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stop bainbridge island school district school bus

Over 1,000 Drivers a Year Blow Past Stopped Bainbridge School Buses

For National Bus Safety Week the Bainbridge Island School District (BISD) has issued a statement of concern about the number of drivers in our community violating bus stop laws.

As part of a statewide survey, for one day last May BISD bus drivers tallied the number of times vehicles illegally passed their buses while they were picking up or letting off children. Twenty-one drivers on Bainbridge were counted driving around buses that had their stop signs extended and lights flashing. There were 26 BISD buses in service that day.

Passing a stopped bus in such circumstances is against the law and can be cited with a $250 ticket in our state.

BISD Transportation Department Supervisor Rebecca Sonsalla said 21 violations is higher than average but called the typical number nevertheless “dangerous.” She said she gets about 5 reports of violations a day, or 25 a week, from Bainbridge school bus drivers but that there are probably more actual daily violations occurring in our community.

Why is the reported number off? Sonsalla explained that in the moment it is very difficult for bus drivers to get the information needed for an enforceable citation by the police. “It’s hard to get that kind of information while focusing on our students and making sure they are safe,” she said. Reporting each instance of a violation requires filling out a form with extensive details, including the vehicle’s make, model, color, and license number, as well as the offending driver’s gender and hair and skin color. Sonsalla said getting that level of information is so difficult her drivers have become “apathetic” about reporting violations.

The challenge of noting enforceable details for a citation is starkly clear when you look at the number of violations reported to the Bainbridge Island Police Department (BIPD). According to Police Chief Matt Hamner, in the one-year period between October 22, 2013, and October 21, 2014, only six bus stop traffic violation reports were filed and only one citation was issued. In other words, for the approximately 40-week school year only one citation was issued for about 1,000 reported offenses. Considering that the offenses are estimated to be significantly higher than those reported by BISD bus drivers, the discrepancy is all the more stark.

Chief Hamner explained that the BIPD cannot issue enforceable tickets without adequate specifics about violators. Sonsalla noted that even in instances when a bus driver records a license plate number, it often turns up wrong in the system.

Chief Hamner called the level of violations on the Island “disturbing” and said that the BIPD would be stepping up enforcement now that he is aware of the extent of the problem. The department also is working with BISD to identify violation hotspots on the Island.

Sonsalla told me that her bus drivers were very happy to see BIPD cars out today for Bus Safety Awareness. She said she hopes the movement will be a “motivation for [BISD bus drivers] to do better” in terms of reporting violators.

I asked Sonsalla if there is a particular demographic that violates bus stop laws more than others. She said violators are across the board but that she is seeing an escalating problem. “Here’s the issue: People are not paying attention. People are texting and talking and speeding for the ferry. And it’s getting worse.”

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Photo by Julie Hall.

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be prepared badge by Calsidyrose

The Rotary Club Wants You to Watch This Emergency Preparedness Video

The Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island has long been active in advocating for emergency preparedness in our community.

To encourage locals to get prepared and educate them about how, the Rotary has decided to make public a video about emergency preparedness that two of its members made. Tom McCloskey and Adrian Sawyer put together the video last year to illustrate how Bainbridge residents can thoroughly prepare their families and households for different types of emergency situations.

McCloskey shares specific actions he has taken to make his home safer. “My wife Louise and I are strong believers in preparing for what we feel is an almost inevitable emergency situation, whether it be an earthquake or some other disaster,” said McCloskey. “The prospect of the bridge being out or some other similar situation affecting everyday life in our community makes being prepared so important.”

Inside Bainbridge also has been advocating for preparedness in our community, with, among other things, two different in-depth series on the subject. See links to those stories below.

View the video:

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Photo courtesy of Calsidyrose. Video courtesy of Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island.

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stuffed turkey by State Farm

Helpline House Is Asking You to Help Stuff the Turkey

November is “Stuff the Turkey Month” at Helpline House, a time when the organization looks for extra help from the community to stock its food bank for the winter months and provide hearty holiday meals for Bainbridge Island neighbors in need.

With use of the food bank higher than ever, Helpline is encouraging community members to organize food collections at schools, businesses, and other organizations. It is also asking for sponsors of food drives at grocery stores and other public locations. Learn how to conduct a food drive or arrange a food delivery to Helpline here.

“All types of food will be gratefully accepted next month—canned, packaged, or frozen holiday items as well as basic pantry foods such as canned goods, cereals, and baking supplies. Close to Thanksgiving, donations of fresh foods to round out holiday offerings will also be appreciated,” said Food Bank Manager Marilyn Gremse.

