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wine by James Williams

Will Future Art Walks Be Dry?

According to Bainbridge Island Downtown Association (BIDA) head Jerri Lane, downtown businesses may in fact not be eligible to get permits to serve liquor at the monthly First Friday Art Walk, as well as other events.

Downtown had a rude awakening last Friday, October 3, when an official from the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) issued warnings to numerous downtown businesses for giving out free liquor and requested that they shut down the event for the evening. The official witnessed business owners not checking IDs and citizens walking on the street with open alcohol.

According to Lane, WSLCB’s suggestion to BIDA Program Manager Joan Campbell and to Inside Bainbridge that a special occasion permit was a likely option to enable local businesses to continue the tradition of serving free alcohol may not apply in this instance. Lane has arranged to have a representative from the Liquor Control Board provide a training session for Bainbridge Island businesses so it is clear what can and cannot be permitted. Lane said businesses cannot hand out free liquor, and she is not sure if the longstanding tradition of serving wine and beer at Art Walk and other similar events here can be continued at all other than at wine, beer, and food establishments that have liquor licenses to sell on site.

The training session is scheduled for Tuesday October 21 at 6 p.m., location to be determined. Lane said she wants to get the facts before the next First Friday Art Walk on November 7.

She said she hopes that the public sees the Art Walk primarily as an opportunity to see local art and meet the artists: “The notion of the Art Walk is to highlight the wonderful art on the Island. The alcohol is not the intent of the event. We hope it won’t make a difference.”

I asked Lane if downtown businesses have expressed concern about possibly losing the tradition of serving free wine and beer to patrons. She said, “It’s more confusion about BIDA’s role and what to do. Everybody really wants to have clarity, and we hope to get it at the meeting.”

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Photo courtesy of James Williams.

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Sensory Processing Disorder Part 2: Emma’s Story

October is National Sensory Awareness Month. As part of this national education effort, Inside Bainbridge is publishing a series on Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), citing the latest research, information from experts in the field, and personal stories from parents, caregivers, and kids affected by the condition. (Family names have been changed for privacy.) Read the other articles in the series:

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) takes many forms, but the guiding experience for those with the condition is a difference of perception. People with SPD have a neurological makeup that causes them to process sensory information differently than most people do. This can create confusion and misunderstanding for those with SPD as well as for those interacting with them. People with SPD often struggle with the dissonance between their own perceptions and the perceptions of others. This dissonance can be painful and isolating for people with SPD, but it also can offer insights that only come with an altered perspective.

Emma’s Story

Bainbridge Island, Washington, third grader Emma has a form of SPD that falls primarily within the SPD subcategory sensory modulation disorder. Because she is hypersensitive to her surroundings and has trouble filtering sensory input, she at times appears underresponsive, especially in the area of auditory functioning. When people speak to her, she often requires things repeated once or more before she can focus and register what has been said. Her parents say they must repeat things to her at home to get her to “tune in.”

“Why Can’t They Just Wait a Second for Me to Say It?”

But Emma’s auditory processing difference isn’t merely a delay in receiving auditory input. It also is challenging for her to form a timely response. She says that in class other kids jump in to answer questions for her that she knows the answer to because she is a beat or two behind with her answers. This makes her angry, and she wonders, “why can’t they just wait a second for me to say it?” Her parents, Iris and Jesse, report that she struggles with feeling “stupid” and sometimes hits herself in frustration.

The fact that Emma is gifted creates even more acute dissonance for her. Although her analytical ability is several years beyond that of her peers, she gets “stuck” in class because often she can’t process her teachers’ instructions and has trouble filtering out classroom noises so she can focus on her work.

“We’ve Worked with Her Teachers Each Year”

When she began first grade, for the first month she started the day under the table in the hallway because the classroom felt so chaotic to her. Transitions are often particularly challenging for SPD kids, and they are for Emma. In second grade she sometimes went to the bathroom so she could be alone to finish her work. Now in third grade Emma goes to a quiet room when she is having trouble focusing. Jesse explains, “We’ve worked with her teachers each year to help give them strategies for helping Emma.”

“It’s the Deer in Headlights Thing”

deer in headlightsEmma’s condition is socially difficult, too, since frequently she doesn’t notice that people have spoken to her, or she hasn’t understood what they have said. Jesse explains: “It’s the deer in headlights thing, with Emma knowing someone expects an answer from her but not knowing what they have said or not being able to bring herself to speak up.”

With other children she is more comfortable asking, “What?” or “Can you say that again?” But with adults, especially unfamiliar ones, Emma is more intimidated and has developed an involuntary “freeze” anxiety reaction. When she freezes, she says nothing or looks to her parents or an adult she trusts to help speak for her.

“When she was four, five, even six, it was more or less okay, but now that she’s almost nine people expect her to speak for herself,” says Iris. “As her parent it is an agonizing balance between trying to allow her to speak for herself and learn to handle difficult social situations but also intervening when she really needs my help.”

