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halloween santa by Amy Wetter

Photos of the Day: It’s a Very Merry Zombie Apocalypse at Rite Aid

It’s that retail time of year again when Halloween Harbinger of Doom meets Jolly Old Santa Claus.

Watcha thinkin’ Saint Nick? Err . . . Ho Ho Ho, Kids, Merry Zombie Apocalypse! Looks like someone made a funny in the Bainbridge Island Rite Aid.

Thanks Amy Wetter for sharing this photograph taken on October 28.

santa and halloween at rite aid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

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airlift at night

Man in Wheelchair Hit by Pickup in Winslow Airlifted for Treatment

A man in a wheelchair heading south on the east shoulder of Madison Avenue near Eagle Nest Apartments in Winslow was hit by a small pickup truck this evening after dark at approximately 6:45 p.m.

The man, 52, was knocked out of his chair onto the curb. Bainbridge Island Fire Department Medic Unit 21 transported him to the Station 21 helipad, from where he was airlifted to Harborview Hospital in Seattle at 7:26 p.m. for life-threatening injuries.

The man’s dog, who was with him on the wheelchair at the time of the impact, also was injured. Bainbridge Island Fire Marshal Jared Moravec informed his wife Heather, who works at Winslow Animal Clinic, of the dog’s condition, and the owners opened the office to treat the dog, a dachshund named Winchester. Authorities report that Winchester is doing well.

The driver of the pickup was uninjured.

Bainbridge Island Police closed Madison between Wyatt Way and Ihland Dental for about 40 minutes.

Photo courtesy of Bainbridge Island Fire Department. 

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Posted in Accidents, New 1, News13 Comments

The Virtues of Visiting Cannon Beach in the off Season (w/ Photo Gallery)

Why drive down to Cannon Beach during the “off season,” with possibly blustery rain and cold temps? Some might respond, It’s Cannon Beach, ‘nough said.

But here are more reasons. It’s cheaper than Hawaii. It’s arguably the most beautiful time of year there. The rates are way reduced. You’ve got the place to yourself, more or less. It’s far enough away to feel like you’re on vacation but an accessible half-day’s drive—four to five hours from Bainbridge Island—and a lovely one, especially if you stay west off of I-5. Your dogs can run free on the beach with official sanction from the State of Oregon, and your four-leggeds won’t give a fig if it’s raining.

Ocean Street, Cannon Beach.

Ocean Street.

Haven’t been to Cannon Beach, Oregon, you say? To quote Gandalf, “Fly, you fools. . . .”

The worst thing that can happen to you in Cannon Beach during the off season is getting wet. Sound familiar? The lovely part is you’re doing it on one of the most stunning beaches on the entire west coast, in sand rather than mud, and with Haystack Rock as your spirit guide. Plus, you’re on vacation, so after you venture out into the elements with your happy kids and dogs and fashionista Gortex, you get to go back to your hotel room, suite, cottage, or rental house, strip off your wet garb, dry off, and head out for a reward of brownies and coffee, chili and beer, fish and wine, Mexican and margaritas. . . . Or you can kick back with room service and games and/or movies.

Ecola State Park.

Ecola State Park.

Although some blessed days in late fall, winter, and early spring bring sun, go prepared for wind and rain. Take layers. Take ample changes of clothing and shoes. Get a place with a stove or fireplace to cozy up to. With this arsenal, you will be prepared for literally any weather, and you will be undaunted to venture out to explore the beach and nearby parks, which are worth getting wet, muddy, wind-blown, and hungry for.

The main strip of Cannon Beach will keep you occupied from south to north for 3-4 hours of  walking. But don’t skip Ecola State Park, which is a picturesque 10-minute drive north of downtown Cannon Beach. The gorgeous wooded bluff hike from there to Indian Beach is about 2 hours roundtrip of up and down winding. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can extend the hike from Ecola Point up to Tillamook Head. Oswald State Park, a short drive south, is also well worth visiting for the view.

