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agate pass bridge

Bridge Work to Wrap up Early

Cleaning and repair work on Agate Pass Bridge will be completed by 3 p.m. Friday, February 27, a day earlier than expected.

The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) reported this afternoon that the unseasonably warm and dry weather for much of the last three weeks enabled crews to finish early and perform maintenance that can only be done in dry weather, such as asphalt patching and bridge rail painting. During this final week of work, inspection and maintenance activities occurred simultaneously.

agate pass bridge rust

“Before” photo shows rust eating at rivets and a beam flange

WSDOT Communications Manager Claudia Bingham Baker said engineers found “no obvious critical problems” with the bridge but will take up to three months to complete their inspection analysis and finalize the inspection report.

Completed repairs include smoothing a bump on the pavement at the end of the bridge, replacing missing and/or rusted rivets, removing general rust, repairing sidewalk joints, painting the new raised pedestrian railing, and adding over-height load signs to help reduce bridge strikes by oversized trucks.

agate pass bridge repairs

“After” photo shows the rivets and beam cleaned and treated with a zinc-based coating to protect the steel from future rust.

Baker said that much more maintenance beyond this three-week effort is needed, and it will be incorporated into future bridge maintenance schedules. Next February, crews will again return to conduct annual flushing, inspections, and maintenance work that may again require daytime lane closures.

“WSDOT would like to extend a heart-felt thank you to the residents and commuters who modified their driving schedules, avoided the bridge during work hours, or switched to the Bremerton or Kingston ferries since early February. The intense effort has been successful for a number of reasons, including the favorable weather, good work planning and execution, and, perhaps most importantly, lower traffic volumes,” said Baker.

agate pass bridge repairs

Crews repaired the work platform under the bridge, a key safety component for crew members working on the bridge.

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Photos courtesy of WSDOT. Featured photo by Julie Hall.

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Bainbridge High School Principal Issues Letter to Parents About Alleged Teacher Misconduct

[Updated 7:22 a.m., February 26, 2015.]

Bainbridge High School (BHS) Principal Mary Alice O’Neill released a letter Wednesday evening to BHS families informing them of allegations of “inappropriate conduct” between a teacher and student at the school.

The letter followed an official notification of the allegations to the Bainbridge police earlier in the day. Police Chief Matt Hamner said a police investigation was immediately launched. He declined to say what type of misconduct had been alleged or disclose any details about the teacher and student involved.

School officials were not immediately available for comment.

Here is the complete letter sent from BHS Principal Mary Alice O’Neill:

Dear Bainbridge High School Families:

Late afternoon Tuesday, Feb. 24, Bainbridge High School administrators learned of allegations of inappropriate conduct between a BHS teacher and student. Because the safety and well-being of our students is our top priority, we want to inform you of the steps we are taking at this time.

This morning, BHS administrators reported the allegations to law enforcement. While we are not authorized to provide specifics identifying either the student or the teacher, we can assure you that school and district administrators will fully cooperate with authorities on any investigation. We will also retain an independent investigator. The teacher is now on administrative leave pending the completion of the investigation.

The Bainbridge Island School District is taking the allegations very seriously. Because the incident involves members of our school community, any investigation may draw attention to our school. Situations of this nature can be upsetting to students and staff who hear about this at school, from friends or media. In the weeks ahead, our staff will pay additional attention to students for any signs of distress. Counselors will also be available to speak with students and listen to their feelings and their concerns.

We are committed to fully understanding the situation and working with authorities and the community until this matter is resolved. Thank you for your support and understanding.

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Photo by Julie Hall.

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Bainbridge High School

Bainbridge High School Teacher Accused of Misconduct with Student

[Updated at 7:40 p.m., February 25, 2015.]

The Bainbridge Island School District announced today that allegations have been made of misconduct between a Bainbridge High School (BHS) teacher and a student at the school.

