Tag Archive | "Bainbridge Island"

earthquake

Close Quake Jangles Bainbridge Early This Morning

A 3.5 earthquake centered about 3 miles east of Belfair and 13 miles southwest of Bainbridge Island at 4:04 a.m. today, July 28, jarred area residents awake. People on Bainbridge reported feeling their houses shake and furniture move.

According to data from the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, the earthquake, 15.6 miles deep, was the highest magnitude one in our vicinity since the 3.5 quake that struck Poulsbo on December 5, 2013.

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Map courtesy of Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

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plover by Jay Wiggs

Name That Bird: And the Oscar Goes to . . .

Unlike most shorebirds, this graceful slender-winged plover is often seen on dry land, where it may make its nest and hunt for worms and insects. Whether on the beach or in a field or lawn, this bird is quite the thespian, darting about, calling shrilly (the source of its name), and even sometimes feigning a broken wing to distract potential predators from its nest site on the ground.

Common on Bainbridge Island, these birds live on our shores, open parkland, and some backyards.

plover, by Jay Wiggs

plover, by Jay Wiggs

Can you name this master of the art of distraction?

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broken wing act

Broken wing act at Battle Point Park, by Julie Hall

Eggs as Battle Point Park

Eggs as Battle Point Park, by Julie Hall

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Astrology Weekly

Astrology Weekly 7/27/14: Big Energy Meets Temperance

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. 

Listen to last week’s show here.

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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elevated trail

$3.5M Raised to Get Bainbridge Leg of Visionary Sound to Olympics Trail Moving

Imagine this: taking a safe, stress-free bike ride or walk along Bainbridge Island’s main transit artery, Highway 305. Sound radically beyond your risk-taking nature or ability level?

The mild-mannered but tenacious architect of this idea, 40-year Bainbridge Island resident Don Willott, says the separated trail with a vegetation buffer is decidedly not just for commuters or the lycra-clad peloton. The multiuse, family-friendly trail is meant to draw all kinds who wish to move sans automobile from the ferry to the bridge or from anyplace to anyplace in between those two points—and beyond.

It is also the crucial start point of the Sound to Olympics Trail, an ambitious “complete streets” regional paved trail that someday soon will be a cherished feature of the Kitsap Peninsula for locals and visitors alike.

The good news is the City of Bainbridge Island’s (COBI) Non-Motorized Transportation Committee, with dedicated leadership from Willott and close collaboration with City Engineering Manager Chris Hammer, has thus far secured an impressive $3.5 million in state funding to design and build the trail from the ferry gateway up to High School Road.

There is more work to be done to fund the rest of the trail up to Agate Pass Bridge. But to talk with Willott about the painstaking research, planning, grant-writing, and collaborative work involved in getting this far is to understand what a feat it is that our small municipality has earned so much financial support in a very competitive field of worthy state-wide projects.

You’re Invited to the July 30 Meeting

On Wednesday, July 30, the COBI Public Works Department is hosting a public meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall in the Council Chamber to present three designs of the first leg of the Bainbridge portion of the trail, extending from the ferry gateway to Vineyard Lane. The designs are in part the result of input from a public meeting held last October.

Ferry commuters photo courtesy of Don Willott

Bainbridge Island ferry commuters

The current proposed project provides for the construction of approximately 0.37 miles of separated pathway to complete this first segment of the trail. Proposed design features include a non-motorized pathway and/or sidewalk widening, accessibility improvements, bike lanes or shared lanes, painted bike boxes, center divider curbing, street lighting improvements, signal modifications, and landscaping.

During the meeting, the City will present conceptual drawings of the three possible designs and seek public input to use to develop the final design, which is required to be built in 2015. View the three designs here

I asked Willott what has motivated him to devote so much time and energy to the project—some 15 years so far. He said some years back growth on the Island was making his running routes unsafe, and, after retiring from his job as a psychiatric social worker, he decided, “I could be miserable or do something about it.”

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Ferry commuters photo courtesy of Don Willott.

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Bainbridge Iron Man Dad Chosen for Pyrenees Tour de France Charity Challenge

When Bainbridge Islander Darren Smith started training for an Iron Man triathlon to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), an organization that helped make life-saving medicine available for his daughter, he thought it was enough to get off the couch, jump on the bike, and cut back on beer and hash browns. After over a year of Kafkaesque metamorphosis, Smith is a different man but still the same dedicated dad with the same goal of giving back to the charity that helped save the life of his infant daughter—now a sassy, talented teen.