Groups or individuals can drop off donations of food to Helpline House from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on these three Saturdays: November 8, 15, and 22. 

For further details about the types of foods needed by the food bank during the holidays, call 206-842-7621.

Gremse said, “Cash donations and grocery gift cards ($15 or $25 amounts) are also appreciated. With these the we can purchase items in bulk at discount or obtain last-minute supplies, as well as provide for special diets.”

People registered for the food bank or who can provide proof of current residency on Bainbridge Island are welcome to sign up to shop in the food bank for holiday foods during the week of Thanksgiving, November 24-26. Sign up between November 3 and 21 for a shopping appointment.

“The staff and volunteers at Helpline House look forward to working with other Island organizations and neighbors to once again ensure food choices and security for the holidays and beyond. Please donate generously. Together we can “Stuff the Turkey” this November,” Gremse said.

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Photo courtesy of State Farm.

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sound to olympics trail walk

Islanders Mosey on Down the Sound to Olympics Trail Route

The 60-some people who showed up for the Sound to Olympics Trail (STO) community walk/ride on Sunday saw the sun shining on the STO.

Attendees got a warm break from the rain while touring the segment of Highway 305 from Winslow Way to High School Road slated for the trail’s next phase of development. Long-time trail planners and newbie enthusiasts talked about different options for the separated paved pathway that will run parallel to 305 and provide local nonmotorized interconnectivity as well as a crucial regional leg between the Bainbridge ferry terminal and the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas beyond Agate Pass Bridge.

Former heart patient Mary was excited by the prospect of biking with her husband along the planned trail. She said their bikes were stolen a few years ago and the planned trail was partly what inspired them to get new bikes and gear up for future riding.sound to olympics trail walk by Debbi Lester

The youngest member of the pack, 3-year-old Cayden, showed exceptional stamina by biking the whole way there and back, followed by a sensible nap.

Planners of the STO welcome public input at the next planning meeting on October 29 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber.

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Featured photo by Julie Hall; other photo courtesy of Debbi Lester.

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Sensory Processing Part 3: Disorder Kids or a Disordered World?

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:

Processing sensory information—we all do it all the time. We’re built for it to survive. And we all have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to “reading the world” through our sensory bodies.

Some of us are better at mapping—knowing how to navigate without getting lost, in the mall, the woods, the city. Some of us are good at reading the emotions of others—picking up on a range of cues, like tone of voice, body language, and tracking the typical vs. atypical behavior of people we know to detect their emotional states. Others of us specialize in noticing visual details, and we learn best and remember the most through our eyes. The list goes on.

Our Senses Working Over Time

Huge human crowd.

Human throngs.

In a world of 7 billion people, with cultures mixing; traditions shifting; technology and social media reinventing our lives by the day; increasing light and noise “pollution” in our work spaces, shopping centers, streets, neighborhoods, and homes; our senses are on overload. Places and time for quiet reflection have become, quite suddenly, rarities.

With increasing cultural and economic globalization, we have more to learn and more to “process” than ever. As a result, we are getting married later, having kids later—growing up later—because we need more time.

This Is Not a Problem with Kids; It’s the World They’re Being Born Into

As I talked with parents, young people, and caregivers dealing with “sensory processing disorder,” one message was clear: This is not a problem with kids. This is about the world that has risen up around us and that our kids are being born into.

Kids on computer.

Kids on computer.

Sue Steindorf worked as a physical therapist at Seattle Children’s and then for 20 years in the public school system on Bainbridge Island, helping kids with “special needs.” She said that in the final five years of her tenure in the school district, there was an explosion of “sensory different” kids.

Seeking a better way to help this rising tide of young people, who were getting sidelined in the underfunded schools, to her surprise she found herself getting involved with yoga. She earned her certification as a yoga instructor and found that she could help her sensory kids better that way. She has spent the last five years helping kids and adults through her yoga practice at The Island Yoga Space. She has found that through yoga she can bring kids to “center, help them learn to self-calm, and find their balance and potential.”

When I approached Steindorf to talk about her work with sensory processing “disorder” kids, she kicked off the conversation by saying, “print what you need to, but I’m ready to go radical here, and I don’t care what people think about it.” I had hoped she would bare her thoughts, because, having talked with her before, I knew that Steindorf has a lot to say that I think needs to be heard.