Bainbridge Island Police Chief Matt Hamner said the police department launched an investigation into the matter as soon as they were made aware of the allegations this morning.

Chief Hamner said no further information is available at this time because of the open investigation but that he expects to release further details about the case within the next couple of days. He declined to specify the type of alleged misconduct.

We will report on this story as information becomes available.

Read our followup story: Bainbridge High School Principal Issues Letter to Parents About Alleged Teacher Misconduct

Photo by Julie Hall.

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Posted in Community, New 1, Schools2 Comments

USS Bremerton submarine

Photos of the Day: Holy Torpedo!

Photographer Robert Dashiell captured these images of the USS Bremerton (SSN-698) submarine passing Bainbridge Island through Sinclair Inlet this morning, February 25.

Commissioned in 1978, the 360-foot-long Bremerton is the oldest United States sub currently in active service. It is armed with four 21-inch torpedo tubes aft of its bow that can launch MK-48 Torpedoes and Harpoon and Tomahawk ASM/LAM missiles.

USS Bremerton sub in sinclair inlet











USS Bremerton submarine










USS Bremerton sub in sinclair inlet















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orcas island water view

Washington State Ferries Says Reserve Early for San Juans Travel

Planning a trip to the San Juan Islands this spring or summer? Washington State Ferries (WSF) is recommending a reservation, and the sooner the better.

WSF reports that its new reservation system, launched in January, for travel in the San Juans is already seeing tremendous use and saving travelers disappointment and long wait times.

Between Jan. 5 and Feb. 22, about half of all drivers departing from Anacortes, Friday Harbor, and Orcas Island traveled with a reservation. The numbers swelled during the recent Presidents’ Day weekend, with 75 percent of travelers heading to the San Juans reserving their space in advance.

“Customers with reservations experienced much shorter wait times traveling to the San Juans during Presidents’ Day weekend this year than in previous years,” said WSF Vehicle Reservations Program Manager Brian Churchwell. “Reserving a spot in advance not only guarantees a space on the ferry, it will help reduce wait times during our busy spring and summer sailing seasons.”

WSF is making 90 percent of every sailing to San Juans available for vehicle reservations. Reservations are released in three 30-percent tiers to help meet the needs of customers planning far in advance and those making travel plans closer to their sailing date. Some unreserved space is set aside for emergency vehicles, customers with medical priority loading, and standby customers.

There is no fee to make a reservation, but customers may be charged a no-show fee if a trip on the reserved sailing or any spot within the same service day from the same terminal is not taken. Travelers can cancel a reservation until 5 p.m. the day before their sailing without penalty.

To book a reservation, go online or call 888-808-7977 between 4 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., seven days a week.

“We’ve seen a remarkable level of customer participation during these first few weeks,” said WSF Assistant Secretary Lynne Griffith. “I want to thank our customers for doing their part by helping us better utilize the limited sailings to and from the San Juan Islands.”

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 Photo of Orcas Island courtesy of Andy Karmy.

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navigate bainbridge meeting

Navigate Bainbridge Session Tonight on Green Community & Vibrant Economy

As part of the Comprehensive Plan Update/Navigate Bainbridge process, the City is hosting listening sessions in February and March, inviting citizens to help shape the future of Bainbridge Island.

An important session tonight, February 25, focuses on Vibrant Economy and Green/Well-Planned Community. Citizens will have the opportunity to give input on issues including future growth, land and energy conservation, affordable housing, and creating a robust and sustainable economy. The meeting will be held in City Hall’s Council Chamber from 6:30 to 9 p.m. A session on the same topic earlier this week was well-attended, with some 45 participants.

Listening sessions include break-out small-group discussions, followed by sharing with the large group and opportunities for general discussion. Questions to be considered tonight include the following:

  • What are some types of businesses that you think merit special efforts to attract and/or retain?
  • In what ways could the City or others facilitate orderly and strategically planned growth?
  • What incentives should the City consider to encourage energy conservation, sustainability, and recycling?