Iris says for her one of the biggest challenges of Emma’s SPD has been dealing with adults’ reactions to her daughter. Some other parents of kids in Emma’s class who don’t understand her sensory issues have at times taken offense when Emma hasn’t responded to them, saying to other parents, “there isn’t much going on in that head,” or “what’s with her attitude?”

“Being Labelled Shy Is Not a Compliment”

Iris says that in public situations when strangers talk to Emma, like at the grocery store or the bank, they sometimes are visibly hurt if she doesn’t respond, calling Emma shy. “In a world where extroversion and quickness are equated with likeability and success, being labelled shy is not a compliment, and Emma knows it. She hates being called shy, especially since she is a kid who really wants to be involved and interact, as long as she feels safe.”

One-on-one Emma is an outgoing and animated kid. Her imaginative, humorous, and kindhearted personality shines through when she is feeling in balance and safe from sensory overload. Those who know her are used to the fact that sometimes she doesn’t answer right away and that she occasionally flaps her hands. “As kids do, her friends take her idiosyncrasies in stride and love how fun and creative she is,” explains Jesse.

“Sensory Processing Bunny”

Rabbit in holeIris and Jesse began talking with Emma about her SPD when she was six, referring to it as her Sensory Processing Bunny. They all agreed that the bunny was in its hole sometimes when people above ground were talking, and the bunny needed to poke her head up to hear and respond. But if the bunny felt overwhelmed or scared, she could go down her hole to feel safe. Iris says, “We wanted to find a way to talk about it so Emma would not see herself as defective, and since she loved rabbits, this metaphor was much easier to accept than a ‘disorder’ label.”

When she is feeling overwhelmed or tired, Emma at times needs to squeeze things, be squeezed, or swing. She says it helps to flap her hands when she is really thinking deeply about something. Like many kids with SPD, she often has “meltdowns” after school, parties, or other overstimulating experiences. According to Jesse she holds it together through the event and collapses later: “She is so proud and tough, this is a side of herself she only lets down at home with us. Most kids have meltdowns from time to time, but it is only the SPD parent who knows the intensity of the SPD kid’s meltdown.”

Iris adds, “Sometimes she is literally writhing on the floor unable to speak, reaching up to us to help, and we just have to hold her tightly and talk her through it. Often it is when she has gone too long without eating, and the best thing we can do is get some protein into her.”

“Tough Love Simply Doesn’t Work with Her”

Emma’s parents say that she was not able to self-calm as a baby. “Tough love simply didn’t—and still doesn’t—work with her. If we ever tried to leave her in her crib she would cry herself into projectile vomiting,” explains Iris.

Kids in HammockJesse and Iris have been working for years to teach Emma self-calming techniques. Along the way they have sought help from many people. “Right now she is seeing an Occupational Therapist who has given us some great strategies for helping Emma regulate her senses.” She has a swinging chair, a hammock that she wraps herself in, and “stretchy green stuff” that she squeezes. And she has started to form a vocabulary for talking about what she feels, which is particularly empowering for kids with SPD, who so often feel alone in their experience.

Read the next article in this series: Sensory Processing Part 3: Disorder Kids or a Disordered World?

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[This article from the archives originally appeared on Inside Bainbridge October 24, 2011.]

Photos courtesy of Maggie Taylor, Martin Howard, Eric Chan, Maggie Taylor, and Tim Pierce.

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blood moon by Steve Jurvetson

‘Blood Moon’ Total Lunar Eclipse Early Wednesday Morning

If the fog rolls out, a total lunar eclipse, or blood moon, should be visible in our skies in the wee morning hours tomorrow, October 8. The partial eclipse will begin at 2:15 a.m. and end at 5:34 a.m. Pacific Time. The total eclipse will occur between 3:25 a.m. and 4:24 a.m. Pacific Time.

Although Earth’s shadow will fully eclipse the moon, reflected red light will be visible from its surface from sunsets and sunrises happening on Earth.

A lunar eclipse is when the sun, Earth, and moon form a nearly straight line so that the moon passes through Earth’s shadow. Usually the slight tilted orbit of the moon prevents this alignment.

According to National Geographic, this is the second full lunar eclipse of 2014. It will be followed by two more next year (April 4 and September 28, 2015), making a rare series of four full lunar eclipses, an occurrence that will not repeat for 20 years.

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Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson.

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Ravine Creek sewage spill

City Delayed Notifying Health District and Public About Weekend Sewage Spill

The Kitsap Public Health District has issued a no-contact advisory for Bainbridge Island’s Ravine Creek and the mouth of the creek in northern Eagle Harbor due to a 15,000-gallon sewage spill.

The sewage spilled into the city storm water system located near 920 Hildebrand Lane on Sunday, October 5, at 2 p.m. when a pump station failed. Overflowing sewage discharged into Ravine Creek, which flows into Eagle Harbor.