“I See It as a Very Rapid Divine Evolution”

“Personally I see it as a very rapid divine evolution. I don’t see it as a negative epidemic. These kids can’t function in an out-of balance-world, and they are teaching the rest of us to tune into ourselves and find the balance in our own lives that so many of us have lost,” said Steindorf.

Steindorf believes the schools are out of step with this reality, still viewing sensory-different kids as “challenges” in the classroom rather than in their own way teachers for the rest of us. She sees this as symptomatic of the lack of resources plaguing our educational system. Speaking of “special needs” kids in general, she said, “First we shut them away in institutions, then we segregated them in “special” classes, and now we are trying to “manage” them in our classrooms. What we need to do is embrace what they have to show us and integrate them fully, changing our way of teaching.”

Catherine Whiting, an occupational therapist for 27 years, echoes Steindorf’s sentiment. Whiting sees everyone on a sensory spectrum and finds that even kids who aren’t labeled with sensory processing disorder benefit from strategies that help her SPD kids: “What usually helps some, usually helps most,” she told me.

“Each Child Is So Individual . . . There Is No One Answer”

Like Steindorf, Whiting has adapted to meet the needs of the kids she helps. In addition to having a BA and Masters as a pediatric OT, she has gone on over the years to earn certifications in sensory integration theory and practice, neurodevelopmental therapy, yoga therapy for special needs kids, and aroma therapy. Whiting said that because “each child is so individual . . . there is no one answer, and it’s better to work with a big palette.”

Guy with big coffee.

Guy with big coffee.

When I asked her what she says to parents, grandparents, or other adults who are dismissive of SPD, she chuckled and said, “Well, I ask them, ‘What did you do today? Did you have your coffee? Did you pace and bounce your ball in your office? Did you take a power walk at lunch, or a nap? Did you have your glass of wine when you got home?” Whiting points out that adults have coping mechanisms that get them through the day; whereas kids are at the mercy of the activities and schedules adults create for them.

“The Sensory Seekers Need Their Cups Filled All the Time”

“The sensory seekers need their cups filled all the time,” said Whiting, pointing out that unless they are accommodated at school and home, they will find their own ways to fill their cups. “As adults they can be very creative, energetic, and contribute a lot.” She cited gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps as an example. His mother has said about her son that he had a craving for movement and needed structure, so she helped him make swimming his outlet.

Their Test Results Run the Gamut From Retarded to Genius

Bainbridge Island mom, Diane, has two teenage boys who have both been diagnosed with SPD, as well as high-functioning autism. They both have had test results that run the gamut from retarded to genius levels. Not surprisingly, Diane has found her parenting journey exasperating, to put it mildly. Seeking understanding for her sons as they navigate through the educational system, she has learned a lot and reached many of the same conclusions Steindorf articulates.

Brown pelicans captured at Grand Isle, Louisiana, following the BP oil spill in the Gulf, 2010

Brown pelicans at Grand Isle, Louisiana, following the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf.

“They Are Labelled Oversensitive Because They Are Incapable of Tolerating the Disaster of Our Environment”

Diane sees her sons and other kids with SPD and other “special needs” labels as part of an adaptive evolution of our species. “They’re overly sensitive to input that is bad for all of us. They find a shirt made of poisonous chemicals physically intolerable because it is actually harmful and should be intolerable to all of us. They are labelled oversensitive because they are incapable of tolerating the disaster of our environment.”

“They Are Leading Us Toward Authenticity”

Diane isn’t just talking about our physical environment. She notes that her sons simply don’t compute socially institutionalized lies or injustices. “They are leading us toward authenticity, away from the false social niceties and bull**** of our culture that teach us we are all separate when we’re actually all connected, that make us feel safe when we’re not, that tell us we need to buy useless products to be happy. ”

Then noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.

Then noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.

About the educational system, Diane says, “It doesn’t fit deep-thinking kids. . . . They don’t have anything real to dig into with learning.” She sees a new generation of kids who are often mistaken for oppositional: “They’re not rebelling; they’re about innovation and about leaving things behind that don’t work.”

“They Need to Know that the System Telling Them They’re Wrong Is Okay to Walk Away From”

Looking back, Diane wishes she could do some things differently as a parent: “I’ve watched my kids suffer enormously. In some ways I missed the boat. What I need to do is affirm their awareness and sensitivity.” She added, “They need to know that the system telling them they’re wrong is okay to walk away from.”