California newt.

California newt.

My family has stayed in many places in Cannon Beach over the years. Our current favorite (no affiliation) is the Surfsand Resort. They have increased their dog-friendly rooms to over 50 percent in the last few years in response to popular demand. But this is no squalid doggy motel. The Surfsand is an upscale establishment with appeal for families with or without canines. In addition to offering excellent (30-60 percent off) off-season rates, it sports attractive and comfortable accommodations (all renovated within the last 3-4 years); beach-front rooms; an indoor pool and hot tub; a workout room; friendly and professional service; and lots of feel-good complimentary amenities, including a DVD library and game collection, microwave popcorn, daily afternoon cookies and milk, and treats for kids and dogs alike.

Indian Beach, Ecola State Park.

Indian Beach, Ecola State Park.

Make sure to build in time for puttering around downtown. Whether you want to check out the art galleries, get a toy for your kid or dog, buy a bottle of fine wine, or sample some locally made ice cream, you’ll find plenty to hold your attention.

So, wherever you land in Cannon Beach during the off season, be prepared to leave a little piece of your heart there, and, as always, bring home some sand in your shoes.

Please allow the photo gallery a few moments to load. Note that some images are enhanced with raindrops.

  • Ocean Street.

  • Dunes leading to beach.

  • Cannon Beach.

  • Glimmering Haystack Rock.

  • Gulls.

  • North end of Cannon Beach.

  • Rainy Cannon Beach.

  • Ecola River flowing into Pacific Ocean.

  • Rainy Cannon Beach.

  • Ecola River.

  • Ecola River.

  • Ecola River.

  • Ecola River.

  • Grassy dunes on Cannon Beach.

  • Ecola Point Trail.

  • Ecola Point Trail.

  • California newt.

  • Ecola State Park bluff.

  • Ecola Point Trail.

  • Ecola State Park bluff.

  • Indian Beach, Ecola State Park.

  • Indian Beach, Ecola State Park.

  • Downtown Cannon Beach.

  • Downtown Cannon Beach.

  • Downtown Cannon Beach.

  • Downtown Cannon Beach.

  • Downtown Cannon Beach.

  • Downtown Cannon Beach.

  • Scrub jay with peanut, downtown Cannon Beach.

  • Downtown Cannon Beach.

  • Cannon Beach neighborhood.

  • Cannon Beach neighborhood.

  • Downtown Cannon Beach.

[This article from the archives originally appeared February 23, 2012.]

Photos by Julie Hall; all rights reserved.

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Posted in Culture, Popular 3, Travel0 Comments

roof garden bima

CNN Names BIMA One of Best Small-Town Museums in U.S.

A recent article published by CNN selected the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) for inclusion in its list of the best small-town museums in the nation. The article featured 16 outstanding museums in all corners of the country, from California to Connecticut, Massachusetts to Michigan, Wisconsin to Wyoming.

The article, published by Nicholas DeRenzo, praised BIMA for its niche of featuring local art, saying, “They’ve honed in with a laser-like focus on contemporary fine arts and crafts from a very small radius: the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas and the Western Puget Sound region.”

DeRenzo called BIMA’s custom-constructed glass building “dazzling,” saying it “reflects the region’s eco-friendly spirit.” He continued: “With its rooftop garden, recycled-denim insulation, solar panels, geothermal wells and sustainable tigerwood siding, BIMA is on track to become the first LEED Gold-certified museum in the state—and among the first in the nation.

Founded by Bainbridge Islander Cynthia Sears, BIMA opened in June 2013. The building was designed by Coates Design Architects. Entry is free, seven days a week.

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Photo of BIMA’s roof Lewis Rain Garden courtesy of Olympic Photo Group.

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2014 HOWL_o-ween pumpkin photo by Robert Dashiell

Photo of the Day: Picasso or Dalí?