“Given some of the community discussion and controversy over, for example, Visconsi and Suzuki, that have occurred over the last year, this is really the opportunity for people to express their opinion about growth, open spaces, and preserving the character of the Island,” said COBI Communications Specialist Kellie Stickney. “This is the time to participate. I can’t emphasize that enough. I hope to see everyone involved in Comp Plan update to tell the city how to deal with these issues.”

4040Stickney explained that after the final listening sessions next week, the main avenue for citizen input will be through surveys.

Find a full list of preparation questions and details about the meeting here. Members of the public unable to attend a session can submit comments by email to or in person at City Hall. All session and submitted comments will be transcribed and recorded.

The final pair of listening sessions will tackle the subject of Reliable Infrastructure and Healthy/Attractive Community. Citizens are invited to attend on either Monday, March 2, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or Wednesday, March 4, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

A previous listening session topic addressed Safe City and Good Governance.

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Photo courtesy of Christina Albrecht Tinling.

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great blue heron in nest

Early Birds Begin Nesting at the Lovell Avenue Heronry

With our mild weather this winter, breeding great blue herons have started nesting early this season at their Winslow site on Lovell Avenue. Bainbridge-based photographer Paul Brians captured a few breeding pairs already at work on their nests this week.

Colony breeders, great blue herons have had several rookeries, known as heronries, on Bainbridge Island in recent decades. Predation by bald eagles lead them to abandon once active sites on Lafayette Avenue and Peterson Hill Road.

In the last few years, local breeding pairs reestablished themselves in a new colony near the water in a stand of Big Leaf Maples on Lovell Avenue. Learn more.

lovell heronry by Paul Brians

Female repairing nest while her mate stands watch













lovell heronry nests

Lovell heronry nests

















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Photos courtesy of Paul Brians.

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Posted in Animals, Popular 1, Wildlife Watch1 Comment

Seattle Seawall Work Brings More Changes for Ferry Commuters

The ongoing Seattle Seawall Project is bringing further significant changes for ferry commuters who use Colman Dock. Starting Wednesday, February 25, the following changes take effect, continuing through next fall:

  • The Marion Street exit will close and a temporary exit between Marion and Madison Streets (closer to the fire station) will open. Vehicle traffic exiting at this location will turn left or right onto Alaskan Way. Drivers can access Marion Street by turning right onto Alaskan Way and then left onto Marion.
  • Trucks and vehicles over 30-feet in length will be required to use the Yesler Way exit because the turn radius at the temporary exit north of Marion Street is not wide enough.
  • The north and south exterior stairways to the terminal building will be closed. Pedestrian access will be maintained on the Marion Street pedestrian bridge, via the outside elevator, and on a street-level crossing leading to the indoor terminal ramps. 
Seawall project changes to colman dock access map

Changes to Colman Dock access starting 2/25/15





















View full map.

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Images courtesy of Washington State Ferries and Seattle Seawall Project.

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name that bird 2/24/15 jay wiiggs

Name That Bird: Green-Eyed Angler

Commonly spotted around Bainbridge Island shores, this sociable coastal bird, slightly smaller than a goose, gathers in colonies. The males choose a nesting site and gather most of the nesting material, while the females are the nest architects.

With less preen oil than most waterbirds, this species spends much of its time drying its outspread wings. The tradeoff for getting wet feathers is being a fast and agile underwater hunter, targeting over 250 species of fish. This bird uses its webbed feet for underwater propulsion and hook-shaped bill for catching prey.

From afar, it appears dark and colorless, but in fact it has sparkly green eyes and a bright orange bill. This populous bird was besieged by shootings and thin eggshells from DDT. In recent decades it has rebounded abundantly.

Can you name this bird?

name that bird 2/24/15 jay wiiggs










close up of face









name that bird 2/24/15 jay wiiggs











name that bird 2/24/15 jay wiiggs



















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Face closeup photo courtesy of Miguel Vieira. Other photos courtesy of Jay Wiggs.