Parents of SPD kids often reach a deeper self-understanding through their experience advocating for their children. Jen, who has a sensory-avoiding child, sees herself reflected in her daughter, putting the pieces together about her own struggles growing up in a sensory-assaulting world. “I realize now that, like my daughter, I’ve always been a sensory-avoiding person. Both of my parents had similar issues too, but they hated those aspects of themselves and, seeing it mirrored in me, projected that self-loathing onto me,” said Jen.

Parent and child hugging.

“Through My Love for My Child, I’m Learning to Accept Myself”

“Through my love for my child, I’m learning to accept myself and understand problems I struggled with as a kid and younger adult—hating school, avoiding groups, developing a phobia of public speaking.”

Jen said those issues haven’t all gone away, but over time she has learned coping strategies to help herself. She’s trying to teach those strategies to  her daughter now. “It’s been extremely painful but also cathartic and healing. I now see that some of the best things about each of us come from our highly sensitive natures, and I’m proud of who we both are.”

Read the next article in this series: Sensory Processing “Disorder” Part 4: Treating It.

[This article from the archives originally appeared on Inside Bainbridge October 31, 2011.]

Photos courtesy of James Cridland, Erik (HASH) Hersman, Susan DeMark, Mykl Roventine, and eyeliam.

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Posted in Community, Health+Fitness, Kids, New 41 Comment

brick wall by Chris Fleming

Letter from the Editor: Visconsi Throws up a Brick Wall

For months Inside Bainbridge has repeatedly attempted to contact the man at Visconsi in charge of the company’s Bainbridge Island shopping development on High School Road and Highway 305. Last month Visconsi Vice President Brad Goldberg agreed to talk with us about the company’s plans for the center. Mr. Goldberg spoke with this reporter but then asked to be off the record until he could arrange a conference call with Inside Bainbridge and his public relations person Barry Fader.

In good faith IB waited as Mr. Goldberg told us Mr. Fader had a family emergency, and then was out of town. Mr. Goldberg subsequently told us he would provide information by mid-October. Mid-October came and went. We continued to call and email Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Fader, with no response. Finally this week Mr. Fader informed us that the notice Visconsi recently placed in a different local news outlet was all the communication that it would provide to the Bainbridge public for the time being.

By refusing to communicate with Inside Bainbridge readers, many of whom do not subscribe to the other news source, Visconsi has once again shown itself to be tone deaf to our community. The company whose project experienced a unanimous no vote from the Bainbridge Island Planning Commission, a drawn-out legal challenge, protest rallies, a tree-sit demonstration that made national news, a community boycott, and a protest music video that also went national is showing an arrogant disregard for a large segment of Islanders. With good faith communication offered and much needed, the developer threw up a figurative brick wall.

Maybe you will have more success contacting Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Fader: 216-464-5550.

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 Photo courtesy of Chris Fleming.

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traffic on 305

UPDATE—Traffic Advisory: Power Outage Cuts Stoplights Along Highway 305

Updated at 3:26 p.m.: Power has been restored to most of the Island, and stoplights on Highway 305 are functioning normally.


A large power outage today at 1:59 p.m. east of Highway 305 cut the stoplights along the highway at Day Road and Sportsman Club Road. Power is currently out at those intersections, leaving them functioning as four-way stops.

According to Puget Sound Energy, at least 1,282 homes and businesses on Bainbridge are without power until 6-7 p.m.

A tree fell on a power line on Day Road.

Photo by Julie Hall.


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creepy walk at Battle Point Park

Photos of the Day: Battle Point Park Gets ‘Blair Witchy’

Unless you’re afraid of mallards (anatideaphobic), Battle Point Park isn’t an especially scary place. That is until the Park District decided to decorate the nature trail around the secondary pond (just south of the duck pond) for the Halloween.

When I stopped by Sunday, Bainbridge Island Park District Youth & Teen Program Director Shannon Buxton was taking advantage of the break in the rain to put finishing touches along the trail with fake spider webbing and eyeballs. She was excited to show me the glue gun she bought for the specific purpose of glueing beady eyes to trees.

Thankfully the trail isn’t Blair-Witch-level horror, but it’s good creepy fun for kids and their parents.danger ahead sign

This free, self-guided walk is open through Halloween.

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Photos by Julie Hall. 




