News

“Clearing begins for Sands ball fieldsThe work caught some neighbors off guard, and sparked complaints.”

"Crews began clearing a Sands Avenue parcel this week, to make way for the island's next ball field complex.But progress for local youth sports programs comes at a cost for the neighbors, among them Sands Avenue resident Frank Forencich.I've been losing business all week, said Forencich, who operates a massage and personal training business on his property within view of the site. Nobody wants a massage when the chainsaws are going.Forencich said he and others have expressed concerns over the ball field plan, and were surprised by the sudden appearance of equipment this week. Signs went up on several nearby trees, protesting the irony of the clearing a week before Earth Day. "

  • Apr 14, 2001

Liveaboards wary of new harbor planFree-floaters say their group is being singled out for regulation.

"To the Bainbridge Island Harbor Commission, an anchorage plan would legitimize and preserve the liveaboard community in Eagle Harbor.The reason we are here tonight is because you have made your case, harbor commissioner Betsy Peabody told a half-dozen harbor liveaboards and their allies at Tuesday's commission meeting.We want to preserve that use, but to do so, we need a level of management.But to the audience, any form of regulation looked like a potential infringement on their ability to live as they please.Why can't we rely on personal responsibility? asked audience member Jim Randall, who is restoring a boat on which he plans to live. "

  • Apr 14, 2001

Now it gets interesting for freeholdersIslanders help shape the proposed county charter.

"The 21 freeholders drafting a new charter for Kitsap County government have finished the preliminaries and are getting down to business, the island's two elected representatives on that group say.We've been through the procedural process - which took a little longer and was a little rockier than I thought - and now we're in the midst of two months of education, said Andy Maron, former Bainbridge Island mayor and city council member.The freeholders will begin taking votes on various issues at a meeting beginning at 8:30 a.m. today at the Givens Center in Port Orchard. "

  • Apr 14, 2001

“Poll favors open space levy Support for a$7 million bond issue is at 63 percent, a survey says. “

"Preservation of open space tests positively in a Bainbridge Island public-opinion survey.So positively, in fact, that Mayor Dwight Sutton is considering upping the ante on a bond issue to acquire open land from $5 million to $7 million, or even higher.The poll, showed that 58 percent of the people would support a $10 million bond issue, Sutton said. For a $7 million issue, support was 63 percent, and it was even higher for a $5 million issue.The telephone survey of 350 houses, - commissioned by the city March 14 at a cost of $15,000 - was conducted April 6-8 by a polling organization working for the Trust for Public Lands. Results were announced at a Sunday meeting of island groups involved in land preservation. "

  • Apr 11, 2001

“No walkout planned, but Olympia upsets teachersBudgets ignore voter mandates, educators say.”

"Bainbridge teachers and their peers statewide have decided not to strike - for now.While teachers don't feel this is the time to strike, the result of the survey indicated a strong interest in local (action), said Rick Wood of the Washington Education Association, after polling of WEA members last week.Teachers are protesting the governor's proposed budget, which will not fully fund proposition I-732, passed by Washington state voters last November to give school employees a cost-of-living raise. "

  • Apr 11, 2001

“Island office demand is dot.goneSeattle high-tech slowdown cuts into local rent-level edge, broker says.”

"The slowdown in the Seattle dot.com world is showing up on Bainbridge Island in the form of office vacancies.And with more space in the pipeline, commercial real estate broker Jerry Knipe says that the days of 10 to 15 percent annual rent increases are gone for now.The slowdown in the market is more dramatic than any thing I have seen in the seven years I have been here, he said.Knipe, a principal in the Sunrse Group real estate brokerage firm, estimates that there are now between 25,000 and 30,000 square feet of vacant commercial space on Bainbridge Island, about 10 percent of the total. For the last few years, he said, the vacancy rate has hovered at about 2 percent.It's a simple matter of economics, Knipe said. "

  • Apr 11, 2001

Bremerton deserves help

"A beautifully renovated downtown theater, on a street barren of passersby; the finest ferry terminal/transit hub on Puget Sound, surrounded by run-down housing, perpetually vacant commercial space and sprawling parking lots with water views.Only in Bremerton.Will it be ever thus? Perhaps not, we are told, if county commissioners give the OK to a new government center in the downtown core of Kitsap's largest city. "

  • Apr 11, 2001

Helping handsThe Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers are there when islanders need them.