Although the spill happened midday Sunday, the City of Bainbridge Island (COBI) did not notify the Health District until the following day sometime around 10:30 or 11 a.m.

The Kitsap Public Health District’s Division Director of Environmental Health, Keith Grellner, told me the District has a policy requiring immediate notification of sewage spills and that there are people on call 24/7 to respond to such occurrences. He said when the Health District asked COBI why they had not followed protocol for immediate notification a COBI representative said they would get back to them.

COBI has yet to explain to the Health District why it delayed notifying them. COBI has yet to notify the public of the spill either through contact with the press or notice on the city website.

A 2010 Water Quality and Monitoring document published by COBI identified North Eagle Harbor at Ravine Creek as “the highest priority area” for pollution monitoring on Bainbridge. The document describes the Creek and area as follows:

“Not only is Ravine Creek one of the top five largest single water courses on the island, it is the largest urbanized watercourse on the island and consequently one of the most impacted. Ravine Creek empties into Eagle Harbor, which is on Ecology’s 303d Water Quality Assessment List for Arsenic, PCBs, and toxic organics. Subsequently, North Eagle Harbor is identified as the highest priority area for Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) efforts under the City’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit (COBI, 2010) (DOE, 2007). The Monitoring Plan SER ranked the SE1A location highest in suitability for monitoring.” (View the document, page 6)

As soon as it was notified of the spill, the Health District posted warning signs along the creek and at select locations near the creek mouth. It is evaluating samples it took from the creek to determine how far down the waterway sewage is present. Sewage most likely did not travel very far because of low flow at this time of year.

This is the seventh sewage spill on Bainbridge Island Inside Bainbridge has reported on in just over one year.

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Photo by Sarah Lane.

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october 3 art walk

Liquor Control Board Makes Downtown Businesses Booze Bust at Friday’s Art Walk

Last week’s First Friday Art Walk, a monthly evening tradition in downtown Bainbridge art venues, wineries, and select stores, was interrupted when a liquor enforcement officer from the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) began asking area merchants if they had permits to serve alcohol at a public event. The officer, Raj Veluppillai, said he stopped in at eight to ten establishments and found that none had appropriate permits.

Veluppillai, who is assigned to cover Bainbridge Island and neighboring Kitsap communities, said he had been on Bainbridge that day talking to a couple of local eateries about permitting issues when he saw people in Winslow walking on the street with open alcohol. He said he observed Art Walk businesses serving free beer and wine without carding or monitoring consumption and people walking from one establishment to another with open cups. WSLCB Captain Lisa Ranke said one Renton-based business was offering free wine tastings and selling bottles on the street.

Veluppillai told me he tried not to embarrass the business owners and did not issue citations but did ask them to stop serving and to wind down the event, making it clear that they could not continue in the future without proper permits. He said most of the business owners were nice about it but that he was surprised by the scene: “It was like 1940s Nevada. It was a whole bunch of businesses. I’ve worked this job for many years and never seen anything quite like it.”

Danger coowner Sara Baetz was serving that night and said the officer asked people on the street to pour out their liquor. Like other Art Walk merchants, she said she wanted to comply with state law but wasn’t sure yet how. Bainbridge Arts and Crafts (a nonprofit) publicist Lindsay Masters echoed Baetz’s sentiment and said that the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association (BIDA) had indicated they would take the lead on the issue.

When I asked Ranke about options for Art Walk businesses, she said probably the best route would be for a nonprofit hosting organization to purchase a special occasion permit ($60/day per event) that would enable other participating businesses in town to serve liquor on their premises. She said Beth Layman in Customer Service issues special occasion permits and can be reached at 360-664-1792.

I asked Ranke if WSLCB would issue retroactive tickets when the investigation into the matter concludes. She said, “We could ticket, but we would look at the totality of the situation, and I can’t see our officer writing a violation.” Ranke commented that there are numerous other art walks and similar events in the region, saying, “We don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun.”

BIDA Program Manager Joan Campbell was looking into the matter today. When I spoke with her this afternoon she was aware of the special occasion license option. I asked her if BIDA would be willing to be the hosting organization for future Art Walks. She said, ”We’re going to handle it to the best of our ability. We want to work with all the Art Walk participants to keep this [liquor] part of the tradition because it’s something people want.” But, she explained, they have to check with their insurance company and determine if it is feasible for them to take on the responsibility. “We’re just not sure at this point,” she said.

Owner of Island Gallery Susan Swannack-Nunn, owner of Island Gallery, said she used to get monthly licenses to serve liquor at the Art Walk but was told a year or two ago she no longer needed them. After looking into the situation, she provided an update for this article. She said that as a corporation she is eligible for a permit to service liquor on site and would be pursuing that option.

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Image courtesy of BIDA.

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305 bike lane work by Don Willott

Construction on Highway 305 Part of Roads Safety Improvement Plan

Wondering what the ruckus is about on Highway 305 between Winslow Way and High School Road? The City of Bainbridge Island (COBI) is currently widening the east shoulder and adding a bike lane along what has long been a dangerously narrow section of the highway.