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Posted in Community, Holidays, Outside, Parks+Trails, Popular 21 Comment

city of bainbridge island city hall

Council Fast-Tracks Waterfront Park Makeover

The Bainbridge Island City Council has voted unanimously to push up the timeline for the planned redo of Winslow’s Waterfront Park from 2016 to 2015.

During a Capital Improvements Plan budget review in last week’s Council meeting, Councilmember Steven Bonkowski questioned why the work on the park was scheduled to take place in 2016 since money will be available sooner and part of the park’s design is complete.

Bonkowski told Public Works Director Barry Loveless, “What I’m a little surprised about is that we are delaying the construction of Waterfront Park for another year. I’m surprised we can’t do that in 2015. The money is there, we’ve got a preliminary design and it’s hard to imagine 12 months to finalize that design to get the construction done. We’ve waited a long time for that park.”

Loveless explained that the city had been waiting to hear about a $500,000 state grant it had applied for to help pay for the renovation of the park and its dock. City Manager Doug Schulze noted that rankings of applications for the grant in question had been released and based on the city’s grant ranking it now looks highly unlikely that it will receive the money. The city currently has about $2 million earmarked for work on the park.

The Waterfront Park & City Dock design team began working on the project in 2013 and presented a partial design last April, calling it 30 percent complete. View the design here. Major plans for the new park include

  • improving waterfront access, including replacement of the city dock;
  • meeting needs of multiple user types (pedestrians, boaters, rowers, seniors, families, children, etc.);
  • accommodating active and passive recreational uses;
  • connecting existing amenities within the park and to amenities surrounding the park; and
  • protecting existing bluffs and archaeological resources.

After a short discussion the Council voted unanimously to prioritize work on the park in 2015, with the understanding that planning, permitting, and work on the dock will take longer and a future budget adjustment for financing the full project may have to be made.

Bonkowski said, “We could have a new park by July 4th.”

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Photo by Julie Hall.

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macaw at battle point park

Unusual Bird Sighting at Battle Point Park

There is certainly colorful bird life at Battle Point Park, but none quite so exotic as the macaw sighted there yesterday.

His person, who preferred not to be named, told curious kids that her bird Geranimo (spelled with an a, not an o) plays catch with her with a ball and likes to eat walnuts, seeds, beans, popcorn, and watermelon. He loses and regrows all of his feathers each year. In addition to preening himself, he preens his friend by stroking her hair with his beak.

The Bainbridge Island resident adopted Geranimo a year and a half ago after he had been living in a warehouse. The man who raised him from an egg in the San Francisco Bay area had become homeless and finally surrendered his bird to a rescue organization. macaw at battle point park

Geramino’s person walks him regularly in Bainbridge parks. She said she is trying to introduce him to more people and educate them about birds. She plans to get a second bird to keep him company, as macaws are flock birds. Geranimo, 33, could live to up to 100 years.

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Photos by Julie Hall. 

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rainy road

Weather: A Very Rainy Week Ahead

A warm sunny day today with temps drifting up to about 70 degrees F will give way to clouds tonight and at times heavy rain throughout the week.

Here is the National Weather Service Forecast for Bainbridge Island:

  • Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 70 degrees F. South wind 9 to 11 mph.
  • Sunday Night A 50 percent chance of rain after 11 p.m., with a low around 58 degrees F. South-southwest wind 8 to 13 mph.
  • Monday A 90 percent likelihood of rain, with up to a quarter inch possible. High near 61 degrees F. South wind 8 to 10 mph.
  • Monday Night A 60 percent chance of rain. A low around 53 degrees F. South wind 7 to 13 mph.
  • Tuesday Rain likely, mainly after 11 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 61 degrees F. South wind 11 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.
  • Tuesday Night Rain likely, with a low around 54 degrees F.
  • Wednesday A 90 percent chance of rain. High near 61 degrees F.
  • Wednesday Night Rain likely, with a low around 56 degrees F.
  • Thursday Rain likely, with a high near 61 degrees F.
  • Thursday Night Rain likely, with a low around 53 degrees F.

Photo by Julie Hall. 

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la time ferry video

LA Times Calls Ferry Trip to Bainbridge Best Bang for Buck in Seattle Sightseeing

Recent ferry bungles and breakdowns aside, that ride from the world to our little Island is pretty dreamy, especially when there are orcas about, as there were yesterday. We know it, and now Los Angelenos do too. A recent Los Angeles Times article suggested that visitors to Seattle just might get the most fun for their money riding the big boat to Bainbridge Island.