On August 3 Smith, 49, will finally face his long-sought challenge of becoming an Iron Man, a real-life status Hollywood can not actually confer. To complete the triathlon-of-triathlons event, held in Boulder, Smith will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a marathon distance of 26.2 miles in a span of no longer than 17 hours.

Darren Smith with his daughter Meghan

Darren Smith with his daughter Meghan

As if transforming into an iron butterfly weren’t enough, Smith has been selected by the international human resources firm he works for, Adecco, to participate in their annual worldwide athletic fundraising event. Each year the company chooses 70 people from its global team for a children’s charity event. This year the charity is Win4Youth, and the athletic event is a bike ride of a lifetime—the 18th leg of the Tour de France.

Luckily for Smith, biking is his favorite triathlon event. But, despite the considerable workout of having trained on Bainbridge Island hills, Smith is still in mental shock about what he calls the Pyrenees Mountains version of 10 miles straight up Baker Hill.

Don’t feel too sorry for him; he will, after all, be in France for five days, expenses paid, staying in Lourdes, where he and the other riders will divide their time between a few days of training, the actual ride on August 30, and sightseeing and parties. About the “Col du Tourmalet” uphill climb, Smith said, “My two goals are not to get off the bike and to finish smiling.”

Darren and Lynn Smith

Darren and Lynn Smith

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Photos by Julie Hall.

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rain and cloud break by Joyce Rudolph

Weather: Sun and Warm Temps on the Way, Really

The National Weather Service reports that we will see a break from the gloom starting Friday, which will usher in normal summer sun and temperatures climbing back where they belong.

Here is the forecast for Bainbridge Island:

Thursday A 40 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 69 degrees F. South wind 5 to 7 mph.
Thursday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 55 degrees F. North-northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light and variable after midnight.
Friday Partly sunny, with a high near 72 degrees F. Calm wind becoming north-northeast around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Friday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 55 degrees F. Northeast wind 6 to 8 mph.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 77 degrees F. North-northeast wind 5 to 9 mph.
Saturday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 56 degrees F.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 81 degrees F.
Sunday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 55 degrees F.
Monday Sunny, with a high near 82 degrees F.
Monday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 55 degrees F.
Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 80 degrees F.
Tuesday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 55 degrees F.
Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 80 degrees F

Photo courtesy of Bainbridge Island photographer Joyce Rudolph. 

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eagle and crow on boat

Photos of the Day: Pelagic Pirates?

Islander Thomas Hayward shared this shot of “pirates” aboard his boat moored just north of Bainbridge Island’s Battle Point.

It’s a rare occasion when eagles and crows coexist, which begs the question, who is the captain and who is the lookout?

Here are photos of a crow harassing a beleaguered bald eagle, by wildlife photographer and Inside Bainbridge contributor Jay Wiggs.

crow and eagle by jay wiggs

crow and eagle by jay wiggs

 

 

 
crow and eagle by jay wiggs

 

 

 

 

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name that bird gone in a flash

Name That Bird: Gone in a Flash

Unlike most species of woodpecker, this relatively large bird spends much of its time on the ground digging up ants and beetles with its slightly curved bill. A Washington native, it is relatively common on Bainbridge Island. The best way to identify this handsome bird is by the unmistakable flash of white on its rump when it flaps quickly away, usually into the safety of a tree.

Do you know it? Tell us!

name that bird gone in a flash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

name that bird gone in a flash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

name that bird gone in a flash

name that bird gone in a flash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

name that bird gone in a flash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photos courtesy of Jay Wiggs. In flight photo courtesy of North Utah Open Fields Bird Forum.

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Astrology Weekly

Astrology Weekly 7/20/14: Masculine Moving-Forward + Heavenly Alarming Female Energies

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. 

Listen to last week’s show here.

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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bunny in hole at night by Caroline

Poll: Is Bainbridge Looking too Good for Its Own Good?

Bainbridge Island has been quite the state/national darling lately.

An article this week in the Huffington Post included us among the top ten idyllic islands to retire on. Last month our ferry rides were rated third best in the USA Today Best Boat Ride Contest. Two recent analyses of crime data for cities in Washington State put Bainbridge in the top ten safest Washington cities list, one landing us in third place and the other in seventh. And having dubbed Bainbridge the Digital Capital of Washington last August, Internet giant Google has just named BI’s Go2Marine as its eCity business case study.