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chilly hilly accident ambulance

Chilly Hilly 2015 Stats and Accidents

Bainbridge Island’s 43rd annual Chilly Hilly regional bike event, organized by Seattle-based Cascade Bicycle Club (CBC), saw riders enjoying a stunningly clear morning with mountain views and drier-than-normal conditions, with average temperatures for late February—a high of 51 degrees F.

This year’s Chilly Hilly drew an estimated 4,500 participants, more than the 3,000-4,000 annual average but less than the 2012 record of over 6,000 riders.

Chilly Hilliers surmount a challenging 33-mile route with 2,675 feet of climbing around the scenic highlights of Bainbridge Island.

“One of Four Classic Rides” according to Bicycling Magazine, the Chilly Hilly draws bike fanatics from as far away as France.


This year’s Chilly Hilly organizer Rebecca Sorensen took the torch from 16-year-organizer Dave Douglas. She was pleased to report that today’s event went relatively smoothly with minor accidents, in contrast to last year’s drama involving a cyclist revived from cardiac arrest by other riders with life-saving training who happened to be passing by in a literal lifesaving moment. (Read more.)

For bikers, scrapes and bruises come with the territory, but today’s Chilly Hilly drew three official emergency responses.

Two riders collided at about 10 a.m. at Phelps and Hidden Cove Road due to a “pothole incident.” They were treated by medics for non life-threatening injuries and were taken by ambulance to a Seattle hospital. At about 10:35 a.m., a rider on Battle Point Drive sustained an arm injury from a fall. Bainbridge paramedics provided emergency treatment and loaded his bicycle into their truck. A fourth injured bicyclist is believed to have sustained a broken collar bone in an accident that occurred in the afternoon.

Volunteers and Sponsors

Sorensen gave a shout out to the BI Ham Radio Club members who volunteer their time each year for the event’s safety and communication. Sorenson said, “This year they rode with a Bainbridge Police officer. They provide extremely good eyes and ears on the road. It’s unbelievable how they follow, are first on the scene, and are first to get the word out.”

Chilly Hilly is sponsored locally by Squeaky wheels, Bainbridge Island Youth Services, Bainbridge Girl Scouts, Bainbridge Island Neighborhood Association, and Bainbridge Island Boy Scouts on behalf of Ometepe.

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Photo by Sarah Lane.

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container ship off Bainbridge spit by Diane Walker

Photos of the Day: Behemoths off the Sandspit

This is the view from the Sandspit on northeast Bainbridge Island of the container ships currently parked offshore.

Thank you to Diane Walker for these striking photos that give a perspective of just how massive these ships are. The one closest to shore, the Herma P, is 885 feet long and 102 feet wide. Its deadweight, or carrying weight, is 65,965 tons. Its destination is Seattle, but a port slowdown due to a union dispute is keeping it waiting.container ship off Bainbridge spit by Diane Walker

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Photos courtesy of Diane Walker.

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Herman P container ship courtesy of M L Jacobs

Shipping News: Bainbridge’s Marine ‘Parking Lot’

[Read our followup to this article, with more details and photos: Photos of the Day: Behemoths off the Sandspit]

Back in December we reported on four container ships and one cargo ship “parked” in the waters off of southern Bainbridge Island, a federally designated anchorage zone for overflow ships headed for the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

Recently, additional container ships have been anchored off the northeastern edge of Bainbridge, near Fay Bainbridge Park, rattling locals with generator noise. As of 8:00 tonight, there are three container ships in that location, as well as four in the waters between southern Bainbridge and Manchester.

The overflow is the result of a continuing Longshoremen slowdown due to unresolved contract disagreements between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Group, representing west coast ports.

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Photo of Herman P container ship courtesy of  M L Jacobs.

