Tag Archive | "Bainbridge Island"

Police car

Who Takes the Fall for a Dog Bite?

At midday Saturday, September 13, a man was walking his dog on leash on the south sidewalk of High School Road, heading toward Safeway. A second man approaching from the opposite direction and heading to the library tripped on an uneven portion of the sidewalk and fell toward the dog. Startled, the dog bit the man on his calf as he fell at her.

According to a Bainbridge Island police report, a pedestrian called 911 to request a patrol check of two men arguing on the street. The caller said a dog owner was not taking responsibility for his dog biting another man. Kitsap Animal Control was not available, so Bainbridge Island Police Officer Ben Sias responded.

Officer Sias found medics at the scene advising the man who had been bitten. They had been getting lunch when the man approached them and asked for their advice about a dog bite. They told him it needed to be cleaned and seen by a physician.

Officer Sias then spoke with both men involved in the incident. The bitten man showed Sias a puncture wound on his left calf. Both parties were in agreement about the events of the incident, but they disagreed about what should be done about it.

The man who had fallen and been bitten faulted the dog owner for having his dog walking ahead of him and not reined in as he approached. He said he had a $300-$500 insurance deductible that he believed the dog owner should pay.

The dog owner said it was not his fault or financial responsibility since the man had lunged at his dog.

Officer Sias informed the two men that a crime had not been committed and that it was a civil matter they would have to settle between themselves or through lawyers.

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Letter to the Editor: What If We Stop Being Complicit in the NFL’s Immorality?

What if, for one day—a Sunday, a Monday night, or now even a Thursday night—everyone turned off the NFL, didn’t go to the game, didn’t wear the jersey of fan. What if, for one Sunday, civilized people everywhere said that a non-profit that profits in the billions on the lives of its participants and leaves one-quarter of them with permanent cognitive damage, and the rest to die young just isn’t okay. What if for one Sunday, the “fans,” rather than cheering the powerful, stood with the powerless: took a stand that said, it is not okay to cold cock a woman whom you outweigh by 100 pounds, that it is not okay to drag your girlfriend with your car, or use your 300 pounds to choke your “lover.” What if for just one day the money did not rule the day, and for one day, just one, you the football fan, took a stand and told the four-year-old defenseless child, barely more than a baby, that being beaten with a stick by an enraged adult was more important to you than “your team.”

What if we all stop making excuses for the culture of inexcusable behavior? What if we stop holding Ray and Goodell accountable, and started holding ourselves accountable for the role we play in the drama. At the end of the day, we vote with our dollars, our remotes, our adoration. We all have seats in the Coliseum. Sometimes, or maybe for just one day, the game must not go on. What would that world look like, if for one day the truly powerful, the fans, said enough? Until that day comes, enjoy the game.

Brenda Berry
Bainbridge Island



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Earthquake This Morning Largest to Hit Western Washington in Over a Decade

A 4.0 earthquake centered in Hood Canal about 17.5 miles west of Bremerton and approximately 21 miles west of Bainbridge Island rattled area residents at 3:06 a.m. today, September 17.

The quake, 10.3 miles deep, was felt as far away as Seattle and Everett, but there have been no official reports of significant damage.

Although its effects were mild, today’s earthquake is the largest to strike Western Washington in over 11 years, according to Pacific Northwest Seismic Network data. A 4.8 quake rattled the area on April 25, 2003, also west of Bremerton.

Bainbridge Island residents described this morning’s quake in various ways. One resident said it was “like a washing machine that’s bouncing because the clothes have all migrated to one side.” Another thought her dog was shaking the bed from scratching until she realized her dog was not in the room. She said, “There was no sound, unlike most of the California quakes I’ve lived through.” Still another local said she awoke to her mirror shaking, concluded it was an earthquake, and promptly resumed sleep. Others described beds shaking and doors rattling.

A resident approximately 5 miles from the quake, near the little town of Holly, Washington, said no one in her house noticed: “Two dogs, two cats, three kittens, and four people—nothing.”

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WSF Tells Us About Ourselves as Ferry Passengers

The Washington State Ferries Origin-Destination Survey was just released this week. The extensive, detailed report was compiled from data collected in 2013 directly from passengers on the ferries.

These surveys are conducted every six to seven years as a “way to accurately capture and measure the travel patterns of ferry passengers.” WSF says the surveys asked passengers about their typical routes, how they get to and from the ferry terminal, and the purposes of their trips.

We’ll focus just on the results from the Central Sound Corridor, which includes the Seattle-Bainbridge Island, Seattle-Bremerton, and Edmonds-Kingston routes.

The Numbers

WSF reports that, as every commuter already knows, this is the most-traveled corridor in the Washington State Ferries (WSF) system. In 2013, the three routes carried 12.4 million riders, a surprising decrease from the 13.2 million passengers in 2006 and 14.4 million passengers in 1999. It still feels like 14.4 million Friday nights during rush hour.

On the Bainbridge-Seattle route alone, the total ridership in 2013 was 4.3 million plus 2.0 million vehicles and drivers. That comes to about 17,000 riders per day. This is a surprising decrease from 2006 when there were 18,000 riders per day.

Those numbers may have gone down, but passenger fares have increased. Passengers now pay $7.85, but in 2006 they paid $6.50. The vehicle base fare is $13.55 for vehicles 14 to 22 feet in length, an increase from the $11.25 base fare for vehicles in 2006.

Where Are We Going?

Nothing has changed since 2006 in terms of reasons for ferry travel. More than 61 percent of total trips in the Central Sound Corridor are still for work or school, a difference of +7 percent over the entire ferry system, where apparently people are having more fun than we are.

More than 50 percent of weekday travelers take at least five trips per week on the ferry. This represents a slight decrease (51 vs. 53 percent) from 2006.