What do you think about the positive press? Is it a good thing, or would you rather avoid the attention?

Tell us in our new poll here or in the right margin of our Home page.

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Image couresty of Caroline.

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city hall

Don’t Miss the First Meeting of COBI’s 20-Year Comprehensive Plan Update Process

The City of Bainbridge Island (COBI) is about to begin the vital process of updating its Comprehensive Plan, an update that occurs every 20 years.

In accordance with the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA), governed by RCW 36.70A, our City and citizens spend two years laying out a vision for growth and preservation that will govern decisions and policies over the following two decades. The latest Comp Plan update is required to be completed by June 30, 2016.

COBI is calling the process “Navigate Bainbridge: Charting Our Future Together.” Navigate Bainbridge’s first public meeting, Comprehensive Plan 101, will be held on Tuesday, July 22, at Bainbridge High School from 7-9 p.m.

Comprehensive Plan 101 will be an introduction to the Comprehensive Plan Update process and requirements and an overview of the Growth Management Act. The evening will begin with a presentation by Joseph Tovar, FAICP, followed by a presentation from the City Planning Commission and a facilitated panel discussion. Tovar has an extensive background in the Comprehensive Plan process, including contributing to the development of the Growth Management Act, drafting several successful amendments to the Act, and spending 12 years interpreting its provisions as a member of the Growth Management Hearings Board. Tovar also served as planning director for the cities of Shoreline, Covington, and Kirkland, and he is currently an associate adjunct professor at the University of Washington.

After his presentation, Tovar will facilitate a panel discussion with members City Manager Doug Schulze, Director of Planning and Community Development Katherine Cook, and Director of Public Works Barry Loveless.

Bainbridge Island residents are encouraged to attend the kickoff meeting and partake in the Comprehensive Plan Update process. Citizens can submit questions for the discussion before the meeting. Send questions to pcd@bainbridgewa.gov, or submit them at the beginning of the meeting.

Questions? Contact the City’s Planning Department at 206-842-2252.

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Photo by Julie Hall.

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sunset

Huff Post Declares Bainbridge One of Ten Dreamiest Islands to Retire

Huffington Post blog writer Moira McGarvey has given Bainbridge Island a spot on her list of the ten dreamiest continental U.S. islands on which to retire. McGarvey is the founder of the retirement planning site, GangsAway!

Also making the list was Vashon.

The rest of the list consists of Kiawah Island, South Carolina; two islands in Florida—Key Largo and Key West; Duck, North Carolina; two Massachusetts islands—Nantucket and Edgarton, Martha’s Vineyard; and Avalon, Catalina Island in California.

GangsAway! offers a comparison feature that enables you to compare locations by factors such as demographics and income. When Key Largo and Bainbridge are compared, for example, the site says that the per capita income on Bainbridge is $20,000 larger, the median household income is more than $40,000 larger, and the median home value is about 200,000 bigger. The cost of living on Bainbridge, however, is lower.

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Photo by Richard Ha.

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park district spraying pesticide at battle point park

Letter from the Editor: Pesticides in Our Parks—Do We Need ‘Em?

When it comes to plants, as with most things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One person’s pretty wildflower is another person’s weed. One person’s cultivated prize is another’s gaudy showpiece.

I love the wee white flowers that cover Battle Point Park in spring like a light snowfall, and I miss them after the mowers sheer them away. I also like—gasp—the spindly yellow dandelions that sprout up afterward. They splash welcome yellow on the oceans of monotonous green that in summer dies back to brown.

The monoculture of clipped green grass is an odd aesthetic that nature never would abide without strenuous interference by modern man. Our mowers, trimmers, whackers, blow torches, herbicides, and sweat keep nature’s riot at bay, along with its gifts. I have friends who recently “let their yard go.” Their ill teenage son insisted on it. Not killing one living thing, including a single insect, is his way of holding on. And, as a result, they now have something precious that I haven’t seen for years in my yard—quail—plus many more species who are now finding a home in their unkempt jungle.

Green Movement on Bainbridge

Mother and ducklings at Battle Point Park pond

Mother and ducklings at Battle Point Park pond

There is a powerful “green” movement on Bainbridge Island. Our Land Trust conserves wild land and shorelines; Friends of the Farms supports local growing; Weed Warriors and Student Conservation Corps remove invasive plant species; Positive Energy improves energy efficiency; the Zero-Waste Initiative and Buy Nothing Bainbridge reduce waste; West Sound Wildlife Shelter rehabilitates wildlife and educates the public about sustainable coexistence with other species; restaurants serve up organic and local food; citizens are going back to growing and raising their own natural food. Last year our city passed a plastic bag ordinance and installed solar panels in city hall.