The bike lane extends from Vineyard Lane 600 yards north. The road improvement project involves widening the shoulder, installing a new guardrail, and improving the “pork chop” island at the entrance to Vineyard Lane.

The hazardous section of Highway 305 is one of five dangerous roadway areas identified for priority attention by the City’s Non-Motorized Transportation Advisory Committee, Squeaky Wheels, Go Bainbridge, and the North Kitsap Trails Association.

The other hazard areas are as follows:

  • Miller Road between Tolo Road and Peterson Road
  • Bucklin Hill Road between Blakely Avenue and Fletcher Bay Road
  • Eagle Harbor Drive intersection near Ray’s Automotive
  • Fletcher Bay Road from High School Road to Sportsman Club Road

This is the first of the five Island hot spots to be funded, with completion expected by the end of this week. The project was fully funded by the City Council as part of the City’s Capitol Improvement Plan, at a cost of about $135,500.

The new section of bike lane will run parallel to the planned Bainbridge Island portion of the Sound to Olympics Trail (STO), which will be a separated pathway along 305 between the ferry terminal and Agate Pass Bridge. According to STO planner Don Willott, cyclists will have the option to use the improved bike lane adjacent to the highway or veer off onto the multi-use, family-friendly STO.

City Engineering Manager Chris Hammer called the Highway 305 work an exciting step in improving safety on Island roads.

Designs for Phase II of the STO will be presented at the second community meeting, on October 29.

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Photo courtesy of Don Willott.

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hawk name that bird by jay wiggs

Name That Bird: Ubiquitous Beauty

This stunning, familiar bird is the most common raptor in North America. With 14 subspecies, it has variable plumage but is nonetheless relatively easy to identify, with its large body, rounded wings, and wide short tail.

This keen-eyed, efficient hunter is highly adaptable and thrives in a wide range of habitats.

Monogamous, this raptor typically mates for life and nests in tall trees. Females lay one to five eggs each breeding season, and both sexes incubate the eggs for four to five weeks and then feed nestlings for up to 10 weeks.

The larger female has an average wingspan of four feet.

Can you identify this bird?

hawk by jay wiggs









hawk jay wiggs











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Photos courtesy of Jay Wiggs.

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foggy road by JonDissed

Weather: Fog Hazard Starts the Week

Expect a foggy start to the week. Here is the National Weather Service forecast for Bainbridge Island:

  • Monday Fog before 11 a.m. Otherwise, cloudy and then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 69 degrees F. Calm wind becoming north-northeast around 6 mph in the afternoon.
  • Monday Night Patchy fog after 11 p.m. Otherwise, increasing clouds, with a low around 57 degrees F. North-northeast wind around 7 mph.
  • Tuesday Areas of fog before 11 a.m. Otherwise, mostly cloudy with a high near 67 degrees. North-northeast wind 5 to 7 mph.
  • Tuesday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51 degrees F. North wind 5 to 8 mph.

Photo by JonDissed.

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Strawberry Hill Dog Park

Owner of Seriously Wounded Dog Warns About Risk of New Dog Park

Barbra Boiser lives near Bainbridge Island’s new dog park at Strawberry Hill, and after several friends told her to check it out she took her dog there to give it a try on Tuesday, September 30. Having never been to an enclosed dog park, Bosier inspected the scene before letting her dog, Angel, into the fenced area. She said it looked clean and calm, so she took off Angel’s leash as required and proceeded in.

Angel is not your average dog. She is a 5-year-old Saluki, a fairly large-bodied but very slender and extremely fast sight hound originally bred to hunt gazelle. One of the most ancient dog breeds, Salukis are intelligent, independent, loyal to their owners, and gentle-natured. Angel lives with a 200-pound Irish Wolf Hound and has spent time with other dogs, but mostly other Salukis.

Bosier said the people in the park exclaimed when they saw her unusual dog, remarking on her beauty, and the other dogs in the park came over for sniffs. Then, Bosier said, Angel “shot out of there, flying around the perimeter four times. I’d never seen her run like that.”

As Angel lapped the other dogs, Bosier saw a white and brown pit bull or pit mix nip at her side. She thought it was harmless until Angel ran to the fence to try to jump it and Bosier saw that “her playing had turned to terror.” As she approached Angel, she saw a “huge gaping wound in her side about 4 x 4 inches wide and very deep into her body cavity near her ribs.” Bosier managed to get Angel on the leash before she jumped the fence, something she could have easily done.

“A man said he saw her get hurt. I just wanted to get out of there and get her to the vet,” said Bosier. After dropping off Angel for emergency surgery, Bosier went back to the park to tell the people there that her dog would be okay, but no one was there.

After surgery, several days with draining tubes, and a vet bill amounting to nearly $1,000, Angel is recovering well. “She has a large scar that hopefully her fur will grow over, but she is going to be okay,” Bosier told me.