Weekends are different. On Saturdays, 69 percent of passengers are heading off to or home from recreation or shopping. That number is up from 59 percent in 2006. Interestingly, the number of people traveling for work or school on Saturdays has dropped 50 percent from 16 percent of riders in 2006 to 8 percent last year.

The Bainbridge-Seattle route also sees only 8 percent of Saturday trips for work/school compared with 24 percent in 2006, a much bigger difference over the years than on the other two routes. Recreation/shopping trips account for 72 percent of Saturday trips compared to 56 percent in 2006.

On the Bainbridge-Seattle route, 54 percent of travelers take 5 or more trips per week. This represents a slight decrease from 2006 when it was 58 percent.

When Are We Coming Back?

Most passengers on the routes return to their origin terminals on the same day. I know this is true because I always see the same people on the way back I saw going out, and I wonder if they were doing the same thing. In 2006, there were 8 percent fewer same-day travelers on weekdays. The percentage difference between 2013 and 2006 for the Bainbridge-Seattle route is 4 percent. But, again, on Saturdays things go wonky: Same-day travelers on Saturdays decreased by 13 percent on the three routes and by 10 percent on the Bainbridge-Seattle route.

How Are We Getting to and from the Ferry?

During the week, people get more exercise. Well, that’s not necessarily true, but during the week there tends to be a higher percentage of walkers, bikers, and bus passengers arriving at the terminal than on Saturdays. A greater percentage of westbound walk-on riders access the ferry terminal on foot or by bike than do eastbound walk-on riders, begging the question “Where do they put their bikes?”

Since 2006, people have gone more green: 6 percent fewer passengers than in 2006 board the ferry by car. The percentage of passengers boarding by bike on weekdays has just about tripled, and the number of passengers getting to and from the ferry by bike has more than doubled. But on Saturdays less than 1 percent of passengers travel to the ferry and board by bike.

About 50 percent of walk-on weekday travelers get to the ferry terminal on foot. Public transit takes about one-fifth of walk-on passengers during the weekday peak periods.

On the Bainbridge-Seattle route, 51 percent of Saturday walk-on passengers get to the ferry by vehicle and 31 percent get there by foot. During the work week, two-thirds of the people who get on the ferry by vehicle are the drivers, meaning there’s a lot of extra room in vehicles.

During the work week, 77 percent of bike riders are between the ages of 41 and 64 (approximately 77 percent) and, when broken down further, the majority of that number are the 41-50 year olds. On Saturdays, the majority are between the ages of 25 and 40. Interestingly, the weekday bicyclists tend to be wealthier than the average rider and so their bicycles are probably really nice.

The majority (89 percent) of bicyclist’s weekday ferry trips are for work. But on Saturdays 40 percent of the rides are for recreation, 30 percent are for work, and the rest are for personal business and special events.

Where Do We Park?

Half of Saturday riders park their car at the terminal before boarding, but 77 percent of weekday travelers do not. The figures for both weekday and weekend parking show an increase over 2006.

On the Bainbridge-Seattle route, the percentage of weekday walk-on riders who parked a vehicle rose by more than 10 percent (34 percent) from 2006 (23 percent). But the majority of weekday riders continue to not park before boarding.

Why Do We Drive?

Most of the people who drive on to the ferry do so because they need their vehicle upon arrival on the other side—that is true for 59 percent of weekday travelers and 71 percent of Saturday travelers. People cited these other reasons for driving: too far to walk, inconvenience of public transport, vehicle used for business, passengers carrying baggage.

Who Are We?

The average age of passengers is 49 years old. Who knows why that is? Just as unclear is why the average passenger makes so much money: $75,000 to $100,000.

How Long Do We Wait?

Passengers on the Bainbridge-Seattle route feel they are waiting longer for Saturday trips in 2013 than they did in 2006. A slight majority think they are waiting more than 1-10 minutes longer on the weekdays than they did in 2006.

Enjoying all the data? There are plenty more (including some lovely maps showing specifically where on Bainbridge passengers began their journeys) in the full report available here.

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Astrology Weekly

Astrology Weekly 9/14/14: Accepting Life as It Is

Here is the latest Astrology Weekly audio chat by Bainbridge Island astrologer, counselor, and radio personality Aleta McClelland:

Listen here.

Aleta McClelland

Listen to Aleta’s weekly radio show, Aleta’s Audacity, on www.12radio.com Wednesdays at noon.

To make an appointment for a personalized astrological reading from Aleta, visit her website: acourseinconsciousness.com.

You can read more about Aleta in our article Aleta McClelland: Ace Astrologer.

Photos courtesy of Chad Miller and Richard McClelland.

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ferry mailbox

Letter to the Editor: A Simple Solution to Chronic Traffic Delays on 305

The other night we spent 30 minutes going a few miles on 305 from Koura Road to the casino. When we got to the casino, we saw just one car coming from Suquamish. Friends of ours who live near the Bloedel Reserve cannot get home various hours of the day.

Elected officials have proposed a multi-million round-around for which there is no funding. Rather than build yet another big expensive project that takes out the trees, why not just hire someone several hours a day to manually control the light? This would put someone to work and solve the problem tomorrow.

—Rod Stevens
Bainbridge Island

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mailboxes by Andrew Taylor

Letter to the Editor: Will Virginia Mason Relocate to the Visconsi Mall?

For nearly two months, Virginia Mason had a “Listening Trees” marketing campaign lining Bainbridge Island’s main street Winslow Way, with additional trees at Waterfront Park. These interactive “Listening Trees” (many actually shrubs, which were recently donated to the Park District) were combined with Virginia Mason’s advertisements in Kitsap Transit buses, all the local newspapers, and various other media outlets.

During Virginia Mason’s marketing campaign, a girl climbed a tree with the hope that the community she grew up in would listen and not engage in mall sprawl, and a community boycott of the planned mall was growing.

I find it ironic that, according to word on the street, Virginia Mason has been considering relocating its downtown Winslow clinic to the KeyBank/Walgreens/Visconsi site where 830 significant trees were clearcut.