Part of the LA Times new “A Minute Away” series, the article features a video of the ferry trip, with swell views of the Seattle skyline, the Bainbridge waterfront, and speeded up moments of commuters doing their thing. See someone you know?

Check out the article and video.

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Deals by Mike Mozart

Red Envelope Nonprofits: Get Your Half-Price Ad While the Gettin’s Good

It’s that time of year again, and we want to help you get the support you need and deserve for your good work in our community. With over 3 million readers in three years and an audience that has climbed to nearly 6,000 views a day, Inside Bainbridge is THE place to be noticed. And now we’re offering half off our normally low nonprofit ad rate, which is already half of our regular ad rate. So that means right now you pay one quarter the normal ad price!

Stop thinking about it and contact us NOW to get your ad up for all to see. There are some 90 local nonprofits, and you do not want to be forgotten during this season of giving.

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.

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Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart.

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Olympic Discovery Trail JH

Walk or Bike the Downtown Leg of the Sound to Olympics Trail Sunday

You’re invited to participate in a community walk/bike ride along what is to become the first major leg of the Bainbridge portion of the Sound to Olympics Trail (STO). Join the posse on Sunday, October 19, at 2 p.m. at the Bainbridge Island Police Station (corner of Winslow Way and Highway 305). The group will move on up the highway to High School Road.

The STO will be a regional trail through the Kitsap Peninsula that connects with the Olympic Discovery Trail beyond Hood Canal Bridge. The Bainbridge part of the STO will be a separated paved path that runs parallel to Highway 305 between the ferry terminal and Agate Pass Bridge. It will provide increased nonmotorized interconnectivity on the Island, accommodating walkers, cyclists, and people with strollers and mobility aid devices.

Representatives from the city and STO planners will be present Sunday to discuss different options for the STO. Participants will see the trail route and celebrate what promises to be a cherished resource for locals and visitors alike. The walk/ride is less than 2 miles and will take about an hour. This family-friendly event welcomes people of all ability levels.

People interested in participating are encouraged (but not required) to contact Mark Epstein at or 206-780-3721 to RSVP.

The next public meeting about the STO will be Wednesday, October 29, at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber.

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 Photo of Olympic Discovery Trail by Julie Hall.

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Walla Walla

Ferry Travel Advisory: Wenatchee Replaced & Colman Dock Access Changed

Ferry riders should take note of two changes affecting travel between Bainbridge Island and Seattle.

The 202-car Wenatchee will be removed from service temporarily from Sunday October 19 through the end of Tuesday October 21 for its required annual U.S. Coast Guard safety inspection. The 188-car Walla Walla will replace the Wenatchee. Washington State Ferries (WSF) warns that drive-on customers may experience heavier traffic and possible longer waits during this time.

Travelers should also be aware that the second part of the Seattle Seawall construction project is underway. Seattle ferry terminal access on Alaskan Way has shifted one block south, from Spring Street to just south of the intersection of Madison Street. Pedestrian and bicycle access to Colman Dock will be maintained in the current locations.

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Photo by Julie Hall.

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Fay Bainbridge by Anne Willhoit

Photos of the Day: Rain Break at Fay Bainbridge

Bainbridge Island resident Anne Willhoit took this photograph yesterday at Fay Bainbridge beach. She said she and her kids were happy to see the sun after a rainy morning.

Thanks for sharing Anne!

Fay Bainbridge by Anne Willhoit














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car accident Eagle Harbor Drive

Car Veers and ‘Cartwheels’ Over 200 Feet off Eagle Harbor Drive Wednesday Night

Just after 10 p.m. last night, October 15, a driver of a 2011 Nissan Rogue heading south on Eagle Harbor Drive veered to the right off the road. The car traveled about 175 feet on the shoulder and then began to “cartwheel,” flipping over and over in the ditch for another 50 feet before coming to rest nose down.

Bainbridge Island police and firefighters responded to the scene simultaneously. The driver, a 52-year-old Bainbridge resident, was pinned in the vehicle by his seat, airbags, and seatbelt. Fire Marshal Luke Carpenter said a dozen firefighters worked for about 12 minutes to extricate the trapped driver, who was alone in the totaled car.

The driver was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with serious injuries. Eagle Harbor Drive was closed for approximately one hour.

Alcohol may have been a factor in the accident. It is currently being investigated by accident Eagle Harbor Drive

While this incident was being handled, two other medical incidents on the Island required units from the Poulsbo Fire Department and North Kitsap Fire and Rescue to assist.