Bosier emphasized that she is not looking to place blame or get reimbursement for the vet bill. But she said she is telling everyone she knows about the incident because she doesn’t want to see this kind of thing happen to other dogs.

“People need to understand the potential risk of the dog park,” she said.

She went to Park District headquarters to inform them of the event and spoke with Executive Director Terry Lande. Bosier said he was very nice but likened it to the risk of having an accident while driving a car. “Most of us have to drive. We drive to work, to school, to the store. But we don’t have to go to a dog park. It’s not the same thing,” Bosier said.

Bosier told me she knows people who really like the dog park and take their dogs there but that she would never go back. She said she didn’t know if the pit bull had meant to hurt her dog but that if it truly had attacked Angel it could have snapped her neck.

Read about the Bainbridge Island Park District’s efforts to help educate users of the new dog park here.

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Photo by Julie Hall.

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spokane ferry at kingston dock by compdude787

Two More Ferries Down, Cutting Service at Kingston and Port Townsend

The Spokane ferry has been pulled from the Kingston-Edmonds run for mechanical repairs. According to Washington State Ferries (WSF), the boat will be down at least until this afternoon. Morning sailing continue to be cancelled, including the Kingston 10:25 a.m. and the Edmonds 11:10 a.m.

The Salish also is out of service for the day, leaving the Port Townsend/Coupeville run with one boat and reduced sailings. WSF says that current reservation holders will be prioritized on a first-come, first-serve basis and those unable to travel due to the cancellations will not be charged a “no show” fee. WSF is not taking new reservations on the run today. Limited walk-on and drive-up space is available.

The Tacoma, which serves the Bainbridge/Seattle route, is still out of service and not expected to be running again before the end of the year.

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Photo courtesy of compdude787.

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Wildlife Corridor land near Meigs by BILT

Land Trust Expands Historic East-West Wildlife Corridor

Bainbridge Island Land Trust (BILT) Executive Director Jane Stone is excited. BILT has a contract to purchase a 15-acre parcel of land replete with wildlife that would expand and solidify a vital east-west corridor connecting Grand Forest East with Meigs Park. The connection is part of a much broader corridor extending from Meigs Park, which borders Highway 305, all the way to the west shore of Bainbridge at the end of the Fairy Dell Trail.

And right now BILT has a matching-funds grant that will double every donated dollar to make the first payment on that land.

The new Wildlife Corridor acquisition expands a narrow existing corridor of land between the Grand Forest and Meigs that BILT purchased back in 1995. The original 20-acre parcel was BILT’s first land purchase, which Stone called a great leap of faith at the time. The organization had been gifted land and assisted with other acquisitions but up to that point had never bought land. “We got a loan and took the leap because preserving corridors is central to our mission,” said Stone.

Stone explained that the new 15-acre parcel nearly doubles the existing narrow corridor (only about 330 feet wide) and makes it more viable and less fragile. It is one more link adding up to 555 acres of contiguous preserved land in the center of Bainbridge.

The new parcel is vital habitat of forested wetlands, mixed forest, and a rarity on Bainbridge—a large open pond. Stewardship Director Brenda Padgham explained that BILT has been intensely monitoring the area’s water quality and wildlife. Here are some examples of its fauna: beavers, otters, deer, coyotes, Douglas squirrels, Pileated woodpeckers, kingfishers, sapsuckers, wigeons, buffleheads, barred owls, tree toads, green frogs, salamanders, and newts.

BILT is studying the habitat and its wild residents in part to determine if human access is appropriate and where and how it might be created. Stone explained that BILT always looks for creative ways to provide public access: “So many people get so much value in getting out on the land.” But the organization’s primary goal for the land, as it always has been, is to preserve the area as a wildlife corridor. “Our intent is to keep true to that original mission,” she said. “The larger tracts of land and the connecting corridors are important for maintaining the ecological integrity of the Island.”

Wildlife Corridor Expansion

Wildlife Corridor Expansion land shown in yellow

Stone added that as BILT moves forward with providing stewardship of the land it will work closely with the Park District, which owns adjacent Meigs Park.

BILT’s ultimate vision is to complete the corridor by extending it to the east shore of the Island.

BILT signed a 5-year purchase and sale agreement for the land with private owners Kirk and Cindy Andreasen at the end of 2013 for $625,000. Its first payment is due November 30, 2014, at which time it hopes to double a $75,000 matching grant with community donations.

Stone said, “It continually awes me about the community—when the call goes out people are there. It reflects how much we value our open space.”

Donate to the Wildlife Corridor Expansion.

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Images courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust.

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pumpkins by beth robson

Photo of the Day: Git Yer Big Fat Perfect Punkin’ While the Gittin’s Good

Hey folks, it’s October already, and now’s the time to choose your favorite Halloween squash(es) from Bainbridge’s own Suyematsu & Bentryn Family Farms before the best of the lot is sold out. Seem early? No lie, they go fast.