Word is that at least some of the doctors and employees of the Bainbridge Virginia Mason clinic do not want to move from downtown Winslow, especially not to a site that has so divided our community. Those doctors and employees are currently asking Virginia Mason’s CEO Gary S. Kaplan to reconsider the move.

Is Virginia Mason “listening” to its own doctors, its employees, and the Bainbridge Island community? Will Virginia Listen?

—Debbi Lester, Bainbridge Island, Washington

Note: Inside Bainbridge contacted Virginia Mason to confirm if it is planning to relocate its downtown Winslow clinic to the site at Highway 305 and High School Road. We did not receive a response until publishing this letter the next day. The spokesperson we called has no record of receiving a message from us and would like readers to know that he would have responded immediately if he had known we were trying to reach him.

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Bainbridge Frog Nabbed from Colman Dock

A 45-pound frog has been reported missing from its temporary home at Colman Dock in Seattle.

The 40″ x 30″ x 24″ sculpture on a large base had been on display at the Seattle Ferry Terminal for over a year, since last summer. Part of a community art project on Bainbridge Island that includes 36 frog sculptures created by prominent Island artists, it was intended to be auctioned off to raise money for charity this Saturday, September 13.

Designed by Bainbridge-based artist Diana Montgomery, Clark Frog Kent and was sponsored by the Bainbridge Island Review.

When the auction committee team went to pick up Clark Kent today, September 11, he was missing.

Ferry officials confirmed that the frog is missing and have reported the presumed theft to the Washington State Highway Patrol.

Bainbridge Island Downtown Association Executive Director Jerri Lane said, “We hope it is a prank and that the frog will be returned in time for the fundraising auction.”

Anyone with information regarding the missing frog should call 911.

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Photo courtesy of Bainbridge Island Downtown Association.

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Bainbridge High School

Celebration of Life Scheduled for Michael Anderson

A celebration of life event for Michael Anderson will be held Saturday, Sept. 27, at 10 a.m. in the Bainbridge High School Commons.

Anderson drowned in Tiger Lake near Belfair on Sunday evening, September 7. He was pulled from the water by boaters responding to a woman screaming about a swimmer in distress. They performed CPR until medics arrived on shore. According to Mason County Sheriff’s Office Detective William Adam, Anderson had to be transferred to a second boat to be brought to shore because the first boat’s engine failed. EMTs were unable to revive Anderson.

Mason County Coroner Wes Stockwell released autopsy results for Anderson, showing his cause of death to be freshwater drowning. Stockwell said that in this case the apparent cause of death turned out to be the actual causal factor but that in many cases an autopsy shows hidden causes such as heart attack.

Anderson worked for the Bainbridge Island School District (BISD) for two decades, serving as the BHS Career and Technical Education director, business teacher, leadership adviser, and head varsity tennis coach. He also was head tennis coach at Kingston High School. 

Anderson attended West High School in Bremerton and Central Washington University, earning his business education degree in 1977. He is survived by his daughter Hanna Anderson.

“Mike enthusiastically coached tennis and a variety of sports,” said Bainbridge High School Principal Mary Alice O’Neill. “We are all shocked and saddened by the tragic death of our friend and colleague.”

BISD Superintendent Faith Chapel said, “You could not find a nicer person. He was warm and caring—a Spartan through and through. Mike was a positive presence at the school and highly respected and appreciated by the community.”

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Mail by Jasleen Kaur

Letter to the Editor: ‘Affordability’ and Hidden Agendas

There is a lot of discussion on Bainbridge about so called “affordable” housing. Beware of people who present themselves as humanitarians, and champions of “affordability”: often they have a hidden agenda. I would compare the smoke screen of affordable housing, as it applies to the pro growth agenda, to how agribusiness in this country embraces its holy mission to “feed the world.”

The mainstream farming industry would like to feed more and more of the world. Not because farmers as great humanitarians but because it is profitable to undercut domestic food production in third world countries and in so doing cultivate dependence upon U.S. producers. Meanwhile, farmers in the midwest are pumping down aquifers, depleting top soils, and polluting waterways. “Feeding the World” is all about short term profits.

The fact is: Bainbridge Island has a limited carrying capacity, beyond which water consumption is not sustainable, and beyond which our environment is degraded. Both of these concepts are mentioned in our present Comp Plan, with policy statements that validate concern for environmental quality and sustainable use of water. Pro growth advocates would like us to just keep pretending that population growth on Bainbridge Island can continue in perpetuity. That is simply not true.

This is a long standing point of disagreement between environmentalists and growth proponents: the question of whether or not we live in a finite world with limits. Pro growth advocates would have us believe that we are only limited by our imaginations and there is no such thing as “overpopulation.” Expect to see “affordable” housing used as a wedge issue in a transparent attempt to take the high ground as we contemplate the future of our island.

—Ron Peltier, Bainbridge Island

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Aquaculture Arrives on Bainbridge: Potential Environmental Disaster or Economic Boon?

Now that the Shoreline Master Plan has been approved by the Department of Ecology, Bainbridge Island is open for offshore aquaculture, or fish and shellfish farming. The first and so far only applicant, a community shellfish farm project of the Puget Sound restoration Fund, was submitted and approved back in 2009 and subsequently received its conditional use permit. There has been no applicant since the recent passage of the SMP. What does this beginning signify for Bainbridge?


The Bainbridge Island Shoreline Master Plan, when submitted to the Department of Ecology for review earlier this year, contained the following text about aquaculture:

Prohibit aquaculture where it would result in a net loss of shoreline ecological functions; adversely affect the quality or extent of habitat for native species including eelgrass, kelp, and other macroalgae; adversely impact City and state critical habitat areas and other habitat conservation areas.