Photos courtesy of BIFD.


airlift at night







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graveyard by liz west

A Bloody Bainbridge Bullet List of Hellacious Halloween Happenings

Get ready for frightful fun on Bainbridge starting this weekend. The horrific Halloween hootenannies kick off Friday evening with the Pumpkin Walk at Bainbridge Gardens and Spooky Woods Walk at Battle Point Park.

  1. Pumpkin Walk 21th Annual  | Bainbridge Gardens | Friday & Saturday October 17-18 | 6-8 p.m. | Free, with donations welcome. Bainbridge Gardens hosts this Island favorite. The highlight is a walk on a wooded trail to see 300 candlelit pumpkins carved by local artists and beginners alike. The fun also includes a bouncy house, harvest maze, live music, photos with the Great Pumpkin, food and drink by New Rose Café, and carnival games hosted by our Boys & Girls Club. Learn more.
  2. Spooky Woods Walk | Battle Point Park | October 17 dusk-November 1 noon | Free & Self-Guided. The Bainbridge Island Park District is offering a free unguided creepy walk through the Battle Point Park Nature Trail loop just south of the duck pond. This new Halloween experience invites brave souls to walk the private pathway “enhanced for seasonal spookiness” any time, day or night. Look up, look down, and don’t forget to look behind. Walkers are welcome starting Friday, October 17, at dusk until Saturday, November 1, at noon. The creep factor targets school-age kids through adults (adult discretion for little ones). Warm evening concessions will be available October 24 and 25.
  3. Kids Night at the Museum | KiDiMu | Saturday October 18 | 5:30-9:30 p.m. | Drop-Off Event. Drop off your kids 3.5 to 9 years of age for a monster-themed evening complete with a pizza dinner, and take an evening to yourselves. Parents must register their kids before noon Friday, October 17. Space is limited. Members pay $30 per child, and nonmembers pay $40, with $10 off for each additional sibling. Call 206-855-4650 to register.
  4. Spooky Creatures Walk | Bloedel Reserve (with West Sound Wildlife Shelter) | Saturday October 25 | 3:30-8:30 p.m. | Tickets $10 for ages 13+, $5 for children 5-12, free for 4 and younger | Walk times should be scheduled in advance. Take an evening walk through the beautiful Bloedel grounds and meet nocturnal educational animals that have been rescued by West Sound Wildlife Shelter. Shelter naturalists stationed around the Reserve show and tell about the fascinating traits and personalities of nighttime animals. Walks take about 45 minutes and leave every 10 minutes. Guests should purchase tickets in advance for selected time slots. The younger set may enjoy brighter earlier walk times, while those drawn to the cover of darkness should schedule later times, with flashlights in hand. All proceeds benefit the Shelter. Purchase tickets here.
  5. HOWL-o-ween 10th Annual | IslandWood | Sunday October 26 | 1-4 p.m.| Free with Required Admission Tickets. The Halloween fun at IslandWood includes storytelling, carnival games, fortune-telling, and more. IslandWood chef master carvers will help you carve, so make sure to BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin). Costumes are encouraged. Get your free but required admission tickets here.
  6. Trick or Treat Downtown | Winslow | Friday October 31 | 4-6 p.m. | Free. Bring your costumed kids for free candy from downtown businesses. Bainbridge gets creative, and the spectacle of costumes alone is worth navigating the crowds. Grab ice cream from Mora (donations benefit the Bainbridge Schools Foundation). And follow the organ music to Eagle Harbor Congregational Church for hot dogs and chili  (donations to benefit UNICEF).
  7. Halloween Family Swim | Bainbridge Aquatics Center | Saturday November 1 | 4:30-7 p.m. The fun begins with trick-or-treating in the Aquatics Center parking lot between 4:30 and 5 p.m. (parents are encouraged to contribute candy). Games and family activities in the pool begin at 5 p.m. Entry is regular pool admission of $5 for kids and $6 for adults, but costume-wearers of all ages get in for half price. Call the pool at 206-842-2302 for more info.

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Featured image courtesy of liz west.

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The Pumpkin Walk: My Favorite Fall Night on Bainbridge

One of the pleasures of being a parent on Bainbridge is having an “excuse” to go to the annual Pumpkin Walk at Bainbridge Gardens, which this year is this Friday and Saturday, October 17-18, from 6 to 8 p.m. It’s a simple formula. Islanders carve pumpkins and donate them for the event. And people come to see them lit up in the dark along the wooded trail that runs behind the garden center.