IslandWood chef Jim White outdid himself at Sunday’s 10th Annual HOWL-o-ween event at IslandWood. Thanks to Robert Dashiell for sharing this photograph of White’s pumpkin-embedded carved masterpieces.

Is it cubism or surrealism?

2014 HOWL_o-ween pumpkin photo by Robert Dashiell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View White’s Días de los Muertos HOWL-o-ween pumpkin.

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salty dog wash sign

Muddy Mutt? DIY or Full-Service Grooming at Salty Dog Wash

Whether your dog needs a spiffy professional trim or a good long bath after break-dancing on a dead salmon, Salty Dog Wash is open for business and here to help.

Co-owners and long-time friends and Islanders Patty Keplinger and Alison Rice, with support from a third partner Heidi Story, opened Salty Dog to meet a variety of needs. Judging by the time they spent researching the business (over a year) and the setup they created, these women have thought of everything, from full-service grooming to do-it-yourself bathing, big dogs to little, geriatric to hyper hairy Harry.

DIY Dog Washing

salty dog wash

Alison Rice and Patty Keplinger

If you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to clean your canine yourself without a mess at home, Salty Dog offers what looks to be a pretty painless experience for both you and your pooch.

Keplinger explained that the tubs are custom-designed to provide stability and low noise; be spacious enough for large dogs or for those who want to stand in the tub while bathing their dog; and offer access on three sides for easy scrubbing. Traction matts prevent slipping, temperature-controlled water protects against scalding, and the kit and caboodle of aprons, soap, extension hoses, towels, and dryers at the ready make for an efficient process. Have a little dog? Elevated drop-in trays are available for your petite Petunia to stand in. Salty Dog even has child-sized aprons because, as Price explained, “Kids love to help wash their dogs.”

“When we first started telling people about offering self-service facilities for dog washing, people on Bainbridge didn’t get it,” Rice said. “But people from other larger communities like Seattle and San Diego are familiar with self-service dog washing and love it. . . . We wanted to meet the needs of those looking for a more affordable option or whose dogs are more comfortable being bathed by their owners.”

salty dogRice said that the concept is catching on fast. “We already have people who take their dogs for a run on the beach and come in to bathe them afterwards.”

Professional Grooming

Salty Dog Wash also offers professional grooming three days a week by appointment. Services include bathing, cutting, and nail clipping. When I stopped by for a visit, Keplinger and Rice had recently finished working on a large Bernese Mountain Dog, who they said literally took hours to bathe and unleashed a storm of hair. Their grooming prices depend on the level of service needed and the breed, as some take more time to clean and cut than others.

Grand Opening

Rice said that since opening their doors October 20 they could not have asked for a more positive response from the community.salty dog wash

Salty Dog Wash is located in Bainbridge Island’s Pleasant Beach neighborhood between PAWS and Island Cool. “We landed in an ideal spot, next to PAWS, which draws animal lovers, and with a landlord who loves animals,” said Keplinger, who estimates there are about 7,000 dogs on Bainbridge Island.

Keplinger, who has three dogs and initiated the idea for the business, said, “I thought about how I would want to spend my time until retirement and couldn’t think of anything better than being around dogs.”

Salty Dog Wash offers a free wash to newly adopted rescue dogs and to police K9 unit dogs.

They are currently hiring groomers.

Visit their Facebook page to learn more.

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Photos by Julie Hall.

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Posted in Animals, Business, Community, Popular 52 Comments

days of the dead by Señor Codo

BIMA Hosts Days of the Dead Celebration and Dinner

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) is hosting its first annual Dias de los Muertos, a time to honor deceased loved ones—people and animals—and welcome their returning spirits.

Originating in Mexico, the tradition combines pre-Hispanic indigenous and Spanish Catholic beliefs and rituals.

Mexico’s biggest holiday, the Days of the Dead is becoming a popular occasion for celebration in the United States and other countries. Participants honor lost loved ones through quiet reflection, altars, shared remembrances, and group festivities, from parades to parties. Although November 2 is the official Day of the Dead, typically the holiday is celebrated from October 31 through November 2.

