consistent with the comprehensive plan, then rely on them to be in place for five years, said Andy Mueller of Mueller Construction.The group claims that recent ordinances passed by the council conflict with the long-range plan. And one of the challenges has reached the stage of legal action. "

  • Sep 20, 2000

Blackbird back from the blast

"The baker and the bakery are both getting back on their feet.When an oven exploded at the downtown Blackbird Bakery on June 1, co-owner Heidi Umphenour had her foot broken on several places. But when the bakery re-opens at 6 a.m. Friday morning, she'll be on her feet and ready to go, encumbered only by a light walking cast.We're recovering at about the same pace, she said about herself and her business.The heavy-duty oven blew up three and a half months ago, at dawn. The explosion lifted the roof off the building on the corner of Winslow Way and Madrone Lane, and blew through a wall connecting the bakery to the business on the east. The heavy oven lifted into the air and jumped forward, onto Umphenour's foot.It was like a tin can with a firecracker under it, bakery partner Jeff Shepard said. But the oven was so massive it contained the explosion. It saved lives. "

  • Sep 20, 2000

Code has to support the bigger plan

"Where was the city attorney?Even at $200 an hour, it only would have cost the city council about five bucks last week for a quick legal opinion on making the city code conform to the policies set out in the Bainbridge Island Comprehensive Plan.Here's our advice, for free: The code must support the plan. Period.As reported Saturday and followed up in today's edition, the council finds itself in a bind after defeating an ordinance that would have allowed the resale of affordable homes at market rates after five years (the old restriction, 30 years, was seen as a disincentive to investment by aspiring homeowners). Reminded that in defeating the ordinance by a 4-3 vote, they were reversing their own policy set nine months earlier - established both in a comprehensive plan amendment and a resolution - some council members (mid-term) pleaded short memories, others (new) ignorance. "

  • Sep 20, 2000

Man killed in one-car accident

"A 29-year-old Bainbridge Island man was killed in a one-car accident on Lofgren Road Saturday night.Neighbors called police after hearing the crash at 11:30 p.m., and officers found a full-sized pickup truck off the roadway.Nicholas J. Kilton, of Ericksen Avenue, was pronounced dead at the scene. "

  • Sep 20, 2000

Leave behind more than a memory

"You can't take it with you.We've been asked to remind readers as much, as September is Leave a Legacy of Western Washington month. The motto: Make a will and make a difference.You don't have to be a millionaire to make a difference - everybody has something to give, Winslow estate-planning attorney and LALWW volunteer Kathleen Wright told us this week. You don't have to be Bill Gates or Paul Allen. The Leave a Legacy campaign started four years ago in the Midwest, with a goal of steering some of the proceeds from personal estates toward non-profit organizations and charities.Since then, chapters have sprung up around the country, including the Puget Sound area. And with fully 60 percent of Americans being carted off to Forest Lawn without leaving a will behind, there's quite an untapped resource there for doing some good in the community. "

  • Sep 16, 2000

The new face of Winslow

"You can't prevent Bainbridge Island from changing, but you can control how it's done, developer Earl Miller believes.And when he renovates one of Winslow's keystone properties - the northeast corner of Winslow Way and Madison Avenue - he intends to make it look nice.I want a building that fits in with the character of the town, Miller said Friday. I want it to look like an old building. My idea is a country French look, with stucco, wrought iron and pitched roofs.Miller told the Review Friday about his plan to replace Lundgren Station and the adjoining building to the east, which houses Schmidt's appliances, with a mixed-use development. Parking will be underground, the street level will be retail, and the upper floors will have some 20 apartments, he said.There's a real need for housing downtown, Miller said. Ideally, I'd like it to be for downtown workers - store clerks and the like. But with the cost of building what it is, that's tough even if you're willing to take a low profit margin. "

  • Sep 16, 2000

The fashion world of BPA

"Whether it's a late-19th-century evening gown or a grass skirt, Bainbridge Performing Arts has the costume you never knew you were looking for.Peacoats, kimonos, crystals, uniforms and other duds will go on sale from 9 a.m. to noon, Sept. 23.We've got a lot of fun stuff, said BPA's Mykel Pennington. All kinds of things we've had to beg, borrow and steal for shows.BPA normally costumes its productions through second-hand stores, sewing volunteers, loans and donations, all overseen by each show's costume designer.Costumes range from productions as diverse as My Fair Lady, The Little Prince, Annie, Born Yesterday and The Wind in the Willows, and more.While providing for all stripes of everyday sartorial use, the sale is also a prime opportunity for Halloween browsing. "

  • Sep 16, 2000

Council reverses housing policy

"In an action that may have violated state law, the city council Wednesday reversed an affordable-housing policy it had unanimously adopted last fall. In the process, it left in limbo a number of pending purchases of affordable homes. But some of those in Wednesday's majority said they might move quickly to lift the cloud created by the decision.I think there may be some issues we didn't think about, councilman Norm Wooldridge said Thursday. "

  • Sep 16, 2000

Student test scores soar

"The test results are in, and the Bainbridge Island school district is happy.The much-awaited results of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning test were released this week, showing general improvement in reading, math and writing across the state.Bainbridge Island was no exception, showing some dramatic jumps - percentages of Woodward Middle School students passing the standardized writing portion of the test jumped from from 46.9 percent to 80.1 percent.What can you say? said Bruce Weiland, president of the school board. We are very, very pleased. "

  • Sep 16, 2000

Affordable future is a matter of will

"When we set out a few weeks ago to tackle the issue of affordable housing on Bainbridge Island, we weren't sure where we'd wind up. Boiling down the market whims and social forces that are driving the gentrification of the island, and examining how best to harness the community's resources and collective will to blunt those forces a bit, was daunting.Of course, if the issue was simple to explain, it would be simple to address. It's not. Numerous interviews, hours of research and six news stories on, we've found cause for hope and equal cause for pessimism. But most of all, we've found need. Some ideas and images will stick with us, emblematic of the issues at hand: "