One of the largest working farms on Bainbridge Island and in broader Kitsap, this 40-acre farm grows—in addition to pumpkins—raspberries, corn, grapes, potatoes, garlic, onions, and seasonal greens.

Find the farm one-quarter mile east of Highway 305 on Day Road.

Hours vary. Learn more at the farm’s website. 

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Photo of the Suyematsu & Bentryn Family Farms pumpkin patch courtesy of Bainbridge Island photographer Elisabeth Robson.

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tree fall julie hall

Weather: Drying and Warming Trend

After a (needed) wet spell, we’re in for drier and somewhat warmer temperatures. Here is the National Weather Service Forecast for Bainbridge Island:

  • Thursday Partly sunny, with a high near 67 degrees F. Calm wind, becoming west-northwest around 5 mph in the morning.
  • Thursday Night Areas of fog after 11 p.m. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 46 degrees F. North wind 6 to 8 mph.
  • Friday Patchy fog before 11 a.m. Then mostly sunny, with a high near 70 degrees F. North wind 5 to 8 mph, becoming calm in the morning.
  • Friday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 50 degrees F. North-northwest wind 3 to 5 mph.
  • Saturday Mostly cloudy, with a high near 70 degrees F.
  • Saturday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51 degrees F.
  • Sunday Mostly cloudy, with a high near 69 degrees F.
  • Sunday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51 degrees F.’

Photo by Julie Hall. 

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Sensory Processing Disorder Part 1: Defining It

October is National Sensory Awareness Month. As part of this national education effort, Inside Bainbridge is publishing a series on Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), citing the latest research, information from experts in the field, and personal stories from parents, caregivers, and kids affected by the condition. (Family names have been changed for privacy.) Read the other articles in the series:

The elegance of the animal brain and neurological system makes complex processes seem simple. Our sensory systems tell us where to place our feet, how to maneuver through space, which sounds to ignore and which to attend to, what to focus on in our visual field, how to chew and swallow without choking, when to speak and when to listen, and countless other actions each minute of each day.

bored kids in classroom

All kids have different learning styles, and this teaching method apparently isn’t working.

A child in a classroom, for example, has to filter out noises from other classrooms, buzzing lights, shuffling feet, and a host of other extraneous sounds in order to focus on the most important sound—the teacher’s voice. This can be challenging at times for many children, but for kids with sensory processing disorder it can be downright exhausting, painful, or even at times impossible.

What SPD Is Not

Sensory Processing Disorder is not ADD or ADHD, although it is often misdiagnosed as such. It also is not a form of autism or Asberger’s, though sensory processing problems often accompany those spectrum conditions. SPD is not a “learning disability” per se, but it may lead to learning and emotional problems.

What SPD Is

Research on SPD began in earnest in the 1960s and 1970s with the work of neuroscientist and occupational therapist Dr. Anna Jean Ayres. She described SPD as a neurological “traffic jam” preventing parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to accurately interpret sensory information.

Some peoples’ fun is other peoples’ sensory nightmare.

Extensive research and practitioner work has followed Ayres’s pioneering studies, but a widespread lack of awareness and understanding of SPD still persist in the general population. Some remain skeptical, dismissive, or simply unaware of the condition. But for families, caregivers, and educators dealing with kids displaying SPD symptoms, the condition is very real.

A current goal of the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation is to get recognition for SPD in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), due out in 2013. Difficulty getting recognition for “newly emerging” diagnostic conditions is old news. Before 1980, autism was labeled a form of childhood schizophrenia, and the full autism spectrum wasn’t included in the DSM until 1987.

A 2004 study conducted by the SPD Foundation found that “at least 1 in 20 children’s daily lives is affected by SPD.” A 2009 study suggested that “1 in 6 children experiences sensory challenges sufficient to disrupt their academic, social, and/or emotional development.”

Based on new research, the SPD Foundation, led by Director Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., OTR, identifies three major categories of SPD:

  1. Sensory Modulation Disorder. This includes sensory overresponsivity, sensory underresponsivity, and sensory-seeking behaviors, or combinations thereof. People with this condition can alternate from one state to the other, sometimes seeking stimulation, for example with hand flapping or spinning, and at other times retreating from stimulation by hiding or going off alone.
  2. Sensory Discrimination Disorder. This includes difficulty with accurate perception of all the five senses, plus proprioceptive awareness (knowing how much pressure to exert), vestibular awareness (knowing where you are in space), and interoceptive awareness (being aware of your bodily functions, like hunger and the need to go to the bathroom). People with sensory discrimination problems may have trouble reading because they can’t discriminate between letters, or they may have trouble identifying who is speaking to them because they can’t locate the sources of sounds.
  3. Sensory-Based Motor Disorder. This includes postural disorders and/or dyspraxia (difficulty planning and carrying out motor tasks). People with sensory motor problems may have low muscle tone, difficulty holding utensils, poor posture, trouble with balance, and low stamina.