The BIMA event is November 1 and 2, beginning with a kid-friendly day Saturday and ending with a Mexican dinner Sunday.

The Opening Celebration on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., will include pintura de la cara (face painting), papel picado (paper cutting), and Loteria (Mexican bingo). There also will be traditional music, a memory quilt where people can place a 2″x 2″ photo of a loved one, and a table where people can write the loved one’s name and a message that will be tucked into little pockets of Dia de los Muertos quilts made by Mexican-American Araceli Cruz. Tamales will be available for purchase in the BIMA Bistro.

On Sunday, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., BIMA will throw a Dinner for the Day of the Dead of traditional Mexican fare. Tickets are $50 a person. There are three seatings: 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. For reservations, call 206-451-4011. Check out the menu.

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Image courtesy of Señor Codo.

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smashed car windshield by Susan Brandzel

Snapshot of the Day: Storm Damage

Susan Brandzel sent in these photographs of her family’s van damaged by the fierce windstorm that swept through Bainbridge Island and surrounding areas last night. A chunk of tree fell and speared the van’s windshield at about 10 p.m.

Thousands lost power, and debris was evident all over Bainbridge this morning. Crews worked to restore power and clear roads well into the afternoon today.

Related Storiesbroken car windshield by Susan Brandzel

Photos courtesy of Susan Brandzel.

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zoe hammond ferry baby

A Talk with Ferry Baby Zoë’s Dad

The latest Washington State Ferries (WSF) baby was born last Wednesday morning, October 22, on the Bainbridge Island boat to Seattle. I had a chance to talk with baby Zoë’s father, Chris Hammond, to get more details about the events of the day.

Chris said that his wife Christina told him at about 3:30 that morning that she had started labor and thought it was time to head over to Seattle’s Swedish Hospital to have their baby. The couple’s doula believed they didn’t need to rush, so they decided to take the 5:20 sailing. When Christina gave birth to their first child her labor had taken 10-11 hours.

When the Hammonds arrived at the Bainbridge ferry terminal, the ferry crew sent them to the front of the line. Once on the boat things progressed rapidly, and the family asked attentive ferry staff to arrange for an ambulance on the Seattle side because they weren’t sure Christina would make it in time driving to the hospital. The captain speeded up the sailing, and the crew kept tabs on the Hammonds in their car.

Chris said the next thing he knew the baby was coming and ferry workers were moving Christina to the emergency medical room upstairs next to the second mate’s office. Over the intercom the captain requested assistance from any trained medical professionals who happened to be on the boat. Chris said that 8-10 nurses, doctors, and paramedics hoofed it upstairs to assist, and out came Zoë at 6 pounds/10 ounces while he held his 3.5-year-old daughter Ava on his lap outside the door.

“Unfortunately I didn’t get their names,” said Chris. “We’re really appreciative and thankful for all their efforts and grateful they were on board.” Chris added that he would be happy to hear from anyone who was involved. He also expressed gratitude to the helpful ferry crew and the fire department medics who transported Christina and Zoë to Swedish from the docked ship.

I asked Chris if he was relieved that ferry workers didn’t have to deliver his baby, and he said he thought they were relieved. ”It wasn’t what we dreamed for the birth. Last time Christina had an epidural, but not this time. . . . [But] there were no complications.”

The family of four is doing well back at home on Bainbridge Island, with a story to tell for generations to come.

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Photo of baby Zoë courtesy of the Hammonds.

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Posted in Community, Emergencies, Kids, News, Popular 11 Comment

gun by derkamener1984

Poll: Will the Marysville School Shooting Affect Your Votes on I-594 & I-591?

Today’s tragic shooting attack in Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington, has left two students (one the gunman) dead and four others injured. As word of yet another school shooting rifles across the news and through the hearts of people around the country, the deadly serious subject of gun violence asserts itself front and center yet again.