Ecology, whose stated mission is “to protect, preserve, and enhance Washington’s environment and to promote the wise management of our air, land, and water for the benefit of current and future generations,” asked that it be deleted, and it was. Why would an organization with such a mission want to delete the prohibition of an activity when and where it could harm the environment?

The answer lies partly in the Washington Shellfish Initiative, which was introduced by former Governor Christine Gregoire. The initiative is a merger of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Shellfish Initiative and the State’s “interest in promoting a critical clean water industry.” Aquaculture was described by the Initiative as a way to protect the health of the Sound and create jobs and revenue for the State.

Governor Inslee has echoed that view of aquaculture. In a response today to a request for comment, he said, about the potential for individually tailoring aquaculture to each community, “This is one reason our office is working to advance the goals of the Washington Shellfish Initiative. The initiative recognizes the importance of shellfish to Washington State—the economic benefits of a strong shellfish industry and the environmental benefits that come with responsible aquaculture. Improving water quality and addressing ocean acidification are two key parts of the Initiative.”

Negative Reports

But the current reality doesn’t sound quite as good. Negative reports, some of which are being shared tonight with the Bainbridge City Council, have been emerging from the South Sound where shellfish farming companies conduct their fish farming operations on beachfront leased from property owners. Some of these property owners are voicing their concerns, and regrets, just in time for Bainbridge Islanders to determine if this is something we want here and what we want it to look like.

For example, the President of the Case Inlet Shoreline Association in Vaughn, Washington, alleges that “Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has turned a blind eye while Taylor [Shellfish Farms] has been illegally farming on state owned land, a minimum of 16 acres in Totten Inlet, without a lease for over 10 years.”

The Association for the Protection of Hammersley, Eld and Totten Inlets, APHETI, monitors Aquaculture in the South Sound and maintains a website with an Inlet Watch page featuring the negative consequences of aquaculture.

The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound has strong words about the Shellfish Initiative: “Washington tidelands are under covert attack by the shellfish industry as they implement the industry created State Shellfish Initiative supported by Governor Inslee.”

The nonprofit Protect Our Shoreline supports “a requirement of peer reviewed science and environmental impact study evaluation prior to shellfish aquaculture.


Oyster nets

What Is Offshore Aquaculture?

First, it’s important to understand the elements of open ocean or offshore aquaculture. Farmers build solid-frame cages or even floating, partly submerged netting systems offshore. The fish are raised inside.

For geoduck farming, PVC tubes are pushed into the sandy substrate of a beach’s intertidal zone. Four to five juvenile geoducks are planted in each one. Netting is placed over the tubes to prevent predation.

The farmers put up signage along the beach to prevent trespassing. Often, plastic fencing is used to keep people off the beach.

When the geoducks are well established, after a couple of seasons, the tubes are removed. After about five to seven years, when it’s time for harvesting, workers loosen the substrate around them with water shot from a high-pressure hose and nozzle.

What Are the Implications of Offshore Aquaculture?

A report prepared for the Pew Oceans Commission titled “Marine Aquaculture in the United States: Environmental Impacts and Policy Options” offers what seems to be a balanced and impartial analysis of the effects of this industry. The conclusion reached by the authors is that “Aquaculture has a number of economic and other benefits. But if it is done without adequate environmental safeguards it can cause environmental degradation.”

The report refers specifically to five potential dangers:

1. Biological Pollution. The report finds that “Fish that escape from aquaculture facilities may harm wild fish populations through competition and inter-breeding, or by spreading diseases and parasites. The authors added, “Historically, a number of diseases and parasites were introduced through aquaculture operations, and aquaculture can magnify the level of those diseases already present (NMFS/FWS, 2000). In the early 1900s, for example, the Japanese oyster drill and a predatory flatworm were introduced to the West Coast with the Pacific oyster, and at that time they contributed to the decline of native oyster stocks (Clugston, 1990).”

2. Fish for Fish Feeds. Because certain aquaculture uses wild-caught fish to feed farmed fish, the practice can actually contribute to the degradation of fish populations.

3. Organic Pollution. The report calls aquaculture’s contribution to nutrient loading in the oceans “small” but potentially “locally significant.” The pollution happens when fish wastes and uneaten feed is washed into the ocean from the cages or PVC tubes.

The authors report that “nutrient pollution, particularly nitrogen pollution, is a primary cause of environmental degradation in marine waters (NRC, 2000; Boesch et al., 2001).” They write that the adverse effects are “low dissolved oxygen levels, murky water, death of seagrasses and corals, fish kills, low- or no-oxygen ‘dead zones,’ and possibly harmful algal blooms (Boesch et al., 2001; EPA, 2001).”

They report that up to 70 percent of the phosphorus and 80 percent of the nitrogen fed to fish may be released into the water through organic wastes (Beveridge, 1996). What does that mean? The example they give is of a salmon farm of 200,000 fish, which “releases an amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and fecal matter roughly equivalent to the nutrient waste in the untreated sewage from 20,000, 25,000, and 65,000 people, respectively (Hardy, 2000b).”

This is especially bad news for Puget Sound where, in 1997, “four of about twelve salmon netpens in Washington State discharged 93 percent of the amount of ‘total suspended solids’ into Puget Sound as the sewage treatment plant serving the city of Seattle (Whiteley, pers. comm.).”

Underneath the floating cages there can be dead zones surrounded by areas extending out 500 feet of decreased diversity (Beveridge, 1996).

4. Chemical Pollution. Antibiotics, parasiticides (parasite-killing drugs), pesticides, hormones, anesthetics, various pigments, minerals, and vitamins are all used in aquaculture. Farmers have been spraying Carbaryl, a pesticide, in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor for years. The Environmental Protection Agency has registered imidacloprid for use on commercial shellfish beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor for the control of burrowing shrimp. Imidacloprid is a neurotoxin banned in Germany, Italy, France, and Slovenia that has been linked to Colony Collapse Disorder among bees (see Honeybee disaster, April 2012 Sound Consumer).