Pesticides in Our Parks

So why is our Park District still using pesticides? According to Park Services Superintendent Dan Hamlin the Park District sprays every spring and fall in all of its parks, and it “spot sprays” throughout the year. Hamlin said they use glyphosate—the major component of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—on weeds in beds and other mulched areas. Earlier this month I watched a park worker with a tank of liquid herbicide strapped to her back spot spraying around the covered picnic area at Battle Point Park (on the Arrow Point Drive side). She sprayed on mulched beds and around trees throughout the area, a place that is regularly used by families with babies, kids, and dogs who play on the ground.

Hamlin explained that the Park District sprays on days when it is not windy or rainy. He said, “wind creates drift and rain weakens and spreads the formula.” Workers spray in the morning and post 8.5″ x 11″ signs at park entrances for the day informing people that spraying has occurred, with a phone number listed for people to call for further information. I asked if people call, and Hamlin said yes.

If you are chemically sensitive, the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) requires that your Park District inform you of the timing of its pesticide use. Click here to get your name added to the Pesticide Sensitive Registry.

The Dangers of Glyphosate

Newt

Newt

There is overwhelming data showing the harm of glyphosate. An April 2013 review of hundreds of scientific studies of glyphosate links it to debilitating human diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart problems, obesity, and Alzheimer’s. Glyphosate has been associated with increased risk for damaged DNA and abnormal chromosomes, cancer, miscarriage, and attention deficit disorder (ADD). Studies have shown that glyphosate is toxic to wildlife, particularly amphibians, for whom it is lethal.

But our Park District isn’t the only source of pesticides in our community—by a long shot. Our schools use them, businesses use them, and many citizens continue to use them, despite overwhelming evidence of their harm to all living things and the fact that they leach into our wells, watersheds, and Puget Sound.

Hamlin said the Park District uses only about five gallons of glyphosate annually in its parks, which comprise 1,500 acres.

But why use it at all?

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Featured photo of Bainbridge Island Park District worker spraying at Battle Point Park in early July, 2014. Photos by Julie Hall.

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bloedel home

Letter to the Editor: The Director of the Bloedel Reserve Invites You to Visit Sans Car

For twenty-five years, the Bloedel Reserve has tried to solve the one question that riddles every business on Bainbridge Island outside of Winslow: How can we get walk-on visitors from the ferry out to the Reserve? We’ve dreamed of purchasing shuttle buses and considered making arrangements with RideShare companies, but nothing panned out.

So imagine our delight when Kitsap Transit announced “B.I. Ride,” its new and enhanced dial-a-ride service leaving from the ferry with regularly scheduled stops at Bloedel Reserve’s gates and at Lynwood Center. Our biggest barrier for out-of-town visitors is virtually eliminated (except on Sundays when the B.I. Ride doesn’t operate).

On behalf of the staff and Board of Trustees at Bloedel Reserve, I’d like to thank Kitsap Transit for providing this service to our gardens and to the rest of the outlying businesses on Bainbridge Island. And to our friends and neighbors, please make use of the new B.I. Ride service. The service is not just for tourists, but for Island residents as well. For complete schedule information, visit www.kitsaptransit.com. The more riders who use this transportation option, the greater the likelihood is that this fantastic service continues.

Sincerely,

Ed Moydell, Executive Director
Bloedel Reserve

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 Photo by Julie Hall.

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Strawberry Hill strawberry rock

New Bainbridge Island Dog Park Set to Open

Bainbridge Island canines will have a new place to run off leash with official sanction as of July 31.

According to Park Services Superintendent Dan Hamlin, the Strawberry Hill enclosed dog park will feature approximately 2.4 acres of fenced area, with a separate section designated for small, shy, and/or recuperating dogs.

The park will be open seven days a week from dawn to dusk. The entry point, double-gated, will be located at the north end of the park near the ballfields so that it is a sufficient distance from the children’s play park. A kiosk near the entrance will include park rules and other informational signage for users. Hamlin said it will be the responsibility of dog owners to determine whether the park is appropriate for their dogs and to oversee proper etiquette, delineated in the signage.