Terry and Jan in Seattle have a son, Eli, who slumps and has trouble holding his pencil firmly when he writes and draws. He has difficulty sitting up straight at school and at the dinner table, and his handwriting is poor. Sometimes he falls out of his chair. Eli’s Sensory Motor Disorder makes him unable to keep up with playground activities and leaves him feeling socially isolated and embarrassed, especially around the other boys in his class.

People with SPD may have problems in one, two, or all three areas, to varying degrees. The often very different manifestations of SPD make it a challenge to diagnose and treat. It can be bewildering to people unfamiliar with the condition, making it easy to mistake as the result of poor parenting or character flaws such as stubbornness, belligerence, laziness, or lack of intelligence.

Morgan and Jim, parents in Portland, have two kids with SPD, displaying two very different forms of Sensory Modulation Disorder. Their daughter is generally overresponsive to sensory input, screaming at mild pain and dissolving into long crying fits, even in public, over minor disappointments. Their son, on the other hand, is sensory-seeking, often hitting, biting, touching, and talking excessively in school and at home. Both children are highly intelligent, which is not uncommon for children with SPD.

Boy on metal climbing ladder.

SPD can feel insurmountable.

According to Paula Jarrard, MS, OTR, and doctoral candidate at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, there is a correlation between giftedness and SPD. She based her conclusions partly on two studies, one by the SPD Foundation that found that 35 percent of the children in one large sample (n=500) from a gifted and talented center exhibited symptoms of SPD. The second study showed that almost 17 percent of gifted children that were tested at a different center had SPD.

Although a significantly higher-than-average number of SPD kids may be gifted, they often suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, and poor school performance, leading to underachievement in adulthood.

Bainbridge Island pyschotherapist Elizabeth Turner, who works with many SPD children, explains that their difficulty filtering and interpreting sensory information can create chronic stress: “Sensory-challenging situations, like chaotic classrooms, for example, can feel overwhelming and create an anxiety response that becomes physiologically wired into the nervous system. These kids develop a flight, fight, or freeze reaction that becomes involuntary without intervention.”

So what begins as a neurological difference in SPD kids often develops into a socially isolating and emotionally debilitating condition. In the next feature in this series, I will examine what it’s like living with SPD from the point of view of those who have it and their parents and caregivers.

[This article from the archives originally appeared on Inside Bainbridge October 19, 2011.]

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Images courtesy of Mike Baird, Reiner Kraft, and James Emery.

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ebola virus

CDC Confirms First U.S. Ebola Case

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed the first-ever case of an Ebola diagnosis in the United States.

According to NPR, a patient is currently hospitalized in seclusion in Dallas, Texas, following a positive test result for the Ebola virus. He recently returned from Liberia.

The CDC is sending a team to Dallas to manage the situation.

Ebola has been present in the United States for a couple of months, after patients diagnosed elsewhere with the disease came here for treatment.

Today’s announcement marks the first confirmed diagnosis on U.S. soil. Outbreaks of Ebola have killed thousands in recent months in West Africa.

Ebola is not considered highly contagious, as it is only spread through body fluids.

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Photo of Ebola virus courtesy of NIAID.

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10 by Elliot Brown

IB’s Top Ten Stories in September 2014

Here are the most-read stories Inside Bainbridge published in September, 2014, in descending order:

  1. Bainbridge Teacher Michael Anderson Dies
  2. Whistleblower Tells What Really Happened to the Tacoma Ferry and Why It Could Happen Again
  3. Three-Year-Old Girl and Father Fall off 80-Foot Bluff at Hidden Cove
  4. Holy Heart Failure Batman! Navy Growlers Buzz Bainbridge Thursday Night
  5. Two Dead German Shepherds Found Dumped at Stottlemeyer Trailhead
  6. Bainbridge Woman Rescued from Eagle Harbor Waters with Life-Threatening Injuries
  7. Bainbridge Crime Duo Wanted by BIPD: Chief Hamner Interviewed for ‘Washington’s Most Wanted’
  8. Midday Downtown Winslow Robbery Raises Concerns
  9. Interview with Family of Bainbridge 8-Year-Old Behind Last Night’s Eagle Harbor Water Rescue
  10. Bainbridge Father and Daughter in Serious Condition After Fall from Bluff

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Photo courtesy of Elliot Brown.

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Blackberry jpod p-27 orca by Kim

New Map Shows Best Places to See Orcas in Puget Sound

Resident orcas are expected in Puget Sound this week on the hunt for their primary food, salmon, which are returning to area rivers to spawn.

Now the nonprofit organization Orca Network has published a map of good on-shore locations for spotting whales in Puget Sound and surrounding areas, from north of Whidbey Island to south of Tacoma.

View the map. 