The National Pesticide Information Center reports that

“farm workers reported skin or eye irritation, dizziness, breathlessness, confusion, or vomiting after they were exposed to pesticides containing imidacloprid. Pet owners have sometimes had skin irritation after they applied flea control products containing imidacloprid to their pets. Animals have vomited or drooled a lot after oral exposure to imidacloprid. If animals swallow enough imidacloprid, they may have trouble walking, develop tremors, and seem overly tired. Sometimes animals have skin reactions to pet products containing imidacloprid.”

Aquaculture by Jeff lawdawg1

Rescuers try to help an immature eagle stuck in a geoduck farming net.

5. Habitat Modification. One of the most obvious habitat effects of aquaculture is the entrapment of marine predators in the sea nets used by fish farming operations. Ironically, because it creates aggregations of fish, aquaculture attracts the predators that the nets are designed to discourage. In fact, the nets, although they prevent the predation, do not discourage predators and instead sometimes trap and suffocate them (Moore and Wieting, 1999; Wursig, 2001). The report says that cormorants and great blue herons are the animals most frequently killed (Rueggerberg and Booth, 1989).

Other predator discouragement techniques such as “seal bombs” and acoustic harassment or deterrent devices (Wursig, 2001) may “cause disorientation, pain, or hearing loss in marine species, including fish, sea turtles, and marine mammals (Hastings et al., 1996; NRDC, 1999). This noise pollution affects the surrounding marine habitat, causing other marine mammals that do not prey on farmed salmon (e.g., killer whales) to avoid the area (Morton and Symonds, in review).”

NOAA confirms the use of predator deterrents. In a report titled “Aquaculture and the Environment,” the agency reports that “The primary deterrent is the use of predator nets. These nets are hung outside of the net-pens and are made of a large, strong mesh that the predator cannot bite through. Bull rails (knee high fences developed by marine mammal biologists to keep sea lions off of docks) are also used to discourage marine mammals from getting onto net pen structures. In extreme cases an electric fence is added to the bull rails.”

Geoduck farm by Jeff Lawdawg1

Geoduck farm on Hartstine Island

Another habitat consideration is the addition of massive amounts of plastic to our oceans and beaches. An article published in 2012 in Sound Consumer (Washington Shellfish Initiative: Is It Sustainable?) cites the findings of the Case Inlet Shoreline Association (CISA) that the geoduck industry plants about eight miles of PVC plastic pipe per acre in Puget Sound intertidal habitat areas. Other plastic detritus associated with the farming often gets left behind on beaches.

The Washington Shellfish Initiative: Is It Sustainable? says that the high-volume hoses used to unearth the geoducks from the sand have the effect of “turning the beach upside down,” disturbing habitat.

Want to know what geoduck harvesting looks like? Click here for a slideshow put together by Protect Our Shoreline.org. Here is another one by the Case Inlet Shoreline Association.

What Are the Benefits of Offshore Aquaculture?

Proponents of aquaculture talk about the benefits to the Washington State economy, including taxes. But Washington Shellfish Initiative: Is It Sustainable? quotes Laura Hendricks, chair of Washington State’s Sierra Club Marine Ecosystem Campaign: “Since the shellfish industry pays little tax, boosting revenues to the state is unlikely. Increasing exports would be nice for the Governor but wouldn’t pay for all the government time the shellfish industry uses—or the natural resources.”

Oyster Harvesting in France

Oyster Harvesting in France

Proponents also tout the industry’s role in Puget Sound restoration by cleaning the water—the shellfish are said to clean the water because they are “filter feeders.” The article quotes CISA vice president Curt Puddicombe on this matter: “There is no scientific evidence that geoduck or mussel farming is good for the water and the marine environment in Puget Sound. The opposite is true. We know geoduck aquaculture results in plastic pollution.”

Ongoing Research 

Research on aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest is limited but growing and some of it is taking a look at how to decrease the harmful effects of it. For example, a study completed through a collaboration of NOAA and the Pacific Shellfish Institute examined ways to mitigate the damage done to eelgrass via submerged shellfish depuration. The study reports that eelgrass “provides critical ecological functions such as removing nutrients and stabilizing fine sediments.” Because eelgrass is on the decline along the West Coast, finding ways to prevent further decline is essential. The research concluded that there is one change that can be made to help with the eelgrass problem: “Direct effects of cages are minimal during short-term gear soaks . . . ; longer term soaks have been shown to cause damage.”

Information like this will be essential to guiding aquaculture as the industry grows and expands throughout the Sound. But without the legislative clout of legislative restrictions intended to protect habitat, there will be no impetus to adopt improved processes backed by research.

The Rest of the Story

We contacted the Department of Ecology to ask why the agency wanted that paragraph deleted from the SMP. Barbara Nightingale, Shoreline Planner for the Department of Ecology, and Larry Aletose, Regional Spokesperson for the Agency, first wanted to stress that any applicants for aquaculture operations on the Island have to address three criteria: habitat, net loss, and cumulative effects. And these are delineated in the SMP.

The reason, Nightingale explained, for the deletion of the SMP paragraph is the use of the word Prohibit. She said, “We can’t prohibit it. It is a water-dependent preferred use according to the Shoreline Management Act.” But a specific applicant can be refused based on a number of criteria including location. Nightingale said, “You couldn’t do it on an eelgrass bed, for example.”

Governor Inslee’s Office expressed confidence in the SMP as it was finally accepted by Ecology: “The SMP is clear that priority habitats are to be protected. The language in the BI SMP was simply redundant” [before the paragraph was removed].

In response to the complaints emerging from the South Sound, Nightingale explained that the situation there differs from whatever would happen on Bainbridge in that the farms to the south were “grandfathered in” and “there are new rules now affecting new aquaculture operations.”

Aletose pointed out that applicants on Bainbridge would also need to meet Fish & Wildlife and Department of Natural Resources guidelines. And Department of Ecology personnel would be required to conduct a site visit before issuing any permits.

