After living through two years of isolation, 2022 was the year when Bainbridge Islanders came back out into the world and made an impact.
Here are the Top 10 feature stories in the Bainbridge Review in 2022:
1. Pickleball became the state’s official sport March 29 when Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law on the original pickleball court near Pleasant Beach. The bill recognized Joel Pritchard, who went on to be elected lieutenant governor, and friends Bill Bell and Barney McCallum, who invented the game in 1965 for their children at their summer cabin with a badminton net, ping-pong paddles and a neighbor’s Wiffle ball. Calling it, “a sport for all ages,” and, “The greatest bonding activity between grandparents and grandchildren,” Inslee congratulated Washingtonians for “giving the world yet another invention.”
2. When Russia invaded Ukraine, Bainbridge Island businessman Dale Perry shifted the focus of his Kyiv-based company, Energy Resources of Ukraine, that supplies Ukraine with liquefied natural gas to support Ukraine. With a team of more than 30 employees and family members, they delivered close to $2 million in humanitarian relief supplies to Ukrainians in the first 10 days of the war with Russia.
3. Dr. Marie Matty from Pacifica Clinic volunteered for a 10-day Empact Northwest mission to Ukraine and Poland where she provided medical aid for refugees. Matty said the greatest medical issue was anxiety and stress related to the trauma of leaving their homes due to war. She worked 12-hour shifts at clinics in Ukraine and on the Poland border where her team provided medical care for refugees, Ukraine guardsmen, volunteers and their families.
4. BI volunteers got serious about reusing materials and helped architect Matthew Coates divert 26,000 pounds of unwanted building materials from the landfill to build three 350-square-foot tiny houses for farming interns on the Morales farm near Lovgreen Road and Highway 305. Some of the materials came from the partial demolition of the old Harrison Medical Center on Madison Avenue, which is being remodeled into a police-court facility.
5. After 84 days running from New York to Washington state, Greg Nance finished a 3,156-mile run at Ocean Shores on July 17 to raise awareness for youth mental health. Nance’s efforts raised more than $108,800 for the Run Far Foundation, which gives small grants to youth ages 13-23 for community-building projects nationwide to help them find purpose, have fun and stay healthy.
6. BHS senior Avery Emerson became the first girl from BI to earn the Boy Scouts of America rank of Eagle Scout. Emerson’s dad, brother and uncle were Eagle Scouts and when the BSA opened its doors to girls, Emerson signed up the first day.
7. A BI duo won a category at the Westminster Dog Show. Gail Fleming and her dog Trek won Best of Breed for Vizslas at the 146th Annual Westminster Dog Show. After receiving several top awards and being ranked first in the nation, Trek came into the competition as a favorite, and although he had a target on his back, he was able to outshine his competitors.
8. Bainbridge High School water polo coach Kristin Gellert led the boys team to a state title, and she was named the state Coach of the Tournament. She also coached the boys under 18 team that placed seventh at the Junior Olympics in Dallas. She did all that during COVID, when teens were dealing with added anxiety, social isolation and depression with a simple philosophy of being nice to kids and coaching the whole person.
9. Even though the New Year’s Mochi Tsuki celebration was canceled, mallet master Mike Okano continued making mallets in preparation for the return of the next in-person celebration in 2023. A virtual event was available through all of January on the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community website.
10. Bainbridge High School graduate Anisa Ashabi needed something to do during the early weeks of the pandemic, so she finished a book about a long-forgotten coming-of-age story set in the 2000s about teen life and the trials and tribulations of high school. Ashabi spent the next two years finishing the 516-page book, “Finding Chaz,” which was published June 28. It sold more than 100 hard copies and nearly 1,000 e-book downloads on Amazon.com during the first weeks of release.