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Council Approves Tougher Tree and Land Clearing Protections

This week it just got a little harder and more costly to cut down Bainbridge’s finest—its towering resident trees. Ordinance 2015-03 (formerly 2014-38), modifying the Land Clearing regulations in the Bainbridge Island Municipal Code, went into effect on Monday, following approval by the City Council on December 10, 2014.

Crafted by the Tree Ordinance Ad Hoc Committee, in coordination with city staff, the new regulations redefine “significant” trees, include an “After-the-Fact” clearing fine, and tighten clearing rules in certain zoning districts.

New Regulations

A “significant tree” is defined as 8 inches or more in diameter, a change from the previous definition of 10-12 inches or more in diameter.

“After-the-Fact” clearing permits of $500 are now in effect, meaning that a land owner who clears without obtaining proper permitting authorization in advance can be assessed a $500 fine. In the past, all clearing permits have been free. A “before-the-fact” permit can still be obtained for free if authorized.

Clearing regulations in the Mixed Use Town Center (MUTC) & High School (HS) Road Zoning Districts are more stringent. A permit is now required to remove any “significant tree,” requiring people to provide a justification to the planning department for review. If a tree is located in the Mixed Use Town Center and High School Road districts, it only can be cut down if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

  1. The tree is diseased, dead, or otherwise determined to be a hazard as determined by a qualified professional pursuant to BIMC Section 18.15.010.C.1(c);
  2. The removal is necessary to enable construction or reasonable use of the property, and no other alternative is feasible; and/or
  3. The removal is necessary to maintain utilities, provide access, or fulfill the terms of an easement or covenant recorded prior to the adoption of the ordinance.

Questions regarding Ordinance 2015-03 can be submitted to Jennifer Sutton, Special Projects Planner, at 206-780-3772 or

Photo by Julie Hall. 

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ferry at sunrise by Pete Saloutos

Photo of the Day: Sunrise on the Sound

Views like this make early morning commuting a little easier to take. How sweet it is.

Thanks to Bainbridge-based roving photographer Pete Saloutos for sharing this shot taken today. We love your stuff, but get some sleep already man!

ferry at sunrise by Pete Saloutos


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western black legged ticks life stages from CA Dept Health

The Facts About Ticks and Lyme Disease in Western Washington

These days most of us have relatives or friends struggling with Lyme Disease and its devastating impact. An infectious disease, Lyme is caused by at least three species of bacteria from the genus Borrelia, which dates back some 20 million years.

Lyme disease in the United States was identified in 1975 when a constellation of cases was discovered in Lyme and Old Lyme, Connecticut. By 1978 scientists determined that it is transmitted by infected ticks.

Ticks and Lyme Disease in Western Washington

Although Lyme disease is relatively widespread in the Northeast and increasingly in parts of the Midwest, it remains fairly uncommon in our region. However, ticks infected with Lyme disease do exist here in Western Washington, and locally transmitted cases of Lyme disease occur here.

According to Washington State Department of Health (WSDH) entomologist Liz Dykstra, who specializes in ticks, there are three main types of ticks in Western Washington: the American dog tick, the coastal squirrel tick, and the western blacklegged tick (also known as the deer tick), which is the primary carrier of Lyme disease in the west coastal region.

cdc map distribution of western blacklegged tick

Centers for Disease Control distribution of western blacklegged tick

“People don’t realize we have ticks at all in Western Washington,” Dykstra said. “We suspected that Lyme disease was here, but it wasn’t until 2011 that funding became available to test for the Lyme disease parasite. It’s probably been here for quite a while.” Dykstra explained that the tick that carries Lyme disease in the Northeast and Midwest is a separate species from the western blacklegged tick and that there is yet another carrier tick in Europe.