There is a lot more to see and do at the Pumpkin Walk than this, but the walk through the woods is always my favorite part. The first time I went, when my daughter was a mere babe in the woods, I had a hazy idea that the pumpkins were carved by “professionals.” Professional pumpkin carvers. Or maybe some Secret Society of Bainbridge Gardens Artists. It simply didn’t compute that there could be so many talented “regular folks” around the Island donating their carvings—upwards of 300 each year.cats pumpkin walk

I know there are carving kits, but I remain impressed. Who are these people, I still wonder every time I go, which is pretty much each of the last 10 years. I carve a pretty good pumpkin myself, but many of these are works of art I couldn’t touch.

Sure, there are standards that you see every year, like scary witches in spiked hats, cats with arched backs, creepy skeletons, fanged draculas, spiders in webs, ghosts, and wolves howling at the moon. But this Halloween iconography never tires, because, well, it is fun, but also because so many of the carvings are so good they never fail to delight. The “creative” entries are always a treat, too. Things like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and and tributes to Steve Jobs and Michael Jackson have been clever surprises. But my favorites always remain the Halloween basics no matter how many times I’ve seen them before.

dancers pumpkin walkMany of the parents, including myself, feel it is their duty to make a fuss over the highlights along the path, pointing out for the children the spider there, exclaiming at the spooky witch here, while also not neglecting to call attention to the cute “face” that was obviously carved by a kid new to the art.

The Boys and Girls Club of Bainbridge Island helps run the Pumpkin Walk, and donations go to benefit them. The event also features a Harvest Hay Maze, bouncy house, live music, face painting, and carnival games with prizes. The New Rose Cafe offers hotdogs, pizza, chili, treats, and hot drinks. We never neglect to get our photo taken with “The Great Pumpkin,” a guy in a pumpkin suit who gives out candy. And we always run into dozens of people we know, also having a good time. Even a few years ago during a drenching deluge we still went, as always with our neighbors, and didn’t regret it.pumpkin walk

Indeed, the whole event is fun, but the real show is that short dark walk through the woods holding your child’s hand and traveling back to a place in your own imagination when Halloween held you in its thrillingly frightful web.

The Boys and Girls Club gratefully takes donations to this officially free event. For more information, go to

[From the archives: First published October 16, 2011.]

Photos by Julie Hall.

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rabies by Steve, Kristina, Evan, and Ai

Rabies Found in One Bat on Bainbridge and Two Others in Kitsap

Three bats in Kitsap County have recently tested positive for rabies. One bat from Bainbridge Island tested positive on September 19. Two others, one from Kingston and another from Bremerton, tested positive for the disease on October 3.

According to the Kitsap Public Health District, although rabies is endemic in Washington, having three bats test positive in a short period of time is unusual. Since March, the Health District has tested 15 bats in Kitsap with known or potential contact with humans, and these three were the only ones with positive results. Bats are currently the only known reservoir for rabies in Washington State. Rabies is not endemic in raccoons, coyotes, foxes, or other wild carnivores here; however, on rare occasions bats bite other animals and transmit rabies.

Rabies Symptoms

Although there has been at least one known case of a person surviving rabies without vaccination, it is considered a fatal disease that kills within seven days after the appearance of symptoms. The deadly virus kills over 55,000 people each year and is present on all continents except Antarctica.

According to the Mayo Clinic, rabies symptoms include the following:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Fear of water (hydrophobia) because of the difficulty in swallowing
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Partial paralysis

Rabies Treatment

Rabies is preventable with a vaccine that can be administered either before or after the disease has been contracted. Those at high risk of encountering rabies, such as veterinarians and lab workers, are advised to receive the pre-exposure vaccine as a preventative measure. The post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP treatment, is only effective before the onset of symptoms, so people believed to be exposed to a rabid animal should undergo treatment immediately.

The Health District recommends PEP vaccinating prior to receiving test results in cases in which an animal has shown obvious signs of being rabid. Treatment can be discontinued if the animal is found to be negative for rabies. The Kitsap Public Health District is available for consultation and to help facilitate testing animals for rabies at the Washington State Public Health Laboratories if needed.

Call 360-337-5235 with questions or to report suspected exposure.

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Photo courtesy of Steve, Kristina, Evan, and Ai.

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Bay Hay and Feed
West Sound Wildlife Shelter Spooky Walk