The map, still being expanded and updated, includes descriptions of prime locations and directions for how to get to them. Orca Network volunteer Thorsten Lisker created the map based on historical sightings records and information from seasoned whale watchers.

The best spot on Bainbridge Island identified on the map is Fay Bainbridge Park. Other close locations on this side of the water are in Kingston, Hansville, and Port Townsend.

Feeding patterns suggest that members of the J, K, and/or L pods are likely to show up any day now looking for chum and possibly coho salmon.

whale sighting locations map

Transient orcas are still around too, as well as at least one humpback, sighted yesterday, September 29, off of Point No Point in Hansville.

It is believed that resident and transient orcas diverged genetically about 70,000 years ago. Our Pacific southern residents in the Northwest live in matriarchal communities, or pods, and eat fish. Transients move in smaller groups and feed on mammals, including seals, sea lions, and other whales.

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Photo of Blackberry (J-27), a J-pod male born in 1991 courtesy of Kim.

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12,000 Eyeballs a Day: Half-Priced Ad Deals Now for All One Call Orgs

Calling all One Call for All nonprofits and those who value and support them! We love what you do, and we want to help you get the support you deserve during red envelope season.

As Bainbridge Island’s number one news and information source, Inside Bainbridge commands a huge readership averaging nearly 6,000 views a day. Yes, you read that right. And now we are offering a special rate to make it affordable for you to reach all those eyeballs at half of our already reduced nonprofit rate. To reiterate: You get our already low nonprofit rate cut in half.

Local nonprofits OR those who wish to support them can purchase a three-month ad to run during the donation window October 1-December 31 or a one-month ad at any time during that period to highlight your organization 24/7 for the crucial donations you need to continue to do the important work you do.

Line up your ad now to get best placement on our website. Placement is first-come, first-served. Contact us today to secure your spot:

Call 206-588-5364 or email

Red Envelope Ad Rates/Options

  • Large Box Ad: full views on home page or inside pages one month/$212.50, three months/$574.50
  • Large Box Ad: half views (in rotation) on home page or inside pages one month/$170, three months/$414
  • Medium Box Ad: full views on home page or inside pages one month/$170, three months/$414
  • Medium Box Ad: half views (in rotation) on home page or inside pages one month/$126, three months/$330
  • Small Box Ad: full views on home page or inside pages one month/$127.50, three months/$319.50
  • Small Box Ad: half views (in rotation) on home page or inside pages one month/$85, three months/$223.50

View our regular Nonprofit Ad Rates/Options page. Your rate for this special deal would be half of that listed.

Questions? Call 206-588-5364 or email We are here to help you prepare and publish your ad asap, with a smile and without red tape.

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Photo courtesy of Alpha.

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crime scene by Alan Cleaver

Burglary at Commodore Area Home Believed to Be the Work of Professionals

Thursday, September 25, residents of the Commodore neighborhood on Jeanette Place returned home at about 8:20 in the evening to find their house had been burglarized.

A large bedroom window secured shut with a wooden pole had been forced out of its framework and pushed into the room to gain entry. The homeowners believe there were likely two burglars because of the difficulty of removing the window. “They absolutely forced their way in through an inconspicuous entry point in a secluded spot in back of the house with a lot of trees and native vegetation and a fence and blackberries,” the adult male homeowner explained. The house itself is in a secluded area on a cul de sac and was fully locked.

The intruders systematically ransacked each room of the house, opening and rifling through drawers, cabinets, and closets. They stole antique watches, jewelry, old coins, and silver. The homeowners believe the burglars were alerted to their return when they opened their automatic garage door, which they said is very noisy. They believe the theft was interrupted because the burglars had not gone through the upstairs portion of the house and because they left behind part of a valuable set of silver that they had taken pieces from, leaving one piece lying on the floor as if it had been hastily dropped.

The homeowner said, “This wasn’t kids. It looked professional, like people who knew what they were doing. They were looking for things they could sell.”

He continued, “People need to keep their doors locked. Let the public be aware that sophisticated people are out there.”

The Bainbridge Island police took a report the night of the break in. Officer Walt Berg said they are investigating the case.

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Photo courtesy of Alan Cleaver

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truck across arrow point

Update: Road Alert—Fallen Power Line and Big Stuck Truck Close Arrow Point Drive

Update: As of 5:05 p.m. the roadway was cleared.


This afternoon, September 26, at approximately 3:55 Bainbridge Island firefighters responded to a fallen power line across Arrow Point Drive at the bottom of the hill between Miller Road and the turn leading to Battle Point Park.

They closed the road to wait for Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to repair the wire, instructing vehicles from both directions to turn around and take an alternate route.

Attempting to turn around, a large trailer truck backed up into a nearby driveway and became stuck in the mud, with its front right tire in a ditch. The two men in the truck tried giving it traction with boards, but as of 4:30 the truck was still stuck. Vehicles were advised to take Battle Point Road instead.

truck blocking arrow point drive





truck across arrow point









Photos by Julie Hall.

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