When asked about people’s ability to walk the beach at low tide when a geoduck farm is in the way, Nightingale pointed out that public beaches could not be farmed. But what happens to low-tide beach beyond the extent of a person’s property has to be established by the City’s CUP requirements.

When asked if a geoduck farm would be allowed to have nets over its PVC tubes if those nets were trapping juvenile eagles, Nightingale said no, that would be considered a net loss. However, she again emphasized what goes into the the CUP: The rule about nets and animals would first have to be written into the City’s Conditional Use Permit.

She added about Bainbridge Islanders, “From what I’ve seen from people who have voiced concerns, these are very intelligent people. I’d like to see them work with the City to determine criteria for the Conditional Use Permit to help the CUP be more effective, to assist in implementing aquaculture and working out the details.”

The Governor’s Office also echoed Nightingale’s advice about citizen involvement in the development of BI Conditional Use language: “Each shoreline program is tailored to a town, city, or county’s needs. The governor supports an approach that takes into account those individual needs and differences.”

However, Ecology has already removed some aquaculture-specific regulations from the SMP, such as the requirement that “aquacultural developments approved on an experimental basis shall not exceed five (5) acres in area, except anchorage for floating systems, and five (5) years in duration.” Also removed was language stating that “Aquacultural proposals that include net-pens or rafts shall not be located closer than one (1) nautical mile to any other aquacultural facility that includes net-pens or rafts.” Ecology also removed language requiring community aquaculture gardens to be “no greater than 400 square feet in area.”

Even if an applicant is issued a Conditional Use Permit, there is no guarantee that he or she will get permission from a property owner to lease the land. And that’s where education comes in—people need to learn specifically what they would be getting into before agreeing to a land lease.

Here is a video on local aquaculture from the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound:

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Photos by Jeff Lawdawg1, Allan Hughes, eutrophication&hypoxia, and the USDA.

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School lunch

There Is, in Fact, a Free Lunch: How to Get One for Your Kid

Three Washington programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture ensure that Bainbridge Island kids get the brain food they need, regardless of their families’ income levels. Families received a packet at the beginning of the school year with instructions on how to apply for these programs.

Here are the programs:

  • National School Lunch Program provides reduced-price lunches at 40 cents each. In Washington, all public school kids in grades K-3 who are eligible for reduced-price meals have the $0.40 covered by the State.
  • School Breakfast Program provides reduced-price breakfasts at 30 cents each. Again, in Washington, the $0.3o are covered for public school students in grades K-12 who are eligible for reduced-price meals.
  • Special Milk Program may provide free milk, depending upon the school, for all eligible students.

Who’s Eligible? Check out the chart at the bottom of the post. In addition, all foster children, homeless and migrant students, households taking part in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, and students in Head Start and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program are eligible for free meals. Contact your child’s school for more information.

In households where foster children reside, all other students in the household may be eligible for free or reduced price meals based on household size and income. In these situations, households may submit an application.

Students receiving help through TANF or Basic Food as well as all other students in the same household automatically qualify for free meals if their school participates in federal child nutrition programs. Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the school if it chooses to decline the free meal benefits.

If you have questions about eligibility, contact your child’s school.

How to Apply. Applications may be submitted any time during the school year. If a household member suddenly becomes unemployed, for example, the family should contact the school to determine if the employment change made children of the household eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Applications will be reviewed and a determination made within 10 working days of receipt of the application. Parents denied eligibility can appeal the decision by contacting their school.

Eligibility lasts from the date of approval up to the first 30 operating days of the next school year or until a family contacts the school or district.

Applications are available here. 

Participation. All Bainbridge public schools participate in the National School Lunch  and Breakfast Programs, covering grades K-12. Throughout the state, 356 institutions participate. These include 280 public school districts, 33 private schools, and 43 residential child care institutions.

Schools where fewer than 25 percent of the enrolled K-4 students qualify for free or reduced-price meals are not required to operate the National School Lunch Program. Schools where fewer than 40 percent of enrolled students qualify for free or reduced-price meals are not required to operate the school breakfast program.

Participation in the Special Milk Program includes three public school districts, 34 private schools, and 11 summer camps.

Meals. Participating schools and institutions must follow meal patterns established by the USDA for breakfast and lunch. Meals adhere to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and contain foods from the identified food groups; milk, meat or meat alternate, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Meals must also meet standards for calories, saturated fat, sodium, and trans fat.

July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015

Free Lunch

Household Size Annual Monthly Twice per month Every Two Weeks Weekly
1 $15,171 $1,265 $633 $584 $292
2 20,449 1,705 853 787 394
3 25,727 2,144 1,072 990 495
4 31,005 2,584 1,292 1,193 597
5 36,283 3,024 1,512 1,396 698
6 41,561 3,464 1,732 1,599 800
7 46,839 3,904 1,952 1,802 901
8 52,117 4,344 2,172 2,005 1,003
For each add’l household member, add +5,278 +440 +220 +203 +102

Reduced-Price Lunch

Household Size Annual Monthly Twice per month Every Two Weeks Weekly
1 $21,590 $1,800 $900 $831 $416
2 29,101 2,426 1,213 1,120 560
3 36,612 3,051 1,526 1,409 705
4 44,123 3,677 1,839 1,698 849
5 51,634 4,303 2,152 1,986 993
6 59,145 4,929 2,465 2,275 1,138
7 66,656 5,555 2,778 2,564 1,282
8 74,167 6,181 3,091 2,853 1,427
For each add’l household member, add +7,511 +626 +313 +289 +145

For more information, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

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Photo by Ishikawa Ken.

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Astrology Weekly

Astrology Weekly 9/7/14: Let Your Imagination Run Wild

Here is the latest Astrology Weekly audio chat by Bainbridge Island astrologer, counselor, and radio personality Aleta McClelland:

Listen here.