  • Sep 13, 2000

Kushner named citizen of the year

"The Bainbridge Kiwanis Club has named island real estate agent and civic activist Ed Kushner its Citizen of the Year for 2000.Kushner, owner-broker of the Bainbridge office of Windermere Real Estate, was honored for his broad range of involvement over many years.Ed has always been willing to donate his time, talents and money to maintain what we love and to improve what we have on Bainbridge Island, the club said in a news release announcing Kushner's selection.Most recently, Kushner was the driving force behind the effort to create the Marge Williams Memorial Office Center as a home for island non-profit agencies. "

  • Sep 13, 2000

Affordability- an uphill ride

"When developer Kelly Samson tried to do his bit for affordable housing on Bainbridge Island, he ran head-on into a principle stated in jest by Johnny Carson:No good deed goes unpunished.When it was approved by the city council in 1998, Samson's Weaver Creek development - which provided the land for nine affordable, sweat equity homes - was fiercely criticized by councilman Norm Wooldridge as creating a ghetto, and just the worst design I have ever seen in my life.I wouldn't go through that experience again, Samson said, looking back on the meeting. I broke out in shingles, which is a stress-related problem.What Samson had done was carve up a 5.3-acre tract on Weaver Road, between Rotary Park and Hillandale, into 27 lots - nine of which were sold to the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority for the self-help project. "

  • Sep 13, 2000

“Teachers, cops priced off the island”

"They come to work a few years for valuable experience, then leave for someplace more affordable. That's the increasingly common story as public employees struggle with local housing costs.From teachers to police officers, many of the lower-paid but essential members of the community are being edged off Bainbridge Island as real estate prices rise beyond their salary levels - causing some to question how Bainbridge is affected.Bill Cooper, police chief, said he believes the role of officers on Bainbridge is compromised by the high cost of living. Our ability to become a part of this community is damaged by our inability to live here, Cooper said. "

  • Sep 13, 2000

Merchants lukewarm on parking garage

The Winslow Town Square parking structure and mixed-use complex will be a tough sell to Winslow businesses.But it may provide the best long-term way of maintaining downtown as a vital commercial core for Bainbridge Island.Those opinions emerged Monday night from the first of a series of small focus-group meetings on the ambitious plan to bring as many as 80 residential units and 600 new parking spaces to the area between city hall and the north side of Winslow Way.

  • Sep 13, 2000

“Vote yes on Proposition 1, for transit”

"Don't ride the bus?Swell. Just think of all the other drivers you can keep off the road and out of your way.And for users of local public transportation, too, this one's a gimme - we urge a yes vote Sept. 19 on Proposition 1, a three-tenths-of-a-cent countywide sales tax increase to fund Kitsap Transit services.We'd like to say that this sales-tax hike will bring Bainbridge Island and Kitsap County a lot of never-before-seen bus runs and other perks. Instead, it's a largely restorative measure, and would help fix the local mess created by I-695 - which slashed Kitsap Transit's budget by 40 percent this year. Passage would bring back popular bus service for commuters, seniors and the disabled, getting the agency back on track to meet the needs of a fast-growing island and county population. "

  • Sep 9, 2000

Going back to the books

"Remember how it felt?In kindergarten, everything was foreign, from the classroom to the bathroom. By senior year, little could be more familiar than the ring of a school bell.Bus stop schedules and the power of homework reasserted their influence on local youth Wednesday, when Bainbridge Island launched into the new school year. As tradition demands, there was some nervousness on opening day.I think my kids were probably a little apprehensive, said new island resident Rebecca Wilson, whose second and third graders started their education in Issaquah schools before the family moved here. But we all love it here - I'm sure they'll do fine. "

  • Sep 9, 2000

Neighbors back Fort Ward townhouses

"In a rare instance of neighbors voting for development, Fort Ward residents Thursday night voted overwhelmingly to support conversion of a long-vacant historic structure to eight residential units.The vote, by attendees at a Fort Ward Neighborhood Association meeting, supported developer and South Beach Drive resident Scott McFarlane's plans to convert Building 16 to townhomes. The massive brick structure sits on Fort Ward Hill Road, just south of Evergreen Avenue and amidst a number of newly constructed or renovated homes. "

  • Sep 9, 2000

Agencies need every dollar

"One obstacle to affordable housing on Bainbridge Island is the operation in the marketplace of the law of supply and demand. When an area is as desirable as Bainbridge is perceived, demand for housing is strong. And where demand is increasing faster than supply, as has been true on the island, home prices rise.That's not the only problem. Another is the cost of creating new housing for those with lower incomes.It is simply not possible to build units at a price our target population can afford to pay, said Martin Rowe, city affordable-housing coordinator.The only way to make it work is to reduce our cost of capital, Rowe said. "

  • Sep 9, 2000

“House, painter”

"Debora House's painting career began with something we've all done - making cards for St. Valentine's Day.She began by painting large sheets of paper, then cutting fragments for collages and sending them. Then it was thank-you notes. Then birthday cards.Pretty soon, House said, it wasn't just a card-making retreat a few times a year. And then I decided to paint a canvas - that way you can't cut it up. You have to take responsibility for the whole painting.House began painting five years ago in Stockholm, Sweden, after working for years as a textile designer. Her work leans towards abstract expressionism and her main interests are texture and color.I rotate the canvas constantly when I paint to balance the colors, she said. And since it's abstract, House said, I want it to work no matter how you hang it. I also do it to keep surprising myself. "

  • Sep 9, 2000