Since testing began in our area four years ago, Lyme disease has been identified in ticks in the following counties: Mason, Pierce, Clallam, and one in King. Dykstra was not aware of ticks from Kitsap County having tested positive for Lyme. However, she pointed out that only a small sample of 37 ticks from Kitsap have been lab tested. She said some ticks from Bainbridge Island have been tested but none have turned up a positive result for Lyme—”yet.” She explained that given the limited testing there is no way to know for sure if the disease is present in a given community. Kitsap Public Health District spokesperson Karen Bevers corroborated Dykstra’s data.

western black legged ticks life stages from CA Dept Health

Western blacklegged tick larva, nymph, adult male, adult female courtesy of the California Department of Health

Washington State Department of Health epidemiologist Melissa Kemperman said cases of Lyme disease in our state have gone up somewhat from the mid-2000s but not dramatically. Between 2010 and 2013 there were 15-19 confirmed/probable cases of Lyme disease, with most acquired out of state. She said it is hard to say if the number of cases is rising: “It is low, but there is some risk out there. This is something we’re very interested in and watching closely. People should be aware.”

The Tick Life Cycle and Complex Host/Vector Relationship

Although many people believe deer are the main vectors for Lyme disease, deer mice are the disease’s reservoir. “Deer mice are the cute little ones in your garage in the winter time. They also carry hantavirus,” said Dykstra. Larval western blacklegged ticks hatch from eggs and attach to deer mice, becoming infected. As they grow, they drop off, molt into nymphs and find a slightly larger host to feed on. In their final life stage, nymphs molt into adults and look for a large host to feed on, such as deer, dogs, cats, and people. Interestingly, the ticks, rodents, and deer are immune to Lyme disease. People and dogs get it. Dykstra said cats appear to be less susceptible to it, possibly in part because they are more fastidious about grooming.

I asked Dykstra how deer mice contract the disease in the first place. “We’re not sure how it originates in the population,” she said. “It could have been brought here. Ticks keep it alive and passing around.” She said that other rodents common around human habitats, including the house mouse, Norway (brown) rat, and black (roof) rat, do not carry the disease.

western black legged tick alameda county health Dept Environmental Health

Western black legged tick courtesy of Alameda County Health Department

Western Blacklegged Tick Facts

  1. Adult bodies are slightly smaller than the diameter of a pencil eraser and have white lines on the lower half.
  2. In the nymph phase they are the size of a poppy seed.
  3. They form a “cement plug” that helps keep them in place under the host’s skin.
  4. They inject anticoagulates to thin the blood and facilitate feeding.
  5. It takes 24 to 36 hours for a carrier of Lyme disease to transmit the infection to its host.
  6. Prime tick habitat in our region is the forest/field edge zone and grassy areas.
  7. They thrive in temperatures in the 50s and 60s and moist conditions, making spring (and sometimes part of fall) their most active time of year.
  8. Dykstra said with our mild February this year, the ticks are hatching now, with their prime months March through June.
  9. They can attach to a host for days and become increasingly bloated with blood, making them easier to find and turning their brown bodies a grayish color.
  10. Extremely bloated ticks can reach the size of a jelly bean.

Preventative Measures Against Ticks

The Washington Department of Health recommends protective measures against western blacklegged ticks. When in tick territory,

  • wear long pants and long sleeves;
  • tuck pant legs into long socks;
  • wear Deet on exposed skin;
  • spray clothes with Pyrethrum (it kills ticks); and
  • afterward check yourself and your dogs thoroughly, especially around the neck, ears, eyes, belly, and underarms.

Signs of Lyme Disease Infection

Lyme disease bull's eye rash

Lyme disease bull’s eye rash

A “bulls-eye” rash around the bite zone is characteristic of Lyme disease but does not always show up or is not always noticed. The incubation period of Lyme disease is 3-10 days, and a prompt antibiotic treatment is most effective. Dykstra said that a Lyme disease infection can show up as a red bump, along with flulike symptoms, within 2-3 weeks of a tick bite. Anyone concerned about Lyme disease exposure/symptoms should seek prompt medical intervention.