Aleta McClelland

Listen to Aleta’s weekly radio show, Aleta’s Audacity, on www.12radio.com Wednesdays at noon.

You can also hear Aleta this week on Kimla Dodds’ show Sacred Secrets on www.12radio.com at 8 a.m. on Monday.

To make an appointment for a personalized astrological reading from Aleta, visit her website: acourseinconsciousness.com.

You can read more about Aleta in our article Aleta McClelland: Ace Astrologer.

Photos courtesy of Chad Miller and Richard McClelland.

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BIFD technical rescue truck

Three-Year-Old Girl and Father Fall off 80-Foot Bluff at Hidden Cove

by Sarah Lane and Julie Hall

This story was updated at 4:05 p.m., September 7, 2014.

A 911 call at 2:08 this afternoon, September 7, reported that someone had fallen off the bluff at the end of Hidden Cove Road on Bainbridge Island.

Bainbridge Fire Marshal Jared Moravec initiated a call for the BIFD technical response team, in anticipation of a bluff rescue.

Emergency responders at the scene discovered that a 34-year-old male and his three-year-old daughter had fallen off the bluff. They had been visiting neighbors on Hidden Cove, and the girl had taken off in a mad dash for the cliff side. Her father ran to catch her, and the two went over the edge. It is believed that the father grabbed his daughter as she dropped, cradled her in his arms, and took the brunt of the fall.

They fell down approximately 50 feet of brush, an 18-foot sheer dropoff, more brush, and a rock seawall to the shore below.

It was determined that a water rescue would be more expedient than a bluff rescue. With assistance by the BIFD and BIPD, Poulsbo’s Police Department boat Marine 6 picked up the father and moved him to a nearby location where he could be more easily transferred to an ambulance. Both father and daughter were conscious at the time of their rescue.

The father sustained serious injuries and is en route via helicopter to Harborview Hospital in Seattle. His injured daughter is being transported by ambulance also to Harborview, with her mother.

Numerous emergency responders from the area assisted at the scene, including the Bainbridge Island Police, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, and Navy Region Northwest, as well as the BIFD.

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Photos by Sarah Lane. 

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pot plant by Spot Us

Bainbridge Pot Producer/ Retailer Application Under Review

Updated at 11:32 a.m., September 7, 2014.

When voters in our state made recreational pot legal with the passage of I-502, the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) designated up to one retail outlet for Bainbridge Island and no limit on producers and processors here.

Using its municipal authority, the Bainbridge Island City Council on June 4 set up strict regulations for the business of pot, limiting it to business/industrial zones. In practical terms that limit reduced the possible location of pot businesses on Bainbridge to one small business/industrial zone of about eight business spaces off Day Road near Highway 305. That is the only business/industrial area at least 1,000 feet away from schools and other places where children gather—a state mandate.

Those following the smoke trail on the Island have been wondering if anyone would find a way to open shop in that one little spot. Now an applicant has stepped up to the plate (of munchies).

pot retail/production day road site plan mapArchitect Devin Johnson of Johnson Squared Inc. submitted a complete application to the city dated August 5, 2014, under the title Day Road Agricultural Facility. The proposed business would include the production (growing), processing, and selling of recreational marijuana. The business would utilize an existing building that was formerly occupied by a cabinet manufacturer and that is set back off of Day Road. (Click images to enlarge.)

According to the application, the facility would be 9,600 square feet, 1,125 of which would be used for retail. Growing and processing would take place in 7,040 square feet, with the rest of the building used for offices and storage. Processing would be only mechanical, meaning it would involve clipping, trimming, and packaging and not cooking or the use of chemicals. The estimated 50 gallons of daily water discharge from the facility would be handled by an existing septic system.

The city planner assigned to review the application is Kelly Tayara. She approved a request for a waiver of the preapplication conference. However, the requested timeline for processing the application by October 15 and opening shop by December 1, 2014, appears highly unlikely to be met. Formal notice of the application is slated for September 12, with an open public comment period of 14 days to follow. City Planning Manager Josh Machen said COBI is understaffed and so busy that it could take several months for the review to be completed. The city technically has 120 days to review the application.pot retail/production day road map

Johnson declined to disclose the name of the business applicant, nor whether the applicant has marijuana business licenses from the state.

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Photo courtesy of Spot Us; site plans courtesy of COBI.

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battle point pea patch flowers by marilynn gottlieb

Photos of the Day: Battle Point Park Pea Patch in Buzzing Bloom

The Battle Point Park public pea patch presently has a lovely display of late-summer blooms.

Bainbridge Island photographer Marilynn Gottlieb captured some of the garden’s colorful flower power and bee business this week.

battle point pea patch flowers by marilynn gottlieb








battle point pea patch flowers by marilynn gottlieb












battle point pea patch flowers by marilynn gottlieb











battle point pea patch flowers by marilynn gottlieb



battle point pea patch flowers by marilynn gottlieb













Battle Point Park pea patch flowers courtesy of Marilynn Gottlieb.

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leif utne

Update: Visconsi Protest Song Going Viral; How You Can Help Make the Video

Updated at 3:38 p.m., September 4: The deadline to submit video clips has been extended to 6 p.m. Friday, September 5.

Bainbridge Island resident Leif Utne, a musician and journalist formerly with Utne Reader, has written and recorded “Girl in a Tree,” a song inspired by the recent tree sitting by 19-year-old Chiara D’Angelo that drew national attention. Fellow Islander Stuart Stranahan produced the recording and played guitar and bass on it, with Utne on vocals, ukulele, and saxophone. Utne told me he intends to produce a more polished version of the song in the upcoming days. Here is the initial “down and dirty” recording.

Utne is developing the song into a music video, utilizing crowdsourcing to gather footage from other community members. He invites anyone interested to create their own short video clips singing and dancing along or holding protest signs and send them to him for inclusion in the video. View him explaining the project below.