According to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, today’s shooting is the 3rd in Washington State and the 87th in the United States in just over two years since the December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Initiative 594, a proposal to require background checks on all gun sales, is currently on the ballot in Washington State. I-594 requires that private sales and transfers, including those online or at gun shows, be subject to the same background check process as sales through a licensed gun dealer. Learn more about I-594. 

I-591 is also on the ballot. In contrast, it prevents background checks on firearm recipients except where a uniform standard applies, protecting gun loans to friends or family from state intrusion. It ensures the state will not confiscate guns or other firearms from citizens without due process. Learn more about I-591.

Although the two initiatives appear to be in opposition to one another, both theoretically could be approved, leaving the Legislature in a bind.

Ballots are due in the mail by November 4.

Are you voting for or against I-591 and I-594? Is today’s tragedy influencing your vote? Tell us in our poll here or in the right margin of our Home page.

 

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Photo courtesy of derkamener1984.

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rain

Weather Advisory: High Gusts & Possible Thunderstorm on the Way

Batten down the hatches, people, and pull out your candles. More rain, a possible thunderstorm, and winds gusting up to 30 mph are on the way this evening, with at times heavy precipitation continuing through the weekend.

Here is the National Weather Service forecast for Bainbridge Island:

Thursday Afternoon Showers and a possible thunderstorm. High near 57 degrees F. South-southwest wind around 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.
Thursday Night A 70% chance of rain, with a low around 48 degrees F. South wind 8 to 15 mph.
Friday A 40% chance of showers before 11 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58 degrees F. South-southeast wind around 6 mph, becoming light and variable.
Friday Night Rain likely, mainly after 11 p.m. Cloudy, with a low around 51. North wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
Saturday A 90% likelihood of rain. High near 60 degrees F. North-northeast wind around 6 mph.
Saturday Night A 90% likelihood of rain. Low around 51 degrees F. Breezy.
Sunday A 60% chance of rain, with a high near 57 degrees F.

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four swallows sign

Four Swallows Restaurant Closes

The closure of Four Swallows Restaurant yesterday, October 22, came as a shock to Bainbridge Islanders and no doubt will be met with regret by the many people beyond Bainbridge who have regularly crossed the water to enjoy a fine meal there.

After nearly 26 years in business on Bainbridge and 20 years in the Madison Avenue location, Four Swallows owners Mike Sharp and Gerry Ferraro left a note on the restaurant door saying they had been unable to agree on a lease renewal with their landlord.

The 1889 restored farmhouse the restaurant had been operating in was put up for sale last March, along with adjacent parcels that are home to the Pavilion and Mike’s Car Wash & Detail. The seller, Kinam Sohn, CCIM, CPA – Sohn Real Estate Group Inc, listed the entire property at $14,900,000.

Four Swallows garnered praise and high marks for its fusion of fresh Northwest and Italian cuisine from the likes of Zagat and Gastrolust to The Seattle Times and Frommer’s.
four swallows closure notice

Sharp and Ferraro said, “We intend to continue in some capacity in the future. As for this holiday season we will cease business in house, but will offer fine catering in your location. We want to thank everyone who have contributed in making our restaurant a complete success and a wonderful place we are proud to call home.”

More information will be released as it becomes available.

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Photos by Sarah Lane.

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Posted in Business, Community, Don't Miss This 4, Eat+Drink, Restaurants8 Comments

stop bainbridge island school district school bus

‘Disturbing’ Number of Bainbridge Drivers Passing Stopped 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 and the numbers are increasing.

Why is the reported number low? 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 probably 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.

She said kids on the buses are aware of the problem and often try to help take down information about violators.

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 spectrum 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.”

Reflecting on her own experience as a mother, Sonsalla said, “You think your kids are safe on the bus. . . .”

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Photo by Julie Hall.

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Posted in Community, Crime, Don't Miss This 1, News, Schools2 Comments

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:

Related Stories

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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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.

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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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