The Washington State Department of Health recommends tick removal with tweezers as close to the bite site as possible, pulling it straight out. Dykstra said the western blacklegged tick is notorious for breaking off at its mouth parts. She said Lyme disease cannot be transmitted through the remaining head, but it can lead to secondary infection, so the area should be cleaned thoroughly.

Transmission of Lyme Disease

Dykstra hesitantly likened the transmission of Lyme disease in our area to a lottery. “The prevalence is very low, but if you happen to be the one that got the tick that happened to have it. . . .”

She encouraged people who find ticks on themselves or on their dogs or cats to send the ticks in for lab testing. “We’re missing folks because of a lack of lab testing,” said Dykstra. Not all ticks submitted will be tested, however, depending on funding levels and the condition of the tick.

Here is a form to include with your sample. Dykstra emphasized that the more information provided about the location and circumstances regarding ticks the better.

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Photo of rash courtesy of Chris Booth.

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name that cat litter contest logo

Our PAWS Makes Finalist in Giveaway Contest: Vote for Them!

When Pete Lovejoy added his cat’s name, Daisy, in the Name That Cat Freekatlitter Contest, he never expected that his would be selected among three finalists from 11,676 name nominations. The good news for local felines is that Lovejoy named PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap as the recipient of the prize if “Daisy” wins.

Sponsored by Fresh Step Litter, the contest will give to the winning recipient 3,000 pounds of free cat litter, nothing that PAWS Program Director Marylou Zimmerman will turn her nose up at. She explained that it’s enough litter to keep our local PAWS cats and kittens fresh for three months and save the organization $2,790 and a lot of labor, staffing, and transportation. “It would be a big money and time saver,” she said. “Please vote!”

The contest is now open for public vote to determine the winner. Vote here.

Voting began today, February 17 and continues through February 27. Individuals can vote up to once a day. The winner will be announced on March 2.

PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap is helping more felines in need than ever. Its adoptions this January were up to 47, 14 more cats than last January’s 33 adoptions.

Want to do more? PAWS is in real need of donations and volunteers. Learn more here.

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Image courtesy of Name That Cat Freekatlitter.

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bainbridge fire department address sign

Get a Free Sign to Help Firefighters Find Your Home in an Emergency

Most of us are all too familiar with the experience of hunting for someone’s house in backroad Bainbridge neighborhoods that split and curve every which way with inscrutable, if any, address signage.

The good news is the Bainbridge Island Fire Department (BIFD) wants to help you help them find your home, the quicker the better in an emergency when seconds can be a matter of life or death. The BIFD provides free reflective, weather-proof blue and white signs that stand out day or night. Drop by the Madison Avenue station (just north of New Brooklyn Road) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to pick up a sign and your numbers. Group signs also are available for neighborhoods.

fire department group address signsEven if your home is pretty well identified, BIFD recommends their address sign. Fire Marshal Luke Carpenter said, “The blue signs stand out better than anything else. Responders are trained to look for them.” A firefighter will even come to your home to help you find the best placement for your sign.

The signs are required for all new residences and businesses. Requests for new addresses should be routed through the City of Bainbridge Island Planning Department at 206-780-3750.

Signs are paid for through the Bainbridge Island Volunteer Firefighters Association, a One Call for All nonprofit organization that Carpenter said “has been around since the dawn of time.” Make a donation to the organization here.

Photos courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Fire Department.

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marine 8 police boat

Hiker Rescued from Fall at Gazzam Preserve

This afternoon, February 16, at approximately 2:40 the Bainbridge Island Fire Department (BIFD) received an emergency call for rescue of an injured hiker who had fallen down a steep slope.

The 25-year-old woman had walked down the Close Trail at Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve and on her way back up attempted as a short cut to climb a rope that been left in a mudslide area. The young woman lost her balance and toppled down the slope about 15 feet. She suffered an ankle fracture and other minor injuries and could not walk out. Her parents, who were with her on the hike, alerted the BIFD, which sent out EMTs to hike in to assist.