A line from the song taken from a rally chant started by Chiara’s mother Debra D’Angelo, “now her feet are on the ground but she’s not backing down,” is a sentiment that could just as well describe Utne’s attitude about the commercial center planned for the 8-acre piece of land at the northeast corner of High School Road and Highway 305. ”The trees are cleared, but we can still influence how this land is used,” he said. A current plan for the center would bring in an expanded Key Bank (replacing the existing one across the street) and a Walgreens. Wide popular opposition to the project has cited safety, traffic, environmental, and business redundancy problems. Many believe the project violates Bainbridge Island’s Comprehensive Plan.

Utne explained that he is not opposed to growth, and he sees the need for Winslow to be “filled in” with greater urban density. But, he said, the Visconsi site plan is not a model of “smart growth.” “It is sprawl that jumped the border of High School [Road], it is car-oriented and not pedestrian or bicycle friendly, and it threatens long-established Winslow businesses,” he said. ”

Since launching his song and music video protest concept two days ago, on September 2, Utne said he has had an outpouring of interest on Facebook and through emails. People have begun sending him video clips, and he hopes to gather enough by the end of today, September 4, to begin producing the music video. He said he is pushing hard to make this happen fast.

I asked him what he believes he can accomplish at this point in the process. He said that in the days following the tree sitting and cutting, signatures on the public boycott of the proposed shopping center jumped from approximately 100 to over 500. He hopes that with the song going viral that the music video will push the boycott signatures up into the thousands and that a show of unified community resistance could motivate Visconsi, whom he said has already agreed to consider selling the land back, to change its plan. Sign the boycott pledge here.

As for other uses for the land, Utne said many ideas have come up in two recent citizen meetings. People have proposed using it for a “living building” municipal, police, and fire department, with, for example, self-generated power and collected rainwater filling water tanks. Other ideas include a teen center or park.

“The community was clearly opposed to the project, and the public process around it was broken.” he said. “We are losing our water. Seawater is also seeping into some wells. This is a real and symbolic chance to show people how we can live on this Island.”

Here is Leif Utne explaining his project and how to send him video clips:

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Audio and video courtesy of Leif Utne.

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windy rainy by Serena

Weather: Gusts and Probable Rain Through the Night

Windy, wet weather is brewing on Bainbridge Island, with gusts expected up to 21 miles per hour and a 60 percent chance of rain this afternoon and tonight.

Here is the local forecast from the National Weather Service:

Tuesday Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 66 degrees F. West-southwest wind around 16 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.
Tonight Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 52 degrees F. West-southwest wind 11 to 16 mph, becoming northeast 5 to 10 mph in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 21 mph.
Wednesday Mostly cloudy; then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 71 degrees F. Southeast wind 7 to 9 mph.
Wednesday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 51 degrees F. Light and variable wind becoming north-northeast 5 to 8 mph after midnight.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 74 degrees F. North-northeast wind 8 to 10 mph.
Thursday Night Clear, with a low around 51 degrees F.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 78 degrees F.

Photo courtesy of Serena.

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Bainbridge Woman Rescued from Eagle Harbor Waters with Life-Threatening Injuries

At approximately 9:30 this morning, September 1, people in a sailboat in Eagle Harbor spotted a woman in distress in the water. They attempted to pull her to safety but were unable to. A couple in a large power boat arrived to assist and succeeded in pulling her aboard. They covered the woman, who was seriously injured and hypothermic, in blankets to warm her.

The rescuing parties reported the emergency to the Coast Guard, initially indicating that they were near the Bainbridge Island ferry dock. Coast Guard officials alerted Bainbridge fire and police at 9:48 a.m., and units arrived within minutes at the ferry terminal area and began searching for the power boat.

Several concerned witnesses also called 911.

Further communication clarified that the power boat was actually near the Waterfront Park dock, so emergency responders relocated to Waterfront Park.

Paramedics treated the 54-year-old Wing Point resident for heavily bleeding neck lacerations and airlifted her to Seattle for further care for life-threatening but treatable injuries. It was determined that she was having a medical emergency. To protect her privacy, no further information is available.

This incident is unrelated to the Eagle Harbor water rescue that occurred last night.

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Photo courtesy of BIFD.

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Hey, Working Stiffs: Let’s Look at Jobs for Labor Day

In honor of Labor Day, we’re looking at jobs on Bainbridge Island. The American Community Survey of 2008-12 reported that 10,284 of us were employed, with a slight majority—5,452—being men. Of those male workers, 3,307 were in management, professional, and related occupations. The number of female workers in that category was 2,715.

The next highest category of employment was sales and office occupations: men, 751, and women, 1,245. Right after that was service occupations: men, 601, and women, 735. There were 435 men in construction. There were 78 women and 289 men in production, transportation, and material moving occupations. Twenty-nine women and zero men worked in farming, fishing, and forestry.

In terms of industry, 2,004 people worked in educational services, health care, and social assistance; 2,210 worked in professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services. Eight hundred and fifty Islanders worked in the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services; 742 people worked in public administration; 677 people worked in finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing; and 645 people worked in manufacturing.

The statistics tell us all about the regular jobs of Islanders. But what about those truly odd jobs? We’d like to know about the weird work in your past or present.

I’ll start. One of the many odd jobs I’ve had was calling Nielsen families to corroborate the results of in-home metering. This was a couple of decades ago. I had a list of numbers I’d dial. Usually the people weren’t home or they hung up on me. Many of them didn’t speak English. Sometimes I’d get a chance to ask a question or two. When I did make contact with someone who could understand me, I had to ask them if every time they left the room that had the TV to, say, get a snack or visit the restroom, they would log off from the meter. It was hard to believe that anyone would bother to do that but some people said they did.

What about you? For Labor Day, share your odd jobs in the comments section below.

Photo by Alexander Baxevanis.

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Spelling Bee