The new Bainbridge Island dog park is the outcome of several years of meetings and communication between residents and Park District Board members and employees. A volunteer advisory committee worked hard to help plan the specifics of the park’s design within the District’s parameters. Dog Park rules .

The new dog park will be located partially in shaded woods and partially on sunny grass. Dog Park map.

An enclosed dog area at Eagledale Park has long been regarded as too muddy and remote for the vast majority of Island residents looking to let their dogs run and play untethered. Time will tell how the Strawberry Hill location will be received by the community.

The request by a large constituency of Island residents for off-leash unenclosed shared use in local parks and trails remains unaddressed.

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 Photo by Julie Hall.

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sunflowers

Council Approves SMP, Waterfront Property Rights Activist Talks About Suing

Less than 24 hours after the City Council approved the Shoreline Master Plan as amended by the Department of Ecology, Islander Gary Tripp used his e-mail list, Bainbridge News Wire, to call on waterfront property owners to meet “to develop a strategy to take legal action against the city over the adoption of the SMP.”

At last night’s, July 14, City Council Meeting, all the Councilmembers expressed to some extent or another their dissatisfaction with the final product. Councilmember Sarah Blossom voiced her frustration with the aquaculture regulations added by the DOE. Councilmember Val Tollefson agreed and shared his belief that people are beginning to organize statewide to oppose the DOE’s stance that aquaculture is a preferred use.

Councilmember Steve Bonkowski wondered if any other communities had challenged DOE on the aquaculture regulations. DOE’s Barbara Nightingale said that Jefferson County had. It had taken them eight years and they had then agreed to go along with the regulations.

Blossom conveyed her pointed anger with this Council and the previous one for failure to address the challenges to property owners in being able to rebuild their existing homes.

City Planning Director Kathy Cook clarified for the Council that they could approve the SMP and then later request limited amendments. She said if they proposed any major changes at this point, the City would fail to meet the state-imposed deadline.

Tollefson moved to approve the SMP update. In doing so, he acknowledged it was imperfect and said he wanted to change some things in the future.

Councilmember Dave Ward listed the three issues that prevented him from supporting the SMP: the “onerous aquaculture regulations” made “at the eleventh hour” after pressure from “effective industry lobbying”; the rebuilding of existing structures issue; and a “scientifically irresponsible”  and “sudden” opinion on the compliance monitoring program.

Mayor Anne Blair said she too was dissatisfied in some ways with the update, but she said she was confident in the “work that’s gone on for five years” and called it a “thoughtful process.”

In the end, the motion passed 4-3, with Blossom, Ward, and Bonkowski casting the dissenting votes.

After the vote, Blair handed out bouquets of flowers including sunflowers signaling her appreciation for the hard work of so many people on the SMP. She gave flowers to the Council, to Nightingale, to Interim City Attorney Jim Haney, to activist Elise Wright, to Cook, to shoreline planner Ryan Erickson, and to Tripp.

To Tripp she expressed her appreciation for the work he’s done in “opposition to many of the ideas brought forward.” She said he had  challenged their thinking and that she knew the hours he and she had “spent over the phone and over coffee, which had “taught her a lot and expanded her understanding.”

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Astrology Weekly

Astrology Weekly 7/14/14: Ease on Down the Road

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. 

Listen to last week’s show here.

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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winslow alley lines and shadows

Where on the Island? Glimpses of Winslow

Here’s a tricky but fun one. Bainbridge Island photographer Marilynn Gottlieb took all six of these images of lines and shadows in alcoves or alleys off of Winslow Way.

Can you identify these familiar places taken from an unusual perspective?

Tell us!

Marilynn Gottlieb sells all of the photographs featured in Where on the Island as photos or as transfers onto metal plates. Visit her website to learn more.

winslow alley lines and shadows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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geoduck

Hit the Beach for Super Summer Low Tides

Some of the lowest tides of the year are happening around Puget Sound through the weekend and into next week. Here are the far out lows for Bainbridge Island.

Friday July 11
10:35 a.m.
-2.8

Saturday July 12
11:21 a.m.
-3.1

Sunday July 13 
12:07 p.m.
-3.1

Monday July 14
12:54 p.m.
-2.6

Tuesday July 15
1:42 p.m.
-1.6

Wednesday July 16
2:30 p.m.
-0.3

 

Photo of geoduck courtesy of Jeff.