"Todd Stabelfeldt is like any 22-year-old. He goes to the movies and to Jazz Alley with friends. He wears his baseball cap backwards. He surfs the 'Net sometimes, but gets impatient with how long it takes to download information. What distinguishes Stabelfeldt is that he has been a quadriplegic since age 8, when his 12-year-old cousin accidentally shot him with an antique rifle.Today, Stabelfeldt has a full-time job with an island anatomic pathology firm, Cortex Medical Management Systems, that provides database software. He accomplishes many things for himself, like using phone and computer, by blowing puffs of air into specially-designed equipment.For others activities, though, he gets a hand from the Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers of Bainbridge Island, who send a volunteer twice a week to do lunch with Stabelfeldt at his office. "

  • Apr 11, 2001

Leonard to stand trial for shootingBut mental health remains at issue for the liveaboard.

"Prosecutors will try for a third time to prosecute Ralph Leonard of Bainbridge Island for allegedly shooting at a police officer in 1998, now that a psychiatrist at Western State Hospital has found Leonard competent to stand trial. But the attorney for the former Eagle Harbor liveaboard wonders whether the competency finding - which is subject to challenge - was driven by the need to reduce the population at an earthquake-damaged state hospital building in Tacoma.I don't think the timing is entirely coincidental, said Tim Kelly of Port Orchard, Leonard's appointed public defender. "

  • Apr 7, 2001

Should districts distance themselves from Scouts?Some are upset by a national policy that excludes gays.

"Irked by what they say are discriminatory practices by the Boy Scouts of America, some parents are asking the school and park districts to re-evaluate their relationships with that organization.At immediate issue is whether the school district should continue to give reduced rates for use of building space and other privileges to the scouting organization.The issue, to us, is respecting all students, said parent Jing Fong. We want the district to carry out beliefs and convictions they have stated consistently. "

  • Apr 7, 2001

The mirror pooledArtists go through the looking glass at the BAC gallery.

"Mary Jane Rehm invited 15 artists to come with her through the looking glass, as curator of Mirror Mirror on the Wall, the Bainbridge Arts and Crafts exhibit opening April 7.Former owner of Artworks Gallery in Pioneer Square and display designer for BAC, Rehm wanted to do a group show based on a functional object - a format she had employed in the past with shows featuring teacups and other items.What often happens, Rehm said, is that when you invite artists to step out of their usual medium, they take the opportunity to do something truly different from their own imagery. Rehm chose mirror for the wealth of metaphorical and visual possibilities attached to the subject matter. "

  • Apr 7, 2001

“Closure for Leonard, and the rest of us”

"Just when we thought his case couldn't get any weirder or more Kafka-esque, Ralph Leonard now finds himself in the county jail and the state mental hospital - at the same time.On March 13, the state Department of Social and Health Services notified Bainbridge Police by letter that Leonard had been given yet another six-month term at Western State Hospital, where he'd resided since being found incompentent to stand trial for allegedly firing a shotgun at a local officer. Turns out that on March 12, Leonard was moved to the Kitsap County Jail, having been deemed competent to participate in his own defense. And there he sits. "

  • Apr 7, 2001

“Ladder truck approvedThe apparatus, to be delivered next year, will be named for Arnie Jackson.”

"The Bainbridge Island Fire Department will purchase a state-of-the art aerial truck, which firefighters say is needed to serve a growing island.The price of the vehicle - a prototype of which was tested extenstively by the department last month - is estimated at $767,000, according to Bainbridge Fire Department Executive Director Ken Guy.This rig has specific features that others don't have, Guy said. for a department our size operated mostly by volunteers, we need a truck you can't get into trouble with.The fire district board of commissioners gave Guy approval to negotiate and sign a purchase contract at its meeting last week. It will take about a year to build and deliver the vehicle, Guy said, and it should be in service on the island in late April 2002.The rig combines German technology and American manufacture. The 100-foot aerial ladder and its attachments and controls are made by Metz, a German company. The truck itself is made by General Safety Equipment of Wyoming, Minnesota.The truck, which will be housed at the main fire station on Madison Avenue, will be sent out on commercial alarms and whenever else it might be needed. Guy estimated it will be used on an average of every three days. "

  • Apr 4, 2001

“Study: half of local homeless are childrenAgencies cite abuse, bad relationships, early pregnancy.”