After assessing the situation, emergency responders called the Bainbridge Island Police Department for assistance with their boat, Marine 8. Officer Ben Sias drove Marine 8 to the beach at the base of the trail, and firefighters carried the patient the short distance to the boat. Marine 8 is designed to land on the beach so patients can be transferred through its bow drop-down door into the boat’s enclosed, heated hatch.

According to Fire Marshal Luke Carpenter the patient was conscious, stable, and not bleeding. She was taken to the city dock and then transported via ambulance to a Seattle hospital.

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Photo of Marine 8 at Close Trail beach courtesy of BIFD.

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wing point country club dining room

Former Four Swallows Chef to Head up Wing Point Country Club Kitchen

Geraldine Ferraro, former co-owner and chef at Four Swallow Restaurant, has found a new kitchen. Ferraro will be taking over on March 1 as Executive Chef at the Wing Point Golf & Country Club, Bainbridge Island’s only private 18-hole golf and country club.

Ferraro and Mike Sharp shuttered Four Swallows abruptly last October after they failed to come to a lease renewal agreement with their landlord. The sudden closure of the beloved Island mainstay came as a sad loss to its many fans from both on and off the Island, some of whom had been loyal customers for the restaurant’s nearly 26-year run.

Wing Point Club President Jim Taylor said recruiting someone of Ferraro’s “acclaimed reputation and experience” is a strategic decision to elevate the Club’s dining program to the highest possible level. The move comes in conjunction with the members’ investment in a $1.5 million clubhouse renovation project, including a new 60-seat lounge and updated dining areas. Taylor said Ferraro is already planning some exciting new menu concepts.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with Gerry’s decision to join our team at Wing Point, and we are already hearing from a number of Island residents who are interested in joining the Club so they can continue enjoying her fabulous cuisine,” said Taylor. “It’s definitely a win-win development for our membership, and we are thrilled to know that our dining program at the Club will be recognized with the same highest regard as our golf, swim, and tennis facilities. It’s all about fun, family, and friends at Wing Point—and now featuring the best private club dining program in the Northwest.”

Wing Point Golf & Country Club is a member-owned private club. For information on membership, contact or 206-618-7826.

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Photo of HRB auction event at Wing Point Country Club by Julie Hall.

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IslandMoms photo of mother with kids on the beach

Islandmoms Bids Farewell

On Wednesday, February 11, Islandmoms, an online user community for Bainbridge Island, announced its plans to close. An early and influential online resource, Islandmoms was founded in 2003 on Yahoo Groups.

Over its 11-year run, Islandmoms had over 16,000 users, including “dads” and a range of others, and served over 61,000 messages. The forum moved to the Big Tent platform in 2008 to better handle traffic levels and user requests for separation of discussion topics. Its traffic peaked between 2008 and 2011.

Co-moderator Dominique Cantwell called text-based forums “a dying breed” and explained that in the last few years “traffic has fallen as users have turned to richer online media such as Facebook to connect with their various communities.”

In their official farewell statement to users, the moderators further explained their rationale for closing: “Of greatest importance, we feel that the forum no longer serves the purpose for which it was founded—to foster community among those who live here, via positive and vibrant online discussion. The forum today is largely a place to advertise, which makes it far less relevant to the membership as a community resource, emphasized by the fact that only about 17% of all members each year opt to continue for another year when their membership expires.

Islandmoms will remain available for search until Monday, February 16, at which time it will be permanently closed and delisted from BigTent. Its main moderator account,, will also be monitored until Monday.

In a parting statement, the moderators said, “There are many Facebook groups out there that are specific to Bainbridge . . . and we are certain that anyone who wishes to will find a new online home that serves their needs well. As you go forward, we would remind you one last time that the people on the other end of your data stream are your neighbors. It is far harder to take the high road, but we feel it is the only way we can thrive as a community. Think twice. Play nice.”

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Image courtesy of Islandmoms. 

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