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Sarah Frost lice girls

680 People on Bainbridge Have Head Lice: Lice Girls to the Rescue

Lice Girls co-owner Sarah Frost estimates, based on Center for Disease Control (CDC) national data and a seasonal increase, that about 680 people on Bainbridge Island currently have lice. Frost also notes that the average case of lice lasts—yikes—3 to 6 months.

Lice Are Not Nice, But Lice Girls Are 

The last thing Sarah Frost and Sophia Gomma thought they’d ever want to do professionally was work with dreaded bloodsucking parasites.

The two friends had gotten through the baby-stage of parenting and were ready to get back into the working world as business partners. With backgrounds in social work they wanted to do something to serve their community. Frost said when a friend suggested they open a lice-busting business they thought she was crazy.

But the idea percolated, and Gomma and Frost attended a conference about head lice. They were so itchy the whole time they came home with scabs on their scalps from scratching, but they also came home convinced it was a needed service for Bainbridge and surrounding communities.

Sarah Frost using AirAllé treatment

Sarah Frost using AirAllé treatment

Frost and Gomma were especially excited to learn about a hot air technology that is nearly 100 percent effective in destroying lice. “We needed to know that we could offer people a nontoxic treatment that really works,” said Frost. Developed in 2007 by scientists at the University of Utah, AirAllé is a painless, simple way to effectively kill lice and lice eggs by dehydration using the flow of warm air. Frost told me it takes about an hour and is so relaxing that some people fall asleep. Since the AirAllé treatment is expensive, Frost and Gomma offer a range of other treatment and preventative options.

As fate would have it, a month after the conference Frost’s four kids were besieged with a lice infestation. “I had no idea how bad it was until then. I was combing, washing, and vacuuming constantly. I was a basket case,” Frost said. “Thankfully I did not get lice, because my husband wouldn’t recognize one if it jumped on his nose.” (Lice don’t actually jump, but scurry quickly and hide well.) The experience made Frost all the more convinced to move forward with the business, but when she and Gomma began looking for a rental space to set up shop it took a while. “No one would rent to us. When they heard the word lice that was it,” said Frost.

Setting up Shop

The two finally found the right spot on Bainbridge off of Hildebrand Lane at 341 Tormey Lane, Suite 162, and opened their doors last December after running a mobile service for a few months. They see customers by appointment at their discreetly signed but bright and kid-friendly space, which they keep sterilized and tidy. Frost said that kids enjoy playing there with the toys and her dog Lola. “One boy tells his mother his head is itchy so he can come here and play with Lola and our treasure chest,” smiled Frost.

I asked Frost if she and Gomma worry about getting lice from their customers. She explained that basic precautions and understanding how lice spread from head to head has kept them lice free. In fact, Frost has never had lice. Some lice-removal businesses have a policy of firing any employees who contract lice as a way to encourage following strict protocol.

Parents on the Edge

Frost uses her people skills in this buggy line of work. “We have a lot of crying parents who have tried everything. A lot of it is talking people down. We have come as late as 11 p.m. to give oil treatments to kill the lice so people can sleep easier until we have time to comb out the lice and eggs later.”

Frost explained that the pesticide lice treatments on the market are largely ineffective now because lice have developed immunity to them. About 90 percent of people who come to her for treatment have already tried the toxic stuff, to no effect. And the days of on-site nitpickers in schools are unfortunately no more.

Interestingly, adolescent boys and men rarely get lice. Frost laughed, saying lice are apparently repelled by smelly man scent. Most of her customers are children, teen girls, and mothers. She said often mothers will do the combing and oil treatments on their kids and then come in for the AirAllé treatment for themselves.

Education

Louse under magnifying glass

Louse under magnifying glass

Lice Girls are committed to educating their customers and community. They have reached out to the Suquamish Tribe and school districts throughout Kitsap County to offer lice-prevention and -treatment education. The North Kitsap School District and Tribe have accepted help, but Gomma and Frost have not had a response from the Bainbridge Island School District. “There is so much shame associated with lice,” said Frost. Yet, as she pointed out, simple measures can make a big difference. For example, a teacher at Wilkes Elementary School who had been dealing with ongoing lice outbreaks effectively eliminated lice from her class by simply having kids zip up their jackets and other items inside their backpacks.

Lice Girls offer teachers and school personnel free head checks.

Contact Lice Girls

Lice Girls are available by phone seven days a week and make a point to return calls promptly. “We know how desperate people feel in the situation,” said Frost.

Learn more about them and what they offer at their website.

Related Story

Photos by Julie Hall and Sarah Lane.

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