"Forty-six of Kitsap's county's homeless residents live on Bainbridge and nearly half are children, according to the 2001 homeless census conducted in January at area food banks.I wasn't surprised at the total number, Joanne Tews, executive director of Helpline House, said. But I was shocked that 19 of the 46 were under the age of 22.Five of the 19 are homeless with their family, leaving 14 on their own.Tews believes that the figures may well be an undercount of Bainbridge's population of homeless youth, noting that some young people avoid care providers, fearful of being reunited with family or turned over to Child Protective Services. "

  • Apr 4, 2001

3HS council moves forwardThe group is one of five to set up shop in the Williams Center.

"Of the five public-service agencies scheduled to occupy space in the new Marge Williams Center, the least-known may be the Health, Housing and Human Services Council.But the agency's obscurity is a testimony to how efficiently it is functioning, some observers say.We rest easy with them because their work is well-documented, City Council member Merrill Robison said. "

  • Apr 4, 2001

Planning the village of tomorrowPeter Brachvogel urges Bainbridge to pay more attention to its core area.

"Rather than fighting growth and change, Bainbridge Island should make it happen in a positive way, architect Peter Brachvogel says.But, he adds, the opportunities to do so are slipping away.Growth is good if it's done right. It's exciting, Brachvogel said. But planners and developers have generally made such a mess of it that it has given growth a bad name.Brachvogel favors traditional neighborhood design, or TND, which he says has the purpose of creating and sustaining community.TND involves a few well-tested principles. Everything should be within a five-minute walk of everything else. There should be enough roads and paths to offer a variety of routes.Building should occur on small lots, with focused open space. And while the automobile should be downplayed, it should be a part of the design.You shouldn't have to drive across town for everything, Brachvogel said. You can't have community if you have to get into your car to do everything. "

  • Apr 4, 2001

“Too much, too late”

"Back in 1994, when the city council was considering a bicycle helmet ordinance the first time around, a letter-writer to the Review suggested offhandedly that the law should be more inclusive. After she and her husband sat through the council's deliberations on other matters, she wrote, our heads hurt for days.We thought back to her droll comment last Wednesday, as the council passed a law mandating helmet use by bicyclists - and skateboarders, scooter riders and those on horseback - on public roads, sidewalks and trails. The hour was 11:30 p.m. Our noggin still throbs. "

  • Apr 4, 2001

Beach takes helm of fire departmentThe volunteer will fill in until a new chief is selected.

"A retired insurance executive and veteran volunteer firefighter will be the Bainbridge Fire Department's interim operations chief for the next 90 to 120 days.Ken Beach will be the department's temporary second-in-command, replacing Kirk Stickels, who retired at the end of last month to move to Alaska. "

  • Apr 4, 2001

“Taking students to the artsA two-year-old group hopes to tie drama, dance to the curriculum.”

"Fifth and sixth grade students were bused to a performance at the Playhouse last week, capping the second year of a program to integrate drama and dance into Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School.Students attending the performance fell silent as Susan Thompson appeared onstage.Tall and stately, Bainbridge Dance Center director Thompson was a commanding stage presence; the students seemed riveted.We're doing a dance called Flight, Thompson said, but before we do it, I'm going to tell you how the dance got made up. "

  • Apr 4, 2001

At one with the landJim Salter and the city hope to see a wooded parcel saved.

"The land comes with stories, and Jim Salter comes with the land.Over here is a pile of cedar shakes, some of them fashioned by Salter's own hand. Over there is a fallen tree that bucked up as Salter cut into it with a chainsaw, giving him a smack that landed him in the hospital for 32 days. They're still not sure how he got out of the woods for an airlift to the hospital.The stories go back 80 years. And at age 85, Salter still heads out to the Wardwell Avenue property as often as he can, to renew his connection with his five wooded acres and his past.There's a lot of happy memories out here, Salter said, looking past the woods toward the rolling fields of Meigs Park next door.It's a piece of property I've loved ever since I bought it, he said. Even before I bought it.Salter hopes to see his land preserved, and so do Bainbridge Island officials. "

  • Mar 31, 2001